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two countries together, very nearly as closely as, for a century, Hanover had been knit to England. It might fairly be expected that the English Government would exercise a considerable influence over the Government of the Netherlands; and that on the other hand, in the case of a war, she would have treated a violation of the Belgian frontier as a violation of her own. It would thus have been in effect, not weak Holland, but powerful England, that would have watched the hotly-contested boundary which France has been for centuries struggling to overstep. Antwerp, so long the great object of English apprehensions, the possession of which by France would be, according to Napoleon's phrase, “a loaded pistol held to. England's head'Antwerp would thus have been in her own hands to protect. It is easy to see that if this plan bad taken effect, the course of events would have been very different. It may be safely assumed, that if English counsels could have commanded a hearing at the Hague, the unwise policy which irritated the Belgians into revolt would never have been adopted. At all events it would not have led to the same results. With England's Queen for their Queen, that revolution of priests and place-hunters would never have been hazarded. Still more confidently may it be assumed that a French army would not have interfered to save the braves Belges' from a defeat, which was inevitable if they had been left to fight Holland by themselves.
But the Emperor Alexander had views of his own with respect to the marriage of the Prince of Orange ; and he was prepared to dispute the prize. Unfortunately the contest lay in an arena in which English diplomacy has always been unfortunate, and in which the Russians are notoriously expert. A Russian Princess was sent over to England, presented to the Prince Regent, and by him introduced without a thought of suspicion to the Princess Charlotte. The Princess was much struck with her new friend, and zealously cultivated her society. After a time, it was whispered that she was betraying a strange reluctance to the marriage with the Prince of Orange, upon which Lord Castlereagh was at the moment patiently building a scheme of European polity. The rumours proved
too true. Ever since the Princess had been intimate with the Duchess of Oldenburg, she had, for some unexplained reason, expressed an unconquerable aversion for the Prince of Orange. At last she secretly fled from her father's house rather than consent. After all the available artillery of advice, menace, remonstrance, and objurgation had played upon her in vain, the Court were obliged to accept her decision that the marriage was not to be. Lord Castlereagh would probably have blessed her in his heart, if she had announced that
decision earlier. For by the time that it had been formed he had already pledged himself to all the leading arrangements of the political edifice of which this marriage was to be the foundation. The consent of Austria and the nominal acquiescence of the other two great Powers had been obtained, and the King of Holland had already long ago been informed of the widened diadem which the Powers in general and England in particular destined him to wear. It was too late, therefore, to recede. All that could be done was to make the best use of the materials that remained for constructing a north-eastern barrier against France. The kingdom of the Netherlands was set up with as good a frontier as could be extorted from the necessities of the Bourbons, who would gladly have retained Antwerp if they could; Prussia was brought up to support it on the left flank; it was provided with a free constitution and plenty of good advice from the British envoy; and the island of Java was ceded back to it by England to furnish a nucleus for the revival, if it might be, of that trade which of old had made a district of reclaimed sand-banks into a dreaded European power. But the combination had in reality broken down with the abandonment of the marriage ; and all such expedients for giving it the semblance of efficiency were vain. The times were past when the intrepidity of the United Provinces could outweigh the resources of France. The new kingdom endured only till it felt the first gust of the returning Revolutionary storm; and then the ill-cemented fabric came in two. Lord Castlereagh can hardly be held to blame because a combination of such peculiar difficulty was wrecked, in his absence, upon shoals whose existence it is not in the nature of an English statesman to suspect.
never a boudoir diplomatist. The species does not readily grow in England, and seems only to be generated freely in the atmosphere of a despotic Court
. Probably the art of leading the House of Commons and the art of beguiling illustrious ladies are gifts which cannot coexist in the same mind. In extenuation, or justification, of Lord Castlereagh's failure it can only be said, that the object which he had in view—the creation of a kingdom capable of resisting France upon soil which had formed a dependency of distant powers for centuries—was evidently difficult to attain ; and that the plan which he conceived, of uniting its fortunes for a time with those of England, was the only possible escape from the difficulties of the problem. If he failed to carry out his scheme in its integrity, it was only because he displayed the common deficiency and suffered the common defeat of English politicians. From the days when Cardinal Wolsey was unable to countermine Anne Boleyn, to the days when Lord Palmerston was outwitted
upon the Spanish marriages, English statesmen have always failed in backstairs contests with female politicians.
The territorial arrangements of the Congress were in all cases therefore dictated by necessity—by the necessity of keeping promises made during the war in the first class of cases, and by the necessity of averting another war in the second. It is equally clear that there was no claim of justice to bar compliance with that necessity. Of all so-called “rights of conquest,' this at least is indefeasible, so to dispose of your conquests as to avert the necessity for conquering again. All the countries parcelled out by the Congress were conquered countries. They had formed part of Napoleon's Empire or swelled the list of his tributary states. Willingly or unwillingly they had furnished troops to aid in the sanguinary enterprise of desolating the world. The smallest expiation that could be exacted of them was that they should bear, in part at least, the cost of crushing the military tyranny they had helped to form. They had no right to complain if it was in loss of territory, instead of money contribution, that they paid the penalty of their complicity, or defrayed the expense of neutralizing its effects. They were not in a position to claim that their national sentiments should be preferred to the enfranchisement of Europe and their own, for that was the alternative. Take the case of Venetia, whose wrongs have pointed many an eloquent philippic. Suppose Lord Castlereagh to have been smitten with the idea of Italian independence, or to have been convinced of the imprescriptible title of the Venetian oligarchy who had scarcely been strong enough to strike one blow in their own defence-suppose that in the spring of 1813, just when Austria was balancing between her fears of the conqueror of Austerlitz and Wagram, and her hopes of recovering her position as a first-rate power by joining the Coalition against him-suppose that just then he had announced that Great Britain never could consent to sanction such a treason against the peoples as the erection of a German Government on an Italian soil, and that be had induced Russia and Prussia to hold the same languagewould Venetia have profited by his regard for her nationality? Austria would have lost all motive for joining the Coalition, and would have carried her services to a market where they were better valued. The Coalition would have been easily crushed; England's last hope of successful resistance would have been trampled out; Europe would have continued to groan under her oppressor; and the only advantage secured would have been, that Venice would have worn French instead of German chains. Europe would have lost everything, and. Venice would have gained nothing. Lord Castlereagh would have disdained to reply
to a counsellor who should have suggested to him such diplomacy as this ; and yet this is the policy which those who blame Lord Castlereagh for acceding to the Austrian re-occupation of Venice, in effect desire him to have pursued.
Many writers, however, both of that day and of more recent times, have attempted to elude the obvious force of these considerations, by claiming for peoples an immunity from the result of the crimes of their governments; and setting up on their behalf an inalienable right to be included in their own particular nationality, which no offence can forfeit, and no political expediency circumscribe. Advocates of French, German, Italian, and Polish nationalities respectively are never weary of repeating this theory, in every variety of enunciation of which an elastic doctrine is capable. We do not profess to have any reply to this claim. An answer is only possible where there is some common ground to start from, some principle equally acknowledged on both sides to refer to. The modern theory of nationality is safe from refutation. The blows of argument fall harmlessly upon its unsubstantial forms. Controversy is waste labour in a domain of thought where no term is defined, no principle laid down, and no question propounded for investigation. It is very possible, therefore, that Lord Castlereagh helped to commit any number of violations of the principle of nationality :' and if we are challenged to disprove the charge, we must retreat from the ordeal in despair. The only consideration that we should venture to plead in arrest of judgment is the remarkable variety, perhaps we should say antithesis, of the charges that have been preferred under this count at different times against the Congress of Vienna. The clamour on behalf of violated nationalities is the same now as it was when the Congress had just closed its labours; but though the accusation is as strongly-worded as ever, the nature of the charge is exactly the reverse of what it was. The censors of 1860 accuse the Congress of Vienna of having omitted to do precisely that which the censors of 1815 charged it with having done. Then the cry was that the Congress had treated ancient limits with contempt; now the cry is that it regarded them too much. It went too far for contemporary Liberals; it has not gone far enough for the Liberals of our own day.
It made slow and hesitating steps towards the arrondissement of empires, the construction of united nationalities, and the extinction of fragmentary states. Its measures were blamed as violent then; they are condemned as petty and partial now. Then it was denounced for enlarging Bavaria and Prussia at the expense of petty states, and for suppressing the ancient republic of Genoa by annexing it to
Piedmont; now it is despised for not having risen to the grandeur of the conception of a United Germany and a United Italy. The sorrows of Norway and the wrongs of Denmark, which Lord Grey was wont to dwell upon with frantic pathos, are absolutely forgotten now; but in their place we hear suggestions from Liberal authorities, quite in the spirit of Lord Castlereagh's policy, that it might be desirable to submit Denmark to the same fate as Norway, and so to oppose a United Scandinavia to the westward march of Russia.
In truth, it was very easy for Mr. Brougham to launch vigorous invectives at Lord Castlereagh, for considering Courts, not Peoples,' in his negotiations; but if Mr. Brougham bad himself been installed in Vienna with despotic power over all Europe, he would have been compelled to hurl the same censures at himself. It was impossible for any statesman to consult the wishes of the peoples, for the simple reason that the peoples had no enduring and settled wishes to consult.
The comparison between the national grievances of that time and the facts as they exist now, is a commentary on the durability of national sentiments which cannot be too attentively studied. With the solitary exception of Poland, there is not a single grievance of that date which was endowed with sufficient vitality to last for the space of a generation. Norway was the first victim that moved the pity of the Opposition of that day. The forcible union of the Swedish and Norwegian crowns was denounced as the most profligate measure of modern times.' To judge by the language that was used, one might have thought that a new partition of Poland was in contemplation, that Norwegian inde pendence would be vindicated by some new Kosciusko, and that pauper Norwegian nobles would be met with for the next half-century begging for alms or courting heiresses in every capital in Europe. No one could have doubted from the tone of their advocates that the Norwegians were unalterably attached to the Danish connection. But if the Congress of Vienna had acted on any such assumption, they would have been grievously mistaken. The transference was effected with scarcely a struggle, and since the day that it was completed the Norwegians have been as contented and prosperous a people as any on the Continent. The next subjects of commiseration were Genoa and Ragusa. Both had been independent republics, and both under the new arrangements were incorporated into the dominions of neighbouring potentates. Genoa really had some cause of complaint. Lord William Bentinck, whose vigorous sense and high ability were occasionally marted by a tendency to sentimental politics, had been imprudent enough to promise the Genoese