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I had with M. de Kais on the subject of Baron Hammerstein's mission, which took place after dinner at my house a few evenings ago. M. de Kańs is Minister of Justice, and has lately been created Minister of Police. He is undoubtedly the ablest man in the Administration; he can be rough in his manners, is not of severe morals, and of a bold and ambitious character. He was the firmest adherent of Bonaparte while in power, and was twice sent on a mission to him, though he professes to despise him for his cowardice in not dying in the field of battle. He has now apparently transferred all the respect and admiration which he had for him to Great Britain. For the rest, his present overture will show your lordship that this Cabinet is not without its intrigues, as he seems to be endeavouring to push himself forward at the expense of M. de Rosenkrantz. M. de Kańs then, after telling me that he thought it would have been better if the Government of Hanover had addressed themselves in a more private and indirect manner to this Court, namely, through my medium, instead of through a Hanoverian nobleman, whose talents and whose former situation, in this country made his arrival here a subject of curiosity and remark, proceeded to state that much anxiety prevailed in the Danish Government, lest Prussia should, in consequence of Prince Hardenberg having heard of the proposed negociation about the Lauenburg territory, endeavour to produce a further delay in the period of its being ceded to this country. He even seemed to fear that it might have a general bad effect upon their relations with Prussia, which he thought he saw already in the non-payment hitherto of the 600,000 Swedish dollars agreed to be delivered to Denmark on the 4th of last August at Hamburgh; as well as in the delay of the ratification by Sweden of the declaration delivered to Prince Hardenberg by Count Löwenhjelm at Vienna—a delay which, he fancied, might have
been designedly produced by the Prussian Minister.
He wished to impress me, therefore, with the idea that the present moment was a very unfit one for treating at all about the sale of the Duchy to Hanover, and urging the propriety of waiting until it shall be actually placed in the hands of this country, when he told me in the strictest confidence, requesting I would not speak even to M. de Rosenkrantz on the subject, that he had great hopes he should persuade the King of Denmark to proceed in person to London, when he might give his consent to the exchange, as an act of personal friendship to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent. He had endeavoured, he said, last year, to engage his Danish Majesty to go to England, previously to the arrival of the Allied Sovereigns of Russia and Prussia, and regretted much the not having been listened to: now, however, he had hopes of succeeding, and seemed very sanguine as to the good effect to be produced thereby to this country; imagining that it will be the means of their obtaining from us, if not a sugar colony, at least some ships of war, to enable them to contend with the Barbary powers.
It is in the next spring that M. de Kaăs hopes to bring about this proposed journey of his Danish Majesty; consequently, your lordship will have full time to convey to me instructions as to whether I should encourage or throw a damp upon this project; at present, I contented myself with merely observing that, if the journey proposed last year had taken place, it would have been, I thought, very agreeable to his Royal Highness, but avoided giving an express opinion as to that which was advised by him at present; though I was very cautious of appearing to encourage it, or the very extravagant hopes which he seemed to entertain as to the advantages likely to result from it.
I must add that, whatever be the influence of M. de Kańs with his Danish Majesty, he may not find it so easy to get him to give up the Lauenburg territory; as, however small it is, he is pleased with the idea of its being the acquisition of his reign, important from its military position, and, as such, some balance for the immense loss of territory which Denmark has lately suffered,
Of the other four Ministers of this Cabinet, I have found M. de Mösting, the present Minister of Finances, and the late one, Count Schimmelman, very favourable to the measure, from financial reasons ; Count Moltke ready to support it; but M. de Rosenkrantz, as the direct organ of the King in foreign affairs, unwilling to converse upon the subject. There is, besides, M. de Bülow, the Adjutant-General, who has continual access to his Danish Majesty, and who appears decidedly averse to it.
I will not close this letter without observing that, if activity and able negociation could have induced this Government to agree to the measure, at the present moment, M. de Hammerstein would certainly have succeeded. He is, however, entirely of my opinion, that there is now no prospect of success, and has written, therefore, in that sense to Hanover, expecting, in consequence, to be permitted to return home.
Your lordship will conclude that, as M. de Kaäs made his communication relative to the journey he has proposed to the King of Denmark quite confidentially, and unknown to M. de Rosenkrantz, it would not be advisable that M. de Bourke should be let into the secret. I have the honour to be, with the utmost respect, &c.,
The Right Hon. N. Vansittart to Lord Castlereagh.
Blackheath, September 19, 1815. My dear Castlereagh-You inust have too many inquiries after your health, and congratulations on your escape, for me to trouble you with more upon that subject than to say that I have never known the public more anxious about any individual, or more sensible of anything, than of the detriment which the interests both of this country and of Europe must have suffered by even a temporary interruption of your services. But I hope the Sovereigns, on their return to Paris, will have found you so much recovered as to leave no reason for apprehensions of this sort.
In the communications which we have seen respecting the contributions to be imposed on France, I cannot think the means of realizing it seem to have come at all under consideration. It may be said, and with a degree of truth, that it is the business of the French to find the means of raising it; but as they certainly will plead inability to pay, it may not be amiss to consider a little what answer to give them. They will urge that the proprietors, being exhausted by requisitions of every kind, are unable to pay their ordinary taxes ; that, the frontiers being everywhere opened by the continual passage of troops and baggage, the duties on foreign goods can no more be collected than the internal duties ; and that it will be a considerable time before good order can be established, and business resume its course, so as to allow the revenue to be restored to what it was before Bonaparte's return.
Under these difficulties, I have always guessed they would attempt one expedient, of which it is very necessary you should be aware, and which, I have now positive evidence, is in their contemplation-I mean a loan in England. Within the last two days, a gentleman from the City called upon me with a plan of the kind, with a view, no doubt, of sounding me as to the disposition of Government towards it. The outline of the scheme was to raise a loan of £5,000,000, to be repaid in five years, and secured upon the forests, which, by a law of last year, the King is authorized to sell.
I need hardly say I discountenanced the plan as much as possible ; but, to prevent your being taken by surprise by any suggestion the French Ministers may throw out, I will trouble you with a few of the objections to it.
1st. It would augment the scarcity of money here, and be very injurious to the subscribers to our own loan, who have by no means too advantageous a bargain.
2ndly. It would totally defeat our plans for the improvement of the exchange, which have been carried into execution with great diligence and extraordinary success, and would, in consequence, bring upon us a heavy addition of foreign expense.
3rdly. It would place a part of our capitalists in a state of connexion with, and dependence upon, the French Government-a thing by no means desirable, even when we are on the most friendly terms with it, but highly embarrassing under many possible circumstances.
4thly. As I have little doubt the forest plan would turn out a bubble, it would add to the difficulties we already experience in satisfying the claims of British creditors.
I have not, however, any apprehension that the plan can be realized, as I am persuaded the money could not be obtained, (if even circumstances were more favourable here than they are just at present) without the guarantee of the British Government could be obtained; and to any proposition of that kind you must steadily answer, as you may with perfect truth, that it could not possibly be proposed to Parliament. We should be putting ourselves into the power of the French, instead of keeping them in any degree under our control; and they would realize Falstaff's proposal, “ He that will run with me for a thousand pounds, let him lend me the money, and have at him." The very idea and ruinour of such a plan must, however, have an unfavourable effect upon public credit.
There is another financial circumstance, with which you should be acquainted. The great expense of Lord Moira's Nepaul war, and of his preparations for war with the Mahrattas, which, however, I hope will not actually take place, have reduced the East India Company to great pecuniary distress. They have, in consequence, been very pressing for repayment of the expenses incurred on account of the public in India. A rough account, which has been made up, shows a balance in their favour of about a million; and the estimated