« PreviousContinue »
wills. Tell me what you desire, and what you wish me to do and I will do it.60
Four days after this, news reached Alexander that the Russian regiment of which he, as Tsarevitch had been colonel in chief, had mutinied in St. Petersburg. Efforts to persuade Alexander that the mutiny was merely one directed against the intolerable tyranny of the Prussian who commanded them were without effect. Alexander insisted that this was part of the conspiracy of the Carbonari. Phillips thus describes the reactions of Alexander over this incident: In the person of Napoleon he had thought to overthrow the Beast; and behold! it was not incarnate in one man, but a "many-headed monster thing" of which, in his blindness, he had himself encouraged the growth. At least his eyes were opened, by the Providence of God, before it was too late, and his duty was clear. To the servants of the Evil One no mercy must be shown; he set aside as too lenient the sentences passed by the court-martial on the ringleaders of the mutiny-two corporals and five poor privates-and ordered that they should receive six thousand strokes apiece. Thus in Holy Russia at least the Lord's will could be done. As for Europe at large, to Alexander God's will was now equally clear. He searched the Scriptures, and found in the most unlikely places-in the stories of Nebuchadnezzar and of Judith and Holofernes, and in the Epistles of St. Paul-Divine lessons applicable to the perils of the hour. To the principle of Evil, bastard brood of Voltairean philosophy falsely so called, must be opposed to the principle of Faith, which found its supreme expression in that revelation of the Most High-— the Holy Alliance. Stripped of its verbiage, this meant that in Alexander's view the Alliance was henceforth to be used as a force purely conservative, if not reactionary.“1
Preliminary protocol of Troppau
Metternich was not slow to take advantage of the changed temper of Alexander, and the famous preliminary protocol of Troppau was framed. Britain, pleading that her constitutional forms would not permit, did not become a party. This protocol read:
States which have undergone a change of Government due to revolution, the results of which threaten other states, ipso facto cease to be members of the European Alliance, and remain excluded from it until their situation gives guarantees for legal order and stability. If, owing to such alterations, immediate danger threatens other states, the Powers bind themselves, by peaceful means, or if need be by arms, to bring back the guilty state into the bosom of the Great Alliance."
British opposition to this was so great that the signatures thereto were subsequently withdrawn. Castlereagh in a communication to Lord Stewart under date of December 16, 1820, criticized this pro
posal in a manner which set forth very clearly the attitude of Great Britain. This despatch of Castlereagh's has been glossed and quoted by Phillips as follows:
Of what, asks Castlereagh, is the Protocol a draft? of a reasoned basis for the interference in Naples? or of a general treaty to which the adherence of the other Courts is to be invited? In the latter case the question assumed a character such as must necessarily awaken the attention of all European states with regard to its principles as well as its provisions. It raised questions both as to the position of the contracting Powers towards each other and as to their relation to the independent states which were not parties to the obligations of the Alliance. It was impossible not to be alarmed by the wide and sweeping powers claimed for the Allies by the Protocol-powers which he denied to have any basis in existing treaties. The treaty of November 1815 only stipulated that, in the event of a revolutionary convulsion in France, the Powers were "to deliberate together" with a view to concerting measures to secure their common safety; but the fifth article of the Protocol proceeds at once to recognize their authority to place armies of occupation in such of those states as the Alliance may deem to require such a precaution. If this could not be based upon existing treaties, was it proposed to invite all other states to accede to this league, and thus by their voluntary consent to submit themselves in such cases to the jurisdiction of the Alliance? Could it be supposed that all the states of Europe would choose to accede to such a system, and if not, what was to be the position of the states that did not accede? After pointing out the disastrous effect of this system on the relations between the sovereigns and their peoples, Castlereagh goes on to consider its effect on the relations of the Powers of the Alliance to each other. The rights claimed under the Protocol, he said, were presumably to be "reciprocal between the parties." Were, then, the great Powers of Europe prepared to admit the principle of their territories being thrown open to each other's approach upon cases of assumed necessity or expediency of which not the party receiving aid, but the party administering it, was to be the judge? As for Great Britain, any minister who should recommend the King to sanction such a principle would render himself liable to impeachment, and the British Government not only dissented from it, but protested against any attempt to consider it, under any conceivable circumstances, as applicable to any of the British dominions. "It is proposed to create a confederacy for the exercise of a right which, though undoubtedly appertaining, upon the principle of self-defence, in extreme cases, to each particular state, has never yet, as a general measure, been made the subject of a diplomatic regulation or conjoint exercise." It was proposed, he said, to assume on the part of the Alliance a sovereign power over the other states of Europe, on the analogy of the German Confederation. But in the German Confederation the power was exercised, not by its most powerful members, but by the Confederation itself, represented in its Diet. In the present case there was no such regulation, and sooner or later, therefore, the claims of the Alliance would provoke counter-alliances, thus defeating the very objects for which they were advanced. "There are extreme rights to which nations as well as individuals must have recourse for their preservation, and for the exercise of which no legislature can provide. The extreme right of interference between nation and nation can never be made a matter of written stipulation or be assumed as the attribute of any alliance." To promulgate a new code in connexion with the measures which certain Powers had thought it necessary to take in the case of Naples would only "open an unbounded field
for agitation and controversy." In refusing assent to the Protocol, Lord Stewart was to be careful to point out that this did not depend on the form or phrases of these particular instructions and was "not susceptible of being removed by any partial modification of their stipulations." The British Government objected to the fundamental principle on which the Protocol rested, namely, that of rendering the powers, either of the existing or of any other alliance, applicable, under any circumstances, to the internal transactions of independent states. For this appeared to lead immediately to the creation of a species of general government in Europe, with a superintending Directory, destructive of all correct notions of internal sovereign authority; and Great Britain could not consent to charge herself, as a member of the Alliance, with the moral responsibility of administering a general European police of this description."
ADJOURNED CONFERENCE AT LAIBACH
When this despatch was read to the conference which had adjourned to Laibach it seemed to have caused consternation among the ministers assembled.
The result was a declaration which modified the protocol at Troppau and which Lord Stewart thought was not objectionable from the British point of view. Russia, Austria and Prussia issued circular despatches and instructions to their ministers in Naples in which they referred to the Troppau protocol in such terms as would apparently have been displeasing to Great Britain and France. Stewart reported to his Government:
In short, there can be little doubt from the complexion of these instruments that a Triple Understanding has been created which binds the parties to carry forward their own views in spite of any difference of opinion which may exist between them and the two great constitutional Governments [Great Britain and France]."
As to the attitude of Great Britain towards Spain and the revolted colonies at this period (1821-22) Phillips states:
The attitude of Great Britain in the question of Spain and her colonies was complicated by the various, and to all appearance contradictory, influences by which it was determined. On the one hand, she was firm in the maintenance of her traditional policy of maintaining the strength and independence of the Spanish monarchy, more especially against the pretensions of France; and the ancient friendship between the two countries, founded on this basis, had been cemented by their alliance during the recent Peninsular War. On the other hand, the Court of Spain, magnificently contemptuous of the law of supply and demand, saw little friendliness in the fact that British traders had taken advantage of its weakness to open a lively "contraband" trade with the revolted colonies, and less in the refusal of the British Government to recognize its right to interrupt this trade. Moreover, in spite of the Treaty of Neutrality, as between Spain and the colonies, signed by Great Britain, recruiting was
Phillips, The Confederation of Europe, pp. 225–227.
actively carried on in England by the agents of the Latin American rebel Governments, and British adventurers had taken a conspicuous, and sometimes a leading, part in the overthrow of the royal authority in America.
By September 27, 1822, Canning, writing to Wellington, pointed out, as quoted by Phillips, that it "might be found expedient 'tacitly to admit, or more or less formally to recognize, the de facto States of the South American Continent.' 'Indeed,' he added, 'it would not be fair to withhold the expression of our opinion that, before Parliament meets, the course of events, the interests of commerce, and the state of navigation in the American seas will have obliged us to come to some understanding more or less distinct, with some of those selferected Governments.'" 66
CONFERENCE AT VERONA
The conference which met at Verona in October was the last of the conferences held pursuant to the treaty of November 20, 1815, in which the powers had renewed their alliance created by the treaty of Chaumont and Article 6 of which had provided for further conferences.
It was at this conference that Alexander, now seemingly weaned from his devotion to the democratic altruism which lay behind. the Holy Alliance, renewed the offer which he had made to Metternich on September 29, 1818, at Aix-la-Chapelle when he stated, "My army, as well as myself, is at the disposal of Europe." He now proposed to march 150,000 men through Germany into Piedmont from which position they would be equally available for use either in Spain or against France.67
Against this suggestion representatives of France, Great Britain and Austria took a firm stand. The discussions in the conference proceeded with difficulty and some bitterness as to the course which should be followed with reference to Spain. Wellington finally withdrew from the conference having stated that Great Britain could not be a party to any general declaration against Spain nor to any hostile interference in her internal affairs, nor to any defensive alliance between the powers.68
Of the result of the conference Canning wrote to Bagot on January 3, 1823:
The issue of Verona has split the one and indivisible Alliance into three parts as distinct as the Constitutions of England, France, and Muscovy.
Villèle is a minister of thirty years ago-no revolutionary scoundrel: but con
stitutionally hating England, as Choiseul and Vergennes used to hate us—and so things are getting back to a wholesome state again. Every nation for itself and God for us all.69
FRENCH OCCUPATION OF SPAIN
The measures adopted by the four powers, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and France, as the result of the conference at Verona to adjust the difficulties in Spain, having failed-the plan involved the making of simultaneous representations by these powers-a French army of 95,000 men under the Duc d'Angoulême, crossed Bidassoa on April 7, 1823, and Ferdinand VII was put upon the throne. When war was announced Canning intimated at Paris that Great Britain would not under any circumstances tolerate the subjection of the Spanish colonies by foreign force and since Great Britain commanded the seas the reconquest of Spanish colonies without her consent was not to be thought of.70
This was the European situation which had developed up to the mid-year of 1823; on December 2 following, President Monroe made his declaration.
THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA, 1820-1823
On May 20, 1819, Secretary Adams, writing to Secretary Thompson of the Navy, gave his understanding of the negotiations at the conference of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818) in the following language:
It is now well ascertained that before the Congress of the great European Powers at Aix La Chapelle, their mediation had been solicited by Spain, and agreed to be given by them for the purpose of restoring the Spanish Dominion throughout South America, under certain conditions of Commercial privileges to be guaranteed to the Inhabitants. The Government of the United States had been informed of this project before the meeting at Aix La Chapelle, and that it had been proposed by some of the allied powers that the United States should be invited to join them in this mediation. When this information was received, the ministers of the United States to France, England, and Russia, were immediately instructed to make known to those respective Governments that the United States, would take no part in any plan of mediation or interference, in the contest between Spain and South America, which should be founded on any other basis than that of the total Independence of the Colonies. This declaration was communicated before the meeting to Lord Castlereagh and to the Duke de Richelieu, at the Congress. It occasioned some dissatisfaction to the principal allies, particularly France & Russia, as it undoubtedly disconcerted their proposed mediation. Great Britain, concurring with them in the plan of restoring the Spanish authority, but aware that it could not be carried into effect, without the concurrence of the United States, declared it an indispensable condition, of her participation in the mediation, that there should be