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THE BRITISH

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

FEBRUARY 1, 1847.

ART. I. (1.) Histoire abregée des Traités de Paix, par De Koch;

augmenté et continuée par SCHOELL. Bruxelles, 1837. (2.) Traité Complet de Diplomatié. Par un ANCIENT MINISTRE.

Paris, 1833. (3.) Les Diplomates Européens. Par CAPEFIGUE. Paris, 1843. (4.) Lettres et Instructions de Louis XVIII. au Comte de St.

Priest. Par M. DE BARANTE. Paris, 1845. (5.) British Consuls Abroad, their Origin, etc. By ROBERT FYNN,

Esq. London. E. Wilson, 1846. (6.) The Diplomatists of Europe, from the French of Capefigue.

Edited by MAJOR-GEN. MONTEITH, K.L.S., F.R.S. London:

Nickisson, 1845. (7.) Cours de Style Diplomatique. Par H. MEISELL. Paris:

J. Aillaud, 1826. (8.) Manuel Diplomatique. Par le BARON CHARLES DE MARTENS.

Leipsic. Brockhaus, 1822. (9.) Le Ministre Public dans les Cours Etrangeres, ses Fonctions et

Prerogatives. Par le Sieur J. DE LA SAVAZ DE Fran

QUESNAY. Amsterdam, 1721. (10.) L'Homo di Stato. Par Nicolo DONATOE NAPOLI. 1747. (11.) De la Maniere de Negocier avec les Souverains. Par M. DE

CALLIERES. Londres: Jean Nourse, 1750.

In the most extensive modern signification of the word, Diplomacy means the science of the foreign relations of states: in a more restricted sense it means the science, or art of negotiation. It necessarily embraces the entire system of interests arising out of the relations existing between nations. One of

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the most legitimate ends of diplomacy is to provide for the harmony and security of states, to obviate by prompt and placable explanation, the necessity of war; or to terminate hostilities already entered on by just concession. An able and an honest diplomatist should have ever in view the safety, the tranquillity, and the dignity of the state of which he is a member. The direct and immediate object of all his labours should be the maintenance of harmony and peace,- to facilitate amicable relations between nations by a complete reciprocity and freedom of commerce,—and to seek to unite mankind in a common bond of friendship and brotherhood.

The principles of this science have their source in international law, or that positive law of nations which forms the common law of every civilized European people. This law consists of admitted and acknowledged rules consecrated alike by custom and convention. These rules fix the rights and prescribe the duties of states whether in peace or in war.

A proper and perfect diplomacy should be based on the interest of communities,—and he is the best foreign minister, who, avoiding the extremes of inertness and mobility-being neither over active nor over supine--pursues the even yet sleepless tenor of his way. The restless or the turbulent foreign minister, who commences overtures, exchanges notes, solicits negotiations, or issues manifestoes, without an urgent and pressing necessity, must become the bane of his own country; and such a man cannot and ought not to obtain the esteem or confidence of other nations. In the limits that are assigned to the domain of diplomacy are comprehended all the points which it is indispensable a nation should pursue to ensure its existence, its independence, and its prosperity; its internal wealth and its external safety.

The diplomatic career thus properly appreciated, is among the first in moral and political importance. The lot of nationswhether for happiness or misery-whether for sway or submission--sometimes depends on the combinations of one master mind in this science. The qualifications required for the diplomatic career are many and various. To a perfect knowledge of the law of nations should be united a knowledge of the privileges and duties of diplomatic agents, an acquaintance with the conduct and management of negotiations, the physical and moral statistics of each power, the political, military and social history of the powers with which the ambassador's nation comes into the most frequent intercommunication, and the tendency of its cabinet; the different state systems, as the Germans call them, of the different European powers, their traditional political maxims, the character of the leading sovereigns, statesmen and public men, whether in or out of office. To this varied knowledge, and these many accomplishments, the negotiator should likewise join moderation, dexterity, temper, persuasiveness, and tact. He should be a man of books, a man of men, and a man of society, and possess that intuitive knowledge which in the military art and among the qualifications of a great general, is called the coup d'ail. He should know when and where to yield, to retreat, or to advance. As to the form in which the official action of such a man will be developed, that must depend on his court and government. It is his business to apply and enforce the principles of that court and government, and to sustain, in whatever quarter of the world he may be placed, its rights and dignity with vigour and efficiency. It is the union of the different qualities which we have enumerated, that gives to the ambassador or minister of a state the reputation of straightforwardness, wisdom, and probity, by which he acquires, sooner or later, an ascendancy over the minds of others; which, as it is the rarest, so it is the most valuable gift of a statesman.

The different parts of the science of diplomacy should be viewed under two principal aspects; the one positive, fundamental, and, so to speak, juridical, which may be expounded in books, treatises, and lectures. The other abstract, hypothetical and variable, depending on politics, place, person, time, &c. The first part of the science, like any other art, mystery, or craft, may be learned and mastered by the dullest and least gifted of men. The second, like the science or scheme of politics, is subject to the mobility of circumstances, persons, passions, nay, even whims and caprices, royal, national, and parliamentary. This part of the subject is above and beyond any theory. Here, experience, practice, and exquisite and intuitive tact, alone can guide us, and make of the most favoured pupil an able and a dexterous minister. Doubtless, in the midst of the ever moving scenes of courts, and camps, and states, there are certain general principles-certain great landmarks-on which the negotiator may fix his eye as on a beacon. But the skilful negotiator, like the skilful navigator, ought not to depend alone on beacons and sea-marks. He should ever have line and lead in hand, and with quadrant, sextant, chart, and compass, find at length his way into the desired haven. With all his science and all his skill, he will sometimes find breakers a-head, and run, with all his caution, wide out of his reckoning. But, if saved a total or partial wreck, he will not be the less convinced that it was necessary to create and follow a system of which perpetual watchfulness, caution, and observation, should be the bases.

Formerly embassies had but a special and limited object; such as the three embassies from Charles II, to the great Duke of Muscovy, the King of Sweden, and the King of Denmark, performed by the Earl of Carlisle in the years 1663 and 1664.* Embassies were in those days but accidental, and temporary.

But since the end of the sixteenth century they have become general and permanent.

When one great power determined on fixing its envoy or minister plenipotentiary in a capital, others soon followed the example. The conflicting parties being thus in the presence of each other, a new system of diplomacy was the result. To the general torpor, but occasional vigour of the middle ages, succeeded an animated and vivacious struggle, depending for its character and colour-on the nature of the events, the interests pursued, the position and character of the sovereigns, their principal secretary of state, or prime minister, and other respective diplomatic agents at the various courts. Till about the end of Henry VIII.'s reign, there was but one principal secretary of state in England. That monarch, however, taking into account the importance of this great and weighty office, divided it with equal authority between two persons. Thenceforth there were two departments, called southern and northern, nor was it till 1768 that a third was added in the reign of George III., professedly for the business of the colonies. In Henry VIII.'s time, the secretaries of state met at the council-board. Having prepared their business in an adjoining room to the council-chamber, they were admitted to stand by the king, but nothing was debated at the council before they had gone through with their proposal. In the reign of Elizabeth this system was altered. Queen Bess, seldom coming to the council, appointed the two secretaries of state to take their places as privy councillors at the board,+ which they have ever done since that time. Touching foreign matters, each of these secretaries had his distinct departinent, each receiving all letters and addresses from, and sending the despatches to the several princes and states in his province. This system continued in England till the principal secretary of state for foreign affairs was charged with all the foreign matters, an arrangement which is not more than a century old. The creation of a minister of foreign affairs in France, dates from the time that embassies became permanent,that is to say, from the

* A Relation of Three Embassies from his Sacred Majestie Charles II. London, John Starkey, at the Mitre, in Fleet Street, 1669.

† Wood's Institut. 458.

VILLEROI, CHESTERFIELD, BOLINGBROKE, ADDISON.

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close of the sixteenth century. But the department in France, no more than in England, was not presided over by a single minister, but divided among many. The order of distribution underwent changes, and at the end of the reign of Henry III. the ministry of foreign affairs was confided to one person, Villeroi being the statesman first charged with it.

It will be manifest from the short exposition we have given, that the duties devolving on a minister for foreign affairs are delicate, grave, and multiform. A man of the highest capacity, of the most extensive knowledge and the most varied accomplishments, of the most special and peculiar information, should alone be chosen for this elevated position,—the functions appertaining to the ministry for foreign affairs being the most important and the most difficult connected with the public administration. The choice of the sovereign should, therefore, be directed to a man of profound wisdom and experience, of tried character and talents,—who by the extent and splendour of his genius, by his devotion to the interests of his country, and by the elevation and uprightness of his character,-has secured the support of the national opinion, and the esteem and confidence of foreign powers. How few of such has it been the fortune of our country to find in modern times. Bolingbroke had all the genius, ability, and information—all the shining, and showy, and most of the solid acquirements necessary,—but he signally wanted principle, honesty, and conduct. Addison no doubt had genius and taste,—but he was wanting in most of the higher qualifications, and the office was much more completely filled nine-and-twenty years afterwards, i. e., in 1746, by Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield. No man of modern times has been so misinterpreted and misunderstood as this most accomplished person.* Without defending one tithe of what he has written to his son, we may here remark, that as an official man he was beyond all question the most accomplished, as he was also one of the ablest, and most learned of statesmen,-and certainly one of the most gifted diplomatists and negotiators that has appeared in our history. Though he assiduously attended, when an undergraduate of the University of Cambridge, a course of lectures on civil law, at Trinity Hall, yet as the laws and customs of other countries, and the general public law of Europe, were not comprehended in that course, he applied to Vitriarius, a celebrated professor of the university

* In the Introduction to the Bedford Correspondence, 3rd vol., lxxxiii, there is a lively and well written, but in some respects a most unjust, character of Lord Chesterfield, drawn by Lord John Russell. It is rather too hard to charge on this nobleman the conducting the French nobility to the guillotine and emigration.

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