The Foreign Policy of Palmerston, 1830-1841: Britain, the Liberal Movement, and the Eastern Question - Vol. 2

The Foreign Policy of Palmerston, 1830-1841: Britain, the Liberal Movement, and the Eastern Question - Vol. 2

The Foreign Policy of Palmerston, 1830-1841: Britain, the Liberal Movement, and the Eastern Question - Vol. 2

The Foreign Policy of Palmerston, 1830-1841: Britain, the Liberal Movement, and the Eastern Question - Vol. 2

Excerpt

During these four years the situation in the East developed along lines similar to that in the West and was strongly influenced by it. The story is confused by the strange and emotional personalities of Ponsonby, Durham and the Sultan himself, each of them intent on a personal policy and each seeing only a small part of the European picture and imperfectly realising the interests at stake and the forces at work. Palmerston used each of his subordinates in turn, prevented them from doing harm by their extravagances, defended them from their enemies and ultimately brought his curious team into some sort of harmony.

He had also to cope with the extraordinary conduct of the half- mad David Urquhart who, through the patronage of the King and a lapse of judgment on Palmerston's part, was given a position at Constantinople for which he was altogether unfitted. Finally he had to keep along with him his too ardent Monarch, his diffident Prime Minister, and a Cabinet which sometimes seemed to forget the Eastern Question altogether.

His own conviction that British interests could only be maintained by a strong and determined policy, that the mistake of 1833 must never be repeated, that Russia would yield if she realised this, that time was on the Sultan's side if only the crisis could be prevented from arising too soon, that Britain could by the mutual fears and jealousies of her rivals and the strength of the British fleet and British commerce and finance obtain a mastery of the situation, was ultimately triumphantly justified.

Thus he tried with little success to reform the Ottoman Empire, with much more to increase British influence at Constantinople and reduce that of Russia; he more than anyone else kept Mehemet Ali quiet; he shewed a strong face to Russia, doubtful of her ultimate intentions, pretty sure she could not act at once, preparing to resist her when the time came, but ready to compromise on inessentials; finally he attempted to keep the centre of diplomatic . . .

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