25 MAY 1850, Page 1


GREECE, coerced by England, and the angers of France thereat, lave filled the journals and the public mind for the week. The pass of wrifing, and printing devoted to this joint subject surpasses -caleulation. First, the diplomatic correspondence lodged in the 'archive's of Paris, telling the story all on one side ; then the de- bate of our own Commons, on Thursday night, with its many epeeches ; then Liz' •ge slices from the English blue book, still while we write, withheld from the greedy quidnunc ; to say nothing of the journalist comments in London and Paris, in the provinces of England and France, echoed and retlhoed by the press of Eu- rope. Probably a matter in its origin so paltry never before oeca• -funned such a heap of literature.

Yet the main averments on either side are not multitudinous nor obscure. The Greek Government has throughout been accused by -England of evading its most manifest obligationirr4d specific Ps have been endorsed, for compensation to the celebrated pair of Athens residents Finlay and Pacifico, to certain Ionians mal- treated by Greek pirates and border functionaries and to the junior officers of a British ship who sustained a technical affront. Lord Palmerston and his colleagues of the English Government are ac- eused, chiefly by France, of tyrannical conduct in making Greece pay not only compensation but " fines " for irregularities inevitable in a country not half restored to civilization, and of enforcing the claims of adventurers who have a merely colourable claim to be "British subjects." England retorts, that France interferes only from the meddlesome self-seeking motive to extend "French in- fluence." Russia holds back, merely signifying agreement with France. About these main averments there is scarcely any dis- guise ; but the interest of the original Greek quarrel is merged in the deriVative misunderstanding between France' and England, and that is a tangled mass of small diplomatic questions which will perhaps never be unravelled. A few lines, however, will enable the reader to understand the nature of this derivative quarrel, so far as it can be understood from the piecemeal publicationsof correspondence and the stu- diously reserved frankness on the English side. While Mr. Wyse, acting under the most explicit instructions from Lord Palmerston, is engaged in forcibly making the Greek Government disgorge in compensation of Don David Pacifico and other claimants, the French Government offers to mediate. The mediation not being readily ac- Cepthd by England, M. Drouyn de Lhuys is sent to London to repre, sent to Lord Palmerston, that France, a party to the guarantee of Greek independence, finds her " dignity " concerned in not being omitted, and insists on furnishing her good offices, with a hint that otherwise she may be constrained to an opposite course. This was early in February. Lord Palmerston insists that it is not an international affair, but entirely a question of reparation between Greece and England; and he repudiates the interposition of any third party. But he yields to the perseverance of Mt Drouyn de Lhuys; successively discusses every point in dispute, for more than three months ; and concludes a convention, which the French Minister supposes to override the simultaneous nege- tiations between subordinates at Athens. M. Gros, the French Envoy. at Athens, rather hastily interrupts the negotiations there ; Mr. Wyse as abruptly renews coercion, and brings the Greek Government to his own terms ; then, when M. Drouyn de Lhuys calls upon Lord Palmerston to stand by the convention,. which his own courier took to Athens, " too late," Lord Palmerston says that it was M. Gros who broke off the ne- gotiations, and that the ultimatum of Mr. Wyse must hold good.

The endless, complicated, and obscure minor questions into which the quarrel branches out—the verbal distinctions, the mis- understandings, the retractations and qualifications—defy even the attempt to describe them in the lump. To disentangle that skein, would take a blue-bookworm with a forty-Urquhart power

weeks of singleminded toil. We can only state the impres- sions produced by the whole, with a strong conviction that those impressions are not far from the truth. Mr. Wyse apNars to us to have acted faithfully and honourably as the agent of Lord Palmerston' guided by distinct instructions, with the candour and precision to be expected from his known character and intellect. Baron Gros is an active veteran in diplomacy, able, earnest, and somewhat headstrong ; much imbued with sympathy for the Greek Government, httle with sympathy for the creditor states- men of England : in his hands the good offices" become a sys- tematic attempt to obtain favourable terms for Greece ; but, foiled by a junior and tyro in diplomacy, he abruptly retreats in dud- geon, and so leaves the way uninterrupted for the free course of Lord Palmerston's energetic coercion. M. de la Hitte is occupied by the three fixed ideas—that France must assert her right not to pass for nothing ; that Lord Palmerston must be watched, or he will dupe M. Drouyn de Lhuys ; and that the latter is of a mind to be above an equal contest in cunning with Lord Palmerston, and so must be watched lest he be circumvented. M. de la Hitte's letters to M. Drouyn de Lhuys—not models of literary composition — consist chiefly of well-deserved commendation, with sharp peremptory warnings on points where the English Minister seems to be taking an advantage. M. Drouyn de Lhuys acts with firmness and candour, both to his own prin- cipal and to Lord Palmerston ;. gravely discussing the qneer tions with which Lord Palmerston trifles for more. than • three months. Lord Palmerston cannot well avoid the imputation of duplicity. From the first his instructions to Mr. Wyse appear to have been clear, fixed, and absolute ; but, while he reluctantly 4- witted the French mediation, and consented to entertain disousefon on several points as if they were not viedetermined; it does not yet appear that he, ever allowed Mr. Wyse to know the extent , to which the questions were apparently reopened in London. Not daring to refuse the French mediation, he defeated it by 'drag ging ging If. Drouyn de Lhuys into vain negotiations here, while the real settlement was to be effected, at the first opening, in AtImas. Lord Palmerston thus avoided the responsibility towards England and Europe, of expressly refusing the mediation of France ; an advantage which he purchased at the expense of suffer- ing the French Ministers to feel that they had been lod on, trifled with, and slighted at last. Lord Palmerston is accused of oairying on two sets of incompatible diplomatic actions--of a double-dealing the most systematic and persevering he now satisfies the Commons that he had not told a direct falsehood last week on a partioular point. Thus is there an European embroilment—about what ? About an attempt to wring from a shuffling government a few thoueand pounds, the enormously abated claim of a Jew who is of, English allegiance, and whose claims are doubted even to the last pound by his English patron. Such is the practical result of Lord Palmerston's " spirited " exertions to maintain English influ- ence in Greece.

" War " it will not immediately provoke. But be it remembered, that if a bad understanding between France and Englandbe es- tablished, many an incident which might pass harmless between friends may in that altered relation become an incentive to war ; and that while England and France are not Mends, their joint function, the preservation of peace in Europe, is in abeyance.