PP/GC/PO/89 Letter from Lord Ponsonby to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, concerning the new Belgian ministry under Sauvage, 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 has been busy since writing to Palmerston that morning in acquainting himself with the "connections and probable dispositions" of the new ministry, of which Ponsonby encloses a list. He has not got time before the messenger departs to give Palmerston the details, and perhaps they would not be interesting anyway. His investigations have confirmed his opinion that the new ministers are hostile to a French connection. Palmerston himself can judge the Regent from the communication he has had with him. The Regent assured Ponsonby he had written to Paris in the same sense. Ponsonby believes the Regent received an answer from Paris the previous day, and that it was satisfactory. Sauvage spoke to Ponsonby of the moderation of the French government and said "they know they cannot make war". General Belliard was in the room and was evidently listening to what Sauvage was saying, so Ponsonby did not like to ask questions or make Sauvage talk louder than he talked of his own accord, which was loud enough to be indiscreet. The ministers are occupied all day. Ponsonby does not want to go into this subject any further, because an attempt will certainly be made at revolution that night, which will entirely alter the position of things if successful. Ponsonby starts to write about the army, but breaks off to say he must not write even by a messenger things which, if known, might compromise many people. He has done all he can to dissuade those who have talked to him from force, since he thinks this would be most unfortunate at that moment. He believes success would be certain if matters are well managed, but he has "seen too much of men, and things, here, to have confidence in their courage or capacity. I will not detail to you the plans of the actors. The thing will be decided one way or other immediately and will then speak for itself." Palmerston's courier, who was due the previous morning, has not yet arrived. Ponsonby will despatch an extra messenger via Calais if necessary. He has thought it right to remain at Brussels, but presumes he will not be asked to do anything. 25 Mar 1831 The letter is marked: "Private" and it is noted on the docket that it was received on 27 March 1831. Enclosed is a memorandum giving the members of the Belgian ministry as follows: Sauvage, Interior Barthelemy, Justice and Police De Hane de Steenhusse, War De Broukere, Finance De Vaux, Foreign Affairs n.d. [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
Erasme Louis, Baron Surlet de Chokier, Regent of Belgium
Etienne Noel, Comte de Sauvage, Belgian Minister for Home Affairs
General Auguste Daniel, Comte Belliard, French Joint Commissioner of the London Conference to the government of Belgium
Antoine Barthelemy, Belgian Minister for Justice
C. d'Hane de Steenhuyse, or de Hane de Steenbusse, Belgian Minister for Defence
Charles de Brouckere, or Broukere, Belgian Minister of Finance
P. Devaux, or de Vaux, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs
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