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deceived and left in the dark. And when it is remembered that no long time after these revelations, the House of Commons forced Lord Palmerston back upon the Queen, and Lord John Russell became his colleague, are we wrong in saying that in the final ascendancy of Lord Palmerston was reached the lowest depth in the constitutional history of England, and that the evil spirit of Secret Diplomacy achieved its greatest triumph ?

INEFFICIENCY OF MODERN BRITISH DIPLOMACY. We have now to suggest that, independently of all considerations of the subjecton constitutionalgrounds, the ill-success and discredit which have attended our efforts in diplomacy, for many years past, would point to the necessity of a change by which a larger consultative authority should be brought to apply than that of the crown's "responsible Ministers” for the time being. To account completely for the undeniably unsatisfactory working of our present system would demand a more extensive inquiry than would be suitable to the present occasion ; including amongst other points a complete scrutiny of the constitution and regulations of the Foreign Office, and its staff at home and abroad; a subject which has been several years under the notice of Parliament, though as yet without leading to any results. A few general observations, however, may be not inappropriate, as indicating some fundamental distinctions between the art of diplomacy as practised by foreign nations, and ourselves respectively; distinctions in which, in many essential respects, we are at a comparative disadvantage. In the first place it should be borne in mind that diplomacy in England is a comparative novelty-an exotic for which the soil is by nature and habits ill-disposed. Owing to our island position we are shut out from all those questions of boundary, frontier lines, and nationalities, connected with territorial aggrandizement, which form the chief subject of jealousy and intrigue with Continental powers. The only acquisitions of territory capable to us, are in distant parts beyond the seas, those acquisitions being made more questionable by peculiar and dubious tenure; the problem of the relations between colony and mother country being as yet unsolved. For war on the Continent of Europe we have, by nature, no occasion, and for many ages had neither inclination nor aptitude. The wars of the Edwards aud Henrys in France, were for a disputed claim of inheritance proper to the Sovereign, in which the nation had no concern, and took little or no interest. In the course of the preceding pages we have cited a few, amongst many passages from the Parliamentary history of the country, which exemplify the guarded relations which subsisted between the crown and its English subjects in regard to those wars.

In the good old days of the Plantagenets and Tudors, this country, having little or no pretence for troubling itself with the theory of an "European Balance,” (though Henry VIII., for a brief period, indulged a whim in that direction) took no part in the great European struggles which raged with such ruinous effects, nor in the diplomatic intrigues which accompanied their progress, down to the end of the seventeenth century. We had no representative at the Congress of Westphalia in 1648, which closed the thirty-years' war,-nor any hand in the Peace of the Pyrenees, which laid the ground for half a century of future wars, to be terminated by the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, which was the first great European settlement in which this country took part, and, as it happened, a prominent part.

Our first initiation into the mysteries of Statecraft was occasioned through foreign influences and interests, imported with the personel of the sovereignty, after the expulsion of the Stuarts. But in the wars and intrigues which followed, it was not so much the feelings and policy of the nation as against nation, which were the motive influence, as the rivalry of parties, which, during the struggle between legitimacy and constitutional sovereignty, combined the great state question of resisting French ambition, with intrigues and conflicts between Whigs and Tories. The same state of things continued under the first two kings of the House of Hanover; with the inevitable consequence of weak and divided counsels, instead of a strong national policy founded upon a definite purpose.

Passing over the mad and wicked struggle which we waged for twenty years against the French nation in the interests of Divine Right, and the reactionary movement of a later period for forcing liberty and liberal institutions upon nations, whether they were disposed for them or not, under the

auspices of a late popular Minister, our diplomatic efforts of late years have been chiefly guided by commercial objects, or by doctrines of expediency, wholly apart from the great game of internatioval intrigue, and territorial annexation in which the ambition of Continental Sovereigns is still engaged as deeply and as zealously as ever. It

may be well understood, therefore, that whilst in every Continental state there has existed for centuries a school of diplomacy, with defined and studied purpose, and an unvarying stream of tradi

, tion to guide each successive Minister, in England the business of diplomacy has received less consideration, and has been carried on by Minister after Minister, following in rapid succession (there have been sixteen changes of the head of the Foreign Office since 1830), upon uncertain principles, regulated too often by caprice, or the chances of the day, or the influences of party; the result being habitual uncertainty and inconsistency.

Who can doubt that, but for the unfortunate circumstance of an Aberdeen," ce bon Aberdeen," being at the head of affairs in 1852-3, the Czar of Russia would never have dared to make his odious proposals for plundering the estates of the “sick man " at Constantinople, as transmitted in the despatches of Sir Hamilton Seymour, and which his Imperial Majesty "requested might be kept secret between the two governments ?" And who will doubt that if Lord Aberdeen had not consented to be particeps criminis in this felonious transaction, and to hide the nefarious secret from Parliament and the country,


the disastrous Crimean War, and the unworthy Treaty which followed upon it, need neither have taken place? The conduct of Lord Aberdeen in this scandalous transaction can only be attributed to gross turpitude, or a lamentable weakness of judgment, combined with a want of capacity to comprehend the immense wickedness which habitually marks the operations of state intrigue, and in which the Court of Petersburg was proficient.

Another noteworthy instance in which the personel of the Minister, and his supposed predilections for one or other of the leading Continental States, were suffered to have a direct influence upon measures of state policy, was that of Lord Palmerston, when, in his excess of zeal for the Second Empire of 1852, and of admiration of its representative, he wanted to extend the scope of our Extradition Treaty with France to include the surrender of political offenders. But the indignant voice of Parliament, and of the nation at large, prevented the accomplishment of this monstrous project, and drove the Minister from office.

Martens, in his 'Guide Diplomatique,' draws some marked distinctions between the principles of diplomacy, which are “based upon truth and natural right,” and, “therefore, immutable," and the random practice of diplomacy in which the conduct of negociations, “being more or less affected by accidental and special conditions and considerations of expediency,” is “consequently variable.” He adds that “the science of diplomacy, notwithstanding its importance, has not always been sufficiently culti

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