Title:
PP/GC/PO/76 Copy of a letter from Lord Granville to Lord Ponsonby, describing current French opinion about Belgium and events at Paris, 17 February 1831: contemporary copy
Date:
17/02/1831
Content:
Copy of a letter believed to be from Granville Leveson Gower, first Viscount Granville, [British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to France], to John Ponsonby, second Baron Ponsonby, [British Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the provisional government of Belgium]: Ponsonby's letter of 10 February confirmed his suspicions that his letter under cover to "P.D." had met with the same fate as the letters Granville wrote to Ponsonby when he first arrived at Brussels. He has written to Ponsonby three times since Ponsonby's letter of 10 January, but it would seem that Ponsonby has not received any of the letters. He is sorry for this, as they contained many details of what was going on at Paris, which Granville thinks would have been of use to Ponsonby. All kinds of things have been said of Ponsonby and "the Neapolitan" [Charles Ferdinand, Prince of Capua]. The Palais Royal and the ministers accuse Ponsonby of being the cause of all their difficulties. He is reported to have expressed hostile opinions about the head of the government in Paris, and to have put obstacles in the way of an amicable arrangement of the Belgian affair. One party accused Ponsonby of putting an end to the Prince of Orange's interest and of attempting to put forward "my old master" [?William I, King of the Netherlands], whilst another party said that Ponsonby was working to get the Prince of Orange elected by any means in his power. The Palais Royal and its council were taught to believe that Ponsonby was secretly supporting the Duke of Leuchtenberg's party. This put them in a great rage and an even greater fright, so they tried as hard as possible to push the election of the Duc de Nemours, not with the intention of accepting the crown for him, but to prevent the other candidate succeeding, and to gain time. Granville gave all the details of this in his former letters, and mentioned his belief that the government had been playing a "deep and false game", not so much to favour the Duc de Nemours, as to pave the way to the reunion of the two countries. Granville thinks he was mistaken on this, since he now has good reason to believe the King was serious in his refusal and meant to abide by it. The efforts to see the election of the Duc de Nemours were made more out of fright that a member of the Bonaparte family would succeed through Ponsonby's interest. "So puzzled was the P[alais] R[oyal] about your reputed actions and wishes, that the person who went to meet you at the P[alais] R[oyal] and in your house immediately after the revolution, he who laughed so much at my story of the Englishman's cabriolet being taken from him to take the heroes to Rambouillet, was on the point of requesting me to set off to join you and learn what was the real state of the case. This was to have been done unknown to the government, by desire of his master who was sadly puzzled by your reported enmity to him and his government." Granville did not know about this until afterwards, when he was spoken to to see if he knew anything about Ponsonby's intentions. Granville replied that he knew nothing, either of Ponsonby's instructions or intentions, but that he could be certain that Ponsonby would only act above board: Ponsonby's negotiations for whichever candidate he thought was in the interest of Britain and the peace of Europe would be carried on openly and avowedly, without any underhand dealings, which Ponsonby despised and considered useless. Granville could answer for Ponsonby's sentiments about the French, since he had had letters in which Ponsonby mentioned his opinion that the fate of the civilised world depended on the permanency and strength of Louis Philippe, and condemned the efforts made by the Brouillon party to displace Louis Philippe, and would gladly have given assistance to baffle the attempt. "The person, above alluded to," had had several discussions with the King about Ponsonby in which he failed to convince him how wrong his views were about Ponsonby. However, the King was staggered by Granville's testimony and the extracts Granville read from Ponsonby's letters, where he wrote strongly against the party which was trying to depose Louis Philippe, and Louis Philippe said that he was sorry he had not known it or spoken to Granville sooner. If the King had been persuaded of this twelve days sooner, it would have prevented much annoyance and smoothed down many difficulties. "The present idea entertained by him [the French King] is to give one of his daughters to the second brother of the ruler of the place in which we first met, and have him if possible chosen in Belgium. I hear from good authority that an official person here (to whom you were good enough to write to about me) has written to England to recommend a favorable consideration of this last candidate, you probably will ere this have got letters about it from home. Do you think it is likely to succeed in B[elgium] and will it assure England's purposes. If you should wish to have anything known at the P[alais] R[oyal], write me such a letter as you should wish me to shew. Your others, of course, I did not show as I had not your permission so to do, besides which they contained matter foreign to the purpose for which I should have wished to have shewn them." "I am sure, however, that what I did read about your friendly wishes to Ph[ilippe]'s stability has produced good effect." The King was very annoyed and hurt at the remarks made by the English courier about his policy respecting Belgium. "He said, it is enough to disgust one from acting honourably and disinterestedly when one's actions and motives are to be so interpreted." Granville fears this "long rigmarole" might not be as interesting to Ponsonby as it at first seemed it would be, but he thought he should be informed of it. The newspapers will tell Ponsonby about the new troubles at Paris. The whole town has been in a state similar to the "memorable or glorieuse journee of Tuesday". ?50,000 men are under arms and they have had a lot of difficulty in keeping matters under control. The government are issuing proclamations against and arresting many of the Carlist party, in order to discredit the current commotion, by causing it to be believed that it arose from a conspiracy of the friends of H[enri] V. However, although the funeral service of the Duc de Berri was the original cause or rather the pretext for the movement, there is no doubt that the disturbances, the destruction of churches and the Archbishop's palace and country house and the tearing down of the crosses in the domes of various churches, show the state of the people's minds. In Granville's opinion, matters have reached their most threatening aspect since the revolution. The newspapers that had supported the government, or had at least been neutral, are beginning to attack the present government. God only knows how it will end. It is said that a large number of people are at a place called La ?Glaurer at one of the ?Baucirs waiting to come down at a signal, to attack the Chamber of Deputies. Granville has just received a letter from Lady Ponsonby. It is too late to answer by that day's post, but he will write to her the following day or the day after that, as soon as he has considered and thought over what she has said. What Ponsonby mentions about Mr ?Branble "is a great victory for home if true", but Granville is doubtful about him acting fairly. 17 Feb 1831: contemporary copy The letter cover, numbered PP/GC/PO/76A, is marked "Copies of correspondence between Lord Ponsonby and the Vicomte de Chabot, and Lord Granville. Private", crossed through in ink, but with "Stet" added in pencil. A further note, "Foreign Office, March 1 1831, Lord Palmerston to Lord Granville. Private", has been crossed through in pencil.
Extent:
Four papers
License:
All images are copyright. Please contact Archives@soton.ac.uk if you wish to reproduce this material
Subject:
Granville Leveson Gower, first Viscount Granville, later first Earl Granville, British ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to France
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
France: revolution; civil unrest; July monarchy
Charles Ferdinand, Prince of Capua, brother of Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies
William I, King of the Netherlands, later King of Holland
William Frederick, Prince of Orange, later William II, King of Holland
August Charles Eugene Napoleon, Duke of Leuchtenberg, Prince of Eichstadt
Louis, Duc de Nemours, second son of Louis Philippe, King of the French
Louis Philippe, King of the French
Rambouillet, France, scene of the abdication of Charles X, King of France
Carlists, supporters of Charles X, abdicated King of France, and the Bourbon claim to the French throne
Henri, Comte de Chambord, Duc de Bordeaux, alias Henri V, claimant to the French throne
Charles Ferdinand d'Artois, Duc de Berri, or Berry, whose assassination in 1820 was commemorated annually on 14 February
France: newspapers; the press
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