PP/GC/PO/88 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning changes in the Belgian ministry, 25 March 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: he is making use of Mr Cartwright's messenger to inform Palmerston of the complete change in the Belgian ministry, except for one man, Monsieur de Brouckere. The new ministry has been formed by Monsieur Sauvage, previously governor at Liege. He is an intimate friend, private and political, of Monsieur Lebeau, who demonstrated himself to be an opponent of the French government in Belgium during the affair of the Duke of Leuchtenberg. Another of the new ministers, Monsieur Devaux, is also an intimate friend of Lebeau. Sauvage told Ponsonby that he and his ministry were true Belgians, independents, and would oppose with all their power the undue influence of France. He said he would not permit Van der Weyer to remain in post, because he would not abandon France. Shortly afterwards, Sauvage said that the French government had consented to give up all their schemes in Belgium. These things remain to be seen, but there is nevertheless reason to hope for big improvements in the state of affairs in Belgium. Ponsonby intends to write more fully by his own messenger that evening. He sends a newspaper containing a letter from de Potter which is worth reading, and also an account of the association formed in Brussels in imitation of the one recently set up in Paris. Palmerston will see that two of the former ministry belong to it, Monsieur Gendebien is chief justice at Brussels, and Tielemans is de Potter's bosom friend. Sauvage gave the strongest assurances. Ponsonby will not do anything about Luxembourg, except anything which "may tend to inculcate moderation" at Brussels, until he sees Palmerston's orders. Things are fast coming to a crisis. Agents have left Brussels for Antwerp to prepare for immediate action on the part of the Orangists. Ponsonby cannot say what influence the change of ministry may have on this question. It would be a great thing to prevent all risk of civil war. The messenger from Ostend has not yet arrived, although he was due twenty four hours previously. 25 Mar 1831 The letter is marked: "Private" and "1/2 10 Friday morning". It is noted on the docket that the letter was received on 28 Mar 1831. Enclosed is a newspaper, LE BELGE, in French: it contains summaries of foreign news from Poland, Spain, Italy and France, as well as articles on the change in the Belgian ministry, the "Association Nationale Belge", and other home affairs. Various passages have been marked up in ink. 25 Mar 1831
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
Thomas Cartwright, later Sir Thomas Cartwright, British minister plenipotentiary at the German Confederal Diet of Frankfurt
Charles de Brouckere, Belgian Minister of Finance
E.de Sauvage, incoming Belgian Minister for Home Affairs
Liege; Ostend, or Ostende, or Oostende, Belgium
Jean Louis Joseph Lebeau, incoming Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs
August Charles Eugene Napoleon, Duke of Leuchtenberg, Prince of Eichstadt
Paul Isidore Devaux, Belgian Minister without Portfolio
Sylvain van der Weyer
Alexandre Gendebien
Louis de Potter, Belgian republican
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