PP/GC/PO/61 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the acceptance of protocol fifteen and further nominations for King of Belgium, 10 February 1831
Letter from John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, [British Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium], Brussels, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he is sending a messenger with the answer of the diplomatic committee refusing to accept protocol number fifteen. He also sent a messenger to Paris to inform Lord Granville. If he had received the answer a few minutes earlier, he could have communicated the protocol directly to the President of Congress, but the adjournment has taken place. He will consider what is the best thing to be done between before the morning. Members of Congress have applied to Ponsonby to make the communication and he is disposed to think that he ought to gratify the wishes of those who are willing to save Belgium from the intrigues of those who seek to involve Europe in a war. He strongly suspects that Bresson has been at the bottom of this manoeuvre. Ponsonby is informed that there is a project afoot to nominate La Fayette as King of Belgium. Even at twelve o'clock that morning, Bresson denied that the refusal [of the Belgian crown for the Duc de Nemours] was certain. Ponsonby fears Van der Weyer has told the diplomatic committee that Bresson has received a telegraphic despatch from Paris authorising him to contradict all reports of the non-acceptance of the crown of Belgium. Ponsonby now thinks there will be no peace in Belgium unless Bresson is recalled and care is taken to prevent him remaining at Brussels. The disgust and anger at Brussels against the Congress is excessive. Ponsonby knows that it depends solely on the will of the Prince of Orange to be the possessor of Antwerp and head of the army there. He told Palmerston the previous day of the support he would receive at Antwerp. The Congress and ministry are, generally speaking, "the scum of the nation, and will destroy us all by their villainy and folly". Ponsonby was highly gratified by the approbation Palmerston has given to his conduct. He has been indefatigable and has constantly had demands on all his attention. He did not criticise Palmerston's policy, which he himself thought the best and only policy, but only wanted to make Palmerston aware that in a particular instance, it was impossible for him to be successful and thus to guard himself against blame. He is more than content if he does nothing wrong. He has asked Lord Granville to communicate with him if necessary to guide him. Ponsonby is not implicated in the affairs of the Orange party, but he hears all that happens from men who are. He has never disguised his opinion regarding the choice of the Prince, ever since he was first authorised by Palmerston to declare it. He keeps to it now, after a careful consideration of the state of things. Everybody is against the Neapolitan Prince, although some have spoken of Prince Leopold married to a French Princess. The Prince of Orange should first of all adopt the national colours. Ponsonby writes in the greatest haste. He forgot to mention that Bresson refused to sign the note about Maastricht, alleging personal reasons for doing so. 10 Feb 1831 It is noted on the wrapper that the letter was received on 12 February 1831. Enclosed is a page from a Belgian newspaper, in French, which prints protocol fifteen, together with the reasons for its refusal by the diplomatic committee. n.d. Feb 1831
Three papers
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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
Granville Leveson Gower, first Viscount Granville, later first Earl Granville, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at Paris
Charles Joseph Bresson, later Comte Bresson, French Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium
Marie Jean Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de la Fayette, member of the French Chamber of Deputies, commander of the Parisian national guard
Sylvain van der Weyer, member of the provisional government of Belgium
Charles Ferdinand, Prince of Capua, brother of Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies
Leopold, Prince of Saxe-Coburg, later Leopold I, King of the Belgians
William Frederick, Prince of Orange, later William II, King of Holland
Maastricht, Netherlands
Antwerp, Belgium
Belgium: newspapers; the press
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