Skip to main content

Full text of "The story of British diplomacy; its makers and movements"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 

O A 





With Frontispieces 
Demy 8vo, cloth, i6s. 

COURT {Second EdUim) 

HOUSE {Secmd Edition) 


f v;\ 

Its M ikc:'^ and Mov^tnient: 

•orUY :». "-.e 

^ * t^i^"> i 


Its Makers and Movements 





London Lbipsic 

Adelphi Terrace Inselstraste 20 


{Mi Rigkis Htsffved) 



I. Introductory i 

II. Two Centuries of English Diplomacy (1485-1697) 12 

III. Treaties and their Makers, from Rvswick to 

Utrecht 38 

IV. Early Hanoverian Diplomacy - - - - 59 
V. Chatham: his Work and its Results • 90 

VI. The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office - 114 

VII. The Foreign Office in War Time (1792-1806)- 143 

VIII. High Politics and High Finance f 177 

IX. From Tilsit to Chaumont 206 

X. The Beginnings of Non-Intbrvention 237 

XI. The Canning Tradition 264 

XII. Reaction to Intervention 294 

XIII. The Passing of Palmerston - - . . 33a 

XIV. Official and Unofficial Diplomatists - 361 
XV. New Views and Ventures 384 

Index 409 

/^^ "'^ 5 /-X<^ !^ 


A HISTORY of English diplomacy, that attempted 
the revelation of Foreign Office secrets, might 
resolve itself into a series of imaginative conjectures, 
sure to prove often most unhistoric and generally 
unedifying. The less ambitious object of this work 
is systematically to disentangle the thread of inter- 
national narrative from the general events of contem- 
porary history. Those events have been entirely 
avoided, except when they formed a part of the 
particular subject in hand. When the notion first 
suggested itself to me some years ago, I was in the 
habit, as a writer for the public press, of seeing several 
of those high in authority at the Foreign Office or 
in the diplomatic service. Among these were Lords 
Granville, Kimberley and Salisbury. The first of 
these was kind enough to recall for my instruction an 
oral account of the course of our diplomacy he had 
himself received, when first going to the Foreign Office 
in 1 85 1, from his predecessor. Lord Palmerston. That 
included a summary of our foreign relations, from a 
date earlier than that of the Foreign Office itself — 
indeed from the year 17 14. The Secretaryship for 
the Southern Department had then been taken by 


Stanhope, whom Palmerston seems to have regarded 
as the first official who made foreign policy his dis- 
tinctive province. And here in passing I may observe 
I am aware of some reasons given by Mr Pike ♦ for 
seeing in the Northern department rather than the 
Southern the specific germs of the Foreign Office. 
As a fact, I have in the introductory chapter of the 
present work opened my brief retrospect with a period 
considerably before that of Stanhope. For the rest it 
has been my first object, avoiding all excursions into 
general history, as well as the more universally familiar 
portions of the diplomatic narrative, to confine myself 
to the foreign transactions of the English Government, 
to the individuals chiefly associated with these, and, 
for choice, to dwell in detail rather upon those that 
naturally and properly have occupied less space in the 
general histories of the time. 

My special obligations to other works as well as to 
individuals have been mentioned generally at what 
seemed the right place in the course of this narrative. 
Over and above these, independently too of the 
Palmerstonian reminiscences by which Lord Granville 
allowed me to profit, I am indebted to Lord Granville 
himself for many hints upon those periods of which he 
had personal experience and with which I have had to 
do. Lord Kimberley also gave me much information 
bearing on the epoch of his Copenhagen Commission 

* The Public Records and the Constitution^ a lecture delivered at 
All Souls College, Oxford, by Luke Owen Pike, M.A. (Frowde, Oxford 
University Press, 1907.) 


in 1863. As regards the diplomatic story of the early 
nineteenth century, I was shown very many years ago 
by Mr Spencer Montagu, who afterwards became the 
last Lord Rokeby, some most interesting family papers 
rich in fresh impressions of Metternich and of Metter- 
nich s time generally. I am conscious of having 
derived equal or greater profit from frequent conversa- 
tions on contemporary or former events and personages 
with that kindest of friends. Lord Currie, who abounded 
in first-hand knowledge handed down to him by his 
father, Raikes Currie, of diplomatic transactions during 
the Napoleonic era. Such acquaintance with the 
interior of the Department as I may have acquired 
began when Lord Currie first became Permanent 
Under-Secretary. Nor have my obligations been less 
to those connected with the Foreign Office since Lord 
Currie's time, especially to the present Lord Dufferin 
and to Lord Fitzmaurice. Among all living experts 
on international or diplomatic subjects, my greatest 
indebtedness is to my kind friend of now very many 
years' standing. Sir Charles Dilke, and to my Oxford 
contemporary, now of our French Embassy, Sir Henry 
Austin Lee. Had any of those now mentioned with- 
held from me their good offices my task could not 
have been completed. As regards books, Dr Franck 
Bright's and Sir Spencer Walpole's histories have 
provided me with innumerable data which I could not 
otherwise have obtained ; while Dr Bright gave me 
invaluable assistance in preparing the whole ground- 
work and plan of this volume, as well as in advising 


me about some of its details, and Lord Reay assisted 
me with invaluable details concerning Pitts Dutch 
diplomacy in the Napoleonic era. Apropos of Pitt s 
financial operations at this period, Sir Charles Rivers 
Wilson's good offices, and the mastery of the subject 
possessed by Mr A. T. King of the National Debt 
Office, have enabled me to illustrate the connection 
between high politics and high finance, with personal 
information of great interest and value now printed for 
the first time. 


West Brighton, 
April 1908. 




The object of diplomacy — Its genesis in Classic Greece — 
Machiavelli: his influence upon European diplomacy before 
and after his death-^Italy succeeded by Russia as a school of 
statecraft — English foreign policy — The various causes of its 
lack of unity — Early examples of Britain's relations with 
Continental Powers — Inclination to Anglo-Spanish rather than 
to Anglo-French alliances — Anglo-Spanish relations changed by 
the divorce of Henry VIII., the Reformation and the naval 
enterprises of Elizabeth's reign. 

THE elementary object of diplomacy in all 
coimtries and ages may be roughly described 
as the maintenance of international relations on terms 
of mutual courtesy, forbearance and self-control, such 
as regulate the intercourse of individuals in private 
life, the reduction to a minimum of causes of inter- 
national friction, the actual avoidance or the indefinite 
postponement of recourse to war for the settlement of 
disputes between independent states. Should pacific 
negotiations have failed and hostilities become un- 
avoidable, diplomacy, defeated for the moment, does 
not sink into an attitude of mere passive, idle 
spectatorship; preserving presence of mind and cool- 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

ness of head even amid the clash of arms, it awaits 
the opportunity of the peacemaker. It follows, from 
whatever distance, the varying fortunes of the field. 
Trained agents at the courts or capitals of the warring 
states keep it accurately informed concerning the 
resources of the belligerent Powers, the movement of 
their high finance, the conflict of interest or opinion 
among allies, concerning fluctuations of popular feeling, 
penetrates, if not the tactics of genersds, the designs 
of the sovereigns or statesmen who direct them. It 
watches and seizes opportunities for mediatorial action 
with a view to the conclusion of a setded peace. The 
different states of classical Greece gradually created 
for themselves a species of diplomatic machinery in 
that Amphictyonic Council, existing for the purpose of 
setding disputes between the various Hellenic com- 
munities by peaceful compromise inste^^d of by in- 
ternecine war. To the influence of that body may be 
attributed the strong public feeling against resorting 
to the sword in the earlier stages of a quarrel, and, 
above all, against omitting the due formalities when 
the rupture came, against, in a word, an appeal to the 
god of battles without due proclamation by heralds. 

The beginnings, however, of European diplomacy 
are not discernible till the Roman Empire was replaced 
by the European state system. The essence of the 
Renaissance statecraft distilled itself into diplomacy; 
that art had Machiavelli for its first Italian teacher ; 
Spain, two centuries later, produced Alberoni ; between 
these came the Swedish Oxenstem, remembered for 
a single aphorism, to-day more familiar than any 
Machiavellian maxim, notwithstanding that the great 
Florentine may be said to have had all Europe for his 


pupil. No political instructor of any epoch projected 
his ideas further or more powerfully into future gener- 
ations than was done by the man whose very name has 
become a synonym for heartless cunning and un- 
scrupulous craft. If the fact of having influenced the 
thought and the politics of his time makes a man great, 
that epithet unquestionably belongs to Machiavelli. 
As a diplomatist the combination of insight into human 
nature and dexterity in dealing with it commanded 
admiration and success. As a writer he condensed 
into pithy and pungent apothegms those generalisations 
from his own experience and conversance with affairs 
which, as will presently be seen, if they did not 
actually mould, at least reflected themselves in the 
administrative or executive ideas of his own as well as 
of later generations. 

The earliest professor of the diplomatic art, 
Machiavelli is also the first to describe the stages and 
tactics by which this art can alone reasonably count 
upon success. For to him diplomacy means nothing* 
less than the management of human nature by appeals 
to its own master-motives or passions. These, from 
his point of view, are constant qualities. States rise 
and fall. Fortunes, whether acquired by communities 
or individuals, are consolidated or melt away. Human 
nature never changes ; its manifestations, like its 
expedients, may vary in their degrees of complexity ; 
its fundamentals are always the same. As humanity is 
in its essence unchangeable, so must be the most 
effective methods of dealing with it in an individual or 
in a community. Much truth is there from this point 
of view in the old Italian proverb, " So good a man as 
to be good for nothing," or, to quote the nineteenth- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

century English variant of the same idea, "A good 
man in the worse sense of the words." 

Fifty years after his death, Europe began to see, 
personified as it were, in Machiavelli's ghost, the evil 
genius of the age. Possessed by that sinister spirit, 
the pious and devout Calvin became a party to the 
burning for heresy of Servetus at Geneva (1553). 
Twenty years later the same malignant influence 
prompted Catherine de Medici to the massacre of St 
Bartholomew's Day. Another hundred years pass ; 
the master-strokes of policy which signalised the reign 
of Louis XIV., what are they save modernised mani- 
festations of Machiavellian statecraft ? But why con- 
fine within such limits the operation of a force which, 
notwithstanding its Florentine label, amounts in reality 
to the sum of human nature's concealed but ever-living, 
dissembled yet always in the last resort decisive, in- 
stincts and aims. Nor for that matter was the mock- 
ing fiend of Machiavellianism, assuming perhaps other 
shapes, less busy under the Fronde than under the 
League. Or again, to descend to our own days, the 
tactics of the twin creators of existing Italy, Cavour 
and Napoleon III., what were they but an adaptation 
to later needs of weapons, meet for patriotism and 
piety, chosen from the Machiavellian armoury ? Yet 
once more : the idhs Napoleoniennes, the Bismarckian 
beatitudes {beatiposstdentes), surely these, quite as much 
as the policy and maxims of Frederick the Great, are the 
latter-day fruitage of the sixteenth-century " Prince." 

To pass to the Machiavellian spirit in con- 
nection with the diplomatic developments of our 
own country. In England Machiavelli's writings 
excited much interest very soon after they began 



to be known anywhere. They were recommended 
to Cardinal Pole, as practical treatises on the arts 
of government, by Thomas Cromwell, who had 
visited Florence at the time when they were being 
written. The eminently practical tone of their leading 
principles were akin to those advocated by Bacon 
for conducting physical research. As might be ex- 
pected, therefore, Machiavelli receives a panegyric in 
the Advancement of Learning. As in his masterly 
Romanes Lecture (1897) Mr John Morley pointed 
out, in both Bacons Essays and History of Henry 
VH. the student of Machiavelli stands revealed. 
James Harrington, converted from republicanism to 
courtiership, the attendant of Charles I. on the scaffold, 
shows familiarity with Machiavelli in his Oceana. After 
the Restoration the Leviathan and Human Nature 
of Thomas Hobbes testify to the literary vitality of 
Machiavelli. No one can miss the family likeness 
of the Tudor sovereigns' policy to the Machiavellian 
model. Bacon, however, himself describes Machia- 
velli as only putting men s actual practice into formulas. 
Embodying the materialistic wisdom of his age, 
Machiavelli taught diplomatists, like statesmen, to 
.regard their calling not as an abstract science but an 
empirical art. To vary Bacon s phrase, he sublimated 
the shrewdest and hardest wisdom of his time into 
precepts which stamp themselves on the memory, 
though they jar the conscience and revolt the heart. 
By the seventeenth century the public as well as 
professional statesmen had become familiar with 
Machiavelli's ideas and maxims. The statecraft of 
the Stuarts or of Cromwell was not more Machia- 
vellian than that of Henry VHI. and Elizabeth at a 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

time when the political ethics of The Prince were 
known only to a comparatively limited number of 
students and specialists. The commanding prominence 
secured by the writer of this work is largely to be 
explained by the natural tendency to attach the label 
of a well-sounding name to any body of doctrines or 
practice. So was it with Epicurus, Arminius or 
Calvin. In the same way certain natural and in 
themselves commonplace methods in domestic or 
international politics seem to gain definiteness and 
consistency by association with Machiavelli. Among 
English writers on international topics familiar 
aphorisms connect themselves with Sir William 
Temple or the men with whom he lived. These, how- 
ever, will be most fittingly, if at all, considered at a 
later stage in this work. On this the threshold of our 
inquiry only one other remark need be made. 

The place of Italy as a school of statecraft and diplo- 
macy during the Middle Ages was, in modern times, to 
a great extent filled by Russia.* Here the intellectual 
activities of the higher classes were not distracted, as 
has been the Anglo-Saxon experience, from state 
duties by agriculture, manufactures, or even by judicial 
and civil employments. The two former were left to 
the lower classes. Those who constituted the flower 
of the nation, such as did not enter the army, were 
trained from early youth for diplomacy. 

The diplomacy whose movements are now to be 
traced is that in which England has taken an active 
part and which have had for their headquarters the 

^ Diplomatic relations between England and Russia seem to have 
begim in the February of 1557, when the Czar Ivan Vasilivich sent an 
ambassador to the Court of Philip and Mary. 



English Foreign Office, in one or other of its various 

The traditions of our international administration 
and the principles underlying the policy of its directors 
are for the most part not less untrustworthy than are 
other stereotyped commonplaces of the platform, the 
dinner-table or the press. On no subject indeed is 
generalisation likely to prove more misleading than on 
that of English foreign policy. The insular position 
of this realm has affected alike the character of its 
population and the temper of its rulers. How dis- 
turbed has been the course of our history may be 
judged from the fact that, among the thirty-six sove- 
reigns since the Conquest, except in the case of 
Edward III. (great-great-grandson of John), there is 
no instance of the crown descending in lineal and 
unbroken succession through four generations. 
Repeated chaoges of dynasty have combined with an 
unbroken development of mercantile power to create 
new political forces in the nation. The growth of the 
English navy and its constandy varying requirements 
have produced further solutions of continuity in our 
diplomatic record. Nowhere else has opportunism 
to such an extent moulded statesmanship. Add to 
these interrupting influences two centuries of party- 
government, the periodical transformation scenes re- 
sulting from them, and the growth of the popular belief 
in the international value of matrimonial alliances ; 
here there is more than enough to account for lack 
of unity in the external policy of the national rulers. 

It is, however, possible to trace the varying 
tendencies which have been operative from time to 
time and have reflected themselves in the relations 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

between England and other nations during shorter 
or longer periods. England's dealings with her 
European neighbours only began to be methodised 
under the first Tudor sovereign in the sixteenth 
century. Long before that, however, and almost from 
prehistoric times, the isolated points of contact between 
these islands and Continental states had been numerous 
as well as, in some instances, so significant or sugges- 
tive as to prepare a rude and insular race for the 
amenities of peaceful intercourse with countries beyond 
the four seas ; they formed the preparatory school of 
diplomacy itself. The Western barbarians, described 
by the Roman poet as remote outcasts from civilisation^ 
thus began to acquire an international status when, 
after the invasion of their land by the Roman legions, 
a British princess became the mother of the future 
emperor who made Christianity the State religion. 
Before the Welsh or Irish missionaries and the coming 
of Augustine, Ethelberts marriage to Bertha, the 
daughter of the Prankish king, had planted the Cross 
in Kent. The Latin priest, Birinus, and others of his 
order who may have followed Augustine were 
additional links in the chain connecting primitive 
Britain with the capital of the world. These ties 
were from time to time drawn closer by the many 
early British sovereigns who, on the warning of con- 
science or sickness, retired to Italy that they might 
breathe their last on soil which the Aposdes had trod. 
Met on his journey thither by the King of France, 
Charles the Bald, Ethelwulf passed a year in Italy ; 
the purpose of his visit was the presentation to the 
Vicar of Christ of his son the future King Alfred who 
already had the pope for his godfather. A Saxon 


college had for some time existed on the Tiber ; from 
Ethelwulfs Roman visit dates not only the completion 
of its buildings and endowments, but, according to 
tradition, the institution of Peters Pence. During 
that residence abroad the English king found a 
second wife in Judith, the daughter of Charles the 
Bald. Hence his prolonged absence from his realm 
and the consequent unpopularity which faced him on 
his return. 

The next Anglo-Continental marriage in high 
places was two hundred years later when, in 1035, the 
Princess Gunhild, King Canute's daughter, became 
the bride of the Emperor Henry HI. Of all the 
Anglo-Continental episodes in this century, none 
associates itself with events of more importance than 
the rivalry between the Saxon party under Godwin 
and his sons and the French faction, largely stimulated 
by the foreign bishops, favourites of Edward the 
Confessor. Hence followed the peaceful visit of 
William of Normandy and the alleged promise whose 
violation led to the Norman Conquest. 

After the events of 1066 it became an absolute 
certainty that an anti- French policy would prevail. A 
lately arrived invader, formerly the chief vassal and 
now the rival of the French king, could not be other 
than the enemy of his suzerain. Subsequent events 
combined to emphasise the estrangement between the 
rulers of the two countries. Germany, Spain and 
Guienne entered actively into the situation. A 
national era of commercial competition opened. The 
bonds of amity uniting Spain and Guienne on the one 
hand with England on the other deepened and 
broadened the separation of England from France. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

During the twelfth century the Anglo-Spanish entente 
became increasingly cordial. The marriage of the 
second Henry's daughter, Eleanor, with Alphonso of 
Castile set on foot an international friendship that 
even oudived the Reformation. The next incident 
tending in the same direction was the marriage of 
Edward I. to a Spanish princess of the same name, 
Eleanor of Castile. To that feat of matrimonial 
diplomacy the English monarchy owed the establish- 
ment of its pecuniary fortunes, and English farming 
the most profitable impetus as yet communicated to 
it. The earliest among our royal women of busi- 
ness. Queen Eleanor, brought her husband a more 
valuable dower than her Southern- European territories 
in the capacity which, by reconstructing the wool 
trade and organising the Northumbrian collieries, not 
only increased the national wealth, but doubled the 
royal income. Other international connections of the 
domestic kind had been made with different foreign 
countries about a hundred years earlier. Of the 
children born to Henry II., one son at least married a 
French princess ; the eldest daughter became wife of 
Henry the Lion, of Saxony ; another wedded the 
Norman King of Sicily, then the chief naval power in 
the Mediterranean. Before, therefore, the twelfth 
century had closed, the peaceful agencies of her 
diplomatists had won for England a place of European 
authority which could never have been gained by the 
military triumphs of her kings, notwithstanding that 
French addition to their royal tide that remained in 
use till George III. In 1371, Edward III.'s sons, 
John of Gaunt and the Earl of Cambridge, found 

wives in two Spanish princesses, respectively Constance 



and Isabel, both daughters of Pedro the Cruel. The 
bias towards Spain, thus instituted, was strengthened 
by Henry V/s strong attachment to the European 
unities. To him indeed the Church and the Empire 
were the two guarantees for the maintenance of the 
national and even social sjrstem of Europe. The 
foreign policy of the Tudors will receive separate 
notice presently. It is enough here to say that the 
predecessors of Henry VIII. had all of them, in 
different degrees or manners, contributed to the 
building up of the Anglo-Spanish alliance. The 
master-stroke of Henry VI I. 's diplomacy was his 
son s union with Katharine of Aragon. The relations 
between London and Madrid were of course changed 
by the Reformation. English enthusiasm for Spain 
may have burned hot during the few years of 
Mary's reign ; under Elizabeth it gradually cooled. It 
died out amid the glories of Drake and the Armada. 
These last words indicate the continuance of influences 
as personal and as far-reaching upon English pplicy as 
was that exercised by the seventh Henry himself. 
Mercantile enterprise and naval strength, the creations 
of a few great men, supported and directed the 
management of our external affairs in the Tudor 

How the Stuarts inherited the Elizabethan tradi- 
tion, how, in spite of his oddities, James I. was true to 
his Protestantism, and how amid many variations and 
vacillations the diplomacy of that king made France 
upon the whole the bulwark of the new religion, all 
this and much else will be related in its proper place. 




Henry VII. his own Foreign Minister — ^The Great Intercourse — 
Diplomatic royal marriages — ^The evolution of the Foreign 
Secretary — ^Tbe personal element in English diplomacy under 
the Tudors — The policy of Henry VIII. and Wolsey — England 
as arbitrator between France and Spain — Diplomacy under 
Edward VI. — Scotland as the instrument of France — Mary's 
Spanish alliance — Religion as the cloak for international 
intrigue — ^The influence of popular feeling — ^The policy of 
Elizabeth and Lord Burleigh — ^The Queen's Spanish inclina- 
tions counteracted by her religious opinions, continued by 
James J. — ^The Royal matrimonial arrangements of the yoimger 
Cecil— The Juliers and Cleves dispute— The Thirty Years' War 
— The Protestant feelings of the English people opposed to the 
Spanish sympathies of the King — The Peace of Westphalia — 
Cromwell revives Elizabeth's diplomacy — The emancipation of 
Switzerland — ^The Anglo-French alliance — Clarendon as a 
Foreign Minister — ^The Relations of Charles II. with Louis 
XIV.— The first Triple Alliance (1668)— Sir William Temple— 
Danby — The position of William III. — ^The Grand Alliance 
(1689) — William's diplomacy up to the Treaty of Ryswick. 

RESUMING in some detail the international 
narrative, we reach a distinct and most im- 
portant landmark in England's connection with 
foreign states under the earliest of the Tudor kings. 
The reign of Henry VII. witnessed the establishment 
of quietness and security at home and the preservation 
of peace abroad. It therefore provided opportunities 

singularly favourable for systematising English diplo- 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

macy. Upon that, as upon other departments of 
Imperial rule, public opinion generated by national 
well-being and the progressive growth of a middle- 
class could now make itself felt Henry's Chancellors 
or Secretaries were serviceable instruments for raising 
money; there seems no reason for supposing that 
Morton, Dean, Warham or any other of this 
sovereign's ecclesiastical statesmen originated, as in 
the next reign Wolsey was to do, a foreign policy of 
their own. The king, it may be assumed, was his 
own Foreign Minister. In that capacity he negotiated 
(1496) the Great Intercourse — to cite by its best-known 
name the treaty with Burgundy, then an independent 
state, under its own duke — for promoting trade between 
England and the Netherlands and for putting down 
piracy ; it also supplied a convenient means for suppress- 
ing Burgundian plots in the Yorkist interest. Among 
other diplomatic results contrived by the founder of 
the Tudor dynasty were the marriage of his daughter 
Margaret to James IV. of Scodand, the overtures to 
Ferdinand of Spain, whose daughter he desired as a 
wife for his eldest son, and eventually that marriage 
between Arthur, Prince of Wales, and Katharine of 
Aragon, destined so profoundly to influence the 
history of two hereditarily allied peoples. After this 
the death of his wife, Elizabeth of York, caused 
Henry, as a step to a second marriage, to open com- 
munications with the dowager Queen of Naples, with 
Margaret of Savoy and, after the Duke of Burgundy's 
death, with the widowed duchess. Before these 
matrimonial overtures could provide him with a 
second consort, Henry died ; he had lived, however, 
long enough to see his policy yield some result in 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the Treaty of Estaples. This transaction secured him 
;^ 1 49,000 and the expulsion from the French Court 
of Perkin Warbeck, whom the Great Intercourse was 
to shut out from Burgundy also. Whoever may 
have been his agents in these negotiations, English 
diplomacy in the hands of the king who may be 
regarded as its founder proved successful, both from a 
political and matrimonial point of view. 

After the eighteenth century is reached the chief 
officials employed in the management of English deal- 
ings with foreign countries, or the buildings where 
their work was transacted, will suggest practicable 
and convenient heads under which to group different 
portions of the subjects treated in this volume. State 
officials charged with most or all the duties of a 
minister of the exterior existed in the fifteenth century 
under Henry VI. Not till more than a hundred years 
later was the business of the king s principal Secretary 
divided between two coequals in rank and occupation. 
In addition to any purely domestic functions, these 
ministers were responsible for the superintendence 
and regulation of England's external interests. 
Under Henry VIII. it may be even said that the 
machinery of the English Foreign Office began to 
exist in detail. In 1539 the single Secretary gave 
place to two officials, known respectively as Secretary 
for the Northern and Southern Departments. The 
former sphere of duties included Denmark, Germany, 
the Low Countries, Poland, Russia and Sweden ; 
the latter co-extensive with France, Switzerland, 
Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. From the point 
of view taken in these pages it will thus be seen that 
the head of the Southern Department was beyond 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

all comparison the more important of these two func- 
tionaries. Complications between England and the 
Northern Powers could be but exceptional and occa- 
sional only; as a fact, throughout the Tudor period 
Germany meant the Empire, whose elective head was 
for the most part identified with Spain. Hence it 
follows that whoever for the time presided over the 
Southern Department was practically the Foreign 
Minister of the sovereign. None of Henry s foreign 
agents can have approached, in point of genius or 
during his ascendancy in authority. Cardinal Wolsey ; 
but Wolsey 's fall took place in 1529, ten years, that is, 
before the official division into the two departments. 
Although, therefore, the conduct of Anglo-French, 
Anglo-Spanish and Anglo- Roman relations remained 
almost uninterruptedly in his hands, Wolsey could not 
have been the titular occupant of the position which, more 
nearly than any other, foreshadowed that of Foreign 
Secretary, first created in 1 782. Never was the personal 
element in English diplomacy marked more strongly 
than during the reign of the second Tudor king. 

Without any attempt to thread the labyrinth 
of international movements in this epoch, some 
of its more characteristic incidents or defined land- 
marks may be briefly indicated. Of the trans- 
actions in which from 1509 to 1547 the English 
sovereign engaged with foreign states, the general 
tendency was to commit this country to new inter- 
national responsibilities, to encourage it to a course 
of European intervention, and to make the voice 
of these islands felt in the politics of the Continent. 
To the League of Cambrai, formed between 
France and Spain against Venice, England had 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

not been a party. The confederation that first 
formally drew her into the foreign vortex was the 
Holy League, at once the successor and corrective of 
the earlier arrangement, and set on foot by Pope 
Julius II. for preventing the undue preponderance of 
France. Another object of this combination was to 
preserve the Italian States to the papacy. In this 
place, however, the significance of England's member- 
ship of the compact consists in the declaration which 
it implied that the European balance of power was a 
distinct English interest. 

Thus, too, was established the diplomatic tradition 
which during many years afterwards made the English 
bias in Continental affairs on the whole in favour of 
the Empire, then including Spain and Austria, and 
against France. Thus a ministry of foreign affairs no 
sooner acquired a potential existence under Henry 
VIII., than two distinct principles of English inter- 
national procedure began to shape themselves: the 
first was that of intervention in Continental affairs ; 
the second that of an anti- French European alliance. 

The central ideas guiding Henry VIII. s ministers 
were those which, notwithstanding periodical de- 
partures from the traditional line, animated their 
successors throughout the following centuries, as well 
as the Palmerstonian period, and the democratic break 
with European intervention as a tradition of the 
English Foreign Office. Henrys religious or matri- 
monial projects and Wolsey's personal ambitions 
caused a perpetual fluctuation between the French 
and the Imperial alliance. 

Notwithstanding, however, all the shiftings, vicissi- 
tudes and transformations of England's oversea 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

connections under the Tudors, that period ended as 
it began with Spanish and Imperial friendship. 
Other things being equal, it was understood that the 
preference of English diplomacy would be for an anti- 
French and pro- Austrian piolicy. 

A very brief historical summary will suffice to 
illustrate the absence from Henry's policy of any deep 
or abiding principle. In 15 19 had died the Emperor 
Maximilian, chief among the earlier of Henry's 
Continental allies ; Maximilian's son the Archduke 
Philip, by his marriage with Katharine of Aragon's 
sister, had left a son, Charles V. of Spain, who 
claimed the emperorship as an hereditary right. 
Henry VIII. was also a candidate for the Imperial 
throne, but subsequently withdrew in favour of the 
Spanish monarch, whom he supported against Francis 
I. of France. French diplomacy, seeing in the 
English king the arbiter of Europe, now engaged 
in those negotiations which culminated (1520) in the 
Field of the Cloth of Gold. Eventually, however, 
under the guidance of Wolsey, the arch-diplomatist 
of the period, the Anglo-Spanish alliance stood firm, 
if for no other reason than that the great minister 
thought it would help him to the papal throne. 

No attempt need here be made to follow the 

international intricacies of the period ; one feature in 

them is invested, by events which happened long 

afterwards, with too much interest to be ignored. 

For the first time during these sixteenth-century 

European complications, arbitration as a diplomatic 

agency appeared in 1521. In that year Wolsey at 

Calais mediated on the Franco-Spanish War in favour 

of England's helping Spain. The personal element 
B 17 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

already mentioned now asserted itself more definitely 
than before. Twice disappointed in his attempts to 
occupy the Chair of Peter, and therefore disgusted with 
Spain, Wolsey negotiated with France an offensive 
alliance against the Peninsula. A specific justification 
of this step was forthcoming in the plea that Spanish 
and Imperialist troops had lately sacked Rome, had 
imprisoned Pope Clement VII. and thus outraged the 
religious conscience of Europe. Plausible as this 
new diplomatic departure seemed at the moment, the 
divorce proceedings prevented its being a practical 
success. Francis was not in a position to forget that, 
as French king, he was the eldest son of the Roman 
Church first and could only be the ally of the English 
monarch afterwards. In 1532 he formally approved 
the pope's refusal to sanction the putting away of 
Katharine of Aragon, and showed his loyalty to 
the Vatican by condemning on grounds of religion 
that step of the English king which Charles V. of 
Spain, for considerations of national pride if for 
no other, was bound from the first uncompromisingly 
to oppose. The whole international episode therefore 
terminated in no fresh alliance, but in the isolation of 

Under Edward VI. (1547-1553) foreign affairs re- 
mained in the hands of Protector Somerset, the most 
commanding figure among those Lords of the Council 
from time to time consulted by the Tudor sovereigns 
in the direction of their diplomacy. Throughout the 
reign now reached, whether there was peace or war^ 
the same kind of international questions that had 
exercised the father confronted the son. In addition to 

these there were the futile negotiations with Charles V. 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

against France; they were followed, in 155 1, by the 
proposals for marrying the young English king to a 
French princess. All this time the official and the 
popular wish for a spirited policy was frustrated by the 
state of affairs north of the Tweed ; there Henry II. of 
France had begfun the long series of intrigues, for 
whose conduct Scotland continued to off"er facilities till 
ihe union of the two countries under Anne. It had at 
one time seemed as if the Tudor Princess Mary, in- 
stead of finding a husband in his son, Philip of Spain, 
might have married the father, Charles V. Hence the 
communications, that, begun so far back as 1518, had 
resulted in the visit of the emperor to Canterbury. 

Marys accession in 1553 gave the signal for the 
renewal of politico-religious intrigues with the English 
Romanisers by Renard and Noailles, respectively the 
representatives in London of the Austro-Spanish power 
and of France. In none of these could the plea 
or pretence of religion conceal the consistent reality 
of political aims. The diplomacy which preceded 
Mary Tudor s union with Philip of Spain remained 
the object of the country's uneasy observation from 
the day that marriage negotiations were suspected to 
be actually on foot. The air indeed had been full of 
matrimonial possibilities. The object of Cardinal 
Pole's sojourn in England was to promote the re- 
union of Rome and Canterbury. Gossip whispered 
significantly, if absurdly, about the favour his hand- 
some person had found in the eyes of the English 
queen. The pope, it was said, so much desired to 
see Mary Tudor, his cardinal's wife, that he would 
have absolved the bridegroom from his priestly 
vows of celibacy. The fatal obstacles were the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

fanatical scruples of Mary herself, perhaps of Pole also. 
If, however, the cardinal's conscience would not let him 
marry the queen, his influence was certainly used to 
prevent her finding any other husband. It was the 
jealousy of the ambitious cleric, not of the dis- 
appointed lover, which spoke. 

Popular feeling and national interests had now begun 
to influence the arrangements of sovereigns and states- 
men. The middle classes anticipated advantage to 
their trade with the Netherlands from their sovereign's 
taking a Spanish husband. That appeal to material 
interest did much to overcome the instinctive aversion 
of the Protestant mind to a Roman Catholic consort. 
By independence of her professional diplomatists 
Mary thought she would best consult the material 
welfare of her subjects. At this time, however, 
France swarmed with English refugees. Hence the 
risk of international complications. At last, after the 
diplomatists had done their^work, the price paid for 
the friendly understanding with Spain was the war 
with France, which lost Calais to England and 
brought on the fatal failure of the English queen's 

During the reign of Elizabeth the task set itself by 

English diplomacy was the now familiar and periodically 

recurrent playing off" of France against Spain. All 

international affairs were now in the hands of the 

queen's greatest minister, Cecil, afterwards Lord 

Burleigh. The object of Burleigh's diplomacy never 

varied ; it was always so to divide the Continental 

Powers among themselves that England could stand 

alone. On details from time to time the queen and 

her minister may have diffiered. On central principles 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

of policy there was between- them absolute agree- 
ment More than once, indeed, the personal leanings 
of Elizabeth toward Spain had moved Burleigh's 
apprehensions, but for a moment only. The loyalty 
felt by Henry VIILs daughter to her father's 
religious setdement more than neutralised any 
personal predisposition of her own for a Spanish 
policy. It therefore became Burleigh's paramount 
object to strengthen, and if necessary embitter, the 
queen's antagonism to Rome. That, if properly 
managed, would constitute his best means for pre- 
venting either her marriage with the Spanish king or 
her inclination to a diplomacy tinged too deeply with 
Spanish sympathies. Either of these things, if not 
counteracted, must have fatally interfered with the 
minister's statecraft. England, he intended, should 
hold the scales containing respectively Spain and 
France. It was Burleigh's duty so nicely to 
adjust the balance that the international equi- 
poise should be perfect and permanent. In this 
way only would the subordination of England 
either to France or to Spain be averted. Rather 
indeed, as was his dominating ambition, would the 
superiority of England to both be secured. Eliza- 
beth's partialities to Spain did not, as everyone knew, 
imply any fondness for its national religion. Spain, 
however, manifesdy reciprocated the friendly disposition 
of the English queen. No state really loyal to the 
Vicar of Christ could consent to be on friendly terms 
with a sovereign who lay under the ban of papal 
excommunication. So argued the most fervent 
and uncompromising of the papacy's English friends. 
Consequendy they showed their consistency by looking 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

for future religious leadership in the direction, not of 
Spain at all, but of France. Had not Mary Stuart by 
her marriage with the Dauphin become potentially a 
French princess ? Might she not also even yet be able 
to assert her claims to the English crown and dethrone 
the detested daughter of Anne Boleyn ? The ideal 
therefore always present to the strongest and most 
representative of English papists was the transforma- 
tion of England into a Roman Catholic Power first, 
and afterwards its union with France in a social and 
political as well as religious alliance. To English 
Catholics, therefore, Spain seemed no longer a desir- 
able or profitable ally, but rather a rival to be defeated 
with French help. 

Purely secular causes throughout the last half of the 
sixteenth century contributed to loosening the heredi- 
tary connection of Spain and England. With the 
great maritime adventures of the era, there had set in 
the mutual jealousy between these nations as com- 
petitors in colonial enterprise. The first James indeed, 
on at least two occasions, showed his readiness to sub- 
ordinate to Spanish interest or sentiment his policy 
abroad and his action at home. There can be no 
reasonable doubt that Sir Walter Raleigh s execution 
in 1618 was chiefly due to the intrigues of Spain, 
whose national pride had been wounded and whose 
colonial supremacy was threatened by the exploits of 
that English navigator. The second occasion came 
later in the reign (1622). During the seventeenth 
century Spanish diplomatists had succeeded to the 
European position that had formerly belonged to 
Machiavelli as founder of the art, and his Italian 

disciples. The greatest master of the Spanish school^ 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

Gondomar, was the ambassador sent from Madrid to 
Whitehall Through him the Government of the 
Peninsula proposed to James the betrothal of his 
son Charles to the Infanta. The marriage now 
proposed formed a complete contrast to the two 
royal matches designed in 1612 by Cecil, the second 
son of Queen Elizabeth's Burleigh. Nor could any 
two instances of matrimonial diplomacy more faith- 
fully illustrate the diametrically opposite characters of 
the men by whom they were respectively originated or 
negotiated. In arranging the alliance of hearts or of 
nations Cecil knew only one motive — to strengthen his 
nation's position as arbiter of European Protestantism. 
In 161 2 he made his greatest stroke in this direction 
by securing for the Princess Elizabeth a Protestant 
husband in Frederick, the Elector Palatine ; that union 
was to affect the whole future of his country and to 
guarantee for it not only the Protestant succession but 
its present reigning house. Cecils further attempt to 
provide the kings elder son. Prince Henry, with a 
French princess as wife was frustrated by the potential 
bridegroom s premature death. Protestant zeal, how- 
ever, had originally animated the scheme, one condition 
of which had been that the French princess should be 
from childhood accessible to Protestant influences. On 
the other hand Buckingham's readiness to promote the 
betrothal of Prince Charles to the Infanta, by accom- 
panying the prince to Madrid, was marked by a sense 
of irresponsibility and was prompted by no other aim 
than to prove himself the pliant tool of the court. How 
the incognito journey of Charles and Buckingham to 
Spain failed in its real object, but en route at Paris 
made the future Charles I. acquainted with his queen, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Henrietta Maria, forms a familiar episode in general 

At first the choice of the daughter of Henry of 
Navarre may have pleased English taste. That feel- 
ing disappeared so soon as Englishmen realised the 
foothold in the realm given by details of the marriage 
treaty to papal projects. Yet, in spite of all this, the 
general drift of English diplomacy at the beginning 
of the Stuart epoch was decisively Protestant. One 
instance of this, not yet mentioned, is the episode of 
the Juliers and Cleves duchies. That affair, occurring 
in 1609, calls for a few explanatory words. The Duke 
of Brandenburg and the Duke of Neuburg, both 
Protestants, claimed the succession to supremacy in the 
two duchies. By an act of arbitrary intervention the 
Emperor Rudolph gave the duchies to his relative, a 
papist, the Archduke Leopold. On this the two ducal 
and Protestant claimants united in common cause 
against the Imperial nominee. English diplomacy was 
then entirely in Cecil's hands. In other words, its 
Protestantism and patriotism were beyond suspicion. 
After a short time spent in negotiations, England, the 
German Protestant Union and France prepared to 
support by arms the two dukes whom the emperor had 
displaced. This piece of military policy succeeded and 
the two dukes regained their thrones. No manifesta- 
tion of the anti-papal spirit now dominating the foreign 
policy of England could have been more emphatic or 
opportune. It was followed by, and may have con- 
stituted a preparation for, the distribution of inter- 
national sympathies that marks the English attitude 
during the Thirty Years* War. With that struggle 

our concern here is, of course, but secondary. Nor in 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

reference to it need more be done than to indicate the 
different confusing and conflicting currents to be seen 
in the diplomatic stream as it then flowed. Each of 
the factions composing the political parties of the 
period had its private agents abroad, often without 
disguise counter-working the accredited ambassador. 
The king's instructions to his representatives were to 
put all the pressure which peace permitted upon the 
Catholic Archduke of Austria, Ferdinand, who was 
also emperor, to arrange terms with the Protestants. 
Above all, he was to secure the speedy restoration of the 
Palatinate to its ruler, the Elector Frederick, his own 
son-in-law. The necessary promises were repeatedly 
given by Philip IV. of Spain, the relative, the co- 
religionist and ally of the Most Catholic Emperor. 
The Spanish arms were actively employed on the 
papal side. In England the Parliamentary and 
popular objection to the royal policy was not that the 
king was heading for war, but that the hostilities, to 
which his subjects were in danger of being committed, 
would be on behalf of Continental Romanism instead 
of the Protestant cause personified by Frederick. So 
far as there then existed any means for making popular 
influence felt upon foreign pplicy it would have been 
in the direction of an English alliance with Con- 
tinental Protestantism against Spain and with the 
specific object of securing for the future Charles I. some 
bride who was not a Roman Catholic. Buckingham 
did not pass away before 1628. Throughout his 
closing years, ever indeed since the failure of his 
Spanish mission, he used all his influence, secret 
or open, to complicate the international situation by 
placing obstacles in the way of Anglo-Spanish policy. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

The notorious bias of the first Stuart king towards 
absolutism in politics and against Presbyterianism in 
religion originated the misgiving of Parliament lest it 
should find itself committed to support the Catholic 
emperor against the Protestant Elector. The national 
feeling was not for peace at any price, but for war if 
necessary on behalf of the Protestant husband of the 
English princess. Foreign policy, it will thus be seen, 
in a scarcely less degree than conflicting views of the 
royal prerogative at home, was involved in the quarrel 
between Parliament and king. At least, it was urged 
by those who insisted that the opinions of subjects 
should act as a check on the foreign diplomacy of 
the court ; if English armies cannot be used to prevent 
the work of the Reformation being undone abroad, let 
the penal laws of the Tudors be enforced against 
Romanists living within the four seas. But the 
sovereign who would send Raleigh to the scaffold 
rather than offend the susceptibilities of Philip III. 
and his people, demurred to measures whose first effect 
must have been to exasperate both the Spanish people 
and the Spanish king. What, however, it chiefly 
concerns us to recognise here is this. Our foreign 
policy may have been less spirited than the more 
pugnacious Protestantism of the period wished. It 
embodied, as upon the whole it has from that time 
continued to do, not so much the decision of courts 
and cabinets as the deliberate purpose of the nation's 
sobriety and common-sense. Nor probably has sub- 
jection to popular control really interfered so much with 
the continuity of English diplomacy as it is sometimes 
supposed to have done. The great principle established 

by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the balance of 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

power, had been first formulated by Henry VIII. 
That equilibrium, through the reign of William III. 
and indeed till the middle of the nineteenth century, 
formed the regulating motive of English statesmanship 
abroad. In odier ways the Peace of Westphalia opened 
a new era in the international relationships of the 
European system. It secured freedom of worship for 
the Protestants of the Empire. It created Switzerland. 
For the first time elsewhere it practically recognised 
the claims of the smaller Continental states to inde- 
pendent existence. The Empire thus received the 
earliest in a series of blows, the last of which was to 
be given with fatal decisiveness by Napoleon in 1806. 
Advancing in chronological order, we pause for a 
moment at the international aspects of the short 
republican interval dividing the two periods of the 
Stuart monarchy. Retrospectively regarded, the 
foreign policy of the Protectorate was an application of 
the Elizabethan expedient of playing off France against 
Spain in the Protestant interest. In carrying out his 
ideas Cromwell found himself confronted by the anti- 
pathy and antagonism of the courts and capitals of 
monarchical Europe. Baffling alike Stuart intrigues 
and foreign designs against English republicanism, 
he made insults and even outrages the instruments of 
diplomatic success. One of his ambassadors was 
attacked and killed at The Hague ; another met a like 
fate at Madrid. This did not deter him from a 
practical anticipation of those international principles 
afterwards to be asserted by William III. The 
position of England at the head of European Protest- 
antism was confirmed. Without military intervention, 

by the steady employment of diplomatic pressure alone, 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

the persecution and the Romanising by brute force of 
the Vaudois were stopped. Mazarin, Louis XIV.'s 
minister, desired a treaty with England. Cromwell 
refused his signature till the French king should have 
prevailed upon the Duke of Burgundy to guarantee 
the Protestant Swiss in their own form of worship. 
Now, English diplomacy definitely declared its pre- 
ference for a French over a Spanish alliance. The 
determining motive was, of course, the gratification of 
the Protector's co-religionists. It is worth noticing 
that to Cromwell's diplomacy continental Europe 
owed the unrestricted circulation of the Scriptures. 
Free use of their Bibles in all parts of the Spanish 
realm and freedom of international trade had been 
Cromwell's demands of Spain. 

Turning now to the friendship of France, Oliver 
engaged in the negotiations which preceded the war. 
One result of the struggle with Spain following the 
Anglo-French alliance was the acquisition of Jamaica, as 
well as the introduction of English Bibles, together with 
English commerce, into West Indian waters. Another 
territorial gain to England resulted from Cromwell's 
policy of Anglo-French friendship. The despatch 
(1657) of the English contingent to help Louis XIV. 
secured the fall of Dunkirk, then besieged by the 
French king. The next year the town surrendered, 
nominally to Sp^in. Through the Protector's astute 
negotiations it become at once an English possession. 

After the Restoration, English diplomacy still ran 

in the channel into which it had been directed during 

the Commonwealth. The minister of Charles II., 

Clarendon, joined the Northern Protestants against 

Austria and Spain. That this policy should have been 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

carried out, or even have suggested itself as possible, 
was due entirely to those clauses, already referred to, in 
the Peace of Westphalia, which transformed the smaller 
nationalities of central Europe from Imperial vassals 
into independent states. Clarendon's failure as a 
Foreign Minister had for its chief and continuing cause 
his inability to realise the entirely new position on the 
Continent created by the equilibrium that the West- 
phalia peace established and by the fresh communities 
carved out of the Empire. The cultivation of French 
goodwill also explains the great achievement of Clar- 
endon's diplomacy, the king's marriage with Katharine 
of Braganza ; for Portugal had then thrown off the 
Spanish yoke and had become the trans-Pyrenean 
outwork of France. If the motive of the union had 
been to gratify France as against Spain, its conse- 
quence was by the bride's dowry of Bombay to give to 
her adopted country the first commercial and military 
centre acquired by England in Western India. After 
this the foreign policy of England under Charles II. 
modelled itself on that of Louis XIV. In the June of 
1660 that king had effected a Franco-Spanish rap- 
prochement by marrying the Infanta Maria Theresa. 
The obvious object of this union was to concentrate 
in French hands the dominion of the Low Countries, 
and Franche-Comt6, as well as to improve the French 
frontier on the Rhine. Henceforward in his impor- 
tunities to Parliament for money the systematic plea 
of the second Charles was the necessity of not being 
inferior to the French king. Hence, too, in 1668, the 
first of the international arrangements known as Triple 
Alliances, for uniting England, Holland and Sweden 

against French aggression in the Netherlands. That 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

was effected by the kings accredited ministers in 
the usual way. His other transactions were less 
" correct " ; for, while his statesmen were busy with 
negotiations their royal master had approved, Charles, 
on his own account, was himself, over their heads, 
communicating with the French king. This may 
serve as one of the earlier illustrations of the private, 
unofficial and irresponsible diplomacy of which in its 
due place something hereafter will be said — ^as, for 
instance, when Fox and his friends, while in Opposition, 
kept their own envoys at Paris or elsewhere as rivals 
to the ministers employed by the Government of the 
day in negotiations with France or the United States. 

Less peaceful in its aims and more uncon- 
stitutional in its methods than that of the mortified 
Whig leader in the eighteenth century, the private 
diplomacy of the second Charles in 1670 eventuated, 
two years after the Treaty of Dover, in the Dutch 
War. National feeling, as might have been expected, 
was soon to frustrate the international statecraft of the 
English king. The situation in which the royal 
diplomatist found himself rather resembled that pro- 
duced by the personal sympathy of his grandfather, 
James I., with Roman Catholic Spain when his 
people were bent on supporting his own Protestant 
son-in-law, the Elector Frederick, against the emperor. 
The French king might send his agents to bribe the 
Houses not to sit at Westminster ; but the responsible 
directors of England s foreign relations made it known 
to their employer that the hour had struck for 
England's retirement from the struggle to which he 
wished to commit his country. 

To the period now reached belongs Sir William 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

Temple, the most widely experienced, accomplished 
and populariy trusted ambassador of his time, to 
whom, it may be said in passing, is often attributed 
a phrase that was none of his. The description of an 
ambassador as "an honest man sent abroad to lie 
for the good of the commonwealth " had passed into 
currency before Temple s time ; its real author was 
Sir Henry Wotton, who, under James I., after twenty 
years as English representative at Venice, as well as 
various missions to the emperor and German princes, 
gave conclusive proof of his own integrity by returning 
to England a poor man. To a place in the same 
category indeed as Wotton Sir William Temple is 
entitled by gifts, qualities and conversance with affairs, 
resembling those of the most distinguished predecessor 
in his profession. England, Holland and Sweden had, 
we have seen, coalesced against France: it was 
Temple who carried through the threefold compact. 
In 1678 he was to accomplish another stroke of 
policy whose ulterior consequences were to dwarf into 
comparative insignificance his earlier achievement. 
This was the betrothal of the Princess Mary, eldest 
daughter of the then Duke of York, afterwards James 
H., to William of Orange. The disgust of Louis 
XIV. at this match could not have been greater 
had he actually foreseen that it would directly result 
in the mustering of those forces whose combination 
was to wrest from his monarchy the prerogative of 
European arbiter. Charles II. had made the experi- 
ment of being his own Foreign Minister, above and 
independendy either of Lords of the Council or of 
Parliament. In other wqrds he began a series of 
private deals with the French king. So long as he 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

pleased his paymaster, Charles pocketed his money 
with a smile at having dished his Parliament. In 1678 
the Princess Mary's betrothal to William of Orange so 
exasperated the French king that, charging his royal 
brother with breach of faith, he stopped supplies. 
Charles then turned to his Parliament for a grant, as 
he said, to undertake, if compelled, war against 
France : he also actively took in hand the raising of 
troops. The Houses, as a condition of any money 
supply, insisted on these troops being disbanded, and 
even then did not give enough to prevent the king 
from once more turning to Louis. 

Thus English diplomacy under Charles II. resolved 
itself into an interchange of cajoleries, bribes, bargains 
and recriminations between the courts of Great Britain 
and France. The English negotiator was Danby, 
though he kept his disapproval in the background 
and from the first knew diat neither his Parliament 
nor people would tolerate the mutual hagglings of 
Charles and Louis. Not, therefore, without reluctance 
or even protest did he convey his master's fresh 
political proposals and pecuniary demands to Versailles. 
More money Louis would not give. The English 
centre of diplomatic gravity now shifted to the official 
residence of the British ambassador, Montague, at 
Paris. The engagement which Charles had volun- 
teered with Louis was, if he could not openly become 
his ally, at least to abstain from helping Holland in 
the Dutch War which France then had on hand. In 
Charles, Louis saw only a self-indulgent, indolent, vacil- 
lating schemer prepared, for a consideration in cash 
down, to make any promise that there might be a reason- 
able chance of evading afterwards. I n Danby he recog- 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

nised the overruling mind that had caused Charles to 
fail his royal brother of France in so many details. 
Louis therefore determined to use the state secrets of 
which he was master for working the English minister's 
ruin. The French king had already through his 
agents in London bribed members of the English 
Parliament. He might therefore consistendy enough 
have now direcdy laid before the Houses at West- 
minster an account of his secret dealings and private 
treaties with Charles. He preferred, however, to follow 
on this occasion the orthodox diplomatic precedent of 
making his first communications to the English 
ambassador at his court. Neither as diplomatist 
nor as politician does Danby seem to have sunk below 
the moral standard of his time. In executing his 
sovereign's behests he only showed his fidelity to the 
spirit which had animated the Stuart Restoration. 
Nor, when exposure and overthrow came, did the 
public opinion of his day forget that he was a scape- 
goat, the prime offender s agent, rather than the 
offender himself. If men used strong language in 
denouncing Danby, its force only meant that the 
censure, though addressed to a vulnerable minister, 
had for its real object an inviolable king. Danby 
was indeed a trimmer and a turncoat. That in his 
day meant no more than being a versatile tactician. 
As were the period and the statesmanship, such also 
were the diplomacy and the diplomatists. Danby 
had long foreseen the fall of the Stuarts. When, 
in 1688, it came, he was found in the same camp as 
Temple, whose personal friendship he had made 
during that diplomatist's official residence at The 
Hague. A moral anachronism is involved in the 
c 33 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

notion that affection for a doomed dynasty might have 
prevented Danby from promoting the Revolution and 
Settlement, or from accepting, as the reward of his 
services to the usurper, the dukedom of Leeds in 1694. 

With the first sovereign since Henry VII. to reign 
by a purely Parliamentary tide, a new epoch in the 
narrative of diplomacy naturally begins. The parts 
which it seems sometimes thought are traditionally 
characteristic of Whig and Tory in connection with 
foreign policy are reversed. William III. personifies 
the principle of English intervention in Continental 
politics; he stands forth as the advocate of English 
championship universal and ubiquitous, of Protestant- 
ism and of the international equilibrium. Wherever 
and whenever Continental policy, whether of the 
Empire or of France, aims at exclusive preponderance 
in the European system or at enforcing the paramount 
claims of the papacy, William interposes the authority 
of his newly-acquired realm. All this is resented by the 
Tories, now for the most part Jacobites, as ill-advised, 
interested, unpatriotic intermeddling. 

William's marriage with a Stuart princess — the very 
possession of the British crown — was chiefly valuable 
in his eyes because of the fresh and mighty leverage 
which he thus secured for combating the ambitions or 
aggressions of the French king. The influences 
that had placed him on his father-in-laws throne 
were indeed not less essentially aristocratic than the 
earlier Puritan movement for subordinating kingship 
to Parliament had been plebeian. The promoters of 
the seventeenth-century revolution were not less 
patrician because they happened chiefly to be Whigs. 
Throughout, therefore, the life of William III. die 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

maxim of Tory statesmanship was the deliverance of 
England from Continental entanglements. To talk of 
Britain as asserting an imperial authority by implicat- 
ing herself in Continental broils was called by the 
Tories the treacherous cant of the Orange and Dutch 
faction. The second article in the international creed 
of Toryism was that, if war became inevitable, an 
insular Power should only wage that war by sea. 
Our true interests, in the authoritative words of 
Bolingbroke, required us to take few engagements on 
the Continent, and never those of a land war unless 
the conjunction is such that nothing less than the 
weight of Great Britain can prevent the scales of 
power from being quite overturned. The seventeenth 
century had produced treatises both thoughtful and 
original on foreign policy. One of these was the Due 
de Sully's elaborate speculation for securing the 
European equilibrium by a kind of international 
Amphictyonic assembly. Bolingbroke in his political 
writings shows his debt to contemporary thinkers and 
authors, but, unlike most of them, looks at the inter- 
national topics of the time from an essentially English 
point of view, as well as expresses himself with a 
force and terseness that are all his own. 

Political philosophy had been thus for some time 
teaching by precept when there happened events that 
were to supply her with a rich store of examples. 
The state system of modern Europe began to be 
organised on broad and general lines by the Peace of 
Westphalia already dwelt upon. Some fresh details 
were added by the Peace of Ryswick, to which we 
now pass, and more by the Treaty of Utrecht, half 
a generation later. The course and significance of 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

these two transactions will presently be described in 
their proper place. 

In 1672 Louis XIV. had invaded Holland. From 
that day the Dutch prince, who incarnated in himself 
the military patriotisms of his native land, schemed 
and toiled only that he might reduce the French 
monarchy to impotence. After 1688, he was able to 
use the resources of Great Britain in the execution of 
his youthful vow. William's patient years of diplo- 
matic preparation resulted in the great confederation, 
known as the Grand Alliance, about the same time as 
his accession to the English throne. In the May of 
1689, the combined states of Brandenburg (the 
Prussia of to-day), the Empire, Savoy, Spain and 
the Dutch States were thus arrayed with England 
against France. The absolutism of Louis, unchecked 
by parliaments or council board, was constituted his first 
great advantage. William's diplomacy was hampered 
by the same causes that so often interfered with his 
strategy. Had his knowledge of human nature or 
his sympathetic skill in dealing with its weaknesses 
been on the same scale as his energies and will, he 
might have been as great in the council as on the field. 
Dexterous manipulation and a nicely calculated appeal 
to national prejudices and personal feelings might 
have prevented even his foreign birth from operating 
as an impediment in the way of his political projects. 
Of the condescension to the foibles of individuals or 
the susceptibilities common to masses of men, which 
is the most useful and indeed the essential quality of 
the diplomatist, William had nothing. The attributes 
that go to the making of a successful party-leader at 
home may, as in the case of Benjamin Disraeli, Lord 


Two Centuries of English Diplomacy 

Beaconsfield, at the Berlin Conference, make him 
a profoundly impressive, if not supremely successful, 
figure in foreign statesmanship. Wholly possessed 
by the one paramount interest of his life, William 
neither derived from nature nor acquired by art the 
consideration for popular antipathies even a con- 
temptuous recognition of which would have prevented 
a King of England from surrounding himself with 
Dutch diplomatists as well as Dutch generals. If, 
however, William III. cannot himself be called a 
great diplomatist, the Treaty of Ryswick by ending 
his war, prepared the way for the diplomacy of others. 




The Peace of Ryswick — Matthew Prior — The Partition Treaties — 
Their &ilure — The War of the Spanish Succession — The Tory 
Peace Policy — The Methuen Treaty — Its unpopularity turned 
to account by the Tories — ^The Utrecht Peace a treaty of 
intrigue — The Abbi Gaultier — Mesnager — Secret treaties — 
The popular and technical meanings of " the Treaty " and " the 
Peace" of Utrecht — The Utrecht signatories — The principal 
settlements of the Utrecht Peace — ^The commercial treaty. 

THE Peace of Ryswick in 1697 rather marks a 
Stage in the military history of Europe than 
constitutes a diplomatic event of abiding interest and 
importance. At the same time it shows the third 
Williams diplomatic judgment in a light more 
favourable than has sometimes been recognised. He 
could have secured a cessation of hostilities four years 
earlier ; he is sometimes blamed for not having done 
so. He counted in the later negotiations on receiving 
stronger support from Austria than was actually forth- 
coming. Had he not been disappointed, he might 
have obtained terms which would have made the 
Ryswick setdement a personal and national triumph. 
As it was, the arrangement proved more advantageous 
to England than the earlier offer of 1693. That 
France actually obtained Strasburg and very nearly 
got Luxemburg, was certainly due to no other 


Treaties and their Makers 

cause than the slackness of Williams Imperial ally. 
The truth, of course, was that circumstances left the 
English king little choice in the matter. The military 
operations on the Continent had followed the repulse 
of the attempt made by James II. to re-establish 
himself in Ireland. The two campaigns together had 
exhausted for the time the energies and resources of 
the country. Our Ryswick negotiators were not 
therefore in a position to reject the constandy rising 
conditions demanded by France, since the Duke of 
•Savoy's defection had left us with no independent ally 
but the emperor, who had long been losing interest in 
the struggle. 

Among those actively associated with the Ryswick 
diplomacy was Matthew Prior, a man too personally 
interesting to be ignored. In 1907 Sir Mortimer 
Durands successor at Washington was found in Mr 
James Bryce, then M.P. for South Aberdeenshire 
for more than twenty years. Though not without 
official as well as Parliamentary experience, Mr Bryce 
had achieved literary distinction before he became a 
political figure. And the selection of men of letters 
for high diplomatic posts has i^ot of late been as 
common as it was in the Augustan age of Queen 
Anne. Joseph Addison, indeed, proved an indifferent 
Secretary of State. The brother litterateur, Tickell, 
whom he made his Under-Secretary, was not a success. 
Even apart from the escapades ending in his expulsion, 
Steele never became an effective member of the House 
of Commons. George Stepney, it is true, the poet 
who as a youth is said to have made grey authors 
blush, really touched a high point of excellence in 
international statesmanship; among the Englishmen 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of his time none knew Germany and German affairs so 
well as this facile versifier, equally in Latin as in 
English, who at different times was envoy to the 
emperor, to the Electors of Brandenburg, of Saxony 
and to others. Few among Germans themselves 
knew the subject so well. With that possible excep- 
tion Matthew Prior stands out unrivalled among the 
poet-diplomatists of his day. " One Prior," is Burnet's 
contemptuous description of him ; " nothing out of 
verse," are the words in which he is summed up by 
Pope. Swift, however, at least as severe and, in such 
a matter, a more competent judge, formed a very 
different estimate. The most original and penetrating 
political genius of the time, St John, afterwards Viscount 
Bolingbroke, endorsed the verdict of his friend Swift, 
and rated Priors business habits and aptitude for 
affairs so highly as to urge on Queen Anne Prior's 
attachment to his own French mission. The overture 
to the Peace of Ryswick was the congress at The 
Hague. The English representative. Lord Dursley, 
took thither Prior with him as Secretary. This 
mission produced not only much noticeably excellent 
work of the official sort, but many copies of impromptu 
verse ; these have something like the musical ring of 
diplomatic wit which resounded in a later century 
through the compositions of George Canning and John 
Hookham Frere. **Who," asks the melodiously 
epigrammatic Prior, "so blest as the Englishen Heer 
Secretaris ? " 

" In a little Dutch chaise on a Saturday night. 
On my left hand a Horace, a nymph on my right. 
No m^moire to compose and no post-boy to move 
That on Sunday may hinder the sweetness of love, 

Treaties and their Makers 

" For her, neither visits nor parties at tea, 
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee, 
This night and the next shall be hers, shall be mine, 
To good or ill fortune the third we design." 

In the October of 1696, Prior was on his way back 
to England, bringing with him the articles of the 
Ryswick treaty ; he received two hundred guineas for 
his share in the business. Immediately afterwards, 
under the Earl Portland, the ambassador to France, 
he was occupied with the secret negotiations for the 
first Partition Treaty. That transaction formed the 
earliest step on the part of William III. and Louis 
XIV, towards deliberating on the peaceful distribution 
of the King of Spain's world-wide possessions among 
his legitimate heirs. At the end of the seventeenth 
century the health of Charles II. of Spain was failing. 
To devise such an apportionment of the childless 
Spanish sovereign's possessions among their respective 
claimants as would preserve the balance of power and 
avert the chance of war, became the cardinal object of 
English diplomacy. 

William III. and Louis XIV, were agreed in wish- 
ing to settle the Spanish succession without consulting 
the King of Spain himself or the Emperor Leopold. 
Eventually England, France and Holland came to an 
arrangement by which the Electoral Prince of Bavaria, 
grand-nephew of Charles, should succeed to the Indies, 
to Spain, and to the Netherlands, then a Spanish state 
distinct from Holland. The Imperial family was to 
be bought off with the Milanese ; the Dauphin was to 
get the two Sicilies. While, however, these negotia- 
tions were going forward, in 1698, the Bavarian 
prince died. In 1700, therefore, England, France, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

and Holland adopted a new Partition Treaty. This 
gave the Indies, Netherlands and Spain to the 
Archduke Charles, the Emperor Leopold's son. 
France received Lorraine. The national dissatis- 
faction in Spain with these dispositions produced from 
the Spanish ambassador in Londoh a remonstrance 
with the English Government, so peremptory that 
King William at once handed him his passports. The 
Spanish monarch promptly retaliated by showing the 
representatives of Holland and England out of Madrid. 
Charles was thus left with the ambassador of Louis 
XIV. as the one foreign diplomatist in his capital. 
His court had become the scene of factions, con- 
spiracies and intrigues, which here can only be glanced 
at. One faction had for its centre the queen-mother, 
a princess of the Austrian house, in her adopted 
country the champion of her Imperial relatives. In 
opposition to this group, Cardinal Porto Carrero, 
Archbishop of Toledo, a worthy predecessor of the 
prince of Spanish^ diplomatists, Alberoni, co-operated 
with the emissary of Louis XIV., Harcourt, the 
most consummate political strategist and finished 
courtier of his day, a renowned general in the field, 
whose diplomacy, social and political, presented an 
irresistible blend of Parisian wit and Castilian gravity. 
An Austrian diplomatist, who appeared afterwards on 
the scene, injured, rather than assisted, the cause of 
the Empire with the court or the capital. The sick 
king was in the hands of Porto Carrero. Harcourt 
was ingratiating, by all the arts of which he was 
master, himself and the nation he represented, with 
the Spanish people. Perplexed as to the right be- 
queathal of his vast possessions, the King of Spain, 


Treaties and their Makers 

at Carrero's instance, consulted the Pope. The Vicar 
of Christ was then notoriously the tool and creature of 
France. The will of Charles 11. was practically dic- 
tated by the papal representatives at his palace. In 
the first week of November 1700 he died ; it immedi- 
ately became known that Charles had left the whole 
Spanish monarchy to the Duke of Anjou ; till his arrival 
the Government would be in Cardinal Carrero's hands. 

But not without sore misgivings and many tears had 
Charles at last put his name to this instrument. The 
triumph for France was g^reater even than Louis and 
his servants had dared to hope. " The Pyrenees," on 
knowing the will proudly exclaimed the French king, 
"have ceased to exist." The violent disturbance of 
the European equilibrium thus produced was enough of 
itself to have plunged the world in war. Yet war, 
or at least England's active participation in it, might 
perhaps have been averted had Louis XIV. not, by a 
master-stroke of infatuation and ill-faith, obliterated 
the differences dividing English parties, and united the 
entire country against himself as the nation's enemy. 
The death of Charles IL of Spain had rendered 
the efforts of English diplomacy in the matter of 
the Partition Treaties so much lost labour, and had, 
irrationally enough, injured the reputation of the 
Whig negotiators. In his destruction of international 
compacts, Louis now included the Treaty of Ryswick. 

James II. died in his French exile within a 
year of the King of Spain. Flushed with triumph, 
Louis XIV. recognised as the lawful heir and suc- 
cessor of James his son, the old Pretender. This 
affront to William as the constitutional nominee of 
the English Parliament and people to the throne 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

produced a complete and immediate change in those 
political conditions at home on which has always 
depended English policy abroad. During the years 
before the flouting of English opinion and honour by 
Louis in 1701, party rivalry' in Parliament and in the 
country had been so keen as to prevent any approach 
to political unanimity on the subject of the national 
concerns beyond seas. Shortly after the Ryswick 
peace, the Tories succeeded to power on the basis of 
non-intervention as a policy. The first of English 
interests, commercial and Imperial, was, they con- 
tended, peace. Tory policy from this point of view 
was clearly put by Bolingbroke in a single terse and 
often quoted sentence. ** Our true interests," he said, 
•'require that we should take few engagements on the 
Continent and never those of a land war, unless the 
conjunction be such that nothing less than the weight 
of Great Britain can prevent the scale of power being 
quite overturned." This is the first occasion that 
a Tory statesman formulated a national policy in 
words and on lines for which parallels might be found 
in the speeches made by leading politicians on both 
sides during our own time. That the uncompromis- 
ingly pacific counsels of Toryism did not prevail at 
the beginning of the eighteenth century and that 
England once more stood forth as the armed champion 
of the balance of power, was primarily due to the with- 
drawal of the French king from the settlement he had 
solemnly sealed in 1697. William's diplomacy showed 
itself at its best in his negotiations with the emperor 
against France. On 15th May 1702, by preconcerted 
arrangement proclamation of war was made at Vienna, 
in London, and at The Hague. Before England's 


Treaties and their Makers 

implication in that struggle the king, who was his own 
Foreign Minister as well as his own commander-in 
chief, died. The policy, however, of William III. had 
too deeply rooted itself in the popular mind and was 
too much helped by the temper and acts of Louis, to 
disappear with its author. It was a Whig war and, ex- 
cept during her last year, continued throughout the 
reign of Queen Anne, It does not belong to the present 
imdertaking to follow, or even to summarise the for- 
tunes of the struggle which began after William's 
death in the first May of the following reign. The 
actual outbreak of war was preceded by long and 
laborious working of that international machinery 
whose chief triumph is the preservation of peace. 
The profidess parade of diplomatic activity, which 
ushered in the war of the Spanish Succession, repeated 
itself, on the same scale if with less absence of definite 
result, in the negotiations that closed the struggle by 
the Peace of Utrecht. 

The interval separating these two sets of events 
was marked by an international exploit of the first 
political importance at the time, as well as historically 
memorable for its consequences to the social life and 
habits of the English upper and middle classes. This 
transaction, during the second year of the Spanish 
Succession War, showed English diplomacy not only 
in its best, but in its most interesting aspect. While 
William was forming the Grand Alliance against 
France, and indeed from the time when Clarendon 
arranged the marriage of Charles II. with Katharine 
of Braganza, Portugal had been under French influ- 
ence. At the beginning, however, of the Succession 
War, the Austrian proclivities of Peter II., the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Portuguese king, occasioned disagreeable disputes 
with his ministers. Presently he began to sulk and 
decline all discussion on the subject by affecting ignor- 
ance of a struggle felt in every quarter of the world. 
He knew of it only from hearsay and took not the 
least interest in its progress. He would have nothing 
to say to either of the combatants ; he objected even 
to receiving the ministers of the belligerent Powers. 
At last, as he said, most reluctantly, he yielded to the 
importunities of Louis XIV. as far as to entertain the 
notion, if he never fully signed a document, of an 
understanding with France, Suddenly he discovered 
that the French king's word could not be trusted. 
Happily, he declared, he had kept clear of any 
entangling engagements with Louis. When the 
instrument was brought to him for execution, the only 
notice of it he vouchsafed was to throw the paper down 
and, in a childishly peevish temper, to kick it round the 
room. The then minister from England at the Lisbon 
court, Mr, afterwards Sir, Paul Methuen, heard of 
this, as, indeed, he heard of everything that passed at 
the palace. He immediately sought and obtained an 
interview with the petulant monarch. Of course and 
rightly, he said. His Majesty was indignant with the 
French king, who only made promises to break them. 
Equally of course the Portuguese sovereign desired to 
turn the present world-wide crisis to his own advan- 
tage. Only let him be sure that the state which he 
honoured with his confidence should be in a position 
to give something in return. Such a Power was 
England. What would His Majesty say to the 
admission of Portuguese wines, for an equitable con- 
sideration, to British ports at a duty less by one third 


Treaties and their Makers 

than that levied on French vintages ? The sovereign, 
while maintaining a discreet silence, showed his satis- 
faction by the smile that began to overspread his 
coimtenance. His chief minister was immediately 
summoned. Within a week Methuen was able to 
report home the conclusion of the famous treaty that 
bears his name. 

Never was there concluded an international engage- 
, ment which came more home to " the bosoms and busi- 
ness " of the English nation. The countervailing ad- 
vantage to be given by Portugal was the importation of 
all woollen goods from England. The political and 
fiscal consequences of the arrangement were, however, 
almost insignificant in comparison with its social, moral 
and even physical results to the English generation 
that witnessed or that followed its ratification. The 
familiar lines with which the compact inspired the 
versifier of the next century remain the truest and 
most suggestive summary of the Methuen Treaty's 
tendencies and results — 

" Proud and erect the Caledonian stood, 
Prime was his mutton and his claret good. 
* Let him take port ! * the English statesman cried : 
He took the poison and his spirit died." 

Hitherto the habitual beverage of the English 
upper classes had been distilled from the grapes of Italy 
and France. The Duke of Marlborough's wars had 
incidentally involved a disagreeable increase in the 
import of French wines to England. Many hard 
drinkers among the upper classes protested that they 
had oudived their powers of drinking port with im- 
pimity. Bolingbroke, whose favourite wine was 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Florence, emphasised the arguments against the war 
which were drawn from the cellar. He also denounced 
the Methuen Treaty as an anticipatory interference 
with the commercial arrangements he meditated 
between England and her European neighbours. 
There is nothing at all fanciful in attributing to the 
topers a good deal of the popular pressure placed upon 
diplomacy to hasten the conclusion of peace. Amongst 
the more highly-placed tipplers who protested against 
compulsory port as murderous, was Dr Aldrich, the 
logician and Dean of Christchurch ; another was Dr 
Radcliffe, the Jacobite physician, who did not refuse to 
attend William III., who founded the institutions which 
still bear his name at Oxford, and who from his bibulous 
capacities was known as ''the Priest of Bacchus." 
Many other physicians of note went with Radcliffe, as 
well as a large contingent of the inferior clergy. On 
the same side as, and by way of contrast to, these 
divines were many ladies of easy virtue who idolised 
Bolingbroke and echoed the demand of the clerical, 
medical and legal viveurs that diplomacy, by re- 
establishing peace, should, in the interests of morality 
and health, reintroduce the lighter French wines, too 
long interdicted by the military ambition of Marlborough 
and the Whigs. 

It will be seen presendy, in the case of Alberoni, 
how the meanest and feeblest of human beings may 
be made instruments in a great diplomatist's fall. 
In the present instance agencies of an equally 
commonplace character played a definite part in pro- 
moting the international policy that, exactly ten years 
after the Methuen Treaty, was to triumph in the 

Peace of Utrecht. Services connected with the Treaty 


Treaties and their Makers 

of Ryswick had, in the seventeenth century, made 
Sir Edward ViUiers Earl of Jersey. With the Peace 
of Utrecht may be associated the transformation of its 
chief promoter, St John, into Viscoimt Bolingbroke, 
though the title had been conferred before the treaty 
was actually concluded. 

Before entering upon any details connected with 
the most famous and the most bitterly controverted 
international episode of the early eighteenth century, 
the Treaty of Utrecht may at the outset be described 
as a typical product of an age in which European 
politics formed a system of brigandage tempered by 
conspiracy. Ignoring the welfare, the aspirations, 
even the national tendencies of their subjects, sovereigns 
were concerned for nothing else than the extension of 
their territory, the increase of their resources and their 
own personal advancement in the ranks of the royal 
caste which then formed supreme power in the world. 
Statesmen, supposing them not to be engaged in any 
intrigue against their monarchs, were reckless of or 
indifferent to the means, provided they could achieve 
a momentary success by outwitting a party rival or 
successfully counter-working an unpopular colleague. 
The Utrecht settlement was less the outcome of inter- 
national deliberations held by European pleni- 
potentiaries than the embodiment of private "deals" 
between the French representative, De Torcy, and 
the English Tory leader, Bolingbroke. The termina- 
tion of a struggle that was bringing no return pro- 
portionate to the expenditure of blood and money and 
the disastrous interference caused by it to English 
commerce and industry formed indeed a sufficient 

justification for the policy to which the Tories, as the 
D 49 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

peace party, had committed themselves. With 
Bolingbroke and Oxford the actually determining 
motive showed itself in the pressing necessities of 
the Tory party at home. The owners of the old acres 
had long and bitterly resented their growing unimport- 
ance, social and political, in comparison with the 
increased consequence of the representatives of the 
new wealth. The large loans necessary for carrying 
on the war had naturally brought into prominence the 
Whig capitalists and eclipsed the Tory landlords. 
Peace had thus become not only a matter of pressing 
national concern, but, as Bolingbroke repeatedly said, 
a paramount necessity to the Tory system. From 
Bolingbroke's point of view, and indeed according to 
the political ethics of the time, so indispensable an end 
justified whatever means might prove the least difficult 
and the most effective. On the other hand the lead- 
ing statesmen of France desired peace even more 
keenly than the English Tories. The Foreign Minister 
of Louis XIV., De Torcy, frankly confessed that he 
and those with whom he acted wished for it as a dying 
man may desire life and health. Long before the 
Tories, under Harley and St John, came into power 
they had been engaged in confidential communications 
with the French king's advisers about terms of accom- 
modation. As for the Dutch allies of England and 
the Spanish allies of France, these were excluded from 
all knowledge of what was going on. There were two 
parties to the peace and two only; on one side the 
Marquis de Torcy, on the other Henry St John, 
Viscoimt Bolingbroke. Among their most active and 
useful instruments was one of those ingenious adven- 
turers who, like stormy petrels, appear on the inter- 


Treaties and their Makers 

national waters when the air is charged with electricity 
and the sky is overcast During the earlier years of 
the eighteenth century, diplomacy offered the same 
career to ability, often of very humble station, as war, or 
as had been done in the Middle Ages by the Church. 
The poet Matthew Prior had done so well at Ryswick 
that Bolingbroke vainly endeavoured to secure him 
for one of the plenipotentiaries at Utrecht, As it was, 
Bolingbroke's most serviceable agent in the latter 
business, Gaultier, belonged to the class which, a little 
later, was to supply Spanish diplomacy with a 
Ripperda. Jean Baptiste Gaultier, best known as the 
Ahh6 Gaultier, was a French priest who had drifted on 
the tide of circumstance and adventure to England ; 
here he arrived in the train of Marshal Tallard. 
When the recognition, in 1 701, by Louis XIV. of the 
Pretender as King of England caused the departure 
of the French ambassador from the English court, 
Gaultier informally took his place ; setding in London 
he kept the French Government accurately in- 
formed of political movements and national feeling. 
Closely associated with him was another of Boling- 
broke's French colleagues. This was Nicolas 
Mesnager ; bom at Rouen in 1665, he began life as a 
barrister, was sent on his first diplomatic mission to 
Spain by Louis XIV. in 1700, and afterwards to The 
Hague. In the August of 17 11 he was with Gaultier 
in London, received much hospitality from Harley ; 
with him and with Bolingbroke he concluded 
(8th October 171 1) the preliminaries of the Anglo- 
French agreement. The next day Bolingbroke intro- 
duced Mesnager secretly to the queen at Windsor. 
Almost immediately afterwards he embarked for France, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

taking with him the secret instruments which were the 
prefax:e to the opening of the Utrecht conferences. 

The negotiations thus carried on, partly by letters, 
partly by journeys of the men now mentioned to 
Paris, had for their result a detailed imderstanding 
between the French and English intermediaries about 
the terms of peace. "Plain dealing" was one of 
Bolingbroke's favourite phrases. Had he carried it 
into practice now, England would have told her allies 
that if they insisted on continuing the struggle, they 
must no longer count on her co-operation. That, 
however, would not have been in keeping with the 
Franco- Italian subtlety of Bolingbroke's political 
genius. Keeping his own counsel, he intrigued with 
the French against the Dutch. The emperor resented 
the idea of concluding a peace under international 
pressure as bitterly as did the English war party, the 
Whigs and Marlborough themselves. Yet peace was 
now the first of English interests. To secure, there- 
fore, the Anglo-French entente, everything, not even 
excepting England's Dutch allies and the gallant 
Catalans, must be sacrificed. Unless the ministers of 
Queen Anne and of Louis XIV. had exchanged secret 
g^uarantees of a mutual understanding before the repre- 
sentatives met at Utrecht, isolated from all European 
support, England would have been equally impotent to 
secure peace or resume war. In all this, of course, 
Bolingbroke and Oxford, like De Torcy and their 
French colleagues, were acting rather as conspirators 
than as diplomatists ; but then conspiracy had long 
been counted one of the legitimate international 
methods of the time. In proof of this, it is enough to 
mention the precedent of 1698. In that year the con- 


Treaties and their Makers 

ferences held at Ryswick would have ended, not in a 
treaty, but in failure involving probably a new war, if 
the English and French plenipotentiaries, Villiers, 
Earl of Jersey, and Calli^res respectively, had not, on 
first entering the council-chamber, brought in their 
pockets a written agreement on all controversial points. 
The precedent of 1678, the year of the Nimeguen 
Treaty, sometimes cited as applicable to Utrecht, is 
not exactly relevant ; for then the immediately contract- 
ing parties were not the ministers of kings, but the kings 
themselves. Louis XIV. at that time desired peace 
with Holland. William of Orange would have con- 
tinued the war. Charles 1 1, of England secretly agreed 
with Louis to force a cessation of hostilities on William 
by assuring the French king of England's neutrality. 

England's desertion of the Catalans and her acqui- 
escence in the territorial weakening of Holland, her 
ally, may have been indefensible. To the secret 
Anglo-French treaty — ^which preceded Utrecht and 
which, in return for her recognition of Philip V. as 
King of Spain, secured her the Protestant succession 
at home and territorial gains abroad — it would be a 
pedantic anachronism to object on the ground of 
principle. Recent experience had emphasised the 
fact that without the formal execution of a diplomatic 
instrument practically binding on England and France, 
no sure step toward peace could betaken. In 17 10 
the Gertruydenberg Congress had broken down over 
the relations between the Austrian Empire and the 
French monarchy. At the period of Utrecht, England 
might have carried the other delegates with her 
in the matter of strengthening the Dutch frontier. 
The one indispensable preliminary condition was for 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

England not to insist on the withdrawal by Louis of 
his grandson, Philip V. of Spain, in favour of the 
Archduke Charles, who became emperor before the 
Utrecht conferences opened. When, in the January of 
171 1, Great Britain suggested the meeting at Utrecht, 
she would have been making merely an academic pro- 
posal, unless she had been prepared to offer France 
terms on which a great nation and a proud monarch 
could, without sacrifice of their honour, have seconded 
the British movements in the direction of compromise. 
It had already become clear that the chief ostensible 
object of the war, that of keeping a Bourbon prince 
from the Spanish throne, must be sacrificed. It was 
also plain that to push the humiliation of Louis 
XIV. too far would be to risk the wreck of the whole 
negotiations. The French king must not be asked 
to sue for peace from conquerors ; it was enough 
that he should take part in the arrangements for its 
conclusion on equal terms with the neighbouring 
Powers. Practically the secret preliminaries, already 
settled in London, had secured the peace before the 
conferences at Ultrecht commenced. Louis XIV. 
saved his honour by England's acceptance of his 
grandson as Sovereign of Spain. England secured 
the French recognition of the Hanoverian dynasty, the 
cession of Minorca, of Gibraltar, of Newfoundland and 
a great increase of her territories on the North 
American continent 

"The Treaty of Utrecht" is an expression with a 
twofold meaning; used in different senses the words 
are at once popular and inexact or technically accurate. 
The entire group of international compacts whose 
scene was the old Dutch town, in the second decade 


Treaties and their Makers 

of the eighteenth century, is known officially to the 
chanceries of Europe as the Peace of Utrecht. When 
our Foreign Office speaks of the Treaty of Utrecht it 
refers to the treaty of commerce and navigation 
signed between Great Britain and France, nth April 
1713, This is the famous instrument chiefly due to 
Bolingbroke and the result of the secret negotiations 
already described. It was signed on behalf of France 
by Nicolas, Marquis de Huxelles, and by Nicolas 
Mesnager. The men who signed for England were 
John, Bishop of Bristol, and Thomas, Earl of Strafford. 
The episcopal diplomatist whose name on the docu- 
ment stands before his colleagues, John Robinson, 
was or had been Lord Privy Seal, had gone through 
a thorough apprenticeship to diplomacy, beginning at 
the Court of Sweden where he was chaplain, before 
setding down seriously to professional churchmanship. 
" A little brown man of g^ve and venerable appear- 
ance, in manners and taste more of a Swede than an 
Englishman, full of good sense, punctiliously careful in 
business " ; such was the impression left by him in the 
best Continental circles of the period. The pleni- 
potentiary whose name came next, Thomas Went- 
worth, son of Sir William Wentworth of Northgate- 
Head, Wakefield, having served as page-of-honour to 
Mary of Modena, queen of James II., in 1688, entered 
the army a little later ; in 1695 succeeded his cousin as 
Baron Raby; became ambassador at Berlin in 1706; 
five years later his diplomatic services secured him 
the earldom of Strafford. Successful in international 
politics, he failed in Parliament, where his wealth was not 
regarded as any compensation for his illiterate loqua- 
city, or for the anniversary declamation on the subject 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of the army, inflicted by him on the Upper House, 
"There was nothing," says Hervey in his pleasant 
way, "so low as his dialect, except his understanding." 
The treaty of friendship, commerce and naviga- 
tion, including as it did every sort of minor matter, 
executed by these two British plenipotentiaries, was 
only intended to be between England and France. 
The English surrender of the Catalans to the 
wrath of Philip V. had dissatisfied many friends of this 
country in Spain. Bolingbroke s undisguised appeal 
to the English jealousy of Dutch commerce made the 
settlement of European affairs effected at Utrecht as 
unpopular in Holland as in Hanover, or among the 
English Whigs themselves. Eventually, however, 
the Dutch, if with no better grace than the emperor 
himself, came round to the Utrecht arrangement. 
The emperor indeed throughout refused any formal 
responsibility for the documents "done" at Utrecht. 
But practically he made himself a party to them when, 
in the March of the next year (17 14), he agreed at 
Rastadt to withdraw his troops from Catalonia, from 
the islands of Majorca and Ivica, in return for the 
engagement by France to restore to the Empire 
Brisach, Fribourg, and Kehl, as well as to destroy the 
Rhenish fortresses built by France since 1697. O^ 
the other hand the emperor was to re-establish in 
their dignities and former territories the proteges of 
France, the Electors of Bavaria and Cologne. This 
arrangement, first draughted in the spring of 17 14 at 
Rastadt, was confirmed in the autumn at Baden. 
Alsace, gained by France at Ryswick, was confirmed 
to its French possessors ; with them it remained till 
the Treaty of Frankfort that closed the Franco- 


Treaties and their Makers 

Prussian War (1871). In its general outlines the 
Utrecht settlement regulated international relations till 
the latter part of the nineteenth century. But while 
Gibraltar remains to this day invincibly English, 
Minorca reverted to Spain at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. The immediate effect of the 
treaty on Spain was to deprive her of her possessions 
in Italy and the Netherlands. Seen in its relation to 
the later developments of the European system, the 
most suggestive among the separate international 
arrangements included by the Treaty of Utrecht was 
the recognition as a kingdom by France of the power 
that to-day dominates Germany. In his own domin- 
ions indeed the ruler of Prussia, the first Frederick, 
had been known as a king in 1702. The earliest 
King of Prussia acknowledged by France under the 
Treaty of Utrecht was his son Frederick William, who 
reigned till 1740. The treaty further transformed 
the Duke of Savoy into the King of Savoy. The 
world had still to wait a hundred and fifty-seven years 
before the wars of our time resulted in the replace- 
ment by Prussia of Austria in the German leadership 
and in an Italy united under a monarch of the 
House of Savoy — Victor Emmanuel. It is, however, 
scarcely too much to say that the earliest preliminaries 
of these two consummations formed part of the nine 
separate instruments included in the Treaty of Utrecht. 
Bolingbroke, it has been seen, objected to the 
Methuen treaty with Portugal because it might 
interfere with his own long-cherished Free Trade 
policy. As a fact, his commercial arrangements, an 
essential part of the Utrecht treaty, placed the trade of 
England on an equality with that of France. By 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

this time his critics saw in the international settlements 
of 1 713 the outcome of the plot which, with Gaultier s 
help and in the interests of the Tory party, he had 
laid to satisfy France at the expense chiefly of 
Holland. So as regards the commercial treaty, the 
Turkey merchants and other guilds, who complained 
that it meant their ruin, declared that here Boling- 
broke's tool, who in other matters had been the Abb^ 
Gaultier, was a low fellow who had been a footman, 
but who had a turn for figures and other dirty work 
of that sort, Arthur More. 




Addison's Cato turned to Tory account by Bolingbroke — The 
Continental results of the Peace of Utrecht — Cardinal Alberoni 
Prime Minister of Spain — ^James, Earl Stanhope — ^The Anglo- 
Spanish Alliance — ^Alberoni's intrigues with Sweden and 
Russia — Stanhope's meeting in Hanover with the Abbe 
Dubois— The Triple Alliance of 17 17— The Peace of 
Passarowitz and the Quadruple Alliance of 17 18 — ^The fall of 
Alberoni — Ripperda — ^The Pragmatic Sanction — ^Walpole as a 
diplomatist — Cardinal Fleury — The Austro-Spanish Alliance 
against England — The Treaty of Seville — The first Vienna 
Treaty — The Definitive Peace of Vienna — The Family Compact 
of 1733 — ^War with Spain — Was Walpole's policy justifiable? — 
The War of the Austrian Succession — Carteret— Sir Thomas 
Robinson brings about the Treaty of Breslau — ^The Treaties of 
Fuessen, Hanover and Dresden — The fourth Lord Holdemesse 
— The change of allies by the Treaties of Westminster and 
Versailles — ^The European situation in 1736. 

DISHING the Whigs," to use a familiar and 
later figure of speech, was admitted by 
Its English authors to have been their real motivfe 
in the Treaty of Utrecht. Bolingbroke's policy 
with that end displayed itself characteristically else- 
where than at the Utrecht conferences. Joseph 
Addison had been foi' some time the chief writer on 
the Whig side. His tragedy Cato was produced 
during the year in which the ""Treaty of Utrecht was 
signed. The Whigs determined to mark the first 
night of the drama with a political demonstration. 
The piece might of course be counted on to contain 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

noble sentiments and stirring speeches in favour of 
the Whig principle of civil and religious liberty. 
To lead the applause of such passages, a fashion- 
able Whig claque had established themselves in the 
Coven t Garden proscenium. Bolingbroke, however, 
had been beforehand in insuring the occasion should 
be turned to the Tory account. Each speech, 
soliloquy, aside or piece of acting charged with a 
complimentary reference to the hatred of tyrants 
or to the public danger constituted by the over- 
mastering power of an individual subject was at 
once taken up by Bolingbroke and by the friends 
with him in his stage-box. The audience showed 
themselves quick to seize the point. The ambitious 
and all-dominating man who bestrode the state like 
a Colossus — who was he but the military dictator of 
the hour, the Duke of Marlborough himself? The 
Peace of Utrecht — what was it but the patriotic 
device of the Tories as the true friends of liberty 
and peace for depriving Marlborough of his perilous 
pre-eminence. From Marlborough, when reduced to 
the level of an ordinary citizen, English subjects would 
learn the wisdom which would prevent their princes 
from prolonging the nationally ruinous game of war ? 
The effect of the appearance and action in the play- 
house of the chief author of the treaty reached a most 
dramatic climax when, just before the curtain dropped, 
Bolingbroke, calling the principal actor to his box, 
presented him with a purse of gold.* In this way the 
Whig playwright's drama, instead of serving for a 

* Now too, probably for the first time, diplomatic achievement was 
recognised in the Anglican ritual by HandePs commission to compose a 
Te Deum in honour of the treaty. 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

panegyric on the military idol of the party, was 
construed by Bolingbroke's cleverness as a popular 
demonstration in favour of the chief object of the 
Whig attack, the Utrecht treaty. On the whole, 
Bolingbroke s dexterous interpretation of the play was 
in keeping with popular sentiment about the peace. 

The real safeguard against the union of the French 
and Spanish monarchies in one king was less its 
prohibition by the treaty than the jealous and mutually 
opposed tempers of the two nations. The immediate 
Continental result of the Utrecht arrangements was 
to leave France slightly weakened rather than perman- 
ently injured, and to give Holland a grudge against 
England for exclusion from any share in the compact 
known as the Assiento, making Britain the great 
slave-dealer of the western world. 

The court of Hanover detested the treaty not less 
than did the Emperor of the Dutch himself. Its 
conclusion by the Tories sufficed to prejudice the 
Hanoverian dynasty in favour of the Whigs. The 
Tories were thus more and more impelled to the side 
of the Pretender. Unresistingly acquiesced in by the 
mass of the English people, the Treaty of Utrecht 
completely served the end of all Bolingbroke's foreign 
or domestic intrigues. Marlborough s victories had for 
the time destroyed Tory ascendancy. It was re-estab- 
lished after Utrecht ; it remained till Bolingbroke s 
disappearance and the accession of the first Hanoverian 
sovereign brought upon the stage the first and greatest 
among the Whig diplomatists of the eighteenth century. 

During the first quarter of the eighteenth century 
the two foremost figures in the international politics 
of Europe were the Englishman who became the 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

first Earl of Stanhope, and the Spanish ecclesiastic, 
Cardinal Alberoni, The pair started as friends, even 
colleagues ; they were forced into rivalry, European 
diplomacy became a duel between the two. "Five 
years of peace will suffice to raise Spain to an equality 
with the greatest nations of the earth." The man 
who made this boast, Alberoni, a poor gardener s son 
who, in 1 7 14, had risen to the Spanish premiership, 
had an appearance and manner as remarkable as his 
career. His head, disproportionately large for his body, 
might have suggested a comic monstrosity of the 
pantomimic stage. His habits were coarse even for 
a Spanish peasant of that period. He systematically 
posed as a blend of the toady and the merry-andrew 
that he might take his rivals and opponents off their 
guard. They had reason to regret it if he succeeded, 
for none of his contemporaries could afford to give 
him a single point. Having become Bishop of Parma, 
he was sent by his patron, the Duke of Parma, to 
confer with the Due de Venddme, a soldier as in- 
famous for the coarseness of his manners and the foul- 
ness of his speech as he was renowned for his skill and 
courage in the field. Alberoni saw the situation at a 
glance and knew intuitively how to deal with his man. 
Suiting himself to Vend6me*s characteristic humours, 
and outdoing him in his own accomplishments, 
Alberoni issued from the interview as a conqueror 
from a fight. Henceforth his career was secure. 
His cardinal's cap came about the same time that 
Philip V. made him prime minister. His policy had 
for its earliest motive the recovery for Spain of her 
lost Italian provinces and the restoration of the 

supremacy she had reached when Charles V. ex- 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

changed a palace for a monastery. A nation's power 
was then measured by the extent of its possessions. 
Nor did Alberoni so far rise above the conventional 
ideas of his day as to recognise, even if he secredy 
suspected, that the Flemish and Italian provinces of 
Spain were and must be a source of weakness rather 
than strength. The two rivals against whom he 
pitted himself were the emperor, who had wounded 
his pride, and the French regent whom he considered 
more seriously in his way. His first act on coming 
into power was to attempt the establishment of good 
relations with England. Thus he brought to a 
satisfactory close the long-standing arrangements for 
a commercial treaty between the two nations. He 
further reinstated the British subjects, by a most 
favoured "nation-clause," in the commercial ad- 
vantages received from th^ Austrian kings of the 
Peninsula. Bolingbroke may have acted against the 
Hanoverians ; he was never himself a true Jacobite. 
So Alberoni, a prince of the Church to which the 
Pretender sacrificed the crown, had no sentimental 
preference for intrigues with the Stuarts, and im- 
pressed the British representative at Madrid with 
his zeal for George I. 

The great work of English diplomacy in the early 
eighteenth century was Stanhope's Anglo - French 
Alliance of 1 716. That had been preceded by Anglo- 
Spanish negotiations undertaken, at least by Spain, 
in order to strengthen by a British alliance the 
Peninsula against France on the one hand and the 
Empire on the other. This business was managed 
entirely by Alberoni and Stanhope. The former has 
been described ; I now pass to the English negotiator. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

James Stanhope, a member of an old Northampton- 
shire family, was a soldier-diplomatist, as his associate 
Alberoni belonged to the ecclesiastical section of the 
class. He had indeed been bom into diplomacy, for 
his father, Alexander Stanhope, was for sixteen years 
envoy to the States-General of Holland. While a 
soldier, James Stanhope had served with distinction at 
Piedmont, at Namur, at Cadiz, at Barcelona, at Madrid 
and at Port Mahon. Rooke had already (1704) 
planted the British colours on the rock of Gibraltar. 
To Stanhope, with his colleague Leake, was due the 
inclusion of Minorca in England's Mediterranean gains 
at Utrecht. Stanhope's career as a diplomatist was 
preceded by an apprenticeship to official life at home. 
Having made his mark in both Houses he was at one 
time a commissioner in the Treasury, at another 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. His earliest diplomatic 
mission was to Paris. Then in quick succession came 
errands to Madrid, to The Hague, to Berlin and to the 
Imperial court at Vienna. At the Utrecht conferences 
Stanhope served the Whig interest, made himself the 
spokesman, and gained the confidence of the English 
commercial classes by his opposition to Bolingbroke's 
Anglo-French trade compact. As Secretary of State, 
Stanhope, by his accurate and comprehensive acquaint- 
ance of international affairs, really acted as Minister of 
the Exterior before the Foreign Office as a department 
of State had come into existence. During the years 
in which Stanhope's influence dominated diplomacy 
may be traced the beginnings of the jealousy between 
the English and Russian courts. Alberoni's machina- 
tions, indeed, helped to sow the seeds among the 
English masses of that distrust in the Czar and his 

Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

statesmen which has been liable since periodically to 
influence the diplomacy of Great Britain. 

In 1 716 occurred an international episode in which 
the Foreign Ministers of Spain and of England, from 
having been friends and, in a sense, colleagues, 
began to counter- work each other's political schemes. 
The diplomatists of other nations entered into and 
helped to stimulate the rivalry between Alberoni and* 
Stanhope. Goertz, the chief adviser in foreign affairs 
of Charles XII. of Sweden, urged upon his master an 
alliance with Peter the Great of Russia. In this way 
the supremacy of Northern Europe would have been 
divided between the Swedish and Russian monarchies. 
Towards that compact Alberoni's attitude was not one 
of merely benevolent neutrality ; he did all in his 
power to supply the funds necessary to promote it, 
with the immediate view of weakening Denmark, 
ruining Hanover, and securing the landing on British 
soil, from Russian ships, of Swedish troops who might 
restore the Stuarts. 

It so happened, however, that in the year already 
mentioned Stanhope accompanied George I. dur- 
ing one of his journeys to Hanover. There the 
English minister met the Abb6 Dubois, the priest- 
diplomatist employed by the French regent Orleans. 
That interview wrought a complete transforma- 
tion scene in the politics of Europe. The Anglo- 
French alliance of 17 16 at once dominated the whole 
European situation. There could be no security for 
the new English dynasty so long as it lacked means 
for checking Stuart conspiracy and intrigue. England's 
promotion of the Barrier Treaty, securing a line of 

fortresses in the Austrian Netherlands, garrisoned by 
E 65 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

the Dutch, but at the charge of Austria, had so 
offended the emperor that the Hanoverians could 
expect no help from him against Jacobite designs 
and attacks. During their conferences at Hanover, 
Stanhope and Dubois negotiated the Triple Alliance 
of 1 71 7. The treaty relation into which England, 
France and Holland now entered secured this country 
against attacks from abroad and Stuart conspiracy at 
home. Thenceforth the Pretender disturbed but little 
the course of English politics or the progress of 
English prosperity. The fresh foreign guarantees for 
the Protestant succession now given were accompanied 
by material safeguards, presently to be mentioned, 
against foreign attack on England. Napoleon used 
to say that to possess Antwerp was to hold a pistol at 
the head of England. In the eighteenth century 
Dunkirk first and Mardyke afterwards formed a 
menace to British security such as Napoleon saw in 
Antwerp. Mardyke was on the same coast as, and 
quite close to, Dunkirk. Its harmlessness to this 
country was practically insured by a provision in the 
Triple Alliance treaty, reducing its sluices to a width 
of sixteen feet, and so prohibiting the entrance or exit 
of ships of war and privateers. 

For the reasons and in the way already described, 
peace had become a domestic and dynastic necessity 
to England. It was scarcely less important to France. 
To the regent, personally, it was a matter of life or 
death. Under the Utrecht treaties he was next heir 
to the French throne. With a fresh war the obliga- 
tions of these treaties would have ceased to exist. 
The renunciation by Philip V. of the French crown 

would have become waste paper, and he himself the 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

lawful heir of Louis XV. The Hanover conference 
between the two diplomatic managers of their re- 
spective sovereigns not only, for the first time since 
1688, resulted in a real friendship between the two 
countries, but for some years to come made the Anglo- 
French alliance the controlling force in European 
affairs. At the time it had another consequence. 
Peter the Great had recently made a progress across 
Europe with the hope of inducing France to join the 
Northern confederation against England. Dubois at 
once acquainted Stanhope with all that was going on, 
and strengthened himself in his determination of 
fidelity to the new compact. 

During the years now looked back on, diplomacy, 
if never more active, had also never been more 
unscrupulous. It was indeed an aggravated Machia- 
vellianism. The relations between the sovereigns 
and the statesmen of the world, disclosed by 
the foregoing narrative, were rather those of con- 
spirators, each eager to seize before his fellow the 
dagger by the handle, than of statesmen consulting 
about monarchies and peoples. Spanish diplomacy 
continued to be the most powerful of European 
agencies. It was imitated and rivalled, if not out- 
done, by Spain's disciples in the diplomatic art 
elsewhere. Austria, Italy and Turkey had been 
engaged in a war, anxiously and actively watched by 
England. In July 17 18, English mediation secured 
the Peace of Passarowitz. This extended the Austrian 
frontier so as to include part of Servia and Wallachia. 
The consequent attraction of Austria to the federated 
Powers changed the Triple into the Quadruple Alliance 

for maintaining the Peace of Utrecht and guaranteeing 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the tranquillity of Europe, By this great compact of 
17 18, the emperor abandoned his pretensions to the 
kingdom of Spain, as well as to all territories 
recognised at Utrecht as belonging to Spain. He 
also agreed that, on the death of their reigning princes, 
the duchies of Placentia, Parma and Tuscany should 
pass to a Spanish prince, Don Carlos. Persons 
bearing this name have app^red so often upon the 
stormy stage of Spanish politics, that it may be as 
well to mention that the Don Carlos now spoken of 
was a son of Philip V. of Spain by a second wife ; after 
the death of his half-brother, Ferdinand, he came to 
the throne under the title of Charles III. The only 
further stipulation on these points enforced by the 
Quadruple Alliance was that Leghorn should be a free 
port, and that in no event should the crowns of the 
Italian duchies just named pass to the sovereign of 
Spain. Swiss garrisons were told off, at the charge of 
the contracting Powers, to establish Don Carlos in his 
new possessions. At the same time Philip V. was to 
renounce his pretensions, not only to the duchy of 
Milan, but to the two Sicilies and to the Netherlands. 
The arrangement of the Quadruple Alliance was 
jusriy considered at the time, and deserves to be looked 
back upon, as a monument of knowledge, resourceful- 
ness, patience and skill on the part of its chief English 
promoter, Stanhope. On an issue of Alberoni's own 
choosing, he had defeated the most astute of Continental 
diplomatists. After the death of the Swedish monarch, 
he had caused the collapse of the Northern confedera- 
tion against England. Stanhope's most dangerous 
opponents were not his professional rivals at the 

council-board, but his personal maligners belonging to 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

the German faction at court. He also had enemies 
within the ranks of that Whig party which he served 
so well, equally abroad and at home. Sir Robert 
Walpole was jealous of his influence with George I. ; 
he also held Stanhope responsible for the slackness in 
pressing on Oxford's impeachment. Himself essenti- 
ally a cosmopolitan by experience and temper, 
Stanhope was always too much occupied with foreign 
politics to play a very active part in faction fights or 
personal rivalries at home. In his successful struggle 
^ith Alberoni his only allies were his opponent's follies 
and blunders. Alberoni's absurdities, conceit and 
arrogance secured for his fall an outburst of delighted 
ridicule, alike from the court and the entire populace. 
No weapon was too small or mean to be used against 
him by the men over whose heads he had risen. The 
hostility of the French regent, of Dubois and of 
Peterborough was reinforced by the Spanish king s 
confessor, and even by a court nurse. Amid the crash 
of his ruin and exile, the cardinal's cap was plucked 
from his head, and the very gates of Rome were closed 
against him by Pope Clement XI. 

The European diplomacy of this age resembles a 
theatre whose stage is crossed and recrossed by a 
succession of strange personages, each newcomer more 
grotesque than his predecessor. 

The Spanish cardinal was followed by a Dutch 

adventurer who had taken up the diplomatic r6le and 

who became a duke. This was Ripperda, the perfect 

type of a class generated in all epochs, under various 

appearances, by the forces of political feverishness and 

international electricity. By birth a Dutchman, by 

profession an adventurer, he had through Alberoni's 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

influence become a court favourite at Madrid. In 
1725 he conducted an international transaction which 
was to change the entire European situation. His 
title of " Duke " formed the reward given him for his 
secret treaty between the Emperor Charles VI. and 
Philip V. of Spain. Thus, at least for a time, was 
closed that rivalry between two monarchs which had 
distracted Europe not less seriously than had the 
aggrandising ambition of Louis XIV. This compact 
also recognised the Pragmatic Sanction, which had 
been fully ratified in 1725, and which settled the 
Austrian succession on the eldest daughter of Charles 
VI., Maria Theresa. Ripperda's personal peculiarities, 
his exaggerated contempt for seriousness of conviction 
and earnestness of purpose, and the rapidity with 
which he ran the gamut of religious professions, from 
Popery, through Protestantism to the Moslemism in 
which he died, do not inspire respect. The man 
himself must rank among the great international forces 
of his time. The mere mention of the Pragmatic 
Sanction and Maria Theresa in connection with his 
Franco- Spanish treaty of 1725 associates him with 
events that left an abiding mark on the international 
relationships of Europe. 

Stanhope, as has been seen, had for his Continental 
contemporary Alberoni, whom he overthrew with little 
encouragement from his fellow- Whig, Walpole. In 
foreign affairs. Stanhope and Walpole, his successor, 
were rivals, often occupied with the same set of inter- 
national problems. With Ripperda, it now remained 
for Walpole himself from time to time to deal. In 
foreign politics Walpole was the first statesman on the 

Whig side whose sole aim was to keep England clear 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

of external entanglements. The earlier international 
tradition of Toryism had thus become a principle of 
Whig practice, and on one point, at least, the earliest 
of the Whig Prime Ministers showed his agreement 
with the bitterest of his Parliamentary opponents, 

Ever-increasing taxation was the price paid by the 
country for its glories in war. Even Marlborough's 
victories were beginning to arouse a sense of satiety 
rather than of proud satisfaction. Weariness of the 
war naturally implied discontent with its Whig authors 
and conductors. The incessant demands of the struggle 
on the national resources had given an entirely new 
influence to the moneyed classes, those who drew their 
income from the Funds or from other investments, and 
not from the land. Walpole s conduct of our inter- 
national relations had therefore, for its chief motive, to 
restore to the Whig connection those whom the cost 
of militarism might have tempted to leave it. War 
expenditure meant a land tax of four shillings. That 
was enough to make the territorial class the desirers of 
peace. Walpole's foreign statesmanship was thus, 
after the usual English fashion, determined by the 
necessity of strengthening the position of himself and 
his party at home. Walpole, indeed, was now bent 
upon beating Bolingbroke not only at his own game, 
but with his own tools. The ex-footman, afterwards a 
commissioner of plantations, Arthur More, who had 
helped Bolingbroke in his commercial arrangements 
with France at Utrecht, was no sooner out of work 
than he offered his services to Walpole. They were 
readily accepted and promptly utilised. The first 
speech from the throne ever drafted by Walpole, that 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

opening the session of 1721, promises an extension of 
our commerce and the facilities in the export of our 
own manufactures, as well as in introducing the articles 
used in preparing them for the market. Walpoles 
negotiations with foreign ministers proved so successful 
that before Parliament was prorogued, export duties on 
more than a hundred British manufactures had been 
removed, as well as import duties on nearly forty kinds 
of raw material. 

In 1723, George I. asked the minister to find him 
money to prevent by arms the Czar from deposing the 
King of Sweden. The funds were indeed forthcoming, 
but only because the minister hoped they would never 
be wanted. "My politics," he said, "are to keep free 
from all engagements as long as we possibly can." 
Europe had seen both the papacy and the Empire fail 
in the attempted rdle of world-wide peacemaker; for 
himself Walpole cherished no such ideas of universal 
mediation. Tranquillity had become indispensable for 
the success of his own policy and for the national well- 
being. The only hope of securing it lay in practically 
perpetuating the tradition of Anglo-French friendship, 
established by Elizabeth in her co-operation with 
Henry IV., acted upon by Cromwell in his alliance 
with Mazarin, more recently reproduced by Stanhope 
in his dealings with Dubois at Hanover, 1716. Thus 
came about Walpole's alliance with Cardinal Fleury, 
which at least gave the world ten years of, not indeed 
unbroken, but never long interrupted peace. Before 
the understanding between the French cardinal and 
the English minister had ripened into intimate friend- 
ship, Fleury constantly said that he had never seen an 
Englishman with whom it was so delightful to do 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

business as Walpole. The English and the French 
Prime Ministers were fitted by nature for mutual co- 
operation. Both were economists with a strong pre- 
disposition against war. Both were constitutionally 
tolerant of differences of opinion. Both distrusted 
extremes and believed in the virtues of compromise. 
The cordial relations of the two men were much pro- 
moted by the geniality and tact of the English ambas- 
sador in Paris, Sir Roberts brother, old Horace 
Walpole. The British envoy had formed the true 
estimate of the cardinal's abilities. When therefore 
Fleury fell from court favour for a short time, ** Old 
Horace " instead of slighting him, as did other members 
of the diplomatic circle, became more conspicuously 
respectful in his attentions than before. The British 
ambassador s commanding position at the French court 
was recognised at home by giving him carte blanche in 
his dealings with the French Government. Hence the 
smoothness and success of his brother Sir Robert 
Walpole's dealings with the Paris Foreign Office. 

Sir Robert Walpole himself was soon to profit by 
the result of his brother s well-judged courtesy to the 
French cardinal during the short season of his former 
eclipse. In 1727, George H. on his accession dis- 
missed Walpole, and for forty-eight hours replaced him 
by Spencer Compton, afterwards Lord Wilmington. 
Queen Caroline s was not the only influence exercised 
to secure Walpole s prompt return to power. Cardinal 
Fleury and other important personages in Paris repre- 
sented to the English sovereign the danger there must 
be to the Anglo-French alliance from any break of 
continuity in the relations between the two countries 
instituted and maintained by the Whig minister's tact. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

The movements of European diplomacy, in which 
Walpole was to take his part, may be compared to the 
processes of weaving and unweaving the web of Pene- 
lope. Treaties made one day to be broken the next, 
alliances concluded only to be dissolved, a bewildering 
series of shifting combinations of Powers. These were 
the phenomena that came daily under his eyes. 
Alberoni had fallen not to rise again ; but his pupil 
Ripperda remained to promote any European move- 
ment unfavourable to England. 

The prime object of the Austro- Spanish alliance, 
the establishment of a Spanish kingdom in Italy, 
formed a standing threat to the European equilibriimi. 
The means employed to secure that end exemplified 
the circumlocutory and mystifying processes of 
eighteenth-century diplomacy. The policy of the 
Austro-Spanish understanding, expressed in the 
Treaty of Vienna (1725), joined Austria and Spain 
against Great Britain. The stereotyped routine 
was followed. Congresses that setded nothing were 
held at Cambrai, Soissons and Aix-la-Chapelle ; but 
no effective counter-move to the Vienna treaty was 
taken till Walpole organised the threefold compact 
uniting England, France and Prussia. Stanhope had 
been willing to purchase the friendship of Spain at the 
cost of Gibraltar. Alberoni had declined the over- 
ture. Gibraltar became the object of periodical attacks 
and even of a siege by Spain ; Walpole's diplomacy at 
Vienna and Austria's failure to support Spain alone 
prevented a European war. 

In 1729, Walpole combined England, France and 
Spain first and Holland afterwards in a defensive 
alliance, the Treaty of Seville. This arrangement 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

finally set at rest the question of restoring Gibraltar 
to Spain, and composed the Anglo-Spanish differences 
about English trade across the Atlantic. It was 
seized upon by the Tories and malcontent Whigs, 
under Bolingbroke and Pulteney, as a handle for attack- 
ing Walpole on the ground of sacrificing England's 
interests to gratify German feeling and to further his 
own party policy, and conniving at a dangerous friend- 
ship between France and Spain. The Treaty of Seville 
was confirmed in 1731 by the second Treaty of Vienna. 
This provided, more explicitly than had been done at 
Seville, the annulment of the first Treaty of Vienna and 
pledged its signatories to abstain from any action that 
might disturb the balance of power. Three years later 
the precarious foundation of treaties based upon artificial 
arrangements of territory, regardless of national feeling, 
merely to preserve the balance of power, was to receive 
a fresh iUustration. In 1 734, but for Walpole s sagacity 
and firmness, England might have been involved in 
the European complications arising out of the Polish 
succession. In the hostilities that followed, Austria 
found herself pitted against the united forces of France 
and Spain. In his firm adherence to the policy of 
non-intervention, Walpole stood between two fires at 
home. The old seventeenth-century Whigs denounced 
him for his absolute rupture with the methods originated 
by William III. of arming everywhere for the humili- 
ation of France. The Tories raised the cry of treachery 
to British prestige. The diplomacy, however, which 
neither domestic opposition nor foreign intrig^ue was 
suffered to interrupt, proved successful, not only in 
keeping England out of the hurly-burly, but in pro- 
moting those mediatorial negotiations which in October 


J^^^^^^^^^ Story of British Diplomacy 

^jj>^ \ 1735 resulted in the great treaty known as the Defini- 
T^yQ |tive Peace of Vienna. By this instrument Naples and 
Sicily remained in Spanish hands, Sardinia received 
Novara and Tortona. Lorraine became the property 
of France. In exchange for his principality, the young 
Duke of Lorraine, Francis, betrothed to Maria Theresa, 
accepted Tuscany. Thus the Bourbons were now 
established in Naples as well as in Spain and France, 
and a close connection was effected between Tuscany 
and the Austrian Empire. In this way did Walpole 
become associated with the extension of Bourbon influ- 
ence, destined afterwards so long to prove the source 
of England's deadliest dangers. To counteract and 
destroy this Bourbon ascendancy formed the task 
successfully acomplished by the elder Pitt when the 
national recognition of his genius and patriotism clothed 
him with a power and placed at his disposal resources, 
diplomatic and military, previously unknown in the 
annals of English statesmanship. 

In its relation to the Bourbons, Walpole s diplomacy 
is not always seen to as much advantage as in the case 
of the Definitive Treaty of Vienna. In 1733 had come 
the first of those Family Compacts which, renewed in 
1743 and in 1761, sealed a conspiracy of the Bourbons 
against the rest of Europe, with the special object of 
humiliating and weakening England. These under- 
standings — ''pactes de lafamille " — to call them by their 
official name, were made in secret and were surrounded 
with an air of mystery. Their existence, however, 
was certainly more than suspected by Continental 
diplomatists; it was mentioned in the Duke of 
Newcastle's correspondence. Walpole therefore may 
have had some idea of what was going forward, though^ 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

as he might have said and himself believed, an idea 
not definite enough or sufficiently substantiated by 
facts to justify him in making it the basis of his policy. , 
The earliest of these compacts, that of 1733, withy 
which alone we now have to do, committed the French 
and Spanish monarchies to defend Don Carlos, the 
son of Philip V. of Spain by his second wife, Elizabeth 
of Parma, against the emperor and England, as well 
as to combine attacks upon English commerce every- 
where and to watch an opportunity for restoring 
Gibraltar from its English occupants to its Spanish 
owners. However successfully the secrecy of the 
anti-English concert was maintained, the evidence 
of actuaJ events must have shown a diplomatist, far 
less vigilant and well informed than Walpole, that far- 
reaching mischief was intended against England. The 
public as well as the chanceries of the Continent asked 
why the French navy should be placed upon a war 
footing. In Spanish waters the outrages upon 
English ships and sailors brought the flag and name 
of Great Britain into daily contempt. The English 
smugglers may have been troublesome. The brutality 
of the Spanish reprisals was out of all proportion 
to the offence. The climax was reached in the well- 
known episode of Jenkins* ear. The militant patriotism 
ran high, not only in Parliament and in the country, but 1 
at court, and the Duke of Newcasde began to outbid v 
Walpole by favouring the war party. Walpole himself, 
however, persevered doggedly with his diplomacy; 
he succeeded in securing the agreement of Spain to a 
convention for restoring the treasure and the sailors ^ 
made prisoners on English ships. 

The Parliamentary debates on this convention are 

77 "" 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

noticeable in the present context, because they brought 
forward for the .first time the statesman who was to 
redeem English diplomacy and English honour from 
the disgrace attributed by the patriots to Walpole s 
pusillanimity. The future Chatham led the attack 
upon the English minister for having accepted from 
Spain money compensation scandalously inadequate to 
the injuries committed. To no purpose did Walpole, 
in and out of Parliament, endeavour to arrest hostilities 
by emphasising a diplomatic formula which was then 
heard for the first time, but has since become a 
commonplace. ** Before," he said, " we can prudently 
declare war, we must know the whole system of 
European affairs at the present moment; we must 
also know what allies our enemies may have and what 
help we may expect from our friends." 

The intense and universal passion of the moment 
overwhelmed all considerations of prudence. I nstead of 
resigning, as more wisely and honourably he might have 
done, Walpole yielded to the royal and popular wish by 
declaring war with Spain, October 1739. When the 
military passions of a people become strongly excited, 
diplomacy lends itself as readily to the purposes of the 
war party as, in more tranquil times, to the cause of peace. 
So was it now. So was it to prove in the next century 
when the younger Pitt drifted into hostilities with 
France, and so again when another peace minister. Lord 
Aberdeen, invaded the Crimea. Fleury, who a little 
before had offered Walpole his services as mediator 
with Spain, ceased to disguise his sympathy with the 
enemies of England, and made overtures to the 
Jacobites; he even promised military support for a 
Stuart restoration. 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

Amid the political defeats at home foUowing^ 
these diplomatic failures abroad, Walpole's career 
closed. He had been the first great Whig minister 
to attempt a systematic reversal of the principle of 
military intervention in European affairs which the 
Whigs had adopted from William III. He had, how- 
ever, done more than this. He had made the cabinet 
the executive committee of the House of Commons ; 
it followed therefore that the foreign policy of the 
country had ceased chiefly or necessarily to reflect 
the ideas and wishes of the sovereign. No longer the 
exclusive product of courts or chanceries, it began, 
like legislation itself, to bear the trade-mark of Parlia- 
mentary manufacture. Before, therefore, the middle 
of the eighteenth century there had opened the popular 
era in the narrative of our international statesman- 
ship. The European system of the Middle Ages was 
not indeed yet broken up. The European equilibrium 
still implied a balance of kings and courts rather than 
of peoples. The principle of nationality systematically 
ignored by the Utrecht settlement had still to become an 
inspiring idea of diplomacy. Walpole, however, did 
something to introduce the notion to the public mind. 

Before passing to the relations between his work and 
that of his successors, something must be said of his 
connection with the development of Bourbonism, the 
shape it was assuming and the attention it was exciting 
in 1733. In that year Lord Carteret and Townshend 
as Secretaries of State were subordinately responsible 
for foreign affairs, but the Prime Minister decisively 
shaped policy abroad as well as at home. Had 
Walpole then learned of the earliest arrangement be- 
tween the French and Spanish Bourbons? If he had, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

his persistence with pacific negotiations, foredoomed, 
as he must have been aware, to certain failure, was 
without excuse. The chief argument in favour of the 
1733 compact not having been known to the minister, 
as stated by Professor Seeley,* is that the later agree- 
ments (1743 and 1 761) took the world by surprise. 
1 Against this there is now evidence to show that, 
its secrecy notwithstanding, the earliest of the 
compacts was certainly known to some of Walpole's 
colleagues, especially the Duke of Newcastle, then 
Lord Chamberlain. The Newcastle correspondence, 
summarised by an expert in this subject in the 
Quarterly Review (vol. 380, p. 346), has disclosed the 
existence of a certain " One-hundred-and-one." This 
mysterious entity, who in the flesh was a lady, proud 
of her unimpeachable respectability, and expecting to 
be paid proportionately, constantly recurs to stipu- 
lations which have just been agreed upon between 
France and Spain. Further details, she adds, will be 
sent when more money is received. These, the duke 
may rest assured, will only confirm previous accounts of 
the danger threatened by " the project to the House 
of Hanover and the whole empire of George H." 
The later developments of — to adopt " One-hundred- 
and-one's " euphemism — **the project," under the shapes 
in which it reappeared or was continued during the 
greatest foreign ministry of the eighteenth century, 
that of the elder Pitt, will receive minute notice in 
their proper place. Meanwhile I pass on to those 
controllers of England's external relations who more 
immediately followed Walpole, and to those points at 

* " The House of Bourbon," by J. R. Seeley, English Historical 
Review^ vol. i. 1887. 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

which they were brought into active relations with the 
European situations of their periods. 

Two years before WaIpoIe*s retirement died the 
Emperor Charles VI. Foreseeing his end, he had 
taken the step intended to ensure the fulfilment of his 
fondest wish by gaining the consent of Europe to the 
Pragmatic Sanction ; this was accepted both by 
England and France ; nor at the time did any 
European state refuse its signature, except Bavaria. 
In 1740, Maria Theresa, as Queen of Hungary, 
quietly succeeded to her fathers dominions. 

The first blow at the agreement, however, pro- 
ceeded from an unexpected quarter. The great 
Frederick of Prussia had long resented the loss of 
the Juliers and Berg duchies ; he now made his 
signature of the Pragmatic Sanction conditional on 
their restoration ; he emphasised his claim by seizing 
Silesia, at the same time protesting that he had no 
wish to quarrel with Austria. It had already become 
a maxim of French diplomacy to miss no opportunity 
of acquiring influence in Germany. The King of 
France, Louis XV., therefore welcomed the oppor- 
tunity of now concluding a secret treaty with the 
Prussian monarch. Walpole, who lived till 1745, had 
foreseen the danger to the peace of the world 
threatened by a possible collision between the militant 
Prussian monarch and the young Austrian queen. 
He had therefore advised timely Austrian concessions 
to the new Prussian crown. 

By this time, however, influences very differ- 
ent from those sedulously fostered by Walpole 
were in the ascendant with the English court, 

Parliament and people. George II., flushed with 
F 81 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

military ambition, had always desired to pose as the 

armed champion of the late emperors heiress; he 

had more than once asked, or talked of asking, 

Parliament for money to support her in the field. 

The belligerent humour of the English king was now 

to be gratified by the foreign statesmanship of a great 

minister whose temper was as warlike as the 

sovereign s — Carteret. This was the remarkable man 

whose death, when it came, made Chesterfield exclaim, 

** There goes, take him for all in all, the best brains 

in England." In his political methods and ideas of 

home and foreign statesmanship, Carteret presented 

a contrast not less complete than in his person and 

deportment to Walpole. To knock the heads of the 

kings of Europe together and jumble something out 

that may be of service to this country was, as Mr 

Morley has well put it, his dominating ambition. 

{Walpole, p. 28.) He first came into favour with 

George I. because he was the only public man of the 

day who could speak the king's native language. 

** Fancy," said the adroit courtier to his sovereign, 

**a gentleman not knowing German!" From being 

the rival of Walpole in the first Hanoverian reign, 

Carteret became the most formidable of Newcastle's 

competitors in the second. With more, or at least 

with something, of moral ballast, Carteret would have 

been as g^reat in politics as he was accomplished in 

scholarship. As it was, the intricacies of foreign 

affairs in his day exactly suited his tastes and powers. 

He regarded them as a game in which he could give 

the ordinary player points and maintain his lead from 

the opening to the finish. Trained by Stanhope and 

Sunderland, he knew, as few of his contemporaries 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

did, not only the details of every foreign question, but 
the nature of the unseen forces to be considered in 
dealing with it. Sufficiently loyal as a subordinate, 
he no sooner found himself a principal than he treated 
with contempt all obligations of party and all scruples 
of patriotism. Once he had established himself in 
office, he knew no other object than to remain there 
on the terms most profitable or pleasant to himself, 
and most likely to ingratiate him with the sovereign 
and the public. Not less self-conscious than he was 
capable, he always asked himself what posterity would 
be likely to think of any particular coup, as well as 
what momentary effect it would produce. The fame 
and the very names of kings oudive the reputa- 
tion of subjects. Therefore his first maxim was to 
show himself in sympathy with the court: once 
delight the boxes, the applause of the gallery will 
follow. Carteret's natural turn for diplomacy showed 
itself even in his personal dealings with George II. 
** Recollect," said the fiery little king, " I am all for 
Maria Theresa and the Austrian alliance." **Your 
Majesty," replied the minister, " does but follow the 
tradition of the greatest foreign statesman among your 
royal predecessors, Henry VIII., who was the first to 
see in Austria the true English make-weight to France." 
The spring of 174 1 produced events that fixed un- 
alterably the English line in the Seven Years* War. 
Frederick's victory at MoUwitz made France side 
with the conqueror. The Franco- Prussian Treaty of 
Nymphenberg pledged the two Powers to promote 
the Bavarian Elector's succession to the Imperial 
crown. The eighteenth - century precursor of the 
"spirited diplomacy" of our own day, Carteret, in 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

1 742, successfully urged the timely wisdom of pacific 
surrender upon a martial queen. The English 
court had for some time used its influence with 
Maria Theresa to secure her cession of Silesia to 
Frederick. The Franco- Prussian compact of Nym- 
phenberg stimulated Carteret to action. From 1730 to 
1748, England was represented at Vienna by a York- 
shire baronet, Sir Thomas Robinson. For that work 
he had been trained in our Paris Embassy. His zeal 
in negotiating between Maria Theresa and Frederick 
the Great secured him the nickname of " L*Infatigable 
Robinson." His industry and skill enabled Carteret 
to convert the Austrian empress to the English views. 
In 1742, by the Treaty of Breslau, she made Silesia 
over to Frederick. Twelve years later Robinson was 
to prove less successful. His failure to obtain Maria 
Theresa's consent to a general pacification caused his 
recall in 1754, when, as the Duke of Newcastle's 
colleague, he went into the House of Commons. The 
Breslau treaty was not only Carteret's most important 
work, it was also his last. Having by his mother's 
death become Lord Granville, he resigned in 1744. 
The Pelham ascendancy which followed this event 
gave, as some thought, a promise of peace, but without 
its fulfilment. 

In France Fleury was now dead ; his successor. 
Cardinal Tencin, proved more vehemently anti- 
English than had been Belleisle himself. Tencin's 
open encouragement to the young Pretender, Charles 
Edward, culminated (March 1745) in the declaration 
by France of war against England. A few weeks 
later France added Austria to the list of her avowed 
enemies. The struggle originating in the Austrian 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

succession, like the Seven Years* War into which that 
contest merged by degrees almost imperceptible, 
belongs to the general history of the time. British 
diplomacy did not remain an idle spectator of the con- 
fused and sanguinary engagements between the 
Prussian, Bavarian and Austrian troops, suspended 
rather than terminated as these had been by the 
Austro- Bavarian Treaty of Fuessen and the Anglo- 
Prussian Treaty of Hanover. The Fuessen Treaty had 
established Maria Theresa's husband, Francis, on the 
Imperial throne. By the Treaty of Hanover, 
Frederick promised England to accept Francis I. as 
emperor, but only on the condition of Silesia 
remaining a part of the Prussian kingdom. 
Robinson s persuasive powers were for some time 
spent in vain on the Austrian empress. At last the 
British ambassador succeeded, and the Austrian 
acceptance of these terms was embodied in the Treaty 
of Dresden, 1745. From the first it had been evident 
that the primary condition, the ** idem velle et nolle " 
of international friendship, had been wanting to the 
Anglo- Austrian relations. Nor do these seem to have 
been improved by the men into whose hands their 
management had fallen. Robert D'Arcy, fourth Earl 
of Holdernesse, as Secretary of State, stood high in 
Newcastle's opinion, but his character was traversed 
by a vein of frivolity, shown, as his opponents de- 
clared, by the fact that, when as a younger man he 
ought to have been a student of politics, he thought of 
nothing but private theatricals. How, it was asked, 
could such a man, bred behind the curtain, keep an 
official secret or be trusted in anything more serious 
than the business of stage-management.** Moreover, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Robert Keith — who, in 1748, had succeeded Robinson 
at Vienna — ^another of Newcastle's friends, was with- 
out the tact and energy shown by his predecessor in 
dealing with Maria TheresA; he weakened rather 
than strengthened the hold of her English friends 
upon the wavering loyalty of the empress. 

Nor did Maria Theresa at any time underrate the 
two definite and practical reasons she had for regard- 
ing the English alliance as unlikely to stand any 
severe strain. The Hanoverian court of England 
was secretly if not openly Prussian in its sympathies. 
The statesmanship and sentiment of England, she also 
knew, only valued Austria as an instrument for pro- 
moting the paramount object of English policy, the 
overthrow of the Bourbons. In 1756 the Austrian 
ruler s suspicions received a most dramatic and unex- 
pected justification. There was, and for some time 
had been, an understanding — secret, of course, after the 
manner of the time — between England and Prussia. 
It took the shape of the Anglo- Prussian Treaty of 
Westminster (January 1756). As a natural check to 
this move — thought by some to have been the sug- 
gestion of Henry Fox, then Secretary of State — Austria 
and France now engaged in a little business of the 
same kind on their own account. The Franco- 
Prussian entente had for some time ceased to be 
operative. Louis XV. never forgave what he called 
the personal discourtesy of the great Frederick. He 
now eagerly welcomed an ally of better manners if not 
of equal strength. The country-house of the French 
Foreign Minister, Rouill^, witnessed the final execution 
of the Franco-Austrian counter-move to the stroke 
dealt by " perfidious Albion " in the Westminster treaty. 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

Maria Theresa's greatest minister, Kaunitz, once 
described England as Austria's natural friend, France 
as her natural enemy. In 1756, however, Kaunitz was 
immensely popular in Paris, and the chief promoter of 
the diplomatic instrument, by way of answer to the 
Westminster League, forthcoming from Versailles. 
The Treaty of Versailles, concluded in the May of 
1756, was die product of the secret forces now direct- 
ing French diplomacy. The conscience of Louis XV. 
was in the keeping of the Abb^ Bemis ; Madame de 
Pompadour was the royal mistress. The churchman 
and the concubine, combining their different kinds of 
ascendancy to a common end, secured the king's 
consent to terms between the two countries by which 
Austria for the present was to remain inactive, and 
France not to involve other Powers in war, and above 
all things not to invade the Netherlands. 

Of the two French signatories of the Treaty of Ver- 
sailles, Rouill6 was the Foreign Minister ; his colleague's 
full name was Fran9ois Joacim de Pierres Bemis. The 
latter, the idol of fashionable Europe, had made a brilliant 
beginning at the Venice Embassy in 1 740, and, though 
more than once officially disgraced, remained till his 
death, in 1794, the most popular of ambassadors in 
Europe, and not the least successful of diplomatists. 
Keith, now British ambassador at Vienna, obtained 
an early interview with Maria Theresa. Why, he 
reproachfully asked, had she deserted England? 
Why, was the further enquiry that met this question, 
had the ministers of George IL forced on her the 
surrender of Glatz.and Silesia.^ It now remained for 
English diplomacy to secure its ends by the use of 
English gold. Heavy bribes from Whitehall to the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Russian Government at St Petersburg and to their 
ambassador in London, Bestuchoff, secured the 
accession of the Czarina Elizabeth, Peter the Great's 
daughter, to the Treaty of Westminster. 

We have now (17 56) reached the period of the Seven 
Years* War. The preoccupation of Europe with this 
contest was the elder Pitt's opportunity for creating or 
establishing the modern empire of Great Britain. This 
therefore is the place in which briefly to explain the 
leading features of the European situation so far as it 
concerns the foreign policy of England. 

The Western world had divided itself between the 
support of England or France. It was, in fact, a duel 
between those two Powers. At the same time the re- 
sponsibilities in which the treaty system of Europe had 
involved the neighbouring states made it impossible that 
the struggle should be confined to the two competitors 
for supremacy. The tradition of English diplomatic 
ascendancy, established by Robinson at Vienna, had 
proved too weak for the skill and resources of French 
statesmanship. Nor ought Robinson's colleagues, suc- 
cessors or employers to have been surprised by Maria 
Theresa's exchange of an English for a French alliance. 
Nothing but tact on Robinson's part amounting to 
genius kept the empress from breaking with England 
after the Pelhams had forced on her the surrender of 
Silesia; and, though he nominally occupied the 
embassy till 1763, Robinson, between 1748 and 1756, 
seems to have been mostly absent from the Austrian 
court. Between the " Devil " of Prussia and the 
"deep sea" of Turkey, Maria Theresa had been 
driven by the diplomatic remissness of her English 

ally into the Versailles treaty with Louis XV. 


Early Hanoverian Diplomacy 

The Seven Years' War, as a European episode, 
consisted of military operations in Germany, which, 
belonging to general history, need not be recapitulated 
here. While it was in progress, the elder Pitt began to 
make himself necessary to the English administrations 
that were closely following the Continental struggle. 
At first the policy in regard to it which he advocated for 
England was an adherence to those traditions of non- 
intervention, declared by Bolingbroke to be the 
foundation of Toryism, during the wars ending in the 
Peace of Utrecht. As time passed on, Pitt saw more 
and more clearly that in establishing her empire, the 
one enemy with whom England had to reckon was 
France ; he therefore entirely changed his attitude 
towards the combatants in Germany. To assist 
Frederick of Prussia in occupying the French arms in 
Europe was to withdraw France from her aggressive 
enterprises in Hindustan and across the Atlantic ; he 
was thus, to adapt his own phrase, literally "winning 
for England, America in Germany." With the course 
of conquest that formed the fulfilment of these words 
we are not here concerned. The diplomatic incidents 
that it originated, and the diplomatic methods adopted 
by Pitt for the achievement of his Imperial aims, 
afford material for a new chapter. 




The Departmental arrangement at the time of the elder Pitt — Its 
disadvantages, and abuses — The case of Carteret and 
Townshend— Sir Luke Schaub — The elder Horace Walpole — 
The Duke of Newcastle and Lord Harrington — The unsatis- 
factory state of the British Embassies — ^Abraham Stanyan — 
Lord Kinnoull — Benjamin Keene — Robert D'Arcy, fourth Earl 
of Holdemesse — ^William Capel, third Earl of Essex — ^James, 
first Earl Wald^;rave — Chatham's diplomacy — His use of 
Parliament — His oratory — The Family Compact of 1761 — 
Chatham's knowledge derived from secret agents — Richard 
Wall, the Spanish Foreign Minister — Duten's information from 
Turin — Chatham's resignation — Hans Stanley, the English 
Ambassador at Paris — The Peace of Paris, 1763 — Chatham's 
attempted Protestant Alliance — ^The American War — ^The 
founding of the Foreign Office, 1782. 

PITT'S triumphs in international statesmanship 
were won during the period of the Seven Years* 
War (1757-63), and in the teeth of official difficulties 
and disorganisation which were then reaching a pitch 
so intolerable as to necessitate, four years after his 
death, an attempt to secure something like method 
and discipline in administration by forming a new and 
distinct department of State for the conduct of our 
foreign affairs. The obsolete machinery existing for a 
Foreign Minister throughout Pitt's time was supplied 
by the already mentioned Northern and Southern 
Departments, both domiciled either at the Cock-pit, 
Whitehall, or at Cleveland Row, St James's. This two- 
fold division had been made when the king's secretarial 


Chatham: His Work and its Results 

business began to be too heavy for a single servant. 
The appointment, however, of a second Secretary of 
State under Henry VIII. did not make either of the 
two less the creature of the court. Both were to the 
last practically untouched by any new doctrine of 
responsibility to Parliament. Throughout the Tudor 
period, perhaps long afterwards, the question of 
priority between the two was practically settled by the 
temporary importance of the work done in each of the 
departments, and on the ability of the men who did 
it.* Theoretically their duties and dignity may have 
been equal. Cases like those of Stanhope and 
Carteret show that the course of events at home and 
abroad conspired with the natural adaptabilities of the 
man himself generally to make one of the chiefs of 
the two departments practically Foreign Secretary, if 
not Prime Minister as well. When the Secretaries 
began to be responsible to Parliament rather than to 
a king, their importance increased, but the old division 
of duties proved inconvenient. Many of the blunders 
that confused and miscarried English diplomacy in its 
eighteenth-century relations with Louis XV., Maria 
Theresa and Frederick the Great, may be directly 
traced to the obsolete dual arrangement. It was, 
to quote Lord John Russell's description, as if " two 
coachmen were on the box of a mail-coach, one hold- 
ing the right-hand rein and the other the left." The 
period which closed with the supremacy of the elder 
Pitt had been marked by intrigues and counter- 
intrigues between the two Secretaries of State, that 

* On this subject see The Public Records and the CansHiuHony a 
lecture delivered at All Souls, Oxford, by Mr Luke Own Pike, who 
favours the idea of the Foreign Office having specifically grown out of 
the Northern Secretaryship. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

alternately agitated and paralysed our diplomacy ; 
during a quarter of a century. The plots and counter- 
plots of English ministers reflected in miniature the 
duplicity and overreaching that, on a larger scale, 
has been seen to characterise the relations of the 
Austrian, the English, the French and the Prussian 
cabinets and courts. 

During the second decade of the eighteenth 
century, Carteret and Townshend, both of them 
Secretaries of State under Walpole, were competitors 
for the conduct of our foreign policy. The royal 
favour, the essential preliminary to the achievement of 
that ambition, could only or most easily be secured by 
the good offices of one of the royal mistresses. The 
Duchess of Kendal promised to be the most amenable 
to the necessary pressure ; she had already been in 
the pay of Bolingbroke ; to her therefore, as to the 
most useful ally in his diplomatic projects, Carteret 
addressed himself. Speaking of the stateswomen who 
make international politics their mitiery Walpole had 
said that he knew of only one who would not take 
money, and she took diamonds. The Duchess of 
Kendal had a soul above either gold or jewels, but 
sighed for the ennoblement of her kindred. Carteret 
and Townshend so hated and distrusted each other 
that neither of them would let George I. be out of his 
sight a moment. When, therefore, their sovereign went 
to Hanover, both these ministers insisted on accompany- 
ing him. The absence of the two was the secret of the 
diplomatic successes already related of the home-staying 
Walpole. Carteret was now to discover the price fixed 
by the chief court concubine for her assistance. 

Her Grace of Kendal's niece — ^probably a synonym 


Chatham : His Work and its Results 

for daughter — was the bride elect of the son of La 
Vrilli^re, the French Secretary of State. As a con- 
dition of the marriage, the young lady's friends in- 
sisted that the bridegroom should be made a duke by 
Louis XV. ; the influence of the English court, it was 
assumed, might successfully be exercised to that end. 
George L approved of the match. Carteret resolved 
to buy his monarch's mistress by using his influence 
at the French court to gratify her whim. England 
then had for its ambassador at Paris a certain Sir 
Luke Schaub, a native of Switzerland, and a standing 
illustration of the truth of the French proverb, ''pas 
(Sargent, pas de Suisse'' This diplomatist had already 
been heavily fee'd by Townshend to counteract the 
policy of Walpole and Carteret ; he now took Carteret's 
money to obtain for the bridegroom elect the title 
stipulated for by the young lady's relatives. Schaub, 
having betrayed his original purchaser, Townshend, 
really exerted himself to earn the money paid by his 
second buyer, Carteret. Townshend, however, had 
now a trusty agent of his own for counter- working both 
his rival and Schaub at the French court. 

The incident ended in Schaub being recalled for 
an incompetent bungler, in old Horace Walpole, 
Sir Robert's brother, superseding him, and being 
plainly told by the French regent that the de- 
scendant of St Louis could not sully the highest 
title in his peerage to promote his subject's marriage 
with a bride of such questionable parentage. The 
"old Horace Walpole," of his more famous nephew 
and namesake's diaries, remained at the English 
Embassy in Paris till 1730. His ascendancy over 
Cardinal Fleury was due to the marked courtesy paid 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the French minister by Walpole, while that official 
was for a short time out of favour. Hence the oppor- 
tunities enjoyed by the elder Horace Walpole of 
promoting the diplomacy of his brother, Sir Robert, 
and of contributing to the fall of Carteret. This too- 
clever servant of the English crown, as social and 
political diplomatist indeed overleaped himself; the 
Walpoles took the winning trick in the international 
game ; Carteret himself was shelved in Ireland. 

In 1724, the Duke of Newcasde, succeeding 
Carteret as Secretary for the Southern Department, 
had France in his province ; he managed his French 
business through the veteran who had relieved 
Schaub in the way already described. Townshend, 
however, as the other State Secretary, disputed 
his colleague's right to the exclusive control of the 
English chancery in Paris. The Anglo-French 
diplomacy of this period was as confused and con- 
tradictory as the crooked purposes and intrigues of 
its directors could not help making it. Abuses and 
inefficiency of all kinds were indeed guaranteed by 
the arrangements for regulating our external relations 
during nearly three centuries (i 539-1 782). However 
the work might have been divided, it was obviously 
of a kind demanding the unintermitted supervision and 
control of one competent and responsible chief. That 
had no doubt been forthcoming when a Tudor king 
was his own Foreign Minister and used his Secre- 
taries of State as clerks. Afterwards, however, the 
welfare of Great Britain beyond seas was left to be 
intrigued about and quarrelled over by two de- 
partmental heads, each playing for his own hand, 
and constantly endeavouring to assert himself outside 


Chatham: His Work and its Results 

his own territorial limit. As Southern Secretary, 
the Duke of Newcastle had nothing to do with 
Austria, which belonged to the Northern Secretary. 
This, in succession to Townshend, was William 
Stanhope, known from 1730 as Lord Harrington. 
Like Benjamin Keene, he learned diplomacy in the 
same Spanish school as that studied in by his famous 
kinsman of an earlier day, the first Earl Stanhope. 
As has been done by other members of his profession, 
he illustrated the diplomatic aptitude hereditary in 
certain families ; if, since him, none of his stock have 
been ambassadors, every generation of Stanhopes 
has produced men cast by Nature for the part of 
diplomatist. Newcasde was bent on including all 
foreign affairs in his province ; he plagued Harrington, 
as he had plagued Robinson, Keene and others 
before him, with letters marked "most private and 
confidential," not exacdy instructing their recipients 
what to do, but only saying what, if he were in their 
position, the writer would do himself. 

The chaotic character of our international states- 
manship in the early eighteenth century was further 
promoted by the frequent absences of the two first 
Georges in Hanover. George L made the journey 
to and fro five times in the thirteen years of his 
reign ; his son, including the time spent on the road, 
out of the three-and-diirty years of his kingship, 
passed an aggregate of three in his German realm. 
As absolutist in their pretensions and as autocratic 
in their ideas as the Stuarts, the earlier Hanoverian 
kings used their Secretaries of State, Northern or 
Southern, as servants of their household at home 
for sending instructions to their representatives 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

abroad. The monarch spent much of his time upon 
the road ; with him was always a minister in attend- 
ance. The secretary who .stayed at home was 
caballing against the colleague who was abroad. 
Which of the two succeeded in making the Govern- 
ment of the day the organ of his ideas, was deter- 
mined by a scramble that made State policy the 
creature of luck and chance. The Duke of New- 
castle, the real Foreign Minister in the Pelham ad- 
ministration, hated foreign travel for personal rather 
than patriotic reasons. He saw, however, the in- 
conveniences to the public service caused by gadabout 
ministers, dancing attendance on feverish and fidgety 
kings. " The wonder," he said, " is not that things so 
often go wrong, but that anything should ever go right." 
Politically and diplomatically, English ambassadors 
and their staffs looked ahead as little as might be ; 
if their statesmanship was wise and carefully thought 
out, it might be overruled at any moment by their 
private enemies in the favoured faction at home. 
Literally, too, as well as politically, they lived from 
hand to mouth. Their salaries indeed were, for the 
most part, paid pretty punctually. The allowances for 
incidental outlay, known as "extraordinaries," were 
always in arrear. The Treasury had to be dunned 
for months and even years before these claims were 
settled. Lord Waldegrave at Paris, and Sir Benjamin 
Keene at Madrid, the latter the most useful am- 
bassador of his time, finding mere importunity fail, 
tried bribery in the hope of getting back their out- 
of-pocket expenses. They sent large presents of wine 
and tobacco to the Pelham brothers, or costlier 

''gratifications" to under-strappers at St James s and 


Chatham ; His Work and its Results 

head clerks at Whitehall ; but no cash came. The 
British Embassy at Constantinople, in particular, was 
notorious as a hotbed of scandal and incompetence. 
Abraham Stanyan (1669-1732) first made his mark 
in the diplomatic service as envoy to the Swiss 
cantons. Appointed to the Constantinople Embassy, 
he acquired the luxurious habits and official indolence 
of the East. His recall became inevitable. He re- 
fused, however, to leave till the Government had 
squared a long-standing account he had against them ; 
for had he not, as a junior in the service at Turin, 
pawned a diamond ring and a gold snuff-box to pay 
his weekly living bills, when his salary was just a 
year overdue.^ Let the State settle accoimts with 
him ; he would then think of vacating the legation. 

Lord Kinnoull, who eventually replaced Stanyan, 
united with some of his predecessor's tastes a 
violently ungovernable temper. He reached Turkey 
at a moment when France was trying to embroil 
the Porte in a war against the Empire; his instruc- 
tions were to co-operate with the Dutch ambassador 
in urging a peace policy upon the Sultan. Instead 
of doing this, he at once quarrelled with the diplo- 
matist from The Hague, and fovmd his special friend 
in the Parisian diplomatist, Villeneuve. He was soon 
recalled ; Sir Everard Fawkener was nominated to 
the appointment. Kinnoull, however, refused to go 
on board the man-of-war which had been sent to 
take him home. He remained as a rival envoy for 
a year at Constantinople, thwarting Fawkener at 
every point, and eventually asking promotion from 
his Government as a reward for extraordinary services. 

Another diplomatic curiosity of this period is bestj 
G 97 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

known from Chesterfield's oft-quoted remark — **The 
truth is, that Tyrawley and I have been dead for 
some years, but we have not let anyone know/' 
Lord Tyrawley, when in the army, had been 
Marlborough's aide-de-camp at Malplaquet. Sent 
as envoy to Lisbon, for the special purpose of 
preventing war between Portugal and Spain, he 
had no sooner reached his destination than he was 
"spoiling for a fight," if not between Spain and 
Portugal, with his colleague Sir John Norris, whom 
he abused roundly in all his home despatches. Norris 
returned the compliment. The two ambassadors 
excluded each other from the dinners given by them 
on the queen's birthday. Each of the hosts told 
his guests that he hated his colleague only one degree 
more than he did the Dutch minister with whom he 
had been sent to co-operate, and whom both Tyrawley 
and Norris always spoke of as " that d — d Til." 

Benjamin Keene, at Madrid, had other difficulties 
than those arising from the retention of his agency 
for the South Sea Company after he had become 
representative of the English king; some of these 
resulted from the peculiar habits of the Spanish 
court. Philip V. occasionally amused himself by 
taking to his bed for months at a time, leaving State 
business to his ambitious wife, Elizabeth Famese, 
but stipulating that no final decision should be given 
till he might be in the humour to deal with State 
papers. If Keene had possessed the social con- 
nection, the spirit and the energy shown by his 
predecessor Stanhope, he would have passed for 
Stanhope's superior. As it was, he had not the 
jg^ood fortune to be actively employed under the dis- 


Chatham; His Work and its Results 

pensation of the elder Pitt, whom he would have 
exactly suited. The trained intellect, the habit of 
accurate observation which it ensures, loyalty, spirit, 
promptitude and exactness in fulfilling orders based 
on the reports furnished, "These, said Chatham, 
''are the qualities indispensable to a good ambassa- 
dor." They were all of them combined in Keene. 

Among his professional contemporaries, mention 
has been already made of Robert D'Arcy, fourth Earl 
of Holdernesse. The son of the second earl, he 
succeeded to the title in 1722, began his Continental 
career by going with George II. to Hanover as lord- 
of-the-bedchamber in 1743. Next year came his 
embassy to the republic of Venice, lasting to 1746. 
Serving in the same Government as Walpole, he seemed 
to that statesman an unthinking, an unparliamentary 
minister. In diplomacy his figure is of permanent 
interest. More vividly and consistently than had yet 
been done by most members of his vocation, he 
realised the ornamental possibilities of an ambassador s 
calling, and reflected the dignity and magnificence of 
the sovereign he represented in the superb appoint- 
ments of his own daily life. In the sight of the court 
to which he was accredited and the capital at which he 
lived, to magnify his apostleship seemed to Holdernesse 
only the loyal glorification of King George of England. 

It is recorded of a popular diplomatist — the Lord 
Napier and Ettrick of the nineteenth century — that, 
asked by a great lady who was the most agreeable 
man in Europe, he replied quite simply, ** I am." To 
a similar question a like answer might properly have 
been given by William Capel, the third Earl of Essex, 
who in 1743 represented England at Turin. Belong-* 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

ing to the stately school of Holdernesse, Essex would 
not be bored with the drudgeries of diplomacy ; he 
entertained illustrious Englishmen, when on their 
travels, at his embassy ; he introduced them, if they 
were sufficiently presentable, to the prettiest women, 
the most serviceable men and the most desirable hosts 
of the capital. He wrote a few important despatches 
with his own hand ; by his suavity and tact he helped 
on the treaty between Maria Theresa and the King of 
Sardinia, which constituted the sum and essence of 
Anglo- Austrian policy in 1740. He at no time, 
however, seemed so happy or so much in his element 
as when arranging the dinner menus, the private 
theatricals or the concerts which made his house at 
Turin the most charming and coveted of cosmopolitan 
resorts in the first half of the eighteenth century. His 
contemporary, at Paris, and socially his rival, was James, 
the first Earl Waldegrave. As Holdernesse had 
stamped diplomacy with the mark of magnificence and 
fashion, so did Waldegrave invest it with the associa- 
tions of intellect. The tradition thus created for 
diplomacy was to descend from the man who founded 
it, as a paternal legacy, to his son, the second Lord 
Waldegrave, who owed his gift of literary portraiture 
to his father. The first Lord Waldegrave was not 
only a good talker himself, but made those he gathered 
about him talk better as his guests than they were 
ever known to do elsewhere. 

All the controllers of English diplomacy in the 
eighteenth century now passed in review are insignifi- 
cant in comparison with the elder Pitt, who died Earl 
jof Chatham. His career and achievements belong 

•rather to the general history of this country than to 


Chatham: His Work and its Results 

the present narrative of diplomatic movements and 
their directors. The anomalies of his position are, in 
their way, not less than the picturesqueness of his 
personality or the durability of his statesmanship. 
The supreme moulder of international politics, he had, 
till his decline after 1761, undergone no technical 
apprenticeship to diplomacy and was never sent on 
any foreign mission. The mover of fleets and armies 
from one end of the world to the other, the organiser 
of victory by land or sea in both hemispheres, he never 
presided over the departments of Admiralty or War. 
The unmaker and maker of administrations, the ruling 
spirit of national policy, he never bore the title of First 
Minister of the Crown, nor officially advanced beyond 
the Secretaryship of State for the Southern Department. 
The object of his diplomacy was to enforce, through 
his ambassadors, the public opinion which he had 
created and the national ambition which he had 
inspired. The specific means employed to pursue 
that end were those provided by the circumstances 
and agencies of the time. The fundamental principle 
of his policy survives to-day in the familiar phrase, 
"Trade follows the flag." Directly he saw himself 
backed by the nation, and not before, he took office as 
a step towards a single end — the salvation of the 
country and the creation of the empire. The condition 
on which he entered the Government of the day was 
that he should in himself embody the entire adminis- 
tration and, though the holder of a nominally 
subordinate office, should exercise^ supremacy over 
every section of the public service. Master of the 
House of Commons, he dealt with that asseiltibly in 
much the same fashion as it had been used by absolute 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

monarchs, not for council or discussion, but for raising 
the supplies required to enforce a predetermined 
policy. A ruler by hereditary right might claim the 
prerogative of war and peace. The true "patriot 
king," drawing his mandate not from Parliament, but 
from the nation, was Pitt himself. His statesmanship 
abroad knew but a single end, to be promoted by two 
sets of means. The object showed itself in the world- 
wide ascendancy of England ; the method, never lost 
sight of in all the dealings with foreign Powers, was 
the thwarting of Bourbon ambition and, as instru- 
mental to that, the alliance between Great Britain and 
Prussia. Treaties, truces, armaments, campaigns, the 
bitterest opposition to Hanoverian subsidies at one 
time, millions lavished on Hanover and Prussia at 
another, all this judged by the result, becomes in- 
telligible and consistent, as it seemed to Frederick 
the Great himself when he said — ** Monsieur Pitt, a 
la meilleure tfite dans TEurope," and, ** England has 
long been in travail: at last she has brought forth 
a man." Though during four years he controlled 
foreign policy — as for that matter he controlled the 
great spending departments of the State — it would be 
not less inappropriate to call Pitt a professional dip- 
lomatist than it would be to call him a professional 
soldier, because for the same time he had in his youth 
held a commission in the Blues. His oratory was the 
prolonged, but emphatic, echo of the voice which his 
inspiration had drawn forth from the mass of his 
countrymen. At foreign courts and capitals he 
expected British ambassadors to be the nation's mouth- 
pieces and his own instruments. The most memorable 

phrases of his eloquence, soon after they had been 

1 02 

Chatham: His Work and its Results 

uttered, became for all time the commonplaces of 
patriotism and of practical wisdom. The best-known 
specimens may be given in a few words here. " Con- 
fidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged bosom." 
''Magna Charta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of 
Rights, form the Bible of the English Constitution." 
*' Where law ends, tyranny begins." " Every English- 
man's house is his castle ; the wind may blow through 
it, the storm may enter, but the King o( England and all 
his forces cannot cross the threshold of the tenement." 

A consummate actor, with the whole nation, if 
not the entire world, for audience, the elder Pitt 
used Parliament as a platform for addressing the 
nation, just as his son consulted no other tastes than 
those of the House of Commons. However danger- 
ously near to being platitudes, sonorous generalisations 
and fine sentiments never fail to move the gallery. 
Hence their abundance in Chatham's speeches. To 
inflame his countrymen with a sense of their duties 
and their greatness was the one object of his eloquence ; 
to that end it was perfecdy adapted. Equally simple 
was the line of international statesmanship which he 
had laid down for himself — to employ the greatest 
European conqueror of his time, Frederick the Great, 
as an agent and colleague in building up the fabric of 
British empire. Such an ally was well worth the 
heavy price of furnishing the gold and arms that 
defeated the European combination to crush the 
Prussian king. 

Something more must now be said about Pitt's dip- 
lomatic methods and the incidents connected with them. 
'* Omne solum forti patria'' he himself denounced 

as the fatal casuistry of a villain like Bolingbroke. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

** Nullum solum nisi Britannia " would have been a fit 
motto for Pitts lifelong motives. His ambition, had 
it been fulfilled, would have annexed the four quarters 
of the globe to the English crown. The diplomacy of 
Pitt was the embodiment and glorification of the 
inconsistency and opportunism which in an earlier 
chapter were seen to be the general characteristics of 
England's foreign statesmanship. In 1735 he first 
made his parliamentary mark by denunciations of 
the English payments to Hessian and Hanoverian 
troops. In 1757 he risked the loss of favour with 
George II. by insisting upon the alliance of England 
with Prussia, and he sent Frederick reinforcements 
of 12,000 men. Of course, during this interval of 
twenty odd years the European situation, and with it 
the international interests of England, had undergone 
a complete change. Pitt was in advance of all his 
contemporaries in seeing where the true concerns and 
obligations of his country now lay. It had, as he was 
the first to perceive, and as he gradually convinced 
both court and cabinet, ceased to be merely a ques- 
tion of reinstating Maria Theresa in her ancestral 
dominions, on the one hand, or of squandering English 
treasure and lives upon a petty Teutonic principality on 
the other. The one ally possible for England was in 
danger of being crushed by the colossal confederacy of 
Continental states, whose next victim was to be Eng- 
land herself. At the period now reached (i 757-1 761), 
the European episode determining Pitts diplomacy 
was the understanding, begun in 1733, renewed in 
1743, between the French and Spanish Bourbons for 
crushing England. Taken in connection with earlier 

documents of the series, the Family Compact of 176 1 


Chatham ; His Work and its Results 

formed part of the Franco-Spanish policy secretly 
elaborated for dividing the world between the dynasties 
of Paris and Madrid. Of the first treaty, that of 
i733> enough has been said in an earlier chapter. 
The agreement of ten years later was merely its 
emphatic enlargement. As was first, among English 
writers, shown by Professor Seeley, and among English 
statesmen of his time was first seen by Pitt, each of 
these treaties formed part of one diplomatic whole. 
That unity constituted the crowned conspiracy against 
his country which Pitt baffled. In his early and 
accurate acquaintance with the designs of foreign 
sovereigns and their ministers, Pitt contrived to show 
himself omniscient. He often, however, derived little 
of this knowledge from the accredited diplomatists of 
England. Thus, in and about the year 1761, Bristol, 
the British ambassador at Madrid, was as ignorant as 
a babe of the latest Franco-Spanish negotiation. 
From his secret agents alone, mysterious and nameless 
persons, sometimes ladies, Pitt became cognisant of 
each successive detail within a day or two of its being 
settled. The official representative of England in 
Spain, confronted by Pitt with these discoveries, could 
only raise his hands to heaven in silent horror. 
General Wall, the Spanish Foreign Minister, admitted 
their truth, but protested Spain had no ill-will to 
Britain. That Pitt knew better was due to his spies 
in every corner of France and Spain. These had 
forwarded him copies of the clauses levelled against 
the very existence of his country, contained in the 
diplomatic instruments which, the English Government 
were assured, were in no degree inimical to King 
George. While the fair words were being uttered, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Pitt knew they were being contradicted by intrigues and 
by preparations for war. And yet he had really shown 
a wish for peace. In 1757 he had induced George 
II. to acquiesce in a secret treaty with Spain, upon 
terms that, while testifying the sincerity of Pitt's desire 
to bring hostilities to a close, must have done violence 
to his patriotic pride. Ever since the Utrecht settle- 
ment had confirmed England in its possession, 
Gibraltar had been the subject of clandestine negotia- 
tions between the Spanish Government and English 
statesmen of all parties. Its surrender to Spain was 
contemplated by one of the provisions which Pitt 
entertained in 1757. In return, Spain was to assist 
England to recover Minorca. It may well be that 
Pitt acquiesced in such concessions, rather to test the 
genuineness of the Spanish Government's pacific pro- 
fessions than because he believed his offer would be 
accepted. The chief of the Madrid Foreign Office, 
Wall, with whom Pitt and his private agents, as well 
as the ambassador Bristol, had to deal, shrewdly 
abstained almost entirely from committing himself by 
writing, and often succeeded in talking over the British 
representative. The admixture of Spanish blood still 
shows itself in the features and complexions to be seen 
in the extreme West of Ireland. The controller of the 
diplomatic system of the Peninsula, from 1754 to 1764, 
was a Galway man. Born in 1694, Richard Wall 
served both in the Spanish fleet and the Spanish 
army. In the international affairs of his adopted 
country he made himself so indispensable that his 
resignation of office, repeatedly tendered, had been 
thus far refused. He saw no other way for getting 

out of harness than by a sufficiently simple ruse. One 


Chatham: His Work and its Results 

day he appeared at his office in the Prado, with a 
shade over eyes that looked red and angry. His 
sight, he said, was failing; the inflammation proved 
indeed to be temporary only; it had been produced 
artificially by some ointment. The device, however, 
succeeded and Wall obtained his discharge. During 
the ten years he directed the foreign politics of Spain, 
Wall proved himself more than a match for the com- 
bined diplomacy and diplomatists of Western Europe. 
Bristol, high bred, honourable, but never properly 
grounded in the elements of his trade, was systemati- 
cally hoodwinked by him. Pitt's private agents were 
bamboozled. Only Pitt himself was not to be caught. 

Pitt's diplomacy attained its object for two reasons. 
In an age when the giving and taking of bribes, from the 
highest to the lowest, was universal, he trusted no foreign 
statesmanorsovereign. He checked the reports received 
from his ambassadors by the inquiries of hissecret agents; 
in the background of his peaceful international machinery 
he had stationed an army and navy, at a cost of be- 
tween eight and nine millions, increased by 100,000 men. 

What were the exact means by which Pitt had 

acqyired the knowledge that had shown itself in his 

whole scheme of international policy and in this 

strengthening of the national resources as the only 

method of giving to that policy effect ? The details 

involved in an answer to this question will also serve 

to explain the secret of the great minister's resignation. 

Throughout the eighteenth century, Turin was the 

chief centre of political intrigue in Southern Europe. 

The English representative at this capital was Sir 

James Stewart Mackenzie. His first secretary who 

afterwards became his successor, was a certain Lewis 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Dutens. By detecting and deciphering the secret 
correspondence between the Neapolitan Foreign 
Secretary and the Foreign Minister of the King of 
Savoy and Sardinia, Dutens had discovered the secret 
treaty of Spain with France which, concluded in the 
hour of Spain's professed neutrality, constituted the 
Family Compact of 1761. Dutens himself, whatever 
may have been alleged to the contrary, had no direct 
communication with Pitt ; he was, however, on intimate 
terms with one of Pitt's secretaries. To him therefore 
Dutens confided what he had found out. In October 
1 76 1 came the famous meeting of the British Cabinet 
in London. Pitt denounced to his colleagues "the 
secret engagements of the whole House of Bourbon." 
Now was revealed the effect of the work in London 
society and politics, on which Bussy and his foreign 
colleagues had long been engaged. These of course 
had found convenient material on which to work in 
the social and political jealousy of the great minister. 
** Does the right honourable gendeman seriously 
intend us to believe this cock-and-bull story ? "asked 
one of Pitt's colleagues. The thing, it was asserted 
was an absurdity which no reasonable man could credit. 
At any rate, if he had them, let Pitt produce his 
authorities. The only notice taken of this challenge 
by Pitt was a sneer about playing with men who used 
loaded dice. " I say," he said, " that which I know ; I 
will not disclose my proofs to an incredulous audience." 
With these words the great Commoner quitted the room, 
went home, and wrote his letter of resignation to the 
king.* In doing so, he of course played his enemies' 

* The authorities for the view of Pitt's resignation here taken and for the 
event connected with it are the Re-ime dHistoire Diplomatique (1887-98), 
Von Ruville's Chatham and Bute and Seeley's House of Bourbon. 



Chatham: His Work and its Results 

game by leaving the field open to Bute, already his 
rival and now his assured successor. 

For some time before this dramatic cUnouement, real 
progress had been made towards the conclusion of 
a general peace. With Austria and Russia, France 
had already come to terms. How successfully the 
French ambassador Bussy had done his work of throw- 
ing dust in the eyes of the London court and cabinet 
has been already seen. While he had been thus 
engaged on the Thames, the English peace party had 
in Paris a representative after their own heart in the 
chargi cCaffaireSy Hans Stanley, a vivacious and clear- 
headed diplomatist, of whom litde is now known 
beyond the fact that he united a good character with 
eccentric habits, that he committed suicide in 1780, and 
that he appears in Reynolds* portrait of him as a young 
man with a long face and dark hair. Stanley occasion- 
ally left his diplomatic work in Paris for short visits 
to London. On one of these occasions he presented 
himself at Pitt's house in St James's Square — that 
mansion which during four eventful years was the 
central bureau of British Imperial policy, civil or 
military, and beneath whose roof both the English 
diplomacy of modem times and the British Empire 
as it exists to-day were bom. Pitt, however, never 
received this visitor, deep as he was in the confidence 
of his rivals. The man whom Stanley did see, 
Bute, lived in the Mayfair palace, known to-day as 
Lansdowne House. This had recently come into the 
possession of Lord Bute, Pitt's supplanter, and there 
were discussed and arranged the English conditions for 
the setdement between England, France, Spain and 

Portugal constituting the Peace of Paris ( 1 763). Upon 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

terms compromising neither his own honour nor his 
country's Imperial position, Pitt, had his health held 
out and his temper subordinated itself to his judg- 
ment, might himself have arranged a treaty. The 
conventional criticisms of his foreign statesmanship 
on the ground of its expense are to some extent 
disposed of by the immense increase in the distance 
from London of his military and naval operations. 
This fact alone prohibits a comparison between the 
cost of English warfare in the times of Marlborough 
and of Chatham respectively. As regards Pitt him- 
self, his policy and foresight had been vindicated by 
everything that had happened since he stalked out of 
the memorable cabinet in the October of 1761, in- 
dignandy refusing to be the associate of men who were 
the willing dupes of Continental knaves, crowned or 
uncrowned. The charge against him of prolonging 
the war against the wish as well as against the interests 
of his country is on the face of it absurd. If the 
nation had desired that hostilities should cease, had 
really thought enough, and more than enough, to 
satisfy the honour of Britain had been gained, it could 
at any moment have stopped supplies. Even Pitt's 
nominal supporters in diplomacy and Parliament 
numbered some who were waiting an opportunity 
to turn against him. The king's friends, joining with 
the malcontent Pittites, could have brought down the 
edifice of foreign statesmanship he was constructing. 
When he had gone, nothing occurred which he had 
not predicted. Each day furnished some fresh proof 
of the enduring reality of mutual obligations of France 
and Spain, created by the Family Compact which 

Bussy had fooled the English Parliament and people 


Chatham : His Work and its Results 

into discrediting, and whose disclosure had followed 
on the happy accidents already related that conspired 
to confirm Pitt s success and to justify his judgment. 
Even as it was, the command of India, secured to 
England by the treaty and the disestablishment of the 
military power of France, might not have satisfied the 
country, had not the great ally obtained by Chatham 
for England, Frederick the Great, been adding success 
to success in Germany while the Anglo-French negotia- 
tions were going forward. Diplomatically, the peace 
of 1763 so irritated Prussia that England found herself 
once more completely isolated. 

Unlike Pitt, Bute did not even endeavour to stamp 
his personality in enduring characters on foreign policy. 
Pitt himself was still to propound another scheme of 
European combinations very different from anything 
he had yet suggested. Notwithstanding Pitt s rupture 
with the Whigs, the king's uncle, the old Duke of 
Cumberland, persisted in regarding him as the only 
head of the Whig party. In that capacity the retired 
minister was induced to come forth from his seclusion. 
The conditions of European policy on which he 
insisted were now to balance the Family Compact 
by an English alliance with the Protestant Powers of 
the Continent. The professional diplomatist, Hans 
Stanley, against whom the doors of Pitt's house had 
previously been closed, now received his instructions 
direcdy from Pitt himself. This envoy was started off 
to Berlin and St Petersburg to negotiate an alliance 
against the Bourbon dynasty and its vast designs. 
The mission, however, proved fruitless. Stanley had 
no sooner reached the Prussian capital than Frederick 

unmistakably showed his indifference alike to European 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Protestantism and English welfare. British states- 
manship, the Prussian monarch complained, as regards 
external relations, so entirely lacked continuity, was so 
fluctuating, so liable to be upset by party necessities or 
intrigues at home, that he could not risk the welfare of 
his realm by entering into any fresh arrangements 
With the Government of King George. The truth of 
course was, first, that Frederick had already got out of 
England all he specially wanted, and that he was now 
bent upon his iniquitous project of dismembering 
Poland. Moreover, the great Commoner, whom he 
had before so extravagantly eulogised, had ceased to 
be the idol of the country, had indeed destroyed his 
own identity by becoming Lord Chatham. The 
administration which, as Lord Privy Seal, Chatham 
directed, was manifestly doomed when Chatham him- 
self went as an invalid to Bath. 

The Chatham administration came to an end in 
December 1767. The chief events of English inter- 
national concern between that date and Chatham's 
death in the following May were the partition of 
Poland and the outbreak of the war that ended in the 
creation of the United States. Both these episodes 
placed a severe and continuous strain on the diplo- 
matic machinery and resources of England. Both, 
however, form portions of the national tmnals, too 
familiar, and in most of their details too accessible, to 
be dwelt upon at any length here. The close of 
Chatham's parliamentary career, roughly speaking, 
coincided with the opening of a period in our inter- 
national relations, not indeed of graver moment, but of 
perhaps greater complexity than even that with which 

he had dealt. By converting his private residence in 


Chatham : His Work and its Results 

St James's Square into the Foreign Office of the 
country he had, when nominally Secretary of State 
for the Southern Department, anticipated by five years 
the concentration of the external affairs of the country 
in the hands of one responsible minister beneath a 
single roof. On the 30th of May 1777, Chatham re- 
appeared in Parliament after one of his long illnesses. 
Swathed in flannel and leaning heavily on his crutch, he 
insisted on the righteousness and wisdom of granting 
all the American demands except independence. As, 
however, for the idea of the Franco- American alliance, 
the intrigues for which had already begun, that, he 
said, must mean immediate war. What were the 
facts ? Directly after the declaration of independence, 
the United States had sent Adams and Franklin to 
Paris to concert a commercial and defensive alliance 
with France. The envoys contrived to make them- 
selves the fashionable vogue in some Parisian salons. 
The formal treaty against England was not so easily 
to be arranged. One important step in its direction 
was, however, taken. The diplomatists from the other 
side of the Atlantic contrived to talk over and take into 
their pay Silas Deane, while nominally attached to the 
British Embassy on the Seine. He it was who advised 
the Americans to seek a general from Europe, in either 
Prince Ferdinand of Prussia or the Italian Marshal 
Broglio. Before this suggestion had a chance of bear* 
ing fruit, English diplomacy had organised its resources. 
The first British Foreign Office came into existence 
in Cleveland Row, St James's, with Charles James Fox, 
a leading member of the Rockingham administration, 
as the earliest English minister to be called Secretary 
of State for Foreign Affairs (27th March 1782). 
H 113 




Jealousy between the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary — 
Fox and Shelbume — Sheridan in the Foreign Office — Fox's 
behaviour as Foreign Minister — The Oczakow incident — Joseph 
Ewart — Eden, Lord Auckland — Fox's diplomatic ideas those of 
Chatham — Fox's relations with France — Peace with England 
desired by the French Assembly — English foreign politics 
practically unaffected by the party-system — Pitt's non-inter- 
vention policy — ^The Declaration of Pilnitz — Hirsinger's opinion 
of the English attitude towards France — Talleyrand — Diplomacy 
and finance — ^The Due de Biron — ^The Marquis de Chauvelin's 
mission — Pitt's Alien Act of 1793 — The Loo Convention, 1788 
— ^War declared between England and France. 

NO circumstances could have been more unfavour- 
able than those amid which, in the last quarter 
of the eighteenth century, the British Foreign Office 
was born. The relations already described as exist- 
ing between the Northern and Southern Secretaries 
had bequeathed an evil tradition of jealousy and 
intrigue to the ministers who, as Foreign Secretary 
and Home Secretary respectively, were to supersede 
them. The Colonial Office had not yet a separate 
existence of its own. The colonies themselves, con- 
trolled from the Home Office, brought the minister 
responsible for them into constant contact with 
England's neighbours and competitors. They thus 
placed the minister of the interior in dangerous 
rivalry with his colleague who conducted our external 

relations. Moreover, the Whig party, then in power 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

for the second time under Rockingham, was divided 
by internal differences, personal as well as political. 
Shelbume, a disciple of Chatham, could support his 
claim to the Foreign Secretaryship by a thorough 
acquaintance with the politics and politicians of 
Europe. Alone among the public men of his age in 
England he estimated at its true value the rising 
principle of nationality as a political force on the 
Continent ; he saw the time to be near at hand when 
foreign statesmanship would be affected by the 
interests and feelings of peoples as well as by the 
ambitions of dynasties, and the designs of their 
ministers. The other claimant to the control of the 
new Foreign Office, Lord Holland's third son, com- 
bined with some of Shelburne s accomplishments the 
confidence of the aristocratic Whig committee managing 
the whole connection. A good classical scholar, he 
had crowned the education of Eton with the acquire- 
ment of several modern languages. He had made 
the grand tour of European capitals and courts with 
all the advantages of his breeding and station. 
Shelbume's knowledge of the world was that of a 
scientific student of affairs. The observations made by 
Fox were those natural to a well-born man of fashion and 
pleasure, combining great intellect and shrewdness with 
rare charm of manner. To have passed over Fox would 
have been to forfeit votes in the House of Commons. 
To slight Shelburne was to raise up a formidable 
enemy for the new department. Party considerations, 
therefore, made Fox the earliest head of the English 
Foreign Office, and in so doing placed it at feud with 
the Home Office, which had been given to Shelburne. 
The two departments now created began, and, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

so long as they were held by their first occupants, 
continued at war. Shelbume, early habituated to 
Imperial thought, occasionally had a soul above 
the dull drudgery of domestic detail. The king's 
personal favourite, the regular intermediary between 
the court and the cabinet, he used his opportuni- 
ties at the palace to acquaint the sovereign with 
his ideas of die way in which the Foreign Office did 
its work. George III.'s idea of being a real king 
was to set the ministers he disliked at loggerheads. 
The offices of Permanent and Parliamentary Under- 
Secretary were not formally constituted till much later. 
Fox, however, contrived to find a subordinate place in 
his department for the author of The Rivals. The 
new Foreign Office employee was not to be its only 
eighteenth-century official who Wrote for the stage. 
He was, however, the only one who at any period 
discharged at the same time the duties of Foreign 
Secretaryship and of theatrical management In 
Cleveland Row Sheridan did exactly what his chief 
told him. At Drury Lane, he saw that Fox had the 
best box in the house. The story of The School for 
Scandal having been written on Foreign Office paper 
is, of course, a myth exploded by the fact that 
Sheridan's dramas had been composed some time 
before his connection with the Foreign Office began. 

The primitiveness of its departmental organisa- 
tion when Fox became head of the Foreign Office 
is suggested by the many offers of diplomatic help 
which he received from volunteers who knew nothing 
of official life, but who were in the way of picking 
up much that the Foreign Minister might like to 

hear. These overtures were periodically renewed 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

throughout his whole connection at subsequent dates 
with the Office, both during his coalition with North ten 
years later, and again in his final term of office under 
Grenville. Amongst those who at a later date thus 
approached him was the diarist, Crabb Robinson ; he 
had, he said, translated something against Bonaparte 
for a bookseller named Tipper ; he thought he might 
during his travels pretty often hear things which 
Downing Street would like to know. His new 
responsibilities had at least the effect of sobering the 
wayward genius who opens the list of our Foreign 
Office chiefs. It was Shakespeare's story retold of 
FalstafTs Prince Hal transformed into England's 
Henry V. Lord Holland could testify froni personal 
knowledge that throughout his official period Fox 
never touched a card. In 1793, for the first time in 
his life he had a house of his own in Grafton Street. 
Here, in all the social functions of diplomacy, he was 
sweetness and light personified. Foreign members 
of the corps diplomatique who piost disliked his 
politics dwelt in the home letters on the incomparable 
charm of Mr Fox as hpst. Even George III. joined 
in the chorus of compliments to the diplomatic dinner- 
parties of Grafton Street. The Foreign Secretary's 
present politics might be as bad as were his former 
morals. When, however, someone praised in the 
royal hearing the perfections of die ministerial 
mhtage, with a smile of approval die king, emitting 
first his usual " What, what ? " quickly added, as if to 
close the conversation — " Oh yes, Mr Fox is a gende- 
man and can make it very agreeable to do business 
with him." Fox once described himself as a very 

painstaking man. He stamped the mark of his own 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

industry on the methods of the department and he 
left the daily routine of Foreign Office work much 
what it was found to be by Palmerston. About the 
very definite ideas in international statesmanship 
entertained and executed by Fox, something will 
presently be said. Socially regarded, he was among 
the first of English ministers whose dinner invitations 
included representatives of other intellectual interests 
than politics. Among those most frequently seated at 
his table were the historian of the Roman Empire, 
Gibbon, who had first introduced Sheridan to him 
soon after the writing of The Rivals, and the most 
famous European diplomatist of the epoch, Talley- 
rand. The latter was occasionally his host in Paris, and 
with less, it would seem, than his usual felicity and point, 
described Fox as a sophist who ought to be left 
in the clouds. A toady of Talleyrand, who traded on 
a reputation for knowledge, chimed in — " True ; the 
clouds are the tutelary deities of all sophists." This 
was a comment which provoked the sarcastic rejoinder 
— ** II y a trois savoirs : le savoir-proprement dit, le 
savoir-faire et le savoir-vivre : if you have the two 
last you do not want the first" Among other 
European personages with whom the Foreign Office 
connected Fox, was the Russian Empress Catherine II. ; 
his advocacy in an episode presently to be de- 
tailed, won for his bust in the Imperial drawing-room 
a place between two of Catherine's historic favourites. 
Then came the French Revolution and the Whig 
enthusiasm for the monarchy of the people. The 
English statesman disappeared from the St Petersburg 
salon. "It was," said Catherine, "the Monsieur Fox 

of 1 79 1 only that I received into my collection." 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

All Fox's finest speeches were made in Opposition. 
Such, in the department of foreign policy, were 
those of 1 79 1 on the Russian armaments, with their 
fierce attacks on Auckland, as well as in 1803 ^^^ 
outbursts on the renewal of the war. The Secretary 
of State had brought Sheridan into the Foreign Office 
by way of doing him a good turn. Some years later 
than the date now reached, Sheridan in his cups 
fiercely abused Fox at a private dinner-table — the 
Duke of Bedford's — at Wobum. Adair, Fox's most 
loyal henchman, took up the matter, and was on the 
point of calling Sheridan out. Harmony was restored 
by another member of the company interpolating the 
remark — ** My creed is short and simple : devotion to 

The Russian incident just referred to took place in 

the closing years of the Cleveland Row epoch of the 

Foreign Office, during its administration by Pitt's 

Secretary, Lord Carmarthen, afterwards Duke of 

Leeds, and may be briefly summarised. Catherine H. 

of Russia and the Emperor Joseph were united in 

hostilities against the Turks. Among the spoils of 

war that had fallen to Catherine was Oczakow on the 

Black Sea. The most active, able and ambitious 

member of the English diplomatic body in Eastern 

Europe was Joseph Ewart. The son of a Scotch 

clergyman, and brought up for a surgeon, he had 

travelled with Macdonald of Clanronald ; while doing 

so he insinuated himself into the good graces of the 

English ambassador at Vienna, Sir Robert Murray 

Keith, who made Ewart his secretary and handed him 

on to his successors. Sir John Stepney and Lord 

Dalrymple. With both of these Ewart did so well as, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

a little later, himself to become the English represen- 
tative at Berlin. A well-judged marriage into a famous 
German family, Wartensleben, strengthened his social 
position. He became a personage in European 
diplomacy, and soon gained an ascendancy over the 
cabinet and councils of the Prussian monarch Frederick 
William II. The royal and popular anti-Russian 
tradition, as was seen in an earlier chapter, dates from 
the reign of George I. It was an active force with 
the British court and people in the year of the Oczakow 
seizure. This explains why a diplomatist eager to 
make his mark in his profession like Ewart should have 
undertaken to secure the restoration of the captured 
fortress to Turkey. Ewart now became a principal 
agent in promoting the alliance of England, Prussia, 
Holland and the Porte against Russia and Austria. 

In 1790 the Emperor Leopold, on succeeding 
Joseph II., concluded the Treaty of Reichenbach 
with the Prussian sovereign, Frederick William. By 
this Austria withdrew from the war, which was thus 
limited to a struggle between the Czarina and the 
Sultan. Hazlitt described the bark of the younger 
Pitt's diplomacy as being worse than its bite. So 
far, however, his policy of intervention had been 
entirely successful. From the first he had impressed 
on his Foreign Secretary, Carmarthen, that the 
supreme English interest was peace. No question, 
he said, seemed likely to arise so vitally affecting Eng- 
land as to justify a European war. Hence his general 
adherence to Chatham's project of including Russia 
in the Anglo-Prussian alliance for counteracting the 
Bourbon Compact. Hence, especially in 1788, the 

cementing of England's relations with Prussia. Before 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

this the chief danger to the peace of Europe had been 
from Denmark. With the Anglo-Prussian treaty of 
1788 that peril disappeared. The Reichenbach 
treaty practically isolated Russia. By doing so its 
English negotiator, Ewart, incurred the Czarina s deadly 
enmity. The stories current at the time of the 
Empress Catherine having more than once attempted 
his murder and having been only baffled by her 
Scotch physician Sutherland, were first collected by \ 
the diarist Nathaniel Wraxall. They have been 
pretty conclusively disposed of by an article in The 
Quarterly Review (vol. Ivii. p. 43). 

The personal antagonism between Fox and Pitt in 
the Oczakow affair showed itself in the former's direct 
encouragement to Catherine to resist the Tory pressure 
placed on her for restoring her capture and to treat with 
contempt any threat of war if she refused. England, he 
said, would never sanction such a step. He actually sent 
his friend Adair to St Petersburg, assuring Catherine 
that the House of Commons would support her rejection 
of the British Government's demands. The Crimea had 
recently been acquired by Russia without protest from 
any Power. Oczakow was in itself of much less im- 
portance, as no doubt Pitt himself knew perfectly well. 
The English minister, however, had passed his word 
to co-operate with Prussia in the lofty mission of 
European peacemaker. Thus pledged, he at first 
went so far with Prussia as diplomatic methods would 
allow. When these failed he acknowledged the im- 
policy of further efforts. In reality, he never probably 
in earnest contemplated them. It was, to use the 
common phrase, a game of bluff, played on the part 

of the British Foreign Office with little skill and with 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

less first-hand knowledge of political and geographical 
facts. Pitt and his colleagues pocketed the snub. The 
Foxites smiled satisfaction. 

Themomentary cooling of the cordialityof the Anglo- 
Prussian entente was without serious restdts at the time. 
The under-strapperEwart suffered more from his failure 
than did the employers who, having adopted his sugges- 
tions, now threw him over. His last stroke of profes- 
sional work was to arrange the marriage of the Duke of 
York to King Frederick William's daughter. Pitt, who 
through his Secretary of State, Carmarthen, now Duke 
of Leeds, controlled the Foreign Office, took exception 
to some details in Ewart's conduct of the negotiations, 
dismissed the envoy from the public service on a 
pension of a thousand a year. To avoid personally 
informing the Prussian sovereign that the English 
alliance was at an end, Carmarthen gave up the 
Secretaryship of State to Lord Grenville. Ewart 
himself on disappearing into private life was gibbeted 
in some doggerel, as poor as were most political verses 
of the period when they did not happen to be written 
by a diplomatic bard of whom we have already heard, 
Charles Hanbury Williams. The particular Whig 
ballad-monger who celebrated the shifted Ewart set 
his piece to the tune of " Ally Croaker " ; its literary 
quality may be judged from the refrain — 

" Give me a place, my dearest Billy Pitt-o, 
If I can't have a whole one, give a little bit-o." 

Ewart s expulsion opened the path of promotion to 
one of the most conspicuous among the henchmen who 
waited on the son of Chatham. This was Eden, after- 
wards Lord Auckland, best remembered, perhaps, 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

as the father of that Eleanor Eden whose grace and 
sweetness kindled the only grand passion which Pitt ever 
knew. Eden himself was a great figure in the diplomatic 
salons of London and Paris. He owed his position 
chiefly to the fact of his being a first-rate political man 
of business who had connected himself by marriage 
with the powerful and ubiquitous Elliot clan ; his wife 
was Sir Gilbert Elliot's daughter; his sister-in-law 
married the Archbishop of Canterbury. In his Whig 
days, Eden had been a prime agent in promoting the 
coalition of Fox and North under the Duke of Portland. 
Attracted by the splendour of success to the worship 
of the rising star of Pitt, Eden took an opportunity of 
conversationally justifying himself to Fox ; he was cut 
short with " Ah yes ; but have you seen Mrs Jordan 
in The Country Girl at Drury Lane ? " 

Such are the personal associations that gather 
themselves round the establishment of the Foreign 
Office as an independent institution. What were 
the international ideas bequeathed to his successors 
by the initial Secretary of State for Foreign 
Affairs.^ During the first administrative term of 
Charles James Fox in the Rockingham Government, 
the most important business occupying his department 
consisted of the negotiations following the declaration 
of the United States' independence, culminating in and 
ratified by the Peace of Versailles in 1783. All 
these transactions were claimed by Fox for his own 
department. By the letter of State usage and etiquette, 
however, our transatlantic settlements, as a part of 
Britain-beyond-seas, belonged to the province of the 
Home Secretary, who referred the point of official pre- 
rogative to his colleagues. Shelburne secured a 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

majority in the cabinet; Fox therefore resigned on 
the 17th of July. Thus his first stay at the Foreign 
Office had been rather less than four months. In 
European politics, the ideas he handed down to his 
successors were those which had come to him from 
Chatham. Even Fox's leaning towards Russia in 
1 79 1 found its precedent not only in Chatham's general 
European views, but in his unsuccessful attempt in 
1766 to form a Northern alliance between Russia, 
Prussia and Great Britain ; apropos of this he wrote to 
Shelbume — " Your Lordship sees I am quite a Russ." 
A Continental alliance to balance the Bourbon League 
was forced on Fox, as it had been on Chatham, by the 
foreign policy of the two French ministers that directed 
the conspiracy against England in the last half of the 
eighteenth century. The chief author in France of the 
Family Compact of 176 1 had been Choiseul, ^hose as- 
cendancy with Louis XV. continued till 1 770, when he fell 
a victim to Madame du Barry's intrigues. The guiding 
principle of Choiseul's statesmanship under Louis XV., 
accommodated to the new circumstances of the time, 
animated the international methods of Vergennes in 
the next reign. Only within the last few years have 
the authors already mentioned in a footnote to an 
earlier chapter revealed the exact relations between the 
elder Pitt and the Family Compact of 1761. Simi- 
larly the precise methods which Vergennes used 
against England were imperfectly understood till the 
appearance, in 1889, of Dinol's France et Us £tats 
Unis. In and after 1774, Vergennes employed all 
his energies and all his influence with Louis XVI. to 
counterwork the restraining counsel of Turgot. 
Surely, he pleaded, the descendant of Louis XIV. and 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

the great nation he ruled would not so far disgrace 
themselves as to throw away the facilities provided by 
the American War for a French attack on Great Britain. 
Opportunism and diplomacy were as much convertible 
terms in the eighteenth century as they had been in 
the age of Machiavelli or of Alberoni. No surprise, 
therefore, was felt by Fox when, a little later, Vergennes 
himself proposed that England and France should co- 
operate against Russian aggression in the Near East. 

The reasons that closed our first Foreign Secre- 
tary's ears against any suggestion of united action 
abroad by the two Governments were those for 
which he condemned Pitt's Commercial Treaty of 
1786. That instrument and the discussions caused 
by it crucially illustrate the fundamental differences 
of foreign policy between Pitt and Fox. They 
also show incidentally, but most instructively, the dis- 
tinction to be drawn in the Whig attitude towards 
monarchical and republican France respectively. 
The idea of such a treaty originated, in 1769, 
with Shelburne. That was enough to call forth 
the opposition of Fox and of the other Whigs. 
The notion of our nearest Continental neighbour being 
our natural and inevitable enemy had been combated 
by no one more strongly than by Shelburne during the 
negotiations for the Peace of Versailles. For in 1783 
the French ministers had been ready to conclude with the 
English an arrangement which would practically have 
secured Free Trade between the two countries. Its 
formal ratification in 1 786 was effected by Eden's agency 
and constitutes Pitt's chief achievement in legislation.* 

* From the English trading privileges in India recognised by this 
treaty, it is known as the Bengal Convention. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

A compact of the same kind with Russia in 1785 had 
successfully provided English commerce with a valu- 
able opening, and had made Archangel, from a litde 
village, a prosperous business centre. As regards 
France, still in 1786 ruled by Louis XVI., Fox 
grounded his antagonism to Chatham's son on the 
principles of Chatham himself. It was not the French 
Government, but the absolutism and the aggression of 
Bourbonism with which there could be no truce. It 
was with legitimist France that Pitt and Shelbume, 
to Fox's great disgust, negotiated Free Trade. 
Of revolutionary France Fox could write to his 
friend Fitzpatrick, going abroad — "If I do not see 
you before you go, make my compliments to the 
Duke of Orleans, whose conduct seems to have been 
perfect, and tell him and his friends that all my 
prepossessions against French connections with this 
country will be at an end and most part of my system 
of European politics will be altered if this Revolution 
has the consequences that I expect/' 

These anticipations of the benefits to mankind to be 
conferred by kingless France were not peculiar to 
Fox and others who shared his political principles. 
They were in the atmosphere of the time, and were 
shared by him with the philosophic S. T. Coleridge, 
the future Tory Southey, and by the devout Words- 
worth. Nor, it must be remembered, was it till 1 79 1 that 
by the Avignon massacres, which the National Assembly 
instigated, that outside Paris revolutionary France 
first showed her blood-stained claws. So too, as is well 
pointed out in a recent life of Charles Fox,* republican 

* By J. L. Le B. Hammond, to whom and to whose work let me 
acknowledge many obligations. 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

France, during the lifetime of Fox, did not, as Bourbon 
France had done, sweep the whole world's horizon on 
the lookout for ground of quarrel against England. 

The great act of political proselytism at the hands 
of the French faction, which compelled Pitts inter- 
vention in the affairs of Holland, had occurred in 1787, 
while France in name was still under a monarchy. In 
that year the French or republican party, that had 
always existed at The Hague, expelled Prince William 
of Orange, the representative of Dutch monarchy, in 
the hope of re-establishing the federal constitution of 
the united provinces. Pitt's foreign policy, perpetu- 
ating that of his father, had already secured Prussia as 
England's ally. The co-operation of the two Powers 
now effected, without a blow being struck, Prince 
William's reinstatement under a joint Anglo-Prussian 
guarantee of securing his House and his dominions. 
Nor was Pitt less successful in his diplomatic dealings 
with the revolutionary leaders of the French National 
Assembly in 1789-90. Spain had molested an English 
settlement in Nootka — afterwards St George's 
Sound, Vancouver Island. England was about to 
assert her right in arms when Charles HI. of Spain 
appealed to his royal brother, Louis XVI. of France, for 
the military aid to which he was entitled by the terms of 
the 1 76 1 Family Compact. The French king and his 
ministers, Montmorin and Calonne, desired nothing 
more than to deflect the Revolution from its course 
and weaken it by opening hostilities with England. 
The declared republicans in the National Assembly at 
once used their majority to deprive the sovereign of 
the power of declaring war without its consent. Peace 

with England was the policy on which the National 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Assembly had resolved. Jhe vote, given after a hot 

debate, baffled the Bourbon conspiracy for the younger 

Pitt as effectually as it had been counterworked by 

the resources and ascendancy of his father. Is it not 

reasonably certain that, had he been in office and 

dealing with the same difficulties, the line taken by 

Fox would have been exactly that which Pitt followed ? 

So long indeed as the unvarying tradition and practice 

of the British Foreign Office were to maintain the 

European equilibrium, our statesmanship abroad could 

not but conform to one pattern. From the Peace 

of Westphalia to that of Utrecht, and more than a 

century afterwards, the standard of orthodoxy in 

international statesmanship accepted and enforced by 

the managers of our affairs abroad, whatever their 

party colour, was the balance of power. Foreign 

politics began to be popularised by Chatham. The 

means employed might differ ; the object to be piu^ued 

did not change with successive administrations. The 

pre-eminence and preponderation of any single state 

must be a standing threat to the tranquillity and welfare 

of the entire comity of nations. That belief had 

explained the elder Pitt's determination to make and 

at any cost to keep the alliance with Prussia. It 

explained on different occasions his rapprochement to 

St Petersburg as well as to Berlin. It explains also 

the diplomatic changes of front executed by the 

younger Pitt, as by his colleagues or his opponents. 

Reference has been made above to Frederick the 

Great's remark about the mischievous effects of the 

party-system upon English policy abroad. Up to the 

time now reached such consequences will not easily be 

found. Moreover, the younger Pitt and Fox belonged 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

by name to the same party, that in which Chatham 

himself had been reared. Walpole was its leader. 

The earliest Tories never went by that name. They 

were simply, in Walpole's phrase, "the boys" — ^the 

patriots who, dissenting from their leader chiefly on 

the point of subsidies to foreign troops or Hessian and 

Hanoverian soldiers in the royal employ, protested that 

their secession from Walpole arose from his betrayal 

of the national principles which they identified with 

Whiggism. The elder Pitt united for a time with 

Walpole's successor in the Whig leadership, the Duke 

of Newcastle. His great administration was that 

titularly headed by Newcastle's former colleague, the 

Duke of Devonshire. When the younger Pitt spoke 

of chastising Fox for his political delinquencies, he 

implied that his opponent was a Whig gone wrong — 

" ril un-whig the gentleman." No party differences 

therefore kept the two men asunder. They both of 

them continued at the same time to be members of 

Brooks' Club, the social palladium of the party. They 

had been within an ace of politically coming together 

before. Their mutual co-operation still remained on 

the cards. It was never nearer than under the 

Addington administration, simultaneously attacked by 

Foxites and Pittites during 1804. One night in that 

year Pitt and his friend Long, going home together 

from the House, passed the door of Brooks' Club. " I 

have not," said Pitt to his friend, "been in that place 

these twenty years — since, in fact, the Coalition days. 

Now, however, I think I will go in and sup." Dreading 

above all things a friendly meeting between his chief 

and Fox, who probably was already at the club, Long 

quickly rejoined, " I think you had better not." Pitt 
I 129 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

allowed himself to be dissuaded. The two political 
sections which might then easily have come together 
were finally kept apart. The French Revolution and 
its world-wide political consequences, converting the 
Chatham Whigs into reactionaries, created the new 
Toryism with a foreign policy separating it, more 
sharply than was done by its domestic differences, 
from the old Whig tradition. 

Even as it was, the conduct of the English 
Foreign Office during the period of Pitt's supremacy, 
up till 1 79 1, showed no break of continuity with the 
principles of which it might have been managed by 
Fox himself. In regard to all that had yet happened 
in France, Pitt paid no heed to the reactionary cries 
and counsels of his personal supporters or his private 
and political friends. He remained as superior to 
mere party consideration as in like circumstances 
would have been Chatham himself. He was 
pledged to a policy of neutrality towards the factions 
of which England's nearest Continental neighbour 
had become the prey. Absolute non-intervention in 
the politics of France, whether within or outside her 
border, was the line he had laid down. In adhering to 
it, he carried with him the court, king and Parliament. 
Fox, as leader of the Opposition, was in constant and 
confidential communication with the French Revolu- 
tionary chiefs ; he pressed on them moderation and 
reserve as absolutely necessary, if they were not hope- 
lessly to discredit their cause with their English well- 
wishers. While Fox was thus appealing direcdy to 
Barnave, there called one day at the London Foreign 
Office the Chevalier de la Bintinaye, with a letter 
from the Comte de Provence to George III., solicit- 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

ing help for the French monarchists. The answer 
taken home by the French emissary did but emphati- 
cally reaffirm the instructions already repeatedly con- 
veyed to Gower, our ambassador in Paris, by Pitt s 
Foreign Minister, Grenville: His Britannic Majesty 
had inflexibly resolved not only to take no part in 
supporting or opposing the measures adopted by other 
Powers towards France, but to avoid the expression 
of any opinion of the subject to his European allies. 
The allusion here was of course to Prussia. That 
state was prepared to co-operate with the Emperor 
Leopold on behalf of French royalty and royalists. 
To Pitt, the Anglo-Prussian alliance seemed of the 
first importance. He was, however, prepared to 
forfeit it rather than to run the risk of letting it 
embroil him with France. Not once, but repeatedly 
were the English representatives — at Berlin, Ewart, at 
Vienna, Keith — instructed to say that England could in 
no circumstances interfere, unless indeed the interests 
of King George's subjects should be directly affected 
by what was taking place in Paris. For the English 
minister to hold entirely aloof from the Pilnitz 
declaration of the Austrian and Prussian sovereigns, 
actively to befriend on the first chance the French 
monarch, was for the moment to isolate his country. 
By accepting this risk Pitt became the first English 
statesman who, reversing the tradition of centuries, 
took his stand upon the policy of non-intervention 
at any cost. To form one coalition after another 
in Germany, to subsidise allies with millions in free 
gifts, or aid them with profuse loans until all the 
Powers in our pay were successively defeated and 
many converted into the tools of the enemy, such, in 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

outline, is the conventional account of Pitt's foreign 
policy during this period. So far as the French 
Revolution had a constructive aim, to secure popular 
liberties, Pitt did not yield to Fox in wishing it well. 
His first diplomatic encounter with the National 
Assembly about the Nootka Sound settlement left him 
litde reason personally to regret the prospect of the 
Bourbon monarchy being replaced by the French Re- 
public. How far the English minister's hope of 
satisfactory relations with kingless France was to have 
a fulfilment in fact will now be seen. 

Down to 1 79 1, the diplomatic movements preceding 
the outbreak of the revolutionary war were between the 
French Government on the one hand and the Emperor 
Leopold and King Frederick William II. of Prussia on 
the other. On 6th July 1 79 1 , Marie Antoinette, then at 
Padua, had addressed to her Imperial brother of Austria 
an appeal for protection from the possibilities of re- 
publican violence. Six weeks later the Austrian 
Kaiser and the Prussian king met at Pilnitz in 
Saxony. The two sovereigns formally decided, first, 
that the position of the King of France had become 
a matter of European concern ; secondly, that they 
would themselves actively join in European interven- 
tion on behalf of the threatened dynasty by furnishing 
a force to operate on the French frontier. A menace 
so distinct as this undoubtedly supplied the French 
Assembly with a clear case of war against Leopold 
and Frederick William. The two crowned heads, 
in sight of all the world, had thrown down the 
challenge. Why was it not taken up by the citizen- 
patriots, who saw in foreign strife an agency favourable 

for establishing a democratic polity after their own 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

heart ? For the simple reason that the Pilnitz procla- 
mation was not taken seriously, but was regarded as a 
threat and nothing more. Had not also the sovereigns 
who made it recently almost come to blows over the 
Eastern question ? What, therefore, less probable than 
that they should be unanimous against France now? 
Moreover, the French Assembly, well served by its 
agents abroad, professed to have learned that even 
anxiety for the safety of his sister, the French Queen, 
was not likely to be held by the emperor sufficient 
reason for making an enemy of the whole French 
nation. The result, therefore, of the Pilnitz conference 
had been received in France with contempt rather 
than with indignation. The stultification of the 
Austrian and Prussian sovereigns was completed a 
few weeks later, when Louis XIV. publicly accepted 
the Constitution prescribed to him by the National 
Assembly. The royalists as a party protested. 
Louis only replied that a king's first duty was to 
identify his own will with that of his people. It 
therefore seemed worth while for the French 
Assembly to use its diplomatic resources in the way 
most likely to divide its two royal antagonists. When 
these had failed, the diplomatic scene changed to 

On the eve of the tremendous duel between France 
and Prussia, in 1870, a veteran servant of the English 
Foreign Office described the European horizon as 
absolutely cloudless. So, in 1792, Pitt had never 
known a time when, from the situation of Europe, we 
might more reasonably expect fifteen years' peace. 
That indeed was not the view of a professional diplo- 
matist like Auckland, or of a political philosopher like 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Burke. Both of these ominously shook th^ir heads 
when they found men like the English Prime Minister 
** think no more of the change of Spanish diplomacy 
or of the death of the Emperor Leopold than of the 
removal of a Dutch burgomaster." The Girondin 
ministry in the French Assembly secured the declara- 
tion of war against Austria and Prussia in the April of 
1792. Before the actual rupture the centre of French 
diplomatic gravity had for some time shifted to London. 
At the beginning of that year the stream of communi- 
cations begins to flow between the English and 
French capitals. January opens with the recall of 
Barthelemy, the chargi (f affaires at the French 
Embassy on the Thames. Hirsinger, who replaces him, 
is at first delighted with his reception. Nothing could 
be more charming than the cordiality of Grenville and 
his staff. Presently come misgivings. After all, the 
islanders, he fears, do not love and trust France as 
they ought. Not only does he see everywhere 
English commerce displacing French, but every day 
increases the investment of French capital in English 
funds. Perfidious Albion, he suspects, will not rest 
content till her flag floats over Mauritius and Reunion. 
As for His Britannic Majesty, George IIL, it looks as 
if he were secretly intriguing with the Emperor 
Francis H. against France. What, too, if Spain 
should join the conspiracy on a promise of help with 
the thirty or forty thousand troops controlled by the 
English king as Elector of Hanover? But, it may 
be said, is not England now governed more really and 
absolutely by the families of Pitt and Grenville com- 
bined than by the House of Hanover ? Obviously, 
therefore, the Prime Minister will make the cousin 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

who is his Foreign Secretary an instrument of peace. 
For, to weaken France by an actively hostile combina- 
tion would be to prevent her helping forward Pitt's 
policy of balancing the Prussian and Russian power. 
Hirsinger therefore still hopes that England's antagon- 
ism to France is only that of a trade rival. Before 
January is out, another diplomatic reconnaissance has 
been ordered by the French foreign Minister, De 
Lessart. This was conducted by two eminent 
amateurs in diplomacy, neither of them officially 
accredited to the English court. One of the pair was 
a bishop of Louis XVI.'s appointment, transformed 
by his training from a cleric into Napoleon's future 
Foreign Minister. An early accident, causing lifelong 
lameness, had disqualified Talleyrand for the army. 
Choosing the Church for a career, he had prepared 
himself for the bishopric of Autun by associating 
with the primates of Narbonne, of Toulouse and 
other divines who occupied the box at Madame de 
Montespan's private theatre reserved for le clerg^ un 
pen dissip^. He had fitted himself for republican 
employment by proposing in the Tiers j^tat, loth 
October 1789, the confiscation of church property as a 
cure for national bankruptcy. He had long been on 
the lookout for scandals that might tell against the 
monarchy. The use made by him of what he had 
picked up in the affair of the diamond necklace, un- 
doubtedly gave a fresh impetus to the revolutionary 
spirit. Scenting blood in the republican atmosphere, 
he welcomed the chance of employment abroad, in 
England first, in America afterwards. While he was 
yet only in training for his position as a chief minister 
of the Directory, and of the Consulate before the 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

Empire, Talleyrand showed himself the first to under- 
stand the growing connection between diplomacy and 
finance — ^the Chancery and the City. The London 
house of the Frankfort Rothschilds was first esta- 
blished in 1798, six years after Talleyrand's earliest 
English mission. Some time, however, before that, 
through their British agents the Van Nottens, the 
Rothschilds did business for and with the English 
Government, They, like other financial rulers of 
nations, had of course a connection with Talleyrand, 
who had been among the earliest to estimate at its true 
value the new force in international politics. A man 
so far ahead in his ideas of the aristocratic caste still 
dominating diplomacy was, of course, denounced by the 
priesthood as an apostate, by the nobility as a traitor, 
and, in the same strain, he was taunted with being '' a 
greedy stock-jobber, hand-in-glove with the Jew, in- 
tended by nature for the rabbi of a usurer s synagogue 
rather than a priest in a Christian church." The 
English d^but of Talleyrand's ducal colleague did not 
promise well. The Due de Biron had been in 
England before and left unpaid bills behind ; he no 
sooner touched British soil again than a sheriffs 
officer, tapping him on the shoulder, conducted him to 
a sponging-house ; for, being a diplomatist unattached, 
he could not plead an ambassador's immunity from 
arrest for debt. 

The most practical part of Talleyrand's mission had 
to do with money. France, Talleyrand was instructed 
to say, loyal in everything to the terms of the Utrecht 
settlement, would not attack Austria unless compelled 
in the way of self-defence. 

On the strength of this explanation an Anglo- 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

French alliance would, it was hoped, prove practic- 
able, on the further understanding that England 
^ould guarantee a French loan of ;^3,ooo,ooo 
or ;^4,ooo,ooo, to be secured by the island of 
Tobago. Having submitted these proposals to the 
English Government, Talleyrand waited a fortnight 
for an answer. Even then ministerial divisions 
indefinitely postponed a reply. As Talleyrand gradu- 
ally found out, Pitt, with his friend Dundas and his 
Foreign Minister Grenville, favoured the French offer. 
The other members of the Cabinet were dead against 
it. Talleyrand's execution of his first international 
commission was to close neither the affair nor this 
his earliest connection with England. The French 
Government had long wished to be represented at the 
Court of St James in a manner worthy both of France 
and of England. Hirsinger, like Barthelemy, was 
merely a temporary envoy. At last an eminently 
suitable selection had been made in the person of the 
young Marquis de Chauvelin. The new ambassador 
reached London on 27th April 1792. He came as 
practically and especially the nominee of the Girondins, 
who then dominated the National Assembly ; it was 
their policy to consolidate French republicanism by war 
and to detach England from a combination against 
France. A week before the rupture of France with 
her neighbours, Chauvelin had received elaborate 
instructions for his English mission. His first object 
was to obtain a pledge from England of strict neutrality 
in the coming war, should France find herself compelled 
to divert operations from her own frontier into the 
Austrian Netherlands. At the same time he was 
emphatically to disclaim for his country any thought of 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

territorial extension or any wish to interfere in the 
concerns of its neighbours. The world's peace 
depended on the European balance of power being 
preserved. The excessive increase of Russian or 
German strength could not but eventually prove 
fatal to equilibrium and to tranquillity. As regards 
Germany too, it must be remembered that the re- 
modelling, if not the disappearance, of the Empire 
itself was a contingency that events might easily pre- 
cipitate. For Holland to interfere with any French 
strategical movements because they seemed to threaten 
her borders, must make France her enemy instead of, 
as at present, her friend ; it must also involve the down- 
fall of the House of Orange. Then had the English 
Government weighed the cost at home of a collision 
with the National Assembly abroad ? Ireland cordially 
detested the British connection ; she would welcome 
her French deliverer with open arms. On the other 
hand Chauvelin was to insist upon the advantages to 
England of an alliance with France. The first of 
England's interests was of course material. Good : 
supposing Spain to yield to the temptation of joining 
the Empire, instead of the country from which she was 
separated by the Pyrenees, what more easy than for 
England, France, and England's kinsfolk across the 
Adantic to divide amongst themselves the spoils of 
Spanish trade in all quarters of the world? The 
modest cost to England of the boons a generous France 
waited to confer would be that already suggested 
by Talleyrand, a British guarantee of a few millions' 
loan, against which the West Indian island of Tobago 
would be held by the Government of George III. 
'■ Talleyrand himself was now, nominally as private 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

secretary, really as unofficial colleague, co-operating 
with Chauvelin. In his native land Talleyrand was 
equally disliked by the royalists and the republicans. 
Public opinion, however, agreed with Dumouriez, 
during his short tenure of the Foreign Office, that 
Talleyrand was the one Frenchman pre-eminently 
qualified for doing business with England. In London 
the unpopularity of his Girondin employers often seemed 
to be reflected upon Talleyrand himself. Gradu- 
ally, however, he lived down much of these prejudices. 
The narrative of Dumont conclusively proves him 
honestly and steadily, in the teeth not only of abuse 
but of actual insults, to have pursued his object of 
keeping France and England at peace. The truth of 
Dumont's vindication was to some extent anticipated by 
impartial English judges during Talleyrand's lifetime. 
It is one of the ironies of history that a measure, 
carried by Pitt to promote friendly relations between 
the two countries, indirectly should have furnished a 
pretext for the convention's declaration of war against 
England (ist February 1793). Pitt's commercial 
treaty of 1786 in the interests of international trade 
and friendly intercourse had secured to all French 
subjects unfettered liberty of entrance to England. 
The Alien Act of 'seven years later, it was complained, 
cancelled the earlier treaty privileges, or hampered 
them by conditions depriving them of all value. By 
their legislation in 1793, Pitt and Grenville obliged all 
foreigners on landing in this country to declare the 
purpose of their visit, to register their names, and to 
obtain Engli^ passports on their departure if they 
wished to return. At the same time was forbidden 
the exportation from England to French ports of all 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

materials of war, as well as of com, whether grown in 
this country or elsewhere. As will presently be seen, 
the real diplomatic causes of the breach between 
France and England lay in the conduct not of the 
English Government, but of the French. Great 
Britain had repeatedly committed herself to maintain 
the independence of Holland and Belgium. Patiendy 
as he bore with them, Pitt was at last forced into 
recognising that the diplomatic and military action of 
the Convention constituted a menace to his Dutch ally 
of which he could not remain a passive spectator. And 
these acts had gone hand-in-hand with the French 
ambassador's repeated interferences in Pitt's domestic 
administration, as well as with the appeals addressed 
by the French Convention to the English and to 
other peoples to rise against their Government. 
The incitements to insurrection were, after a fashion, 
explained by the Paris Foreign Office. As regards 
Holland no explanation was offered. The only 
interests served by Chauvelin during his ambassador- 
ship in England were those of the British administra- 
tion, which he provoked into war. In the home politics 
of the country where he had resided, his diplomacy 
gave the impetus which at the beginning of the Revolu- 
tionary struggle rallied round Pitt all those sections 
of the Whig party that had previously opposed him ; 
by so doing they placed him at the head of an im- 
divided Parliament and an absolutely united people. 

As Lord Rosebery has made abundandy clear 
in his interesting and valuable monograph, so far 
from Pitt having been bullied into war by George III., 
he infused much of the spirit of his own patient for- 
bearance into his royal master. He had always 


The First Ten Years of the Foreign Office 

believed that after a time France would recover from 
the disturbances of her system and would tranquilly 
resume her place in the comity of nations. The chief 
source of his misgivings, down to the very eve of the 
European convulsion, was Russia. 

In 1788, the year before the States-General opened, 
while France was as yet monarchical and peaceful, Pitt, 
co-operating with the Austrian minister Kaunitz and the 
Prussian Hertzberg, had expended much labour in form- 
ing an alliance with Holland. Ever since his failure in 
the affair of Oczakow, he had looked uneasily at the 
armed and aggressive form of the Giant of the 
North. Precaution against menace from that quarter 
formed the sole motive of the agreement entered into 
by Austria, England, Holland and Prussia; it took 
its name from the royal summer residence near 
Apeldom. The preliminaries of the Loo Convention 
were signed at the Loo, 13th June 1788; the full 
treaty was executed and ratified at Berlin two months 
later (13th August). In addition to the specific 
Dutch responsibilities imposed on England by the 
Loo Convention, there existed general ground of 
international law on which not only England but all 
Europe might have resented the violation of Dutch 
neutrality now contemplated by France. In 1784, the 
Government of Louis XVI. had protested against the 
opening of the Scheldt by Austria, who then held the 
Low Countries. From the French point of view that 
act constituted a wanton violation of the rights of the 
United Provinces established by the treaty of 1731. 
The objection was allowed, and Austria desisted from 
her attempt. Now, after an interval of eight years, 

republican France deliberately violated international 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

usage by that very aggression to prevent which 
monarchical France, in the common interest of Europe, 
had risked war with the Austrian Empire. Chauvelin 
had come to England as representative of the King 
of France. Stricdy, therefore, his mission had ended 
when Louis XVI. ceased to govern; after that 
Grenville and Pitt addressed their protests against 
the French Government not to the French 
Ambassador in London, but to the Paris Foreign OflSce. 

The practical dethronement of Louis XVL in 1792 
left France without the Government which had 
accredited Chauvelin to England. The king's execu- 
tion, 31st January 1792, removed from the French 
capital even the shadow of responsible administration. 
Brissot's report to the Convention, on 3rd February, 
formally opened the state of war between Great 
Britain and France. Here we are only concerned with 
the diplomatic pleas and preliminaries of the rupture. 
These have already been given in sufficient detail. 

Passing to the more general treaty violations 
that necessarily closed diplomatic relations between 
England and France, there must be noticed the con- 
temptuous cancelling by the French Republic of the 
essential terms on which, in 1647, the Peace of 
Westphalia had concluded the Thirty Years* War. 
This treaty had guaranteed security and independ- 
ence to the entire population of Alsace. The French 
Convention violently robbed the Alsatian nobles and 
clergy of their estates. The responsibilities and 
honour of England were more closely touched by the 
victorious advance of the French armies to the banks 
of the Scheldt, immediately following as it did the 

French violation of the neutrality of that stream. 




Dumont's account of Chauvelin's reception in England — Lord Elgin 
— Lord Minto and Thugut — Lord Spencer — Sir John Murray 
— ^Jealousy between Austria and Prussia — Austria's reliance on 
British subsidies — ^The Basle Treaties of France with Spain 
and Prussia — Understanding between Pitt and Thugut — ^The 
Preliminaries of Leoben and Campo Formio — ^The Peace of 
Lun6ville — Pitt's attempts at a general peace — Wickham, at 
Berne — Lord Malmesbury and La Croix — Napoleon's letter to 
George III. and Grenville's reply — Napoleon's second letter — 
Action abroad impeded by differences at home — ^The Anglo- 
Russian entente — Count Woronzow — The Czar Paul quarrels 
with England — ^The Maritime question — Allejme Fitzherbert, 
Lord St Helens — Lord Leveson-Gower — Lord Hawkesbury 
succeeds Grenville as Foreign Secretary — The Peace of Amiens 
— Pitt disapproves of the peace — Russia's dissatisfiEtction — 
Harrowby and Novosiltzow — The Treaty of St Petersburg, 
1805 — The Convention of Helsingborg — Pitt's death and the 
Talents Ministry, 1806. 

THERE IS no better French authority for the course 
of Anglo-French diplomacy on the eve of the 
outbreak of the Revolutionary War than the writer 
already referred to in connection with Talleyrand, 
Dumont ; his acquaintance with English society 
dated from 1785* His second visit to this country 
was made as Chauvelins unofficial companion in 
1792. From the first he used his knowledge of 
English life and character to guard his countrymen 
against mistake on two points. "So far," he re- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

marked, "from being, as is the fashion to say, well 
received, we are really cold-shouldered. No one 
believes in us or likes us. Chauvelin's position is 
only possible on condition of his not seeking important 
interviews, lying low, and as far as possible keeping 
out of evidence." All this was literally true. Within 
a few weeks after the mission had begun, on 21st 
May 1792, Chauvelin had handed in a censure of the 
English proclamation against seditious writings, with 
a demand that it should be laid before Parliament. 
Grenville merely returned the document with a curt 
endorsement to the effect that the French ambassador 
was exceeding the limits of his proper sphere. From 
that moment Chauvelin s failure was assured. The 
second fallacy, of which in his home letters Dumont 
warned his friends to clear their minds, related to the 
position of the English Prime Minister and the true 
English temper towards the new forces which had 
declared themselves in France. Irresponsible gossip 
may tell you, he in effect says, there is a power in 
England greater than that of the minister or the king, 
secretly but irresistibly sympathising with the new 
order in France. Do not believe it for a moment. 
Pitt, and Pitt alone, personifies the genius and the 
fixed resolve of the British nation. Whatever it may 
be, his policy is the expression of the national will. 
Fox has forty followers, all of whom would die for him, 
but is the mouthpiece of a faction. Pitt relies only 
on himself, yet carries the whole country in his port- 
folio. Chauvelin himself lived, after his retirement 
from England and from diplomacy, long enough to 
endorse from his experience the truth of Dumont's 

words. After his return to France and the restoration 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

of the monarchy, his former republican associations 
secured him a year's imprisonment; between 1804 
and 181 2 he held several municipal offices ; after that 
he began a new and successful career as an orator in 
the French Chamber. Before his death, in 1832, he 
visited private friends in England ; well received in 
London society, he acknowledged at more than one 
dinner-table his own mistakes and the accuracy of 
Dimiont's impressions. 

Though untrained to international politics as a pro- 
fession, Dumont had performed one of a diplomatist's 
chief duties in trying to undeceive the rulers and 
people of France as to English opinion and resources. 
After the outbreak of the war the entire course of 
English diplomacy was personally directed by Pitt. 
The professional diplomatists abroad were used by 
him not so much to execute, not at all to suggest 
policy. Their one business consisted in sending him 
news. Thus each of our foreign chanceries became 
an emporium for transmitting information on which 
the English minister intended to act. Some of those 
who distinguished themselves in that capacity may 
now be mentioned. First in order of distinction and 
importance comes Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of 
Elgin, whose removal of Greek statuary from Athens 
brought down upon him the lash of Byron's satire. 
Bom in 1766 and living to 1841, he began his career 
by a special mission to the Emperor Leopold in 1790. 
Two years later he was envoy at Brussels. In 1795 
he became head of the embassy at Berlin. To the 
Austrian capital, Scotland contributed another son of 
the same calibre as Elgin, and one of Pitt's most 

trusty informants. The second Earl of Minto repre- 
K 145 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

sented his Government in most of their dealings with 
the Austrian Foreign Office under Thugut. That 
minister, in his anxiety to oppose or support any inter- 
national project which Minto might desire, by way of 
winning favour with the Northern peer once suggested 
the abolition of the pope. The British ambassador 
drily replied that, as a Scot and a Presbyterian, he 
had no particular respect for the Vatican, that it 
seemed, however, to be a question between the 
Christianity of Roman Catholicism and the worship of 
the Goddess of Reason in Europe ; on the whole he 
thought the former alternative to be the less objec- 
tionable of the two. Thugut's chicanery and hollow- 
ness were penetrated both by Minto and another of our 
Vienna ambassadors, Spencer, at their first interview. 
With Kaunitz, they both said, we can do business. 
Of Minto's relations with Thugut, something will 
presently be said. 

Minto's personal charm must have been greater 
than that of any diplomatic contemporary. Women 
and children, it was said, at once took to him by 
instinct, and afterwards clung to him in love. As an 
Elliot of Stobs, he belonged to a family conspicuous 
in all generations for its influence and success. During 
its short possession by England (1794-6), he was 
Viceroy of Corsica. While thus representing George 
III. in Bonaparte's native island, he had in a sense, 
for about a twelvemonth, Napoleon for his subject. 
As Lord Minto he became Governor-General of 
India in 1806. Created an earl for his Asiatic 
achievements, he came home only to die, in 18 14. 
Slighdy senior to Elgin, the second Earl Spencer had 
become first Lord of the Admiralty in the stirring years 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

of Nelson ; he brought to the Austrian capital the native 
shrewdness of an English squire brought up among 
horses, but with a manner polished by the experience 
of almost every European court. Before then, how- 
ever, in 1792-3, Spencer was much at Brussels. The 
Belgian capital at that epoch shared with The Hague 
and Vienna the same sort of notoriety for diplomatic 
conspiracy and international intrigue as had formerly 
belonged in succession to Madrid and Milan. Neither 
military nor naval attache at that time existed. But 
Spencer obtained much information particularly valu- 
able to Pitt, from Sir John Murray. This was a dis- 
tinguished officer who personally followed the Duke of 
Brunswick's operations when that general's gallantries 
and preoccupation with executing Catherine II.'s com- 
mands in the partition of Poland left him time to go 
through the formality of taking the field. But for the 
shrewd Murray's practical advice, some of Pitt's col- 
leagues, if not Pitt himself, might, by a repetition of 
the Quiberon affair, have been made the cat's-paws of 
the dispossessed royalists for pulling out of the revolu- 
tionary fire their estates, that were the only things for 
which those patriots cared.* 

But it was from Vienna that Pitt first received 
confirmation of his suspicions that England's allies 
had chiefly gone into the war with the motive of 
pocketing English gold or feasting on Polish plunder. 
At Vienna, Minto, Straton and Spencer were all 
of them ambassadors during the wars of the French 
Revolution. To Straton belongs the distinction of 

* Original details confirming this view will be found in the Auck- 
land Papers^ vol. ii. p. 64, and in an article by Mr Oscar Browning, 
Fortnightly Review^ February 1883. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

having been the first to unveil the secret policy 
and the real purpose of the allies who were affecting 
to co-operate with England for the pacification of 
Europe. The personal safety of the French king 
with his family and the restoration of the French 
monarchy had stood foremost in the Pilnitz pro- 
gramme. Those ends began practically to be ig^nored 
before the first campaign had fairly begun. So long 
as England regularly provided the sinews of war, 
Austria and Prussia would make a show of joining 
their arms with hers. But the real word of command 
had been given by the Empress Catherine from 
St Petersburg. Following the Russian example, 
Austria and Prussia saw in the European convulsion 
an opportunity of enriching themselves at the cost of a 
feeble and a friendless state, it was the story of the 
1 76 1 Family Compact in a new setting and brought 
up to date. The same mixture of ingenuity and luck 
by which Chatham's understrappers had ascertained 
the earlier conspiracy of the Bourbon houses now put 
Straton, Spencer and Minto on the scent of the plan 
formed by the great military monarchies for blotting 
out Poland from the map of Europe. 

The Austrian Foreign Minister, Cobenzl, pointedly 
declined to reassure Straton on the subject ; he could 
only say that the Austrian ambassador in London, 
Count Stadion, would in due course give all needfiil 
information. The reports received at the London 
Foreign Office were to the following effect : — No sense 
of honour constrains the international thieves; the 
jealousy entertained by Austria and Prussia of each 
other far exceeds their common dislike of France. On 

that jealousy French intrigue successfiilly plays. If 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

Austria deserts Prussia in Poland, Prussia will retaliate 
by making common cause with France against 
her, and prompdy invade Bavaria. Should Prussia 
decline her part in the Polish plot, an Austrian and 
French army will march on Berlin. The international 
intrigues, counter-intrigues, military and political con- 
spiracies of the war of the Austrian Succession were 
in fact beginning to repeat themselves. Austrian and 
Prussian generals, not less than Austrian and Prussian 
statesmen, kept a sharp lookout, not for the professed 
enemy, but for the best market in which to sell them- 
selves, their Governments and their allies. Nan olet ; 
if Pitt delayed his remittances, were not the resources 
of France inexhaustible, and was not French money 
quite as good as English? Such, literally, was the 
tenor of the scandalous chronicle that forms the 
diplomatic history of the first year of the struggle. 
In the course of 1794, the victories of Hoche and 
Pichegru had laid Prussia at the feet of France ; the 
Duke of Brunswick's retreat completed for the time 
her withdrawal from the contest. Austria's retire- 
ment was soon to follow. Meanwhile, both Eng- 
land's nominal allies occupied themselves alternately 
with devouring Poland in fragments or thrusting 
their hands deeper into the British purse. Pitt's 
appeals to Austrian faith and honour were heard with 
a smile of contempt in the chancery and salons of 
Vienna. The financial condition of Austria had 
become almost desperate. Pitt's subsidies alone saved 
the Bank of Vienna from breaking. Even so, in an in- 
terview held in 1799 with Minto, as Sir Morton Eden's 
successor at the British Embassy, Thugut feared that 

Napoleon's advance on the Austrian capital could not 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

be resisted unless ;^5CX>,ooo more were at once forth- 
coming to pay the troops. Thugut's name suggests 
the new era in the diplomatic personnel of Europe 
opened by the Revolution. The aristocratic tradition 
of the Austrian Foreign Office, represented by Kaunitz, 
was first broken when his successor was found in the 
son of a poor boatman on the Danube, who had done 
so well at the Oriental School at Vienna as to attract 
the notice of Maria Theresa and to be started by her 
in a diplomatic career. With Thugut's control of 
Austria's external relations, there opens a fresh chapter 
in the record of the intercourse between London and 
Vienna. England had mildly protested to Austria and 
Prussia against their Polish policy. Several amateur 
diplomatists had suggested to Downing Street, as a 
litde diversion from the central war, an Anglo-French 
intervention to preserve some remnants of the national 
carcase feasted on by the Imperial or royal vultures. 
In August 1799, Minto informed Grenville and Pitt 
of the Austrian designs in Italy. . Savoy and Piedmont, 
if not Naples, were to fall to the Vienna monarchy as 
its prize in the general scramble. England had only 
two conditions to suggest : the first, that she relied on 
Austria as the one barrier to France in the Low 
Countries ; the second, that in return for giving Austria 
free hand, she must insist on a commercial treaty 
particularly favourable to British trade. 

The point has now been reached at which a 
general view may be formed of English diplomacy 
under Pitt, first with reference to Britain's allies, 
secondly in connection with their enemy France. 
As regards the former, English statesmanship, even 
when backed by open cheques all round, had failed 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

to secure not only the prompt and efficient pro- 
secution of the wax, but anything like fidelity to 
England on the part of her colleagues in that enter- 
prise. What happened not once but habitually, was 
this : Pitt, sometimes directly himself, more frequently 
through his Foreign Office and his representatives 
abroad, concluded at a particular juncture and for a 
definite purpose an agreement with one of his partners 
in the struggle. That always meant a British pay- 
ment for a specific end. The money had no sooner 
changed hands than the object for which it had been 
given was ignored. The payee, before beginning to 
perform his part of the bargain, looked for some other 
market in which to sell himself for a higher price than 
that given by Great Britain. This is what had 
happened in 1795, in a fashion so much more con- 
spicuous than upon any other occasion, as to necessitate 
a brief retrospect of the transaction. The year just 
named was that of the Basle treaties between France, 
Prussia and Spain. These concern us here only so 
far as they furnish another proof of the degree in 
which British agencies, military as well as diplomatic, 
had now ceased to produce any practical sense of 
obligation to England on the part of her allies. On 
5th April 1795, in return for her neutrality, Prussia 
received the guarantee of France that at any general 
pacification of Europe, hereafter, she should receive 
full territorial compensation for any possessions she 
might surrender. The single plea on which the 
French Convention had added Spain to Austria and 
Prussia in its earliest declaration of war was a sus- 
picion or conviction of Spanish ill-will to the Republic. 
By the Basle treaty of 22nd July 1795, Spain pur- 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

chased peace with France at the cost of her interest 
in the West Indian island of San Domingo. Of that 
arrangement the London Foreign Oflfice might well 
be a passive spectator. Its only interest for England 
was, as the event proved, that it prepared the way for 
the Franco-Spanish understanding which united the 
fleets of both countries against Great Britain at Tra- 
falgar, and two years after that for the Treaty of 
Fontainebleau (27th October 1807) f^*' ^^ partition of 
Portugal. The earliest appearance, therefore, of an 
entente between the two countries separated by the 
Pyrenees in a way presages the peninsular portion of the 
war that itself formed the prelude to Napoleon s fall. 
In view of what the future had in store, it is of some 
interest to mention that in the last month of 1793 a 
British agent obtained from a spy at Toulon and 
forwarded to the Foreign Office an account of the un- 
successful attack upon Toulon, containing the earliest 
mention in any British document of Napoleon's name. 
Meanwhile the results of Pitts Austrian negotia- 
tions experienced a momentary improvement. This 
was partly due to Baron Thugut s vigorous political 
sympathies ; for though, as has been seen, not belong- 
ing by birth to the Austrian aristocracy, that controller 
of the Vienna Foreign Office had all their exclusive 
prejudices. He distrusted and hated revolutionary 
France as cordially as did Catherine II. herself. 
The generalship of the Austrian troops for which 
England was sole paymaster had long proved 
scandalously inefficient. As a condition of further 
supplies, Pitt insisted on a change of commanders. 
Here he had the support of Thugut. Further Anglo- 
Austrian negotiations resulted in the Prince of Coburg 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

being superseded by Clerfayt. Though that change 
did not produce all the results which had been hoped, an 
improvement set in with the appointment of the Arch- 
duke Charles ; this was entirely due to the good under- 
standing between Pitt and Thugut These two were 
for a time united in a genuine co-operation. That 
fact alone makes it unlikely that Thugut should have 
sold the Austrian cypher to the French, or should have 
preferred his speculations in the French Funds to 
Austrian victories in the field. In 1797, the Austrian 
nobility had lost heart, the national exchequer was 
empty. Thugut's energy, helped by French delays, 
alone prevented Bonaparte entering Vienna unopposed. 
Even as it was, Thugut failed to avert the military 
collapse ; the Leoben preliminaries, on i8th April 1797, 
gave the Netherlands to France ; as a quid pro quo, 
Austria, out of Napoleon's Italian plunder, was to 
receive Venice with other territories on the Adriatic. 
How in this scramble England diplomatised or forced 
herself into Malta will presently be seen in connec- 
tion with other political incidents belonging to that 
episode. Both the Leoben provisions and those of 
Campo Formio were formally ratified by, and included 
in the Franco-Austrian Peace of Lun^ville which, 
opening the nineteenth century, marks the final with- 
drawal of Austria from the struggle, the end of Pitt s 
second coalition against France, and the temporary 
retirement of Pitt himself. 

Other movements of British diplomacy remain to 
be noticed. Meanwhile, what were the overtures to 
France for a general pacification made by Pitt 
during the progress of the events already described ? 
The manifesto published by the English minister at 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the beginning of hostilities had expressly declared his 
wish to listen to terms of accommodation on the first 
opportunity. In 1793, Fox had brought forward a 
resolution condemning the war, to find himself beaten 
by 226 votes. The next year, however, at least two 
motions in favour of peace negotiation were proposed 
with Pitt's approval and by his own friend Wilberforce. 
Direcdy a settled Government existed in France, 
Pitt had always said he would press proposals for 
peace. In 1795 the establishment of the Directory 
seemed to give the awaited opportunity. During the 
next spring, "without committing ourselves too far, 
we might, I think," said Pitt to Grenville, "get some- 
one to sound the new French administration as to 
terms of a general peace." " I have," replied the 
Foreign Minister, " the man you want, ready for the 
work. Wickham at Berne is discretion itself and on 
the best of terms with his French colleague, who is 
high in the favour of the new regime at Paris." In 
executing his commission, Pitt failed only because 
success was out of the question. England, in her un- 
suspecting innocence, held herself bound in honour to 
entertain no proposals for ending the war, save on the 
condition of the Low Countries being restored to Austria. 
That, Wickham 's French friend assured him, was abso- 
lutely inadmissible. So ended the parley. The true 
reason why the affair fell through was, of course, 
that the early vigour and success of the Directory 
had already filled the French mind with definite hopes 
of universal conquest. Pitt's diplomacy, however, was 
still actuated by a belief that with patience he might 
still attain his pacific end. In Malmesbury he had a 
negotiator who combined great position, a grave 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

urbanity of address with rare professional skill and a 
real devotion to himself. Malmesbury therefore was, 
in the autumn of 1796, chosen by Pitt to confer in 
Paris with the Foreign Minister of the Directory, La 
Croix, the representative of Republic patriotism in its 
most extreme and aggressive form. Pitt had other 
reasons than the high qualifications of his represen- 
tative for hoping for a good result from his new 
negotiations. England had recendy taken the Cape 
of Good Hope and many of the French possessions in 
tlie West Indies. The English Government could 
therefore offer the Directory a substantial return for 
the necessary concessions. At the outset, however, 
of the discussion, La Croix let it be known that he 
could not relinquish so valuable a prize of war as the 
Netherlands. On that point Grenville had instructed 
Malmesbury that he must not give the smallest hope 
of any relaxation. La Croix, whose personal bearing 
from the first had been the reverse of reassuring, 
abrupdy declared the conversation closed. Still inde- 
fatigably tenacious of his peace policy, Pitt, in the 
autumn of 1797, through the same representative as 
before, renewed his endeavours to end hostilities. 
Since Malmesbury's former mission the international 
situation had undergone an important change. The 
already mentioned preliminaries of Leoben (i8th 
April 1797) became afterwards (October 1797) the 
Peace of Campo Formio. By that Austria had secretly 
made over to France those Low Countries whose 
cession the English Government said it was bound 
in duty to its allies not to entertain. The question 
of the Low Countries cannot therefore have again 
arisen between the French and British plenipotenti- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

aries. The new objection raised by the Foreign 
Office at Paris was that the London plenipotentiaty 
did not fully answer to his official style, that his 
authority was too limited, and that he had to refer 
home for instructions more often than seemed respectful 
to a great Power like France. The true cause of 
the miscarriage was that militarism had acquired 
the ascendant in the Directory and that the fight- 
ing faction knew the French army throve best on 

The next occasion on which peace prospects be- 
tween the two countries came into sight had a dramatic 
interest wanting to the earlier negotiations. In 1799, 
Napoleon, advancing another stage towards the Im- 
perial crown, had become First Consul ; in that capacity 
he wrote directly to George III. suggesting a peace. 
Pitt and his sovereign entirely agreed that the state of 
French affairs contained little promise of successful 
negotiation. The English reply, they were further 
united in thinking, should reciprocate the First 
Consul's willingness to end the war, and should 
propose the restoration of the French monarchy as 
the safest means of doing so. The actual composition 
of the answer, of course, fell to the Foreign Secretary. 
Naturally stiff and didactic, Grenville was the last man 
fitted to pen a conciliatory despatch. He now pro- 
duced not a reply to Bonaparte's letter, but a censure 
of French national and diplomatic methods in the form 
of a note to our ambassador in Paris. It was thus 
neither a refusal nor an acceptance of the First Consuls 
offer. Without a touch of epigram or a single felicity 
of expression, it formed a ponderously-phrased lecture 

on the enormity of the courses pursued by France 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

since she had dispensed with the services of her king. 
It is now known from a recent chief of our Foreign 
Ofifice, George III. on reading the draft thought it 
much too strong, regretfully adding, " I suppose it 
must go.*** As the king shrewdly anticipated at 
the time, the passage which chiefly roused the indig- 
nation of Napoleon, and which strengthened im- 
mensely his position with his countrymen, was His 
Britannic Majesty's intimation that the reinstatement 
of the Bourbon monarchy would form a guarantee of 
French sincerity, which he might reasonably expect, 
and which would gready assist the process of the 
negotiations. Napoleon did not take the trouble 
of referring Grenville's efifusion to the French Foreign 
Office, or even privately to Talleyrand. He per- 
sonally penned an acknowledgment which gave him 
both a literary and a logical victory; he appreci- 
ated, he gravely said, the English king's gracious 
admission that nations had a right to choose their 
own form of government. This was indeed only what 
he had expected, seeing it was by the exercise of 
such a right that His Britannic Majesty held his own 
crown. Unfortunately, however, the King of England 
had annexed insinuations, such as tended to an inter- 
ference in the internal affairs of the Republic, and 
were no less injurious to the nation and to its Govern- 
ment than would seem to the subjects of King 
George a French suggestion to restore the Republic 
which England had adopted in the middle of the 
seventeenth century, or an exhortation to recall to 
the British throne the family whom their birth had 
placed there, and whom a revolution had compelled to 

• Lord Rosebery's /V//, p. 143. 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

descend from it. Still, not less anxious for peace than 
in the first instance, Napoleon would at once sus- 
pend hostilities; plenipotentiaries from both sides 
might then meet at Dunkirk, or some other convenient 

Now, as has so often happened, English action 
abroad was constrained and interfered with by the 
influences of faction at home. The sympathies of 
Fox, as has been seen, had reinforced Pitt in 1794, 
by the secession of the Portland Whigs. Whether, 
as in the cases of Portland and of Windham, these 
actually became members of Pitt's reconstituted ad- 
ministration or remained outside it, they formed the 
life and soul of the fighting party, and the most serious 
of all checks upon the pacific diplomacy of Pitt himself. 
The international prospect now began pretty con- 
sistendy to be seen through the medium of the 
militarism personified by Spencer and Windham. Of 
these, the former, returning to England from Vienna 
in 1794, had then become First Lord of the Ad- 
miralty ; the latter was now a leading figure on the 
War Office staff. 

Under such strong personal influences it had 
become a fixed article in the faith of Downing Street, 
that no declared wish of Napoleon for peace could 
possibly be sincere. Grenville was not merely the 
head of the Foreign Office ; he was the most orthodox 
and rigid incarnation of its prejudices, its punc- 
tilios, its proprieties, its red-tapery and its routine. 
" The First Consul,'* he said, in his most pompously 
oracular and infallible manner, "wishes to gain 
time and to put your Majesty and your servants 

off guard." Pitt insisted on his right to judge for 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

himself, and dared to see in Bonaparte's offer a sign 
of the times. 

Accordingly, in 1800, before Grenville's outraged 
officialism had fully recovered from the shock of 
Bonaparte's irregularity, Pitt suggested to our ambas- 
sador at Vienna, Lord Minto, that Austria might be 
disposed to co-operate with him in an international 
reconnaissance of peace possibilities. Austria, how- 
ever, as has been seen, after what happened at 
Leoben, had already committed herself to the agree- 
ment with France, which, in February 1801, was 
formally confirmed by the Peace of Lun6ville. Our 
Vienna embassy's reports more than justified Downing 
Street's scepticism of Napoleon's sincerity. He 
refused to discuss the peace preliminaries except after 
he had provisioned his troops in Malta and Egypt ; 
Malta was then blockaded by the English. In Egypt 
the victory of Aboukir Bay had cut off the French 
troops from the rest of Napoleon's army* To have 
entertained, therefore, his terms of parley would have 
been for England to have renounced the chief advan- 
tages she had thus far gained, and practically to have 
surrendered to French control the land of the Pharaohs 
and the island of St Paul. The divisions in the 
British Cabinet formed, as has been seen, the great 
obstacle at home to ending the war. Pitt's determina- 
tion to get peace on any tolerable terms would have 
triumphed over the difficulties raised by his colleagues. 
The insuperable bar was Bonaparte's resolve to em- 
ploy an armistice for the purpose of recruiting his 
strength against England. Only in a secondary sense 
did Pitt's pacific vigilance or Addington's weariness of 
war procure the Peace of Amiens; its real cause 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

was the need felt on both sides for an interval of 
comparative rest. Moreover, the year which witnessed 
a fresh advance in the negotiations that ended in the 
Peace of Amiens, had seen the disappearance of the 
last diplomatic impediment to the termination of the 
war. So long as Austria had held England to her 
promise of defending the Austrian Netherlands, there 
could be no reason for expectation of an ending to the 
conflict But in 1801, Austria had by her own act 
purchased peace from Napoleon at the price of posses- 
sions in the Low Countries. Thus the true agencies 
that rendered at least a truce morally certain at a 
distant day were not Pitt's diplomacy and the coali- 
tions against France in which it resulted, but the 
relendess crushing of Austria in Bonaparte's trium- 
phant course. 

One nominal ally England still retained. This was 
the state against whose encroachments Pitt had tried 
to guard by the Loo Convention, and whose ruler, 
Catherine IL, had endeavoured to secure English 
co-operation in averting the international calamities 
with which the French Revolution threatened well- 
ordered Governments throughout the world. Sweden 
took the lead in answering the Czarina's appeal against 
France. There were some overtures from the Russian 
Government for a naval demonstration in which the 
British fleet was to take part. Eventually, on the 25th 
March 1793, Lord Grenville as Foreign Secretary 
and Count Woronzow, then on his earliest English 
mission, signed a treaty between the two Powers that 
laid the foundation for the future coalitions against 
France, and that pledged both Powers to carry on the 

war until France, in a manner approved by each of 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

them, should restore her conquests. This compact 
gave the pattern for other treaties soon afterwards 
arranged between England on the one hand, and 
Sardinia and Spain on the other. The foreign offices 
of London and St Petersburg were absolutely at one 
with Pitt and his most enlightened foreign contem- 
poraries, Haugwitz and Kaunitz, in renouncing any 
idea of interfering in the domestic affairs of France. 
Their one ostensible object was to prevent such an 
international preponderance of the republican state as 
should jeopardise the European equilibrium. Between 
England and Russia things went smoothly till the 
period of the ill-advised expedition of the two Powers 
to Holland, in 1798, for restoring the royal House of 
Orange deposed by Napoleon. Then came mutual 
recriminations between the two Governments ; the 
Czar complained of the slackness of the English 
commander; the inevitable retorts followed. Yet, in 
1799, Woronzow, writing home, could speak of no 
foreign monarch ever having been so popular in 
England as Paul I. By way of reciprocating English 
goodwill, the Czar wishes Woronzow to let it be 
known that he intends bestowing on the English 
representative at St Petersburg, Earl Whitworth, the 
Grand Cross of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. 
These and other ameniti<ss on the part of the 
Czar towards England, at the end of the eighteenth 
and the beginning of the nineteenth century, were 
made known here by a Russian diplomatist about 
whom a few words may be said. The place in popular 
and fashionable life filled in our own time by Baron 
Brunnow, on the outbreak of the Crimean War, closely 

resembled that during the years which preceded the 
L 161 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

Tilsit treaty of 1807 occupied in English society by 
Count Woronzow. Eventually, as will be seen, he 
quitted the Russian service to settle down to the 
life of an English country gentleman in Hampshire. 
His daughters marriage with the eleventh Earl of 
Pembroke made him the grandfather of the English 
War Minister of the Crimean epoch, Sidney Herbert, 
who died Lord Herbert of Lea. Woronzow himself, 
during the epoch now approached, presents himself in 
the light less of a Russian emissary than of a Russian 
institution in this country. Other envoys from St 
Petersburg pass and repass between the English and 
the Russian capitals. Woronzow, wherever he may 
be stationed, always seems within visiting distance of 
Downing Street. 

The personal details that supplement the official 
narrative of the Russian Foreign Office now drawn 
upon* present lifelike portraits of Grenville and Pitt» 
filled with misgivings for the possible results of the 
diplomatic misunderstanding between Russia and 
Austria in 1800. By this time, however, experience 
must have rendered Pitt proof against surprise or 
illusion about the conduct to England of any of her 
allies. No obligations, diplomatic or military, to 
Great Britain could keep Austria or Prussia from a 
private deal with the common enemy at any convenient 
moment. Diplomatically, he had always been ill- 
served at St Petersburg. The slackness of our em- 
bassy when in the charge of Sir Everard Fawkener, 
at the time of the Oczakow affair, allowed, or rather 
invited, the interference of Fox and the mission of his 

^ The collection of treaties, from 1801 to 1831, between England and 
Russia, published by the Chancellor of the Russian Foreign Office. 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

friend Adair to encourage the Empress Catherine to 
hold out against all demands. Since then Fawkener's 
son, William Augustus, had from time to time done 
much of the work of the embassy. The information 
he sent home came irregularly, and was largely made 
up of social gossip and political fiction. Our St Peters- 
burg embassy seems only to have begun to be in good 
working order some years later under Lord Leveson- 
Gower, presently to be mentioned. The first germ of 
future international differences is latent in the sugges- 
tion of the favourite device of a partially instructed and 
perplexed diplomacy, a congress to be held, as the 
Czar thinks, at the Russian capital. The basis of any 
such discussion might be the annexation of Belgium 
to Holland, the restoration of the French and Italian 
frontiers as they had existed before the war, and a 
particular show of respect to the Germanic Empire. 
The pervading tone of the British despatches is 
courteous reserve or urbane criticism. The English 
suggestion that any congress there might be should 
meet, not at St Petersburg, but at Dtisseldorf, is 
resented by the Czar as a slur on his good faith. He 
never seems quite to recover his amiable equanimity. 
A reminder of his promise to assist England with 
troops only elicits the abrupt remark that the soldiers 
of whom he had spoken were recruiting their health 
and were not yet fit for work. At the same time 
there shows itself the sense of g^evance cherished by 
Paul against Great Britain since 1798. The Czar had 
caused himself to be nominated chief of the order of 
Knights of St John of Jerusalem ; in that capacity he 
claimed possession of Malta, bitterly complaining of the 

English negligence which had caused Napoleon's seizure 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of the island. What, in 1799 he wished to know, were 
the British intentions respecting it ? Lord Whitworth, 
now, representing King George at St Petersburg, is 
instructed by Grenville to disclaim for His Britannic 
Majesty any wish permanently to keep the place, or 
any idea, at the present moment, of giving it up. 
After this, Whitworths self-respect forbids him to 
continue his residence at the Czar's court. For some 
time to come the English embassy is in the hands of a 
chargi d'affaires. This official sends home complaints 
of the personal outrages to which he is subjected. 
The English request for explanations provokes the 
reply that the Russian emperor only vouchsafes ex- 
planations to his Creator. Simultaneously also 
Woronzow in England hears from St Petersburg that 
his mission to England is at an end, that his private 
affairs require to be attended to at home and his own 
health to be recruited at a German spa. Any arrears 
of work would be cleared up by State Counsellor 

Henceforth, having left the diplomatic service of 
his country, Woronzow remains in England as a 
private resident ; periodically, however, when occasion 
needs, he resumes his diplomatic rdle, passing most 
of his time at his villa near Southampton Water. Here, 
from Count Pahlen, the head of the Russian Foreign 
Office, he heard in 1801 of its having pleased the 
Almighty to take to Himself the Emperor Paul (who 
had, to speak plainly, been strangled by a palace 
assassin in his bed). The new emperor, the Czar 
Alexander, the nation s hope and love, intends a little 
later to make Woronzow Imperial Minister at home, 

but wishes him, before leaving England, to execute a 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

few commissions. Alexander's guiding principle is a 
desire to sland well with England, and to do his 
utmost to please and serve her. During 1801 reappear 
between Great Britain and Russia those conventions 
for the good of the human race, first set on foot by the 
Empress Catherine. Alexander's amiability and de- 
votion towards his ally can, however, only find full 
expression if England ceases to stand out against the 
maritime league, whose sole objects are peace and 
justice. This in plain fact meant that Great Britain 
should surrender the maritime privileges that formed 
the prize of the naval victories securing her supremacy 
over the seas. The rights which England had thus 
placed herself in a position to exercise had already 
excited the opposition of the Northern states ; in so 
doing they had brought into existence that Armed 
Neutrality which forms a chapter in the general history 
of the period, or would be minutely examined rather 
in a treatise on International Law than in these pages. 
It was a long outstanding question, the constantly re- 
current subject of much polemical diplomacy on the part 
of England and Russia. Beginning with the Empress 
Catherine II., it entered upon an acute phase under 
Paul I. Even during the next reign it figures largely 
in the controversial correspondence between London 
and St Petersburg which led up to the earliest hostile ?ip- 
pearance of a British fleet in Danish waters, commanded 
by Nelson, 1801. Alexander, however, was above 
all things anxious to improve Russian commerce, long 
injured as it had been by misimderstanding with the 
greatest trading nation in the world. Admiral Sir 
John Borlase Warren may never have had the official 
style of British ambassador. The Russian mission 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

to which he was attached seems to have originated in 
some court function, possibly the Czar s coronation. 
Between 1801 and 1804, however, he filled an im- 
portant position at our St Petersburg embassy. His 
manner had the mixture of dignity and frankness which 
pleased the Russian court. His naval and maritime 
knowledge proved useful to our diplomacy. He found 
a congenial colleague at St Petersburg in Count Nikita 
Petrovitch Panine, who had been disgraced by Paul I., 
but who was recalled by Alexander and made Vice- 
Chancellor, with the special purpose of negotiating 
with the English representative. Like Woronzow, 
Panine had fallen out of favour with Paul for his 
English sympathies. These were regarded by Alex- 
ander as a qualification for the place. Meanwhile the 
final setdement of Malta might remain in abeyance. 
The immediate necessity was an amicable understand- 
ing to include not only England and Russia, but 
Denmark and Sweden also. The matter ended for 
the present by the impounded English vessels being 
set at liberty, and by the restoration to their lawfiil 
owners of the English money and other valuables 
seized by Russia. 

Mention must be made of another English 
diplomatist who, so far back as the Empress 
Catherine's time, had exerted all his remarkable 
powers to prepare the way for an Anglo- Russian 
alliance. This was AUeyne Fitzherbert, Lord St 
Helens, famed throughout Europe for his quiet, 
polished manners, and a sagacity that sometimes 
resembled inspiration ; he had achieved the earliest of 
his great diplomatic successes by arranging for Pitt the 

Nootka Sound difficulty, and concluding the arrange- 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

ment that in 1793 united England and Spain as 
allies. It was Fitzherbert's distinction to win the 
good opinion equally of Whigs and Tories. Fox, 
when sending him on his earliest visit to Russia, had 
commended him to the Lord Malmesbury already 
repeatedly mentioned — Mirabeau's ** rus6 et audacieux 
Malmesbury " — as a man of parts, of industry, and merit- 
ing entire confidence. Malmesbury himself alone de- 
murred to the justice of this eulogy ; for, being at The 
Hague during the ambassadorship there of the already 
mentioned Lord St Helens, he found our envoy there 
perfecdy courteous and friendly, but careless about his 
work, and unpunctual in his appointments. 

But the early nineteenth-century ambassador to 
Russia, most notable alike for the incidents of which he 
formed part, and for his family connections, was the Lord 
Leveson-Gower who in 1833 became the first Earl 
Granville, the future father of the Foreign Secretary in 
the Victorian age. The son of Pitt's first Lord President 
of the Council, Granville Leveson-Gower had begun 
his diplomatic career under Lord Malmesbury, with 
whom he served at the Paris embassy, and whom he 
accompanied to Lille on the peace negotiations in 1797 
already described. The Dutch capital must then have 
ranked above the Russian in the diplomatic scale ; for 
it was not till 1823 that, as Viscount Granville, he went 
to The Hague. Here, however, he only remained a 
year, for in 1824 he replaced Sir Charles Stewart as 
ambassador at Paris. Nineteen years earlier, loth 
October 1804, he had taken up his appointment at St 
Petersburg during Pitt's formation of the third coalition 
against Napoleon. So acceptable did Granville prove to 

the Czar Alexander as to be chosen for his companion 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

during the Imperial visit, in 1805, to the seat of war. 
In Russia he remained till the close of our diplomatic 
relations with that country.* 

Meanwhile the London Foreign Office had 
(20th February 1801) passed into new management. 
Grenville's lecture to the First Consul, after the 
Napoleonic overtures of 1799, was among the latest 
of his despatches as Secretary of State. He was 
succeeded by Lord Hawkesbury, afterwards the second 
Earl of Liverpool. During the administration which 
now opens. Downing Street was agitated by Russian 
intrigues with Turkey against England. Constanti- 
nople swarmed, as Hawkesbury complains, with 
Russian diplomatists or Bonapartist agents, bent upon 
making mischief between Great Britain and her ally* 
Hawkesbury s protests to the Russian minister, 
Katchoubey, as summarised and handed down in the 
Russian official record already referred to, read less 
like the compositions of a diplomatist than the 
questions posed by an international casuist upon sub* 
jects that lie on the border-ground between diplomacy 
and ethics. The relations thus produced between the 
two Governments were not improved by the events 
that attended or followed the short cessation of hostili- 
ties, the preliminary, as it proved, to the most serious 
stage of the war, the Peace of Amiens. In connection 
with that transaction, the diplomacy of the First 

« In his Life of the Second Earl Granvillei^x. 4) Lord Fitzmaurice has 
recalled the fact that Lord Granville Leveson-Gower owed the preserva- 
tion of his life to his absence from the Parliamentary precincts in 1812. 
During his Russian ambassadorship, Spencer Perceval's assassin had 
conceived the idea of the grievance which eventually caused the attempt 
on the Prime Minister's life. Bellingham afterwards confessed that the 
bullet which killed Perceval had been intended for Viscount Granville. 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

Consul proved simplicity itself. The Napoleonic 
policy, never lost sight of amid the confusion and 
sophistry of negotiations, was frankly to surrender 
nothing of the ancient domains or the recent acquisi- 
tions of France. Hawkesbury s first proposals were 
the evacuation by the French of Egypt, and the 
retention by the English of Ceylon, Martinique, 
Trinidad, and other colonial conquests made during 
the war. The French counter-draft of the treaty now 
discussed provided for Egypt's restoration to the 
Sultan, of the harbours of Italy to the Pope and the 
King of Naples ; Port Mahon was to be ceded to 
Spain, and Malta to the Knights of Jerusalem. 
Ceylon, never having belonged to France, but having 
been taken from the Dutch, was readily allotted by 
Napoleon to England. The arrangements about 
Malta, Egypt, Holland and the West Indies led to 
several months' discussion. At last, ist October 1801, 
the preliminaries were executed in London ; within a 
fortnight Colonel Lauriston came with the ratifications 
from Paris. The definitive treaty between Great 
Britain and France was signed at Amiens, 27th March 
1802, for England by Lord Cornwallis — who as our 
general in America had ruined the British cause by 
the surrender of Yorktown, and who afterwards be- 
came successively Irish and Indian viceroy — ^for France 
by Joseph Bonaparte and Talleyrand. 

The conventional reason assigned for Pitt's 
resignation in the preceding February is his conscien- 
tious opinion that the union with Ireland should be 
accompanied by Roman Catholic emancipation. At 
the same time he did not wish to add to the king's 

troubles by importuning him on so distasteful and 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

distressing a subject. The true cause of Pitt's retire- 
ment must be found in foreign rather than domestic 
politics. In 1 80 1, George III. had consented that 
emancipation should be regarded as an open question 
by his ministers and not mentioned by himself. As 
a fact Pitt left office only because he saw a breathing- 
time in the war had become necessary ; he did not 
believe a satisfactory peace with Napoleon to be 
possible ; he would not associate himself with a mere 
temporary truce. Further, he knew himself to be 
necessary ; he could look forward to coming back on 
his own terms at a more auspicious hour. Lord 
Malmesbury's published letters of 1801 and George 
Canning's unpublished letters to Frere place all this 
practically beyond doubt.* 

Notwithstanding Canning's satire and Pitt's 
contemptuous approval, the House of Commons, 
without a division and amid the applause of the 
country, had approved the Amiens settlement. 
The Lords, who had long made diplomatic criticism 
their speciality, accepted it with more reserve. They 
gave the treaty, it is true, a majority of 114 to 10, 
but among the non-contents were such experts in 
international statesmanship as Spencer, our former 
ambassador at Vienna, Grenville the late Foreign 
Secretary, and a representative of many shades of 
national opinion, Lord Carnarvon. On the other 

*" Pitt (says Malmesbury, February 1801) is playing a selfish and 
criminal part, going out only to show his own power and to return as a 
dictator.'' So in letters, for a sight of which I was indebted years ago 
to Mr Alfred Montgomery, expressed himself Pitt's proteg^ and pupil, 
George Canning, whose marriage to an heiress had been promoted by 
Pitt, but who never quite forgave his master for using Addington as a 
warming-pan in 1801. 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

hand the supporters of the peace could truthfully argue 
that it conferred on England territorial advantages at 
least equal to those which had come to her by any 
earlier arrangement. By the Treaty of Versailles 
we had indeed lost considerably ; by the earlier treaties 
of Ryswick and Aix-la-Chapelle we had gained 
nothing; but now, after having drawn the fangs 
of European Jacobinism, we had established trophies 
of victory in the West Indies as well as in the 
Mediterranean, greater than the gains brought us by 
the Peace of Utrecht in 17 13, or of Paris in 1763. 
Pitt was not likely to be too lenient a critic of 
Adding^on's diplomacy. He acknowledged, however, 
that his temporary successor and rival had made no 
concessions which he himself had not been prepared 
to offer at the Lisle Conference in 1797, when, rather 
than break off negotiations, he had instructed Malmes- 
bury to give way either on the Cape or Ceylon. There- 
fore, while taking exception to some of its details, Pitt 
was entirely for the Amiens respite. Not that it would 
pave the way to a final settlement or that with Bona- 
parte any lasting pacification was possible. But as he 
put it, rest had become indispensable to this country. 

The course of Anglo- Russian diplomacy may here 
be resumed. The Peace of Amiens and the incidents 
connected with it at once began to change for the 
worse the relations between the cabinets of London 
and St Petersburg. To the Maltese grievance was 
now added the Russian complaint of England's dis- 
loyalty as an ally in exacting no guarantees against 
the absorption of Turkey for which Napoleon and 
Talleyrand were intriguing. Just two years after 

Amiens, in the May of 1804, Pitt's trusted friend, the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

second Lord Harrowby, afterwards the first Earl, 
became Foreign Secretary. To him Woronzow, 
still acting as the Czar's unofficial ambassador, com- 
plained of British ingratitude for Russian services in 
the matter of Malta, where the Czar had so steadily 
discountenanced the schemes of France. Harrowby s 
predecessor in Downing Street, Hawkesbury, had 
been importuned, not so much for political reasons as 
(Napoleon desired he should know) on grounds of 
international ethics, to put down the newspaper writers 
whose attacks so grievously affronted the honour and 
wounded the conscience of the First Consul. Nor ought 
the Channel Islands longer to furnish an asylum for 
the unscrupulous imigris who were equally ready to stab 
with their pens or poignards the blameless Bonaparte. 
This species of French diplomacy reached its climax 
in the prosecution of Peltier, a French subject residing 
on British soil, defended on the charge of libel by Sir 
James Mackintosh. The fashion thus set of charging 
the diplomatic atmosphere with moral issues soon 
found a follower in Russia. Woronzows moral 
sensibilities may have been blunted by long habituation 
to the ethical laxity of Downing Street. Happily the 
Czar possessed servants whose primitive innocence 
was untainted by and proof against British Machia- 
vellianism. Such a man was Novosiltzow, who reached 
London during 1804, as an apostle rather than 
ambassador, to implore Harrowby's co-operation in 
preventing the atrocities of English privateers and a 
general retrogression to barbarism. The Novosiltzow 
mission was socially a success ; politically it could not 
be called a failure. The Czar's latest emissary was dined 

and lionised by Fox, Spencer, and the whole fine flower 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

of the Carlton House set ; a few months later he writes 
home that he is going to change the English Cabinet. 
The combination contrived chiefly by Malmesbury 
and George Canning against Addington had indeed 
already brought about Pitt's recall. His second 
administration had begun. In the spring of 1805, 
Novosiltzow's errand of treaty - mongering, peace- 
patching, piety and philanthropy bore fruit in the 
Treaty of St Petersburg, as well as in the formation 
of the Anglo - Russian - Neapolitan coalition against 
France. This was produced less by Pitt's diplomacy 
than by Napoleon's latest atrocities. By the new treaty 
also the Black Sea was closed against English pri- 
vateers, described by Russia as the bane of the 
ocean ; it was in fact regarded as a neutral water, 
of which Turkey and Russia were part-owners. 
Harrowby and Novosiltzow in their frequent inter- 
views seem rather to have exchanged fine sentiments 
about the moral law as the one true diplomatic 
sanction, than to have condescended to business details. 
Still, on either side a keen lookout was kept for the 
main chance The last move in the English military 
game against Napoleon had been the blockade of the 
Elbe. That interfered with Russian commerce as 
well as checked the common enemy. Novosiltzow 
ventured to hope the blockade might be raised. 
Anxious though he is to oblige Russia, Harrowby 
can only lay his hand on his heart and avow it would 
be a sin before God if England neglected any step to 
crush the Colossus that oppresses suffering and afflicted 
Europe. The Harrowby - Novosiltzow colloquies 
retain throughout their morally didactic character. 
The English complaint that Russia tolerates Asiatic 


The Story ot British Diplomacy 

cruelties elicits the rejoinder that the Czar always has 
been and is the champion of true religion and the 
friend of real humanity. As a fact the spoliation and 
oppression of Christians in Greece or elsewhere in 
Eastern Europe are due chiefly to the misconduct of 
two English agents in the Morea, Morier and Foresti. 
A new pundit from St Petersburg, Czartoriski, mean- 
while has taken up his parable ; on 19th August 1804, 
he has formulated the suggestion of an Anglo- Russo- 
Turkish treaty as the best solution of the difficulty. 
About this point, if the record of the Russian Foreign 
Office may be trusted, the diplomatists began to find 
mere diplomacy rather monotonous and digressed into 
conversations on a variety of improving themes 
ranging from fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute 
to the latest masterpieces in political writing, especially 
Adam Smiths Wealth of Nations, which Pitts 
approval had done much to bring into vogue. 

Not indeed that the international business which 
had brought Novosiltzow to London was long ignored. 
Between the British and Russian Cabinets the arrange- 
ments for a coalition against France, settled by the 
Treaty of St Petersburg, were confirmed, 31st August 
1805, by the Convention of Helsingborg; provided a 
monthly payment by England of ;^i8oo for every 
thousand men co-operating in the common cause. 
The pecuniary stroke completed, Novosiltzow, after a 
conference with Pitt, betook himself successively to 
Vienna and Berlin ; at the former he settled a fighting 
treaty between Austria and Russia. At Berlin he 
could do nothing, for the simple reason that by this 
time the Prussian Government had sold themselves 
to Napoleon at the price of receiving from France the 


The Foreign Office in War Time 

British Electorate of Hanover. Notwithstanding their 
practical preoccupation with robbery all round, the 
controllers of the diplomacy of the period never forgot 
that they were above all things ** men of sentiment." 
Their chief professor of platitude and cant, Novosiltzow, 
has still the Czar s instructions to formulate a new code 
of international morals. In that task he seeks assist* 
ance from the greatest English lawyer of the time. 
Sir William Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell. Observ- 
ing these futile operations of hypocrisy and rapacity 
combined, Napoleon quietly observed to Talleyrand — 
** There is no diplomacy like that of the boots and spurs, 
if one only takes one's adversaries separately* and in de- 
tail." That indeed was the Bonapartist method. Guided 
by an unerring insight into the situation, political as well 
as military, it defeated the combined statesmanship of 
Europe at its own game. Austrian, Prussian, Russian, 
and British ambassadors had so far congratulated 
themselves that, while their colleagues in the West 
were being outdone at every turn by Bonaparte, 
they had kept the Sultan from being drawn into the 
French vortex. Before the end of 1806, Turkey had 
sought protection from Russian menaces in the friend- 
ship of France. After the battle of Jena the Porte 
declared war against Russia, and the Czar told the 
English ambassador at St Petersburg he must in 
future rely on the unassisted forces of Great Britain. 
Meanwhile Napoleon exemplified his favourite inter- 
national methods by alternately and separately treating 
with Russia and England in the intervals of his 
systematic creation of difficulties and ill-will between 
the two. Pitt s most lasting contribution to English 
diplomacy was to do much towards redeeming it, in the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

eyes of foreign nations, from that lack of continuity, 
said by foreig^n critics to be inseparable from party 
government. In the ** Talents," ministry, formed on 
Pitt's death, January 1806, Fox for the third time 
became Foreign Secretary ; he had already been in 
correspondence with Napoleon on the subject of ending 
the war. Lord Yarmouth, so conspicuous at various 
foreign capitals in our diplomacy of a few years earlier, 
was one of the English travellers whom Napoleon had 
seized and kept a prisoner ever since the rupture of 
the Peace of Amiens ; he was now chosen by Fox to 
discuss terms of accommodation with Talleyrand. The 
conditions peremptorily to be insisted upon by him 
were the restitution of Hanover to England, the hand- 
ing over of Sicily to England or her allies, and the 
British retention of Malta and the Cape of Good 
Hope. Yarmouth did his work perfectly, but failed 
to keep Talleyrand to the conditions accepted and 
advanced by Napoleon. Mrs Bouverie's house was 
then a great social centre on the Whig side. Here 
Fox arranged a later mission to Napoleon with Lord 
Lauderdale, but with no better result than the former. 
As in 1806 Fox carried on the foreign policy of Pitt, so 
after Fox was Napoleon dealt with in the same manner 
first by Howick, the future Earl Grey of the Reform Bill, 
secondly by his Foreign Office successor, George 




Sir James Bland Bulges, the First Foreign Under-Secretary— The State 
of the Foreign Office on his entering it — George III. on Dudley 
Ryder (Lord Harrowby) — Growing connection of finance with 
politics — The founding of the house of Rothschild — The spurces 
of Pitt's loans — The process of treaty-making — The exchange of 
presents between the negotiators — Sir William Hamilton and the 
snuff-boxes — Diplomatists' perquisites to-day — The ethics of 
diplomacy — Have they improved? — Secret treaties — George 
Canning becomes Foreign Secretary — The fall of the Holy 
Roman Empire (1806) — The Berlin Decrees — Canning regarded 
as an upstart — The Treaties of St Petersburg and Bartenstein — 
Canning refuses to grant subsidies to England's Allies — Russian 
resentment — The Treaty of Tilsit — The Orders in Council — 
The secret Tilsit treaties — How did Canning get to know of 
them? — The spy Mackenzie — ^The Count d'Antraigues — Was 
Talleyrand at the bottom of it ? — The attack on Denmark justi- 
fiable — ^The Crown Prince of Denmark's interview with Jackson 
the English envoy — ^The results of Canning's Danish policy — 
The Orders in Council reissued — Relations with Portugal — 
Meditated Anglo-Russo-Spanish alliance. 

WITH Canning opens a new era in our diplomatic 
narrative. Before entering upon it, some- 
thing may be said about the administrative machinery 
which he found ready to his hand, as well as about the 
personal and inner life of the Foreign Office when he 
first undertook its management. The department, it 
will be remembered, had no sooner been formed than 
its earliest chief. Fox, pardy perhaps to oblige a friend, 
engaged an assistant in the person of R. B. Sheridan. 
M 177 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

Whoever after Sheridan may have done the work of 
the position, and whatever may have been their style, 
the title, *' Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,** 
does not seem to have been in general use till it was 
given in 1789 by the Duke of Leeds to his chief under- 
strapper. The person thus designated was James Bland 
Burges, who had sat in the House of Commons ; he was 
a well-known man about town, of literary tastes, and 
a brother-in-law of the Lady Milbanke, whose daughter 
became Lady Byron ; he received a salary of ;^i500, 
and he had for his junior colleague a future Secretary 
of State, already described in these pages, Lord 
Harrowby, then Dudley Ryder, M.P. Incidentally 
it may be mentioned that a lady descended from 
Bland Burges eventually became the wife of the 
Foreign Office Under-Secretary of our own time who 
died Lord Currie. Meanwhile, in the Foreign Office 
of the eighteenth century, there were other Under- 
Secretaries not inferior in importance to Bland Burges. 
In addition to Canning himself, who in that capacity 
had first entered the department in 1796, there was 
George Hammond, apparently employed by the jealous 
Grenville to be a check upon Canning and so to 
ensure despatches, as soon as they were deciphered^ 
not reaching the eyes of the Prime Minister before 
their examination by the Secretary of State. A 
curious compound of conscientious industry and naive 
conceit. Bland Burges, in the portrait he has painted 
of himself, stands out as the reorganiser, if not in a 
sense the real maker, of the department. He found 
the place a chaos ; he left it a pattern of method and 
routine. Mountains of despatches, coming from or 

going to foreign courts, were piled up in confusion. 


High Politics and High Finance 

No note of their contents had been made ; nothing in the 
nature of an index had been attempted. To disinter from 
the accumulation a document for reference was to search 
for a needle in a hay-loft. " I addressed myself," said 
Burges, '* to a labour of Hercules." The new official 
at first had thoughts of docketing and arranging the 
whole mass of manuscripts. The united clerks of the 
establishment threatened to strike if the task was not re- 
duced to rational limits. "If," said the Duke of Leeds 
to his Under-Secretary, " you persist in this freak of 
quixotism, you will have the establishment to yourself." 
Burges therefore had to content himself with introducing 
a system on which it remained for his successors to 
improve, if improvement were possible. That his 
heart was really in his work may be seen from his 
arrangements for the day. Between 9 and 10 a.m. he 
reached the Foreign Office ; there was no break for 
luncheon, but a little after five he went off for dinner to 
the French Ambassador's, looked in again at the office 
for an hour or so afterwards, and then refreshed himself 
with supper at the Duke's. 

In those days George III. occasionally paid surprise 
visits to the bureaux of State. He had nothing but 
praise for the industrious apprentice at the Foreign 
Office, and sighed much over the contrast presented by 
the ** idle boy," the second Lord Harrowby that was to 
be. "I cannot," parentally observed the sovereign, 
"approve a peer's eldest son being in this place. If 
Mr Ryder wished to learn effective business, he ought 
to have done so as a Lord of the Admiralty, where he 
might have found plenty to do. Surely it is extremely 
strange that an Under-Secretary should be running 

about to races and watering-places instead of doing his 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

duty. Only last week I saw him at Weymouth when 
I know he ought to have been at his desk." 

As might have been expected in so hard a worker, 
Bland Burges proved a great sticklerfor the honour of his 
department. The Duke of Leeds, though pompous, was 
by no means dull ; but he shirked the drudgery of detail, 
and was always ready to relieve himself and his staff 
by passing on troublesome business to another depart- 
ment. In this way he had allowed Hawkesbury, when 
at the Board of Trade, to conduct certain negotiations 
about Customs' duties and revenue which really be- 
longed to the Foreign Office. ** I never," said Bland 
Burges of his chief, ** see him in office hours without 
being reminded of a man crossing a stream on stepping- 
stones, so carefully, that his shoes always keep dry." 

The Under-Secretary shrewdly saw in Pitt the 
supreme master of the whole administration ; from 
the first, therefore, he determined to make himself 
indispensable to the Prime Minister rather than to 
the chief of his own department. He constantly 
brought to Pitt's notice facts that it might serve 
him to know, and individuals whom he might find 
useful, especially in his financial operations. If his 
memory may be trusted. Bland Burges once helped 
Pitt in his private affairs to the extent of ;^iooo. 
Against this statement one may set Disraeli's character- 
istic words about the statesman on whom in so many 
ways he modelled himself. " Mr Pitt always preferred 
a usurer to a friend, and to the last day of his life 
borrowed money at sixty per cent." Maret described 
the war which the French Convention declared against 
England, in 1793, as one got up by stock-jobbers. 

Undoubtedly, the City first began prominently to 


High Politics and High Finance 

figure in and vitally to influence home and foreign 
politics during the wars of the French Revolution. The 
most notorious Continental diplomatist of this period, 
Talleyrand, had been bred for a priest before being 
promoted to the head agency of Napoleon's political 
intrigues; similarly the capitalist who first illustrated 
and cemented the mutual relationships between finance 
and statesmanship had been brought up for a rabbi 
in the synagogue of his native town, Frankfort-on-the 
Maine. Talleyrand was the earliest among statesmen 
to recognise in the controllers of the money-market 
the eventual masters of sovereigns, statesmen, am- 
bassadors and generals. His first visit to England, 
in 1792, was at least as much financial as political. 
On his way he had felt the pulse of Continental 
capitalists — ^among them, it may be conjectured, the 
patriarch of the Rothschild clan, then just beginning 
to be a personal force in contemporary affairs. He 
was thus prepared, on presenting himself in Downing 
Street, to show the English Government with what 
ease and safety it might supplement a French alliance 
with a guarantee of a French loan. 

Nathan Meyer Rothschild, who on reaching England 
first took up his residence at Manchester, did not 
establish his business in London till 1 798. By that date, 
however, other branches of his family, transplanting 
themselves from their native Judengasse, had rooted 
themselves in several of the great European centres. 
If perhaps unlikely, it is therefore chronologically just 
possible that the Rothschilds may have been among 
the capitalists mentioned by Bland Burges to Pitt 
as available for floating his enormous war loans. Of 

Bland Burges himself it may be said that official 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

diligence was his forte and social omniscience his 
foible. With Burges, Pitt repeatedly discussed the 
details of ways and means for the public service. 
The records of the conversations that have been 
handed down contain indeed no mention of the 
Rothschild name. With an accuracy and freshness 
of detail insured by his access to the innermost 
archives of Downing Street, Lord Rosebery has so 
fully described Pitt's subsidies that litde need be said 
about them here. They were of two kinds : direct 
gifts, or guaranteed loans, which came to much the 
same thing. The tenders for loans from 1799 onwards 
were too closely connected with the political work 
of the department to have been ignored at the Foreign 
Office. None of these tenders came from foreign 
financiers, whose agents, in fact, were then in London, not 
to lend but to borrow for their respective governments. 
Pitt's close confidant in money matters, public 
as well as private, was his friend Thomas Coutts, 
the founder of the famous bank where the minister 
kept his account, and whither, in recognition of 
the firm's serviceable patriotism, George III. directed 
his private patronage.* Pitt's administrations lasted 
from 23rd December 1783 to 17th March 1801, and 
from 15th May 1804 to nth February 1806. During 

* The facts of the first Earl of Harrowby having been not only Pitt's 
Foreign Secretary but his intimate friend, and of the fifth Earl being 
a partner in Coutts' Bank, seem to have caused some confusion. As 
Pitt's acquaintance, the first Earl may or may not have been known 
to the Messieurs Coutts of those days. The connection between the 
family of Ryder and the bank of Coutts only began in the nineteenth 
century, when the fourth Earl was introduced to the banking firm by 
Lady Burdett Coutts. For these facts I am indebted to Mr George 
Marjoribanks of Messrs Coutts & Co., as well as for searching the bank 
records to ascertain that none of Pitt's war loans were floated by Messrs 



High Politics and High Finance 

these two terms some of his transactions were with 
bankers as a body, some through a single firm asking on 
their own and other's behalf. The houses with which 
Pitt thus negotiated his loans in the years now specified, 
were, Robarts, Curtis & Co. ; Boldero, Lushington & 
Co. ; Smith, Payne & Smiths ; Newnham, Everett & 
Co. ; Esdaile & Co. ; Goldsmid & Solomons ; Sir F. 
Baring ; Barnes & Co. ; Battye & Co. ; Steers & 
Mortimer ; Jacob & D. Ricardo ; and the committee 
of the Stock Exchange.* 

Among the usages of the Foreign Office now 
under consideration is the process, so often mentioned 
in these pages, of treaty-making. This may briefly 
be described. Two nations or more, as the case 
may be, decide that the time has come to make 
a treaty, convention or agreement, on lines about 
which they are generally unanimous. Sometimes 
a very early interchange of opinions by the govern- 
ments concerned reveals a divergence of view so 
serious as to preclude all hope of agreement 
being reached ; in that case, the original intention is 
abandoned and the meeting of plenipotentiaries never 
takes place. The first stage is reached when plenipo- 
tentiaries on both sides are named. These then meet 
and show each other their full powers — in other words, 
the authority to negotiate given them by their re- 
spective governments. Among the officials who thus 
assemble, one may be expected to put forward a draft 
treaty, prepared before he has come into conference, 
as a basis of negotiation. The other side examines it, 
either accepts it as a starting-point, or puts forward 

* For these deUils of Pitt's war-loans, now given for the first time, 
I have to express my obligations to Mr A. T. King of the National Debt 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

a differently-worded document known as a counter- 
draft. In this way there gradually come into 
existence, a set of proposals, whose general tenor 
the negotiators approve. Then ensues the discus- 
sion of the document, article by article, clause 
by clause. Alterations and amendments are now 
proposed, disputed points are referred by the 
plenipotentiaries to their respective governments. 
After a length of time, which varies according to 
the subject-matter, there is elaborated a form of 
words satisfactory to all the parties concerned. 
Signatures are now affixed ; even after that the treaty 
does not come into force till there have been ex- 
changed by the signatories ratifications ; in monarchies 
these are given by the sovereign, in republics by 
the Chambers. The method of procedure pursued 
in the making of treaties has undergone no great 
change since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 
To-day, however, the plenipotentiary stands at one 
end of a telegraph wire whose other extremity is 
held by his chief at home. His responsibility, or 
consequently opportunity, of making his mark by 
a personal contribution to foreign policy has become 
much less than formerly. 

The European equivalent of the Oriental backsheesh 
traditionally connected itself with the treaty-making of 
the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the 
September of 1793 the British ambassador at Naples, 
Sir William Hamilton, announces to the London 
Foreign Office the conclusion of a convention with the 
Neapolitan Government ; he passes as a matter of course 
to the exchange of presents between the diplomatic 

staffs engaged on both sides. The sums distributed in 


High Politics and High Finance 

money gifts among the Italian and British officials 
employed, and paid into the respective Foreign Offices 
of the two countries, amounted to ;^500 on 
each side. In addition to this the King of Naples, 
through his ambassador in London, the Marquis 
Circello, sent the British Secretary of State, Grenville, 
a snuff-box set in diamonds, valued at one thousand 
pounds. An article of the same sort, presented by 
the Neapolitan sovereign to the British ambassador, 
Hamilton, cost but ;^500, though twice that sum seems 
to have been allowed for it by the Neapolitan court. 
** This," complains Sir William Hamilton, " is the only 
perquisite that has fallen to my lot in nearly thirty years* 
residence ; it is hard to be jockeyed out of half its value. "^ 
Canning went to the Foreign Office first, as 
Parliamentary Under-Secretary, in January 1796. 
The snuff-box question was then going on ; it 
formed the subject of one of his brightest foreign 
office jetix cTesprit. By this time it was an under- 
stood thing that the English ambassador negoti- 
ating a treaty should draw on Downing Street for 
;^500, to be given to the members of the foreign 
government concerned in negotiating the treaty. 
A similar sum was allotted to the British negotiators 
by their foreign colleagues. There had now grown up 
a practice on the part of the Downing Street staff of 
claiming these foreign gifts as their own perquisites. 
This habit had not been resisted by Lord Henley, Lord 
Minto s predecessor at the British Embassy in Vienna* 
Grenville, as Foreign Secretary, supported the Downing 
Street claim. When treaties were in progress of 
making, much bickering was exchanged between the 
office at home and the embassies abroad. The Foreign 

185 ^ 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

Office drew bills on the embassies. The embassies 
prompdy dishonoured them. 

With Canning in his Under-Secretarial days was 
associated in Downing Street John Hookham Frere, 
the translator of Aristophanes and the versifier whose 
" whisdecraft " gave Byron the metre for Don Juan. 
The two friends together composed the metrical draft 
to the British representative at Vienna ; a single stanza 
is enough to show the drift of the whole — 

'' Let the snuff-box belong to Lord Mihto ; 
But as for the five hundred pund, 
rU be judged by Almeida or Pinto, 
If his Chancery must not refund." 

The pleasant custom of giving snuff-boxes, or gratifica- 
tions in other shapes, has now completely lapsed. The 
only perquisite that ever falls to a minister or ambas- 
sador to-day is when "full powers" have been sent 
him to negotiate and sign a treaty ; to these powers is 
attached an impression of the Great Seal, enclosed in a 
copper box of more or less ornamental design. This 
box the diplomat is allowed to keep as an interesting 
memento, but its value is only a very few shillings. 
Should the treaty, however, deal with a royal marriage, 
the box is of silver. Without its innocent little pick- 
ings, diplomacy to the officials of Pitt's and even of 
Canning's time would have seemed shorn not only of 
its romance, but of one among its solid and perfecdy 
legitimate attractions. For the Secretary of State, for 
the ambassador, and for the gendemen immediately 
attached to these, there were, as has been seen, be- 
jewelled arrangements of gold and tortoiseshell, readily 
exchangeable in the market for ready cash. The 

satellites of the great men to whom came the lion's 


High Politics and High Finance 

share of the spoils may seem to have been ungenerously 
dealt with. They did their best, however, to find 
reciprocal compensation in exchanging smaller gifts 
with each other. Thus excluded from all chance 
in the scramble for the ;^500 worth of valu- 
ables, a man in the position of Bland Burges 
thinks himself in luck if he receives a quarter cask of 
Malaga wine, as well as some boxes of almonds, raisins 
and grapes, from a former colleague then accredited to 
the Spanish court, William Douglas Brodie. 

The snuff-box tradition lingered on at court long after 
snuff-taking had gone out. During her sojourns abroad, 
Queen Victoria, before she gave her famous shawls, 
now and then presented a snuff-box. The fourth Earl of 
Malmesbury, the Foreign Secretary, when minister in 
attendance on the late sovereign, speaks of such a gift 
going to the wrong person. The mistake was only dis- 
covered when the snuff-box had been converted into coin. 

Does the desuetude into which have fallen these 
pleasant little customs, and all formerly comprehended 
by the term "gratifications," coincide with any im- 
provement in the ethics of diplomacy? That is a 
question apposite enough to the fresh chapter in our 
international story opening with George Canning. 
The best answer to it will be given by a short state- 
ment of facts. Diplomacy has been called the war of 
peace-time. Its progress ought therefore to have 
been marked by some of those ameliorations which 
have taken place in the usages of arms. Explosive 
bullets were prohibited before the first Hague 
Conference by one of the Geneva Conventions. At 
the Hague Conference England, yielding to pressure 
caused by spite, abandoned even the use of the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Dum-Dum expanding bullet. Is it possible to 
record some analogous concessions to the moral law 
in the international practices of peace? What are 
the facts? To-day, as much as in the time of 
Chatham, despatches are systematically intercepted 
in the post by Continental powers. In all countries, 
too, telegrams from abroad which appear to be possibly 
political are at once submitted to the executive. 
Thus, if England wants to convey anything indirecdy 
to the French or German Government, no cipher is 
used ; the information is telegraphed, without any 
attempt at disguise, to an English official at an 
agreed address abroad. As for secret treaties and the 
whole machinery of deception implied by them, these 
things have now gone out of fashion, for the simple 
reason that they are no longer possible. The last in- 
stance of a compact of this kind was the re-engage- 
ment treaty by which Prince Bismarck virtually upset 
the Triple Alliance after his consent to it had been ex- 
torted from him. As for the Triple Alliance itself, 
that has never been a matter of diplomatic confidence. 
Such privacy is impossible in the case of anything to 
which Italy is a party. In 1878, the Anglo-Turkish 
arrangement about Cyprus was made on the eve of a 
conference and could only remain confidential for 
three weeks. It was accompanied by several other 
arrangements of a like kind, notably those relating to 
Austria's position in Bosnia. Governments exchange 
confidential letters. England and Italy have done so 
on two occasions on subjects of common interest, such 
as the maintenance of the status quo in the Mediter- 
ranean. But since 1878, no really secret treaty has 

been executed. Parliaments are now active. A country 


High Politics and High Finance 

under parliamentaty rule could enter into no engage- 
ment that would not at once become the subject of 
parliamentary question. The result of a ministerial 
refusal to reply would he, the inference that such a 
treaty existed. That inference would be fatal to its 
secrecy. If on the other hand the treaty were denied, 
the denial would have the effect of weakening any en- 
gagement that might actually exist. 

While these lines are being written, the Secretary 
of State for Foreign Affairs is Sir Edward Grey. As 
nearly as possible a hundred years ago his ancestor, 
Earl Grey, then Lord Howick, on the death of Fox, 
filled the same office. Fox lived just long enough to 
know that his diplomacy, even when most vigorous 
and skilful, had been baffied by Napoleon at every 
point. Where Fox had failed, Grey scarcely tried in 
earnest to succeed. Fox must have foreseen also the 
fall of the ministry to which he belonged on the same 
question, that of the Catholic claims, as had proved 
fatal to his rival Pitt. The succession, under the 
Duke of Portland, of George Canning to the Foreign 
Office is memorable for other reasons than the 
sustained vigour of his administration. It had ceased 
to be a war between governments ; it had become on 
the part of the English people a struggle for existence. 
Canning, in this respect as in others the true successor 
of Chatham and of his son, saw the time had come for 
independence of official traditions, of Cabinet cliques. 
Policy abroad, he urged, must be based on the 
patriotism, the good sense and the resolution of the tax- 
payers and electors at home. The disappearance of 
the Holy Roman Empire removed, in 1806, the key- 
stone of the arch in the international system whose 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

influences had shaped and coloured all European 
diplomacy before Cannings control of the Foreign 
Office. In the European welter that had come with 1 789 
men scarcely noticed the fall of the institution which had 
begun when, one thousand and six years earlier, Pope 
Leo had placed the Imperial crown on the brow of the 
Prankish king. All that at the point now reached 
the world had been concerned to observe was the 
successive overthrow by Napoleon of the Austrian 
sovereign as the representative of the old Rome, and 
of the Czar as the Imperial legatee of the new. The 
emperor was still a supreme power, when, as Under- 
Secretary in 1796, Canning had drawn up the English 
answer to Spain's excuse for, in the face of existing 
treaties, allying herself with France. Canning then 
held no office ; he had, however, during Adding- 
ton's administration, when Hawkesbury was at the 
Foreign Office, made himself the mouthpiece of 
those who held Napoleon's policy in Egypt and 
the Levant to be conclusive against substituting 
for the war a hollow peace. By the Berlin Decree, 
November 1806, Bonaparte, posing as the lineal 
successor of Charlemagne, had declared Great Britain 
outside the pale of European comity. In Prussia, the 
diplomatists and the whole official class were full of re- 
sentment against Napoleon for the humiliation of the 
treaty of Schonbrunn. This feeling gradually spread 
among their fellow-countrymen. It was not therefore 
Prussian diplomacy but Prussian patriotism, though as 
yet imperfecdy organised, which produced the reaction 
that proved eventually fatal to the French emperor, 
who was now concerned to find a capable confederate 

in executing his scheme of universal monarchy. 


High Politics and High Finance 

In England, so far, politics had been, and to a great 
extent still remained, a lordly game, the most active 
players in which were the great patrician or at least 
titled families. Its accurate as well as traditional 
knowledge of diplomacy confirmed the ascendancy of 
the Upper House in foreign politics, and made the 
Foreign Office itself an appanage for the nobility. So 
far Fox was the only commoner who had been 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ; Fox himself 
was the son of a lord, and the nephew of a duke. 
Descended from the Bristol Canynges, the rebuilders of 
St Mary Redclifif church in 1470, the Foreign 
Secretary could indeed point to a descent more ancient 
than that of half the peerage. Like Chatham, how- 
ever, he had not been bom into the ruling class. His 
more recent ancestors had settled at Garvagh in Stuart 
times ; his father had married beneath him ; his son 
was sneered at by the exalted classes who had long 
manned the Foreign Office as a young Irish adventurer; 
he owed his start in life, they said, to having been 
taken away from the second-class actress, his mother, 
by a rich imcle. Even George Canning s brilliant suc- 
cesses at Eton and Christchurch hurt rather than 
helped him with the magnates, Tory and Whig alike, 
who from Bolingbroke s day had detested and dis- 
trusted "that d d intellect." Pitt, however, sent 

for him. Then came the parliamentary seat so easily 
arranged in those days for youths of promise ; this was 
followed six years later by marriage to an heiress, the 
Duchess of Portland's sister, with a fortune that made 
her husband independent of profession or of office. 
Cannings career thus presents no exception to the 

absolute rule that in England private wealth is 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

the indispensable condition of public success. It 
was, however, strikingly appropriate to the new socio- 
political order now beginning that the first man of 
genius who, since Fox, on the Whig side, had 
managed the Foreign Office, should be warned off as a 
trespasser and cold-shouldered as a parvenu. 

In Canning's day any particularly exciting question 
that turned up was called, in Foreign Office slang, " a 
bustle." The new Secretary of State had been at his 
post only six months when there came upon him a 
greater ** bustle" than any the department had known 
since the Oczakow affair of 1792, and in comparison 
with which for its results Oczakow was insignificant. 
Apart from the personal energy and spirit of 
Canning, the Portland administration, in which he 
first became Secretary of State, was pledged, by 
the Pittites who formed its backbone, to a policy 
worthy of their departed master. One vital modi- 
fication of its methods was, however, admitted. 
Half-hearted coalitions paid by England were to be 
given over. Here Canning would have found himself 
in general agreement with Fox. When the third 
coalition uniting England, Austria, and Russia against 
France was formed by the Treaty of St Petersburg 
(1805), Canning indeed had himself protested against 
these arrangements. " Let us," he said, " in future 
rather turn our attention to helping all states who of 
their own free will go against Napoleon." Pitts 
negotiations with that end were actively going on at 
the moment of his death. They were continued by 
Fox as soon as the peace discussions of 1806 had 
manifestly become a failure. Fox, however, in 

the "Talents" administration had concurred with 


High Politics and High Finance 

Grenville as First Lord of the Treasury in starving 
the war and withholding that vigorous application of 
resources which would have at least attached their 
allies if it had not actually brought the struggle to a 
close. Castlereagh, when becoming War and Colonial 
Secretary, had, like Cannings made it a condition that 
this ill-timed parsimony and slackness should cease. 
The two men began by providing the King of Prussia 
with ;^ 1 00,000 in cash and military stores for 200,000 
men. At the Foreign Office, Canning's first task was 
to negotiate with Austria about a European pacifica- 
tion, but on the express condition of united action by 
all the allies against France. The Russian grievance 
against England was deepened by rumours of diplo- 
matic dealings between England and Sweden. The 
Czar then began to complain of Britain's bad faith in 
the matter of subsidies. Nevertheless, in April 1806, 
he became a party to the Treaty of Bartenstein 
pledging England, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, to carry 
on the war together and not without each other's 
approval to make peace. Thus far Prussia had not 
given England much reason to trust her as an ally, 
whether in diplomacy or in the field. She is now to 
appear in a new character. Towards the end of Jime 
1807, Napoleon had broken the army of the Czar at 
Eylau. After that battle the French conqueror tried 
to bribe Prussia to desert her vanquished ally; the 
offer was refused — with what results to Prussia her- 
self will presently be seen. Meanwhile, Napoleon's 
necessities were to furnish a novel and interesting 
illustration of the growing connection between the 
rulers of states and the controllers of the money 

market. The military operations against Russia 
N 193 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

were about to be crowned by the victory of Fried- 
land ; these made it desirable that he should secure the 
goodwill of so important a section of the Czar s 
subjects as was formed by the descendants of the 
chosen race domiciled in Southern Russia. At the 
same time, as Talleyrand shrewdly remarked, and as 
that diplomatist has been seen to possess good reason 
for knowing, the Hebrew capitalists were the men cap- 
able above all others of replenishing the Imperial 
purse. Limits to the possibilities even of Prussian 
plunder had begun to hint themselves ; if Prussia was 
drained the French troops must find a new paymaster. 
Napoleon did not go to the Jews. He assembled 
them at Paris in a meeting impressively representative 
of their intelligence not less than of their wealth.* 

The supreme achievement of Canning s first Secre- 
taryship of State was now at hand. The Foreign 
Minister's declared refusal to follow the example of 
his master Pitt, in the matter of coalitions, paid by 
England and not earning their money, had not pre- 
vented him from sending ;^2 50,000 to Austria soon 
after he took office, as well as smaller amounts, 
together with stores and troops to Russia. The Czar, 
however, through the head of his Foreign Office, 
General Budberg, appeared before the English 
ambassador at St Petersburg as a martyr suffering in 
mind, body and estate from his simple-hearted con- 
fidence in England's violated promises indefinitely, if 
need be, to supply those sinews of a war into which 
Alexander had entered not from any motives of per- 
sonal profit, but from a disinterested feeling of duty to 
the peace and welfare of Europe. To the injustice 

• Dam's Report of the Finances of 1806. Bignon, vol. vii. pp. 279-280. 


High Politics and High Finance 

done by England to himself must be added the injuries 
inflicted upon the commerce of his realm by Great 
Britain's persistent opposition to the Maritime League 
of the Northern Powers. Hence, he said, the wrongs 
sustained from English ships by the commercial inter- 
ests of his realm. Such, briefly, was the Russian case 
against England. The charges were disposed of by 
Canning in a famous despatch. The refutation had, of 
course, irritated the Czar rather than convinced him. 
After the decisive defeat of his troops at Friedland, he 
determined to violate the promise he had given in the 
Treaty of Bartenstein of refusing any accommodation 
with Napoleon which did not include his allies. He 
therefore obtained an armistice from the victor, and 
arranged the famous meeting with Napoleon on a raft in 
the river Niemen, off the town of Tilsit. What followed 
was a new version of the Bourbon Family Compact 
brought to light by the elder Pitt. 

The most amazing stipulations of the Tilsit agree- 
ment between the two Caesars did not directly affect 
England and may be very briefly summarised. The 
point from which they started was the overthrow of the 
Bourbon monarchy in Spain, of the Braganza line in 
Portugal, of the Turkish Sultanate if necessary, and of 
any other institutions which might interfere with Bona- 
parte's distribution of European countries among kings 
belonging to his own family, or with the rearrangement 
of Central European states ; these were to be parcelled 
out so as to become the most effectual bulwarks of the 
usurper's throne. In exchange for Russian neutrality 
or help with regard to those projects, the Czar was at 
once to have a free hand in Finland ; he was to be 
allowed to absorb the entire European dominions of 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the Porte and to push his conquests up to the Golden 
Horn. One significant condition the French emperor 
insisted on. The Czar was not in any event to possess 
Constantinople. Mr Gladstone's " bag and baggage " 
policy of a generation since was anticipated to the letter 
by the nineteenth-century Charlemagne in a characteris- 
tically vigorous phrase — " Those brutes of Turks " were 
to be expelled from Europe. Their capital, however, 
must not pass into the hands of any European Power. 
The secret articles of the Tilsit Convention directed 
against Great Britain scarcely occupied a morning's 
talk. The English Government was to be allowed 
four months to repent of its perversity. If by the ist 
of November the London Cabinet had not cancelled 
the system of maritime outrage which was its selfish 
and savage way of dealing with the enlightened 
Continental system and Berlin Decree, the islanders 
must be treated as the common enemies of the human 
race. The reference here was to the Orders in 
Council prohibiting all trade between English subjects 
or allies and any ports in French occupation. These 
Orders had first been issued by the Whig Government 
of Grenville and Grey, in the January of 1807. They 
were thus in force when the Duke of Portland and 
Canning succeeded to power. They were expedients 
of what has been called the '' tu quoque'' school of 
statesmanship, and retaliated against France the 
perpetual blockade to which Napoleon had condemned 
the British Isles. Napoleon's diplomacy of systematic- 
ally embroiling Russia with England began to be put 
into execution at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. The Tilsit compact between the two 

emperors was but the last in a series of transactions. 


High Politics and High Finance 

These placed the Czar at the disposal of the French 
emperor in the long-cherished and carefully thought- 
out plan of destroying the sea power of England. 
Europe as a whole had made itself the French con- 
queror's tool in this design. Denmark and Portugal 
alone remained outside the Continental system. If both 
the recalcitrant states would not declare war against 
England, handing over their fleets to France as Euro- 
pean emancipator, they must be threatened with inmie- 
diate hostilities. Such was the plot matured by the 
two rulers on their raft in the Niemen. The general 
features of the conspiracy possessed indeed little novelty 
for Canning, who had long suspected something of the 
sort to be in the wind. Where Pitt foimd only reason 
for thinking, Canning was in a position for knowing 
that difficulties of transport alone prevented Napoleon's 
descent upon Ireland, as a base for operations against 
Britain. Once let the French emperor obtain the 
vessels he needed, the invasion of England would 
come as surely as the Channel could be crossed. 

By what precise means or on what exact dates the 
secret articles of the Tilsit treaties reached the Foreign 
Secretary may not even yet be certainly known. 
After the lapse of just a hundred years since the Tilsit 
negotiations were held, the details that have gradually 
come to light concerning them suffice for a narrative 
tolerably circumstantial, if at one or two points con- 
jectural of the episode. Writing on 22nd July to 
Brook-Taylor, Garlike's successor as our envoy at 
Copenhagen, Canning mentions intelligence having 
reached him '' yesterday " from Tilsit about Bonaparte's 
designs. By whom and from whom were the tidings 

here referred to conveyed ? 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

On or about 21st July, there called at the Foreign 
Office a mysterious stranger desiring to see the 
Secretary of State on a confidential matter of urgent 
importance. This visitor was almost certainly an 
English spy named Mackenzie, who said that, con- 
cealed behind a curtain on the raft, he had caught 
occasional glimpses of the animated and cordial manner 
of the two emperors to each other, and had overheard 
clearly all their conversation. Mackenzie has been 
thought by some to be a myth. The Denmark 
documents of the Foreign Office contain reasons for 
regarding him as a reality. It does not, of course, 
necessarily follow that Mackenzie's tale was all of it 
first-hand. Some scraps may, as the eavesdropper 
said, actually have reached his lurking-place. The 
rumours, of which at the time the air was full, may 
easily have enabled him to eke them out and to give 
them a plausible appearance. But in well-informed 
quarters at the time the agency through which the 
Tilsit secret reached the Foreign Office was believed 
to be that of Count d'Antraigues, an ardent French 
royalist who took an active part in the restoration of 
Louis XVIII. Canning himself may have had direct 
communications from the regent of Portugal. He was 
also in the habit of supplementing letters from 
ambassadors, as well as from private friends, with a 
very careful study of the Paris newspapers. Canning, 
however, spoke of his informant as an exalted personage 
whose name it was impossible for him to reveal. Was 
this only Canning's full-dress Foreign Office manner 
of affecting a grand indignation at the suggestion by 
some of his opponents that the man behind the curtain, 
so far from being some highly placed, curiously com- 

High Politics and High Finance 

municative diplomatist, would turn out to be a com- 
mon-place international spy. Or could Canning's 
informant have been Talleyrand ? In favour of this 
last supposition, so long ago as 1797, at the Lille Con- 
ference with Malmesbury, Talleyrand had been ready 
to intrigue with England against Napoleon. In 1807, 
Talleyrand was under sentence of dismissal. Though 
he had formerly favoured or even suggested Bonaparte's 
Portuguese and Spanish schemes, moved by pique 
against his master, he may now have been ready for a new 
trick. Certainly Napoleon himself suspected Talleyrand. 
At any rate, the news brought by the enigmatic 
caller at the Foreign Office, whether Mackenzie or 
another, was fully and exactly verified by events. 
Canning's memory was still fresh when enough of the 
secret articles were known to vindicate his action. 
The final justification came with their full text, not 
published till 1877.* Before Canning's time, Denmark, 
it must be remembered, had been forcibly admonished, 
by Nelson's bombardment of Copenhagen in 1 801, of 
the heavy forfeit to be exacted by England for future 
participation in the Armed Neutrality. Yet in 1806 
Canning had learned from Captain Dunbar's report 
about the preparations going forward in Danish docks 
of stores and ships. This, as Denmark did not deny, 
might mean war with England. At the same time the 
Danish Government excited further suspicion by its 
acquiescence in, though not its formal adhesion to, the 
Continental System ; Denmark also had denounced 
England's violently practical answer to the Berlin 
Decree. However rough the British reprisal, it was 

* These details are most dearly and instructively brought together by 
Mr H. W. v. Temperley in his Lift of Canning^ p. 93. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

gentle in comparison with the original provocation. 
As will be seen a little later, both the Decree and the 
Orders in Council were mistakes, recoiling with equal 
severity upon their makers. The Napoleonic edict 
from the Prussian capital had been accepted as mutely 
by the Danes as was Napoleon s later threat of tak- 
ing for an enemy any neutral that allowed the infliction 
upon her shipping of the outrages threatened by the 
Orders in Council. Cannings predecessor at the 
Foreign Office, Howick, had first remonstrated with 
Rist, the Danish representative in London, on the 
evident partiality of the Copenhagen cabinet to 
Napoleon. About the same time, before the Tilsit 
Qieeting, Canning acquainted the Danish court through 
our envoy, Brook-Taylor, that our engagements to 
Sweden and the protection of British reinforcements 
might bring English ships into Danish waters. 
Denmark therefore had for some time given Great 
Britain much reason to distrust her and could complain 
of no lack of warnings, severe or gentle, that England 
was not prepared to stand much trifling from a pro- 
fessedly friendly Power. Both delicate hints and stem 
monitions were fresh in the Danish mind when 
Canning heard, whether from Mackenzie the spy or 
from another quarter, that Bonaparte had publicly 
declared Denmark's adhesion to the new anti-British 
Maritime League to be not less certain than it was 
essential. Under these circumstances the indignant 
denial by the Danish Crown Prince of any intention to 
make common cause with France produced no 
impression upon the latest English envoy to Denmark, 
Jackson. "Were you," asked George III., when 

Jackson recited th^ whole incident, "upstairs or on 


High Politics and High Finance 

the ground-floor at the time of your telling the Danish 
prince you did not believe him ? " 

" On the ground floor, so please your Majesty." 

" That was well," rejoined the king, " for your sake, 
otherwise had he been of my way of thinking he would 
certainly have kicked you downstairs." 

What followed is too well known to be repeated at 
any leng^th. The Danish army was defeated by Sir 
Arthur Wellesley at Roskilde; Copenhagen, bom* 
barded by land and sea, surrendered on 8th September, 
the ships anchored in her harbour. On 28th October 
the British and Danish fleets, both flying the 
English flag, paid a friendly visit to King Gustavus IV, 
of Sweden, the most loyal and dauntless of England's 
allies. " Busde and glory too," triumphantly mur- 
mured the whole Downing Street staff", after the pupil 
of Pitt, in "weathering the Northern storm," had 
shown himself a worthy successor of the master-pilot. 

Denmark may have been, as she protested, true to 
England, but appearances were against her. When 
Jackson refused to be reassured by the Crown Prince's 
fair words, he still had in his ears Canning's warn- 
ing reminder that, so far back as July, Napoleon had 
told Talleyrand to insist on the closing of Danish ports 
against England. ** However fair the promises for the 
future, we cannot," had been Canning's final instruc- 
tions to his representative, "forget that in the near 
past, as we already know from the Danish Foreign 
Minister, BemstoHf, the Crown Prince at once under-» 
took not only to shut us out of the Baltic, but to 
place himself in everything at Napoleon's disposal." 
Canning, moreover, had other informants in this 

matter ; first Pierrepoint, our ambassador to Sweden, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

and secondly the King of Sweden himself. The latter, in 
letters to our Foreign Office and to George III., begged 
there might be no delay in the British fleet's going to 
the Baltic. Canning's diplomacy and his consequent 
action were justified by the result. If he had not 
fully succeeded, to quote his own words, in " stunning 
Russia into her senses," he caused the Czar to pause, 
to delay for some months his adoption of the Con- 
tinental system and his declaration of war against 
England. The practical results of Canning's Danish 
policy were that the landing of French troops in Ire- 
land was prevented, and the chance of the Irish 
rising against us to a man disappeared. The Baltic 
remained open ; we could therefore send our promised 
reinforcements to the King of Sweden ; we could 
enable the Spanish General Romana to run the 
French gauntlet, to convey 10,000 troops back to 
Spain and train them there for afterwards rising 
against French despotism. The precedents for the 
strong measures taken were, the British occupation of 
Portuguese property, the island of Madeira, to prevent 
its being seized by France in 1801, and, as security 
against a like risk, the taking of Lisbon by the Fox 
and Grenville Government in 1806. 

The vigour which marked Canning's first period at 
the Foreign Office did not cease when the echoes of 
the Copenhagen cannonade died away. The accounts 
from foreign capitals now received by the Secretary of 
State conspired with the course of public events to 
increase the probability of an effective European 
concert developing itself against Bonaparte. To avoid 
whatever might mar the rising harmony became there- 
fore a paramount object of Canning's policy. In all 


High Politics and High Finance 

this, Canning consistently and successfully revived 
Pitt's policy of non-intervention in European affairs, 
except for the necessary protection of essentially British 
interests. The first of tJiose interests, for the moment, 
was the maintenance of our sea-streng^th unimpaired. 
On nth November 1807, therefore, new stringency 
was given to the Orders in Council issued in the 
preceding January. Our representatives abroad were 
instructed to acquaint foreign governments with the 
proved inadequacy of the existing measures. Let 
them (were Canning's new orders) understand that it 
is not enough to hold all ports of France and of her 
allies to be in a state of blockade. Whoever is not 
for us must be considered against us. It is not enough 
for a country to practise mere neutrality or even to 
make, after the Danish manner, professions of friend- 
ship. The test must be the reception of the British 
flag. Where that is excluded, we have to deal as 
with an open enemy. In this matter Canning, it must 
be remembered, was using a weapon not of his own 
forging or unreservedly approved by him. The idea 
of the Orders in Council seems to have been struck 
out by George Rose, Pitt's Secretary to the Treasury.* 
Canning himself lived to disapprove of them and to 
protest against their continuance. 

The next act in the diplomatic drama had, mean- 
while, opened in Paris. The Portuguese ambassador to 
France was told that Napoleon's mission as champion 
of international morality compelled him to insist on Por- 
tugal punishing England for her wanton outrage on 
Denmark, by a declaration of war. The diplomatic 
situation now developed had, it must be confessed, a 

* See also page 324. 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

certain drollery. So far from Great Britain protesting 
against Portugal's mute sufferance of the seizure of her 
subjects and shipping by Napoleon, England actually 
advised her to Save herself by accepting the French ulti- 
matum. '' By all means/' in effect said Canning to the 
Lisbon Government, " make war against us as the Dic- 
tator of Europe desires ; only do your best to avoid the 
confiscation of English property." Portugal acted on 
the advice, took its place among our declared enemies, 
but spared the property of British residents. This was 
not enough for the French emperor, who, upon his 
favourite principle that war ought to support war, 
had long since arranged to gratify his favourites by the 
plunder of British possessions in the Peninsula. While 
in the very act of appropriating the valuables belong- 
ing to the prosperous merchants of Frankfort, and the 
masterpieces of Italian art at Rome, Bonaparte had 
cherished the design of looting the traders of all 
nations, especially of England, in Portugal and Spain. 
On 17th October 1807, the French invasion, and with 
it the panic at the Lisbon court, began. This was part 
of the policy arranged at Tilsit, and some time before 
then discussed between Napoleon and his Foreign 
Minister. The peace negotiations of 1806, instituted 
by Fox, had been conducted by Yarmouth, Lauder- 
dale and Rosslyn. So far back as then Talleyrand 
made no mystery of the French intention to absorb 
the whole Peninsula. More than that, the ac- 
counts of the negotiations furnish the earliest 
circumstantial evidence to show that, in 1806 
Talleyrand keenly supported the peninsular pro- 
jects,* Then at least there could have been no 

* O'Meara, ii. 330 ; Thibaudeau, vi. 296. 

High Politics and High Finance 

reason for imputing to Talleyrand dissent from or even 
indifference to Napoleon's Iberian schemes. The most 
cosmopolitan of London drawing-rooms in Canning's 
time was that of Miss Lydia White, regularly visited 
by Canning, Castlereagh, Sir James Mackintosh, and 
an emporium of diplomatic gossip, ** If," said to the 
present writer the late Mr Alfred Montgomery, ** we 
knew the secrets of that house, we might find that as 
a visitor there Canning knew enough when as yet 
Talleyrand could not have told him a word about 
Tilsit/' Before the French Revolution had kindled 
the European conflagration, England, France, Portugal 
and Spain had become, by the Treaty of Paris in 
1763, nominal allies. After Tilsit, Russian diplomacy 
in the person of the Czar's ambassador at Madrid, 
Baron Strogonoff, keenly alive to the precarious 
nature of any agreement with France, so worked upon 
the Spanish Government as to make it meditate 
hostilities against France in the Pyrenees. The plan 
was to unite England, Russia and Spain in maintain- 
ing the liberties of that very peninsula against which 
the Tilsit peace had given Napoleon a free hand. 
Every detail of this new arrangement became known 
to Napoleon on the day of his victory at Jena. Three 
years after the Anglo- Russian rupture completed at 
Tilsit, the Czar himself, in the December of 18 10, 
withdrew from Napoleon's commercial system, and so by 
his own act cancelled the conspiracy to which he had 
with the French emperor been a party at the riverain 
frontier of his empire and of the Prussian monarchy. 
This secession was followed by a Russian proposal to 
England for action on behalf of absolutism in Spain. 




Napoleon in the Peninsula — The Treaty of Fontainebleau — Can- 
ning's views on trade — Mallet-du-^an — TheSfianish rising against 
the French — English and Spanish diplomatists — Foreign policy 
first popularised by Canning — British )^bsidies>s6nt to Spain — 
John Hookham Frere at Madrid — ^The necessity for British 
troops in Spain — Strained relations between Canning and 
Castlereagh — ^Their quarrel and resignation — Lord Bathurst — 
Lord WeUesley — George Hammond — The formation of Lord 
Liverpoors cabinet — Napoleon's successes — ^The Second 
American War — Friendly feeling between France and America 
— The repeal of the Orders in Council — The Treaty of Ghent 
— The attitudes of the various European rulers towards 
Napoleon, 1 813-14 — Mettemich and his diplomacy — ^Austria as 
European mediator — Napoleon's last intrigues — ^The Congress 
of Chatillon — Court Pozzo di Borgo — Napoleon deserted by 
Austria — ^The Treaty of Chaumont — ^The abdication of Napoleon 
and the Bourbon restoration. 

THE excitement caused by the Tilsit revelations 
subsided, the echoes of Canning's bombardment 
of Copenhagen died away. The European states 
began to group themselves round France in hostility 
to England. Russia indeed, by refusing from regard 
to the interests of her land-owners strictly to enforce 
the suspension of trade with Great Britain, stood aloof 
from Napoleon ; she thus began to provoke those 
suicidal reprisals from the French dictator which were 
to lure him to his ruin at Moscow. On the other hand 
Denmark now became openly hostile to us. Even 

Sweden, on 7th September 1807, by the capitulation of 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

Rugen, enabled Napoleon to make himself master of 
Northern Germany. Portugal alone still refused to 
acknowledge the Berlin Decree. Though that country 
had at our instance formally accepted Bonaparte's ulti- 
matum and made a declaration of war against us, her 
regent's refusal to confiscate English property had 
caused Napoleon to invade her territory. At Tilsit, 
we know, the Czar had been authorised by Bonaparte 
to absorb Finland, which from the thirteenth century 
had belonged to Sweden, and to annex the Danubian 
provinces that were part of European Turkey. In 
return he was to connive at Napoleon's bestowing on 
members of his own family the Braganza monarchy in 
Portugal and the Bourbon crown in Spain. The 
French attempt to carry these designs into execution 
began in the second year (1808) of Canning's initial 
term at the Foreign Office. In that year England had 
for its representative in Portugal Percy Strangford, 
Viscoimt Clinton, who accompanied the Portuguese 
court to Brazil on its flight there from the French 
invader. The Portuguese ambassadors to the British 
capital have often been equally in favour at the palace 
and in society. From 1808 to 181 1 the Portuguese 
envoy in London was Chevalier de Souza Couttinho, 
afterwards Conde de Funchal, notable alike for his 
skill in politics and success in society. The treaty 
signed by Canning and him, 2nd October 1807, formed 
the basis of Anglo-Portuguese relations throughout this 
period. The clauses of mutual alliance and defence 
were accompanied by an arrangement for the King of 
Portugal's departure for Brazil. That was immediately 
carried out, and across the Adantic the king remained 

till his realm at home had been cleared of the enemy. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

For some little time before his actual invasion of the 
country in 1808, Spain had engaged the diplomatic and 
military attention of the French emperor. The retro- 
spect of the relation into which Napoleon and Spain 
had so far been brought contained little that can have 
seemed entirely satisfactory to either. For what were 
the fortunes that had attended the connection between 
the two ? Spain had no sooner joined the first Coalition 
than French armies crossed the Pyrenees ; three years 
later she entered the service of France, only to find 
her battleships beaten at St Vincent. To suit his 
convenience at the Amiens negotiations, Napoleon 
surrendered the Spanish West Indian colony Trinidad 
to England ; on the renewal of the war he forced 
Spain into hostilities with England, and so brought 
upon her the humiliation of Trafalgar. In the years 
that followed, Napoleon was systematically misled by 
his agents as to the state of national feeling and 
political movement in the Peninsula. Canning, on the 
other hand, thanks partly to the excellent working 
order into which every division of his department had 
been brought, found himself better informed than any 
Foreign Minister yet had been as to political movements 
and popular feeling abroad. In particular he knew 
that, so far from being brought, as Napoleon believed, 
by national discontent to the verge of a revolution, 
Spain remained loyal to her established dynasty, and 
would wage war to the knife against the alien who tried 
to supplant it. 

On the 27th of October 1807, Napoleon followed 

up the Tilsit plot with what his satellites applauded 

as a political master-stroke. This was the Treaty 

of Fontainebleau between France and Spain for the 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

partition of Portugal. The British Foreign Office under 
Canning now knew enough of Napoleon's international 
methods to feel sure that his compact with the Spanish 
Government was but a blind. The expressions of 
Talleyrand and others in his confidence, some years 
before, about Spain were now recalled. Bursting with 
self-importance and with odds and ends of news picked 
up by him in strange European comers, a native of 
Napoleon's own Corsica, Pozzo di Borgo, of whom 
more will be said later, contrived at this time frequendy 
to be closeted with Canning, as before he had been 
with Pitt. "It is only," exclaimed this foreign visitor, 
**a trap for catching the Spanish court. Directly 
Bonaparte has put the people at Madrid off their guard, 
he will make a single meal, not merely of Portugal, 
but of Spain too. Hence all this apparent regard for 
the national pride, with the promises of restoring to 
the Bourbon crown the jewels taken away from it by 
England in the Adantic." Such indeed, before the 
nineteenth century had completed its first decade, was 
to prove the case. Canning did not become member 
for Liverpool till 1812. It was, however, during his 
earliest term of office that he more specially began to 
insist to his Parliamentary followers, on popular plat- 
forms as well as in official despatches, on commerce and 
trade as the handmaids, if not the foundations, of 
empire. War had given a stimulus to British manufac- 
ture of all kinds, more particularly to the cotton goods 
of Manchester and the woollens of Bradford. The 
Continental System had prevented the actual importa- 
tion of these British products into the countries most 
needing them, and had so caused distress less to 
England than to her neighbours. On slavery and its 
o 209 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

abolition Canning's views, when the occasion for 
expressing them came, proved to be not unlike those 
of Burke ; the negro he described as a being with the 
form of a man and the intellect of a child. As regards 
trade he was liberal enough to make an opening to- 
wards the establishment of free commercial exchange. 
His great principle was that trade with this country 
must in the long run prove more necessary to foreign 
nations than to England. "Our own colonies," 
Canning said to Souza, " supply us with ample means 
of self-support" Canning's conviction that Napoleon s 
difficulties in Spain were only beginning with his success 
in duping the Spanish court was justified by the national 
incidents immediately following the French invasion. 

At this point we are again reminded that during 
the earlier years of the nineteenth century were busily 
at work certain diplomatic agencies independent of 
and separate from any Foreign Office machinery. In 
France, after his deposition and during his imprison- 
ment, Louis XVI. conducted an entire series of 
negotiations between himself, the French royalists and 
foreign Powers friendly to the monarchy, through the 
Due de Breteuil, his former minister, and through 
Mallet-du-Pan. This last was the distinguished 
French publicist who associated himself with Malouet, 
Mirabeau and others, in the cause of moderation during 
that period of frenzy when to advocate political sobriety 
was denounced as treason to the rights of man. His 
property had been confiscated, his library burned by 
the Jacobins. With broken health and spirits, after 
some months of wandering, he found himself in 
England a penniless exile ; nevertheless he contrived 
to start in London an international newspaper written 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

in French, Le Mercure Brttannigue, on the plan of 
the extinct Mercure de France. Pitt, during his first 
premiership, recognised the refugee's abih'ties by 
employing him on several little Foreign Office 
missions ; he eventually rewarded his services by 
giving his widow a pension of ;^300 a year and his son 
an appointment in the Audit Office. In due time this 
son succeeded to his father s official career, and was him- 
self followed by a son of his own who, beginning life in 
the Board of Trade and as private secretary to Lord 
Taunton, helped Cobden in his French commercial 
treaty and became afterwards Sir Louis Malet, 
Permanent Under-Secretary at the India Office. The 
exact precedent for the international enterprise of 
Spanish patriotism in 1808, had been in 1794 the 
mission of Count Alfred de Puisaye, the leader of the 
royalist rising against the Republic in la Vend^ ; De 
Puisaye's adventures, before he succeeded in escaping 
to England, recall the wanderings and escapes of the 
Young Pretender in the Western Highlands. De 
Puisaye himself, though kindly received by Pitt, only 
succeeded in promoting the disastrous Quiberon expe- 

" It was," at a later date said Napoleon, '' that 
fatal peninsular adventure which ruined me." Before 
that, however, when one of those about him pointed 
out the risk of invading Spain, Bonaparte's words had 
been, ** Believe me, countries governed by monks are 
not hard to conquer." The sneer sank deeply into the 
ecclesiastical mind of the threatened country. It trans- 
formed Churchmen into diplomatists and soldiers. It 
was a Franciscan friar, Jean Rico, who, in Valencia, first 

planned and led the national rising against the French. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

He was followed by Balthazar Calvo, a canon of 
Madrid. The Spanish multitude instinctively dis- 
trusted its aristocracy. In a democratic and largely a 
peasant priesthood, the peninsular patriots of the 
cottage and of the pavement found natural leaders 
whom they were prepared to follow with the same 
fidelity that fifteen years earlier had been displayed 
by the Paris mob towards Robespierre and CoUot 
d'Herbois. The rising against the French at once 
became popular and as sanguinary as might have 
been expected in an age when the rabble in Southern 
Europe was excited and demoralised by bloodshed 
soaking the whole continent. Conspicuous among the 
official representatives of Spain in London at this 
period were Admiral Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, the Duke 
of Infantado, the Duke of Montellano, the Duke of 
San Carlos, and, as chargi cC affaires till his arrival, 
the Chevalier Campuzano. To-day these may be 
names only, but though one or two of the number 
came a litde after that period, the diplomatists now 
indicated, between 1808 and 181 2, were in daily 
communication with the English Foreign Office, both 
under Canning and Castlereagh. On the other hand 
the men despatched during these critical years from 
Downing Street to Madrid were the pick of the service. 
John Hookham Frere, as we already know, not only 
possessed Canning's intimacy, but had not a litde of 
the literary brilliance and versatility with which the 
diplomacy of the time sparkled. Richard Wellesley, at 
a later date to become successively Lord Cowley, 
the Marquis Wellesley, and head of the Foreign Office 
in 1808, succeeded Frere at the Madrid embassy ; after 

a short interval he was himself followed at Madrid by 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

Charles Richard Vaughan. All these representatives 
of Great Britain felt a strong personal interest in the 
struggle for national existence forced upon the country 
to which they were accredited. Some of them may, 
like Frere, have expected too much from the hurriedly 
raised Spanish levies. Here they might perhaps have 
profited more than they did from the sound and shrewd 
counsel of certain among the English settlers in the 
country. Chief among these was a British merchant at 
Cadiz, named Strange, who, before being assassinated 
in his efforts to calm an insurrectionary mob, had 
warned the English ambassador against trusting too 
implicitly the military organisation or professions of 
the Spanish leaders. The negotiations conducted by 
our Madrid embassy had great results. Encouraged 
by the British promise of arms, help and the necessary 
supplies, Spain entered into a treaty with England not to 
conclude a separate peace with Napoleon. At the same 
time Sir Arthur Wellesley at the head of the British 
reinforcements, arrived to take the chief command. 

By associating it with the championship of a people 
rising against an invading despot, the Foreign Secre- 
tary attracted the enthusiastic interest of the coimtry to 
his diplomacy. To the British masses foreign policy 
till now had seemed an affair of experts chiefly in the 
House of Lords. The invasion of Spain enabled Can- 
ning to bring down international statesmanship to the 
level of popular comprehension, much after the manner 
that Socrates had been said to cause philosophy to 
descend from the gods to men. Whatever the mistakes 
due to his impatience and irritability, Canning as Foreign 
Minister lifted his department above the level of party. 

British ambassadors began to be popularly regarded, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

not in their former light as the agents of court or of 
cabinet, but as trustees of the national honour and 
agents in executing the national will. As Canning's 
political opponent Sheridan put it, all factions must 
unite to help a people animated, like the Spanish, with 
one spirit against Bonaparte. It was, he said, the 
kind of chance in vain longed for by Fox. Therefore, 
from all Foxites, Canning must receive a support as 
cordial as if the man whom they most loved were 
restored to life. To the Tory Foreign Minister, 
Canning, had indeed come the opportunity, denied to 
the democratic Fox, of popularising the technicalities 
of his portfolio. As he himself put it, in making 
Spain the theatre of war the common tyrant of man- 
kind had offered for a batdefield a sea-girt and 
mountainous region where the numerical inferiority of 
the British armies will expose them to less disadvantage 
than in any other theatre of European warfare. Till 
now no Foreign Minister had been sure that his opera- 
tions might not be hampered by the indifference of his 
official staff, or his policy at some critical point over- 
ruled by some ministerial colleague. Thus when Fox 
on his third term, after a month's interval of Lord 
Mulgrave, followed the Earl of Harrowby, he had the 
greatest difficulty with the permanent members of his 
staff, attached as these were to the Tory tradition of 
the Duke of Leeds. The Duke of Leeds himself, in 
Pitt's Government, and the Prime Minister worked 
harmoniously together only on the principle of the one 
never trusting the other out of his sight. When, with 
Pitt still at the Treasury, Grenville went to the Foreign 
Office, the Secretary of State was incessantly com- 
plaining, with or without cause, that even if despatches 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

for his department were not actually intercepted, 
Bland Burges or one of the other Under-Secretaries, 
who had now become institutions, contrived to curry 
favour with the Prime Minister by acquainting him 
with their contents before the papers had been fully 
mastered by the Foreign Minister himself Once 
Canning was established in Downing Street, inter- 
official jealousies and suspicions began to be unknown. 
The Secretary of State's position resembled that of a 
later Foreign Minister, Palmerston, at the height of his 
power; he had become not merely the chief of the 
department and the framer of a policy, but the personi- 
fication of the popular mood and the national purpose. 

Canning's diplomacy proved universally intelligible 
and had an inspiring influence on every section of the 
British people. It not only appealed to the deepest 
sentiments of the race; it was immediately accom- 
panied by visible and practical steps for the succour 
of a now friendly people struggling to be free. The 
man who was the life and soul of the administration 
to which he belonged had, for the relief of Napoleon's 
latest victims, opened a subscription list which every- 
one signed. From the beginning of June 1808 to 
Canning's resignation in 1809, ^^^ money subsidies 
sent by Great Britain amounted to ;^3, 100,000. The 
cash was accompanied by every variety of military 
stores and materials, as well as articles of dress. In 
addition to the state supplies, purses for the Spanish 
patriots were started in all centres of business or 
pleasure throughout the United Kingdom. 

Canning, by sheer hard work and tact combined, 
induced the English representatives of the Spanish 
Government, whom he saw almost daily, to use their 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

influence for overcoming mutual jealousies among the 
Juntas that now governed Spain ; at the same time he 
instructed his own agents in Spain to beware of wound- 
ing the national pride of a susceptible race. The 
answer of the English people to the stimulating appeal 
of Canning's statesmanship was promptly rewarded by 
the defeat which (19th July 1808) the Spanish com- 
mander Reding inflicted on the French general, 
Dupont, at Baylen. Then first the English people 
Were satisfied that the enterprise to which their 
minister had committed them was practicable. 

The British ambassador to Madrid at this time was 
Canning s old personal friend, John Hookham Frere ; 
he had received the appointment partly in recognition 
of his having secured the safe convoy to Spain of 
10,000 Spanish troops, pressed by Napoleon into French 
service, from Denmark, under the command of Romana. 
The Foreign Secretary had a generous belief in the 
military vigour of the Spanish resistance to Napoleon. 
Frere shared this faith and practically retained it after 
he ought to have been undeceived by experience. On 
the other hand Castlereagh, the War Minister in the 
Pordand Government, though without anything of 
Canning s genius, was not his inferior in administra- 
tive ability, had no sympathy with his optimism and 
resented his tendency to interfere in matters outside his 
own department. 

On loth December 1808, Frere received instruc- 
tions from Canning, urging stronger and prompter 
military action. There seemed a danger of the opera- 
tions in the Peninsula coming, in 1809, to an ineffectual 
close. Overbearing some of his Cabinet colleagues, the 
masterful Foreign Secretary concluded a treaty with the 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

provisional Government of Spain ; this pledged both 
Spain and England to abstain from making a separate 

At last Frere perceived as clearly as, with some 
reluctance, did Canning himself, that, whatever the 
native courage and potential efficiency of the Por- 
tuguese or Spanish troops, British training, com- 
mand and discipline were necessary to render them 
trustworthy. Here the English War Minister would 
generally have agreed with the Foreign Minister and 
his representative at Madrid. Canning and Castle- 
reagh differed in their ideas of the exact capacity in 
which the Duke of Wellington, then Sir Arthur 
Wellesley, landed at Lisbon in 1808. It was with the 
entire approval of both that he became next year 
Commander-in-chief. Meanwhile Frere was occupied 
with the critical task of manipulating the morbidly acute 
susceptibilities of the Spanish Government and people 
in such a way as to overcome their objection to Spanish 
fortresses being garrisoned by English soldiers. 

While thus engaged, Frere heard at his embassy 
of a private emissary from Castlereagh having reached 
Spain to arrange for the landing of an English con- 
tingent at Cadiz, without this purpose being officially 
communicated to the Foreign Minister at home, or to 
his representative at the Spanish capital. The 
relations between the Ministers for War and for 
Foreign Affairs were embittered by the incident just 
recounted ; they were strained beyond endurance by 
the Walcheren expedition, whose failure was attributed 
to the War Office slackness in postponing it from the 
early spring to the late summer. Incompatibility of 

personal character and political temper was, however, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

enough to explain the rupture which had from the 
first been inevitable. The two men indeed represented 
respectively not only two schools of political thought, 
but two mutually opposed social dispensations. The 
contrast in their personal appearance was only the 
outward and visible sign of the deeper differences 
dividing them in their attitude towards affairs and 
upon tendencies at home and abroad. As they sat 
not far from each other in the House of Commons on 
the same Treasury bench, Castlereagh, with a certain 
magnificent air, throwing back his blue coat the 
better to show his broad chest and white waistcoat, 
thrilled the assembly with proud admiration for its 
patrician leader. Canning, on the other hand, 
imitated his master Pitt in wearing his coat tightly 
buttoned up to his neck-cloth, while, folding his arms, 
he clothed his finely cut features with an expression, 
half-humorous, half-scornful, such as became the in- 
tellectual ruler of the Chamber. The House, if it feared 
Canning's rhymed epigrams, was put at its ease by 
his lucid rhetoric, and particularly admired the skill 
with which, like Brougham, he could dovetail into an 
elaborately prepared context passages freshly sug- 
gested by the arguments or incidents of debate. 

The Pordand Cabinet had no sooner got to work 
than the world knew there was not room in it both for 
Canning and Castlereagh. The Foreign Secretary 
took litde trouble to conceal his conviction that either 
he or the War Minister must go. The wonder is not 
that, according to the custom of the time, the two 
men brought their quarrel to a crisis in a duel, but that 
the precedent of the hostile meeting between Pitt and 

Tierney sixteen years earlier had not been followed long 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

before. The traditional accounts of the Canning and 

Casdereagh encounter are confused and contradictory ; 

so minutely careful an authority as Sir Archibald 

Alison, rebutting the charge of the two principals in 

the affair having caused a Cabinet scandal, declares 

that when they fought both had ceased to be 

ministers. May not the truth be that both had 

placed their resignations in Portland's hands, but that 

the king's pleasure on them had not been taken ? 

The next resignation, that of the Prime Minister, 

the Duke of Portland himself (he died a few weeks 

afterwards), made Spencer Perceval premier and 

provided a famous Foreign Secretary of a later day, 

Lord Palmerston, with an opening for his great 

career. Canning was immediately followed at the 

Foreign Office by the third Earl Bathurst Bathurst 

had been made Master of the Mint by Pitt, had 

retained that post under Addington, and had been the 

Duke of Portland's President of the Board of Trade. 

With a happy knack of making himself useful in any 

position at the shortest notice, he was always in 

readiness for temporary employment, as now, in the 

capacity of stop-gap and warming-pan. One of his 

diplomatic missions had for its object to encourage 

the Tyrolese in the rising against Napoleon. Perceval 

was already in communication with Frere's successor 

in our Madrid embassy. Lord Wellesley, the elder 

brother of Sir Arthur who was leading our army to 

victory. In rather less than two months Wellesley 

had sufficiently wound up his business as British 

representative at the court of Madrid to return to 

England and to become at the Foreign Office the 

colleague of a minister quite as antipathetic to himself 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

as Castlereagh had been to Canning. It was in 1818 
that Brougham examined Goodall, the headmaster of 
Eton, before the Education Committee of the House 
of Commons as to an alleged injustice done to Porson, 
when an Eton boy, in not selecting him for King's, 
Cambridge. In the course of his reply Goodall, 
while admitting Porson s attainments, denied that he 
was near being the best Greek scholar in the school. 
Lord Wellesley, he added, was altogether his superior. 
This accomplished Hellenist, after having been Lord 
of the Treasury, received his official training as 
Governor-General of India ; he more than maintained 
the tradition of scholarship with which Canning had 
first associated the Foreign Office. The international 
ideas to which as Secretary of State he gave effect 
may be inferred from his fidelity to Pitt's views about 
England's duties towards Jacobinism, and from a 
speech of his own still classical, made in 1794, de- 
nouncing the law of Nature first promulgated by 
Danton, and ordaining that the Alps, the Pyrenees, 
the ocean and the Rhine should be the only boundaries 
to the French dominions. During one period of his 
life Lord Wellesley so closely resembled his brother 
the Duke of Wellington, that they were constantly 
mistaken for each other. The most striking features 
of both were the eyes, blue in colour, very round 
and very large, and in a less degree the more famous 
hook-nose ; the nose was done justice to by D'Orsay 
in his speaking likeness of the Duke ; the only picture 
portraying the Wellesley eyes is a drawing by Goya. 
By the time Lord Wellesley entered the department 
it had been put into such first-rate working order by a 

series of Under-Secretaries, that its business went 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

almost automatically. Among those organising 
officials, the most active had been the George Ham- 
mond already mentioned in these pages. Hammond, 
after several foreign missions elsewhere, had in 1791 
gone as the first representative of the English Govern- 
ment to the United States ; here he was warmly 
welcomed by Jefferson as the pioneer of happier relations 
with the old country. Hammond only retired about 
the time of Wellesley s establishment in Downing 
Street. Wellesley's connection with Hammond's 
earliest patron, Pitt, was enough to recommend the 
former Under-Secretary to the new head of the 
Foreign Office ; during the three years that he held 
the seals Wellesley's administration proceeded much 
on the lines that Hammond's experience suggested. 

The next change in the directorship of the depart- 
ment was caused by Perceval's assassination in the 
May of i8i2, followed by the abortive attempts to 
patch up a ministry in which both Canning and 
Castlereagh should serve together with Wellesley, 
under Grenville and Grey. These efforts failed 
because the one principle to which Wellesley at the 
Foreign Office had pledged England was support of 
the Peninsular War. Grenville and Grey regarded 
that struggle with the general Whig impatience and 
only wished to see it at an end. On the 8th of Jime 
181 2 the ministerial interregnum was ended by the for- 
mation of Lord Liverpool's long-lived Cabinet. The 
new premier practically offered Canning his choice of 
places ; the offer failed to include the leadership of the 
Commons, which was to go to Castlereagh. Canning's 
refusal was prompted by no personal objection to serve 

under Liverpool, but by a dislike to identify himself 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

with an administration, formed at a critical time» beset 
by increasing difficulties and not likely, as it seemed, 
to be favoured by fortune in any department of its 
policy. During 1810 and 181 1 our army under 
Wellesley had dispossessed Napoleon of Portugal. 
On the other hand most of Spain was held by the 
French ; the victory of Wagram, the revolution in 
Sweden portended apparently the consolidation of 
Napoleon's power. The French conqueror's marriage 
with the Austrian emperor's daughter, Marie Louise, 
in 1 8 10, is now known to have been but the device of 
Metternich, who arranged it, for luring the enemy of 
Austria to his ruin. Followed, however, by the birth of 
a son, the King of Rome, in 181 1, it then seemed 
to insure the Napoleonic dynasty's perpetuation. 
Moreover, the Liverpool government had scarcely 
established itself when a fresh trouble confronted it in 
the outburst of the second American War. This was 
the earliest great event that engaged Castlereagh's 
diplomacy. Its circumstances and issues call for a few 
words of explanation. 

This fresh contest really resulted from the com- 
bined influences of the original revolt of our trans- 
atlantic colonies and the French Revolution. The 
Americans never forgot the help rendered them by 
France in securing them independence. Consequently 
at the outbreak of hostilities between the French 
Republic and the European allies, a strong party 
in the United States cried out for war against 
Great Britain. George Washington partially re- 
strained the anti- English feeling of his countrymen ; 
one of his latest acts was, 19th November 1794, to carry 

out a commercial treaty with Great Britain. After 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

his retirement, the one check upon American en- 
thusiasm for revolutionary France disappeared. The 
maritime code of France and the Orders in Council of 
England placed American commerce between two 
fires. Obviously, however, it was to the interest of 
France not to alienate from her a Power so ready to 
take part with her against England as the United 
States. Finally the Franco-American treaty of Mor- 
fontaine, 30th September 1800, established between the 
two countries a new code.* 

British diplomacy now prepared to counteract the 
Morfontaine Convention by a treaty of amity, com- 
merce and navigation ; this was eventually signed, 
December 1806, in London by Castlereagh and the 
American plenipotentiary. That arrangement was 
repudiated by President Jefferson, who in an angry 
message to Congress denounced in 1807 the revised 
and more stringent version of the British Orders in 
Council. In the March of 1808 the United States 
enforced the N on- Intercourse Act. This forbade all 
dealings with either of the European belligerents, 
expressly denounced the English Orders in Coimcil, 
but ignored the Berlin or Milan Decrees. Meanwhile 
Jefferson had been succeeded in the American pre- 
sidency by Madison, who instructed his Foreign 
Secretary, Smith, to endeavour to compose the 
difference with the English representative at Wash- 
ington, Erskine. The violent search by an English 
ship of the American frigate Chesapeake, and one 
or two other collisions on the high seas between 
United States and British vessels, had so heated 
the popular mind that a diplomatic rupture had 

* Alison's Europe^ vol. r. p. 97. 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

become inevitable. On the i8th of June 1812, both 
American chambers, by large majorities, declared the 
existence of war between Great Britain and the United 
States. Before that dinouetfunt, Castlereagh had no 
sooner established himself at the Foreign Office than 
the Orders in Council, which had been one of the 
causes of this new war, were repealed by him. Here 
Casdereagh did not, as has been said, undo Canning's 
policy ; he merely gave effect to it, for as early as the 
December of 1808 Canning had protested to the 
original deviser of these Orders against their continu- 
ance. Canning, of course, finding them in existence, 
had first adopted and then stiffened them. The idea 
of these Orders originated with one who, now (181 2) 
agreeing with Castlereagh in their repeal, like him 
still insisted on their absolute necessity in the first 
instance. This was George Rose, the already men- 
tioned (page 203) Secretary to the Treasury imder Pitt, 
and President of the Board of Trade under Pordand, 
and, though not in the Cabinet, consequendy a minis- 
terial colleague of Canning and Casdereagh. As Can- 
ning said during the debate which preceded the annul- 
ment of the Orders, the step had been taken in the first 
place for political not commercial reasons ; it had not 
proved altogether successful ; it was now time to retrace it. 
This is not the place to relate the incidents, com- 
paratively little known though they are, of the war 
with our transadantic kinsmen which resulted from the 
retaliatory measures against the Continental System, 
initiated as they were by the Whigs and continued by 
the Tories. The second Anglo-American war was 
closed, on the 24th of December 18 14, by the Treaty 

of Ghent. This purely Anglo-Saxon convention was 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

by no means a definite settlement of all outstanding 
difficulties, was silent about the right of search, a chief 
cause of quarrel and subsequently always refused by 
America. Its chief permanent interest arises from two 
of its provisions ; one of these concerned the boundary 
of the American State of Maine and the British 
province of New Brunswick. Another clause con- 
tained the principle of international arbitration. The 
St Croix river formed the boundary line between the 
American and British dominions. The ownership of 
certain territories near this stream, as well as of islands 
in the bay into which it flowed, was to be settled by 
a mixed American and British commission. Any 
disputed point was to be referred to some friendly 
sovereign, whose judgment was to be final. The 
great lakes, which, roughly speaking, divide the British 
from the United States* possessions of North America, 
had been the scene of some severe fighting in the 
past war. Their future neutrality was to be insured 
by the prohibition on their waters of all armed vessels. 
The arbitration machinery provided at Ghent was 
resorted to in 1834 when the King of the Netherlands, 
as umpire, made a division of disputed territory satis- 
factory to neither party and eventually repudiated by 
both. Anglo-American relations, as will be more fully 
shown hereafter, were to be placed on a more satis- 
factory footing by the British surrender of the right of 
search at the Paris Congress of 1856. They were 
only disturbed for the moment by the Trent affair 
in 1863. 

The Continental movements which followed 
Napoleon's Moscow disasters in 181 2 and their re- 
lations with British diplomacy may now be mentioned, 
p 225 

Scorr of Bn2i& 

(jOfUk Drrrrrbrr rSir<» ibe Pr: 

c4 tbe Pz^iasss:! gr^.'jr i ^rs^ax by Sctf's 

P*3vcr vas aasorad. Wlrai piit wcc^ii die Cxar lake ? 
Wocki azrr EXBcnes €C TUsk sciZ bcid the ^-*M"n to 
me Wcst-rsi Ocsar? At Sc Pcier»Qr^ a scroc^ 
Frccci ^cx>2fi fcad bcec besiSetf !:y tbe Cxar s ai u u r iie 
mfnkter. Ror^rTV"^ The fcscfri&bcc exercised fay 
the pcrsooal grrarr^rss oi XaQCi<ecc cci Alexaader 
had been but temporarily wei&kesiised. It 
apfBTcndy as stroc^ 2S eror. Tbe vissooary 
in the Ciar s i rr-^r r ran N'nt. wHch rxrirtHs so mucfa of 
his Taciliatioo aod so many ol his iiKixtsssteiKies. was 
a cc cM Ppa nied by a jeajixssy d^&t c^^tcbed even his 
dzssimulatioa. RoGumctTs ^d\x7cacy cl the benefits 
Russia might yet gain b^Doi the goc«3wiII cf a coantry 
whose leading spcrit was shoviii^g the extraordtnaiy 
degree of reaiperatxre power inherent in Napoleon, 
may have been more urgent dam dbcreet. The 
Northern autocrat at any rate resenced ic plainly 
charged his minister with interested motives, and 
looked for advice ^sewhere. It was largely an 
Eii^^li^ weight that decisivehr turned the scale 3^ainst 
France. Castlereagh and Mettemich had recently 
come to an agreement about the reconstruction of 
France in d>e general interest of Europe on lines 
whidi Alexander appro\^ed. The Crar practically 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

endorsed the English and Austrian diplomatists* plan 
by eventually resolving to treat Napoleon as the 
public enemy of Europe. The Scandinavian Powers 
required no diplomatic pressure to follow the Prussian 
lead. Charles XIII. then still reigned in Sweden; 
Bernadotte, whose fortunes had been made by 
Napoleon, acted as regent, with all the power of the 
state in his hands. "Tell your master," he had 
said, on 13th February 18 13, to Tarrauch, the 
Prussian ambassador at Stockholm, '' that in six weeks 
I shall disembark at any point of Prussian territory 
desired 35,000 Swedes, as many Prussians and 10,000 
Germans." The real direction of European affairs 
had now passed to a mightier force than diat wielded 
by genersJs or statesmen. 

The French Revolution had gfiven men ideas of 
liberty, of self-government, and had taught them the 
power of the individual in politics. The great soldier 
whom the Revolution had raised up, by trampling on 
the races and tribes of the Continent, had insured a 
reaction in favour of nationality as a principle. With- 
out that ethnic revival, Wellington's armies, Canning's 
and Castlereagh's diplomacy, would not have expelled 
Bonaparte from the Peninsula by 1814. The Nemesis 
which finally overthrew Bonaparte was the offspring of 
a diplomacy so infatuated as to ignore the renascence 
of nationality as a political force. 

On the 14th of October 1809, Napoleon had signed 
the last convention to which he ever put his pen as con- 
queror. This was the Treaty of Vienna, stripping the 
Austrian Empire of 50,000 square miles, of more than 
4,000,000 inhabitants, extending the empire of France to 

the gates of Constantinople, and cutting off Austria from 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the sea by the line of Illyrian provinces in which the 
French power had entrenched itself on the shores of 
the Adriatic. As yet Austria had not joined the new 
European coalition against the mighty victim of 
Moscow. The French ambassador to the court of 
Francis I., Otto, in his letters home drew a powerful 
picture of the gloomy impression of the French future 
stamped on the Austrian mind by rival diplomatists. 
The Austrian aristocracy, with Metternich for its 
prophet, now protested that they had always detested 
and never believed in the Napoleonic empire. The 
first duty of their sovereign and his statesmen was 
to resume their historic position at the head of the 
Germanic power. At once the state must be freed from 
its blighting connection with Bonaparte. Otto faced 
this storm of personal and political obloquy with equal 
courage and skill. He had indeed an ally in the Austrian 
contriver of reaction, Metternich. This diplomatist 
had learned the rudiments of his art abroad ; he who 
perfected himself by his English experiences, and 
above all by his contact with Castlereagh. The 
future president at the Congress of Vienna was then 
in the prime of life, fresh from those ambassadorships 
at Dresden, Berlin and Paris in which he had learned 
so thoroughly the business of his profession. Entirely 
devoid of personal, though not of political preferences, 
Metternich knew that his country's position midway 
between the two Powers gave her as much to fear 
from Russia as from France. His sole object, never 
for a moment lost sight of, was so to use the oppor- 
tunities developed by events that Austria might secure 
the means of maintaining her independence in the 

struggle which he saw to be approaching. This contest, 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

as he held, must shake every monarchy to its base. 
As yet, however, there had not sounded the final 
stroke of the hour of Napoleon's doom. Metternich 
therefore with his professional colleagues affected to 
regard Bonaparte as Austria's very good ally. Castle- 
reagh's representatives unofficially sounded him on 
joining England in the last movement against Bona- 
parte. Metternich expressed admiration for the 
lofty qualities of Great Britain, but was prevented by 
genuine devotion to French interests from entering 
into even his admired friend Castlereagh's proposals 
without the knowledge and approval of France. The 
desertion of York's division from Napoleon in 1812 
had made Metternich more reserved, perhaps, about 
the French alliance ; it did not affect the exclusively 
Austrian aim of his policy. Castlereagh now re- 
enforced the applications which poured into the 
Austrian from the Prussian capital. " If," said the 
English minister, **the Imperial armies are placed on a 
war footing, the British Treasury will at once furnish 
ten millions sterling." 

Next to solicitudefor his own state came Metternich's 
fear of a reaction. The revolutionary wars, he saw, had 
begun in the imionof the kingsof Europeagainstapeople 
— that of France. The hostilities which had convulsed 
Europe since, had now resolved themselves into a com- 
bination of monarchs and peoples against a single soldier. 
That soldier was crushed — but by forces as democratic 
as those which the French Revolution itself had first 
brought into play. In Prussia, in the Tyrol, in Austria 
itself, the masses had risen against the tyrant who till 
then had defied all. Those masses were indeed now 

well affected enough towards those who were born 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

and bred to govern them. But was it to be supposed 
that the multitude, having learned the reality of its 
power, would long acquiesce in subjection to any 
crowned ruler ? Mettemich therefore aimed at giving 
the Austrian Kaiser an army at least as powerful as 
that now possessed by Prussia, " It is moreover," he 
had long since said to Napoleon, *' necessary to us as 
your ally. We may not draw the sword, but we 
cannot speak with authority in the council-chamber 
unless we are in a position to draw it with some effect." 
These considerations had not indeed prevented 
Mettemich from approaching Casdereagh with pro- 
posals for a general pacification. The French am- 
bassador in London may, as Mettemich said, have 
been privy to all that was going forward. At the 
same time the mission of the Austrian agent to 
London was marked by elaborate secrecy ; that he 
might avoid Paris, the Vienna emissary travelled by 
the circuitous route of Copenhagen and Gothenburg. 
The exact proposal thus brought to Casdereagh was, 
for such friendly intervention on the part of Austria, 
a peacemaker armed to the teeth, as would bring to 
a close the desolating war. Not that Austria con- 
templated active opposition to Napoleon. On the 
contrary, Wessenberg, the Vienna envoy, was to 
insist with the British Foreign Office on the good 
understanding that existed between Vienna and 
the Tuileries. The French Government, however, so 
effectually dissembled all affection for its Austrian ally 
that, contriving to intercept the messenger from Vienna, 
it arrested him at Hamburg, and examined all his 
despatches to report on to Napoleon. At the same 

time Austria's rdle as European mediator did not 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

prevent the favourable reception at Vienna of Stack- 
berg, sent in confidence by the Czar with view 
to an Austro- Russian alliance against France. The 
address and skill of the consummate Mettemich en- 
sured him against any false move in the complicated 
game of double intrigue. Each member of the 
European coalition against France, as well as the 
French minister at Vienna, Otto, by turn believed 
himself to enjoy the monopoly of Austrian friendship 
and confidence. 

While, by his alternate or simultaneous attentions 
to France and the leaders of the new alliance against 
her, Metternich was gaining time for his country 
to strengthen her armaments, British diplomacy 
was paying to Napoleon some of the homage of 
imitation. The French emperor enriched any state 
that he wished for the moment to conciliate at the 
expense of his friends pr foes indifferently. Great 
Britain, d la Bonaparte, sometimes found it inter- 
nationally useful to give away what was not strictly 
hers to give. When, however, she bought votes in 
the European council-chamber, she never asked any 
but her enemies to pay for them. Napoleon, on the 
other hand, almost by choice, plundered his friends if it 
suited him to make a deal with either foes or neutrals. 
Thus at Tilsit, to gain the Czar, he had taken Finland 
from Sweden, though he had not long since concluded 
an armistice with the Swedish king ; the compensation 
to be granted Sweden was Norway, which formed a 
part of Denmark. Not to be behind-hand in the 
general generosity at the expense of others, England 
now came forward with the suggestion that Denmark 

should make good any losses she had sustained out of 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

Saxony, which was indeed in the possession of an 
enemy, but to which Britain had no more of lawful 
title than belonged to its then holder, Napoleon him- 
self Mettemich bided his time with the clear fore- 
knowledge that Napoleon, in the manner he had 
always done, would find some chance of separately 
negotiating with the Powers allied against him. The 
detachment from it of any member of this league 
might, as the Austrian diplomatist saw, suddenly 
change the whole face of Europe. So it fell out. At 
the very crisis of Franco-Austrian negotiations, 
Napoleon ingeniously attempted to bring back his 
relations with the Czar to the point reached at Tilsit ; 
he therefore sent his envoy Caulaincourt to St 
Petersburg to arrange a fresh Franco- Russian treaty 
on the basis of dismembering Austria. This was only 
one in a series of diplomatic efforts by Napoleon to 
withdraw Russia from the coalition and to deal with 
Alexander singly. There is an old story of a 
conscience-stricken thief on his deathbed sending 
for a clergryman. The holy man gave absolution on 
confession, and putting his hand to his waistcoat 
pocket found that his watch had gone. The pro- 
fessional instinct, even in articulo mortis, had been 
too strong for the felonious penitent. The anecdote 
exactly illustrates the manner in which Napoleon, 
even when he must have known that he had lost 
his last stake, went on with his endeavours to evade 
his captors by robbing them separately and causing 
them to fall out with each odier. Within twelve 
months of the wreck of his plans at Moscow, Bona- 
parte had coerced Austria and Prussia to join him 

against Russia. When the two German Powers shook 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

off his grasp, diplomacy had no very difficult task in 
making of the entire Continent a camp armed against 
its recent conqueror. England, Russia, Austria and 
Prussia took the lead ; the smaller German states and 
the Italian sovereigns dispossessed by Bonaparte fell 
into their subordinate places. 

After the concentration of the confederates in 
Saxony, the Leipzig victory gave them the whole of 
Germany. Their first specific proposals for peace 
(November 1813) was the offer to Napoleon of France 
as it existed in 1800. When these terms were refused, 
there followed, in February 18 14, the Congress of 
Chatillon. The foreign plenipotentiaries who assisted 
at this meeting were, on behalf of Austria, Count 
Stadion ; for Russia, Count Razumoffski ; Prussia sent 
Baron Humboldt ; Napoleon was represented by his 
deputy, the able and trusty Gaulaincourt, who had 
become to him even more than was Talleyrand at 
the zenith of his skill and influence. The English 
delegates were Lord Aberdeen, Lord Cathcart and 
Sir Charles Stewart, the latter our ambassador 
successively at Berlin and Vienna, and the half-brother 
of Castlereagh, whom he eventually succeeded in the 
Londonderry marquisate. The occasion,, however, 
seemed to demand a still more authoritative envoy 
from Great Britain. The most ubiquitous and active 
diplomatist of this epoch was the cosmopolitan Count 
Pozzo di Borgo, a Corsican by birth, of exactly the 
same age as the famous compatriot to whose ruin he 
applied all his energies and opportunities. He had 
always been ready to act as international agent for 
any Court or Cabinet which made it worth his while. 
In this way he had a little earlier in his career been 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

largely employed on foreign and domestic errands by 
Pitt. As he was frequently in England at the time, 
there seems no reason why he should not have fetched 
and carried for Canning, or why, for that matter, he 
should not have been one of Canning's informants 
in the affair of Tilsit. His wife's drawing-room had 
few rivals as a fashionable and distinguished centre. 
In the Pozzo di Borgo salon the Prime Minister, 
Lord Liverpool, may have first decided upon the 
expediency of despatching to Chatillon no less an 
envoy than his Foreign Secretary. That, indeed, had 
been the object of Pozzo di Boi^o's latest visit to 
London. As regards the arrangement of any practic- 
able terms with the French emperor, Pozzo di Borgo 
had indeed at this time not less completely purged his 
mind of illusions than had long since been done by the 
Czar, whose court and policy Pozzo di Borgo then 
represented. When at this time the rulers and states- 
men of Europe did agree, their unanimity sooner or 
later produced results. The sovereigns and their 
diplomatists had determined to place Napoleon outside 
the pale of European monarchs. 

The conviction which had possessed Metternich 
when he was negotiating the French Emperor's 
marriage to the Archduchess Marie Louise, was that 
destiny had selected him to bait the trap for Bonaparte. 
In this object he found a tool in Pozzo di Borgo and 
a colleague in Casdereagh. Hence the devout reflec- 
tion contained in his autobiography between 1810 and 
1 81 3 — "Negotiations and events will bear witness to 
my having used all the means in my power to further 
the ends of God." The final instruction given by 
Napoleon to Caulaincourt on the eve of the meeting 


From Tilsit to Chaumont 

was, " Sign anything that will prevent the occupation 
of Paris by the victorious Allies." Among all the 
Powers, Great Britain alone brought to the Congress 
a generally deserved reputation of consistency. She 
had from the first disclaimed any idea of territorial 
aggrandisement as the result of victory. As for the 
political future of France, that was for France to 
decide ; Castlereagh only offered the suggestion that 
the best guarantee for French tranquillity would be 
found in a Bourbon restoration. Before, however, 
the Congress actually met. Napoleon's successes 
against BlUcher had raised the French demand and 
given a new tone of exultant defiance to the conqueror. 
** At least," he remarked, " I am nearer to Munich 
than the Allies are to Paris." He therefore clung to 
the belief of its being possible to break the European 
concert and come to terms with Austria alone. That 
end, he thought, might be furthered by his Austrian 
wife. Metternich, however, may have trembled for 
the fate of Vienna, but was quite indifferent to the fall 
of Marie Louise. The Austrian princess had indeed 
served the diplomatist's purpose by falsely suggesting 
to her husband that he had a friend in the Kaiser at 

The practical outcome of the Congress of Chatillon 
was to bring home to Napoleon's mind the fact of 
his dethronement having been irrevocably decreed. 
French territory was to be kept within the limits of 
the old monarchy as it existed before the Revolution. 
Should that arrangement be rejected by Bonaparte, 
Austria, Prussia, Russia and England were to main- 
tain each of them 150,000 men in the field. In 
addition to the cost of her own army. Great Britain 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

was to pay an annual subsidy of ;^5,ooo,ooo» to be 
equally divided among the other powers. At the 
headquarters of the armies belonging to each of the 
contracting Powers were to be military experts repre- 
senting the various Allies. To prevent any quarrels 
over the plunder, the trophies, it was stipulated, should 
be divided in equal parts among the combatants. 
No peace was to be made without the common consent. 
The Chaumont Compact held good for twenty years, 
and admitted of renewal before that term expired. 
The contingency, in view of which the Powers for- 
mulated their future policy by the treaty of Chaumont, 
realised itself when, against the advice of Caulaincourt, 
Napoleon declined the offers made him at Chatillon, 
and so brought that congress to an end. 

This is not the place in which to dwell on Napoleon s 
tardy acceptance of the situation, on his abdication (4th 
April 1 8 14), and, through the combined agencies of 
his former minister Talleyrand and his old ally of Tilsit 
Alexander, the recall of the Bourbons in Louis XVII L 
The next international episode in which England 
actively figured was the Congress of Vienna. This 
will be considered in a new chapter. 




The Congress of Vienna — The Kingdom of the Netherlands founded 
— Castlereagh's colonial bargains — Napoleon's return from Elba 
—The Second Treaty of Paris— The Holy Alliance — Castlereagh 
and Canning compared — ^The Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle — 
The Quadruple Treaty — The Conference of Troppau and 
Laybach — ^The Traditional Non-intervention Policy of Britain — 
Canning and Portugal — Lord Strangford — Castlereagh's rela- 
tions with Austria and Naples — Growth of Popular Power 
throughout Europe — The Franco-Spanish Understanding — 
Canning and America — The Congress of Verona — The Greek 
Question — The Treaty of London — The Death of Canning — 
His Character as a Diplomatist 

ENGLISH diplomacy, personified by Casdereagh 
or his representatives, had been not less active 
in negotiating the treaties of Chaumont and of Paris 
than had been English generalship in effecting 
Napoleon's military overthrow. The London Foreign 
Office had now to prepare for the Vienna Congress. 
Their programme for this assemblage had been drawn 
up by the chief European Powers in a secret clause of 
the Treaty of Paris. Before his overthrow at Waterloo, 
half of Europe might have been described as belonging 
to Napoleon, the other half to the nations banded 
against him. Austria, England, Prussia and Russia 
had privately agreed to limit their territorial discussions 
to those portions of the world which Bonaparte's dis- 
appearance had left without a ruler. Amid the con- 
flicts, confusions and obscurities of the meeting, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Castlereagh for England, Talleyrand for France, 
Nesselrode for Russia, saw clearly what each of them 
meant. Canning did not enter the Liverpool Cabinet 
as President of the Board of Control till 1816, a year 
after the Congfress had done its work. He was there- 
fore the Foreign Secretary's Cabinet colleague when, as 
will presently be seen, he attended the Aix-la-Chapelle 
conferences. As regards the resettlement of Europe, 
Canning and Castlereagh agreed with each other on most 
of the essential points. They both showed themselves 
equally penetrated by the ideas of Pitt in thinking 
the undue preponderance of Russia not less dangerous 
to the world's tranquillity than the ascendancy of 
revolutionary France. 

The first antidote to the Russian peril was the 
readmission of France under her new king into the 
comity of great Powers. Here, then, at Vienna, 
Castlereagh might count upon the support of Talley- 
rand, who, playing entirely for his own hand, awaited 
the cropping up of some question, disagreements 
about which might help his own country. Thus the 
subject either of Poland or Saxony might divide Europe 
into halves; any of these issues might procure an 
ally for France. The Continental statesmen with whom 
in this enterprise Talleyrand had to lay his account 
were the Prussian representative Hardenberg, and his 
compatriot Stein, who was at Vienna, less as Harden- 
berg*s colleague, than to offer his advice on any 
military topics that might arise. The smaller states 
were represented by Lowenheim and Schoell. Metter- 
nich presided over the meetings. Castlereagh was 
already his acquaintance. The two men became at 

Vienna not only colleagues, but up to a certain point 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

confederates. At least Metternich openly congratulated 
himself that the changes and chances of party govern- 
ment had sent him the patrician Castlereagh instead 
of the parvenu Canning. A high Tory himself, Castle- 
reagh was charged with the representation of a Tory 
party and a Tory policy at Vienna. In performing 
this task he showed not only ability and firmness, but 
moderation and even liberality ; he proved himself as 
true a disciple of Pitt as Canning could have done in 
supporting Talleyrand's claim of a place for the French 
envoy at the table. He had carried Metternich with 
him in defeating the Russian proposal that France 
should not be admitted to the congress till all questions 
affecting her had been arranged by the Allies. 

The Czar had done much to promote the Vienna 
meeting ; at its opening he had pleased everyone by his 
adroit solution of a difficulty about precedence among 
the plenipotentiaries. " Let them," said Alexander, ** sit 
and sign in the alphabetical order of their respective 
states." That the congress did anything more than 
record the decisions of Russia was due mainly to the 
English deputy and his Austrian coadjutor. Naturally, 
therefore, France went with them in resisting the Czar's 
attempt to steal a territorial march on Europe. The 
Russian scheme was that, as the Grand-duchy of 
Warsaw, Poland should become a Muscovite province. 
This, said Nesselrode, would be only a proper recogni- 
tion of the international services rendered, and the 
personal sacrifices made by Alexander. Bribed by the 
promise of Saxony for Prussia, Hardenberg supported 
Nesselrode. The assembly was on the point of being 
dissolved — for the Czar talked of securing by the 
sword that which the injustice of the council-chamber 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

refused. He would, however, have united, with one 

exception, all the Powers against him. Prussia indeed 

was at his beck and call. Metternich and Talleyrand 

agreed with Castlereagh to combine their armies, if 

necessary, against Alexander, and to pledge themselves 

to a kind of self-denying ordinance in carrying out the 

Treaty of Paris. With some reluctance, Castlereagh was 

brought to acquiesce in the addition of a secret clause 

allaying the land-hunger of Prussia at the expense 

of Saxony instead of Poland. Metternich had now 

brought round Castlereagh to his scheme of a Germanic 

confederation, hindered indeed by Austrian and Prussian 

jealousies, opposed by Talleyrand, but at last accepted. 

The British plenipotentiary had thus prepared 

the way for realising an ancient tradition of British 

statesmanship in the Low Countries. By a secret 

article of the Treaty of Paris, Austria had once more 

explicitly repudiated any claim in this part of Europe. 

It had been the idea of Queen Elizabeth and Burleigh 

on behalf of England, of Henry IV. and Sully on 

the side of France, to form the seventeen provinces 

of Flanders into a single state by way of barrier, 

as English statesmanship desired, against Austria 

and France; — as French diplomacy designed, against 

the Hapsburgs. In the eighteenth and nineteenth 

centuries the same idea had found favour with 

Pitt, who thought that the principality thus to be 

created might have a Prussian suzerain. So long 

as it constituted a real barrier to the great European 

Powers, its actual ownership seemed, to all promoters 

of the plan, of secondary significance. The great 

minds which had advocated it all ignored, as much 

as did Castlereagh himself, the mutual incompatibility 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

of two states with such opposite antecedents as 
Belgium and Holland. National sentiment was not 
then recognised as a privilege of smaller states. 
Castlereagh's acquiescence in the yoking of Belgium 
to Holland is easily explained ; first, he followed an 
ancient Tory and national tradition, descending from 
the days of the Tudors to those of Pitt; secondly, 
there was the feeling that even a temporary union 
might diminish the French temptation to provoke 
another war. No influence of Cannings over 
Castlereagh stimulated the British plenipotentiary to 
a protest against the outrageous impolicy of sub- 
jecting a people, republican by tradition and senti- 
ment like the Dutch, to a heterogeneous monarchy. 
The new state came into existence, and the King 
of Holland began to be known to the courts of 
Europe as King of the Netherlands and Grand- 
Duke of Luxemburg. The conditions on which he 
received his fresh dignities were, that he should reig^ 
as a limited and parliamentary sovereign, after the 
British fashion, and that he should share with 
England a debt of ;^4, 200,000 due from Russia to 
the Amsterdam bankers. Canning, it has been seen, 
realised that, wisely administered and properly used, 
our colonies could make England a self-supporting 
nation for whom foreign blockades, like that of 
Napoleon, could have no fear. If, as regards the 
colonies. Canning was before his time, Castlereagh 
was not behind it in making a surrender which 
excited the scornful comment of the imprisoned 
Bonaparte. Java had been talcen by England in 
1 8 10; from that date it had enjoyed a high degree 
of unbroken prosperity. It was now signed away by 
Q 241 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

our representative at Vienna. In return, Castlereagh's 
diplomacy obtained for England, Berbice, Demerara, 
Essequibo, the Cape of Good Hope, and some fair- 
sounding but futile declarations against slavery. 
Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands did indeed 
commit themselves by special and separate agree- 
ments with England to abolish the slave-trade in 
all parts of their dominions at the first possible 
moment. On a cognate matter, England accepted, 
at Castlereagh's instance, an important commission 
from her Allies. Moorish piracy was the curse of the 
Mediterranean. England undertook that her navy 
should remove it, and fulfilled the obligation by her 
great sailor, Lord Exmouth. After this, the pleni- 
potentiaries were so much keener for enjoyment than 
for work as to inspire the Prince de Ligne with 
the epigram — "The Congress dances but does not 

On the 7th of March — according to one account 
as he was going to a ball, according to another during 
his midnight slumbers — Mettemich received the news 
that Napoleon had escaped from Elba, was being 
welcomed with enthusiasm near his landing-place in 
the South of France ; joined at every stage by de- 
serters from the restored Bourbon, he was even marching 
on Paris. Diplomatic discussion was now broken by 
an interval of national dismay, political perturbation 
and hurried armings of Powers great and small. 
At Vienna, Castlereagh and Metternich were not 
entirely taken by surprise. Their despatch-boxes 
contained private letters from recent visitors to the 
captive of Elba, intimating that his reappearance 

on the mainland might occur at any moment. 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

Castlereagh indeed had, on the earliest selection 
of Elba, predicted it. The only way, he had said, 
of preventing Napoleon's return and a renewal of the 
war, was to confine him on some Atlantic rock like 
St Helena. The congress now completed its work 
by declaring Napoleon the common enemy of Europe, 
and by a call to battle. Chateaubriand did not 
become ambassador to England till 1822 ; a presenti- 
ment of what might happen showed itself in a remark 
he made as a Bourbon courtier in the February of 
1 81 5 — "If the cocked hat and surtout of Napoleon 
were placed upon a stick on the shores of Brest, it 
would cause Europe to run to arms from one end 
to the other." 

Comparing notes on the news that had interrupted 
the congress, Castlereagh and Mettemich agreed that 
luckily the thing had happened at least a fortnight 
before it was due ; what if it had come before the 
congress had dispersed ? Napoleon's movements had 
indeed been hastened by two considerations. His 
confidential agent, Meneval, had told him that the 
congress, if it sat long enough to agree on the matter, 
would certainly ship him off to a remote spot in the 
Atlantic. Napoleon had also learned from the news- 
papers, which he never missed seeing, the growing 
unpopularity of the restored Bourbons. The army and 
the nation seemed ripe for another revolution. More- 
over, the season approached when the nights would 
become longer; his departure required darkness for 
safety. Thus there was no time to be lost. On 
the allied sovereigns and their ministers Bonaparte's 
escape had an electrical effect; all were at once 

galvanised into unanimity. In their efforts to over- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

reach each other and to secure some advantage for 
their royal employers, the plenipotentiaries, for weeks 
past, had seemed every day to be nearer 'to a rup- 
ture. Dynastic rivalries now became of no more 
account than national aspirations. After the victory 
of Waterloo had completed the military overthrow be- 
gun at Baylen and Leipzig, Castlereagh, Nesselrode 
and Talleyrand had arranged (20th November 181 5) 
the second Treaty of Paris. 

This gave to France a frontier rather less liberal 
than was provided by the treaty of 18 14. It exacted 
from her an indemnity of ;^28,ooo,ooo, and further 
saddled her with the cost of a foreign army of occupa- 
tion for not less than three or more than five years. 
England's share of the indemnity paid by France 
amounted to ;^5,ooo,ooo. Castlereagh effected a 
theatrical surprise by announcing that he had re- 
ceived instructions from home to treat the British 
moiety of the fine levied on France as a contribution 
to the cost of strengthening the Netherlands frontier 
against any neighbouring Power. The plenipo- 
tentiaries returned the compliment by at once un- 
animously nominating the Duke of Wellington to the 
command of the army of occupation. From being 
the liberator of Europe, Wellington was now be- 
coming, as for thirty years he remained, its sage. 
Castlereagh had at first been disposed to support 
Hardenberg and Stein in presenting Prussia with 
Alsace and Lorraine. Wellington's practical com- 
mon-sense scoffed at a transfer based upon a terri- 
torial connection belonging to ancient history, and 
certain, he protested, to act as a standing challenge 

to France against Prussia in the future. Mettemich 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

and Nesselrode agreed with him. The proposal 
therefore fell through. 

Meanwhile the negotiations for the second Peace 
of Paris had produced an incident which opened a 
new international epoch; it is indeed conventionally 
spoken of as having divided English diplomacy into 
two schools, though, as will afterwards be seen, this 
was its apparent, rather than a real, effect. The 
Czar himself drew Metternich aside with a request 
that he would inform his master, the Emperor Francis, 
of the Russian ruler's desire to ask his advice on 
a matter purely of sentiment, such as monarchs 
alone could decide. The meeting between the two 
sovereigns took place a few days later. Its subject 
had been explained in a memorandum handed in the 
first instance by Alexander to the Austrian diplomatist. 
On examination Metternich found it to contain a 
philanthropic aspiration clothed in a religious garb. 
The suggestion, he said, supplied no material for a 
treaty, and had in it a great many phrases that might 
have given rise to theological misconstruction. 

So originated the famous programme of absolutism, 
based on the New Testament, that Holy Alliance which 
was to go some way towards confirming Canning in his 
policy of non-intervention, as well as towards convert- 
ing to it reactionary Tories like Castlereagh. Each of 
the rulers was to consider himself and his subjects as 
members of a Christian family comprising the whole 
Continent. The sovereigns entering into the sacred 
league were to give mutual assistance for the protection 
of religion, peace and justice as became potentates 
entrusted by Providence with a royal mission. Useful 

or necessary changes in legislation and administration 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

ought only to come from the free, intelligent and well- 
weighed conviction of divinely appointed monarchs. 
Other Powers might be invited or permitted to support 
Austria, Prussia and Russia in promoting this millen- 
nium. The only two potentates who received no 
invitation from the Czar were the pope and the 
Sultan ; the former was omitted as being the tyrant of 
Christendom ; the latter because he was not a Chris- 
tian at all. The Austrian emperor having read the 
paper, remarked — " If this refers to reKgion, it is for 
my confessor to consider; if to politics, it is the 
business of Metternich." The Duke of Wellington 
thought the English Parliament would have liked 
something a little more precise. On the other hand 
the English Prince Regent, while not authorising his 
ambassador to sign the alliance, sent from the Brighton 
Pavilion his blessing to a compact conceived in the 
interests of morality, religion and all the virtues. 

At the congress itself, Castlereagh's urbane 
grandeur and magnificent serenity produced an im- 
pression comparable with that created by Beacons- 
field's personal ascendancy some sixty years afterwards 
at the Congress of Berlin. Castlereagh's territorial 
bargains brought us as well out of the business as 
would have been done by any of his contemporaries. 
In diplomacy, Castlereagh was the aristocratic type of 
an aristocratic system. It would have needed an ori- 
ginal and creative force in diplomacy to have prevented 
the unequal marriage between Norway and Sweden, as 
between Belgium and Holland, the cession of Genoa to 
the King of Sardinia, or the transfer of Venice from Italy 
to the Austrian emperor. Before the meeting Metternich 

had confided to the Czar his suspicions of Castlereagh's 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

not caring more for legitimacy than did Canning him- 
self. Had, however, the Austrian diplomatist found his 
English colleague as complacent as he had expected, 
Metternich probably would not have complained of 
having had to spend hours daily in teaching him the 
position of the chief places mentioned by the plenipo- 
tentiaries. Discussing at St Helena the results of the 
congress, with his medical friend O'Meara, Napoleon 
expressed himself more contemptuously and even 
abusively about Castlereagh. Yet it was this same 
captive of St Helena who upon another occasion said — 
'* There must be a great deal to admire in a man who 
puts Talleyrand so thoroughly out of temper as Castle- 
reagh." The difference between Canning and Casde- 
reagh as international statesmen was at least as much 
one of temperament, of personal prejudices, of social 
antecedents, as of practical politics. Personally Castle- 
reagh, like the Duke of Wellington, was not interested 
in " the mushroom constitutions," as they called them, by 
which the two Ferdinands, Kings of Naples and Spain 
respectively, were restored by the great Continental 
Powers to put down. On the other hand, Canning's 
good wishes for the Spanish Constitutionalists were 
limited by his policy of non-intervention ; at the begin- 
ning he plainly told his Spanish friends that if there 
was to be a struggle, they must fight the battle of 
political freedom for themselves. Foreign politics in 
1809 had brought the disagreements between the two 
men to an issue ; the same department of affairs was 
instrumental in re-establishing relations between them 
in 1 814. Family reasons seem to have made Canning 
anxious for change of scene. Castlereagh suggested 

his going as ambassador to Portugal. Returning to 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

England in 1816, Canning entered the Cabinet as 
president of the Board of Control. To speak of 
Castlereagh in this year and during the short remainder 
of his life as the promoter of an international system 
as reactionary as Canning's policy had been pro- 
gressive, is not only to censure Castlereagh but to 
reflect upon Canning himself. Whatever the foreign 
policy carried out, having been settled by the Cabinet, 
it was the policy of Canning as well as of Castlereagh. 
The practical unanimity of the two men showed itself 
in connection with the Aix-la-Chapelle conferences, 
September 181 8. These were attended by Canning, 
if not as Castlereagh *s official representative, yet as a 
Cabinet Minister speaking with experience and autho- 
rity on foreign affairs. The form in which the general 
results of the Aix-la-Chapelle meetings were embodied 
was determined by England's refusal to form one of a 
general league like that of the Holy Alliance. That 
was Liverpool's ultimatum. The one tangible result 
of the Czars Holy Alliance project, in 181 5, had been a 
Quadruple Treaty committing England, with the three 
other great Powers, to put down by arms any fresh 
outbreak of Jacobinism or revolution in France. 

At Aix-la-Chapelle it had no sooner been decided 
that the allied armies should be withdrawn from French 
soil than France, under a legitimate and reactionary 
monarch, Louis XVHI. claimed admission to the 
Quadruple Treaty. She further supported the Austrian 
and Russian proposal that this agreement should confer 
on those who signed it the power of calling periodical 
conferences for maintaining European peace and order. 
Canning first protested against England's acceptance of 

any such responsibilities. The then Foreign Secretary 


The Beginnings of Non-Intervention 

and the Prime Minister went with him. Only in a 
secret treaty was any mention made of the revolu- 
tionary contingencies which might necessitate inter- 
vention in France. The published treaty merely 
announced that France, being once more happily 
settled under her natural sovereign would co-operate 
with her Allies in maintaining the general peace. For 
that end, it was added, special meetings of the Powers 
might be held after the regular diplomatic formalities. 
Then came the English clause framed by Canning and 
stating that in no case would the affairs of a smaller 
state be discussed by the great Powers except at its own 
request and in the presence of its own representatives. 
It was the events which followed the Aix-la- 
Chapelle gathering that in the public mind brought 
Canning and Castlereagh into sharp and decisive 
contrast with each other and insured the former's 
return to the Foreign Office. The Continental 
sovereigns and their ministers, on leaving Aix-la- 
Chapelle, arranged to meet again as soon as necessary 
or convenient. Two years later this further meeting 
took place at Troppau. There they publicly paraded 
the royal right of federative action for the support of 
legitimacy and absolutism, as, it was declared, had 
been decided at Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1821 took place 
another gathering at Laybach to restore Ferdinand of 
Naples to his throne. Castlereagh reluctantly, as it 
seemed, and indecisively protested that England could 
not be a party to any programme of this sort. He did 
not, however, withdraw the British representative from 
the place where the Eastern monarchs were in confer- 
ence. Those Allies therefore agreed to ignore England 

and to act for themselves against the rising nationalities. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

The City now took alarm ; throughout England, 
indeed, finance and commerce cried for something 
less ambiguous and compromising than Castlereagh s 
diplomacy. How, it was asked from Liverpool to 
Plymouth, were plain men to know what they were 
committed to, when ministers spoke with one voice 
in Parliament and with another in Continental coimcil- 
chambers ? The necessity of confidential understand- 
ings — not a Holy Alliance or a formal compact of any 
kind to hold the revolutionary spirit in check — had 
been pleaded for by Castlereagh. " Secret treaties," 
replied Canning, "have become impossible. What- 
ever conventions you have must be examined, must 
be ratified in Parliament, and must stand their trial by 
public opinion." 

In die progress of our foreign statesmanship a 
real turning-point had now been reached. Something 
like the same choice between two ways had presented 
itself to the eighteenth-century directors of our foreign 
affairs. Bolingbroke and Walpole, while differing on 
almost every other subject, were equally against a 
policy of intervention except under absolute compulsion 
and for maintaining some material interest. Pitt had 
been driven into war by France, but always held with 
the principle that his enemy's domestic affairs were not 
his concern. From 1807 to 1809, Canning had 
followed the traditional line of English policy when 
refusing to interfere in the domestic affairs of Portugal 
or to offer any advice to the Portuguese regency in 
its relation with the local juntas. " We Englishmen," 
were Canning's words, " may carry in our bosoms the 
image of our Constitution. We should not, however, 

therefore expect to see it reflected in every other 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

country." Canning's personal acquaintance with Por- 
tugal had begun when he went to Lisbon as ambassador. 
His official connection with that state grew eight years 
later out of its relations with Brazil. During the resid- 
ence of the court of Lisbon at Rio, the colony had 
eclipsed the mother country in importance and pros- 
perity. When the King of Portugal had in 182 1 
returned to his European capital, his Brazilian subjects 
declared themselves an independent nation under his 
son, Don Pedro, as their emperor. On reassuming the 
Foreign Secretaryship in 1822, Canning told his Portu- 
guese friends that Brazilian independence must be 
taken for an accomplished fact, but proceeded to act as 
mediator between the disputants. Eventually, through 
Charles Stuart (Lord Stuart of Rothesay), his envoy, 
Canning arranged the difficulty between Lisbon and 
Rio, and secured the acceptance by each of terms regu- 
lating their intercourse ; taking up the subject touched 
by Castlereagh at Vienna, he secured from Brazil, and 
all Portugal's American colonies, a promise to abolish 
the slave-trade. 

Canning's diplomatic residence in Portugal, and 
his mediatorial offices between it and Brazil, already 
described, were the appropriate precursors of his 
succession to Castlereagh as Foreign Secretary in 
1822. Thus, in Canning's second and longer term 
at the Foreign Office, Portugal took up almost as 
much of his attention as, during the Secretary- 
ship of State that had begun in 1807, was given to 
Napoleon. Canning also it was who had arranged 
with Count Souza in London the treaty defining the 
Anglo- Portuguese entente of 1822 maintained through- 
out this period. The champions of Continental abso- 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

lutism successively enabled Ferdinand of Naples and 
Ferdinand of Spain to trample under foot the Constitu- 
tions given to their subjects. Spain had become the 
headquarters of all that was reactionary in the Peninsula. 
Our ambassador at Lisbon reported an impending attack 
by the Spanish " apostolicals," as they were called, upon 
the institutions of Portugal. Not in the capacity of 
champion of political liberties, but in virtue of treaty 
obligations, Canning, in the December of 1826, sent 
English troops to Lisbon ; for the time Portugal was 
secure against attack from Spain, or from the French 
forces by which Spain had been overrun. To Canning 
as a Foreign Minister Portugal owed much. He was 
not spared to witness the termination of the domestic 
difficulties that had begun for the country with the 
return in 1821 of King John VI. from Brazil. The 
rivalries that distracted the Portuguese court and nation 
were not composed till 1 834 ; by that time four Secre- 
taries of State had received Canning's portfolio. In 
its dealings with Portugal English diplomacy was 
under a debt to others than Secretaries of State. But 
for our ambassador at Lisbon, Lord Strangford, the 
King of Portugal, in 1808, would have thrown himself 
into the arms of France. Nor could the English 
representative in Portugal have dispensed with help 
which came to him not in the ordinary way of diplo- 
macy. For it was from a Jewish resident on the Rock, 
Benoliel, Strangford had discovered Bonaparte s plot to 
bribe some Irish captains in the garrison into betraying 
to him Gibraltar. A day or two later he arranged every- 
thing for the court's departure, with its jewels, archives 
and insignia, for Brazil. Sir Sydney Smith has been 

credited with effecting this splendid emigration, but 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

speaking in Parliament, as early as 1817, Canning 
showed the honour of the thing to belong to Strang- 
ford alone. When he joined the royal party in their 
transatlantic exile Strangford found fresh occasions of 
confirming John VI. in his attachment to England. 

On other matters interesting England scarcely 
less than did Portugal, and of deeper importance 
to the rest of Europe, the centre of diplomatic gravity 
in Canning's day was less at London than at Vienna. 
Canning, it must be remembered, never withdrew 
England from the Quadruple Treaty which ranged 
the Allies against French Jacobinism and the working 
of which was chiefly regulated at the Austrian capital. 
The Greek question Canning lived to see assured 
of settlement on his own lines. The fortunes of 
another classical country, Italy, also occupied him 
during these years ; the cause of this was a secret 
treaty with Austria, signed by King Ferdinand of 
Naples. That clandestine compact violated not only 
the Treaty of Paris, but a resolution of the Vienna 
Congress. At Vienna — with England's approval, if 
not on her initiative — it had been resolved that, outside 
the Austrian possessions, Italy should consist of 
independent states. Metternich secretly had, indeed 
even at the congress, aimed at an Austrian pro- 
tectorate over the whole peninsula. He had, however, 
uttered no word on the subject, and afterwards saw 
that Italy might cease to be the geographical ex- 
pression he had described it as being, unless her 
petty rulers were maintained only as satellites of the 
Austrian system. As against France, the European 
concert was in 1822 complete. On other points the 
conflict between Austrian autocracy and British 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

liberalism, if often veiled in Castlereagh's time, was 
sometimes acute in his day as well as in that of 
Canning. Here is an instance of the collision : 
England had acquiesced in the establishment of 
Ferdinand upon the throne of Naples and Sicily. 
The British representative, Lord William Bentinck, 
had compelled King Ferdinand to grant his subjects 
a Constitution after the English model. Not only did 
Austria use her influence to subvert the new regime, 
Castlereagh let Mettemich know that privately he 
agreed with him, and that he felt sure of its being 
better generally to retard than to hasten the operation 
of this most hazardous principle (that of liberty) which 
is now abroad. Not of course that Castlereagh liked 
oppression, or proposed any other final end of his 
foreign policy dian freedom ; but the first article in 
his faith, inherited from Pitt himself, was the necessity 
of an Austrian alliance as a counterpoise to France. 
What greater madness could there be than to risk or 
compromise that connection for the sake of emanci- 
pating a people not yet certainly ripe for independ- 

The Troppau and Laybach congresses of 1820- 
182 1 formed the occasion of Castlereagh's most 
serious mistake. The object and date of these 
meetings was communicated not too courteously to 
the London Foreign Office. Instead of simply in- 
timating the impossibility of England's taking part 
in them, he added the confession that the British 
Government highly disapproved the popular move- 
ment which had given Austria the trouble of restoring 
Ferdinand to his throne. While he had acted as 

plenipotentiary at Vienna, Parliament had not been 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

sitting. Since then his policy had been severely 
criticised at Westminster. His attitude to the de- 
liberations of the East European monarchs might 
have brought about his resignation, had not his own 
hand ended his life in the next year. 

Casdereagh, in 1816, had become Marquis of Lon- 
donderry ; he was at the time of his death expected 
to take part in the Verona Congress, whose meeting 
began at Vienna (September 1822). His place at it 
was filled by the one man whose views on the whole 
most resembled his own, and whose opposition most 
hampered Canning — the Duke of Wellington. Mean- 
while, for the first time in the history of that de- 
partment, public opinion had indicated the new and 
only possible head of the Foreign Office. In a 
different capacity, the elder Pitt had not been more 
undoubtedly and imperatively the choice of the nation 
in 1757, dian was Canning when he returned to 
Downing Street in 1822. During that year were 
happening events which proved the international legis- 
lators of 181 5 at Vienna to have failed not less 
signally as permanent peacemakers, than had been 
done by the Eastern monarchs who stiffened at 
Troppau and Laybach the edicts of Aix-la-Chapelle. 

The impulse of nationality had proved contagious. 
In Spain, Ferdinand VII. had weakly yielded to the 
demands of his people for a constitutional and re- 
presentative system. After much deliberation, the 
Powers who had been instrumental in its restoration 
entertained the Bourbon plea of being threatened by 
the popular institutions of a neighbour separated 
from it only by the Pyrenees. The new monar- 
chical and reactionary France had from the first 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

meditated putting down by arms the rising libern 
alism of Madrid. Poland had been originally en- 
couraged by the Czar Alexander ; she was now 
clamouring for independence. Finally, Greece had 
begun tp break the bonds which held her to 
Turkey. Evidently therefore it had become neces- 
sary thoroughly to do what the delegates at the 
Austrian capital seven years earlier had begun rather 
than finished. The Duke of Wellington distrusted 
Canning as a crypto-liberal, and despised him as 
a social upstart. He lost no time, however, in 
making the new Foreign Secretary aware of his 
willingness to go to Verona. The Spanish question, 
added the Duke, in some shape or other must certainly 
come up for consideration. What were to be the 
instructions ? Canning's reply may be the charter of 
the non-intervention policy which in 1832 had been 
wittily described by Talleyrand ;* it did not substantially 
differ from the memorandum drawn up for his own 
guidance by Castlereagh when he had thought of 
representing England on the occasion. England 
would be no party to coercing or threatening Spain. 
Canning's instructions to Wellington stated the whole 
of his policy in the Peninsula. So strong had been 
the pressure of the French Government, that the 
King of Spain had revoked no liberties given by him 
to his people. The revolution following this step was 
put down by French assistance. Portugal, however, 
our old ally, had profited by British support to retain 
her free institutions. All Canning's advices from 
abroad went to show that French Bourbonism would 

* " C'est UD mot m^taphisique et politique qui signifie k, peu pres la 
mtoe chose qu'intervention." 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

not be satisfied till it haxl silenced the popular voice 
in Portugal as well as in Spain. He therefore made 
a memorable declaration in Parliament. If, he let 
it be known, of her own accord Portugal were to 
make war against France, England would be neutral. 
If, however, Ferdinand VII. were to solicit or accept 
the help of Louis XVIII. in coercing Portugal, 
England would at once take up arms on behalf of 
her ancient ally; already there existed a Franco- 
Spanish arrangement, which the British minister was 
determined to thwart. At the same time, straining 
every nerve to prevent a regular war between royalist 
France and republican Spain, he implored his liberal 
supporters at home to restrain rather than stimulate 
the Spanish parliamentarians, who now had their king 
in their power. 

The colonies of Spain across the Atlantic were 
at this time in full revolt. France, like for that 
matter Austria and Russia, wished to assist Spain 
in re-conquering the dependencies that had long 
gradually been slipping away from her. The 
French reward for these services was to be a sub- 
stantial share of Spain's transatlantic possessions. 
Canning did not dispute the right of Spain to reduce 
to subjection her insubordinate dominions. If how- 
ever, they were to be regained only to become French 
property, England would at once help them to make 
good their efforts at independence. The spirit and 
features of Bourbon diplomacy still remained much 
what they were when, more than half a century 
earlier, the Family Compact had been baffled by 
Chatham. Canning was not less successful in check- 
mating the scheme concocted by the two branches of 
R 257 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

the " house." The whole episode cannot be summed 
up better than in Canning's own famous words — 
** I have called in the New World to redress the 
balance of the Old." Nor did that achievement stand 
by itself. 

Canning not only secured for England the support 
of the United States, he practically inspired the most 
famous message to Congress ever delivered by the 
first magistrate of the Western Republic. The Monroe 
Doctrine, formulated by the United States president, 
2nd December 1823, did but embody the principle of 
the Foreign Secretary's ultimatum to the aggressive 
pretensions of French and Spanish legitimacy. 
Canning's declaration had in it nothing of menace to 
the courts of Paris or Madrid. James Monroe would 
have disclaimed any intention of interfering with Great 
Britain in Canada or with the Portuguese Emperor of 
Brazil ; he merely Mrarned those whom it might con- 
cern that his Government would not allow Americans 
who had shaken off a foreign sway to be brought back 
to a state of dependence, or to be disposed of and 
overwhelmed by European owners whom they had 
dispossessed. The cost of disregarding the true moral 
of the Monroe message forty years after its delivery 
was paid by Napoleon III. and the luckless victim 
of his ill-starred project, Maximilian. In another way 
Canning seems to have averted a world-wide crisis 
more serious than was generally suspected at the time. 
During his communications with the American minister 
in London, Rush, it clearly came out that the monarchy 
of Louis XVIII. had been offered, and desired to 
accept, a commission from Spain for conquering the 

whole of South America. Alone among European 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

statesmen, Canning denounced the project; it would 
not have been abandoned as it was, had his attitude 
with the French ambassador in London, Polignac, 
been less firm. 

The impossibility of English co-operation in any 
scheme of Continental coercion had been dwelt 
upon by the London Foreign Office under Casdereagh 
as it was under Canning. The charge against the 
former minister is not that he failed to understand or 
even to emphasise England's resolution to follow the 
line of non-intervention ; by his public declarations 
he had made that policy his own. This, however, 
was only to throw, as Brougham said, dust in the 
eyes of die House of Commons ; for at the same time 
he, like the Duke of Wellington, did not disguise 
his sympathies with the absolutism of the Holy 
Alliance, and privately encouraged the Imperial Allies 
in their campaign against popular liberties. On 
accepting the mission to the Verona Congress in 
September 1822, the Duke of Wellington thought the 
first place in the discussion would be occupied by the 
insurrection in Greece. Here English diplomacy 
found itself in a position beset by difficulties and 
anomalies. Russia was then England's chief diplomatic 
rival in the Near East; the maintenance therefore 
of Turkish rather than of Russian influence had 
become a tradition of British policy. With a view, 
as was said, of establishing himself at Constantin- 
ople and of making the Black Sea a Russian lake, the 
Czar did violence to his autocratic and legfitimist con- 
victions by encouraging the attempt of the Porte's 
Hellenic subjects to cast off the Turkish yoke. In 

England the Philhellenic sentiment had aroused 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

strong indignation against Austria for encouraging 
the Sultan to deal with the Greek patriots as with 
common rebels ; Canning also shared a scholar's pre- 
judices in favour of the independence of a classical 
and interesting land. Nor had he anything but scorn 
for the feeling in favour of Mohammedan rule, because 
the Turk, though a tyrant, was a gentlemanly one. 
On the Greek question, therefore, English diplomacy 
had before itself a twofold task. It had to prevent, on 
the one hand, the provisional government in Greece, 
and the aspirations centred in it, from being crushed ; 
on the other it had to guard Turkey against Russian 
encroachment. The Congress of 1822 — which, as 
already said, having first been convened at Vienna, 
had been moved to Verona and took its name from that 
place — ^settled nothing. It was followed by meetings 
of ambassadors at St Petersburg first, in London after- 
wards. These gatherings would have been memor- 
able if for no other reason than that they witnessed 
the official ddbut of the English minister's cousin, 
Sir Stratford Canning, afterwards known as the great 
Eltchi of the Crimean War period (Lord Stratford de 
Redcliffe). Canning's famous Parliamentary declara- 
tion on the subject has been mentioned above ; by it he 
denied the right of the Powers to interfere between 
Spain and her revolted South American colonies. 
That denial was emphasised when in the autumn of 
1823 he would have nothing to do with a conference 
on die subject held in Paris. In the following winter 
he declined a like offer from Russia to assist at a 
similar assemblage for setding the affairs of Greece. 
This was shordy after the Austrian and Russian 

emperors had conferred upon the subject at 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

Czemowitz. Neither potentate personally had any 
Philhellenic sentiments. Even now the Czar moved 
unwillingly and under strong domestic pressure. 
Mettemich and Nesselrode drew up a memorandum 
which was sent to Canning in London. Nothing, was 
the English minister's decision, could come from a 
discussion of this paper. He would, however, cause 
England to be represented at any conference held on 
certain conditions he now stated; of these the first 
was that Russia should practically show herself a 
friendly Power by re-establishing her mission at 
Constantinople. The matter seemed likely to arrange 
itself through Sir Charles Bagot and Lord Strangford — 
accredited from England respectively to the Russian 
and Turkish capitals. The Czar still delayed sending 
an ambassador to the Porte; Turkey pleaded her 
consequent absolution from all promises about 
Greece. Nevertheless, 1825 was not to end without 
witnessing Canning's diplomatic master-stroke. In 
November the London Foreign Office received a 
confession from the ambassadors of the Great Powers 
that England alone could help them out of the diffi- 
culty. At an earlier stage of these negotiations 
Canning had sent the Duke of Wellington to St 
Petersburg to assist in preparing what came to be 
known as the Russian or St Petersburg protocol. He 
had, in fact, from the first, desired to accept if possible 
the Czar's suggestions as a basis for arranging this 
international business. For some time, on the plea of 
having no interest in the Eastern question, Prussia 
had withdrawn from the negotiations; Austria, influ- 
enced by Mettemich, who loathed everything Hellenic, 

sulked. The sole parties to the arrangement were 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

thus, England, Russia and Turkey. At last the matter 
lay exclusively between Canning and Nesselrode. 

During this period the Russian ambassador in 
London was Prince Lieven ; the Princess Lieven*s salon 
was a political power in its way, as well as a fashionable 
resort; Canning, Aberdeen, Grey, Mettemich and 
George IV. all regularly attended her receptions. The 
English king piqued himself on his epistolary criticisms 
of his minister's statesmanship; his letters about 
diplomacy had often tried Canning's patience. By her 
bright and tactful badinage the Princess Lieven laughed 
the royal censor out of thus parading the facility of 
his pen. Certainly the conciliatory influences of the 
Princess's parties softened down more than one 
difficulty in the way of converting the St Petersburg 
protocol of April 1826 into the Treaty of London 
(July 1827). Thus did a lady's drawing-room help 
the Foreign Office to create the new Hellenic 

This was the last diplomatic business conducted by 

Canning. On 30th April 1827 he had become Prime 

Minister; on the 8th of August he died, from the 

effects of a chill caught at the Duke of York's funeral. 

But for an act of courtesy to one who, though his 

acquaintance, was scarcely his well-wisher, Canning's 

life might have been spared. At the funeral in St 

George's chapel. Canning observed the Duke of 

Wellington, who stood next him, to suffer from the 

coldness of the stones on which they were standing ; he 

at once placed beneath the duke's feet his own court 

hat, which he had been about to use as a mat for 


In the portrait gallery of English Foreign Secre- 


The Beginnings of Non-intervention 

taries, the commanding place filled by Canning is due 
not only to the actual work he accomplished, but 
to his freedom from the prejudices of his class and 
his craft. Austria, Austrian ideas and ways were 
then the idols of English Society, and especially of the 
set which Canning, after his youth, knew best ; by 
daring to be independent of the modes in fashion at 
Vienna he made Metternich his enemy, but he carried 
out much in which his predecessors had failed ; he 
illuminated the British name, and for thousands of his 
countrymen for whom the subject had no interest 
before, he invested the records of international states- 
manship with a living and personal charm. In his 
diplomatic methods he reflected the practical common- 
sense of his country ; he had as little liking in the 
abstract as had Pitt for Russian idiosyncrasies and 
Russian doings. Distrust of Russia had indeed now 
become a tradition of Tory diplomacy ; that did not 
prevent his making a wise use of the materials at hand 
in his dealings with Greece ; amongst such materials 
was the Russian co-operation. No taunts prevented 
him from using the leverage which it supplied. 




Lord Dudlejr's poliqr in favour of Greece — ^The battle of Navarino — 
Divided opinions of the Ministry — Resignation of the 
Canningites — The third Earl of Aberdeen — His non-interven- 
tion policy — The Treaty of Adrianople — Canning's policy 
continued with regard to Russia and Portugal — Lord 
Aberdeen and France — ^The Conference of London (1830-1) — 
The independence of Belgium — Lord Palmerston at the 
Foreign Office — The Eastern Question — The subjection of 
Mehemet Ali — Friendship between Aberdeen and Guizot — 
The Tahiti affair — Anti-English feeling in France — Peaceful 
policy of Aberdeen and Guizot — The Greek Question — ^The 
Anglo-American dispute — ^The Ashburton treaty — The Spanish 
Marriages — Queen Victoria and Louis Philippe — Relations 
between France, Spain and England, 1835 to 1846. 

THE death of Canning alone ended his difficulties 
with the Duke of Wellington ; he lived, how- 
ever, long enough to satisfy the court with the Cabinet 
formed by him in 1827. George IV. had nothing to 
say against Canning's choice of Lord Dudley for 
the Foreign Office, though he foresaw that the 
Chancellor of the Duchy, Lord Aberdeen, would 
ultimately become the head of the department. 
Lord Dudley combined an inveterate optimism with 
some eccentricity ; always one of the wealthiest peers 
in England, he had lately received almost fabulous 
revenues from his collieries ; two or three years before 

he became Foreign Minister, he had described the 


The Canning Tradition 

new prosperity as extending to aJI orders, all pro- 
fessions, all districts, as enhanced and invigorated 
by those arts which minister to human comfort, as 
well as by those inventions which seem to have given 
man the mastery over human nature. The personal 
characteristics of the man who followed Canning in his 
department were extraordinary absence of mind and a 
habit of chinking the sovereigns in his pocket while 
muttering to himself. Hence the wits of the period in 
Paris, where he was as well known as in London, 
spoke of the appointment as specially appropriate 
because *'s€s affaires lui out iti toujours dtrangiresr 
The delight of the new Foreign Minister at his pro- 
motion was unbounded ; he would, it was truly said of 
him, willingly have given ;^6ooo a year for his office 
instead of receiving that sum from the public. No 
member, therefore, of the administration laboured so 
hard to patch up the differences between the Duke 
and Huskisson which threatened to wreck the 
Cabinet. On foreign affairs Dudley outdid Canning 
in his dislike of the Sultan and his people. To such a 
point did he carry his anti-Turkish sentiments, that 
his social influence was actively used to ostracise the 
English partisans of the Porte from drawing-room and 
club. "If," he said, " three Christian sovereigns 
could divide Christian Poland without interference 
from England, her safety cannot surely be bound up 
with a barbarous Mohammedan despotism. Rather 
should it be our policy so to direct any new arrange- 
ment consequent on the Ottoman downfall as to 
prevent it from turning too much to the profit of 
Russia, too little to that of Greece." 

The Goderich administration, which retained 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Dudley as Foreign Secretary after Canning s death, 
did not, it will thus be seen, contemplate executing the 
Treaty of London in a manner less favourable to Greece 
than did Canning himself. Thus, under dissimilar 
but mainly Tory dispensations, was English diplomacy 
brought round to the support of oppressed nationalities. 
Thus for the time did Tory diplomacy break with 
the principle of antagonism to Russia, stamped though 
it was declared to be by the high authority of 
the second Pitt. The secret articles of the London 
treaty arranged for an armistice between Greece and 
Turkey ; the efforts to secure this involved the entire 
destruction of the Turkish and Egyptian fleets at 
Navarino. That incident was spoken of in widely 
different language by the rival party leaders of the 
time. The Duke of Wellington talked of unprovoked 
outrage and suggested apology ; he had, he said, 
always disliked the Treaty of London ; he protested 
against the idea of its having any connection with 
his own St Petersburg protocol. The foreign policy 
that had culminated in the Navarino incident, not only 
hastened the dissolution of the Goderich Government, 
but threatened to prevent the formation of the 
Wellington Cabinet which followed it. 

The Foreign Secretary, whom so many had refused to 
take quite seriously, alone kept the Duke's men together. 
Had Dudley gone out, Huskisson and the Moderates 
would have followed him. The Greco-Turkish question 
had split the whole heterogeneous ministerial con- 
nection. To the Duke himself it was a shabby trick. 
His tepid retainers saw in it no more than a regrettable 
incident. On the other hand the Whig leaders, Althorp 

and Russell, whom the new ministers wished to con- 


The Canning Tradition 

ciliate, spoke of it as a necessary consequence of the 

Treaty of London, and as honest a victory as had ever 

been gained since the beginning of the world. The 

Porte now demanded of England an indemnity for the 

destruction of its fleet, and the withdrawal of the 

Powers from intervention in Greece. Dudley referred 

the Turkish ambassador to the Treaty of London; 

he further pointed out that the recent action at sea 

had been begun by the Turks themselves. Dudley s 

official methods may have been as procrastinating and 

as confused as some critics have said. He cannot be 

charged with lack of clearness in deciding on a policy 

or of strength in carrying it out. His resignation in 

1828 was due to no failure, but to the impossibility of 

lasting co-operation between the Canningites and the 

Tories. So far Foreign Office influence had been the 

cement that kept the ministers together. When that 

lost its cohesive power, Dudley resigned, together with 

Huskisson, whom he had so often kept from retiring 


As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the 

fourth Earl of Aberdeen had already done a good deal 

of Foreign Office work, and was a Scotch Tory after 

the Duke of Wellington's heart. Beginning public life 

in diplomacy, he had, as ambassador at Vienna in 181 3, 

won over Austria to the Treaty of Toplitz which 

secured the independence of the small Rhenish states. 

Being, a year later, on duty at the Congress of 

Chatillon, he employed his experience of private 

theatricals to delight the evenings of the cosmopolitan 

company. More lately he had taken part in the 

Greek negotiations. He now brought to the control 

of the department not only the serious shrewdness of 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

the Scot, but a matured and accurate insight into the 
dark places of European diplomacy. No one was 
more at home behind the diplomatic scenes in Vienna, 
or had gfiven Casdereagh sounder advice about 
Austrian aims and ideas. " Metternich," said Aberdeen, 
"is singularly acute, but withal not a very clever 
man, very vain, always Austrian, and predisposed for 
war if the risk to his country be not too great." 

The last Lord Rokeby died in 1883. On one of 
the frequent occasions of my meeting him, while Mr 
Spencer Montague, he gave me many interesting 
details about the Princess Lieven's evening parties, at 
which the Lord Rokeby of that time met weekly the 
leading diplomatists, English and Continental, of the 
period. From this ancestor's unpublished papers the 
Lord Rokeby of whom I knew something vividly 
described " the international set presided over by the 
fourth Lord Aberdeen. Metternich belonged to it and 
showed himself there exactly as he was. Not (wrote 
Rokeby) the Machiavellian genius some have described 
him, but the pleasantest and most equal-tempered man I 
ever knew. He never lost his temper in his life nor 
had a mean thought or said a mean word about anyone. 
But he wanted pace." The schoolfellow, at Harrow, of 
Byron, the " travelled thane, Athenian Aberdeen," now 
showed himself much stronger for non-intervention than 
for the Hellenic cause. "Tear up the Treaty of Lon- 
don," was his advice to the Cabinet This was Welling- 
tonian Toryism with a vengeance, utterly impracticable^ 
of course, because it would have undone the work labo- 
riously completed by the Foreign Office under three 
successive chiefs, because Russia, then thoroughly on 

the alert, would at once have put her foot down» 


The Canning Tradition 

Moreover, it would have not only destroyed the 
results of the European alliance, but have combined 
the Powers against an isolated England. Wellington, 
however, was for limiting the new Greek kingdom to 
the Morea, to a few islands, for exacting the pay- 
ment of a large indemnity at once, and a heavy 
annual tribute afterwards from Greece to the Sultan. 
This was too much even for the Duke's particular 
Cabinet ally. The Foreign Secretary, in fact, himself 
at once negatived the Prime Minister's proposal. At 
the time of Aberdeen's entering upon office, Russia 
and Turkey were at war about Greece ; the Greek 
insurgents held the Morea ; the Powers who had 
signed the Treaty of London were preventing the 
return of Turkish troops to Hellenic soil. In the Op- 
position, Lord John Russell illustrated the eighteenth- 
century anti-Turkish tradition of the Whig leader, 
Charles Fox ; for he had denounced the Turk, though 
in language less severe than had been used by ministers 
themselves, and particularly by the Secretary at War, 
the Turcophil of the Victorian age. The Palmerston of 
1827 plainly asked in the Cabinet, and through his. 
organs in the press, why the Turks should be kept at 

As Prime Minister in 1853, Aberdeen was to be 
charged with slackness in the Crimean War with 
Russia. As Foreign Secretary in 1828, he was taunted 
with the patrician prejudices, causing him to sympathise 
with Russian or even Turkish absolutism rather than 
with the Greeks struggling to be free. Aberdeen has 
been censured for not uniting with Austria to prevent 
the setdement of the Russo-Turkish War which 

(14th September 1829), while slighdy increasing the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Czar's Asiatic dominions gave Russia the protectorate 
of the Danubian provinces. The Treaty of Adria- 
nople, however, gave the Czar much less than he 
had expected and had long held out for ; there was 
no sign of help coming to England from Vienna, even 
if British diplomacy had averted the Adrianople 
arrangement. Aberdeen's views about Russia were 
in general consistency with those of Canning, and, in 
his later years, of Pitt. Towards Russia, indeed, 
the line taken by our Foreign Office was the same 
under Aberdeen as it had been under Dudley. With 
both these ministers the English policy always was to 
prevent Russia from isolated action as the liberator 
of any oppressed nationalities whatever. Aberdeen 
had no sooner become Foreign Secretary than he sent 
Lord Heytesbury to our embassy at St Petersburg, 
with instructions showing his disbelief in Russian 
promises and his apprehension of a Russian advance. 
Soon after the new ambassador's appointment, Aber- 
deen heard that the Czar had directed the blockade of 
the Dardanelles. He at once sent out word that all 
English ships, whatever they carried, must be outside 
this operation. Russia yielded ; the blockading orders 
were cancelled. A coolness was left between the two 
governments, and the Treaty of London ceased to be 
the subject of Anglo-Russian co-operation. In 1807, 
as has been seen. Napoleon had resolved in no case 
to allow the Russian occupation of Constantinople. 
Aberdeen formed the same determination in 1828 ; he 
never afterwards departed from it. As regards the 
Treaty of Adrianople, the facts concerning Aberdeen's 
connection with it are very simple. He disliked and 

condemned its concessions to Russia, not less strongly 


The Canning Tradition 

than had been done by our ambassador at Constanti- 
nople, Sir R. Gordon. He accepted it, however, as a 
necessary evil, for these reasons. The military exhaus- 
tion of Turkey had become as severe as that of Russia. 
Moreover, the struggle had produced effects so widely 
disturbing as to revive the scare of revolution in France 
and elsewhere. European diplomacy, therefore, with 
Mettemich at its head, disliked the Adrianople terms ; 
it insisted for political reasons on the necessity of 
peace at any price. The ultra-Tories, who now blamed 
Aberdeen for not remembering Oczakow, logically 
ought to have included the foreign idol of Toryism, 
Mettemich, in their censures. For what were the 

The Czar Nicholas, without any protest from the 
Continental Powers, had made war on Turkey for 
alleged offences against himself and his subjects. 
England alone dissented from the step ; she became the 
benefactress of Europe by not acknowledging, and so 
by removing, the blockade of the Dardanelles. Like 
some of his diplomatic contemporaries, Aberdeen was 
mistaken in anticipating an early collapse of the 
Sultan's European sovereignty. Because he regarded 
the Porte, which he had wished to preserve, as doomed^ 
he had gradually determined, in his own words, "to 
make something out of Greece, to establish it as a 
solid Power, which if necessary we may cordially 
support in future." 

In another matter our foreign policy at the period 

now reached, maintained its practical identity with 

that of Canning. The affairs of Portugal were not 

yet settled. In 1830, Don Miguel had become so 

popular in Portugal that he had been requested to 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

declare himself king, even without the consent of the 
Cortes. Asked to intervene on behalf of Donna 
Maria, Aberdeen took the course which would cer- 
tainly have been that of Canning. To impose the 
young queen on the Peninsula, and to keep her there 
by British support, would be equally bad, he said, for 
Portugal, for England, for the connection between the 
two countries, and for the new Portuguese Constitution. 
The relations between the London and Paris Foreign 
Offices under Aberdeen passed through some vicissi- 
tudes. His own sympathies and those of the Duke of 
Wellington with reactionary France have been exag- 
gerated. But for the days of July which placed Louis 
Philippe on the throne in 1830, war between France 
and England could scarcely have been averted. In 
the January of that year Mettemich's good offices 
secured for Aberdeen the sight of despatches from the 
French ambassador at Constantinople to his govern- 
ment ; these documents showed the French monarchy 
to be meditating, in concert with Mehemet Ali, the 
Pasha of Egypt, an expedition against Algiers. Aber- 
deen lost not a moment in letting France know that 
England would not acquiesce in any project of per- 
manent conquest or aggrandisement. Our ambassador 
in Paris, Lord Stuart of Rothesay, alluding at this 
time to rumours of a possible revolution, declared them 
to be utterly unfounded. Ten days later the Bourbon 
monarchy had fallen, and the danger to England from 
a Franco-Egyptian alliance was at an end. The 
change of dynasty was not effected without the ex- 
change of many communications between Paris and 
London. English observers, amongst them perhaps 

Aberdeen, were asking themselves whether the French 


The Canning Tradition 

changes which had begun would stop short of 
an attempt at another republic. Lord Stuart of 
Rothesay's advices from France were reassuring. 
Meanwhile Charles X. looked for an asylum outside 
his own country. The dethroned monarch had been 
alarmed by rumours of his intended kidnapping ; he 
had applied to the English Embassy for protection, 
perhaps in the shape of a British man-of-war to watch 
the French vessel conveying him from his kingdom. 

Aberdeen had now to confront some hostility of 
English feeling and the actual opposition of his chief; 
for the Duke of Wellington protested against recog- 
nising the deposition of Charles X. till the Allies of 
1 8 14 had been consulted. Aberdeen held his own 
opinion ; eventually he brought round to it not only 
the Duke with all his colleagues, but popular sentiment 
as well. Nor, as a fact, would the English public have 
tolerated armed intervention to save a monarchy to 
whose representative, whether Bourbon or, as in Louis 
Philippe he had now become, Orleanist, they were 
altogether indifferent. 

In England, diplomacy had now become national. 

By a logic like that with which Omar Pasha justified 

the burning of the Alexandrian library, Archbishop 

Whately once whimsically argued the uselessness 

of treaties; if they ceased to express a national 

conviction, they could not be enforced ; if they did 

express it, that conviction would enforce itself and 

they were superfluous. At the same time Charles X.'s 

appeal was at least technically justified by the letter 

not only of the treaties of 1814 and 18 15, but by the 

international understanding sealed a few years later at 

Aix-la-Chapelle. All those arrangements provided 
s 273 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

for foreign interference in French affairs if the revolu- 
tion should reassert itself. The deposition of Charles, 
it might be said, was caused by his own unconstitu- 
tional acts ; but the documents which the Powers had 
signed said nothing about such conduct relieving them 
of their obligations. The truth, of course, is that the 
Vienna treaties and those which followed them were 
by common consent lapsing into a dead letter. This 
was a year or two later to be more fully recognised by 
Lord Palmerston. He as Lord Aberdeen's successor 
began his course as Foreign Secretary under Earl Grey, 
November 1830. The Aberdeen despatch of 1829, 
explaining to the Continental courts England's recog- 
nition of Louis Philippe, contained the argument that 
the principles of Canning obviously most applicable 
to the present time committed England to a limi- 
tation rather than an extension of her European 
responsibilities. As concerns our nearest Continental 
neighbour, the beginnings of that Anglo-French 
entente, completed in the present reign, were made by 
Aberdeen when refusing the appeal of Charles X., he 
had insisted that to entertain it would have been to 
charge the French people with detestable and incredible 
cruelty and baseness. The same conciliatory considera- 
tion of French feeling characterised his treatment of 
ihe Belgian question, so far as it can be said to have 
existed before his retirement in 1830. In that year the 
revolutionary example of France had been followed by 
a popular rising in Belgium against the connection 
with Holland. The King of Holland had applied to 
Aberdeen for English troops to protect him against the 
Belgian insurgents. The request was refused, but as 

Belgium and Holland were now practically at war with 


The Canning Tradition 

each other, English diplomacy summoned the Powers 
to a conference held in London (1830) for considering 
the whole subject. The arrangement of an armistice 
was immediately followed by the discussion of the 
plenipotentiaries under the presidency of Palmerston, 
who had come in during November. The conference 
was a mere diplomatic formality, held to regfister a fore- 
gone conclusion, the erection of Belgium into a separate 
independent state. This constituted the earliest in- 
timation that only by bayonets and cannon could the 
Vienna treaty be maintained as part of the public law 
of Europe. 

In the Belgian affair Aberdeen had shown great 
skill in managing Louis Philippe and his chief 
minister Talleyrand. Aberdeen's successor profited 
by his example. Palmerston and Talleyrand, before 
going into the London conference, had agreed that 
the severance of Belgium from Holland was an 
established and irreversible fact. On 20th December 
1830, the conference discussed the conditions on 
which this separation should be effected. The three 
most important questions to be setded were the 
exact territorial limits of the two countries, the 
division of the debt of the United Netherlands 
kingdom and the choice of an occupant for the 
Belgian throne. The conference held its first sitting 
towards the end of 1830; on the 20th and 27th 
of the following January it setded the territorial 
matter by a compromise : Holland retained all her 
possessions of 1790; Belgium received the remainder. 
Luxemburg, about which there had been much dis- 
cussion, was still to constitute part of the Germanic 

confederation. In February the Dutch delegates 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

accepted this arrangement without demur. The 
difficulties still to be surmounted were raised by 
Belgium ; they related chiefly to the future king of 
that country. The national congress of Belgium had 
nominated and indeed gone through the form of 
electing Louis Philippe's second son, the Due de 
Nemours, to the thr6ne. Consulting Palmerston on 
the subject, Talleyrand was plainly gfiven to under- 
stand that such a choice would be regarded by Great 
Britain as portending a union between Belgium and 
France ; this would disturb the balance of power, and 
might involve war. War, indeed, as it was, seemed 
already inevitable. The substitution of Casimir 
Perier for Laffitte as French premier, with Sebastiani 
for his Foreign Secretary, helped to avert the summary 
close of the conference and check an appeal to arms. 
Eventually the choice fell on the Princess Charlotte's 
widowed husband, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. He 
persuaded his subjects to accept in the January of 
1 83 1 the eighteen articles embodying the resolutions 
of the Powers ; he thus pacified his adopted country, 
but did not prevent its invasion by Dutch troops. 

English party-differences now complicated the diffi- 
culties of diplomacy. Three international experts, by 
their timely appearance on the stage, helped to 
compose the agitation. The first. Earl Granville, 
our ambassador at Paris, a favourite of the whole carps 
diplomatique y adroitly made opportunities of soothing 
Belgian susceptibilities on the subject of Luxemburg. 
At this time, too, there had recendy come to repre- 
sent England at Brussels the son of George IIL's staff 
surgeon, Sir Robert Adair. This staunch and capable 

Whig had always been so keen a partisan that at the 


The Canning Tradition 

age of six, in the Wilkes and Liberty riots, he suddenly 
left his mother, Lady Caroline Keppel, with whom he 
was sitting, to take part in breaking his father's 
windows because he was a placeman. He faced 
much risk when, in 1831, he interposed successfully to 
prevent a collision between the Dutch and French 
troops, being, in his words to Coke, the old friend of 
Charles Fox, " shot at once or twice like a Holkham 
rabbit." The third diplomatist who, as intermediary, 
promoted a settlement, and who, by his acceptance 
of the Russian modifications of the treaty, became 
one of the creators of the new kingdom, was Sylvain 
Van de Weyer, then a young Belgian remarkable 
for the clearness of his head and the charm of his 
manners, well-known to society in the last century 
of the representative of the court of Brussels in 
London. To these names may be added that of Lord 
Durham, who, as the Prime Minister's son-in-law and 
a Liberal after the Foreign Secretary's heart, had 
been sent to St Petersburg to remove Russian pre- 
judice against the latest addition to the monarchies of 
Western Europe. The Prime Minister, Grey, had 
another influential relative in diplomacy, his brother- 
in-law. Lord Ponsonby, British chargi (f affaires at 
Brussels. Lord Grey himself, it will be remembered, 
had been Foreign Secretary in 1806. An imperious 
aristocrat, with special knowledge of international 
politics, he was not likely to give his Foreign 
Minister the absolutely free hand which Palmerston 
first secured under Melbourne in 1834. Throughout 
the episodes just narrated the policy of England had 
been shaped as much by Grey as by Palmerston. The 
Prime Minister suggested alterations in his Secretary 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of State's despatches, and went over them, clause 
by clause, in the Cabinet. In his own department 
Palmerston made at home and abroad the appoint- 
ments he desired. Grey, however, took care that 
the diplomatic service was largely recruited from his 
own personal connections or intimates. 

The Belgian treaty was signed by Palmerston and 
Talleyrand on 22nd October 1832. Meanwhile, 
among other affairs engaging the Foreign Office 
were those of the Peninsula. In the July of 1831, 
Portuguese outrages on a French subject had brought 
French men-of-war to the Tagus. A little later an 
Englishman became the victim of like treatment. In 
1832 a British squadron appeared in Portuguese waters. 
To pass over the intervening incidents, the work of 
English diplomacy in Portugal and Spain was to 
secure constitutional government for both countries. 
Even under Grey, the tendency of Palmerstons 
intervention was systematically to be upon a less con- 
ditional scale than had been that of his declared 
master Canning. Portugal, which in 1832 engaged 
Palmerston, also affords the best illustration of the 
principles on which Canning's intervention was 
based. The English alliance with Portugal dated 
from 1793. Canning tightened it by fresh political and 
commercial links. He only fulfilled a legal liability 
in coming to its rescue. Palmerston, whenever he in- 
tervened, did so to prevent any single Power from 
dominating Europe; he thus needed no pressure of 
pre-existing compact to appear as the champion of 
constitutional liberties. Palmerston, it has been 
already said, was less completely his own master at 

the Foreign Office under Grey than under Melbourne. 


The Canning Tradition 

In the year, however, before he first went there, he had 
warned the House of Commons that his ideas of inter- 
vention were far more wide and strenuous than those 
of Canning.* Yet he perceived that the time was 
coming when English opinion would not sanction such 
"intermeddling" (his own word) except for the safety 
of our Indian and Colonial Empire. Aberdeen was 
sometimes charged with a Tory leaning towards the 
absolute monarchies of Eastern Europe. Palmerston 
professed the Whig tradition of preference for Liberal 
France. His diplomacy, however, from 1835 to 1845, 
might be described as a series of duels with the two 
leading French ministers, Guizot and Thiers, equally 
with the motive of checkmating French designs and 
of maintaining Turkish independence. This period 
included the episode of Mehemet Ali in the East 
and of the Spanish marriages in the West The 
former of these involves some reference to transactions 
between Russia, Turkey and the other Powers during 
Palmerston s first term at the Foreign Office when the 
Prime Minister was Grey. In 1833, Russia had pro- 
fited by the preoccupation of the Western Powers with 
Belgium to extort from Turkey the Treaty of Unkiar 
Skelessi. This gave the Czar Nicholas what his 
predecessors had desired, but had never been able 
even to come near obtaining. The war-ships of 
every nation except Russia were excluded from the 
Dardanelles. The Czar stood forth before the world 
as the sole friend and protector of the Sultan. It 
was not till the beginning of 1834 that the text of the 
Unkiar Skelessi treaty reached the Foreign Office. 
Long before this, however, circumstantial rumours 

* Speech in Parliament, ist June 1829. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of the transaction reaching England had excited in- 
dignation against Russia in and out of Parliament. 
O'Connell had spoken of the Czar as " the monster 
Nicholas," had abused Palmerston for his subservience 
to the brute that had kicked his country. Like other 
European countries, England swarmed with Polish 
exiles. The Foreign Secretary found himself hustled 
and hooted as he rode from Piccadilly to Whitehall. 
Nothing ruffled his cheerful calm. In the House of 
Commons, Henry Bulwer's motion for papers bearing 
on the Russo-Turkish rumours were resisted, on nth 
July 1833, by the Foreign Secretary on the g^und 
that Russian troops had evacuated Turkey. Yet, as it 
appeared from the Morning Herald of 21st August 
^^ZZ% on the mere promise of such an evacuation, the 
treaty had just been yielded by the Porte to the Czar. 
When the newspaper just named printed the treaty, 
Palmerston did not dispute its genuineness, but con- 
tinued to say he was not in possession of the original, 
and to refuse in the national interest the production of 
all papers. 

Whatever may have been the comments of 
Palmerston s immediate predecessor in his post on 
Unkiar Skelessi, Lord Aberdeen differed from many of 
his party in generally approving Palmerston's treatment 
(1830-40) of Mehemet All's attempt to throw off the 
Sultan's suzerainty and make himself an independent 
prince. Both Aberdeen and Palmerston had expected 
that Louis Philippe and Thiers would aid and abet by 
all agencies at their command, Mehemet's scheme for 
disintegrating the Turkish Empire, and for making 
Egypt the seat of a new and separate Oriental Power. 

Long before Napoleon's invasion of that country, 


The Canning Tradition 

Egypt, under Louis XVI., had taken a powerful hold 
of the popular French imagination. Playing to the 
gallery was the Orleanist king's and his minister's idea 
of strengthening their hold upon their people. One 
of the keys to French action at this period is the 
curiously bitter personal estrangement between the 
Czar Nicholas and Louis Philippe. Russia befriended 
the Sultan and aimed at restoring Syria to him. That 
sufficed to make France Mehemet Ali's partisan. 
Meanwhile, Palmerston and Metternich determined 
upon a settlement of Eastern Europe, independently 
if need be of France. The .English and the Austrian 
statesmen convoked the London Conference of 1840; 
on the 15th of July in that year a convention was 
signed by England, Austria, Prussia and Russia, to 
insist upon Mehemet's restoration of Northern Syria to 
the Sultan ; it further granted him the hereditary 
government of Egypt. This compact, if generally 
known as the Quadruple Treaty, has also been called 
the Quadrilateral Treaty, as if to distinguish it from an . 
earlier compact of i834,* by which another group of 
four Powers guaranteed, as has been already said, con- 
stitutional government in Portugal and Spain. The 
exclusion of France which had thwarted Palmerston by 
separate negotiations with Mehemet Ali, brought her 
to the verge of war with England. The fall of Thiers 
alone maintained peace. The English representative, 
Henry Bulwer, bore the brunt of the falling minister's 
personal fury. 

The Austro-English naval operations required 

* Before this, in 1834, Palmerston had arranged between England^ 
France, Spain and Portugal another Quadruple Treaty for settling the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

before the final settlement of Mehemet Ali did not 
diminish, but rather enhanced, the diplomatic prestige 
accruing to Palmerston from this transaction. He had 
discredited the military resources of Egypt, the invinci- 
bility of Mehemet himself, and the necessity which it had 
been said Louis Philippe and his ministers would experi- 
ence of yielding to the war-cry of France. In doing 
this Palmerston had not only divided the Cabinet, he 
had placed his House of Commons majority under a 
dangerous strain. He had gone perilously near to in- 
volving Europe in a general war. But all his calcula- 
tions and the private intelligence on which he so gready 
relied had been justified by the event. Russia had 
tacidy abandoned the pretensions embodied in the 
Unkiar Skelessi treaty, to keep Turkey indefinitely 
under Russian tutelage. The Dardanelles were closed 
against the war-ships of all countries. Turkey herself 
had been presented with the opportunity of showing 
her capacities of progress, and of entering upon a new 
career under the common protection of Europe. This 
is what the shrewd Aberdeen had foreseen when he 
dissented from his colleagues in their outcry against 
Palmerston's early diplomacy in the Mehemet Ali 
imbroglio. The cleverness and success of Palmerston's 
coup are beyond doubt. At the same time he exposed 
himself to the criticism of Thiers. Mehemet Ali was 
to be crushed that the integrity of the Turkish empire 
might be maintained. And yet the Sultan was to shed 
Acre and Egypt that Mehemet Ali might be satisfied. 
The Palmerstonian triumphs, though placing Eng- 
land at the head of Europe, did not prevent the fall of 
his Government. That brought with it the return 

under Sir Robert Peel of Lord Aberdeen in i84i» 


The Canning Tradition 

The new head of the Foreign Office at once made it 
his business to foster the entente cordiaU between 
England and France. In this task he received help 
from the new French minister Guizot, his own con- 
genial friend. Apart, however, from recent causes of 
friction he had to contend against some inauspicious 
general circumstances. The Anglo-mania which had 
made itself fashionable throughout France before the 
Revolution, had been followed by a social intimacy be- 
tween the upper classes of both countries. Hence, 
among other things, it had grown the polite mode for 
English girls of good position to receive their education 
at French convent schools. Now the reaction was due. 
There had become epidemic in France a cordial and 
all but universal detestation of English success, states- 
manship and designs. Each country was disposed to 
fix its eyes exclusively on the worst points of the 
other, and to see in its neighbour a rival whose in- 
terest conflicted with its own in every quarter of the 
globe. The French ministerial changes, replacing 
Thiers by Guizot, proved favourable to the concili- 
atory efforts of our new Foreign Secretary ; unlike 
Palmerston, he went little into society himself ; he was 
helped without knowing it by the prevailing temper of 
drawing-rooms and clubs. Talleyrand had died in 
1838. The social atmosphere generated by his per- 
sonal qualities had tempered British patriotism with a 
good-humoured toleration of French peculiarities and 
peccadilloes. There still lingered the echoes of the 
laughter excited by his accounts of Louis Philippe, 
whom he seemed never to take quite seriously, and by 
his innumerable good things said at London dinner- 
tables. While, however, desiring to make France our 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

friend, Aberdeen laid his account with the possibility 
of finding her determined to be our enemy. Hence 
he gratified the court by the pains he took to remove 
the grudges against us with which Palmerston had 
inspired the rest of Europe. Amicable relations with 
every European state and, so far as that policy per- 
mitted, real friendship with France fairly described 
Lord Aberdeen's policy during his second Foreign 
Secretaryship. The London and Paris Foreign Offices 
owed sometliing of their success to their respective 
monarchies. The young English queen had already 
begun to exercise an influence on foreign politics, as 
real as that of her predecessors and far more beneficent. 
The French interest in Egypt, and the English 
determination to keep the line open to India caused 
periodical though not dangerous differences. But in 
1 84 1, the French governor of Tahiti had summarily 
seized and imprisoned a British subject named 
Pritchard, generally described as a consul, but really 
a missionary. Public indignation already glowed 
fiercely, and was further inflamed by some strong and 
unguarded words of the usually cautious Prime 
Minister, Sir Robert Peel. War-fever in the two 
countries soon reached its height. Aberdeen and 
Guizot, however, had privately agreed between them- 
selves that they would both resign rather than be 
parties to a violation of peace. The settlement and 
its precise terms were the personal contrivances of the 
two statesmen rather than the products of their diplo- 
matic machinery. The anti- English feeling was so 
strong in the Chamber of Deputies, that any vote for 
an indemnity to Pritchard for the outrages he had 

undergone could not be thought of. After some further 


The Canning Tradition 

communications between Aberdeen and Guizot, Louis 
Philippe supplied the money from his own civil list. 
From 1 84 1 to 1846, the period of Aberdeen's second 
Secretaryship, the diplomatic record of England re- 
solves itself into a narrative of the personal friendship 
uniting the men who controlled the Foreign Offices of 
Paris and London. The popular idea that Aberdeen's 
conduct of foreign affairs bore the impress of Palmer- 
ston's mind is disproved by facts. He and Guizot 
had entered into an understanding that neither of 
the pair would take any important step without 
first ascertaining the other's wishes. Thus, for the 
only time, the London and Paris Foreign Offices were 
absolutely at one, and for practical purposes constituted 
a single international department. More apposite 
than Tahiti to the time at which these lines are 
written (1907), was Aberdeen's Moorish policy in 
1844, demonstrably the exact opposite of that which 
Palmerston's would have been. In the. Cabinet 
he stood alone ; he himself disliked the French 
occupation of Algeria in 1830, he accepted it as an 
accomplished fact in 1841 ; he further acquiesced in 
the logical consequences of this step when he recog- 
nised that, having established themselves in Algeria, 
the French could not but resent the behaviour 
of the Moors. The British consul at Tangiers was 
instructed to exert his influence with the Emperor 
of Morocco to yield. The British admiral in Moorish 
waters had orders to do nothing that might inspire 
the Moors with the hope of moral or material support 
from England. How did the matter end.*^ The 
French, having effected their object, retired from 

Morocco. The Anglo-French war panic ended harm- 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

lessly. The entente cordtale between the two countries 

had not been impaired. The very abuse heaped on 

Aberdeen and Guizot in their respective countries was 

thus a kind of compliment. The phases of the Greek 

question presenting themselves to Aberdeen in 1843 

were less critical than those occupying Palmerston six 

years later. The revolution, as it was called, of the 

earlier date merely marked the popular victory in the 

struggle for constitutional rule against a capricious 

and autocratic monarch. The result was taken by 

Lord Aberdeen for a legitimate manifestation by the 

Greek people in favour of constitutional government. 

Even this purely domestic episode provoked the busy 

display of Anglo-French diplomatic rivalries. At this 

time England was represented at Athens by the future 

Lord Lyons, who, as Sir Edmund Lyons, was a brave 

sailor and accomplished admiral, but, unlike his more 

famous son, not a bom diplomatist. The representative 

of France was Mr Piscatory. Each of these ministers 

had his own man among the Athenian place-hunters. 

Piscatory was intriguing to get Coletti into office. 

Lyons backed Mavrocordato. It was a mean and 

mischievous squabble. With nautical bluntness 

Lyons by letter and speech let Piscatory know 

what he thought about him. With undiplomatic 

prolixity of trivial detail, he wrote home to the Foreign 

Secretary, complaining of all he had to suffer from his 

French rival. In reply Aberdeen, naturally disgusted 

at the whole affair, in a sharp letter pooh-poohed his 

agent's grievance, but in a despatch to Paris plainly let 

the minister of Foreign Affairs know that he must not 

presume too far on their personal friendship. Guizot 

was given unmistakably to understand that if Piscatory 


The Canning Tradition 

did not obey more exacdy instructions from Paris, 
Lyons also, notwithstanding Aberdeen's reprimand, 
must be expected to get out of hand. 

During Aberdeen's second turn at the Foreign 
Office there were anxious communications between 
Whitehall and Washington. One Anglo-American 
dispute of some standing was being settled when he 
took the seals in 1841. In that year the British 
subject, M'Leod, charged with murder on board the 
steamer Caroline in the Canadian rebellion of 1838, 
was acquitted. Had he been found guilty and exe- 
cuted, the relations between the two countries would 
have been subjected to an intolerable strain. Another 
question whose settlement by Aberdeen removed 
a dangerous and frequent cause of quarrel was the 
right of search on vessels by cruisers engaged in 
the suppression of the slave-trade. Anglo-American 
friction was at this time aggravated by the indolence, 
if not inefficiency of the British minister at Washing^ 
ton. When therefore Aberdeen took in hand the 
irritating and inveterate differences about the north- 
east boundary of the States and the British provinces, 
he sent out Lord Ashburton, the head of the great house 
of Baring. Ashburton's fitness for the work was uni- 
versally recognised ; his personal credentials for the 
mission were the possession of an American wife and of 
commercial interests which made American welfare a 
scarcely less concern to him than that of Great Britain. 
The affair was setded by a compromise ; Palmerston 
called it a bad bargain. The Ashburton treaty, how- 
ever, that the envoy brought home, secured an agree- 
ment with the United States for suppressing the 

slave-trade; its chief concession to America was a 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

swamp productive only of inferior pine-trees. At the 
cost of this the peace which the Ashburton treaty 
secured could not be considered dear. The one 
failure of the Ashburton mission was that it did not 
decide the ownership of the Columbia River littoral. 

Thus in the first decade of Queen Victoria's reign, 
Aberdeen's diplomacy on the other side of the Atlantic, 
whatever its defects, had gone far towards re- 
moving any risk of immediate rupture between the 
two portions of the Anglo-Saxon race. Meanwhile 
in France the diplomatic compact uniting Aberdeen 
and Guizot did not prevent Louis Philippe from 
privately intriguing with Russia against the English 
Government to which he owed his throne. Had 
Thiers remained in office, the French king must have 
been drawn into war with England. As it was, the 
curtain had begun to rise upon a fresh act of the 
international melodrama in which the leading parts 
were sustained by the diplomatists of London, Paris 
and Madrid. The most important incident was the 
selection of husbands for the young Queen of Spain, 
Isabella, and her sister Fernanda. That was only 
one of several episodes. 

Egypt, by the overthrow of Mehemet Ali, had 

been withdrawn from the sphere of French influence ; 

British diplomacy was converting the land of the 

Pharaohs into an outpost of India. These things 

had wounded French self-love to the quick; they 

had set the astute Louis Philippe on the congenial 

work of private intrigue against England. In this 

he was stimulated and assisted by the Paris salons 

which formed part of his court, and whose mistresses 

found among their guests colleagues in the wives of 


The Canning Tradition 

Russian statesmen like Benckendorff, Nesselrode and 
Tchernitcheff. The queen-mother of Spain, Christina, 
flitted to and fro between Paris and Madrid. After- 
wards she posed as the admirer of England and the 
friend of Queen Victoria ; now she was being fSted by 
the French king as the mother-in-law elect of the Due 
de Montpensier, whom he wished to make the husband 
of the younger Spanish princess, Fernanda. 

Meanwhile a French envoy, Meunier, had arrived 
in England to sound the British Government on the 
subject. The diplomacy of this affair calls for 
mention here, but the negotiations and their ending 
have been written about so often that it is un- 
necessary here to follow all the details. In 1840, 
during the Carlist War, Guizot's unofficial mention of 
the subject to Palmerston not only confirmed the 
English statesman's suspicion of Louis Philippe's being 
bent on securing the young Queen Isabella as a bride 
for his son ; it drew forth the declaration that 
England must veto such a match. Louis Philippe 
therefore abandoned this idea and directed his efforts 
to promoting the marriage of Isabella with her cousin 
the Duke of Cadiz, and to securing for his own son, 
the Due de Montpensier, the Princess Fernanda. He 
had satisfied himself that the union of Isabella and the 
Duke of Cadiz was not likely to be fruitful. The 
child that might be born of the Due de Montpensier 
and the Fernanda marriage would in that case be heir 
to the Spanish throne. 

Addressed by Guizot on the same subject in 1841, 

Aberdeen, who had then just gone to the Foreign 

Office, declined a suggestion of limiting the Spanish 

queen's choice to a Spanish or Neapolitan Bourbon ; 
T 289 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

but added that such a match, if desired at Madrid, 
would not be opposed by Great Britain. In 1845, 
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were on a visit to 
Louis Philippe at the Chiteau d'Eu. The royal guests 
then supplemented the work of the London Foreign 
Office by a definite agreement with their host himself. 
First, Queen Isabella herself must marry her cousin, the 
Duke of Cadiz. Then Louis Philippe's son, the Due de 
Montpensier, might become the husband of Isabella's 
sister. Neither the cordiality between the reigning 
houses of France and England, nor the mutual de- 
votion of the French and English Foreign Ministers 
caused the French king really to abandon the idea of 
uniting the French and Spanish branches of the 
Bourbon family. The matrimonial diplomacy of the 
French court and its chancery did in effect revive the 
seventeenth-century Family Compact for a union of 
the French and Spanish crowns baffled by Chat- 
ham. But it displayed features of calculating heart- 
lessness on the part of the French king that were 

At the Chateau d'Eu house-party in 1845, ^^ 
English and French royalties had further settled that 
neither of the Spanish princesses should find a husband 
in Leopold of Saxe-Coburg ; this was the cousin of 
Prince Albert and brother of the King Consort of Por- 
tugal ; his name in this connection was then mentioned 
for the first time. In 1846, Palmerston returned to the 
Foreign Office and at once fell out of favour at court 
for naming in a despatch to Madrid Leopold as a 
possible suitor for Queen Isabella. Guizot seized this 
indiscretion as an excuse for hurrying on the Mont- 
pensier marriage which he had already agreed to 


The Canning Tradition 

postpone. Meanwhile the representatives of England 
and France, Henry Bulwer, afterwards Lord Dalling, 
and M. Bresson, had been squabbling daily and 
making bad blood all round at Madrid. In fact, so 
rus^ an observer from behind the scenes as the 
already-mentioned Lord Rokeby attributed the entire 
dispute far less to any jealousy of Palmerston and 
Guizot than to the quarrel between Bulwer and Bresson. 
Bulwer's protest against Louis Philippe's nominee, the 
Duke of Cadiz, a perfect monster with a square face 
and a turned-up nose, being forced upon a young 
sovereign all but brought the French and English 
diplomatists to blows. On loth October 1846, Queen 
Isabella, however, took this man for her husband. 
On the same day her younger sister, Fernanda, became 
the wife of the Due de Montpensier. Guizot's promise 
to delay the Montpensier marriage had thus been 
broken. He defended his breach of faith in a letter to 
his friend Henry Reeve, the well-known Edinburgh Re- 
view editor.* Guizot's distrust of Palmerston amounted 
to monomania, and the mere mention of Leopold's name 
had caused him to scent a fresh Palmerstonian plot. In 
her, till recently unpublished, papers on the subject. 
Queen Victoria ascribes the whole difficulty to Aber- 
deen not having been at the Foreign Office instead of 
Palmerston, and to Louis Philippe's and Guizot's 

More forcibly than had been done by the Franco- 
Turkish-Egyptian imbroglio or by any other inter- 
national complication, the affair of the Spanish marriages 
illustrates the effect of a purely and essentially diplo** 
matic episode on the entire relations of two countries 

* Reeve MemairSy i. i8i-2. 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

for some time to come. To that result other causes 
were indeed accessory. The matter developed itself 
into a competition of nations as well as a rivalry of 
courts and Cabinets. 

Formerly Spain supplied England and France 
with the same bone of contention that Egypt has in our 
time been. Of the two principal Spanish parties, the 
Moderados looked to France ; the English prot^ds 
were the Progressists. Consequendy, the retirement 
of Queen Christina, a Moderado, and the regency of 
the Progressist Espartero in 1841 were regarded as 
abasing France and exalting England. About the 
same time De Salvandy, the new ambassador from 
France, reached Madrid. Told by the authorities 
that he must present his credentials to the Regent 
Espartero instead of to Queen Isabella, then a child 
of ten, he appealed to the traditional right of ambas- 
sadors to approach the sovereign, of whatever age, in 
person. Thus he said, in 1715, the diplomatist ac- 
credited by the King of Spain to the French court 
was received in person by Louis XV., although then 
an infant of five. One of Palmerston s favourite 
diplomatists, Aston, had just succeeded Villiers as 
minister at the Spanish capital. Salvandy therefore 
complained to the French Foreign Office of an affront 
placed on himself and his country by a British intrigue. 
Aston's conduct, in taking sides against the French 
ambassador, gave some colour to this charge. Aberdeen, 
however, at that time Foreign Minister, composed the 
differences by despatching a severe reproof to Aston, 
-and showing the French Government a copy of it. 
The intercourse between the French and British 

Governments and Spain now became almost affection- 


The Canning Tradition 

ate. The two Powers had but a disinterested wish to 
merit the benediction of peacemakers. They would 
mutually yield, or would do anything; only let 
their co-operation restore peace to distracted Spain. 
Apropos of the light thrown by them upon Metternich, 
I have already expressed my obligations to the un- 
printed family papers shown me long ago by the last 
Lord Rokeby. As regards the present subject they 
suggested, I remember, the probability of the Spanish 
marriages idea having almost simultaneously presented 
itself to the French king and the Spanish queen-mother 
in or about the year 1841. Louis Philippe at the time 
would come to no decision till the return of his 
emissary, Pageot, from London, whither he had been 
sent to report how the idea was received by England. 
Except at the point just mentioned, the manuscript 
evidence accessible to me contained nothing calling 
for any modification in the accepted version already 
given of the diplomatic incidents subsequent to 1841. 




Palmerston's diplomacy — Its manner too ofifhand for the Court — 
Palmerston on his defence — His dismissal from the Foreign 
Office — Lord Granville's essay on British Foreign Policy 
— Lord Malmesbury as Foreign Minister — He recognises 
Napoleon III. as Emperor of the French — Malmesbury's private 
Secretary, Sir H. D. Wolff— Affairs in Italy— The Peace of 
Villafranca — Lord John Russell at the Foreign Office — Suc- 
ceeded by Lord Clarendon — ^The diplomacy of the Crimean 
War — Sir Stratford Canning and Menschikoff— The first Vienna 
Conference (1853)— The Vienna Note— The Four Points— The 
second Vienna Conference (1855) — Dissatisfaction caused by 
Lord John Russell's diplomacy — England's allies make peace 
with Russia — " Take care of Dowb " — The Congress of Paris-^ 
The diplomatic results of the War — ^The gradual independence 
of the Balkan States — The Black Sea clauses, objected to by 
Russia, abrogated in 187 1. 

PALMERSTON'S description of himself as a 
disciple and a successor of Canning was offered 
with an ingenuous diffidence which, in early days, 
constituted his chief personal charm. Such, according 
to William Wilberforce, were then his modesty and 
prudence that, for want of a little self-confidence, he 
lost the Cambridge University seat to Lord Henry 
Petty. Like the earliest of English Foreign Secretaries, 
Fox, he had begun as a high Tory ; his official d^but 
was made under Perceval and Liverpool. But after- 
wards he went with Canning for Catholic Emancipa- 
tion, and with Huskisson for Free Trade. These 


Reaction to Intervention 

vicissitudes of his political experience and his subse- 
quent necessities as a liberal leader reflected them- 
selves in the whole course of his international methods. 
A spirited foreign policy was at once agreeable to his 
early Tory traditions, and to his own personal tastes. 
During his first premiership, the House of Commons 
defeat, inflicted on him by Cobden on the Lorcha 
Arrow affair, gave him the opportunity of proving his 
strength in the country, of obtaining a majority of 
seventy-nine, and for a time of overthrowing his enemies 
of the Manchester School. Nevertheless, as none 
knew better than Palmerston himself, Cobden's in- 
fluence on the conduct of external affairs was hence- 
forward a power to be reckoned with. Palmerston 
had a preference for constitutional government abroad 
as well as at home. The stand made by him for 
popular liberties in Italy and Austria was stimulated 
and even decided by the old Whig jealousy of the 
sovereign's interference in the interests of Imperial 
absolutism. The aristocratic Whigs and occasionally 
the new Disraelian Conservatives formed his real sup- 
port in the resolution that England should " count for 
something," by which, in effect was meant everything, 
in the councils of Europe. When, in 1844, the 
Czar Nicholas paid his famous visit to Queen Victoria, 
Palmerston was not among the English statesmen 
who interviewed him. The possible establishment 
of England in Egypt was then the subject of Anglo- 
Russian commimications. " Henceforth," Palmerston 
said, " our only foreign policy is to keep Egypt open 
and say 'hands off' as regards India and the 
Colonies." Aberdeen, as has been said, saw in 

Palmerston the political sportsman, ever ready in^ 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

any part of the world to let slip the English dogs of 
war. As a fact, even during his first Secretaryship, 
Palmerston withstood much pressure from personal 
and political friends to join France in intervening to 
put down the Carlist rising in Spain. In 1844, he 
would, like Aberdeen, Peel and Wellington, have 
recognised the Czar as the protector of the Greek 
Christians, and would even have allowed France 
separately to setde the Eastern question with Russia. 
At a later date (1856) he resisted some political and 
popular pressure by abstaining from all show of sym- 
pathy with the Danubian States in their efforts after 
independence. To that era also belonged his expres- 
sions about Servia, which, addressed to Baron 
Brunnow, startled out of his composure that seasoned 
diplomatist. The Prince Consort's views on the place, 
the responsibilities and opportunities of England in 
the comity of European nations, as they can be 
gathered from Sir Theodore Martin's biography, did 
not materially differ from the Palmerstonian ideas. 

The duel between the Foreign Office and the 
court, filling so large a space in the early Victorian 
era, was caused more by the official methods of the 
Secretary of State than by his objects. The Spanish 
marriages and Palmerston's unfortunate mention of 
the Coburg candidate for Queen Isabella had, as has 
been seen, stirred the first breeze between the depart- 
ment and the palace. How stiffly it blew from 
Windsor is shown by Lord Esher's and Mr Benson's 
epistolary selections for 17th April 1847. This early 
complaint is to the same effect as so many that 
followed it ; drafts to Foreign Ministers have been, in 

^the future must not be, despatched without being 


Reaction to Intervention 

previously submitted to the queen. During the 
period now reached, however, the sovereign alleged 
another grievance than one of state formality against 
the unconscionable minister. 

In the revolutionary year of 1848, the queen's rela- 
tions with the French and Russian sovereigns remained 
those of personal cordiality. She had forgiven Louis 
Philippe the double-dealing of his international match- 
making. Victoria of England and Nicholas of Russia 
interchanged expressions of mutual regard and belief in 
their common preservation for the world's welfare. That 
seemed natural in the case of the only two monarchs 
whose thrones had not been violendy shaken by the 
earthquake shocks of 1848. As a member of the 
reigning comity of Europe, the queen vetoed her 
Foreign Minister's plan for joining the King of 
Sardinia to secure Italian independence. It would, 
she said, be a disgrace to please the republican party 
by driving Austria out of her possessions in Italy. 
Disraeli once called Palmerston's Italian policy in 
1848 "too clever by half." But for that defect, it 
might have gone still further than it actually did 
towards accomplishing the achievements of eleven 
years later and their consequences. The English 
court differed from the English minister in consider- 
ing its first duties were owed, not to oppressed 
nationalities, but to menaced monarch^ Palmer- 
ston's policy aimed at nothing less than the annexa- 
tion of Lombardy by Sardinia and the creation of a 
Venetian republic. France alone, said the queen, 
would be the eventual gainer by this base and 
quixotic enterprise. The comment of politicians at 

home and abroad on the royal outburst at the time, 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

was that it bore the signs of Aberdeen's inspiration, 
Palmerston thought or said so. It all, however, arose 
out of the queen's Irish worries. If Italy were to 
be helped to independence, on what principle could 
Irish subjection to England be defended ? 

With the antagonism thus developed between the 
Foreign Office and the palace there may be compared 
the mutual relations of the Foreign Minister and his 
political opponents or allies. The queen's description, in 
1848, of Palmerston's international correspondence was 
** bitter as gall and doing great harm." A few years 
earlier Palmerston, with great personal success, had 
made a diplomatic tour through Continental capitals. 
Referring to this in 1845, I^israeli, in what Palmerston 
described as an interesting and courteous letter, told 
the Foreign Minister that, had he paid a later visit to 
Paris, he would have cured the French of their 
distrust of him and would have made them his friends. 
Without leaving England, Palmerston, by his Parlia- 
mentary defence under Lord Stanley's attacks during 
Sir Robert Peel's ministry, had contrived to correct 
many foreign misconceptions about himself, in 1845. 
The charge against him was that by having pursued a 
policy of restless interference with the business of the 
world he had left a heritage of anxiety to his successor. 
In reply he pointed to three occasions during a decade 
on which he had avoided the only real danger of war 
that had arisen. In 1830, Austria, Prussia and Russia 
were actually preparing to attack France. Palmerston, 
as Lord Grey's Foreign Minister, prevented a 
European war. To the same period belonged the 
Anglo-French Convention for delivering Antwerp 

to Belgium ; this averted a European disturbance. 


Reaction to Intervention 

The third appearance of Palmerston as peacemaker 
connected itself with the treaty which, in 1840, dis- 
posed of the danger arising from Mehemet Ali's 
attempt. Palmerston's elaborate justification of himself 
and attitude is contained in a memorandum drawn 
up in 1848 as well as in the House of Commons speech 
of 6th March 1849. The memorandum will be found 
on page 102 of Palmerston in "The Queens 
Prime Ministers " series. The substance of the speech 
is in the easily accessible histories of the period. 
Some of its chief points were as follows: — In 1849 
Palmerston's diplomacy had, as he claimed for it, 
made England the chief mediator of Europe, the 
safe asylum of discrowned kings, of fallen statesmen, 
and the steady champion of well-ordered constitutional 
reform. For a man whose position was raked by 
the cross-fires of Radical and Tory, in addition to the 
musketry of the court, Palmerston's composure was 
remarkable and his mistakes comparatively few. 

In the instructions to his agents abroad he had com- 
mended timely concessions on the part of established 
governments in the interests of European peace. This 
advice was called an incitement to revolution by the 
reactionary Conservatives, who made common cause 
with the Cobdenites against the " incorrigible Pam." 

If, according to Foreign Office traditions, in the 

spirit of Wellington and Peel as well as Canning, he 

accepted the accomplished facts of the new order, 

he heard himself called a treaty-breaker. He was also 

the first Foreign Secretary to feel the daily attacks of 

the press. The Times had fallen foul of him ; he was 

charged by the newspaper with fomenting the 

Sicilian revolution, and further with conniving at the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

supply of ordnance to the insurgents. In the 
memorandum already mentioned he successfully 
showed that a chief object of his sending Lord Minto 
to the South of Europe had been at once to comply 
with the pope's request for British encouragement in 
the Vatican's project of political reform, and to press 
upon the insurrectionary party advice which might 
maintain the crowns of the two Sicilies on one head. 
But for an untoward accident, the Minto mission 
would have had this effect. As for the smuggling in 
of arms by the rebels, Palmerston put a new com- 
plexion on the facts at the same time that he made the 
amende to the King of Naples. So, too, in the case of 
Northern Italy. His misgivings about Louis 
Napoleon's ultimate aim did not prevent him from 
joining France in mediation between Austria and 
Sardinia; upon the Sardinian king, Charles Albert, 
he had personally impressed the folly and peril 
of renewing the war. The object of the French 
President, as Louis Napoleon then was, in maintain- 
ing the papal power at Rome could only be, as 
Palmerston saw, to secure the head of the Church for 
an ally in his own Imperial projects. 

Palmerston condemned at this time also Russian in- 
tervention to suppress Hungarian patriotism in Austria. 
Herein he showed entire consistency with that earlier 
reluctance to involve England in foreign affairs already 
noticed. In the course of conversation during a visit 
to Valen9aye,* alluding to the English diplomatist, 
Talleyrand had said — " He has not the power of 
reasoning." Yet neither Queen Victoria's dislike of 
his democratic proclivities in foreign affairs nor their 

* Talleyrand's chateau, near Blois. 

Reaction to Intervention 

own distrust in him prevented the Vienna statesmen 
invoking his mediation in 1848. Palmerston's advice 
to Austria was " Give up Lombardy and the greater 
part of Venetia to the King of Piedmont and maintain 
a compact empire." Here at least was the prescience 
which is a part of statesmanship. 

The department presided over by Palmerston 
gained in his day rather than suffered by its standing 
quarrel with the court. " Two capital hits clean off my 
own bat." Such were the words which he had used 
to describe, so far back as 1834, the earliest intimation 
to Austria of his resolution not to acquiesce in her 
suppression of Italian autonomy. The second stroke 
so complacently dwelt on was the expedient belonging 
to the same period for counter-working the Russo- 
Prussian league of MUnchengrStz that almost amounted 
to a second birth of the Holy Alliance. 

If on the whole Palmerston was good as a negotiator, 
as an interpreter of English feeling he was nearly infal- 
lible. Hence his indifference to the royal reprimand for 
his republican leanings in 1849. That was the year 
of Tory and Absolutist reaction from democratic im- 
pulse throughout Europe. The spectacle disgusted 
Palmerston ; his combative spirit took fire against it 
Those who can recall the public feeling of the time are 
aware that English opinion was more bitter against the 
Czar for his treatment of Kossuth in 1849 than when, five 
years later, the Russian troops crossed the Pruth. It 
mattered not what place in the Cabinet Palmerston held. 
His was the master-mind that stamped its foreign 
policy with his own image. In the conduct of ex- 
ternal relations, if anywhere, knowledge is power. 

Palmerston was the best-informed diplomatist in 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Europe. For his acquaintance with the coulisses of 
Paris politics he owed much to the active and resource- 
ful secretary of the embassy, under the first Earl Gran- 
ville, afterwards under Lord Cowley, between the years 
1 840 and 1 867. This was H enry L. Bui wer, afterwards 
Lord Bailing, the diplomatist whom we have seen 
pitted against Bresson at Madrid, and whom Palmer- 
ston had done much to mould after his own ideas. 

Napoleon IIL himself had many effective and ubi- 
quitous agents. Palmerston was sufficiendy served by 
our then deputy representative at the Elys6e.* Nor 
did news of intrigues at the Quai d'Orsay, or rumours 
from the lobbies of the corps Ugislatif reach the news- 
paper editors of the boulevards more quickly or surely 
than by way of our chancery in the Faubourg St 
Honor6 they travelled to Palmerston at Cambridge 
House. Neither the Peers' censure on Palmerston's 
doings of 1850, nor the hostile vote of the Commons 
in 1857 weakened his hold on the strings of foreign 
policy. He did not really come to grief till 1851, when 
he lost his place for prematurely recognising Louis 
Napoleon's act of usurpation. Whether he was at the 
Foreign Office or not he set the time to which ministers 
played and the middle classes never grumbled at hav- 
ing to pay the piper. The Lords voted him down, the 
court cut him, but the pre-Household Suffrage con- 
stituencies placed him at the head of the administration 
which had come after the close of the Crimean War 
and the tottering of the Aberdeen Government to its 
fall. Palmerston, however, by this time had learned 

* H. L. Bulwer, the novelist's elder brother, had, in subordinate but 
influential capacities, boxed the compass of diplomacy before himself 
becoming an ambassador. Retiring as Lord Dalling, he died in 1872, 
the year before Lord Lytton. 


Reaction to Intervention 

that a spirited foreign policy, such as suits the country, 
must have its limitations, and must assure to those who 
pay for it a solid as well as a glorious return. 

Palmerston's first specific recognition of the hold 
of Cobdenism as a force in foreign affairs was 
when, in 1842, he had denoimced the Ashburton 
mission to settle the Maine boundary as a dangerous 
and gratuitously entangling responsibility. Two years 
later he uncomplainingly acquiesced in the readiness 
of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, as 
well as Aberdeen himself, not only not to resent, but to 
entertain the pretensions of the Czar to the protectorate 
of the Greek Church. After 1837 the inviolability of 
our Asiatic possessions had become a commonplace 
of our diplomacy. Hence during his second term of 
office Palmerston had done not more than would have 
been done by Aberdeen, when he set in motion the 
Foreign Office machinery for repelling, through Persia, 
Russian designs on British India, and securing Herat 
for England. The maintenance of British interests in 
the nearer East would have been admitted as a 
principle of our policy by the non-interventionists 
themselves. Palmerston fell, by reason not so much 
of what he did, as of the way in which he did it. He 
habitually violated the stereotyped laws of State and 
court etiquette. He compelled his reluctant colleagues 
mutely to acquiesce in their exclusion from a sight of 
the important despatches sent off at critical junctures to 
British ambassadors abroad, or to the ministers of other 
countries. The climax came in 1 85 1 , after the Secretary 
of State had placed on record his recognition of 
Louis Napoleon's coup ditat. Palmerston's argument 
against his dismissal from the Foreign Office was as 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

ingenious as it proved futile. If, he characteristically 
said, a Foreign Minister were never to converse with 
an ambassador without having previously consulted 
the Cabinet, there would be an end to the friendly 
intercourse which so often acts as oil to the wheels 
of the diplomatic machine. Lord John Russell's sole 
remark on this plea took the form of the curt state- 
ment — that he had asked the queen to appoint a 
new Foreign Secretary. Thus did Palmerston receive 
check from his queen, but it was far from being 
checkmate. Indeed, it improved his position not 
only with the country, but with some of his least 
sympathetic political associates. Thus, Lord Grey in 
1845 ^^^ refused to sit in a Cabinet with Palmerston 
at the Foreign Office. Now, in 1851, Grey was among 
the earliest to express to the fallen minister regret at 
his downfall and admiration at his pluck. 

During the Christmas holidays of 185 1, Palmerston 
removed his personal belongings from the Foreign 
Office, and Lord Granville took possession. "You 
have got," said the departing minister to the new- 
comer, ** a very interesting, but a very laborious office. 
Eight hours' work, when little is doing, must be 
your daily minimum. When there is a * bustle ' you 
must give more, or you will find yourself in arrears." 
" Palmerston," was the way in which I have heard 
Lord Granville put it, "gave me something better 
than advice in the shape of a comprehensive and 
most interesting review of our diplomacy from the 
establishment of the Foreign Office under Charles 
James Fox."* Lord Granville's instalment at the 

* The conversation on this subject allowed me by Lord Granville 
suggested to me the lines on which this book is written. 


Reaction to Intervention 

Foreign Office marked the victory won by a queen 
of thirty-two over a rusS diplomatist and man of the 
world of sixty-seven. Henceforth it was therefore 
said the Foreign Office would go in leading-strings 
to the court. At least there would be no more 
" scores " to be made by the Secretary of State " off 
his own bat"; no more international pyrotechnics, 
Roman candles one day and Greek fire the next. 
The chorus of eulogistic welcome from friend and 
foe that greeted the new minister was almost too 
fervent and too unbroken. "Sufficiently liberal," 
"conciliatory," "safe," were the epithets applied by 
Aberdeen to Granville when speaking of " the excel- 
lent appointment likely to remove very serious em- 
barrassments." The queen lost no time in personally 
testing the capacities of her latest servant, and in 
showing that he would be held directly responsible 
to herself. The Chinese emperors require a written 
proof of ability and knowledge before they select 
their state councillors. The English queen was 
content to receive such a credential after the appoint- 
ment actually had been made. Lord Granville was 
told to put down on paper his ideas of the principles 
on which the external relations of the realm should 
be controlled. " The time," added his royal mistress, 
" is peculiarly favourable for such an exercise." The 
revolutionary storm of 1848, she added, had now 
spent its force. There could therefore no longer be 
any excuse for mere hand-to-mouth policy. Some- 
thing like continuity in our foreign statesmanship 
had thus become practicable ; on what principles was 
it to be based? This formed the subject of the 
probationary essay set by the sovereign to the new- 
u 30s 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

comer ; in this way he was to show himself up to 
his work, and define beforehand the general rules 
to whose observation he pledged himself. This test 
composition was revised and discussed by the Cabinet 
before it received the finishing touches of the queen. 
Its full text has not been published ; its chief points 
are given by Lord Fitzmaurice.* It dwells on 
the interest and duty of Great Britain, with her 
world-wide possessions, to encourage progress of all 
kinds with other nations. Then comes the cut at 
Palmerstonianism. Justice, moderation, self-respect, 
and a refusal of any undue attempt to enforce her 
own ideas by hostile threats, should be England's 
chief aim. We are, however, above all things a 
trading people, and, because a trading, a civilising 
one. Therefore it is an elementary duty to obtain 
for our foreign trade, in all seas, the security 
required for commercial success. Non-intervention 
in the affairs of other countries was the principle 
which, if adhered to, would secure alike the dignity 
of the Crown, the safety of the kingdom, as well as 
strengthen the nation's influence for good upon the 
opinion of the world. Non-intervention, however, did 
not mean that diplomacy should fall into desuetude. 
On the contrary, the cause of international well-being 
and peace would be best promoted by an ably-manned 
foreign service, whose agents abroad might be trusted 
to send home the best information procurable on all 
matters of social and commercial, as well as political 
interest. A foreign programme exactly applicable to 
individual cases that might arise obviously could not 
be drawn up beforehand. The queen was respect- 

♦ Life of the Second Earl Granville^ vol. i. p. 49. 

Reaction to Intervention 

fully asked to bear in mind that a single unforeseen 
event might, like a move on a chess-board, necessitate 
counter arrangements totally different from those 
originally contemplated. That the Foreign Secretary, 
dutifully co-operating with his colleague, came off from 
all his court examinations with flying colours may 
be judged from the fact that, on the Liberals going 
out in February 1852, the queen emphasised her 
confidence in the retiring minister, while the Prime 
Minister called him one of the best Foreign Secretaries 
the country ever had. 

The short-lived Conservative administration of 
Lord Derby for ten months in 1852 preceded that of 
Aberdeen first, and of Palmerston afterwards. In it 
the Foreign Office was entrusted to an amiable and 
capable epicurean nobleman. Lord Malmesbury, bom 
into diplomacy, and a son of the peer who figured 
so prominently and frequently in the international 
transactions of the Napoleonic era. Known through- 
out Europe by the name of "Tamarang," he was 
welcomed to his new position by the whole corps 
diplomatique, with the exception of a single small 
but very active clique. This consisted of the 
Orleanist partisans, led by the clever and agreeable 
Belgian minister. Van de Weyer; Madame Van de 
Weyer, an American heiress, made their pleasant house 
at Windsor a social power during the second half 
of the last century. Like Palmerston, Malmesbury 
had lived intimately with Napoleon IIL during his 
early London days; he therefore always knew that 
the prince had accepted the republican presidency 
as a stepping-stone to the Empire. He remained 
Foreign Secretary just long enough to witness the 

307 - 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

event he had expected. One of his last official acts 
was, on the ist of December 1852, to announce in Par- 
liament the British recognition of the new French ruler 
as the Emperor Napoleon III. The exact tide chosen 
had given offence at the conservative Russian court, 
because it seemed to imply an hereditary right in the 
Bonaparte family, and to ignore as a mere parenthesis 
the interval of Bourbon or Orleanist monarchy between 
the First Empire of 1804 ^md its reproduction forty- 
eight years later. This subject gave rise to many 
communications between the Foreign Office in Lord 
Malmesbury's time and our embassy in Paris, then 
under Lord Cowley — a man, to quote an expression 
used to me by the late Lord Granville, "bom to 
be an ambassador, perfectly straightforward him- 
self, but unfailingly quick to detect guile or duplicity 
in others." His interviews at the Tuileries were satis- 
factory ; he was able to send home the new emperor s 
assurance that the numeral "IIL" conveyed no idea 
of hereditary right, and that he recognised as valid 
all that had been accomplished in France since the 
days of his famous uncle. At the same time, 
Cowley confirmed an impression, long since conveyed 
to Malmesbury by personal intimacy with Louis 
Napoleon, that the new emperor was bent on sig- 
nalising his reign by a European re-settlement, which 
should supersede that of Vienna in 181 5. Lord 
Malmesbury embodied these ideas in a memo- 
randum never published, but shown to me privately 
some years since. Granville's ministerial term had 
introduced as Under-Secretary a man afterwards to 
be much heard of in foreign politics, A. H. Layard ; 

his place under Malmesbury was filled by the then 


Reaction to Intervention 

Lord Stanley, who as fifteenth Earl of Derby 
was eventually himself to become head of the 

Among the Foreign Office appointments and changes 
made by Lord Malmesbury, not the least interesting 
and sagacious was the choice of his private secretary, 
Henry Drummond Wolff. He had entered the office 
at the age of sixteen, as a junior clerk in Palmerston's 
second term. Palmerston thought his clever pen 
might be very useful on the Whig side, and made 
him more than one handsome offer. The then Mr 
Wolff, however, never swerved from his Conservative 
allegiance. Malmesbury's confidence in this gendeman 
was shown by his selection for more than one informal 
mission, about the postal service and other matters, 
to Paris during the Second Empire.* As Secretary 
to the British Government of the Ionian Islands 
(1859-62), he had much to do with the arrangements 
for offering the Greek Crown to Queen Victoria's 
second son. Prince Alfred, as well as for ceding the 
islands to Greece. 

Before the beginning of Lord Cromer's mission to 
Cairo, the Foreign Office under Lord Salisbury had 
been disposed to regard Egypt as an incubus. Sir H. 
D. Wolff was sent in 1887 to Constantinople about its 
evacuation. The attitude of France and Russia wrecked 
the proposal. Both now and during his later Secretary- 
ship of State (1859) Malmesbury displayed coolness, 
foresight and a politic accessibility to the Liberal ideas 
of his recent predecessors. In 1852 the plots against 

* These references are not particularised because Sir H. Drummond 
Wolff's recent autobiography contains the interesting and instructive 
details concerning them. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

Napoleon III. brought French demands that England 
should advocate the surrender of political refugees by 
Switzerland. The friction between Paris and London 
was long and severe. Malmesbury*s policy helped to 
promote the common consent of the two peoples, which 
averted the apparendy inevitable rupture. So, too, 
some ten years later. Between 1 859 and 1 862 Napoleon 
III. had committed himself to Italian autonomy. Count 
Buol on the other hand had declared Austria's re- 
solution to stand upon the setdement of 181 5 ; in 
doing so, he spoke of the English court's Austrian 
sympathies. Malmesbury knew that Gladstone's 
Neapolitan Letters and the enthusiasm evoked by 
Garibaldi had doomed the Austrian occupation of 
Lombardy. The Liberal tradition established by Can- 
ning and perpetuated by Palmerston at the Foreign 
Office, had on this point secured a continuity of 
policy whichever party might be in power. A 
predisposition in favour of a people struggling to 
be free, notwithstanding palace preferences, had 
taken its place among the traditions of the Foreign 
Office. Then came in quick succession the French 
victories of Magenta, of Solferino and the confinement 
of Austria within the Quadrilateral. Thus far our 
Foreign Minister had gratified alike the palace, the 
public and Napoleon III., by omitting nothing which 
could localise the Italian war and prevent its becoming 
a general one. The court now sent a decisive 
message to the Foreign Office. As a consequence 
Malmesbury, while himself true to the line of neut- 
rality, gave the Tuileries a strong hint that, if peace 
were not speedily concluded, England might not be 

able to prevent the march on Paris of Prussia and of 


Reaction to Intervention 

her German allies. The result was the peace of 
Villafranca, signed nth July 1859. 

This treaty was facilitated by the equal anxiety of 
the conqueror and the conquered for a cessation from 
war. Its important connection with the international 
politics of all the Western Powers calls for a few 
further words now. Nationally, not less than diplo- 
matically, Great Britain was for the completion of 
Italian unity. The Villafranca instrument, though a 
real step in that direction, did less, not only than 
Cavour, but than English statesmanship had hoped. 
Mad with mortified vanity, as well as baffled patriotism, 
Cavour scornfully resigned rather than accept the peace. 
Even the London Foreig^n Office, through our Paris 
ambassador, Cowley, protested against the Villafranca 
terms. Palmerston, now at the head of affairs, de- 
nounced them to the French Foreign Minister, Per- 
signy. In language as strong as any that could have 
been used by Cavour himself. Lord John Russell, writ- 
ing to Vienna, vetoed the preponderance secured to 
Austria in the new Italian confederation which the 
Villafranca treaty created. 

To smooth matters over for the moment his 
favourite device of a congress was proposed by the 
French Emperor. The unpublished history of the con- 
gress that did not take place, is notable for the 
reappearance as a diplomatic agency of the pamphlet 
which had figured so largely in that capacity at an 
earlier time. The pamphleteer was only the mouth- 
piece of Napoleon III. himself; that monarch, the 
world now heard, was the true friend of the Church ; 
as such he counselled Pope Pius IX. to renounce his 
threat of flight and to remain in Rome. Let him, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

however, surrender the ecclesiastical territory out- 
side the city. By so doing he would gain in spiri- 
tual authority much more than he lost in temporal 
power. The French emperor acquainted Queen 
Victoria with his responsibility for this composition ; 
he also, through his cousin, Prince Napoleon, told the 
Sardinian minister that the pamphlet was his method 
of shelving the congress and bring^ing himself into 
line with England. Queen Victoria had rebuked 
Palmerston's anti- Austrian tactics in 1849^ when, in 
i860, accepting the congress, she stipulated for freedom 
to Italy in choosing its Constitution. Anglo-French 
diplomacy was balked of its congress ; it had opened that 
political campaign for a united Italy which did more than 
all the previous military movements that preceded it. 

The two months separating the first foreign 
ministry of Malmesbury from that of Clarendon, 
witnessed Russell's occupancy of the place from which 
in 1 85 1 he had dislodged Palmerston. Russell, as an 
ex- Prime Minister, accepted the department reluctantly, 
and only after Lord Lansdowne had reminded him 
that Wellington also had taken foreign affairs after 
being Prime Minister. Russell held the position for 
only two months, and resigned it to his successor, 21st 
February 1853. 

Clarendon's foreig^n ministry was famous chiefly for 
the Crimean War. As regards that struggle, its diplo- 
matic preliminaries and associations alone need be 
mentioned here. A treaty with the Porte in 1740 had 
enabled France to secure for the Latin Church the pos- 
session and custody of the sacred shrines in Palestine. 
Profound religious indifference came over Western 

Europe in the second half of the eighteenth century ; 


Reaction to Intervention 

it did not affect Eastern Europe. The sacred places at 
Jerusalem, neglected by the Latins, were sedulously 
cared for by the Greeks. There was thus a conflict be- 
tween the national rights established by treaty and those 
given by custom. The nineteenth century's spiritual 
revival awoke French interest in the consecrated 
antiquities of Syria. As President of the Republic, 
Louis Napoleon had already restored the pope to 
Rome ; in May 1850, he asserted by arms the French 
claim to confirm the Latin monks in the ownership 
of the scriptural spots and relics. The whole question 
was referred by the Porte to a mixed commission, 
whose conclusions were given to France in a letter, and 
in a firman from Constantinople to the Greeks. The 
two documents contradicted each other ; this might 
have been expected from the fact that the object of the 
letter was to satisfy France, of the firman to propitiate 
Russia. Now began the dispute between Paris and 
St Petersburg. Louis Napoleon's diplomacy aimed at 
entangling England in the discussion. Between the 
courts and people of Paris and St Petersburg a lasting 
bitterness had grown out of the ex-president's seizure 
of the Imperial dignity, as has already been said, by the 
style of Napoleon I IL Refusing to follow the example 
of the other Powers, the Czar persisted in addressing 
the new French monarch not as ** Monsieur mon 
fr^re," but as " Mon cher ami." 

The next step at this stage of the transactions was 
the mission of a Turkish agent, Afif Bey, to Jerusalem, 
for the purpose of executing the compromise by which 
the Porte thought to settle the matter. Instead, 
however, of affairs being brought nearer to an arrange- 
ment, the Greeks were furious at the Turkish conces- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

sions to the Latins ; the Russian Grovemment prepared 
an army corps for active service and sent Prince 
Menschikoff ostensibly on a pacific errand to Con- 
stantinople. Not till some time later did it become 
known that the most important business entrusted to 
the Czar's emissary was secret. It consisted, indeed, 
of a demand that the Porte should unconditionally 
acknowledge, by a clandestine treaty, Russia as the 
protector of the Greek Church throughout the whole 
of the Sultan's dominions. This discovery was made 
by the new British ambassador to the Porte, Sir 
Stratford Canning (Lord Stratford de RedcliflFe). He 
reached Constantinople a litde later than Menschikoff 
in the February of 1853. Menschikoff's presence at 
the Turkish capital had made peace difficult; Sir 
Stratford Canning's rendered war certain. Meanwhile, 
from the official point of view, of the relations between 
the Porte and the Czar, the purely diplomatic dispute 
had narrowed itself to a single issue — ^the exact con- 
struction of the seventh clause, closely connected, 
however, as that was with the fourteenth clause of the 
Treaty of Kutchuk-Kainardji between the Porte and 
Catherine IL of Russia in 1774. These articles, 
collectively if not singly, empowered the Turkish 
ambassador at the Russian capital to make from time 
to time such representations as were necessary in the 
interests of the Sultan's Christian subjects. Did that 
provision justify the comprehensive ultimatum pre- 
sented to the Porte by Menschikoff? 

Such, in a nutshell, was the essentially diplomatic 
difference. Mutual jealousies and recriminations on the 
part of the diplomatists of the Czar and the Sultan in- 
creased the difficulties of pacification and enabled the 


Reaction to Intervention 

war-party to twist a personal squabble between Menschi- 
koff and the Porte's Foreign Minister into a slight upon 
the Sultan. When the new British ambassador was 
still on his way from England, the Grand Vizier induced 
the British chargi daffaires. Colonel Rose, to take 
steps for preventing a Russian attack on Turkey by 
bringing the English Mediterranean fleet to Vourla. 
Private and personal reasons, presently to be men- 
tioned, rendered it certain that the effect of Stratford 
Canning's arrival at a place so full of explosive material 
would be as a lighted match in a powder-magazine ; 
Canning had not forgotten the Czar's refusal to receive 
him as English ambassador on a former occasion — in 
1833. Before going to Constantinople in 1853, he 
told Lord Bath he should now have his revenge 
against the Russian emperor by fomenting war.* 
From the day on which the great Eltchi established 
himself at Pera, he became the personification not 
only of English policy throughout the whole crisis, 
but of Turkish also. The Turkish emperor's chan- 
cellor, the controller-in-chief of the British diplomatic 
machine — he was both of these as well as ambassador. 
Louis Napoleon, the real disposer of the diplomatic 
movements going forward on his side, now brought 
France and Russia at sea within striking distance of 
each other. Hitherto, and during part of February 
1853, he had openly courted no rupture of peace; 
he had indeed removed one danger of war by sub- 
stituting as his representative at Constantinople De 
la Cour, till then French minister at Berlin, for the 
fiery and impractical Lavalette. Directly, however, 
he knew of British ships being on the move, he sent 

* Malmesbary's Memoirs of an Ex-Minister^ vol. i. p. 425. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

his own fleet to the classic Salamis. The Porte's 
concessions to Russia and France had now practically 
ended the quarrel about the holy places ; they had left 
Turkey widiout a single ill-wisher except Russia, for 
the Sultan's European provinces had been tranquillised 
and Austria propitiated by the withdrawal, on British 
advice, of Omar Pasha from insurrectionary Mon- 

The British ambassador at St Petersburg, Sir 
Hamilton Seymour, not as yet the recipient of the 
Czar's conversational menaces, and the Russian 
ambassador in London, Baron Brunnow, were both 
working for peace as strongly as Stratford Canning at 
Constantinople was pressing on war. Nicholas had 
first broached personally to Aberdeen and Peel in 1844 
his idea of the Turk being ''the sick man of Europe," 
and his wish to co-operate with England rather than 
France in disposing of the Turkish estate. England 
was to have Crete or Egypt, or both. In 1852 he 
reopened this matter with Seymour, adding that while 
he did not want Constantinople for himself, any other 
Power must be kept from it. "Therefore," he con- 
cluded, "my wish now is the same as England's, to 
retain for the present the sick man in his old domains 
and to keep things generally as they are." 

Affairs were now precipitated by MenschikofFs 
presentation to the Porte of an ultimatum for accept- 
ance within five days. Russia's final terms repeated 
in a more emphatic form the Czar's demand for 
universal and unconditional recognition as protector 
of the Sultan's Turkish subjects. The Porte referred 
the claim to the British embassy ; Stratford Canning 
ordered its summary rejection. Now came the 


Reaction to Intervention 

entrance of the Dardanelles by the English fleet to 
hold itself at our ambassador's disposal ; Russian 
invasion of the Danubian principalities followed. This 
last incident led to the weary series of diplomatic 
communications between London, Paris and St Peters- 
burg. It was closed in the late winter or early spring 
of 1854 by Lord Clarendon's statement, that if the 
Russian troops did not recross the Pruth before the 
end of April, it would be considered by England 
as the Czar's declaration of war. The conduct, the 
intrigues, the leaders' quarrels and the vicissitudes of the 
struggle belong to general history, and need not be retold 
here. Hostilities had in effect begun before diplomacy 
despaired of peace. At our own Foreign Office, Lord 
Clarendon with his staff, including permanent Under- 
Secretary Hammond, and political Under-Secretary 
Lord Henry Petty, afterwards Lord Lansdowne, was at 
work night and day. Not less busy were our own chief 
embassies on the Continent or the chanceries of foreig^n 
Powers. Yet at this very time the combatants were actu- 
ally pressing to the field with the speed and spirit of 
knights pricking to the tournament. The French and 
English fleets were riding at their anchorage in Besika 
Bay. The great Eltchi, in the manner already described, 
had vetoed the Porte's compliance with the Czar's last 
orders. By 17th June 1853 Lord Clarendon had ar- 
ranged a friendly understanding with Austria. This was 
described at the time by one of Clarendon's prede- 
cessors, Granville, as ** only a step in the right 
direction," because it did not, as some had hoped it 
would do, include Prussia. The truth is that our 
diplomacy at Berlin was baffled by Count Bismarck, 
then beginning his career. To him the true Prussian 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

policy seemed anti-English and pro-Russian. Thus 
began the rapprochement between Berlin and St 
Petersburg that eventually conduced to the successes 
of 1866 and 1870. At this time the grouping of the 
European Powers was as follows : England had joined 
herself to France by definite treaties for a specific 
purpose. With Sardinia she had a good understand- 
ing since the Italian rising against Austria in 1849. 
In 1853, Austria had become England's ally, but was 
already negotiating a defensive alliance with Prussia. 

In the summer of 1853 the Austro- English entente 
showed itself in the arrangement for a conference at 
Vienna. The outcome of this, it was hoped, might be 
some expedient for saving the honour and satisfying 
the reasonable demands of Turk and Czar. To that 
end, on 30th June 1853, France contributed a draft 
Note for acceptance both at Constantinople and at 
St Petersburg. At the beginning of July England 
came forward with a draft treaty. The Powers 
assembled at Vienna were asked to make their choice 
between the two documents. Austria and Prussia 
expressed their preference for the Note ; this, there- 
fore, with a few alterations, was sent simultaneously 
to the Porte and to the Czar. The Czar promptly 
accepted it. The Sultan's refusal in fact though not 
in form was due to the British ambassador at Constan- 
tinople, who had already devised a plan of his own 
for arranging the business ; Stratford Canning indeed 
had by this time not only drawn up an alternative 
Note of his own ; he had secured its favourable 
reception by the four European Powers as well as by 
Turkey herself. The messenger who brought the 
Vienna Note from the Austrian to the Turkish capital 


Reaction to Intervention 

had actually crossed on his way die bearer to Count 
Buol at Vienna of the competitive document issued on 
his own responsibility by the English representative 
at the Porte. Clarendon told his ambassador that 
he could not acquiesce in this individual attempt 
to override the results of the Vienna Conference 
and to undo the work of the British delegate, Lord 
John Russell. Stratford Canning now changed his 
tactics with the Sultan and urged adhesion to the 
Vienna document. The Porte, however, well ac- 
quainted with his private views on the subject, valued 
die personal more than the official opinion of the great 
Eltchi. Turkey avoided refusing the Note point- 
blank, but insisted on modifications certain to be 
denied by Russia. The point of the changes next 
stipulated for by the Porte was such a definition of the 
Kutchuk-Kainardji and the Adrianople treaties as 
would have given the Sultan himself instead of the 
Czar the personal protectorate of his Christian sub- 
jects. Russian diplomacy, directed by Menschikofif, 
aimed at assimilating the Czar's tutelary right over 
Greek Christians throughout the Turkish Empire to 
that exercised by the Austrian emperor over Roman 
Catholics throughout Turkey in Europe. To Strat- 
ford Canning this demand seemed a dangerous and 
needless extension of the Czar's autocratic prerogatives. 
Hence the limitations on which the Porte now insisted. 
Meanwhile, in April 1854, a fresh diplomatic move- 
ment had been made. The four Powers had agreed 
on a protocol declaring their intention to maintain the 
integrity of the Turkish Empire as essential to the 
European equilibrium ; they would also secure the civil 
and religious liberty of the Sultan's Christian subjects. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

The fighting alliance between England and France 
was followed by a defensive alliance between Austria 
and Prussia. The protocol proceeded to offer to the 
Czar certain suggestions too familiar, by the name of 
the Four Points, to call for recapitulation now. The 
general tendency of these recommendations was to 
substitute common European action for that of the 
Czar, not only in relation to his Christian subjects, but 
his general dealings with Turkey. The Four Points 
were nominally accepted by Nicholas as offering the 
only way of escape from the danger he chiefly 
dreaded, the accession of Austria and Prussia to the 
hostile European confederation. At the same time he 
urged the resumption of the Vienna conferences, but died 
before his real disposition towards the Four Points could 
be tested or the conferences yield any definite result. 

As at Utrecht in 17 13, the Vienna Conference of 
1853 sat more than once ; the second Vienna meeting 
was held at least a full year after the first. At the re- 
assemblage of the plenipotentiaries in 1855 (5th March 
to 4th June) the genius of diplomacy ventured on a 
novel relaxation in its social habits ; this, which might 
have disgusted the stately conductors of the Vienna 
Congress forty years before, promoted a genial temper 
among the statesmen of 1855. The French minister, 
De Bourqueney, sighed for a cigar; tobacco, as a 
help to the public work of high politics, had not 
then come into fashion ; he therefore suggested an 
hour's adjournment that the diplomatists might enjoy a 
quiet smoke. Thus far the Turkish ambassador had 
not opened his mouth. He now sprang to his feet, 
seconded the proposal, and walking off with his French 

colleague, lit up directly he had passed out of the 


Reaction to Intervention 

council-room. The British delegate denied himself 
the consolations. of nicotine ; yet some such solace he 
must have needed under the pressure of his anxieties 
on the spot, aggravated as these were by unsympa- 
thetic comments on his conduct at home. Clarendon 
was hourly expressing, to his friend and predecessor 
Granville, disgust with the ** devilries at Vienna," and 
the nobbling of Lord John Russell by the French 
delegate, now Drouyn de THuys. Russell had from 
the first disagreed with his colleagues at home in 
himself wishing to force the Vienna Note upon the 
Porte. At this time the friendly relations of England 
with Austria had been cemented by more than one treaty. 
There seemed a prospect of other states acceding to the 
Anglo- Austrian compact. In the December of 1853 
Palmerston s disgust at Aberdeen's slackness had 
caused him to resign his seat in the Cabinet ; he 
resumed it in the February of 1854 on the despatch 
of the Anglo-French ultimatum to ^t Petersburg, and 
of the English fleet to the Black Sea. The Crimean 
War had reached its sixth month. The episode of the 
Four Points had resulted in a closer diplomatic in- 
timacy than before between England and Austria. 
The relation also in which England stood to Sardinia 
as protagonist in the drama of Italian liberation from 
the Austrian yoke, already one of the French 
emperor's known projects, formed a fresh link in the 
union that held together Great Britain and France. 
These circumstances seemed favourable for British 
policy at the Vienna conference of 1855. As our 
plenipotentiary, Lord John Russell brought with him 
to the Austrian capital the authority naturally be- 
longing to a former head of the London Foreign 
X 321 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

Office. The complaint against him in both Houses 
of Parliament, but especially in the Peers, then parti- 
cularly keen on discussing European affairs, was that 
proposals put forward by him at the conference as 
his own were really of French or Austrian origin. 
The subdety which was one of his intellectual charac- 
teristics showed itself in his support of complex, 
confusing and impracticable arrangements for regulating 
the navigation of the Black Sea and the Dardanelles. 
This was the rock which wrecked the Vienna peace- 
makers and dimmed at least one great reputation. 
The single point in 1855 waiting to be settled was the 
position of Russia in the Black Sea. There was pro- 
fessed a general agreement that Russian preponderance 
in these waters must be prevented. Limitation of the 
number of Russian vessels in the Euxine, counterpoise, 
counterpoise and limitation mixed — such were some of 
the seven competitive plans proposed.* To balance the 
number of Russian ships by an equal number of ships 
belonging to the Powers, formed the suggestion of the 
Austrian plenipotentiary, Count Buol ; it was supported 
by the French delegate, Drouyn de THuys, and, for a time 
at least, by Russell for England. Then came quarrels 
and recriminations between these delegates. Pro- 
fiting by their quarrels, Russia refused any interference 
with her status in the Euxine. Palmerston had never 
believed in any of the Black Sea expedients put forward. 
The conference broke up fruitlessly, 4th June 1855. 

* The final Black Sea proposition was Count Buol's, that if Russia 
exceeded a certain allowance of ships, the Powers might at once raise their 
naval quota in the Black Sea by the amount of the Russian excess. 
Vexed at his failure, Buol charged Palmerston with having got up the 
whole war to give Sardinia a chance of showing herself off. Drouyn de 
I'Huys also accused Russell of dishonourably deserting him. 


Reaction to Intervention 

After the conference, the experience common with 
England during the Seven Years' War and the 
Napoleonic War was about to repeat itself. The 
British Allies, or at least the chief of them, went 
on strike. Already France had broken faith by 
separate negotiations with Russia. Napoleon III. 
now decided on withdrawing 100,000 men from the 
Crimea ; he had, as has been said above, first thought 
of establishing his dynasty on the basis not of an 
English alliance against Russia, but of a resettlement 
of Europe in the interests of France. Early, however, 
in 1855, Louis Napoleon reverted to the precedent of 
his famous uncle's direct commimication with the 
British sovereign in 1801 by flinging his professional 
diplomatists over and himself writing to Queen 
Victoria that he wished above all things to act in 
accord with England. In Paris, however, the war had 
never been popular as it was in England; any real 
attempt to continue it would have jeopardised rather 
than strengthened the I mperial dynasty. I n the summer 
of 1855, Cowley, our French ambassador, wrote home 
to Clarendon that Paris was desperately sick of the 
Anglo-French adventure in arms and its disappoint- 
ments to French patriotism. 

During the next November, France and Austria 
united to concert terms of peace with Russia with- 
out England's knowledge. Palmerston's charac- 
teristically strong remonstrance and threat, that 
Britain would, if need be, continue the war alone, 
was followed by a peace-protocol arranged between 
the Austrian and English ambassadors in Paris. 
This was accepted by the new Czar in the middle 
of January 1856. Next month, imder the presidency 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of Lord Clarendon, there met in the French capital 
the Congress of Paris. Its first act, on the 25th of 
February, was the immediate suspension of hostilities. 
Enough has been already said about the doings 
of diplomacy during the progress of the war. Before 
passing on to the serious work of peace-making, a word 
may be g^ven to what was at the time gravely called a 
diplomatic mystery of a ludicrous kind ; the laughable 
litde incident is not generally recorded in the memoirs 
of the period. The sister, it must be explained, of the 
War Minister, Lord Panmure, had married a certain 
W. H. Dowbiggin. The son of this marriage, Colonel 
Montague Dowbiggin (99th regiment), served in the 
Crimea, and was naturally an object of interest to his 
uncle, who was the civil head of the army. In 1853, 
Lord Panmure telegraphed to Lord Raglan — " Be sure 
you take care of Dowb." Somehow or other these 
seven words found their way into the newspapers. 
Seen in print, they excited the perplexed speculation of 
Europe, from the Caucasus to Gibraltar ; at last one of 
GortschokofFs staff informed Nesselrode's private secre- 
tary that he had foimd a key to the British cipher. 
It meant, he said, nothing less than that an Indian 
Maharajah, from enmity to Russia, had placed his 
sword at the disposal of the British queen. When 
Delane and his leader-writer, afterward his successor, 
Thomas Chenery, made their trip to the Crimea, they 
were beset by inquiries and theories as to the true 
significance of the cryptogram ; they could, however, 
throw no light on the matter ; it really puzzled, they 
said, the English press and public quite as much as 
the Foreign Offices and embassies of the Continent. 
•*Dowb," who brilliandy justified Panmure s recom- 


Reaction to Intervention 

mendation, died during the later sixties ; he left by his 
second marriage a daughter, who — Such is the irony 
of fate — married a Russian baron of great wealth 
named Tchihatchef, a clever and hospitable savant 
residing at Florence. After her husband's death the 
weekly receptions and dinners at the baronial villa were 
continued with every charm and success by his widow. 
Baron Brunnow, the Russian ambassador, popular 
with all classes in England, and famous for his re- 
markable likeness to Lord Brougham, had now 
returned to London. As to the Czar's terms or 
objects, his lips were sealed, both on his official visits 
to Lord Clarendon and his appearances in society ; 
he really knew nothing about it at all ; everything 
rested with his imperial master, and the only 
person who had ever been in the secret of that 
sovereign s intentions was Count Orloff, the Russian 
plenipotentiary in Paris. A private letter from one 
who assisted at the congress now spoken of, says Lord 
Clarendon, the president, attracted much less attention 
than did the stately and majestic grace of Prince 
Orloff or the irresistible charm and personal fascination 
of Julian Fane, then a rising star of British diplomacy, 
pleasant in manner, quick of insight, shrewd in 
suggestion; he did so well at Paris in 1856 that im- 
mediately afterwards he was moved on to be Secretary 
of the Legation at St Petersburg. The game to be 
played by the representatives of Austria and Russia at 
the meeting soon disclosed the malignity of both 
Powers to England. The settlement of Eastern 
Europe evidently seemed to them a secondary 
question in comparison with sowing dissension between 
England and France. Here at least Napoleon IH. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

showed some gratitude to the country where in the 
days of his exile he had received kindness. His speech 
at the opening of the Corps L^islatif, 5th March 
1856, gave prominence to two points: his readiness 
to continue the war alone had negotiations failed, and 
his adhesion to Great Britain as ally. The merits of 
their work did not preserve from great obloquy the 
two men who during this period chiefly represented 
England at the foreign conferences. 

Russell's indiscretion at Vienna has been already 
mentioned. Our Paris plenipotentiary, Clarendon, had 
been unwise enough to write some letters to the Italian 
statesman Cavour that brought on him the charge of 
prolonging the Crimean War so that Sardinia, as the 
liberator of Italy, might have the opportunity of asserting 
herself. On another minor matter there was a second 
hitch. A dangerous intimacy now seemed to unite the 
diplomatists of Paris and St Petersburg. The clauses 
about the Danubian principalities gave Russia a 
chance of strengthening her hold in that part of 
Europe and of acquiring the Isle of Serpents at the 
mouth of the Danube. The details of this question 
might have wrecked the Paris congress, but France 
and England, according to Lord Malmesbury's 
account,* came forward with a suggestion that any 
minutely local or technical points might if necessary be 
referred to a meeting of the plenipotentiaries specially 
convened for the purpose. The convention arranged 
at this meeting supplemented the treaty of 30th March 
1856 with provisions for the demarcation of the 
Bessarabian frontier ; for the evacuation of Moldavia 
and Wallachia by Austrian troops ; for the departure 

* Mimairs of an Ex-Minister^ vol ii. p. 53. 

Reaction to Intervention 

of the British squadron from the Black Sea and the 
Bosphoms ; and for replacing under Turkish sover- 
eignty the islands in the delta of the Danube. Of 
that delta the Isle of Serpents was now declared to be 
an appendage. For the future this island was to be fur- 
nished with a lighthouse. The protocol containing these 
arrangements was to have the force of a convention. 

" Protocol " is a word that necessarily often 
appears in the present work. Its uses are legion. A 
complete definition of it would, as the obliging Head 
of the Treaty Department at the Foreign Office once 
said, require a pamphlet to itself. Sometimes it 
means a record of proceedings ; at other times it is 
equivalent to a record of ratifications of a treaty or 
convention. Again, in such a convention or treaty 
some particular clause may be modified by a protocol 
attached to the instrument. In popular phrase, 
protocol may be employed as a synonym for the 
rough draft of a treaty ; that use, however, is quite un- 
authorised. On 6th January 1857, the protocol now 
referred to was signed by the plenipotentiaries of 
Great Britain (Lord Cowley), France (Walewski), 
Austria (Hubener), Prussia (Hatzfeldt), Russia 
(Brunnow), Sardinia (Villamarina) and Turkey 
{Mehemed Djemil). This was not the only 
document subsidiary to the chief and central con- 
vention. There were also specific agreements be- 
tween the individual Powers. Of these minor treaties 
the two in which England had a concern were a 
tripartite treaty between Austria, England, France and 
the Porte, guaranteeing Turkish integrity, re- 
luctantly acceded to by England and irresponsibly 
accepted by France. The other arrangement, initi- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

ated at the London Foreign Office, but eventually 
acquiesced in by the other Powers, was with Sweden, 
who pledged herself to abstain from separate com- 
pacts with St Petersburg; if attacked, she was to 
receive assistance. Another group of provisions 
made at Paris in 1856 related to the subject which* 
known as the Armed Neutrality, had caused inter- 
national heart-burning in the eighteenth century. By 
this time Great Britain had given up her earlier 
claims against neutrals. She now formally and in 
principle renounced all such demands ; she also ac- 
cepted the doctrine that free ships make free goods, 
though only on the condition, purely nominal and 
never fulfilled, as the result proved, that America 
renounced privateering. With the provisions or 
signature of the Treaty of Paris ♦ the United States 
had nothing to do. England, too, with her allies 
entered into a guarantee for securing the local 
privileges of the Danubian principalities ; this was the 
most definitely retrograde movement then executed by 
us from the non-intervention policy which Canning 
had set on foot. 

The diplomatic results of the Crimean invasion 
alone call for mention here. Europe by that war 
took upon herself the responsibility formerly claimed 
by the Czar of securing religious toleration for 
the Sultan's subjects. The Porte's proipises of 
amendment proved worthless. The diplomatic 

* The peace arrangements afforded another instance of the growing 
connection between diplomacy and finance. The millions wanted for 
the war expenses by the Treasury were at once at the lowest rate of in- 
terest advanced by the Rothschilds. Rival financiers were ready with 
offers while the matter was in actual settlement between Whitehall and 
New Court. 


Reaction to Intervention 

history of the years following 1856 records the pro- 
gressive undoing of the results arrived at by the Paris 
congress. In i860, the Christian massacres in the 
Lebanon gave Napoleon III. an excuse for the military 
occupation of Syria. In 1861, the activity of French 
diplomatists, notwithstanding the apathy of the 
English, enabled the two Danubian states, Moldavia 
and Wallachia, to form by their union the principality 
of Roumania. In 1862, Palmerston's refusal of 
Brunnow's suggestion to support those strugglers for 
freedom, did not prevent the Servians from expelling 
the Turkish garrisons and forming a Constitution. 
In 1870, with the connivance of Prussia, the Czar told 
the signatories of the Paris treaty of fourteen years 
earlier that he would no longer be bound by the clause 
excluding his warships from the Black Sea. Our then 
ambassador at St Petersburg, Sir Horace Rumbold, 
ordered from home to present the English protest 
against this step, expressed his belief that had we 
hinted at war, nothing more would have been heard of 
the subject. The purely verbal expostulation had of 
course no effect. The Powers who had put their 
names to the Treaty of Paris met in London to register 
the Czars decision; by 31st March 1871, the Black 
Sea clauses of the great international instrument which 
had dissolved the Vienna conferences, and so prolonged 
the war^ were by European agreement abrogated. 

In the Balkan Peninsula all warnings of events had 
been lost on the Turk. In 1875, ^^^ exaction of their 
uttermost farthing by Mohammedan landlords and the 
extortions of tax-collectors caused a rising of the 
Christian peasantry in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
This was attributed to Panslavonic intrigue ; Slavonic 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

emissaries had of course been at work. Our foreign 
policy was now directed by Disraeli, not yet Lord 
Beaconsfield ; he met the proposal of Austria, Prussia 
and Russia to coerce the Turk, with the remark that 
the Porte had not had time to execute its latest reforms. 
True to the Tory traditions of Whitehall, he dis- 
couraged any European concert likely to favour 
Muscovite expansion and to endanger British Im- 
perialism in the East. Early in 1876, the programme 
of administrative reforms (the Andrassy Note) was 
accepted by England and Turkey. Before that, how- 
ever, in the November of 1875, ^^^ status of England 
in the Near East, the position and the international 
relations of Egypt had been dramatically affected by 
Disraeli's diplomatic coup — the purchase of the 
Khedive's shares in the Suez Canal. The time at 
which this stroke was made, as well as its diplomatic 
and commercial surroundings, added to its impressive- 
ness. The Foreign Loans Committee, the collapse of 
South American securities, the dulness of trade, the 
cheapness of silver, the dissolution of Turkish credit, 
and the prevailing gloom of the commercial atmosphere 
formed the sombre background against which the 
transaction stood out in brilliant relief. In earlier 
years Palmerston was only one of several British 
statesmen who had opposed the Canal, not because 
it was a Frenchman's idea, but because it gave 
to French interest overwhelming preponderance in 
Egypt. Not till 1869 or 1870 did English experts 
confirm the view of De Lesseps that the Canal was 
not only a success but a power. During 1875, Mr 
Frederick Greenwood, then editor of The Pall Mall 
Gazette, learned the intention of France to dominate 


Reaction to Intervention 

the new waterway. To Mr Henry Oppenheim he 
suggested the purchase. Disraeli, struck by the idea, 
approached Baron Lionel Rothschild. The ;^4, 500,000 
for securing the shares to England were at once forth- 
coming; the Rothschilds were the only persons who 
could have found the money ; their profit on the trans- 
action, at two and a half per cent, was ;^ 100,000.* 
From all Europe, except France, as well as from 
De Lesseps himself, congratulations on the Suez 
purchase poured into the Foreign Office. 

^The best account of the Suez Canal shares' purchase is contained 
in an article on the subject in The Quarterly Review^ voL 142. I^ as is 
generally understood, the writer be Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, G.C.B., 
its knowledge and accuracy require no other guarantee than his name. 
The purchase is only one point at which the Rothschilds' connection 
with Egypt has been fortunate, not only for that country, but for all 
politically or commercially concerned in it. In 1885, the Powers were at 
diplomatic feud with each other about the land of the Pharaohs. Egypt's 
complete bankruptcy was only averted by monthly advances from New 
Court, on no other security than a private note from the Foreign 
Secretary Lord Granville. The ;£9,ooo,ooo loan of 1885 was of course a 
great success, but its good fortune had been preceded by an anxious 
season of prolonged risk. M. Charles Lesage, French Inspecteur des 
Finances, in his Achat des Actions de Suex^ from the financial rather 
than the political side discusses the Suez purchase and makes some 
strong and even fierce remarks on the Rothschilds' arrangement with 
the Government for finding the money. (LAcJuU des Actions de Suez^ 
Paris, Libraire Plon, 1906). 




Cobden's anti-Turkish and non-intervention policy — Cobden, Bright 
and Louis Mallet — Cobden's Commercial Treaties — Anglo- 
American difficulties in Central America — Russell's skilful inter- 
national diplomacy — ^The Schleswig-Holstein question — Popular 
feeling in fitvour of Denmark and armed intervention — Pidmer- 
ston's rash threats — Diplomacy and the press — Awkwardness of 
Russell's position — French proposal of a congress refused by 
England — Diplomatic disunion between Palmerston and Russell 
— Lord Kimberle/s Copenhagen mission — Napoleon III.s dip- 
lomatic intrigues — Palmerston's refusal to be drawn into inter- 
ference between Russia and Poland — Lord Dufferin's mission to 
Syria — British diplomacy in the American Civil War — The 
Trent and A/adama affairs — The Treaty of Washington 
and the Geneva Congress — ^The Franco-Prussian War — Lord 
Granville's protection of Belgium — Granville and Thiers. 

ONE result of the Crimean period and of the 
Palmerstonian policy was to emphasise the 
contrast between two schools of foreign statesmanship. 
During the years immediately after the Crimean War, 
one general election was decided wholly on the issue 
of foreign policy ; two other elections were largely 
influenced by it. In 1857, beaten in the House of 
Commons by the Manchester School over the war 
with China, Palmerston annihilated his opponents on 
an appeal to the constituencies. In 1858, popular feel- 
ing for Italian unity, championed by France in the war 
against Austria, helped to replace the Conservatives by 
the Liberals. In 1 859, Palmerston's alleged servility to 
Napoleon III., as attested by the Conspiracy to Murder 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Bill, brought back Derby and Disraeli. Palmerston, in 
fact, was condemned for not being sufficiently Palmers- 
tonian, and, at his sacrifice, Cobdenism was avenged for 
its defeat of a twelvemonth earlier. Notwithstand- 
ing these checks to non-intervention, the cause witfi 
which Cobden and his friends had identified themselves 
was not permanently thrown back. The succession of 
events were merely instances of the ebb and flow, 
the action and reaction incidental to all great move- 
ments. Palmerston often dwelt on the progressively 
reforming system of Turkey. So early as 1836, 
Cobden, in his pamphlet on Russia, proved the non- 
existence of any such system. For years Cobden, as 
one who preferred the Russ to the Mussulman, heard 
himself popularly described as half traitor and half 
lunatic. Before he died in 1865, his own views and 
those of John Bright were spoken of as the common- 
sense of the Eastern question. Had he lived a little 
longer, he would have heard a Conservative Foreign 
Secretary, Lord Salisbury, confess that when we 
backed the Turk in the Crimea we put our money on 
the wrong horse. The Peelites were against Palmers- 
ton's intermeddlings abroad. But non-intervention was 
first made a political watchword, as has been seen, by 
Palmerston's departmental successor. The Foreign 
Secretary of 1851, Lord Granville, Cobden's intellectu- 
ally and politically convinced disciple, whether in or 
out of office, applied the Cobdenite doctrine of non- 
intervention to our external relations, with an energy 
and definiteness not generally shown, as Mr John 
Morley has pointed out, by the titular followers of 
Peel.* Lord Granville, too, on again taking over the 

^ John Morley's Cobden^ voL ii. p. 150. 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

Foreign Office, in 1880, confirmed in his Egyptian 
appointment the Lord Cromer. This is the expert who 
has recently given his testimony that England, in ex- 
tending and consolidating her world-wide empire, has 
uniformly disarmed jealousy and obstruction by the 
knowledge that her flag, wherever it flies, secures to the 
foreign trader the admission of untaxed imports. 

Everywhere in the propagation of his views, but 
especially abroad, Cobden was helped only less by their 
proved soundness than by the calmness of temper, tact and 
knowledge with which they were expounded and applied. 
The extreme unpopularity with all classes of landowners 
of his anti-protectionist teaching undoubtedly, at first, 
added strength and numbers to Palmerstonianism. So 
far, therefore, Cobdenism, for a time, proved not only 
not an ally, but an actual enemy to the non-intervention 
cause. Cobden's European travels, at a time when 
Puck's feat of putting a girdle round the earth had yet to 
become a commonplace, gave him a real claim to the 
title since bestowed on him — "the first international 
man. '* To varied and accurate cosmopolitan experiences 
he added, upon each return home, the tolerant good- 
humour and the wise control of speech that won recruits. 
All the authentic palace memoirs since Cobden s 
day, from Sir Theodore Martin's Biography of the 
Prince Consort down to Lord Esher and Mr Benson's 
edition of Queen Victorias Letters, show not only that 
the ascendancy of the court over the Foreign Office was 
even greater than had been generally supposed, but that 
we had come within a measurable distance of re-estab- 
lishing in our external statesmanship the personal 
authority of the Crown as it existed under George IIL 
Cobden, through his socially well-placed informants, 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Charles Villiers and Milner Gibson, knew this at the 
time as well as did any of the professional courtiers. 
To have given the rein to any momentary feeling of 
resentment, to have recognised the fact by a single 
injudicious expression, would have raised a fresh, 
perhaps a fatal, prejudice against the anti-Palmerstonian 

During Lord John Russell's second term at the 
Foreign Office, in the Palmerston ministry, he had to do 
with a descendant of the Mallet du Pan who, in the 
eighteenth century, had been employed by Pitt, and had 
helped him in negotiating with France the commercial 
treaty of i786,* thought that Free Trade, if judiciously 
planted, might strike its roots in Continental soil. This 
was the future Sir Louis Mallet, afterwards to become 
permanent Under-Secretary of State for India. In 
his words, taken down by me in his room at the India 
Office in 1879, I give the following account of the 
transaction : — In 1858, Louis Mallet, though his disciple, 
had no personal acquaintance with Cobden. To John 
Bright, therefore, and not direcdy to Cobden himself, 
did he first mention the project. But, to quote Mr 
Bright's own words to me, " the idea was Mallet s and 
not mine. At my breakfast-table he first came to 
know Cobden ; with Cobden he went to Paris." 

During a morning's conversation at the Tuileries the 
general lines as well as the most important details of the 
arrangement were discussed. Cobden himself remained 
after Mallet. But to quote Mr Bright verbatim — " The 
diplomacy, and there was a great deal of it, of the 
treaty, was done by Mallet, who had a genius for that 

^ Generally known as the Bengal Convention, because by it France 
gave England a free commercial hand in that part of India. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

sort of work." The same period and the same absence 
from England produced another compact with a second 
foreign state. After travelling up and down the 
Danubian peninsula, Sir Louis Mallet brought home 
with him from Vienna an Austro-English treaty of 
commerce and navigation. Cobden, indeed, in this 
period had an important political ally in the Cavour 
who, on the foundation of the Kingdom of Sardinia, was 
to raise the fabric of a regenerated and united Italy ; but 
English policy, which in this sense means Cobdenism, 
it was that took the initiative in inducing Napoleon III. 
to relax the prohibitive system then in force through- 
out his realm. Later triumphs of the Cobden states- 
manship abroad were the reduction in 1865, by the 
German ZoUverein, of duties on imported articles 
and manufactured goods. Of that movement the 
commercial treaties and tariff changes of 1868 and 1869 
were the continuation.* 

* This seems a fitting place at which to explain exactly a diplomatic 
term so familiar as to have passed into a popular figure of speech. ^ The 
most favoured nation " clause, when it occurs, is inserted in commercial 
treaties as a means of preventing the goods of each of the contracting 
parties being treated in the territory of the other more unfavourably than 
the similar goods produced by some other country. For instance, let it 
be supposed that a treaty of commerce between Great Britain and 
France contains a most favoured nation clause, that under the British 
Customs' tariff French wines pay an import tax of ten per cent. Let it 
be further assumed that diplomatic negotiations result in the British 
admission of Spanish wines of the same quality as the French wines at a 
tax of five per cent Then under the most favoured nation clause, 
French wines would automatically benefit by the reduction granted to 
Spanish wines at five per cent. also. In such a case as the foregoing the 
most favoured nation clause is quite unconditional. The clause, however, 
may be so worded as to be conditional ; it depends on the kind of treaty 
negotiated by the contracting parties. The United States, and possibly 
some others, have always denied that the favours granted by reciprocity 
treaties are acquired under ordinary '^ most favoured " articles, unless the 
same concessions are made in return. Thus, by a treaty between France 


The Passing of Palmerston 

During these achievements of the new machinery 
that had supplemented our diplomatic system our 
Foreign Office under Lord John Russell was engaged 
with two or three international incidents which had 
begun to make their pressure felt so far back as the 
period of the Paris Congress. In 1856, by foiling, as 
had been already explained, the Russian attempt to 
occupy the Isle of Serpents, Palmerston had prevented 
the Russian diplomatists from so arranging the Bessara- 
bian frontier as to reach the southward point on which 
their eyes were fixed. The Anglo-French entente, 
which by his independent recognition of the Second Em- 
pire had cost Palmerston his place in 185 1, was severely 
strained by the Crimean War. It practically gave 
way during the period of the subsequent peace negotia- 
tions. Palmerston, however, as Prime Minister, with 
Clarendon at the Foreign Office, succeeded in confin- 
ing Russia within the frontiers that had been fixed at 
Paris* The Orders in Council and the British right of 
search brought the United States and England to blows 
after the Napoleonic wars. The Foreign Enlistment 
Act, of December 1854, empowering England to in- 
crease her soldiers in the Crimea by perfectly useless 
foreign legions, embroiled the London and Wash- 
ington Foreign Offices before the complete execution 
of the settlement of 1856. The controversy was 
complicated by alleged English infraction of the 
Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850); this had prohibited 

and America French silk goods might be admitted at a reduced rate. 
The Washington diplomatists would not allow the inference that any 
mostfavourednation clause with England confers on British silks the 
same privileges as have been given to French. '' If," says the United 
States Government, ^' Great Britain desires participation in the privileges 
of France, let her make some special concession to the United States as 
an equivalent." 

Y 337 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

both the United States and England from any enter- 
prise to their own profit on the littoral of the contem- 
plated waterway through Central America. The 
constructive breach of the Clayton- Bui wer Treaty 
alleged against England arose from her connection with 
the Mosquito Islands in the Bay of Honduras, over 
which she claimed a protectorate. The difference 
remained open for three years ; it was setded in 1859 by 
the American purchase of the islands on a guarantee 
of security to sdl local interests of Great Britain. But 
for some time public feeling on both sides of the 
Atlantic ran not less dangerously high than it was to 
do over the affair of the Trent, in 186 1. In that year 
the interception by a federal vessel of the British ship 
carrying the confederate envoys supplied the Prince 
Consort with the last occasion of an actively bene- 
ficent intervention in our foreign policy at an anxious 

The Prince's life coincided with a noticeable 
change in England's diplomatic objects and methods. 
In his younger days, those of the Holy Alliance epoch, 
diplomacy was regarded as an agency for executing or 
baffling the territorial or dynastic ambitions and in- 
trigfues of sovereigns. The anti-national and auto- 
cratic lengths to which European statesmanship had 
gone at Vienna in 181 5, prepared the way for a 
reaction towards the recognition of racial rights and 
political self-government. Diplomacy during the 
latter part of Russell's and Clarendon's course tended 
to become an instrument for securing the great national 
forces of democracy and liberty. Between 1859 and 
1865 Russell watched from Whitehall and saw that his 
department was perfectly supplied with the latest news 


The Passing of Palmerston 

concerning the settlement of the Balkan peninsula by 
Prince Couza's election (1859) as Hospodar of Moldavia 
and Wallachia. So too with each stage in the later 
developments of the Italian policy adopted by Eng- 
land not less than France from the day on which 
Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, became an ally 
in the war against Russia. Palmerston had de- 
fined his attitude to foreign states, in whose quarrels 
he did not intervene, as that of a judicious botde- 
holder. No English Foreign Minister ever laboured 
with such secrecy, astuteness, and success to regulate 
international relations, in the interests of Italian 
unity then so dear to his country, as did Russell. 
Though unrecorded in any histories, perhaps, even in 
memoirs of the period, his were the skilful offices 
which encouraged the good understanding between 
Cavour and Napoleon III., and which prevented its 
being impaired by the outburst of English indignation 
when France, as the price of a liberated Venice, took 
Savoy and Nice.* Thus the Zurich treaties, ending, 
in the November of 1859, the Franco- Italian War, 
really bore the impress of Russell's mind. 

This was the period during which the English public 
made a remarkable advance in its knowledge of foreign 
politics. Palmerston, indeed, had prepared the way 
for this progress by generally treading in Canning s 
footprints. Canning had been the first Secretary of 
State to make the Foreign Office the most important 
department of the day, and to invest external politics 
with a popular interest transcending that of domestic 
affairs. Exactly the same thing in his turn was done 

^ As a fact no explosion of English or any other feeling for a moment 
could have endangered co-operation between Cavour and Napoleon, who 
understood each other perfectly throughout. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

by Palmerston. Between 1850 and i860 the foreign 
policy debates of the popular Chamber were as good 
as those of the Peers, The Savoy and Nice discus- 
sion produced a survey of our international relations 
and the principles on which they rested from the third 
Sir Robert Peel as wise, as clear as, and richer in 
information than, any utterance on the same subject 
from his famous father. Here I may correct a mistake 
on this subject widely current at the time and since 
then almost stereotyped. The story is that A. W. 
Kinglake, whose exceedingly low voice often made 
him inaudible, delivered a masterly dissertation on the 
Savoy and Nice question, that no one heard it except 
Peel who was sitting next him, and who made the 
oratorical hit of the next evening by literally repro- 
ducing Kinglake*s unheard, and so unreported, words. 
The facts, as given me by both men, are these. 
Kinglake did indeed compose an oration on the sub- 
ject. Prevented from going to the House, he did not 
deliver it. Happening to see his friend Peel, whom he 
knew intended to speak, he meekly asked that fine 
orator, for such Peel was, whether he would care to 
see some notes he had put together on the matter. 

There were, Palmerston used to say, only three 
persons who ever understood the Schleswig-Holstein 
question : the first was Prince Albert, and he was dead ; 
the second was a German statesman, and he had gone 
mad ; the third was Palmerston himself, and he had for- 
gotten it. The chief points in connection with this sub- 
ject necessary to bear in mind are the very intimate 
connection established by ancient law between the two 
duchies of Holstein and Schleswig, the facts that the 
King of Denmark was only Duke of Schleswig- 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Holstein, that the Holstein duchy was inhabited by 
Germans and formed part of the Germanic confedera- 
tion. There were in Denmark certain enthusiasts for 
nationality, who, while leaving Holstein alone, were 
bent on eliminating any German element from 
Schleswig and making it in every way a Danish 
province. As an early result of this policy the 
German Lutherans in Schleswig were deprived of 
public worship in their own tongue and of German 
teachers in their schools. In November 1863 the 
Danish Assembly, the Rigsraad at Copenhagen, 
passed an act incorporating Schleswig in the Danish 
monarchy. This act, ratified by the king then reign- 
ing, and by his successor. Christian IX., violated a 
convention on which English diplomacy had taken 
great pains, the Treaty of London (1852). The 
breach of international obligation fully justified Bis- 
marck's appeal to the Powers that had signed the 
broken compact; Lord John Russell put all the 
machinery of our Foreign Office in motion to co- 
operate with France in adjusting the difficulty. Out- 
side the Foreign Office popular feeling in England 
clamoured for armed intervention on behalf of Den- 
mark. The Prime Minister, and ex- Foreign Secretary, 
Palmerston himself, in July 1863, declared that those 
who attempted to overthrow the rights or interfere 
with the independence of Denmark would find that 
they had to contend with other Powers than Denmark 
alone. By not resigning his Cabinet office after find- 
ing himself committed by these words to resist Prussia, 
Russell made himself responsible for them ; he did not 
even, as he had opportunities for doing, undeceive 
Denmark by explaining away the utterance of his chief. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

An English rival to English diplomacy asserted 
itself. Sometime before this, on several different occa- 
sions, Palmerston thought he had reason to complain of 
The Times for forcing his hand or increasing the diffi- 
culty of his negotiation at critical points. Here he had 
found the court in entire agreement with himself ; the 
Prince Consort, in fact, knowing his private acquaint- 
anceship with Delane, had even asked him to expostu- 
late with the famous editor on the inconveniences to the 
public seiVice caused by Printinghouse Square. Now 
Lord John Russell, by no means a victim of the 
traditional Whig prejudice against the press, complained 
of being hampered by newspaper editors and factious 
busybodies in all his efforts at arrangement. Some 
of these spoke with authority, and for the first time 
used the cant expression of supplying the Danes with 
a moral assistance. Such idle talk contributed to 
England's unpopularity abroad ; it also discredited the 
responsible directors of her policy. In this way 
Lord John Russell found himself prejudiced with both 
the disputants when he proposed an eminently sensible 
compromise ; this was the partition of Schleswig 
between Denmark and Germany by the dividing line 
of the languages spoken in the two sections. Un- 
happily the head of the English Foreign Office did 
not show an equal wisdom in regard to other matters ; 
he fell into the same mistake himself of which he had 
accused others; he now established the closest rela- 
tions with The Times. The newspaper in fact began 
to reflect his views ; it even used the exact language 
inspired by him. In September 1863 The Times, quot- 
ing and amplifying words which Russell himself may 


The Passing of Palmerston 

not have uttered, but for which, as Cabinet minister, 
he was responsible, declared that the meditated dis- 
memberment of Denmark would raise up champions 
for her in every quarter. Such opinions on the part 
of the Foreigfn Secretary conflicted as directly with the 
undoubted views of the sovereign as anything done 
or said by Palmerston in his most undisciplined mood. 

On the 9th of November 1863, the Queen received 
Napoleon III.'s invitation to a congress for discussing 
the Danish, and it might be also the Polish, question. 
The last of these subjects brought our Foreign Office 
at this period more than one snub from Gortschakoff, 
who, asked by Downing Street to treat Poland accord- 
ing to English rather than Russian ideas, replied that 
if England wished to play the champion of oppressed 
nationalities, she might as well begin with Ireland. 

Our diplomacy, by rejecting this offer, renounced 
the one condition, that of French co-operation, on 
which England could have helped Denmark. As it 
was, the Russell- Palmerston policy not only sacrificed 
Denmark, it left an abiding bitterness between 
France and England ; it also inspired Prussia with 
a feeling that Great Britain, had she felt herself 
free, would have drawn the sword for Danish 'inde- 
pendence, and that the British branch of the Teutonic 
family, so far from wishing Prussia well in her national 
mission, at heart resented the Prince Consort s past 
attempts to cement the friendship between his native 
and his adopted country. All this legacy of inter- 
national mischief and animosity arose from the fact 
that the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister were 
straining the strings of diplomacy in two different 
directions, Russell, with official responsibility, urged 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

timely concessions to Denmark ; Palmerston, playing 
to the gallery, was assuring the Danes that if they 
stood out, they would not find themselves alone. 
Instead, therefore, of a congress, which would at any 
rate have pleased the one Power, France, whose 
interests crossed the pathway of England in every part 
of the world, and whose good- will at any cost we should 
have secured, our Foreign Office sent the then Lord 
Wodehouse, afterwards Lord Kimberley, on a special 
mission to Copenhagen. 

No documents officially relating to this errand have 
been published. Lord Kimberley, however, as I have 
heard from his own lips, returned to London with two 
chief impressions stamped on his clear and dispassion- 
ate mind. The first was that Napoleon IIL had been 
from the first the exciting spirit of the whole storm. 
During the fifties Napoleon IIL was secredy schem- 
ing for a Franco-Prussian alliance. To promote this, 
he and no other first suggested at Berlin the seizure 
of the duchies. " Of this fact," were Lord Kimberley's 
own words, " I brought back conclusive evidence from 
Copenhagen in 1863." Before the Danish trouble. 
Napoleon IIL had noted the universal indignation 
of Englishmen, indifferently of class or party, against 
Russia for her absorption of the poor remnant of 
Poland and her barbarities practised on the Polish 
patriots who stood out for independence. Of this 
feeling Louis Napoleon took advantage by proposing 
to the English Government co-operation for the Polish 
cause against Russia, possibly against Austria and 
Prussia too, the two latter Powers being then the 
objects of an English detestation only, if at all, less than 
that excited by Russia. Not that Louis Napoleon 


The Passing of Palmerston 

really cared more for the Poles whom the Czar was 
doing slowly to death than he did for the crowds 
with whose blood he had dyed Paris in 1851. All 
this time, indeed, he was secretly instigating the 
monarchies of Eastern Europe to deeds of violence 
against their disaffected subjects at home. Thus he 
counted on the popular liberal opinion of England to 
forbid any union between Great Britain and the courts 
of Eastern Europe. Palmerston may have been de- 
ceived by the Turk ; he thoroughly saw through the 
French emperor. It was the astute determination 
not to be his cat's-paw or dupe that hardened Palmer- 
ston against all overtures from the Tuileries and, so 
far as appearances went, made him a devout convert 
to the Manchester evangel of non-intervention. In the 
case of Poland, Palmerston had to resist real society 
pressure ; for the Pole was then a drawing-room 
favourite. The French ambassador in London, to 
whom Palmerston had approved the coup ditat of 
1 85 1, Count Walewski, was himself of Polish extraction, 
had been very popular in Belgravia and Mayfair since 
he was first known there, a handsome young man, the 
natural son and a pleasing likeness of the great 
Napoleon. Introduced by his first wife, a daughter of 
Lord Sandwich, into the English peerage, he found a 
second wife in a Florentine of great beauty and social 
tact, who made the French Embassy in London the 
most charming resort of the diplomatic body. As 
has been shown above, Palmerston's acquiescence in 
Napoleon's project of a congress might have 
strengthened his hands in Denmark and need not 
have weakened them elsewhere. The general French 
plea for philanthropic interference in Poland's relations 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

with the Powers, had for its real motive the sowing 
of mischief between England and her Allies. The 
French suggestion of a congress was in form plausible 
and diplomatically *' correct." The troubles caused 
by an earlier congress might be healed by a later. 
The Prusso-Danish complications arising out of the 
duchies were really rooted in the Vienna settlements 
in 1815. The disturbance of these had begun when 
the principle of nationality was recognised by the 
separation of Belgium from Holland in 1830. Surely, 
therefore, it would be only reasonable now for Europe, 
in the collective capacity as Louis Napoleon proposed, 
to revise the Vienna arrangements by the light of 
what had happened since, and in accordance with the 
new ideas of nationality. With that latter considera- 
tion Palmerston had no more sympathy than had 
Mettemich himself. " When," said to me some years 
ago the late Lord Kimberley, apropos of his Copen- 
hagen mission in 1863, '' I was set to work, our own 
Foreign Office, like others, underrated the political force 
of that national sentiment which inspired the claim of 
Prussia to the duchies, and which, it was already becom- 
ing plain, would increase in momentum till Berlin be- 
came the capital of a united Germany." The collision 
between Danish and Prussian interest in the duchies 
had been going on since 1845. In its earlier stages, the 
Prince Consort's preference for Prussian over the Danish 
claims had caused more than one sharp difference be- 
tween himself and Palmerston ; these differences had 
also elicited from the queen a reprimand which preceded 
by a year Palmerston's dismissal of 1851. The vehe- 
mence of Palmerston's language afterwards, suggests that 
the memories of the dispute were still dangerously fresh. 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Lord John had become Earl Russell before the 
Schleswig-Holstein episode had entered upon its 
acutest phase. Something may be said about the 
other movements of our diplomacy during his second 
term at the Foreign Office. Four years after the 
re-settlement of the Near East by the Treaty of 
Paris, the fitness of Turkey for imperial independence 
was seen in the Syrian outbreak originating in the 
quarrels between the Maronites and the Druses, rival 
sects of degenerate Christians and degenerate Moham- 
medans.* In the retrospect of to-day this incident 
derives its chief interest and importance from its 
having afforded the earliest great opportunity for the 
display of his rare gifts as diplomatist and adminis- 
trator to one of the brightest, most impressive and 
interesting figures in the diplomatic story of the 
Victorian age. The disturbance raised by the hill 
tribes of rural Syria spread to the towns. Moslem 
fanaticism wrecked European consulates, the Porte 
must be shown what to do, a convention of the Powers 
entrusted to France and England the restoration of 
order, on the basis of a protocol that no state sought 
territorial advantage or exclusive influence for itself. 
The British commissioner. Lord Dufferin, whose 
d6but in diplomacy had been made when he accom- 
panied Russell to the Vienna Conference, in 1855, heard 
from Lord Palmerston at his farewell interview the 
private opinion that the entire disturbance had been 
got up by the Emperor of the French in revenge for 

* The religious faiths held by the insurrectionaries are obscure and 
debatable, what is alone certain about the Druses, according to one 
expert, being that they were not Mussuhnans. It seems equally certain 
that the Maronites were highly heterodox Christians. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

PaJmerston's extinction of Mehemet Ali, and of the 
French designs upon Syria in 1840. " It is also," said 
Palmerston, ** meant as a kind of retrospective justifi- 
cation of the congress of the other day with which I 
would have nothing to do." Lord Dufferin accom- 
plished his task with admirable spirit, judgment and 
success. The fact and the circumstances of his despatch 
constituted an admission that the nominal independence 
of the Porte, as secured by the treaty of 1 856, had ceased 
to exist. The Sultan had indeed consented to this act 
of intervention ; when, however, asked for his acqui- 
escence, he had been told that whether he said yes or 
no, the Powers meant to manage it in their own way. 

The most serious events of Lord Russell's second 
Secretaryship happened on the other side of the 
Adantic. The damages to Federal property done by 
Confederate privateers built, like the Alaiama, in 
England, gave rise to the prolonged and threatening 
controversy between Washington and Whitehall which 
was only settled by the Geneva arbitration of 1870. 
Of the war itself there need be recalled here only so 
much as will make its politics intelligible. The seces- 
sion of the Southern States from the Union began with 
South Carolina, whose efforts resulted, on 4th February 
1 86 1, in a meeting of Southern delegates at Mont- 
gomery in Alabama for the purpose of forming, under 
the presidency of Jefferson Davis, a constitution of 
their own. At its commencement the consideration of 
slavery did not enter into the quarrel ; the Federal 
president, Abraham Lincoln, emphasised this fact ; nor 
did he, as has been supposed, introduce the word into 
the negotiations for a friendly dissolution of partner- 
ship by which it was attempted to avert actual 


The Passing of Palmcrston 

hostilities. Lincoln's call, on i6th April, for armed 
volunteers to re-establish the Federal authority over 
the rebel states, drew from the rival president Davis a 
declaration that he would issue letters of marque. 
President Lincoln then declared the Southern ports 
under blockade. On 8th May 1861, Lord John 
Russell told the House of Commons that, as advised 
by the law officers of the Crown, the Government 
would recognise the Confederates for belligerents. 
Five days later appeared the neutrality proclamation, 
warning English subjects against, by their persons, 
their property or their arms, assisting either of 
the parties to the conflict. Here began the first 
offence taken against England by the North. There 
was at this time on his way to London a fresh repre- 
sentative of the United States, Adams ; before treating 
the rebel states on an equality with their opponents, it 
would, said the Washington diplomatists, have been 
only courteous and just to hear what the new envoy 
had to say, after he had presented his credentials. 
This complaint was unreasonable, because the Northern 
proclamation of a blockade, a traditional mode of 
international war, implied that the proclaimer was 
trying conclusions with one who was as much an 
enemy as if he were a foreigner. The British Govern- 
ment withstood the most pressing suggestions from the 
Vatican, as from the Tuileries, of foreign help in an 
organised effort by breaking the blockade to assist the 
South. The most authoritative and philosophic diplo- 
matist of the day, De Tocqueville, who knew America 
as well as he did France, regarded a Confederate 
triumph as a foregone conclusion. In London, society. 
The Times, and most of the press, except The Spectator 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

were dead against the Union. For years past the pre- 
ponderating influence in the United States Government 
had been that of the now rebellious Southerners. Shortly 
before the war broke out there had been an Anglo- 
American difficulty concerning a runaway United States 
slave, Anderson, who had taken refuge in Canada. 

For the purpose of these pages nothing more is 
wanted than the shortest summary of the circumstances 
which accompanied the opening between the Wash- 
ington Foreign Office under Seward, and the London 
Foreign Office under Russell, of the epistolary wrangle 
which in some of its many weary stages continued 
during the greater part of ten years. Had not, the 
Confederate managers asked themselves, the heir to a 
Whig dukedom, ♦ himself one of the pillars of his party 
in the Lower House, during a pleasure trip in the 
great republic of the West, symbolised his sympathy 
with the South by transferring to his own coat-lapel 
the Confederate colours worn by his partner in an 
American ballroom.*^ Even though informally, it 
must be high time for Jefferson Davis to be repre- 
sented both in London and in Paris. The first step 
was to despatch across the Adantic the most f^ausiUe 
and fervent advocate of the Southern political claim, 
W. L. Yancey. The British and the French capitals 
as well as other points of international interest and 
importance were to be included in his European 
tour. This diplomatic reconnaissance was promising 
enough to encourage the further despatch of regularly 
accredited Southern representatives to London and 
Paris ; for the British capital was destined James 
Murray Mason ; for the French a southern lawyer 

* The eighth Duke of Devonshire, then Marquis of Hartington. 


The Passing of Palmerston 

and politician, Slidell. Late in the October or early 
in the November of 1 86 1, these two envoys embarked 
at Havana on the British mail steamer Trent, During 
their passage they were violently intercepted by the 
American man-of-war, San Jacinto, commanded by 
Captain Wilkes ; they were then seized and shut up in 
one of the forts of Boston harbour. On 27th November 
the Trent reached Southampton. Lord John Russell 
lost not a moment in demanding from the American 
Government full reparation for a gross breach of inter- 
national law and wanton affront to the British flag. 

Napoleon III., it has been seen, had already vainly 
appealed to England to make common cause with him 
against the North. All the European Powers now sup- 
ported Great Britain in demanding the liberation of the 
envoys, and full apology for the outrage. There now 
came from the Washington Foreign Office an assur- 
ance that the commander of the San Jacinto's action 
was unauthorised, and that the whole matter had the 
President's grave consideration. This was the last 
occasion on which Queen Victoria's husband took an 
active concern in English diplomacy. The public 
heard almost simultaneously of the Prince's death and 
the arrangement of the dispute. The next inter- 
national charge brought against England by the North 
was that British shipping-yards were being made the 
naval base of the Confederacy. The navy which Mr 
Gladstone complimented Jefferson Davis on making, 
was built by British constructors. The most famous 
of several privateers, the Alabama, was practically an 
English vessel, the handiwork of the Lairds of Birken- 
head, paid for with money borrowed from English 
lenders ; under the British flag it lured Federal crafts 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

to their destruction ; its guns had formerly belonged 
to the English navy. Before it issued from the river 
Mersey, the American Foreign Secretary Adams 
demanded its detention by the British Government ; 
so sound an English lawyer as Sir Robert Collier 
supported the demand. John Bright raised the ques- 
tion in the House of Commons. Palmerston, who in 
1858 had brought in the Conspiracy to Murder Bill to 
propitiate Napoleon, and had been turned out upon 
it, now haughtily said it was not the English habit 
to alter laws to please a foreigner. Meanwhile, the 
British equipment of Confederate warships and rams 
went on so briskly, and for the Northern cause so 
disastrously, that in one of his many protests to Russell, 
Adams remarked, " it would be superfluous to point 
out that this is war." The request of the Washington 
Foreign Office was, however, not for an embargo on 
all the Confederate vessels now being prepared in the 
Liverpool dockyards, but for their detention till the 
law of neutrality professed by England could be 
exacdy defined. During the years through which 
this diplomatic discussion continued, there were intro- 
duced into it other subjects, such as Confederate raids 
from Canada into the States, and Fenian raids from 
the States into Canada. In the course of 1862, 
Russell declared the correspondence at an end ; he 
also point-blank refused any responsibility for whatever 
destruction Confederate cruisers, wherever built, had 
wrought on Federal shipping. In 1866, the Foreign 
Office passed to Lord Stanley. He proposed to the 
Washington diplomatists a general arbitration treaty 
on the whole subject. Such a convention was actually 
signed by Stanley's successor, Clarendon, and Reverdy 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Johnson ; it was, however, rejected by the American 
senate on the ground that it did not clearly enough 
provide for claims on account of indirect as well as 
direct injury done by vessels like the Alabama.* 

By the time that Lord Granville began his second 
term at the Foreign Office in 1870, other matters 
were in dispute between Whitehall and Washington. 
Granville's suggestion to Gladstone was in a single 
international act to comprehend the settlement of all 
controversial points. Eventually this plan fell through ; 
the idea of arbitration was revived in the belief that it 
would be acceptable at Washington. As a preliminary 
the negotiators of both sides of the Adantic prepared 
to revise the law of nations by new rules, including 
not only cases such as that of the Alabama, but the 
Foreign Enlistment Acts (186 1-5). The next step 
was for British commissioners to confer at Washington 
with an equal number of American commissioners. 
The British selections were made without regard to 
party ; they included the present Marquis of Ripon, 
then Lord de Grey, Sir Stafford Northcote, Sir John 
Macdonald, the Canadian Prime Minister, the Oxford 
professor of international law, Montague Bernard, and 
naturally. Sir Edward Thornton, our United States 
representative. After deliberations lasting over two 
months, the commissioners in the May of 1871 signed 
a treaty, the general criticism on which, from the 
English point of view, was summed up in Lord 
Russell's objection to judge past conduct by new 

* The direct claims were on account of injuries and losses actually 
caused by privateers. The indirect claims, indefinite and incalculable 
as they were, included losses from the transfer of American trade to 
English shipping and the expense of pursuing the Confederate cruisers. 
Z 353 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

retrospective rules. Between the American and 
British representatives, the discussion centred round 
the United States' claims on account of damages done 
by Confederate privateers of English build of an 
indirect as well as a direct kind. "Our friends here," 
wrote Sir Stafford Northcote from Washington to 
Lord Granville, 14th April 1871, "are terrible fellows 
at using every possible opportunity to bring in again 
and again claims which we have repeatedly shut out. 
De Grey will never get all the credit he deserves for 
his strategy, but I hope he will get some for the result 
of it." This result was the Treaty of Washington, 
signed 8th May 1871, referring the Alabama and 
kindred claims to a court of five arbitrators to meet 
at Geneva, to be chosen by Queen Victoria, by the 
President of the United States, by the Emperor of 
Brazil, by the King of Italy, and by the President of 
the Swiss Confederation.* In reply to the chief 
criticism on the compact, the making of all the con- 
cessions by Great Britain, Lord Granville could reply 
that the repeated renewals by the American pleni- 
potentiary. Fish, as regards indirect claims, had all 
been disallowed. The one practical question was not 
so much the terms as the policy of the removal by 
Great Britain, probably at a great cost, of a long- 
standing and vexatious quarrel with her kin beyond 
seas. The indirect claims, however, were to reappear 
at Geneva, and to inspire Lord Russell with a threat 
of blowing into the air the treaty and the Government. 

• The names of the arbitrators were these :— Sir Alexander Cockbum 
(England), Charles Francis Adams (United Sutes), Viscount Itajuba 
(Brazil), Jacques Staempfli (Switzerland), Count Sclopis, president (Italy). 
The legal assessors were Lord Tenterden and Roundell Palmer (England)^ 
Bancroft Davis and W. M. Evarts (America). 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Then came the presentation before the Geneva tribunal 
of the American case and the English counter-case. 
On 15th June the arbitrators had no sooner assembled 
at Geneva than they unanimously declared against 
even entertaining the indirect claims. Historical 
manuals, universally accessible, render it unnecessary 
to pursue the transaction in all its details and results. 

Sir Horace Rumbold, of whose despatches from 
his embassy at St Petersburg something has already 
been said, complained in print a few years ago, of 
Foreign Office ignorance on Lord Granville's second 
Secretaryship of State. The incoming Foreign Mini- 
ster, it was said, on the eve of the Franco- Prussian 
War of 1 870- 1, declared the European horizon to be 
without a cloud. The true facts are these. When, after 
Clarendon's retirement, 6th July 1870, Granville took 
over the department, he had an interview with Perma- 
nent Under-Secretary Hammond, who remarked that, 
with the exception of the recent murders of English- 
men at Marathon by Greek brigands, then the subject 
of diplomatic communications with Athens, he knew 
nothing likely to engage seriously the incoming 
minister. As a fact, however, Granville, better in- 
formed than the permanent official, not only was 
already aware of the impending danger between 
France and Germany, but was actually in communica- 
tion with our ambassador in Paris, Lord Lyons, in 
the hope of preventing hostilities. The exact line of 
English diplomacy after the war had begun is all 
which it concerns us here to follow. The notion, 
popular in Prussia, of France being the English favour- 
ite, increased the difficulty of the communications 
between Berlin and London. Bismarck himself had 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

openly given out that Great Britain might and ought 
to have prevented France from entering upon the 
contest; a Prussian victory, he added, could alone 
preserve the balance of power in Europe ; for that 
reason it ought to be desired by England. The 
opening of the campaign coincided with a vague but 
unfortunate Prussian complaint that by not forbidding 
the export of arms and coal to France the British 
Cabinet had shown too clearly its inability to be really 
impartial. "As for Lord Granville," said Bismarck, 
*' I know him of old." ♦ The first danger against 
which Lord Granville had to be on his guard 
was lest either belligerent should violate the treaties 
guaranteeing Belgium or Luxemburg. The immi- 
nence of that contingency revealed itself in a secret 
document published by The Times, 25th July 1870. 
The common guarantees of Europe made Belgium an 
independent nation in 1839 ; by signing those documents 
France and Prussia had both solemnly pledged them- 
selves to prevent any violation not only of Belgium her- 
self, but of Luxemburg also. The compact now 
flashed by the newspaper upon the world showed that 
in the August of 1866, through Benedetti as repre- 
sentative of Napoleon III., France agreed not to 
oppose Prussia's retention of her advantages gained in 
the recent war with Austria. In return France received 
permission from Prussia in the person of Bismarck 

^This I have the authority of Lord Granville himself for characteris- 
ing as a delusion on the part of the German Chancellor. " I never," 
said to roe in 1886 Lord Granville himself, *'saw Bismarck, but once, and 
then for a few minutes only during my attendance on the queen abroad. 
It was in a garden ; while we were chatting we suddenly heard the cry 
^ sharp/ the cant word signifying the sovereign's approach. On this 
Bismarck suddenly disappeared in a shrubbery ; after that dive into the 
bushes I never saw him again." 


The Passing of Palmerston 

to annex Luxemburg and Belgium. This amazing 
disclosure seemed a scandal to international morality ; 
it was followed by an undignified squabble between 
the Foreign Offices of Paris and Berlin, to throw upon 
each other the exclusive blame for the Benedetti- 
Bismarck perfidy. Lord Granville at once intervened 
by pointing out that there was no alternative now but 
for the French emperor and the Prussian king to set 
their hands to an agreement engaging both of them, 
during the war and for twelve months afterwards, not 
to violate either Belgium or Luxemburg. 

Obligations to Belgium thus being fulfilled, our 
diplomacy took steps for circumscribing the area of 
the Franco- Prussian struggle. The probability of its 
extension arose from the bitter rivalry of two Continen- 
tal diplomatists. In 1866-7, Count Beust had just 
become Austrian Chancellor and Foreign Minister; 
he notoriously aimed at retaliating on Bismarck for 
his late humiliation of his country and of himself. 
French resentment of English neutrality now became 
as keen as that of Germany. The cause of France, so 
it was said in Paris, was the cause of peace. British 
diplomacy, by removing the possibility of union between 
the courts of St Petersburg and Berlin, might have at 
once secured the peace of Europe. Our Foreign 
Office, however, established an understanding between 
the Powers that none of them would take part in the 
struggle themselves or renounce their neutrality with- 
out due notice to the others. 

In September 1870 the Empire fell. Prussian 
diplomacy favoured its restoration as a help towards 
international peace. Downing Street insisted that 
the native French republic would render peace nego- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

tiations safer and easier than an empire restored 
by foreign arms. From 4th September 1870 to 
the actual signature of peace, February 1871, tlie 
twofold and consistendy pursued aim of English 
diplomacy was an armistice between the combat- 
ants and the creation of such a polity in Paris as 
would conduce to the close of the war. The diffi- 
culties besetting the accomplishment of this object 
was increased by the fact that, to Lord Granville's 
personal grief, the managing men in France, though, 
like Jules Favre, excellent and even brilliant, were 
not, as our Paris ambassador put it, accustomed to a 
Corps Diplomatique. The other trials to Lord 
Granville's tact and patience may be summed up in 
the series of interviews with Thiers in which the 
French statesman, a friend and admirer of Lord 
Granville's father when ambassador in Paris, laboured 
to convince him that the first object of English policy 
from a purely selfish point of view, should be to risk" 
a quarrel with united Germany rather than connive at 
the dismemberment of France. In any narrative of 
English diplomacy during the actual progress of the 
war, much space must be given to Adolphe Thiers* 
diplomatic pilgrimage through Europe and his series 
of conversations with his personal friend of long 
standing, the English Secretary of State. These 
talks are given with such fulness and animation in 
such standard volumes as Lord Fitzmaurice's bio- 
graphy of Granville, that the merest reference to them 
is alone needed here. In Thiers the diplomatist did 
not efface the vivacious and patriotic orator; in his 
warmest moments he remained a polished man of the 
world. Dealing with another man of the world like 


The Passing of Palmerston 

Granville he found the pill of failure gilded, but his 
visit boodess. ** I had the honour to know, and did 
my best in my small way to commend myself to your 
lordship's father when you were a youth and he was 
British ambassador in Paris ; consider how well 
France behaved to England during the Indian Mutiny 
in not taking advantage of her weakness to do her 
a bad turn." Such was the burden of the arguments 
for intervention with Prussia in favour of France in 
these interviews between the French and English 
statesmen. On one occasion Thiers had pleaded his 
cause with so much fervour as to sink back in his 
chair exhausted. There he remained perfectly silent 
and motionless. He showed no signs of breathing. 
His English host, in his own words to me, "felt no 
doubt that the * old man eloquent ' had breathed his 
last." "While," continued Lord Granville, "about 
to call for help, I thought I should be making a scene 
for nothing if, after all, Thiers was only asleep. I 
therefore proceeded as noisily as I could to break a 
huge piece of coal and banged the fire-irons about. 
My visitor immediately awoke and, with a placid 
smile, continued his appeal more fresh than he had 
begun it." The colloquial, not less than the epistolary, 
processes of our Foreign Office at this period included 
the discussion of many proposals for the return of the 
ex-empress Eugenie to France after her arrival in 
England. Why should she not, as a de facto monarch 
during the time of transition, negotiate through her 
ministers peace terms with Bismarck ? As regards the 
exertion of British influence with Prussia to moderate 
her terms. Lord Fitzmaurice has conclusively estab- 
lished this never to have been in question. " Palmer- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

ston," said Granville, "wasted the strength of England 
by brag ; it is not for me fruidessly to spend any 
moral influence we may have by laying down general 
principles to which nobody will attend. Above all 
(was the exact remark I heard from Lord Granville), 
I had to abstain from anything which would only 
aggravate Germany and encourage France to hold 




The inner organisation of the Foreign Office — Permanent and 
Assistant Under-Secretaries — Lord Hammond, Lord Tenterden, 
Lord Pauncefote, Lord Currie and Lord Sanderson — ^Amalga- 
mation of the Foreign Office and the Diplomatic Service — 
Foreign Office qualifications and examinations — Military, 
Naval and Commercial Attaches — Embassy Chaplains and 
Doctors — Unofficial Diplomacy — David Urquhart — Laurence 
Oliphant — Diplomatists in the House of Commons — H. O. 
Waterfield — A promising generation of Diplomatists — ^The 
Commercial side of Foreign Policy — King's Messengers — Social 
duties of the Ambassador — Palmerston's " Secret Agents " — 
Diplomacy at Gunnersbury — Madame Novikoff — Max Schle- 
singer — "Jingoism " and the anti-Russian feeling. 

THE various domiciles and migrations of the 
Foreign Office, down to its setdement in 
Downing Street, have been described in an earlier 
chapter, with the help of the fuller information to be 
found in Sir Edward Hertslet s authoritative work on 
the subject.* The movements and the managers of 
English diplomacy during sixty-eight years of the 
foregoing survey (1793 to 1861) are all comprised in 
the Downing Street period. During Russell's second 
Secretaryship, the department migrated, in the August 
of 1 86 1, to two houses, Nos. 7 and 8, in Whitehall 
Gardens. The plans for the group of buildings to-day 
containing both the Foreign, the Colonial, and the 
India Offices were approved, among others, by Lord 
Palmerston ; he did not live to witness the concentra- 

^ Recollections of the Old Foreign Office (John Murray, 1901.) 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

tion of the three Imperial departments beneath a 
single roof in the July of 1868. The increase in 
Foreign Office work, had, even in Palmerston s time, 
necessitated additions to the staff. Changes of that 
kind had of course begun before his day. At the end 
of the eighteenth century one Under-Secretary sufficed. 
Soon after that, assistant Under-Secretaries were 
called for. Before the next century had closed the 
chief Under-Secretary had been supplemented by two 
assistant Under-Secretaries; in 1898 an additional 
Under-Secretary was appointed. To-day, therefore, 
there are one chief Under-Secretary and three assistants. 
The absolute and responsible head of the department 
is the " Parliamentary " Secretary of State. He it is 
who in theory conducts the interviews and the corre- 
spondence of the department, communicates alike 
with foreign diplomatists, government offices and 
private individuals. The organisation over which he 
presides is divided into various sections, such as 
** Eastern," "Western," "China," "Treaty," "Com- 
mercial," and so forth. These sections are arranged 
in groups, supervised by the various Assistant Under- 
Secretaries. They in turn are responsible to the 
Permanent Under-Secretary (the non- Parliamentary 
minister), who comes direcdy next to the Secretary of 
State. The operation of the system may thus be 
compared to that of a graduated series of sieves. One 
of the Office's divisional controllers will send any 
important papers there may be to his supervising 
Assistant Under-Secretary ; this functionary will, if he 
thinks it necessary, refer to the Permanent Under- 
Secretary who, in his turn, if it be of sufficient import- 
ance, will submit the matter to the Secretary of State. 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

Thus, to illustrate the routine by purely hypothetical 
figures, out of every hundred papers received at the 
Foreign Office, ten may be seen by the Assistant 
Under-Secretary, five by the Permanent Under- 
Secretary, two by the Secretary of State. 

An opportunity of some personal remarks on the 
leading members of the Foreign Office staff has pre- 
sented itself in an earlier part of this work. An 
accurate and exhaustive account of the interior economy 
of the department would show the influence on the 
current diplomacy of the time of a permanent official 
like the late Lord Hammond (Permanent Under- 
Secretary from 1854 to 1873) ^o have been not less 
than was that of the late Sir Robert Herbert on the 
administration of our dependencies during his long 
term at the Colonial Office, or of his illustrious prede- 
cessors. Sir Henry Taylor, Sir Frederick Rogers, Lord 
Blachford, Herman Merivale. Was, by way of example. 
Lord Clarendon considering the best man for a special 
mission abroad, Hammond's suggestions were always 
invited ; if his initiative found less scope under other 
chiefs of the office, it was because his last chief, Gran- 
ville, like Palmerston and Malmesbury, actively kept 
up the exceptional acquaintance given them by social ac- 
cidents with the rising talent that adorned their province. 

Hammond's excellence as a public servant was im- 
paired by a single defect, and that the result of his ability 
and zeal : he insisted on doing all the work of the office 
himself; his colleagues thus became simple copyists. 
As a consequence, he left behind him scarcely any tho- 
roughly trained clerks ; it was therefore reserved for 
those who came after him gradually to make good the 
deficiency. Hammond, however, had an admirable 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

successor in the third Lord Tenterden. Quite first- 
rate as an official, intellectually keen, clever as a man, 
Tenterden was followed by Sir Julian, afterwards Lord 
Pauncefote, who died as our representative at Wash- 
ington, but who was of a material which supplies rather 
great administrators than Under-Secretaries perfectly 
at home in their department. The g^ip of Colonial 
questions secured by Pauncefote during his years at 
the Colonial Office before going to the Foreign Office, 
made him invaluable at a time when our German 
relations in Africa caused Colonial and purely foreign 
questions to overlap each other. On New Guinea and 
its international relations, Pauncefote spoke with the 
authority of a Cabinet minister. This was admitted 
by Gladstone, who (6th March 1885) called the 
Pauncefote settlement the only way not only of deal- 
ing with the South African matter, but of removing 
the bar to Egyptian setdement.* Pauncefote's suc- 
cessor, the brilliant, if rather flighty, worker and 
thoroughly trained man-of-the-world who died Lord 
Currie, presented a complete contrast to Pauncefote 
himself. Combining the socially exclusive preju- 
dices of aristocratic Whiggism, a maternal heritage 
from the Wodehouses, with the strong, clear business 
instinct of the middle-class, he remained, till he started 
as an ambassador in 1894, a personification of the 
Foreign Office genius and tradition, especially in their 
relations with the society in which he shone and the 
press whose occasional usefulness to his department 
he appreciated. " Gladstone," Lord Granville used to 
say, "on these subjects has no knowledge. I have 
not the art of pretending to give bread and giving 

* Lord Fitzmaurice's GramnlU^ voL ii. pp. 430-2. 

Official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

only a stone. Consequently the newspaper writers 
who must have early information about foreign affairs 
or write as if they had it, do not like us as well as, if 
we managed a litde better, they might." Here Currie's 
address, tact and insight into journalistic human nature 
proved invaluable. He seemed superficially the most 
communicative of men, but never told a State secret. 
His successor's. Lord Sanderson's peerage, formed a fit 
reward for the long and industrious career during 
which that official had successively scaled the whole 
length of the Foreign Office ladder ; the last rung was 
reached when, on Currie's going to Constantinople, 
Lord Sanderson naturally stepped into the vacant 
place. The chief change since then witnessed in the 
Secretariate has been the selection of the former 
ambassador at St Petersburg, Sir Charles Hardinge, 
as Lord Sanderson's successor. Of that appointment 
it may be noticed that it united the whole Foreign 
Office Staff and diplomatic body in its praise. 

The amalgamation of the Foreign Office and dip- 
lomacy, illustrated or implied in several of the instances 
already given, was carried out in 1891, under the 
recommendation of the Royal Commission of 1890. 
To the category of Whitehall officials successfully 
converted into foreign diplomatists belonged also Sir 
Michael Henry Herbert, Sidney Herbert's son, the 
thirteenth Earl of Pembroke's brother, who eventually 
reaching our Washington Embassy, so completely 
won the affection of the occupant of the White House, 
that President Roosevelt unconsciously fell into the 
habit of addressing him by his pet name of " Mungo." 
To these names should be added our present minister 
at Brussels, Sir Arthur Hardinge, originally trans- 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

ferred from the Office at home to Zanzibar. In other 
capacities the same principle of interchange has been 
exemplified in the cases of the second Lord DufFerin. 
Lord Hugh Grosvenor, Cecil Spring- Rice and 
Conway Thornton. The cosmopolitan influences of 
several famous Englishmen had long been exerted 
in favour of this fusion. The late Lord Acton, the 
first Lord Houghton, and specially the late Sir 
M. E. Grant-Duff, had long periodically cited foreign 
precedents that fully justified the scheme. In 
Germany, the Bunsen family supplied more than one 
proof of its success. In France the argument was 
strengthened by the famous name of Jusserand. 
English experience has not proved less favourable. 
Generally, it may be said, the fusion tends to prevent 
officials abroad losing touch with home feeling, or 
from drifting into a state of decorative indolence. 
On the other hand it keeps the Whitehall men from 
crystallising into bureaucrats with an horizon limited 
by the desk at which they write. Too sweepingly 
or hastily carried out, the process might embarrass 
the permanent heads of the Foreign Office. During 
the first six years foreign employment should clearly 
be optional, to avoid the risk of the transfer coming 
before the Whitehall men were receiving salaries 
equal to its cost. A democratised diplomacy, or 
Foreign Office, is not only an impossibility in itself ; 
it has never yet had a place in the enlightened pro- 
jects of the most extreme reformer. Sheer ignorance 
and incapacity are excluded from the service by the 
searching examinational ordeal, which for more than 
half a century has barred entrance to it, and mitigated, 

if not entirely abolished, the old favouritism that 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

introduced into the department young men whose 
only qualifications were the good manners that belong 
to birth and breeding. 

The Order in Council of 1855, establishing the Civil 
Service Commissioners, made itself felt at the Foreign 
Office the next year. The first recipient of a Foreign 
Office nomination, conditional on satisfying the com- 
missioners, was Victor Buckley ; nominated in Decem- 
ber 1856, duly examined by the Civil Service Commis- 
sion, he received a certificate dated 12th January 1857. 
At this examination there was no competition. Mr 
Buckleys happy and easy experience has seldom, 
if ever, been repeated since. To-day the Secretary 
of State s nomination for what is still practically a 
close office, will not be of much good to its possessor, 
unless he is generally up to the mark of success in 
the Indian Civil, or the struggle for an entrance 
scholarship at a good Oxford or Cambridge college. At 
Oxford, by the by, unless the statutes should ab- 
solutely forbid such a course, there may be nothing 
legally to prevent college fellows from electing the 
candidate who promises to be the most agreeable 
member of their society, rather than the man whose 
paper-work is best. Practically by its strong repro- 
bation the public opinion of the place renders 
such an abuse impossible. In the same way a 
Secretary of State theoretically may have it in his 
power to bring into his department someone who 
has not submitted himself to the Civil Service Com- 
mission. Practically the thing will never be done. 
None the less, the Foreign Office and diplomacy will 
preserve the tradition of social prestige, and will run 
in families. The British ambassador in 1907, is 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

lineally descended from a sixteenth-century Bertie, 
who filled the same position in the same capital during 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth. On the other hand 
the most recent among our very greatest ambassadors, 
as well as the most versatile, the first Marquis of 
Dufferin, reached the Paris embassy without any 
training in regular diplomacy or at the Foreign 
Office.* Having pacified Syria, he not only created 
Canada, but taught the Canadians to believe in their 
country and themselves. Even diplomatists of this 
calibre, if again forthcoming, will not render entirely 
obsolete Mr T. G. Bowles' definition of the ambas- 
sador d la mode as a clerk in gold lace at the end of 
a telegraph wire, only acting on orders from White- 
hall, and daily reporting to the Foreign Secretary. 
Formerly questions were seldom asked at West- 
minster about treaty-making till the process was 
complete. To-day the Secretary of State, or his 
representative, is liable to interrogatories at each 
new state of a pending negotiation. At the same 
time, social position and diplomatic accomplishments 
have ceased to be the only qualifications necessary 
to our representatives abroad. Every year se^ our 
foreign relations charged increasingly with commercial 
issues. Our consuls, if they are to do their work 
properly, must have the knowledge of trade experts. 
Our ambassadors will be the better up to their work if 
they have been trained in commerce and finance as well 
as in Imperialism, like Lord Cromer. They must, 
for other reasons than their personal authority, have 

* This probably makes the case unique ; Mr James Bryce, now our 
representative at Washington, having been Foreign Under-Secretary 
in 1886. 


Ofjficial and Unofficial Diplomatists 

the confidence of the trading classes, and so act not 
less as the fiduciaries of English enterprise than as 
the plenipotentiaries of their sovereign. 

The details of the organisation controlled by the 
Secretary of State at home have been already given. 
Something may now be said about the surroundings 
of an ambassador. First, as to his attaches from the 
Admiralty or the War Office. Early in the nineteenth 
century isolated officers of the army and navy were 
sent on special missions to various courts. This was 
done under the authority of the king himself or of 
the Secretary for War. Nor are any such missions 
mentioned in the Foreign Office archives. The 
earliest appointment of a military attach^ which can be 
traced belongs to 1858. The War Office records show 
no salary to have been paid to a military attach^ 
before 1865. At that date a British naval attach^ 
had existed for five years at Paris. In 1865, too, the 
struggle between North and South led to the ap- 
pointment of a second naval attach^ at Washington ; 
simultaneously with this, the naval post at Paris was 
abolished, or, more accurately, the permanent naval 
attach^ in France was replaced by a travelling attache. 
In 1882, a second European naval attach^ was ac- 
credited the courts of the Maritime Powers generally. 
This officer moved so rapidly between Europe and 
America, that for some time he must have been 
considered equal to the duties of both hemispheres. 
Gradually, however, the institution of two naval 
attaches, one for the European, another for the 
American side of the Atlantic, seems to have estab- 
lished itself. As time went on these numbers have 

since increased, till at the present time the military 
2A 369 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

attaches reach a total of twelve, of whom one is 
allotted to the whole American continent, and 
the rest to Europe. So, too, with the six naval 
attaches now existing; one is transatlantic, 
the remaining five European. There are, too, 
commercial attaches, five in all, all stationed in 

In theory, of course, every British embassy abroad 
and its precincts stand on British soil. Self-sufHciency, 
as well as inviolability, was one of the ideas associated 
with the residence of England's representative in 
capitals beyond sea. Hence the sanctuary rights 
which soon g^ew up round the embassy; the gfross 
abuse of these afterwards called for their curtailment 
before their abolition. In early days, beneath the 
ambassador's roof there were accumulated stores of all 
the necessities of daily life. The embassy, in fact, was 
not only a house, but a setdement, self-contained so 
completely that its inmates seldom needed to supply 
their wants from local traders. Spiritual and physical 
needs were both provided for. To-day the embassy 
doctor is generally confined to Oriental posts such as 
Constantinople, Teheran and Tokio, where a medical 
man is paid by the State to attend the mission. In all 
other cases embassy doctors are purely honorary. The 
embassy chaplain as a State servant is a Church of 
England clergyman. Should the ambassador belong 
to any other communion, he would, at his own charge, 
find a minister of his particular faith. The diplomatic 
posts now equipped with chaplains are Athens, 
Berne, Christiania, Copenhagen, Constantinople, The 
Hague, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Tokio, 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

Unofficial diplomacy has from time to time, as 
regards activity and influence, competed not unsuccess- 
fully with the agencies controlled by our Foreign 
Office. In some cases, too, it has provided itself with 
an organisation of its own as elaborate perhaps and as 
effective as that of Whitehall. Such international 
agencies, uncontrolled by and occasionally pitting 
themselves against the Secretary of State, have 
often been extra-parliamentary in their operation ; 
during the fifties they were strenuously personified 
in Richard Cobden and David Urquhart. Cobden s 
mission was to counterwork Palmerston's Turco- 
philism ; Urquhart's to stimulate it and expose a 
veiled and venal subserviency to Russia. To-day 
Urquhart's most practical monument is the Turkish- 
bath, where stands his bust in Jermyn Street. This 
place reproduces as nearly as may be that part of 
Urquhart's house at Watford always kept at a 
temperature of from i6o to i8o degrees and doing 
duty as a waiting-room for visitors. Urquhart him- 
self was only five years in the House of Commons, 
when member for Stafford, from 1847 to 1852. His 
great authority as the apostle of Russophobia was 
exercised through provincial channels. A small, 
loosely-knit man, with a strikingly intelligent ex- 
pression, a purely Anglo-Saxon fairness of com- 
plexion and lightness of hair strangely contrasting 
with his Oriental habits, he showed his taste in 
costume by an unobtrusiveness which won him, from 
some of the ** dandies" his contemporaries, the 
compliment of being the one well-dressed man 
outside their set. He spoke, as he wrote, with 
extreme rapidity ; he knew, however, exactly the 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

temper of those he addressed; he had weighed 
beforehand every syllable and every gesture. Un- 
like Palmerston, the object of his lifelong distrust, 
he never had the ear of St Stephen's. His most 
successful and characteristic achievement was the for- 
mation of the political committees which by leaflets, 
lectures and personal house-to-house visits, proselytised 
among the mechanics and artisans of the Northern 
Midlands. Urquhart had honesdy persuaded himself 
that he faithfully represented the traditional Tory 
doctrine about Russia as impressed on his followers 
during the Oczakow episode by the younger Pitt 
His vehemence seldom outstripped his knowledge. 
His speeches and his writings, especially his Past and 
Present of Russia and his best book of all, The Pillars 
of Hercules, are generally free from extravagance of 
sentiment or expression ; they contain little more than 
a clear reflection of the international ideas current in 
clubs and drawing-rooms from the days of the Crimean 
War to those of the Bulgarian troubles. Imperious, 
intensely aristocratic as well as autocratic, yet gracious 
and urbane, Urquhart exercised over reactionary re- 
publicans, over high Tories, over ultra-democrats, the 
same kind of personal fascination belonging to most 
born leaders of men ; the last survivor of his disciples, 
the eloquent and impassioned Joseph Cowen, com- 
pared it to that imiversally recognised in Joseph 
Mazzini. Urquhart's addresses, periodically delivered 
in the provinces, ingeniously presented diplomacy as a 
kind of handmaid to international ethics. This 
was the modernising of an idea which had been 
laboured by the Czar Alexander I. in more than 
one of his despatches belonging to the Tilsit 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

period.* To Mr C. Dobson Collett, former editor of 
Urquhart s Diplomatic Review, I am indebted for many 
details which show the political machinery that Urquhart 
used at home to have been effectively copied by 
the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League. In our 
own day Urquhart's organisation supplied the model for 
the methods of that Primrose League, studied as those 
methods were and revived by the founders of the later 
organisation, Sir John Gorst, Sir William Marriott and 
Lord Randolph Churchill. 

Urquhart's notion of educating the constituencies 
into a correct appreciation of the real drift and true 
issues of foreign policy was revived on a smaller scale, 
and after an interval of several years, by a gifted man 
whose visionary eccentricities and strange convictions 
interfered with his doing full justice to his great 
experience and real skill as an international negotiator. 
Laurence Oliphant was trained in the Foreign Office 
under the redoubtable Hammond ; as chargd cf affaires 
at Pekin in 1862, after Lord Elgin's Chinese mission, 
to which he had been attached, he used his exceptional 
opportunities industriously to study the problems of 
the further East. When member for the Stirling 
Burghs, he preferred the Prfess to Parliament as the 
medium for imparting his knowledge of affairs to the 
public. Had he possessed the physical vigour and 
energy of Urquhart he might have afterwards 
successfully carried out a project, originating in 
Urquhart s attempts to instruct the ten-pound house- 
holders in their Imperial concerns. Oliphant's plan 

^Born in 1805, dying in 1877, ^^ >s boried at Naples with, on his 
tomb, an inscription that reflects his character and career — " Vir invictl 
constantii priscae reverentiae inter homines restitutor. Juris gentium pro 
pugnator," etc. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

was to supplement the deficiencies of Whitehall with an 
agency for supplying clubs, newspapers and private 
individuals with early and exclusive intelligence, which 
should take them behind the scenes of Eastern politics. 
Lord Salisbury, before he came to his tide, delivered 
his maiden speech in the Lower House on a domestic 
question — Lord John Russell's University commission. 
He first, however, made his mark during the debates 
on the Vienna negotiations of the Crimean epoch ; his 
criticisms then destined him to be the Foreign Minister 
of his party in the future. The last half of the nine- 
teenth century developed other notable exponents of 
foreign policy in the popular Chamber. Lord Henry 
Lennox was a born orator, who from no want of fitness 
for the post failed to become Foreign Under-Secretary, 
in the May of 1 863. By a very striking oration, he tried 
to turn the tables on the Gladstonian denouncers of 
Bourbon rule in Naples ; his method was to detail the 
sufferings of the Bourbonists themselves in Neapolitan 
prisons. He was followed by a man whom Disraeli then 
complimented on the best first speech he had ever heard 
— H. A, Butler Johnstone. This speaker, more wisely 
using his advantages of wealth, knowledge, ability, and 
without his infatuated belief in the Turk, might have 
left a name in the foreign statesmanship of his time. 
Sir Arthur Otway, Mr Henry Labouchere and Sir M. 
E. Grant Duff" were others who during the sixties, 
when mixing in foreign policy debates, spoke not from 
hearsay but from personal knowledge, and so, each in 
their very different ways, instructed as well as pleased 
the Chamber. The House of Lords had of course 
exceptional advantages for debates on diplomacy. In 
both places the subject seldom fails to produce at 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

least one competent critic in someone often hitherto 
forgotten or ignored. Such was the late Joseph 
Cowen, whose elocution was not the less effective 
because, like that of the fourteenth Lord Derby and 
of Gladstone himself, it never quite lost the Northern 
burr. Cowen's impassioned declaration for Disraeli's 
Eastern policy in the discussions of a generation ago 
were the effective and unexpected utterances of the 
last Urquhartite. 

Elsewhere than in Parliamentary life one is periodi- 
cally reminded of the amount of available but entirely 
unutilised knowledge of foreign affairs and aptitude for 
diplomatic employment existing in our niidst. A case 
in point is that of Henry Ottiwell Waterfield, formerly 
connected with the Ottoman Bank in London, who 
died comparatively few years ago. Captain of the 
school at Eton, he won " King's " with flying colours. 
At Cambridge he was much impressed by Kinglake's 
Eothen and Eliot Warburton's The Crescent and the 
Cross. Soon after taking his degree he happened to 
fall in with William Gifford Palgrave and Percy 
Smythe, the eighth Lord Strangford ; that successor 
to George Smythe of Coningsby associations was the 
most accomplished among the diplomatic Orientalists 
of the time. Often in the company of these acquaint- 
ances, Waterfield travelled up and down European 
and Asiatic Turkey, failed to find the longed-for 
opening in the foreign service of his country, and 
settled down into a successful schoolmaster. 

Diplomatic ambition may exist without diplo- 
matic aptitude. Waterfield's case, however, was 
only one of several in which definite proof had been 
given of born and not entirely untrained capacity. It 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

might be a wise economy for those who direct inter- 
national affairs, when such persons are brought to 
their notice, to consider whether their tastes and 
energies should not be utilised by the State. Lord 
Salisbury himself developed into a great Foreign 
Secretary without having first undergone any par- 
ticular training for that department. While at the 
Foreign Office, Lord Salisbury was too much 
occupied with State affairs to aim at knowing much of 
its interior economy, personal life, or to cultivate an 
acquaintance even with the names and faces of his 
staff, as, during their most anxious periods, had been 
done even by Clarendon and Aberdeen. In ad- 
ministration he showed the sagacity and greatness 
inherited from his Elizabethan ancestors ; but he had 
no time to think of making the office a school for 
diplomatists, though in his earlier days he had used 
the opportunities of the India Office to educate many 
who were brought under his eyes into a knowledge of 
and an interest in our Asiatic Empire. The contrast 
between the Lord Salisbury of the India Office and 
of the Foreign Office emphasised itself by the appoint- 
ment of an infantry officer, with a pleasant manner 
but no knowledge of the East, Sir Claude Macdonald, 
to Pekin in 1896. The Secretary of State (1907) at 
the time these lines are written has at least one 
advantage over his recent predecessors. The dearth 
of good officials among the juniors, resulting from 
Lord Hammond's excess of personal industry, has 
ceased. Lord Sanderson and his successor in the 
Under-Secretaryship of State, Sir Charles Hardinge, 
have together educated the rising talent of the Office 
into increasing usefulness. The son of the Sir Louis 


Official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

Mallet already mentioned in these pages, from an 
Under-Secretary Assistant has become private 
secretary to the head of the department. No servants 
of the department can have been brought up more 
thoroughly in the right way than Assistant Under- 
Secretaries Sir Francis Campbell and Mr Walter 
Lpangley. Among their colleagues the same praise 
belongs to the late Sir Joseph Crowe's son, Mr Eyre 
Crowe, head of the Western (European) department 
and Secretary of The Hague Conference, where he 
did so well as to get his C.B. Other members of 
the staff of whom much may be hoped are Messrs R. 
F. O. Bridgeman, G. R. Clerk, Charles Tufton, 
Victor Wellesley. 

Of the consular service, something has been done 
to increase the efficiency. The examinational test 
recently adopted does not, however, sufficiendy exclude 
sheer incapacity, as at least is done by the intellectual 
ordeal which bars the entrance to the Foreign Office. 
The consular salaries, being often those fixed forty or 
fifty years ago, are uniformly inadequate, and do not 
constitute a "living- wage." The commercial aspects 
of our foreign service are still apt to be ignored by 
Imperial statesmen. They are left to the Parlia- 
mentary Under-Secretary who, with a soul above 
such details, hands them over to his clerks. That we 
did not fare worse in our Niger negotiations of some 
years ago was due notoriously, not to the Foreign 
Office, but to the Board of Trade — which has practi- 
cally relieved the Foreign Office of much of its mere 
business work — and to the vigorous action of Mr 
Chamberlain, then supreme. Belgium and other 
foreign states give consulships increasingly to men of 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

proved aptness in getting commercial concessions from 
foreign governments. Hence the immense progress of 
late made, not only in Africa, but in China, by Russia 
as well as Belgium. We are an Imperial people 
because we are a trading one. Our agents in distant 
countries should be businesslike, if not actually 
commercial men. To secure that, the first requisite 
is the creation of a new department at Whitehall. In 
other words, our Foreign Office must be furnished 
with an Under-Secretary whose special province is to 
superintend the commercial duties and relationships of 
Imperial administration. Few departments of State, 
from the nature of their employments, can be in more 
need of periodical remodelling than the Foreign 

The international postal system, attended as it is 
by the risk of foreign despatches being opened en 
route, has not yet quite superseded the Foreign Office 
Messengers. These, officially styled King's Foreign 
Service Messengers, are less numerous than formerly, 
and lack the perquisites that once made their places so 
valuable. There are to-day only seven of them, all 
too much occupied and too incessandy locomotive to 
pervade, as they formerly seemed to do, the pleasure 
resorts of Continental capitals, and especially Paris. 
The days have thus gone by when chance customers 
dropping into Voisins' for lunch found the tables all 
occupied or bespoken, while a visibly awe-struck 
waiter apologised for not attending to the casual 
stranger on the plea of preoccupation with ''Messieurs 
les Ambassadeursy Nor indeed during those halcyon 
days of the seventies, vividly painted by Charles 
Lever in his O'Dowd Papers, could the Mercurys of 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

the monarch's Foreign Service personally have 
suffered from comparison with the Secretaries of 
State and Councillors whose despatches they con- 
descended to carry. The embassies themselves have 
become political workshops, whose industrial economy 
in its departmental divisions is modelled on that of the 
office at Whitehall. Not indeed that the social duties 
of ambassador or ambassadress have become less 
exacting to some people less attractive or less varied 
than formerly. On the contrary the imceasing increase 
in the number of wealthy British subjects pervading 
Continental capitals and pushing for introductions has 
gready added to the social cares of England's re- 
presentatives abroad. Anglo-Saxon billionaires and 
millionaires from both sides of the Atlantic are apt to 
regard "their embassy" much as a house-of-call, where 
dinner invitations may sometimes be picked up and 
letters of social credit obtained. Here, then, is scope 
enough for the exercise of a tact as discriminating and 
a decision as strong and as courteous as were re- 
quired when the chief, if not only, social anxiety of the 
embassy was to avoid offence and to extend influence 
by the judicious selection of guests to State banquets 
and entertainments. 

The popular and fashionable prestige acquired 
under the Palmerstonian regime by the Foreign Office 
at home, and by the work that its servants did abroad, 
has already been mentioned. London in the sixties 
was not the only metropolis in which, whatever the 
place might be, those who were behind the scenes 
pointed out to one strange-looking men and still 
stranger-looking women. These, it was whispered, were 
Palmerston's secret agents. Three of these gentlemen, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

according to their own mysterious hints about them- 
selves, and the traditions circulated by their friends, 
survived till late in the nineteenth century in the 
persons of New Yorkers formerly well known in 
London — the Chevalier Wikoff, W. H. Hurlbert and, 
above all, Samuel Ward, the last long famous as the 
prince of gourmets at Delmonico's, the king of the 
lobby at Washington and a standing dish in his day 
at London dinner-tables and in fashionable country- 
houses. Had he flourished in Palmerstonian days, 
some too lively imaginations might have detected one 
of Palmerston's disguised legionaries in the nomadic- 
ally diplomatic, militant citizen of the world. Baron 
Malortie, who was so often one of the guests at Lord 
Granville's Walmer Castle parties. These gatherings 
brought together in the never over-crowded rooms 
a happy selection of international experts from all 
countries. Their talk served for an introduction behind 
the scenes of European politics. At Walmer, during 
Lord Granville's Wardenship, which began in 1865, 
might at one time have been seen the most accom- 
plished and unsparing critic of English diplomacy then 
belonging to the Foreign Service. This was Charles 
Lever, on furlough from his Spezzia- consulship, now 
exchanging notes on our foreign shortcomings with the 
Chevalier Blowitz of The Times, and now in a separate 
comer reproaching A. W. Kinglake for representing the 
Crimean invasion as a French intrigue, adding, " Your 
book is no more history than the Balaclava charge was 
war." Elsewhere, from Lord Arthur Russell of the 
polished and placid presence, dropped gentle epigrams 
on the foreign incidents of the hour. 

Reunions not less representative were held else- 


Official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

where than at Walmer during this period. I have 
already touched in passing on the memorably pleasant 
and instructive parties at the Belgian ministers, M. 
Van de Weyer, during the last reign. These were to 
their own period what a little earlier had been the 
drawing-room and dining- table of Baron Neumann, 
the Austrian diplomatist who married Lady Augusta 
Somerset, the Duke of Beaufort's daughter. Lord 
Beaconsfield's Endymion contains a sketch from 
life of the Rothschild hospitalities at Gunnersbury. 
These collected, more systematically perhaps than 
had been done before, the men who make and those 
who write about international politics. Not even under 
Delane's later administration and during the day of 
De Blowitz did The Times seem in such intimate 
touch with the men who pulled the strings of European 
policy as when its great editor was in weekly inter- 
course with Palmerston first, Disraeli afterwards, at 
the Sunday parties in the suburban villa of him whom 
Disraeli drew as the banker, "Mr Neuchatel." At 
Gunnersbury, too, so late as the second half of Delane's 
editorship, were arranged by him with his fellow-guests 
at "Mr Neuchatel's" many of those closely packed 
half-columns by responsible diplomatists which so often 
gave an official cachet to the "organ of the City." 
Such, especially in 1 870, were the Communiques of the 
resigned Secretary of State, then Mr Otway, about the 
Black Sea surrender to Russia ; such was Sir Robert 
Meade's remarkable statement on the same subject 
which set the diplomatists of Europe speculating as to 
the identity of "Amicus." In this connection two 
more persons may be mentioned — one of them a lady ; 
Madame Novikoff has been too much written about to 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

call for many descriptive words here. She had made 
her d6but in the polite world of these islands during her 
brilliant girlhood. Retaining much of her beauty and 
charm, she reappeared in London during the seventies, 
and became die Egeria who instructed as well as 
fascinated men of a genius not less widely different than 
J. A. Froude, A. W. Kinglake and W. E. Gladstone. 
The other foreigner now referred to was the 
London correspondent of the Kolnische Zeitung. 
Max Schlesinger preceded Sir Mackenzie Wallace in 
acquainting at first hand with the mainsprings of 
political action in central Europe those who themselves, 
by speech or pen, instructed the English public in the 
subject. Had Schlesinger lived in the days of Pitt or 
Canning, he would have been taken on by the Foreign 
Office. As it was, more than one Secretary of State 
found it useful to talk things over with him ; politicians 
less highly placed, whether of the platform or of the 
press, readily availed themselves of invitations to 
meet him at the private houses where he began by 
being on view, at the Mayfair dinner-tables of Sir 
W. O. and Lady Priestley, or of Lord Arthur Russell, 
and at the Portland Place receptions of Sir George H. 
and Lady Lewis. Schlesinger's special knowledge 
was never in such request as when, towards the close 
of the seventies, clubs, drawing-rooms and street 
crowds were clamouring for war with Russia. The 
indigenous Chauvinism with which French statesman- 
ship has always had to reckon, is the simple growth 
of a national and militant egotism. The British 
jingoism that drove Lord Derby from the Foreign 
Office in 1878, by accompanying the six-million credit 

vote with the moving of the fleet to the Dardanelles, 


official and Unofficial Diplomatists 

was a composite product. Foremost among its con- 
stituents was a revival of the popular feeling for our 
ally and prot^g6 of Crimean memories, the gentle- 
manly Turk; in smart drawing-rooms children were 
taught to greet their mothers' visitors with a Moslem 
salaam ; little boys were dressed up as bashi-bazouks ; 
their small sisters were disguised in the flowing drapery 
of odalisques. Under Jewish ascendancy the City had 
become as anti-Russian as the West End. Influences 
more or less intellectual were at work in the same 
direction. The periodical revival of the old Oxford 
High Anglican sentiment for reunion with the Greek 
Church prompted the loyal subjects of the Vatican to 
range themselves with the Asiatic enemies of the 
Greek Patriarch. Among the thinkers and agnostics 
were Comtists whose humanitarian sentiments set 
them against the Mussulman. Others, however, were 
attracted to the fashionable side from an idea that 
Moslemism might act as a counterpoise to a too pre- 
ponderating Christianity. 




British diplomacy, in spite of personal and party differences, un- 
changed in its main objects — Diversity of diplomatic opinions 
regarding Russia — The San Juan Settlement — The European 
Concert — English and Russian influence in the Near East — 
The Treaty of San Ste&no— The Berlin .Congress— England's 
secret agreements with Russia and Turkey — The London and 
St Petersburg Foreign Offices compared— The Danube Con- 
ference, 1883 — ^The Barrfere Project — Diplomacy influenced by 
the City and the Press — ^The King as the head of our Diplo- 
matic System — Supposed unpopularity abroad of Liberal 
Diplomatists — Connection between the Court and the Foreign 
Office — ^The Hague Conference of 1907 — Arms superseded by 

THE existing Foreign Office had been built before 
the popular phenomena analysed in the last 
chapter. The massive structure with its Parliament 
Street frontage and St James Park in the rear 
had, as already described, become in 1868 the head- 
quarters of our external administration. The present 
narrative will reach its natural end in a retrospect 
of the chief transactions thus far to be associated 
with this edifice. The series of negotiations now 
to be reviewed began in 1871 with the Black Sea 
Conference, originally suggested by Bismarck,* held 

^ Apart from a standing wish to embroil England and Russia, 
the German chancellor at this time found his pleasure in presenting 
English politicians with accumulated proofe of Louis Napoleon's repeated 
overtures to Berlin to make common cause with Prussia against England. 
" Here," he would say to the fallen emperor's British partisans, **is what 
your French ally has always been at." 


New Views and Ventures 

under the presidency of Lord Granville at London in 
the March of 1871 ; this it was found convenient to 
mention on an earlier page. Here it is proper to point 
out that the first great act of English diplomacy after 
the Franco-Prussian War was one of fidelity to the 
Palmerstonian traditions emphasised at the Paris 
Congress of 1856. In fact, however much the leading 
agents of Gladstone's diplomacy may have disapproved 
the obligations incurred by England at this period, it 
was never a part of their policy to evade them. Here 
it may be well to correct a popular exaggeration of the 
mischievous effects exercised by party politics at home 
upon statesmanship abroad. As was seen in the first 
chapter of this work, English dynastic changes, and the 
new issues raised by political revolutions, if not more com- 
mon in England than in other countries, have periodically 
influenced the terms of our intercourse with Continental 
states. Thus the bias of our foreign policy under an 
absolute monarchy was at one period French, at another 
Spanish, at another Austrian.* Amid all fluctuations, 
however, the maintenance of the European equilibrium 
to the advantage of English interests remained the con- 
sistent object of our statesmanship. English factions and 
their leaders have often been labelled with international 
sympathies widely different. Violent solutions of con- 
tinuity as a result of those differences have for the 
most part been rare. The rivalries of faction have 
shown themselves over methods of execution rather 

* The notion of a necessary antagonism between the foreign policy 
of England and France was a tradition from The Hundred Years' War. 
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries no such opposition existed. 
On the contrary the conductors of French and English policy co-operated 
with each other in common resistance to Spain. Queen Elizabeth and 
Henry IV. worked together. Cromwell acted with Mazarin. The 
Stuarts, Charles II. and James II. truckled to Louis XIV. 
2B 38s 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

than general objects of policy. The first Secretary 
of State for Foreign Affairs, Fox, in comparison with 
the drastic methods of his department when animated 
by Pitt's inspiring supervision, may have seemed re- 
miss in forming coalitions against France and in sub- 
sidising the armed opponents of European anarchy. 
But, as has been circumstantially shown in these pages. 
Great Britain's paramount concern, to prevent French 
preponderance in the European system, was not main- 
tained more strongly by Pitt than by Fox ; while Pitt 
himself lived to regret and for the future to renounce 
arrangements by which England was compelled to pay, 
while those who pocketed her money did just as much 
or as little in return as seemed to their own interest. 
At each successive opportunity of negotiation with the 
victorious captain who personified the revolutionary 
force, both the British statesmen were equally ready to 
receive or to make overtures. So with their successors^ 
The difference between Palmerston on the one hand 
and Aberdeen or the court of Queen Victoria and the 
Prince Consort on the other originated in and was 
confined to details of personal conduct or political pro- 
cedure. Aberdeen's wish to promote an Anglo-French 
entente was, whenever he had the chance, Palmerston's 
idea also. During the first part of the Victorian age 
Palmerston's Whig sympathy with France as the land 
of Liberalism did not prevent his making ready to fight 
her rather than compromise British interests by per- 
mitting French ascendancy in Syria and Egypt. 
Aberdeen's high Tory antecedents formed a strong 
contrast to Palmerston's early Whig associations. As 
regards Mehemet Ali, in 1830, Aberdeen began by 

telling his fellow Oppositionists that Palmerston would 


New Views and Ventures 

give a good account of himself ; he ended by approving 
in detail everything that Palmerston had done. 

In the case' of the Eastern question and the rela- 
tions into which it has brought England both with 
Russia and Turkey, personal accidents have sometimes 
made it more difficult for successive administrations to 
maintain an unbroken line of statesmanship. Even 
here the differences long made themselves felt more at 
the formation of a Cabinet, e.g,^ between 1846 and 
1856, than in the actual work of foreign administration 
afterwards. The conventional anti-Russian feeling first 
showed itself at the English court under George I., at 
the time of the Northern Alliance against England, ren- 
dered abortive, as has been seen, by the death of Charles 
X 1 1 . of Sweden. The next attack of Russophobia, in the 
reign of George III., in connection with Oczakow, was 
aggravated by the personal jealousy between theyoimger 
Pitt and Charles Fox.* Chatham, indeed, we have heard 
during the Seven Years' War describes himself as getting 
more and more of a Russ every day. Throughout the 
European convulsions, beginning in 18 14, we acted with 
Russia ; at Vienna, as elsewhere, the Duke of Wellington 
greatly preferred Russia to any other Power. Welling- 
ton's good opinion may be naturally explained by the 
comparative moderation of the Emperor Alexander in 
the matter of the terms to be imposed upon France 
after Leipzig and Waterloo. Whether this moderation 
was really so signal as Wellington, not merely at the 

* Before this a most important English embassage to the Russian 
Empress Elizabeth had been that of Macartney, who was also the first 
British Ambassador ever sent to China (1772). In 1764 the renewal of 
the Anglo-Russian treaty that had expired in 1734 was essential to 
English diplomaqr. Macartney's tact alone finally overcame Elizabeth's 
repeated refusals. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

time but afterwards, thought, may be doubtful ; Russia 
in fact could afford to seem disinterested because she 
risked nothing ; helped by Wellington's good opinion, 
she was making a cheap investment in moral reputa- 
tion that was subsequendy to pay her well with her 
British partisans. Even Welling^ton found reason to 
modify his first favourable estimate during the negotia- 
tions for Hellenic autonomy between the St Petersburg 
protocol and the Treaty of London. By the time of 
the Bourbon restoration a second French expedition 
to Moscow had become inconceivable; Russia, too, 
was so remote from France as to be free from all 
anxiety about French action after Napoleon's fall. 
To trace the whole course of Anglo-Russian relations, 
even with the minimum of detail necessary to make 
them intelligible, would be beyond the scope of this 
work. Those Anglo-Russian developments of our 
own day that need be mentioned here have marked 
different stages in the story of the new Foreign Office 
building. Sir Edward Grey's second year in the 
control of this department was signalised by the agree- 
ment between London and St Petersburg which met 
with no warmer approval than from Lord Lansdowne, 
the Conservative predecessor of its English author.* 
As a fact the new entente changes nothing, but it 
helps to keep Europe quiet, is something for the 
public and the press to discuss, and may conduce to 
a feeling of English sympathy on the "prolonged 
period of anarchy " to which the Giant of the North 
has " fallen a prey." 

* The tempers of Lord Palmerston and Sir Edward Grey have little 
in common. The present Foreign Secretary's proposal (1908) to settle 
Macedonia by appointing a trustworthy Turk as Governor, is quite in the 
Palmerstonian spirit. 


New Views and Ventures 

Such, in the spring of 1908, has been Russia's last 
appearance at the new Foreign Office. Its first was the 
already described Black Sea Conference of 187 1. In 
1872 the department disposed of another question, that 
of San Juan ; with that Russia's connection was only 
incidental and secondary. Whether England or the 
United States was entided to the island of San Juan 
ought to have been setded, but was ignored by the Ore- 
gon Treaty of 1 846. The earliest associations of the new 
Foreign Office were again destined to be inauspicious. 
The German emperor, to whom the matter was referred, 
immediately gave it as strongly in favour of the Ameri- 
cans as had been done by the Geneva arbitrators in the 
affair of the Alabama. The group of subjects chiefly 
connecting themselves with the new building during 
the Secretaryships of Granville, Derby and Salisbury, 
concerned this country and Russia. Here, as had 
been done before, and was done afterwards, Liberal 
and Conservative ministers showed the same anxiety 
to guard against any breach in the policy of their 
department. The object common to each of them was 
not so much to suppress Russia, as to insist upon the 
observance in her Imperial progress of her treaty 
obligations as a member of the European comity. 
The degree of success with which British diplomacy 
did this may have varied. The duty itself was im- 
partially recognised as a principle of English diplo- 
macy, by Aberdeen as by Palmerston, by Gladstone, 
Disraeli, Granville and Salisbury. In 1856, the four- 
teenth Lord Derby's Austrian sympathies, rather than 
any differences about relations with the Czar or the 
Porte, prevented Gladstone's return to a Conservative 
Cabinet. On the whole, too, the consistent pressure 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of our Foreign Office under successive chiefs has had 
the effect of bringing Russia into line with the other 
Powers. The familiar phrase of our nineteenth and 
twentieth-century diplomacy, "the European Concert," 
can be shown not always to have deserved the hard 
things said about it. Thus, in 187 1, the earliest among 
the collective acts of Europe in council, performed at 
the London Foreign Office, may have sacrificed some 
of the objects secured at the Paris Congress of 1 856. 
It maintained the doctrine of Russian submission to the 
approval of united Europe as recognised by her fifteen 
years earlier. The Prusso- Russian understanding made, 
it may be said, the Black Sea Conference a farce. If so, 
it was essential to the success of the play itself Again 
and again has it been shown in these pages that, without 
previous private agreement between some of the chief 
delegates, a conference does nothing. The periodical 
and almost continuous severity of the strain placed by 
the politics of the Near East upon the Concert coincided 
in its beginnings with the renewed vigilance of White- 
hall in watching Russian movements on the frontiers of 
British India. The Foreign Secretary of 1876, Lord 
Derby, after the reopening of the Eastern question in 
that year, took the initiative in intervening not to pre- 
yent but to discourage Servia from going to war with 
Turkey. At the same time he categorically communi- 
cated to both the Czar and the Sultan the general con- 
ditions which at a conference Europe would stultify 
itself were it not to apply to both. That application 
fulfilled itself afterwards in the substitution by two 
Conservative ministers of the Treaty of Berlin for that 
of San Stefano. The terms consented to by Turkey 
and Russia at Berlin were indeed privately settled 


New Views and Ventures 

before the congress met, by the contracting diplo- 
matists. That, as has been seen, was only in accord- 
ance with the orthodox tradition. To the Gladstonian 
Foreign Secretary of 1880 fell the task of insuring the 
execution of the Berlin conditions that affected Monte- 
negro. The Derby policy of the earlier epoch had 
been, from one point of view, defined by the Prime 
Minister, as not dependent on the will of England's 
neighbours. " Russian aggression and menace," said 
Disraeli, just before he left the Lower House in 1876, 
"are to be resisted, not in the interests of Turkey, for 
whom we are not responsible, but for the purpose of 
maintaining the Empire of England." As from Pitt 
and Canning to Aberdeen and Palmerston so under 
Disraeli the main object of our Foreign Office was to 
secure the inviolability of the route to India. British 
diplomacy could not prevent the Russian support of 
Servia; it did, however, effectually neutralise the 
Russian suggestion to Austria of a joint occupation of 
Turkey and the advance of the fleets into the Bos- 
phorus. The Constantinople Conference of 1 877 failed ; 
the Russian representative. General Ignatieff, closed the 
door on its sittings with a threat. British statesmanship 
persevered in preserving the Concert ; it secured Gort- 
schakoff's signature in London (31st March 1877) of a 
protocol pledging the Powers to reforms in European 
Turkey. The diplomatic blimder vitiating the London 
protocol of 1877 was the failure to include in it the Porte 
itself as one of the signatories to the 1856 treaty. In 
1878 came the war which left victorious Russia as it 
seemed with Constantinople at her feet. The first objec- 
tion to the Treaty of San Stefano proceeded before the 
Berlin Congress from Derby. As an attempt, he said, 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

to settle the Eastern question without the consent of 
Europe, this instrument could not be accepted. 

The Salisbury Circular, which followed Derby's 
resignation, restated with a literary skill and political 
vehemence that were all its own, the objections already 
taken by the out-going minister. The fundamental 
difference between the London and St Petersburg 
Foreign Offices, revealed by the Salisbury Circular^ 
must, it was said by the unsophisticated observers, 
render it impossible for any arrangement to be reached 
by the assemblage of diplomatists at the Russian 
capital. The experts knew better. Everything had, 
in fact, been arranged between England, with the Czar 
on the one hand and the Sultan on the other, before the 
plenipotentiaries went to Berlin. Correcting Mr W. 
S. Blimt's narrative in his recent work on Egypt, Mr 
H. W. Lucy, in the Westminster Gazette, during 
August 1907, accurately recalled the true facts. The 
congress, which replaced the Treaty of San Stefano with 
the Treaty of Berlin, met on 13th June 1878. During 
the previous May outstanding differences between 
London and St Petersburg had been removed by the 
Anglo-Russian Convention specifying the terms on 
which the two nations would amicably co-operate at 
Berlin. The transfer of Cyprus to England was 
arranged in a later and an entirely different document. 
This was the Anglo-Turkish Convention, signed 4th 
Jime 1878, not communicated to Parliament till 8th 
July. It was the Anglo-Russian Convention which a 
casual Foreign Office hand sold to the Globe news- 
paper, and which Lord Salisbury contradicted. The 
agreement with the Porte was indeed the subject of a 
similar dementi, but that, of course, came later. In 


New Views and Ventures 

thus removing all dangers to an impending negotia- 
tion, the English Foreign Secretary of the day was 
acting not only according to the illustrious British 
firecedent of ages, but in strict consistency with what, 
at that very moment, was being done by all the 
European Powers concerned. Lord Beaconsfield had 
not studied Henry St John, Viscount Bolingbroke, for 
nothing. The clandestine compact with the Czar 
exactly reproduced the secret understanding with 
France, gigned and sealed by Bolingbroke, before the 
Utrecht conferences. Meanwhile, in 1878, our diplo- 
macy only followed the Continental suite. If Lord 
Salisbury was called to account for his behind-the- 
scenes deal with Russia, the Italian prime minister, 
Count Corti, had in exacdy the same way to defend 
himself for having sold Italian interest in Tunis to 
France. The Franco-Italian-Tunisian incident illus- 
trates, it may be said in passing, the continuity under 
different parties of our external relations. Lord Salis- 
bury himself rather reluctandy stomached the arrange- 
ment. The French and English official accounts since 
published show it to have been even less acceptable to 
Salisbury's successors. Gladstone and Granville, how- 
ever, while deploring and even condemning it, made 
no attempt to reverse the policy. Of the other mutual 
obligations by which, before going to Berlin, the 
Powers bound themselves hand and foot, the most 
famous secured for Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as 
a counterpoise to Panslavism. With regard to our own 
acquisition of the isle of Venus, entirely untrustworthy 
as their lordships were assured such a rumour to be, 
it was a stroke of commercial far more than military 
diplomacy. The first which many people knew of 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

the business, was the announcement of Truefit, the 
Bond Street hairdresser, that he had opened a branch 
establishment at Nicosia and the playing of cricket 
matches at Lamaca or Limassol. The British pleni 
potentiaries on their return from Berlin were welcomed 
at the Guildhall. The harmony of the proceedings 
was marred for a moment by a morbidly scrupulous 
spectator shouting — "Traitors to the Constitution!" 
But the crowd generally recognised that no violence 
had been done to any diplomatic usage. It was less 
a question of high treason than of high comedy. No 
section of English opinion was in the slightest degree 
scandalised. The public feeling had been truly re- 
flected in Tenniel's Punch cartoon — Disraeli as St 
George drinking a pot of porter, with the Dragon 
Russia behind the scenes. I have already had occa- 
sion to mention the great acquirements of Lord Henry 
Lennox. His brother, the Duke of Richmond, the 
most absolutely frank and honest of men, at once 
saved his conscience and helped his friends by describ- 
ing the prematurely disclosed agreements, not after die 
ministerial fashion, as false, but inaccurate because 
incomplete. Had the national honour been indeed 
betrayed or foully besmirched by the English authors 
of these compacts, their successors might have yielded 
to domestic and perhaps foreign pressure so far as to 
remodel them. By not proposing to do anything of 
the sort, Gladstone and Granville gave another proof 
that party changes operate less unfavourably to our 
international consistency than is sometimes supposed. 
The charge, indeed, to which our diplomacy seems 
chiefly open is not lack of unity consequent on the 
vicissitudes of our political system, but a habit of 


New Views and Ventures 

living from hand to mouth. Questions are dealt with 
singly as they arise, from day to day, with too little 
of systematic foresight. In Russia, on the contrary, the 
traditional will of Peter the Great, with its often quoted 
political injunctions, may be no more authentic than 
the forged decretals of the Western Church. Russia, 
indeed, knows little of those changes of government 
which, in constitutional states, are regarded as incon- 
sistent with unity of diplomatic purpose. She suffers, 
however, periodically from other internal convulsions 
scarcely less disquieting, while she is ever confronted 
by perplexing ethnic problems unknown in Western 
Europe. The Czar may at times seem the creature of 
his bureaucracy ; but the indefinitely far-reaching will of 
an autocrat, who is the embodiment of great traditions, 
secures consistency and immutability in the adminis- 
tration of the St Petersburg Foreign Office. 

Our Egyptian connection requires rather a volume 
than a paragraph, and could not be treated here with- 
out retreading ground already instructively occupied 
by many recent writers. It is now just a quarter of 
a century since England became paramount in the 
valley of the Nile. During that time there have been 
ten changes in the control of our Foreign Office. In 
1908, our position, work and purposes in the land of 
the Pharaohs are what they were on the morrow after 
Arabi's rising in 1882. Cabinets have been made and 
unmade, entirely new domestic forces have made 
themselves felt in our affairs. The details of our 
earliest intervention in the country attested the wish 
at once to respect Turkish integrity and the European 
concert. In 1882, Granville pressed on Gambetta 
Arabics suppression by the Sultan as the Khedive's 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

sovereign lord.* This was in the Palmerstonian line. 
Tunisian affairs had, however, strained French rela- 
tions with the Porte. It was thus the French objec- 
tion practically to recognise the Sultan's prerogative 
that compelled England to waive a diplomatic point, 
and herself do the tranquillising work. In the hands 
of successive ministers of varying calibre and of person- 
ally different ideas, the Concert has proved a diplomatic 
instrument of appreciable efficacy. Its failures have 
been caused not only by contradictory coimcils in 
Whitehall, but by the disturbing and paralysing 
influences of popular passion. Like other delicate 
agencies, it requires skill in using as well as con- 
genial conditions for its success. Thus, in 1897, the 
point of impatience to which the Greek mind had 
been worked up by the newspaper writers and agita- 
tion-mongers of Athens, Paris and London, forced 
the pace, kindled the Greco-Turkish War, and so 
prevented the bloodless cession then in course of 
arrangement by co-operation between the chanceries 
of London, Paris and St Petersburg. The same 
pressure from without and not any diplomatic hitch 
frustrated Lord Kimberley's endeavours to unite the 
Powers in protecting the Porte's Christian subjects. 
The test to which the Salisbury diplomacy seemed 
least equal was that applied in Europe rather than in 
Asia. It came in 1892, and consisted of the Heligo- 

* In 1881, the then unprecedentedly democratic Gladstonian Govern- 
ment, with Granville at the Foreign Office, was about to coerce Turkey 
by a naval demonstration into the cession of Montenegro. In the 
September of 188 1, Lord Salisbury prophesied just as much success for 
the expedient as if six washing-tubs with the flags of the different nations 
had been sent to the Adriatic On the 26th of the next November^ 
Dervish Pasha evacuated Dulcigno, into which he had fought his way» 
and the demonstration had done its work. 


New Views and Ventures 

land cession to Germany ; that coincided with the 
great advantages also gained by the same Power 
in East Africa and Zanzibar. The Anglo-American 
Venezuela dispute of 1896, presently to be mentioned, 
was preceded in 1892 by the recurrence of friction with 
the United States concerning the seal-fishery in the 
Behring Straits. In this matter Lord Salisbury's third 
Foreign Secretaryship defeated the claim of Russia, and 
disposed by arbitration that of the United States. 

Meanwhile, during Lord Granville's third Secretary- 
ship, the Foreign Office had, in 1883, received the 
European plenipotentiaries for a purpose which re- 
minded the world that a limited adhesion to the 
principles of non-intervention was consistent with as 
real a concern as formerly in whatever makes for 
prosperity, peace and equilibrium throughout Europe. 
Such an occasion came in the Danube Conference of 
1883. So far as possible, I have tried in this work to 
avoid restating familiar details except when their 
mention has been necessary to make the context 
intelligible, and have dwelt for choice upon the new 
material I have been fortunate enough to collect. In 
his biography of Lord Granville, Lord Fitzmaurice, 
to whom I am under so many obligations in preparing 
the present work, had no occasion to go at any length 
into the European meeting presided over by Gran- 
ville in 1883 concerning Danubian affairs. I may 
therefore supply the omitted particulars from in- 
formation not as yet printed.* The Paris treaty of 
1856 ending the Crimean War, provided for the 
nationalisation of the stream, which, after a course 

* Supplied me by the good offices of the French Commissioner, now 
French ambassador at Rome. 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of 1740 miles, mingles its waters with the Black Sea. 
Called into existence to pfX)mote the Riverain clauses, 
the Danube Commission contained representatives of 
Powers whose names the Treaty of Paris bore. Sub- 
sequendy a Roumanian member was added. Thus com- 
posed, the Commission from the first had, and still pos- 
sesses, sovereign rights over the waterway. The Berlin 
Conference of 1878 laid before the commissioners a plan 
for extending the navigation works up to the point of the 
I ron Gates. A further suggestion of new reg^ations for 
that portion of the river gave rise to a long and delicate 
discussion, chiefly centring round the Austrian claims to 
exclusive supervision. The refusal of those demands 
must, said the Vienna diplomatists, involve Austria's 
withdrawal from the Commission. That must have meant 
the dissolution of this highly useful body. Politically, 
as well as commercially, the consequence would have 
been a serious loss to every European state. The 
commissioner whose tact averted this misfortune was 
not indeed an Englishman; he possessed, however, 
and still possesses, a more perfect and practical 
command of our language than has perhaps belonged 
to any other foreign politician of his day ; M. Camille 
Barr^re, now, as mentioned above, representing the 
French Republic at the Quirinal, shares with his 
contemporaries, MM. Pallain and Joseph Reinach, the 
distinction of having belonged to Gambetta's most 
intimate circle ; by that shrewd reader of character he 
was chosen as French delegate at the London Danube 
Conference. To him, supported by the president's 
approval,* was due the compromise which now 

* It is a mistake to suppose, as I have seen said« that M. Barr^re's chief 
English supporter was Sir Charles Rivers Wilson. On the contrary he 


New Views and Ventures 

averted collapse. The Barr^re project, as in inter- 
national law it is still called, having been approved 
by the delegates assembled under Lord Granville's 
presidency at Whitehall, supplied the basis of the 
Danube Treaty of London in 1883. The essence 
of the Barrfere arrangement was a sub-commission for 
the Upper Danube. The new body, formed exclusively 
by the Riverain states, was to be under the presidency of 
Austria, subject to specified conditions of international 
control. At the same time the chief Commission, 
instead of being provisional and temporary, was to 
become permanent. The result has abundantly 
justified the line taken by the English minister and 
his assistant experts towards the new proposals 
ratified during the second , decade of our Foreign 
Office s occupation of its present building. Thirteen 
years later (1896) was performed the sub-commission's 
special task in making the river between Braila and 
the Iron Gates navigable by ships of large calibre. 
Austria has co-operated loyally with its neighbours. 
There is a great and growing increase of European, 
and especially English, trade on the river. Among 
the less known monuments of Granville's third Foreign 
Office term is none more significant in itself or appro- 
priate to these pages than the Franco- English policy of 
consolidating the two separate Danube Commissions. 
The permanence thus amicably secured to the principle 
of international supervision may be described to-day 
as embodying the one portion still surviving of the 
Paris treaty of 1856. 

at the time was, together with Sir Julian Pauncefote, engaged on the 
Suez Canal International Commission, over which M. Barr^re presided. 
With the Danube Commission, I am assured by Sir Charles Rivers 
Wilson himself he never had anything to do. 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

Canning indeed exercised a moderating influence 
in the opposite direction. But up to the date of the 
Treaty of Paris, British statesmanship, Whig or 
Tory, Liberal or Conservative, had on the whole 
inclined towards the practical belief that it was the 
business of our diplomacy to interfere in the afi^irs of 
other countries. In the case of foreign states, 
agitated by domestic troubles or threatened by ex- 
ternal attacks, without any solicitation and upon the 
slightest pretext, Palmerston could not easily be kept 
from proffering advice, to be supplemented if there 
seemed any excuse for it, with something in the nature 
of material assistance to the side which had his good 
wishes. In his eagerness to score " ofThis own bat," he 
consistendy ignored the greatest European growth of 
his time, the principle of nationality. His chief differ- 
ence with the Prince Consort arose from the persistent 
contempt of Prussia. Here he was backed by The 
Times. Yet Prussia was not only to unite all Germany, 
but to affect every calculation and enterprise of our 
Foreign Office. Not so the sober and more far-seeing 
among his contemporaries. When Cobden and 
Mallet returned to England from their Paris journey in 
1859, they found means of conveying even to White- 
hall their presentiment of approaching Continental 
transformation scenes and their significance to our 
statesmanship beyond seas. These warnings and 
their lessons cut deep into the minds of the masses. 
English diplomacy indeed had first shown itself 
accessible to the new notions when, in 1851, Granville, 
on succeeding Palmerston at the Foreign Office, as 
already related, gave a diplomatic status to the word 

** non-intervention." 


New Views and Ventures 

The Newfoundland fishery regulations and the 
commercial or industrial resources and temptations of 
South Africa have given rise to questions whose 
handling has taxed the skill of two recent heads of the 
Foreign Office respectively, Lord Rosebery and Lord 
Salisbury. But for the miners and capitalists of the 
rand and the " new diplomacy " associated with them, 
some have doubted whether the twentieth century 
would have opened with the Transvaal operations. 
The City, however, may be less of an embarrassment 
to Whitehall than Fleet Street and Paternoster Row. 
" The courts and foreign offices of the world, would work 
together in peace and harmony but for the embitter- 
ing influences of a press that is dominated by business 
bosses." So, in the last year of his life, said a recently 
departed diplomatist who before making that remark had 
combined several branches of journalism with politics, 
who knewtherefore thoroughly what he was talking about, 
and who was constitutionally incapable of prejudice. 

" In fifty years there will not be a legitimate 
sovereign in Europe ; from Russia to Sicily I foresee 
nothing but military despotisms." This remark was 
made about the year 1815 by the French diplo- 
matist Chateaubriand to the American Ticknor. Yet 
Chateaubriand himself before he became French 
ambassador in London (1822-4) had seen George IH. 
venerated as a symbol of Anglo-Saxon unity on both 
sides of the Atlantic. Rather less than a century after 
that king's death, his great-grandson and successor 
more than impersonates the attributes and functions 
of which his ancestor was a type. To the entire satis- 
faction of his subjects King Edward has informally 

become the head of our diplomatic system. 
2C 401 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

In 1896 the Venezuela incident formed one of 
the subjects with which Lord Salisbury had to deal. 
It belonged to a class of questions periodically 
agitating between Whitehall and Washington. The 
Venezuela and British Guiana frontier became debat- 
able immediately after the cession of Guiana to 
England by the 18 14 treaty with Holland. In and 
subsequendy to 1836, the controversy was complicated 
by the Monroe Doctrine, which, as has already inci- 
dentally been seen, was largely due to Canning's 
suggestion to the United States president. The 
experiences of 1896 confirmed Lord Salisbury's con- 
viction that we could never fight the United States. 
Moreover, there is to-day a pretty general assumption 
that since the conclusion of those international arrange- 
ments from which by name Germany had been omitted, 
England has become involved in a half promise to 
back France against the consequences, and this half 
promise would, in case of need, be kept as though 
it were a real one. Here the attitude of the Foreign 
Office under a Liberal Secretary of State is the 
same as under a Conservative. Sir Edward Grey 
himself spoke of crowning the policy of Lord 
Lansdowne by an understanding with Russia and with 
Spain. The patriots of Persia may complain of their 
country being divided into English and Russian 
spheres of influence, as well as of their efforts after 
constitutional rule being discouraged by statesmen 
who themselves belong to the " Mother of Parliaments." 
The Egyptian reformers used the same sort of 
language five-and -forty years ago. Then, as now, 
foreign censures were impartially distributed between 

both our political parties and their leaders. Periodi- 


New Views and Ventures 

cally the accession of a Liberal ministry is accompanied 

by rumours of the universal distrust with which 

Liberal diplomacy inspires Continental chanceries. 

That of course can never be otherwise than a fiction. 

To-day it is in exceptionally glaring contradiction to 

the known facts. " Votre roi^' remarked the other day 

a foreign diplomatist of the highest rank, '' ala mattrise 

de [Europe'' In the eighth year of the present reign 

the foreign public and even foreign diplomatists see 

the one responsible author of British policy in the 

king, who does, they think, make an excellent Minister 

for Foreign Affairs. In passing, it may be observed 

that the alleged unpopularity of Liberal diplomatists 

associates itself with a small diplomatic incident which 

happened in London about the beginning of Lord 

Granville's third Secretaryship. The incoming Prime 

Minister, Gladstone, had said one could put the finger 

on no point on the map at which Austria's influence 

was not exerted for evil. Journalistic and personal 

agencies sedulously aggravated the offence taken at 

these words by the Austrian Embassy in London and 

by the Imperial court at Vienna. Lord Granville had 

no difficulty in showing Gladstone's words about 

Austria to be mild in comparison with Salisbury's 

attacks on Russia. Through Granville's mediation 

the affair ended by the British premier disclaiming 

any idea of personal reflection upon the house of 


The close and practical connection between our 

Foreign Office and our court has been mentioned. The 

novelty consists not in the fact, but in the cordiality of 

its recognition and in the universal satisfaction caused 

by the results attributed to it. William III. was indeed 
2C* 403 

The Story of British Diplomacy 

the last sovereign personally to superintend foreign 
aiTairs as a department of the palace. All the suc- 
cessors of his own sex claimed and generally exercised 
over external relations a control different from that 
which satisfied them in home affairs. Despatches from 
abroad were forwarded to the palace immediately on 
their reaching England. Communications with foreign 
courts were submitted to the Crown before the Secretary 
of State signed them ; they were often added to and 
altered by the monarch. Enough has been already 
said about the relations between Queen Victoria and the 
Foreign Office. The royal supervision necessarily in- 
cluded in some cases the control of our foreign relations* 
As practised by the queen and the Prince Consort it 
really placed the sovereign at the head of the foreign 
department. If therefore the continental view of the 
king's diplomatic duties to-day is to be accepted, no fresh 
precedent would be established ; only the traditional 
practice of the dynasty would be continued. That 
is not all. The transactions with which the popular 
mind most closely connects King Edward's diplomatic 
activities are those centring round the French entente ; 
this was officially negotiated by Lord Lansdowne, and 
continued, as well as praised, by Sir Edward Grey. 
The conjunction of these two names in the foreign 
department itself seems like a guarantee that no party 
or political mutations, however violent or sudden, will 
involve a dangerously novel departure in our diplomacy. 
The Anglo-French cordiality upon certain conditions 
was, as has been already shown, the aim not less of 
Palmerston than of Aberdeen. It has been for some half 
a century the policy of the English court. Palmerston s 

dislike of Prussia continually threw him out of favour 


New Views and Ventures 

at the palace. Never on that account for a moment 
did Prince Albert drop his purpose of securing Louis 
Philippe's friendship. The tradition of this amicable in- 
tercourse lasted throughout several years of Napoleon 
III. To the queen the French emperor may have 
been a source of amiable perplexity. The queen's 
husband in equal degrees distrusted his character and 
disliked his entourage. Through it all, the good 
understanding between the two nations remained much 
what it was when initiated in the forties at the Chateau 
d*Eu. So far as any hypothetical event can be spoken 
about positively, it is absolutely certain that the English 
court, swayed by influence like that of Prince Albert, 
would have prevented the Franco- Prussian War of 
1870. For that struggle France had been preparing 
quite as long by a search after foreign alliances as 
Prussia had been doing by accoutrements and arms. 
Even the latest instalment of Queen Victoria's corre- 
spondence may contain no reference to the fact, but 
during the Prince Consort's lifetime Napoleon III. 
expended much diplomatic ingenuity and perseverance 
in the attempt to prepare a Franco- Austrian understand- 
ing to be used against Prussia, as, if there had been 
the opportunity, he might have used a Franco-Prussian 
understanding against England. A like friendly 
consideration for France was shown after the prince's 
death by Queen Victoria. It was never much of a 
diplomatic secret that in 1875 Bismarck, disgusted at 
her speedy recovery after the overthrow of five years 
earlier, wished to attack France. The opening move 
against him was planned at Windsor; the queen at 
once communicated with the Czar and with the aged 
German Emperor. The great chancellor thus received 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

checkmate. Such has been the tendency to ignore 
or underrate the Victorian tradition of French and 
English goodwill that some have seen in Russia's 
Black Sea demands of more than a generation since 
the inspiratbn of France in revenge for British in- 
difference to her troubles in 1870. That is pure 
imagination ; for as a fact France had very little 
feeling on the Black Sea question. Among his own 
subjects King Edward's employment of his great 
personal as well as inherited international knowledge 
and of his great intellectual powers upon foreign 
politics is the more welcome because his chief work, 
the French entente, manifestly has not proved incon- 
sistent with a cordiality with Germany which is 
welcomed as warmly in France as in England. No 
ordinary official could do much to neutralise the 
mischief systematically promoted by some representa- 
tives of the new journalism whose headquarters are 
the Stock Exchange rather than Fleet Street. The 
sovereign, as the unofficial head of the department, has 
already, by a few well-judged words of courtesy and 
social acts of kindly wisdom, undone the potential evil 
contained in newspaper paragraphs and columns. 

Professional diplomacy may express itself in the 
language of resignation rather than of hope about the 
pacific organisation which has for its centre The Hag^e, 
formerly so prominent and fruitful as a school for the 
foreign politicians of Western Europe. The delegates 
at the last Hague Conference were of course strictly 
bound by their instructions. Consequently there was 
no room for much initiative. France and the United 
States, as well as most of the smaller Powers, with 

regard to arbitration took the pacific and humanitarian 


New Views and Ventures 

side. In opposition to this were Germany and 
Austria. Both Italy and Russia shrunk from opposing 
Germany ; they were, however, not unfriendly to 
England. Germany cannot disarm, and does not wish 
to forego any advantage accruing to her from the 
present state of international law. At The Hague, 
therefore, while assenting in principle to peaceful 
solutions, she ruled them all out as impracticable. 
Nevertheless the latest conference of the friends of 
international amity in the Dutch capital took one real 
step in advance. This was the international court of 
prizes. As yet, indeed, this has only an inchoate 
existence. The next thing must be an agreement on 
the rules of maritime law which the new court can 
apply. In the settlement of these English diplomacy 
will of course take a leading part. On these subjects 
Japan, though not accepting all the English proposals, 
did not withhold from us her general co-operation. 
Finally, in view of earlier maritime disagreements 
already mentioned at their proper place in these pages, 
it is satisfactory to know that most of the South 
American States were very friendly to the English 
proposals ; they insisted, however, on the absolute 
equality of all Powers, a principle which in practice 
leads to complications. They are also in favour of 
reducing the rights of belligerents in the interests of 
neutrals. One thing is certain ; if The Hague dis- 
cussions have not effected more towards preventing 
war than was done years ago by some suggestions on 
the subject drawn up by the ex-Foreign Secretary 
Lord Malmesbury and his friend Sir Henry 
Drummond Wolff in The Times, they have marked an 
epoch in the evolution of international law. Students 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

of this science will find in the minutes of the Con- 
ference not only invaluable material, but reason for 
believing that, in the new period on which it is now 
entering, diplomacy will increasingly discover oppor- 
tunities of substituting arbitration for recourse to 
arms. The collective efforts already made in this 
direction may be explained in a few concluding words. 
The Brussels discussion in 1874 prepared the way for 
the peace conferences of 1899 and 1907. The former 
was a purely diplomatic agency. Its proposals were 
made in answer to a popular cry which diplomacy 
desired to direct. It pretended to no legislative 
authority. It ruled out the limitation of armaments 
by sea and land. It did, however, for the first time, 
promote international arbitration by providing a court. 
It nominated judges. It indicated the modus operandi 
generally to be pursued. The 1907 conference had 
been preceded by no diplomatic preparations. It was 
above all things popular both in its personal composi- 
tion and its methods. Its deliberations were con- 
ducted generally on the go-as-you-please principle. 
Thus the imparting of fresh vigour and organisation to 
diplomacy by the personal work and example of King 
Edward has almost coincided with a disposition to 
assert the popular will on international procedure. 
This tendency was favoured by Mr Chamberlain's 
diplomatic methods before the Transvaal war. It has 
expressed itself since in the proposal that popular 
committees of the various nations superintend the 
doings of their respective Foreign Offices. 



Abbrdssn, 4th Earl of, 7S, 233, 262, 

264, 267-275, 279, 280, 282, 284-9, 

391-2, 295-6, 298, 302-3, 305, 307, 
_3i6. 321, 376, 386-7, 389* 391 
Aboakir Bay, 159 
Achat des Actions de Sues, 331 
Acton, Lord, 366 
Adair, 119, 121, 163, 276 
Adams, 113 

Adams, C. F., 349. 35^, 354 
Addington, 129, 159, 170-1, 173, 190, 

Addison, Joseph, 39, w, 60 
Adrianople, Treaty of, 270-1, 319 
AdoancenuHt of Ltaming^ 5 
AfifBw, 314 
Aiz-la-Qiapelle, Treaty of, 74, 171, 

238, 248-9, 25s, 273 
Alabama, 348, 351, 353-4, 389 
Alberoni, 2, 42, 48, 62-5, 68-70, 74 
Albert, Prince, 290, 296, 338, 340, 

342-3f 346, 55if 386, 400, 404-5 
Aldrich, Dr, 48 
Alexander I. , 164, i66-8, 193-5, ^02, 

205, 207, 226, 234, 236, 239, 240, 

2457, 256, 372, 387. 
Alexander II., 323, 325, 329, 344, 

390, 393. 405 
Alexandrian Library, 273 
Alfred, King, 8 
Alfred, Prince, 309 
Algeria, French occupation of, 285 
Alien Act, 139, 140 
Alison, Sir A., 219, 223 
Ally Croker, 122 
Alphonso of Castile, xo 
Alsace, 56, 142 
Althorp, 266 

American Wars, 222-4, 348 
Amicus, 381 
Amiens, Peace of, 159-160, 168-9, 170- 

I, 176, 208 
Anderson, 350 
Andrassy Note, 330 
Anglo-French alliance, 9-10, 28, 51-3, 

56, 63, 65, 67, 72-3 
Anglo-French Convention, 298-9 
Anglo-French entente, 340-4, 406 

Anglo-Portn^ese alliance, 207, 251 

Anglo-Pmssian alliance, 120-2 

Anglo - Russian - Neapolitan coalition, 

Anglo- Russian Convention, 392 
Ai^lo-Spanish alliance, lo-ii, 17, 28, 

Anglo-Turkish Convention, 392 

Anne, Queen, 19, 39, 40, 45, 51-2 

Anti-Corn Law Lei^e, 373 

Antwerp, 66 

Apodaca, Admiral J. R. de, 212 

Archangel, 126 

Aristotkanes, 186 

Armaoa, 1 1 

Armed Neutrality, 165, 199, 328 

Arthur, Prince of Wales> 13 

Ashburton, Lord, 287, 303 

Ashbnrton Treaty, 287-8 

Assiento, 61 

Aston, 292 

Auckland, Lord, 119, 122-3, "S, 133, 

Auckland Papers, 147 
Augustine, 8 
Austrian Succession, war of the, 45, 

Austro-English Treaty, 317-8, 336 
Austro-Spanish alliance, 74 
Avignon massacres, 126 

Bacon, 5 

Baden, 56 

Bagot, Sir Chas., 261 

Baltic, attempt to close, 201-2 

Baring, Sir F., 183 

Baring & Co., 287 

Bamave, 130 

Barnes & Co., 183 

Barr^e, Camille, 398-9 

Barrier Treaty, 65 

Bartenstein, Treaty of, 193, 195 

Barthelemy, 134, 137 

Basle Treaties, 151-2 

Bath, Lord, 315 

Bathurst, 3rd Earl, 219 

Battye&Ca, 183 

Bavaria, Elector of, 56, 83 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

BaTmria, Prince of» 41 

Bayleo, 216, 244 

Bemconsfield, Lord, j6, 180, 346, 297- 

«. 3y>-i» 333-5» 38i» 389. 39i, 3934 
Beaufort, Duke of, 381 
Bedford, Doke of, 119 

Behring Straits trouble, 397 
Belgian Treaty, 256-7, 278 
BeUeUle, 84 
Bellingham, 168 
Benckendorff, 289 
Benedetti, 356-7 
Bengal Convention, 125, 335 
Benoliel, 252 
Benson, 296, 334 
Bentinck, Lord Wm., 254 
Berbioe, 242 
Berir, Dnchy of, 81 

Berlin, Congress of, 37, 246, 390-2, 398 
Berlin Decree, 190, 196. I99» ^07, 223 
Bemadotte, 227 
Bernard, Montagae, 353 
Bemis, Abb6, 87 
Bemstorff, 201 
Bertha, 8 
Bertie, 368 
Besika Bay, 317 

Beast, Coont, 358 

Bible, free use of, 28 

Bignon, 194 

Bintinaye, Chevalier de la, 130-1 

Bi^rapkv of Frime Consort ^ 334 

Binnus, 8 

Biron, Due de, 136 

Bismarck, Prince, 188, 355-7, 359, 

384. 405 
Blachford, Lord, 363 
Black Sea, 322, 327, 329, 381, 384, 

389, 390, 406 
Blowiu, Baron, 380-1 
BlUcher, Marshal, 235 
Blunt, W. S., 392 
Bolejrn, Anne, 22 
Bolingbroke, Viscount, 35, 40, 44, 47- 

52, 56-64, 7I1 75» 88, 92, 103, 191, 

250, 393- 
Bombay, dowry of, 29 
Bonaparte, Joseph, 169 
Bonaparte (su Napoleon) 
Bourbons, the, 70, 79, 104, iii, 120, 

124, 126-8, 132, 148, 157, I95t 207. 

209, 2j6, 242, 255-7» 272-3, 290, 

374. 3* 
Bouverie, Mrs, 176 
Braganza, 195, 207 
Brandenburg, Duke of, 24 
Brandenburg, Electors of, 40 

Breslan, Treaty oi; 84 

Bresson, 291, 302 

Breteuil, Due de, 210 

Bridgeman, F. O., 377 

Bright, Dr F., id 

Bright, John, 333, 335, 352 

Bnsach, 56 

Brissot, 142 

Bristol, 106 

Bristol, Bishop of, 55 

Brodie, Wm. D., 187 

Broglio, Marshal, 113 

Brook's Club, 129 

Brougham, Lord, 218, 220, 259, 325 

Browning, Oscar, 147 

Brunnow, Baron, 161, 296, 316^ 325, 

327, 529 
Brunswick, Duke of, 147, 149 
Bryce, James, 39, 368 
Buckingham, Duke of, 23, 25-6 
Buckley, A^ctor, 167 
Budbeig, General, 194 
Bulwer, Henry {seo Dalling, Lord) 
Bunsen, 366 
Buol, Count, 319, 322 
Burges, T. B., 178, 180-2, 187, 215 
Burgundy, Duke of, 13, 28 
Burgundy, Treaty with, 13-4 
Burke, i33-4> 210 
Burleigh, Lord, 20-1, 240 
Burnet, 40 
Bttssy, 109, no 
Bute, i09,Uii 
Byron, 145, 186, 268 
Byron, Lady, 178 

Cadiz, Duke of, 289-291 

Calais, 20 

CalU^res, 53 

Calonne, 127 

Calvin, 4, 6 

Calvo, Balthazar, 211 

Cambrai, Congress at, 74 

Cambray, League of, 15 

Cambridge, Earl of; 10 

Campbell, Sir F., 377 

Campo Formio, Peace of, 153, 155 

Campuzano, Chevalier, 212 

Canning, George, 40ui70, 173. «76-8, 
i86-7, 189, 190-205, 207-2ia 212- 
220, 222, 224, 227, 234, 2389, 241, 
245» 247-260, 263-6, 271-2, 274, 
278-9, 294, 299, 310, 339, 391. 400 

Canning, Sir Stratford (/«# de Reddiffe, 

Canterbury, Archbishop of, 123 

Canterbury and Rome, 19 

Canute, 9 

Canynges, 191 



Cape of Good Hope, 155, 176, 342 

Carlist War, 2S9 

Carlos, Don {tee Charles III.) 

Carmarthen, Lord {see Leeds, Duke of) 

Camarron, Lord, 170 

Caroline^ 287 

Caroline, Qaeen, 73 

Carrero, Oirdinal Porto, 42-3 

Carteret, Lord, 79, 82-4, 91-4 

Castlereagh, 193, 205, 212, 216-220, 

222, 224, 226^, 233-S, 237251, 
Catalans, 53, 56 
Catalonia, 56 
Cathcart, Lord, 233-4 
Catherine of Russia, 118-121, 147-8, 

152, 160, 163, 165-6, 314 
Cato> 59. 60 

Canlaincourt, 232-4, 236 
Cavour, 4, 311, 326, 336, 339 
Cecil {see Burleigh, Lord) 
Cecil, Lord, 23-4 
Ceylon, 169 

Chamberlain, Joseph, 377, 408 
Charlemagne, 190 
Charles, Archduke, 42, 54, 153 
Charles I. (England), 23-5 
Charles IL (England), 28-33, 45f 53. 

Charles II. (France, " The Bald "),8-9 
Charles II. (Spain), 41-3 
Charles III. (Spain), 68, 77, 127 
Charles V. (Spain), 17-9 
Charles VI. (Austria), 70, 81 
Charles X. (France), 273-4 
Charles XII. (Sweden), 65-8, 72 
Charles XIII. (Sweden), 227, 387 
Charles Edward Stuart, 84, 211 
Charlotte, Princess, 276 
Chateaubriand, 243, 401 
Chateau d'Eu, 290, 405 
Chatillon, Congress of, 233-7 
Chaumont, Treaty of, 236-7 
Chauvelin, Marquis de, 137-140, 142-5 
Chenery, Thomas, 324 
Chesapeake^ 223 
Chesterfield, 81-2, 98 
Choiseul, 124 

Christchurch, Dean of {su Aldrich) 
Christian IX., 341 

Christina, Queen of Spain, 289, 292-3 
Churchill, Lord R., 373 
Civil Service Commission, 367 
Clarendon, Earl oi^ 28, 29, 45, 312, 

317, 319. 321. 323. 325-6» 337-8. 
^ 3S2» 355, 376^ 
Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, 337-8 
Qement VII., Pope, 18 
Clement XI., Pope, 69 

Cler&yt, 153 

Clerk, G. R., 377 

Cleveland Row, 113, 116, 119 

Cleves, Duchy o^ 24 

Ciroello, Marquis, 185 

Clinton, Viscount, 207 

Coalition, First, 208 

Cobden, Richard, 211, 295, 303, 332-6^ 

Cobenzel, 148 
Cobnrg, Prince of, 152 
Cockbum,Sir A.,354 
Coke, 277 

Coleridge, S. T., 126 
Coletti, 286 

CoUett, C. Dobson, 373 
Collier, Sir Robt, 352 
Cologne, Elector oC 56 
Columbia River littoral, 288 
Commercial Treaty, 125 
Compton, Spencer {su Wilmington, 

Canifuibyy 375 

Conspiracy to murder Bill, 332-3, 352 
Constance of Spain, 10 
Constantinople Conference, 391 
Consular Service, 377-8 
Copenhagen, bombardment of, 199, 

201, 206 
Copenhagen Mission, x, 344-6 
Comwallis, Lord, 169 
Corsica, 146 
Corti, Count, 393 
Cotton trade, 209 
Country GirX 123 
Cour, De la, 315 
Coutts, Thomas, 182 
Covent Garden, 60 
Cowen, Joseph, 372, 375 
Cowley, Lord {see Wellesley, Marqms 

Crescent and the Cross, 37$ 
Crimea acquired by Russia, 121 
Crimean invasion, 78 
Crimean war, preliminaries, 312 
Cromer, Lord, 309, 334, 368 
Cromwell, Oliver, 27-8, 72, 3^5 
Cromwell, Thomas, 5 
Crowe, Eprre, 377 
Crowe, Sir Joseph, 377 
Crown, descent of, 7 
Cumberland, Duke of, 11 1 
Currie, Lord, xi, 178, 364-5 
Cyprus, 392-3 
Czartori^, 174 
Csemowitz, 260-1 

Dalling, Lord, 280-1, 291, 302 
Dalrymple, Lord, 119 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

Danby, Lord, 32-4 


D'ADtntfues, Count, 198 

Danube Conference, 397-9 

Dardanellei, blockade of, 270-1 

Dam, 194 

Davis, Bancroft, 354 

DaTb, Jefieraon, 34S-351 

Dean, 13 

Deane, Silas, 113 

De Borgo, Pono, 209, 233-4 

De Boorqnency, 320 

Declaratioo of Independence, 113 

De Grey, Lord (je# Ripon, Marquis oO 

D'Herbois, Count, 212 

DeUne, J. T., 324, 342, 381 

De Lessart, 135 

De Lesseps, 330-1 

Delmonico's, 380 

Demerara, 242 

Denmark, Crown Prince of, 200-1 

Derby, 14th Earl of, W, 375 

Derby, isth Earl of, 298, 309, 333. 

35a, 363. 38a. 3«9-39i 
De Reddiffe, Lord S. ,260, 3 14-6, 3 18-9 
Dervish Pasba, 196 
DeSouia,Chev. Couttinho(i»#Funchal) 
Devonshire, Duke of, 129, 350 
Dilke, Sir Charles, xi 
Dinol, 124 

DiphtmaiU Rttfuw^ 373 
Directory, establishment of the, 154-5 
Disraeli {su Beaconsfield, Lord) 
lyOrsay, 220 
Dover, Treaty of; 30 
Dowlttggin, Colonel M. (*<Take care 

of Dowb."), 324 
Dowbimn, W. H., 324 
Drake, Sir F., 11 
Dresden, Treaty of, 85 
Droujm de I'Huys, 321-2 
Drury Lane, 116, 123 
Dn Barry, Madame, 124 
Dubois, Abb^, 65-7, 69, 72 
Dudley, Lord, 264-7 
Duff; Sir M. E. Grant, 366, 374 
Dufierin, Marquis of, xi, 347-8, 366, 


Dumont, 139, 143-5 

Dumouries, 139 

Dunbar, Captain, 199 

Dundas, 137 

Dunkirk, 28, 66 

Dupont, General, 216 

Durand, Sir Mortimer, 39 

Durham, Lord, 277 

Dursley, Lord, 40 

Dutch war, 30, 32 

Dutens, Lewis, 107-8 

Ebarts, 354 

Eden (s4$ Auckland, Lord) 

Eden, Eleanor, 123 

EdMttr^ RevuWt 291 

Edward L, 9^ 10 

Edward IIL, 7, 10 

Edward VL, 18 

Edward VIL, 401, 404, 406, 408 

Elba, blockade of, 173; Napoleoo's 

escape from, 242 
Eleanor of Castile* 10 
Eleanor Plantagenet, 10 
El^n, Earl of, 145, m 
Elizabeth, Queen of England, 5, 11, 

20-1, 72, 240, 368, 385 
Elisabedi Famese, Queen of Spain, 

Ebsabeth of Parma, 77 

Elisabeth of Russia, 88 

Elisabeth of York, 13 

Elliot, Sir Gilbert, 123 

Eltchi, 260, 315, 317, 319 

EndymiaH^ j/il 

Eothen, 375 

Epicurus, 6 

Erskine, 223 

EsdaUe&Co., 183 

Esher, Lord, 296, 334 

Espartero, 292 

Essequibo, 242 

Estaples, Treaty of, 14 

Ethelbert, 8 

Ethel wnlf, 8-9 

Essex, 3rd Earl of, 99-100 

Eugenie, ex-Empress, 359 

European Concert, 389, 390, 396 

Euxine, 322 

Ewart, Joseph, 119, 120-2, 131 

Exmouth, Lord 242 

EyUu, 193 

Family compacts, 76, i04*5» 108, iio» 

III, 124, 127, I48» I95» 257, 290 
Fane, Julian, 325 
<' Favoured Nation*' clause, 336-7 
Favre, Jules, 358 
Fawkener, Sir E., 97> 162-3 
Fawkener, W. A., 163 
Ferdinand of Austria, 25 
Ferdinand of Naples, 247, 249, 252-5, 

Ferdinand of Prussia, 113 
Ferdinand of Spain, 13, 68, 247, 252, 

354. 257 
Fernanda, Princess (Spain), 288-91 
Field of the Cloth of Gold, 17 
Fish, 354 
Fitsberbert, Alleyne {su St Helens, 




Fitxmaurice, Lord, xi, i68, 306, 358- 

9. 364. 397 
Fitzpatrick, 126 

Fleury, Cardinal, 72-3, 78, 84, 93-4 
Fox, C. J., 30, 113, 1 15.9, 121-6, 128- 

9, 130-2, 144, 154, 158, 162, 172, 

176-7, 189, 191-2, 202, 214, 269, 277, 

294. 304» 386-7 
Fox, Henry, 86 
France et Us Etais Unis, 124 
Francif I. (Austria), 228, 230, 245 
Francis I. (France), 8$ 
Francis II., 134 
Franche>Comt^, 29 
Franco-Prussian war, 57, 355-7, 405 
Franco-Spanish alliance, 29, 70 
Franco-Spanish war, 17 
Frankfort, Treaty of, 56 
Franklin, 113 
Frederick the Great, 4, 57, 81, 84-6, 

89,91, 103.4, 1 1 1-2, 128 
Frederick WUliam I. (Prussia), 57 
Frederick William II. (Prussia), 120, 


Frederick, Elector Palatine, 23,25, 26,30 
Free Trade, 57, 125-6 
French Convention, 139-40, 142, 180 
French Empire, fall of, 357 
French Revolution, 118, 129-132 
Frere, J. H., 40, 170, 186, 213-3, ^16- 

Fribourg, 56 
Friedland, 194-5 
Froude, J. A., 382 
Fuessen, Treaty of, 85 
Funchal, Conde de, 207, 210, 251, 339 

Gambstta, 395, 398 

Garibaldi, 310 

Garlikc, 197 

Gaultier, Abb^, 51, 58 

Geneva arbitration, 348, 354, 389 

George I., 63, 65, 69, 72, 82, 92-3. 

956, 120, 387 
George 11. , 73» 80-a, 87, 99i 104-6 
Geofge III., 10, 83, 1 16-7, 130, I34f 

138, 140, 146, 156-7, 170, 179. 182, 

200-2, 276, 334, 387, 401 
George IV. (as regent), 246 ; (as king), 

262, 264 
German Protestant Union, 34 
Gertruydenberg Congress, 53 
Ghent, Treaty of, 224-6 
Gibbon, 118 

Gibraltar, 54-7, 64, 75. 77, 106 
Gibson, Milner, 335 
Girondin ministry, 134, 137, 139 
Gladstone, W. E., 195, 310, 351-2, 

364-5. 375, 382, 385. 389, 393-5. 403 



Globe, 392 

Godwin, 9 

Goertz, 65 

Goldsmid & Solomans, 183 

Gondomar, 23 

Goodall, 220 

Goodrich government, 265-6 

Gordon, Sir R., 271 

Gorst, Sir John, 373 

Gortschakoff, 324, 343, 391 

Gower, Lord Leveson {see Granville, 

1st Earl of) 
Goya, 220 

Graeco-Turkish war, 396 
Grafton Street, 117 
Grand Alliance, 36, 45 
Granville, ist Earl o^ 131, 163, 167, 

276, 30a 
Granville, 2nd Earl of, ix, x, 304-6, 

308, 317, 321, 331, 333-4, 353-360. 

363-5, 380, 385. 389. 393-5, 397, 

399, 400, 403 
Great Intercourse, 13, 14 
Greenwood, F., 330 
Grenville, Lord, 117, 122, 131, 134, 

137, 139, 142, 144. 150. 154, 156, 

158-9, 160, 162, 168, 170, 178, 185, 

193, 196, 202, 221 
Grey, Earl, 176, 189, 200, 221, 262, 

274, 277-9. 298, 304 
Grey, Sir Edward, 189, 196, 388, 402, 

Grosvenor, Lord Hugh, 366 
Guienne, 9 

Guizot, 279, 283-6, 288-9, 290-1 
Gunhild, Princess, 9 
Gunnersbury, 381 
Gustavus IV. (Sweden), 201-2 

Hagub Congress, 40, 187, 377 
Hague Peace Conference, 406-8 
Hamilton, Sir Wm., 184 
Hammond, Geoige, 178, 221, 317, 355, 

363-4.373.376^ ^ 
Hammond, J. L. Le B., 126 
Handel, 60 

Hanover, conference at, 67, 72 
Hanover, Electorate of, 175-6 
Hanover, Treaty of, 85 
Hapsburg family, 240, 403 
Harcourt, 42 
Hardenberg, 238-9, 244 
Hardinge, Sir Arthur, 365 
Hardinge, Sir Charles, 365, 376 
Harley, 50-1 
Harrington, Lord, 95 
Harrowby, 1st Earl, 172-3, I78-9, 182, 



The Story of British Diplomacy 

Hattleldt, 327 
Hmoffwits, 161 
Hawkesburj, Lord {tee Liveipool, Earl 

HuUtt, lao 

HelifoUnd, cession of, 396 
Helsinborg, Convention of, 174 
Henley, Lord, 185 
Henrietta Marie, 24 
Henry II. (England), 9-10 
Henry II. (France), 19 
Henry III. (England), 9 
Henry IV. (France^ 72, 240, 385 
Henry V. (England), 1 1 
Henry VI. (England), 14 
Henry VII. (England), 12-13, 34 
Henry VIIL (England), 5, 11, 14-8, 
„27, 83, 91 

Henry the Lion (Saxony), 10 
Herat secured by England, 303 
Herbert, Sir M. S^ 365 
Herbert, Sir Robt., 363 
Herbert, Sidney, 162 
Hertslet, Sir Edward, 361 
Hertsberg, 141 
Hervey, 56 

HejTtesbory, Lord, 270 
Hirsinger, 1345, 137 
Hobbes, Thomas, 5 
Hoche, 149 

Holdemesse, 4th Earl of, 85, 99 
Holland, Lord, 115, 117 
Holy Alliance, 245-6, 248, 250, 259, 

301, 338 
Holy League, 16 
Hospodar of Moldavia, 338 
Houghton, 1st Lord, 366 
Howick {see Grey, Earl) 
Hubener, 327 
Humboldt, Baron, 233 
Hundred Years' War, 385 
Hurlbert, W. H., 380 
Husldsson, 265-7, 294 
Huxelles, Marquis de, 55 

lONATiBFF, General, 391 

Independence, Declaration of, 123 

In£emtado, Duke of, 212 

Isabel of Spain, 11 

Isabella of Spain, 288-9, 291-2, 296 

Itajuba, Viscount, 354 

Ivica, 56 

Jackson, 200 
Jacob & D. Ricardo, 183 
Jamaica, 28 

James I. (England), 11, 22, 26, 30 
James 11. (fiigland), 31, 39, 43, 55, 

ames IV. (Scotland), i^ 

ames Stuart (Pretender), 51, 63, 66 

ava, 241-2 

efoson, Preadent, 221, 233 

enkin's ear, 77 

ersey. Earl of, 49, 53 

bhn VI. (Portugal), 252-3 

ohn of (jaunt, 10 

ohnson, Reverdy, 352-3 

ohnstone, H. A. Butler, 374 

ordan, Bilrs, 123 

oseph, Emperor, 119, lao 

udith, 9 

uliers. Duchy of, 24, 81 

ulius II., Pope, 16 

untas, 216 

usserand, 366 

Katchoubby, 168 

Katharine of Aragon, 11, 13, 18, 45 

Katharine of Braganza, 29 

Kaunitz, 87, 141, 146, 150, 161 

Keene, Benjamin, 95-6, 98 

Kehl, 56 

Keith, Sir R. M., 86, 87, 119, 131 

Kendal, Duchess of, 92 

Keppel, Lady Caroline, 277 

Kimberley, Lord, iz, z, 344, 346, 396 

King, A. T., 183 

King's Messengers, 378-9 

Kinglake, A. W., 340, 375i 3^0, 382 

Kinnoull, Lord, 97 

Keimscke Zeitung, 382 

Kossuth, 301 

Kutchuk-Kainardji, Treaty of, 314, 319 

Labouchbrb, H., 374 

La Ooix, 155 

Lafitte, 276 

Lancaster, Duchy of, 267 

Langley, Walter, 377 

Lansdowne, Lord, 294, 312, 317, 388,. 

Lauderdale, Lord, 176, 204 
Lauriston, Colonel, 169 
Lavalette, 215 
Layard, A. rf, 308 
Laybach Congress, 249, 254-5 
Leake, 64 
Lee, Sir H. A., xi 
Leeds, Duke of, 119, 120, 122, 178-9, 

180, 214 
Leeds, Dukedom of^ 34 
Leghorn, 68 
Leiprig, 244 

Lennox, Lord Henry, 374, 394 
Leo, Pope, 190 

Leoben preliminaries, 153, 155, 159 
Leopold, Archduke, 24 



Leopold, Emperor (Austria), 41, 131, 

132, 134-5 
Leopold of Saze-Cobiug, 276, 290, 296 
Lesage, Chas., 331 
Lever, Chas., 378, 380 
Leviathan^ 5 

Levris, Sir George and Lady, 382 
Liber^ riots, 277 
Lieven, Princess, 262 
Ligne, Prince de, 242 
Lille Conference, 171, 199 
Lincoln, Abraham, 348-9 
Lisakievitch, 164 
Liverpool, 2nd Earl of, 168-9, I73» i^o, 

190, 221-2, 234, 248, 294 
Lombardy, 297, 301, 310 
London Conference, 281 
London, Treaty of, ^2, 266-9, 270, 341, 

Long, 129, i^ 
Loo Convention, 141, 160 
Lorcba Arrow af&ir, 295 
Lorraine, 41, 76 
Lorraine, Duke of, 76 
Louis XIV., 4, 28, 29, 31-3, 36, 41-4. 

46, 50-4f 70, 124, 385 
Louis XV., 67, 81, 86-8, 91, 93, 124, 

Louis XVL, 124, 126-7, I42f 210, 280 
Louis XVIIL, 198, 236, 248, 257-8 
Louis Napoleon, 300, 302-3, 308, 313, 

3I5» 323. 344» 346, 384 ^ _ 
Louis Philippe, 272-6, 280-3, 285, 288- 

9, 290-1, 293, 297, 405 
Lowenheim, 238 
Lucy, H. W.,392 
Lnn^ville, Peace of, 153, 159 
Luxemburg, 38, 241, 275-6, 356-7 
Lyons, Lord Edmund, 286-7, 355, 358 
Lytton, Lord, 302 

Macdonald of Clanronald, 119 

Macdonald, Sir Claude, 376 

Macdonald, Sir John, 353 

Machiavelli, 2-5, 22, 67, 125 

Mackenrie, Sir J. S., 107, 198-9, 200 

Mackintosh, Sir James, 172, 205 

M'Leod, 287 

Madeira, 202 

Madison, President, 223 

Magenta, 310 

Maine, boundary of, 225, 303 

Majorca, 56 

Mallet-dn-Pan, 210-11, 335 

Mallet, Sir Louis, 211, 335-6, 377, 400 

Malmesbury, Lord, l54-5« 167, 170-1, 

173» 187, 199, 307-9f 3K^ 312, 3i5» 

326, 363* 407 
Malortie, Baron, 380 

Malouet, 210 

Malplaquet, 98 

Malta, 163-4, 166, 169, 176 

Marat, 180 

Marathon, 355 

Mardyke, 66 

Margaret of Savoy, 13 

Marparet Tudor, 13 

Maria, Donna, 272 

Maria Theresa, 29, 70, 76, 80, 84, 86-7, 

91, 100, 104, 150 
Marie Antoinette, 132 
Marie Louise of Austria, 222, 234-5 
Maritime League, 195, 200 
Marlborough, Duke of, 47-8, 52, 60-1, 

70, no 
Marriages, diplomatic, 10, 13, 19, 20, 

23-5. 34, 75. 93. "2, 289-293 
Marriott, Sir Wm., 373 
Martin, Sir Theodore, 296, 334 
Martinique, 169 
Mary of Modena, 55 
Mary, Princess, 31-2 
Mary, Queen, ii, 19-20 
Mary IL, 34 
Mary Stuart, 22 
Mason, J. M., 350 
Mavrocardato, 286 
Maximilian, Emperor, 17, 358 
Mazarin, 385 
Mazrini, Joseph, 372 
Meade, Sir Robt., 381 
Medici, Catherine de, 4 
Mehemet Ali, 272, 279, 280-3, 288, 

299. 347. 386-7 
Mehemed Djemil, 327 
Melbourne, ix)rd, 277-8 
Memoirs of an Ex-Minitter, 315, 326 
Meneval, 243 

Menschikoff, Prince, 313-4, 316 
Mercure BritanniquOf 21 1 
Mircure de France ^ 211 
Merivale, Herman, 363 
Mesnager, Nicolas, 51, 55 
Methuen, Sir Paul, 46-7 
Methuen Treaty, 47-8, 57 
Mettemich, x, 222, 226, 228-232, 
234-5» 239-240, 242-7, 2^3-4, 261-3, 
268, 271-2, 281, 292, 346 
Meunier, 289 
Milan Decree, 223 
Milan, Duchy of, 68 
Milbanke, Lady, 178 
Minorca, 54-7, 64, 100 
Minto, 2nd Earl of, 146-150, 159, 185, 

Mirabeau, 167, 210 
MolliviU, 83 
Monroe Doctrine, 258, 402 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

MoDtaini, Spencer (/«r Rokeby, Lord) 
MoDteUano, Duke of, aia 
MoDtetpan, Madmme de, 135 
Montgomery, Alfred, 170, 20$ 
Montmorin, 137 
Montpensier, Dnc de, 289-291 
Moorish piraqr, 242 
More, Arthur, 58, 71 
Morem, 174, 2i59 
Morfontaine, Treaty of, 223 
Morley, John, 5, 82, 333 
Mmrntmg Hirald^ 280 
Morocco, trouble in, 285-6 
Morton, 13 

Moaqnito lalandt, 338 
Molgrave, Lord, 214 
Mttnchengrttt, League of, 301 
•• Mungo/' 36s 
Murray, Sir John, 147 

Napiik and Ettkick, Lord, 99 

Naples, 76 

Naples, King of, 185 

Naples, Queen of, 13 

Napoleon L, 66, 117, 156-9, 168, 170-3, 

175-6. 189, 190-3. I9S-7. 199. aoi.9, 

2x0-1 X, 215-6, 210, 225-237, 241.3, 

247, 251-2, 270* 280^ 388 
Napoleon IIL, 4, 302, 307-11, 313, 

323. 325-6. 3«9. 332, 336. 339. 343- 
Napoleon, Prince, 312 
Navarino, battle of, 266 
Neapolitan Letters, 310 
Nemours, Due de, 276 
Nesselrode, 238-9, 244-5, 261-2, 289, 

Netherlands, kingdom founded, 241 
Neuburg, Duke of, 24 
N9uekai€l^ Mr, 381 
Neumann, Baron, 38X 
New Brunswick, boundary of, 225 
Newcastle, Duke of, 76-7, 80, 82, 86, 

Newfoundland, cession of, 54 ; fisheries, 

Newnham, Everett & Ca, 183 
Nicholas, Czar, 259, 261, 270-x, 279, 

280-1, 295, 297. 30X, 303. 3»3. 315- 

7. 319. 3«> 
Niemen, raft of, 195-8 
Niger negotiations, 377 
Nimeguen, Treaty of, 53 
Noailles, 19 

Non-intercourse Act, 223 
Nootka Sound, 127, 132, 166 
Norman Conouest, 9 
Norris, Sir Jonn, 98 
Northcote, Sir Stafford, 353-4 

Notten, Van, 136 
Novara, 76 

No¥ikoff, Madame, 381-2 
NoTOsiltzow, 172-4 
Nymphenberg, Treaty of, 84 

Ocuma, C 

O'Connel, 280 

Ocakow, 1x9, X20-I, X41, 162, 192, 

371. 372, 387 
ODowd Papers, 378 
Oliphant, Laurence, 373 
Omar Pasha, 273, 316 
0*Meara, 204, 247 
« Oru-hundrtd'ond'om^*' 80 
Oppenheim, Henry, 331 
Orders in Council, X96, 200^ 203, 223-4, 

337. 367 
Oregon Treaty, 389 
Orleans, Due d', 65, 125 
Orloff, Count, 325 
Otto, 228, 23 X 
Ottoman Bank, 375 
Otway, Sir Arthur, 374, 381 
Ozenstem, 2 
Oxford, impeachment of, 69 

Pagiot, 293 
Pahlen, Count, 164 

Pall Mall Gaulti, 330 
Palmer, Roundell, 354 
Palmerston, Lord, ix, 118, 199, 215, 

219, 269, 274-282, 284-5, a87. 289, 

290-2, 294-304, 307, 309, 312, 321-3, 

3«9. 330, 332-3. 337. 339-348. 352. 

359. 361-3. 371-2, 379-381. 386-7» 

389. 39i» 400, 404 
Panine, Count Nikita Petrovitch, 166 
Panmure, Lord, 324 
Paris Congress, 225, 324, 326, 329, 

337. 385. 390 
Pans, Treaties of, too, 171, 205, 237, 

240, 253, 244-5. 328-9, 347. 397. 400 
Partition Treaty, 4X-3 
Passarowitz, Peace of, 67 
Past and Presenl of Russia, 372 
Paul L (Russia), 161, X63, 165-6, 172, 

Pauncefote, Lord, 354, 364, 399 
Pedro, Don, 251 
Peel, Sir Robert, 282, 284, 296, 298-9, 

303. 316, 333. W) 
Pelham, 84, 88, 96 
Peltier, 172 

Pembroke, ixth Earl of, 162 
Pembroke, 13th Earl of, 365 
Perceval, Spencer, 168, 219, 22 f, 294 



Perier, Caamir, 276 

Persigny, 311 

Peter the Great, 65, 67, 72, 88, 395 

Peter II., 45 

Peter's Pence, 46 

Peterboroagh, 69 

Petty, Lord Henry (see Lansdowne, 

Philip III., 19, 26 

Philip IV., 25 

PhiUp v., 53-4, 56, 62, 66, 68, 70, 77 , 98 

Pichegra, 149 

Piedmont, Kong of, 301 

Pierrepoint, 201 

Pike, L 0.,x, 91 

Pi/iars o/Bercules, 372 

PilniU declaration, 131, 133, 148 

Piscatonr, Mr, 286 

Pitt, Wm. (Lord Chatham), 77, 80, 
89-91, 98, xoo-i, 106-113, 115-130, 
148, 188-9, 191. a57» 290. 387 

Pitt, Wm. (younger), 78, 126-137, 139- 
142, 144-S. I47f 149-162, x66, 169- 
171. i73-4» 176, 180-2, 186, 189, 191, 
197, 201, 203, 209, 211, 214, 218- 
221, 234, 238241, 250, 254-5, 263, 
266, J72, 386-7, 391 

Pins IX., Pope, 311 


Poland, 14 

Pole, Cardinal, 5, 19-20 

Polignac, 259 

Polish Succession, 75 

Pompadour, Madame de, 87 

Ponsonby, Lord, 277 

Pope (poet), 40 

Porson, 220 

Port Mahon, 169 

Porte, Trea^ with the, 312 

Portland, Duchess of, 191 

Portland, Duke of, 123, 158, 189, 196, 
216, 219, 224 

Portland, Earl, 41 

Portugal, King of, 251, 290 

Pragmatic Sanction, 81 

Pretender, The {see James Stuart) 

Priest of Bacchus, 48 

Priestly, Sir W. O. and Lady, 382 

Primrose League, 373 

Prior, Matthew, 39» 40-i» 51 

Pritchard, 284 

Protocol, explanation of, 327 

Provence, Comte de, 130 

Puisaye, Count A. de, 211 

Pultney, 75 

Punck, 394 

Quadrilateral Treaty, 281, 310 
Quadruple Alliance, 67-8 

Quadruple Treaty, 281, 310 
Quai d'Orsay, 302 
Quarterly Review^ 80, 121, 331 
Quern's Prime Ministers, The, 299 
Queen Victorians Letters, 334 
Quiberon, 147, 211 

Radcliffb, Dr, 48 
Raglan, Lord, 324 
Raleigh, Sir Walter, 22, 26 
Rastadt, 56 

RazumofSki, Count, 233 
Recollections of the Old Foreign Office, 

Reding, General, 216 
Reeve Memoirs, 291 
Reichenbach, Treaty of, 120- 1 
Reinach, Joseph, 398 
Renard, 2 

Report of the Finances, 194 
Restoration, the, 5 
Reynolds, 109 
Rice, Cedl Spring, 366 
Richmond, Duke of, 394 
Rico, Jean, 21 1 
Ripon, Marquis of, 353-4 
Ripperda, 51, 69, 70, 74 
Rist, 200 

Rivals, The, 116, 118 
Roberts, Curtis & Co., 183 
Robespierre, 212 
Robinson, Crabb, 117 
Robinson, John, 55 
Robinson, Sir Thomas, 84, 86, 87, 95 
Rockingham, 113, 115, 123 
Rogers, Sir Frederick, 363 
Rokeby, Lord, x, 83, 268, 291, 293 
Romana, General, 202 
Romanes Lecture, 5 
Romanzoff, 226 
Rome, King of, 222 
Rooke, 64 

Roosevelt, President, 365-6 
Rose, Colonel, 315 
Rose, George, 203, 224 
Rosebery, Lord, 140-I, 157, 182, 401 
Roskilde, 201 
Rosslyn, 204 

Rothschild, i^ 181-2, 328, 381 
Rothschild, Lionel, 331 
Rothschild, Nathan Meyer, 181 
RouilM, 86-7 

Royal Commission (1890), 365 
Rudolf^, Emperor, 24 
Rugen, capitulation of, 207 
Rnmbold, Sir H., 329, 355 
Rush, 258 
Russell, Lord Arthur, 380, 382 


The Story of British Diplomacy 

RntseU, Loid John, 91, 266, 269, 504, 
3 "-a. 319. 321-2, 326, 335. 337^ 

^ 341^ 347-354, 361, 363. 374 

Rnsso-Tiirkish wmr, 175 

Ryder, Dudley (su Harrowby, Loid) 

Rytwkk, Treaty oT, 35, 37-41. 43-4. 49. 
Si-3. 56. 171 

St Bartholomkw, Mautcre of, 4 

St Helen's, Lord, 166-7 

Si John (su BoUngbroke, Viaoount) 

St Peteribiug, Treaty of, 173-4, 19a 

St Vincent, 208 

Salamit, 31$ 

StUisbuty Cirmiar^ 392 

Saliibory, Lord, ix, 309. 333, 374. 376, 

^ 389. 392-3* 396. 401-3 

Salvandv, De, 292 

San Carlos, Duke o^ 212 

San Domingo, 152 

San Facimto^ 351 

San Jiian settlement, 389 

San Stefsno, Treaty of, 390-2 

Sanderson, Lord, 365, 376 

Sandwich, Lord, 345 

Sardinia, 7 c 

Sardinia, lUng of, 100, 108, 300, 339 

Savoy and Nice discussions, 339-340 

Savoy, Duke of, 39 

Savoy, King of, 57, 108 

Sazonv, Electors of, 40 

Schanb, Sir Luke, 93-4 

Scheldt, 141-2 

Schlesinger, Max, 382 

Schleswig-Holstein, 340-2, 347 

Schoell, 238 

Schonbnmn, Treaty of, 190 

Sckcolfir Setmdaly 1 16 

Sdopis, Count, 354 

Scott, Sir Wm. {su Stowell, Lord) 

Sebastian!, 276 

Seeley, T. R., 80, 105, 108 

Serpents, Isle of, 326-7, 337 

Servetus, 4 

Servia, constitution of, 329 

Seven Years' War, 8$, 88, 89, 90, 387 

Seville, Treaty of, 74-S 

Seward, 350 

Seymour, Sir H., 316 

Shelbame, 115-6, 118, 123-6 

Sheridan, R. B., 116, 118-9, 177-8, 214 

Sicily, 60, 76, 176 

Sicily, Khig of, 10 

SUesia, 81, 84, 85, 87-8 

Slidell, 350-1 

Smith (Foreign Secretary), 223 

Smith, Adam, 174 

Smith, Payne & Smiths, 182 

Smith, Sir Sydney, 252 

Smytbe, George, 375 

Smytbe, Percy {su Strangfbrd, Lord) 

Soissoos, congress at, 74 

Solferino, 310 

Somerset, Lady Angnstat 38 

Somerset, Protector, 18 

South Sea Company, 98 

Southey, 126 

Sonca (i»( Funchal) 

Spain, war with, 76-9 

Spanish Succession, war o^ 45-6 

Spectator, 349 

Spencer, 2nd Earl, 146-8, i$8, 170^ 

Stackberg, 231 
Stadion, Count, 148, 233 
Staempai, J., 354 
Stanhope, Earl of» iz, z, 62-70, 72, 

83. 91. 95* 98 
Stanhope, Wm. {su Harrington, Lord) 
Stanley, Hans, 109, iii 
Stanley, Lord {su Derby, Earl oQ 
Stanvan, Abraham, 97 
Steele, 39 

Steers & Mortimer, 183 
Stein, 226, 238, 244 
Stepney, George, 39 
Stepney, Sir J., 119 
Stewart, Sir Chas., 167, 233 
Stowell, Lord, 175 
Strafford, Thos., Earl of, 55 
Strange, 213 
Strangford, 6th Viscount, 207, 252-3, 

Strangford, 8th Viscount, 375 
Strasbuig, 38 
Straton, 147-8 
Strogonoff, Baron, 205 
Stuart, Lord, of Rothesay, 251, 272-3 
Suez Canal, 330-1, 399 
Sully, Due de, 35, 240 
Sunderland, 82 
Sutherland, Dr, I2i 
Swift, Benjamin, 40 
Syria, outbreak in, 347-8 

Tahiti, 284-5 

"Talents" mmistry, 176, 192-3 

Tallard, Marshal, 51 

Talleyrand, II 8, 135-6, 138-9, 169, 171, 
175-6, 181, 1 04. 199, 201,204-51 209 
233, 236, 238.9, 240, 244, 275-6, 278, 


Tarrucb, 227 

Taunton, 211 

Tauroggen, Convention ot, 226 

Taxation War, 71 

Taylor, Brook, 197, 200 



Taylor, Sir Henry, 363 

Tchemitchefi; 289 

Tchihatchef, Baron, 325 

Tcmperley, H. W. V., 199 

Temple, Sir Wm., 6, 30-1, 33 

Tendn, Cardinal, 84 

Tenniel, Sir J., 394 

Tenterden, Lord (see Panncefote, Lord) 

The Prince^ 6 

Thibaudeau, 204 

Thiers, Adolphe, 279-283, 358-9 

Thirty Years* War, 24-^, 142 

Thornton, Conway, 360 

Thornton, Sir Edward, 353 

Thugut, Baron, 146, 149-5O) 152-3 

Tickell, 39 

Ticknor, 401 

Tiemey, 218 

Tilsit, Peace of, 162, 195-8, 200, 204-8, 

226, 231-2, 234, 236, 372-3 
Times, The, 299, 342, 349. 356, 380-1, 

Tipper, X17 
Tobieigo, 137-8 
Tocqueville, De, 349 
Toledo, Ardibishop of, 42-3 
TopliU, Treaty of, 267 
Torcy, De, 49, 50, 52 
Tortona, 76 
Toolon, 152 

Townshend, Lord, 78, 92-4 
Tra&lgar, 208 
Treaty-making, 183-1? 
TrtrU aflBur, 225, 338, 351 
Trinidad, 169,208 
Triple Alliance, 29, 66-7, 188 
Troppean, congress at, 249, 254-5 
Traefit, 394 
Tufton, Chas., 377 
Tunis, 393 
Turgot, 124 
Turin, 107 

Turkey, attempt to coerce, 395-6 
Tuscany, 68, 76 
Tyrawley, Lord, 98 

Unkiar Skblrssi, Treaty of, 279<^, 

Urquhart, David, 371*3 
Utrecht, Peace of, 35, 45. 48-9. 5i-7. 

59-61, 66-7, 71, 79, 106, 128, 136, 

171. 3«> 

Valbncayb, 300 
Valencia, 211 
Vaudois, 28 

Vaughan, Chas. R., 213 
Vend^, La, 211 
Venddme, Due de, 62 

Venetia, 297, 301 
Venezuelan dispute, 397, 402 
Venice, 15 
Vergennes, 124-5 
Verona Congress, 255, 259, 260 
Versailles, Peace of, 87, 123, 125, 171 
Victor Emmanuel (Italy), 57 
Victoria, Queen, 187, 2&-29I, 295, 

2978. 300, 305-7, 312, 323, 343, 

354, 386, 404-S 
Vienna, Bank of, 149 
Vienna, definitive Peace of, 76 
Vienna, Treaties of, 74- <J, 141, 227-8, 

236-9. 253, 274-5. 308. 320-1, 329, 

347. 376 
Vienna Note, 318-9, 321 
Villafranca, Peace of, 310-11 
Villamarina, 327 
Villiers, Chas., 292, 335 
Villiers, Sir Edward {.see Jersey, Earl 

Voisins, 378 
Vourla, 3x5 
Vrilliire, li, 93 

Walchbrbn expedition, 217 

Waldegrave, Lord, 96, 100 

Walewski, 327, 345 

Wall, General, 105-7 

Wallace, Sir Mackenzie, 382 

Wahner Castle, 380-1 

Walpole, Horace, 73, 94 

Walpole, Sir Robert, 69, 70-81, 82, 92- 

4, 99. 129, 250 
Walpole, SirS.,zi 
Warbeck, Perkin, 14 
Warburton, Eliot, 375 
Ward, Samuel, 380 
Warham, 13 

Warren, Admiral Sir J. R, 165-6 
Wartensleben, 120 
Washington, George, 222-3 
Washington, Treaty of, 354 
Waterfield, H. O., 375 
Waterloo, battle of, 244 
Watford, Urquhart's house at, 371 
Wealth of Nations, 174 
Wellesley, Sir A. {see Wellington, Duke 

Wellesley, Marquis of, 212, 219-221, 

Wellesley, Victor, 377 
Wellington, Duke of, 201, 213, 217, 

220, 222, 227, 244, 246-7, 255-6, 267, 

269, 2723, 296, 299, 303, 312, 3878 
Wentworth, Thos. (w Strafford, Earl 

Wessingberg, 230 
West Indies, 28, 155, 198