PP/GC/PO/68 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning allegations against Ponsonby in objecting to the Duke of Leuchtenberg as sovereign of Belgium, 19 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 encloses a letter worthy of attention [not present]. He asks Palmerston to show it to Grey, and return it to Ponsonby when he has no further use for it. He may copy it if he wishes. Palmerston will know how false the charges against Ponsonby are. Palmerston will remember the strong language Ponsonby used to Lebeau against his plan for choosing the Duke of Leuchtenberg, and that he said, with more truth than civility, "The Duc is set up by the Jacobins of Paris, is supported by the Jacobins here, and can only stand by the aid of the Jacobins if he be elected; that is by the party the most active in their endeavours to overthrow the government of the King of the French." Ponsonby added that as long as France remained faithful to Britain, which he had no reason to doubt she had, Britain would keep her engagements to France. Lebeau was aware that Britain had promised not to support anybody who could give umbrage to Louis Philippe, and that the Duke of Leuchtenberg was likely to be the most disagreeable person to the King. As Leuchtenberg was supported by the Jacobin party, it was absurd to imagine that Austria, Russia or Prussia would not also object to him as sovereign of Belgium. Ponsonby has said all this to Palmerston before, but thought he should remind him. He also stated all this to Bresson, who knew from their very familiar conversations how strongly Ponsonby always felt that the security and power of the King of the French was "the best guardian of Europe against the absolute destruction of everything dear to rational beings". The impression that the King of the French has gained must have been produced by Bresson, aided no doubt by his accomplice and guide, the Comte de Celles. Palmerston sees what consequences two men of the sort have already produced. If the King of the French is sincere, as Ponsonby hopes and believes he is, good may spring from all this. Ponsonby is writing by post to Chabot, the person alluded to by his correspondent. He hopes the letter will be allowed to reach him. The republican party in Belgium is working hard, but Ponsonby believes he could get it put down, if France is sincere towards Britain. He hopes Palmerston will excuse the "facon" of the copy he is sending of a letter he has written to Chabot and despatched by the post. Chabot may not receive it, so Ponsonby would be glad to have the copy back so that he can make up for the loss. 19 Feb 1831 The letter is marked: "Private"
Two 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
Charles Grey, second Earl Grey, British Prime Minister
Jean Louis Joseph Lebeau
Louis Philippe, King of the French
August Charles Eugene Napoleon, Duke of Leuchtenberg, Prince of Eichstadt
Charles Joseph Bresson, later Comte Bresson, French Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium
Antoine Charles Fiacre, Comte de Wisher de Celles, Vice President of the Committee for Foreign Relations of the provisional government of Belgium
Louis William Rohan-Chabot, Vicomte de Chabot
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