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men of his time ; and he contemplated it through a mental atmosphere untinted by the faintest imaginative hue.
This intellectual composition was of great service to him at many a council-board in Europe, and conferred great benefits on those over whose interests he watched. But it caused him to be constantly misunderstood, both by his contemporaries and by posterity. The clever men of the day could not be brought to believe that a mind so powerful, so clear-sighted, so resourceful, dwelt in a passionless, colourless atmosphere, in which their own talents would have been frozen up. They could not conceive that one man could combine Canning's eagle glance and intellectual grasp, with a languor of emotion and a freedom from enthusiasm that Mr. George Rose himself might have envied. At first they were inclined to explain away the phenomenon by assuming his oratory to be the measure of his mind, and denying him the ability which his speeches were undoubtedly calculated to conceal. The events of 1813-1815 set this theory at rest. Foiled in this direction, his critics betook themselves to the remaining alternative for an explanation. Under his passionless exterior they pretended to detect a deadly zeal against the liberties of mankind. They believed his foreign policy to be actuated by no other aim but to crush the freedom which he was reluctantly compelled to tolerate at home. And in this hateful -crusade the Holy Alliance, of whom he always spoke in Parliament with such respect, were in reality his sworn comrades and ready instruments. This view of his policy extended itself from his opponents to his friends. They, of course, did not give it such bad names; but they were not less wide of the mark in the tendency they assigned to it
. They extolled him as the champion of legitimacy, the bulwark of monarchy, the incarnation of that resistance to revolutionary principles which had become a religious faith among the majority of the educated classes of that day. But whether people blamed it, or whether they admired it, there was a pretty general agreement that resistance to popular claims was the final cause of his political existence.
So far as this view of his policy on the one side or the other implied that he was animated by any hostility to freedom, it was undoubtedly unjust. But it was not unjust in the sense of being an exaggeration. It was an entire misconception of the character, and, so to speak, of the temperature of the man's mind. It was pitched on a key-note far too emotional. It assumed, what in those stirring times was true of most people, an enthusiastic nature; whereas enthusiasm was precisely the ingredient which had been omitted in the composition of Lord Castlereagh's character. All the other spurs to action he pos
sessed-ambition, sense of honour, sense of duty, and the dogged attachment to an object once taken up, which is the special characteristic of our race. But no tinge of that enthusiastic temper which leads men to overhunt a beaten enemy, to drive a good cause to excess, to swear allegiance to a formula, or to pursue an impracticable ideal, ever threw its shadow upon Lord Castlereagh's serene, impassive intelligence. He had his own notions of what good there was to be done, and what was the best way of doing it; and neither contradiction at home nor coaxing abroad ever moved him a hair's breadth from his own particular point of view. But they were such unpoetical, unromantic notions, that no one could, by any stretch of language, dignify them as 'a cause.' There were plenty of causes’about the world at the time, concerning which associations agitated, and young men raved, and poets published spirit-stirring stanzas. But, except as they might influence votes in the House of Commons, these exciting movements did not affect Lord Castlereagh. Some of them he thought pernicious, others impracticable, and of others he thought the benefit, though real, enormously exaggerated ; and he never would pretend a sympathy he did not feel. It was this impassibility which worked so badly for his fame. It was an affront and an offence to the literary class, by whom these enthusiasms were chiefly fed, and who on secondary points and for a certain space of time have the power of moulding public opinion at their will. He might have maintained his policy with impunity, if in his speeches he would have done readier homage to the Liberal catch-worıls of the day. If he had only constructed a few brilliant periods about nationality or freedom, or given a little wordy sympathy to Greece, or Naples, or Spain, or the South American republics, the world would have heard much less of the horrors of his policy.
But in respect to most of these questions he was a perfect heretic. Whether he approved of the doctrine of nationality or not, it is difficult to say, for he never seems to have realized its existence. It had not made great way in the world before his death, and was principally confined to the Carbonari in Italy and the Illuminati in Germany. The idea therefore scarcely seems to have dawned upon him that any one had laid it down as a political dogma, that no two people speaking different languages ought to be under the same government; and that any amount of revolutionary confusion was preferable to such an enormity. Not having mastered it, he was unable to draw from it its obvious inference, that Austria in holding Venetia, Denmark in holding Schleswig, and Prussia in holding Poland, were committing an unpardonable crime against the peoples. If he had
been more instructed in what has been recently called the new European law, he might have been embarrassed at being asked to proffer to it the sanction of England, who owns, without any consent of the peoples whatever, more nationalities than she can comfortably count. There is no doubt that to the philological law of nations he was obstinately deaf, whether he perfectly understood it or no; and that if he had understood it better, he would have disliked it more. The poetical or literary law of nations met with quite as little favour at his hands. By his conduct in the Greek question he evidently did not assent to the modern theory, that the territorial limits of a country ought to be settled according to its literary history. He never understood why the fact that Æschylus had written in Attica, and Pindar had celebrated the Games of the Morea, some five-and-twenty centuries ago, furnished in itself any reason for changing the government under which Attica and the Morea happened at that moment to be. Possibly he would have been equally impenetrable to the argument, that because Dante was a citizen of Florence, or Virgil composed poetry in Rome, therefore a German ought not to reign in Venice. It never would have occurred to him as a possible theory, that governments should be overturned or treaties broken for the sake of giving a present reality to the traditional glory of some distant past. Some of the grounds of the Italian war he would have appreciated. If we may judge from the protests and warnings that he uttered when the Congress of Troppau were holding their disastrous deliberations, we may be sure that he would have resisted in 1859 the illegal suzerainty which Austria had acquired over the Italian Courts as earnestly as he guarded himself against acquiescing in it in 1820. He would have recognized all the evils of the misgovernment, the tendencies to which showed itself in the Neapolitan Bourbons even in his time, and which he constantly reprobated. But in regard to the question of nationality he would have been more unpopular in our day than even in his own. He was not of those who would have raised an insurrection, or gone to war • for an idea.'
The same positive, practical good sense showed itself in relation to the question of popular rights. It was a mere calumny to call him an enemy to freedom. In its truest and most literal sense--the exemption from oppression-he did more for it than any statesman of his age. We have the testimony of the Duke of Wellington that he had done more to destroy the slave-trade than any man in Europe ; and the struggle which absorbed the best years of his life was a struggle on a vast scale for the liberties of mankind. The Liberals of the day-and the anomaly
has extended itself in some degree to our day also—chose to conceive a sentimental tenderness for Napoleon, because he tyrannized by the right of his own sword, instead of by the right of any hereditary claim. But his tyranny was not the less one of the severest and most searching the world has ever seen. The minute exactness with which his war contributions and war conscriptions were levied, invested him with a power of inflicting wide-spread misery which no Roman Emperor ever possessed. Other tyrannies have mainly affected narrow metropolitan areas, or have shown themselves in capricious but occasional acts of cruelty. But from Napoleon's tyranny time gave no respite, and insignificance no escape. His exactions ground down every income, and his massacres, thinly disguised under military names, thinned every village, from Reggio to Lubeck. To have borne a large part in freeing Europe from such a scourge as this to have provided securities that made it for the future an impossibility-was to have done a greater service to the cause of freedom than any shifting of the equilibrium of electoral power is ever likely to effect.
But he was not blind to the value of representative institutions in securing freedom from internal injury, though he valued the kernel a great deal more than the husk which protects it. In England he showed no sort of favour for that kind of freedom which is conferred by universal suffrage, and which is flourishing in such fascinating beauty in the State of Maryland just now; nor was he ever guilty of the hypocrisy of encouraging abroad that which he repelled at home. But, on the other hand, he had no sympathy with absolutism. The extravagant theories of legitimacy entertained by some of the more violent spirits of his time received no countenance from him. While many around him, both Englishmen and foreigners, were anxious to give to the war of 1813-14 the character of a crusade in behalf of legitimacy against revolution, he absolutely refused to lend to it such a colour. To his mind the triumph of any particular form of government would have been a poor compensation for assenting to the pernicious doctrine, that foreigners have a right to choose for a nation what its form of government shall be.
He refused even to see the Bourbons while there was a chance of peace with Napoleon. The following letter to Lord Liverpool shows how much he dreaded lest the war for European independence should be mistaken for a counter-revolutionary crusade :
Upon the whole my impressions are against any step which should, even in appearance, mix our system with that of the Bourbons, whilst we are embarked in discussions for peace, and ignorant how our Allies
would relish such a step at the present moment; and in this view I doubt the prudence even of a declaration as to the armistice by sea and land : first, because it would be considered an invitation to a rising; and secondly, because I doubt its efficacy even to that object; as those who reason at all cannot doubt that, were the Bourbons restored, hostilities would immediately cease. We ought always to recollect that we are suspected of having une arrière-pensée on the question of peace, and that we should act with the more caution.
* I have written very hastily my first impressions on your letter. They are intended for Bathurst, for whom I have a letter, as well as for yourself. From the early part of Lord Wellington's letter I think his impressions are the same as my own; that, with all the objections to such a peace, if Buonaparte will give you your own terms, you ought not to risk yourselves and the Confederacy in the labyrinth of counterrevolution. If he will not, you may then run greater risks; but even then I should wish to see more evident proofs of active disposition to throw off B.'s yoke, before I encouraged an effort.'-(Castlereagh Papers, vol. i. series III., p. 124.)
But though he was fortunate enough to obtain the high sanction of the Duke of Wellington for his policy, it was almost the only assistance he received. His attitude was maintained against the pressure of many of his allies, against the wishes of his colleagues at home, and against the secret interference of the Prince Regent himself. Almost the only angry shade that passes over the calm, imperturbable style of his correspondence during this exciting period, was drawn from him by the intelligence that the Prince Regent had secretly given to Count Lieven a pledge in favour of the Bourbons at the moment when Lord Castlereagh was still negotiating with Napoleon. When the war did at last, through the obstinacy of the Emperor, result in the return of the Bourbons, he had no desire to inflict another despotism on France. It was by his advice that Louis XVIII. abstained from all discussions on political metaphysics,' and accepted the Charter simply. In the years of political confusion which followed in France, while the nation was beginning to work its new institutions, Lord Castlereagh's counsels were always on the side of strictly constitutional measures. He urged the King to avoid the high-flying Royalists,' to try and form, out of the men whom the Revolution had bred, a party strong enough to govern the country, and to give up the anomaly of an armed force maintained under any other authority than that of the King's responsible advisers. He gave, though to little purpose, advice of the same character in Spain. He entreated the King not to return to the ancient state of things :• If His Majesty announces to the nation his determination to give