PP/GC/PO/116 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the state of affairs in Belgium prior to the proposed election of Prince Leopold to the crown of Belgium, 27 May 1831
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, [British Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the government of Belgium], Brussels, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "I have better hopes today after a communication with several persons here and I am happy to add that I find Gen[era]l Belliard much less desponding than he was last night. I may say that he has now something like an expectation of success. I believe he has been indefatigable in his exertions and that they have been of * the * infinite service to the cause of peace. I must defer writing at any length to you because my time will be better employed in speaking to people who may be convinced or intimidated by a statement of the results necessarily attendant upon rashness. There is a scheme afoot for electing Prince Leopold on Wednesday next without asking any more questions. Anything that can prevent actual [f.1v] hostilities must, I think, be advantageous and if they make the election we shall at least gain time. I had a long conversation with the Regent, who I found extremely reasonable; but timid, and particularly afraid of the army which he said was entirely out of all controul. Mons[ieu]r Van de Weyer has acted extremely well and will, I think, be highly useful. The great object with me is to make these people believe that the five powers are in earnest and that France can act. The Regent spoke to me about some Dutch vessels of war at Lillo and requested me, in conjunction with Gen[era]l Belliard, to send a messenger to The Hague to obtain orders against their moving up to Antwerp where he said they would infallibly [f.2r] be fired upon and occasion a commencement of hostilities. I shall send to Sir C[harles] Bagot in consequence and I hope you will back what I say. I trust I may not have said too much to encourage hopes of success. You will always remember we have to deal with madmen." 27 May 1831 A pencil note, in Palmerston's hand, follows the last sentence, "But not without method in their madness". The letter is marked: "Private", and it is noted on the docket that it was received on 29 May 1831.
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John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, later first Viscount Ponsonby, British Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium
Belgium: revolt; revolution; independence
General Auguste Daniel, Comte Belliard, French Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, later Leopold I, King of the Belgians
Sylvain van der Weyer, member of the Belgian Congress
Erasme Louis, Baron Surlet de Chokier, Regent of Belgium
Lillo, or Lilloo; Antwerp, Belgium
Sir Charles Bagot, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at The Hague
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