The system of England ought to be to maintain the liberties and independence of all other nations; out of the conflicting interests of all other countries to secure her own independence; to throw her moral weight into the scale of any people who are spontaneously striving for freedom, by which I mean rational government, and to extend, as far and as fast as possible, civilization all over the world. I am sure this is our interest, I am certain it must redound to our honour, I am convinced we have within ourselves the strength to pursue this course, if only we have the will to do so; and in your humble servant that will is strong and persevering.
PALMERSTON, 21 March 1838
(in Sir Charles Webster,
Foreign Policy of Palmerston, p. 777)
…in international matters…he was a great practical lawyer. He knew what hardly any one knows, the subject-matter.
Nothing should conduce more caution among analysts of the Victorian period than the dominant part played in its politics by Palmerston. An opportunist beside whom Disraeli appears a model of consistency, his ever-increasing popularity attested