PP/GC/PO/62 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the relationship between the Belgian Committee for Foreign Relations and the Joint Commissioners of the London Conference, 11 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: there is still no direct or official news from Paris. Ponsonby sends a newspaper which includes a speech delivered by the President of the Committee for Foreign Relations in his place in Congress. It will give Palmerston an impression of the "temper and, I trust, despair, in which the gang of rogues to which my friend Van de Weyer belongs, now is". Ponsonby thought it better not to take any notice of the speech in case he embarrassed Palmerston by causing a contest with Congress. For the same reason, he has not sent protocol number fifteen to the Congress, as he otherwise might have done. His temper has been tried, but he hopes Palmerston will applaud his moderation. There is still time to make these people feel the consequences of their folly and impertinence. At present, Ponsonby takes some pleasure in letting Van der Weyer feel that everything he does is treated with contempt. The Orange party continues to advance. Ponsonby has information that the situation has mostly been explained to the Prince, and that it rests with him now whether or not to put himself at the head of a "mouvement", which in Ponsonby's opinion is certain of success unless conducted with cowardice and stupidity. One of the Prince's aides de camp, whose name is something like Krackembourg, is said to be "so great a paltron" that his influence over the Prince will always be exerted to keep himself out of danger, and therefore to prevent every exertion, however necessary, if the least personal peril attends it. Ponsonby saw General van Hooghvorst the previous day. He will second anything that promises to overthrow the provisional government and its ministers. He consulted Ponsonby about resigning his place in the provisional government and Ponsonby advised him to retain it. It would be very useful to have him armed with legal authority as well as at the head of the civic guard, should anything serious take place. He told Ponsonby that some Frenchmen had been talking to one of the sections of the guard and canvassing them for France. They were severely maltreated and bastinadoed by the soldiers. Nothing is more untrue than reports that Belgium is pro-French. In fact, the opposite is true, except in some of the Walloon districts. It may be possible to protect against the possible surrender, or offer, by the inhabitants of the fortresses of Tournai or Mons to France. Ponsonby has heard from Aix la Chapelle that the King of Prussia has deployed an immense portion of his army of the war establishment and rendered the landburghers mobile. Bresson has been recalled by Prince Talleyrand to London. Ponsonby thinks Bresson has been deeply implicated in all Van der Weyer's follies and "other things too". He is sorry for him, since he has been driven out of his wits by de la Woestine and his [?own] failures, but the original sinner is the Comte de Celles, whose lying reports about England to the King of the French placed Louis Philippe in the difficulties he has had to encounter. A "constant fire of lies" has been maintained from Brussels, so that at Paris, people really believe the French are wanted in Belgium, instead of being hated, as far as fear will allow people to hate. Ponsonby thinks the King could be told how completely de Celles and others have made him their pawn and exposed him to difficulty, if not to danger. He hopes for instructions about the rejection of the protocol by the committee, and also about the wounding speech made by the President of that committee about "the person who has the honor to be the agent of the five great powers. I do think it is a matter which requires something to be done and a stroke of vigour will be most servicable here, but I think it necessary France should be a party to it." Talleyrand must know that he has been attacked, although Ponsonby is not prepared to say that Talleyrand's own dependent was the instigator of Van der Weyer's speech, since it is too foolish to imagine Talleyrand counselled by him, but Ponsonby suspects he [Bresson] helped to draw up the letter which refuses to accept the protocol. Ponsonby has not yet had a reply about Maastricht. He is a little "crippled" by Bresson on this subject, but he will investigate it carefully. 11 Feb 1831 Enclosed is an edition of the Belgian newspaper, LE COURRIER, in French: the newspaper carries a report on the sitting of the Congress on 10 February, together with news relative to Belgium from England and France. Various passages have been marked in pencil and ink. 12 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
Belgium: revolt; revolution; independence
Sylvain van der Weyer, member of the provisional government of Belgium, President of the Committee for Foreign Relations
Krackembourg, alias Crockenburg, aide de camp of William Frederick, Prince of Orange, later William II, King of Holland
Emmanuel Constantin Ghislain van der Linden, Baron van Hooghvorst, or Hoogvorst, commander in chief of the burgher guard in Brussels, and member of the provisional government of Belgium
Mons, Tournai, or Tournay, Belgium
Aix la Chapelle, or Aachen, Prussia, later Germany
Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia
Charles Joseph Bresson, later Comte Bresson, French Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, Prince de Benevent, French ambassador at London
Charles Anatole Alexis, Marquis de la Woestine
Antoine Charles Fiacre, Comte de Wisher de Celles, vice President of the Committee for Foreign Relations of the provisional government of Belgium
Louis Philippe, King of the French
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