« AnteriorContinuar »
ipotentiary at Madrid, June, 1843, which post he continued to hold till the rupture of diplomatic relations between England and Spain in 1848; was made a privy councilor in 1845, and and a K.C.B. in 1848. Sir Henry Bulwer was appointed minister plenipotentiary at Washington in 1849; made a G.C.B. in 1851; and was transferred to Florence in the same capacity in January, 1852, and was accredited to the courts of Modena and Parma.*
In his various embassies, Sir Henry Bulwer has performed his high duties with firmness, decision, manliness of character, and signal ability, without making any unnecessary display of those qualities; but, on the contrary, making natural amenity, quietude of manner, and amiability of disposition apparently his most remarkable characteristics. In 1848, when the soldierstatesman, Narvaez, was in power, during the intrigues of some of the foreign embassies in Spain, and commotions occasioned by them, Sir H. Bulwer had frequent remonstrances to address to the Spanish ministers from his government; and his firmness and efficiency in the discharge of his duties gave such offense to the arbitrary sword-law despot then at the head of affairs in Spain, that he ordered the British minister to quit Madrid, on pretense of interference in plots and conspiracies against the government. For two years the office of British minister at Madrid was left vacant. This violent proceeding of Narvaez was atoned for subsequently by an amende honorable, the terms of which were said to have been dictated by Lord Palmerston.
Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer possesses prepossessing, unpretending manners, and the air of inspiring confidence and retaining it. He is gentle in his bearing, of a languid appearance, and retiring deportment, yet of a strong will, and firm determination, and indomitable courage on great occasions, but irresolute, and uncertain in the ordinary affairs of every-day life. In conversation he is highly amusing and well-informed, and, notwithstanding an apparent thoughtlessness, something of an assumed indolence of mind (in the face of society, and in the company of very intimate friends), and a remarkable playfulness of The Foreign Office List for 1854, p 33
manner and disposition, few men are more observant and reflective, and deeper thinkers.
Habitual delicacy of health has been in his case productive of absence of mind on many occasions, and little contretemps which have given rise to misconceptions on the part of strangers and persons slightly acquainted with him, and thus offense has been sometimes taken at things either said or done by the diplomatist distraught in society, where no offense whatever was intended.
Sir Henry married, a few years ago, a daughter of Lord Cowley. Few persons who were in the habit of meeting Mr. Henry Bulwer in London fashionable society in 1833 and 1834, as I have had that honor, on several occasions, in Seamore Place, who remember the young reserved man of a meditative turn, slight, pale, studious-looking, of a sickly cast of countenance, of a plaintive, valetudinarian sort of aspect, would be prepared for the varied and well-deserved successes of the elder brother of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton in diplomacy, politics, and literature which have attended his later career.
LETTERS FROM LADY BLESSINGTON TO HENRY LYTTON BULWER, ESQ.
"Seamore Place, London, November 6th, 1834. "MY DEAR MR. BULWER,-It has given me great pleasure to hear from you, and it gives me scarcely less to be able to tell you of the perfect success of your book. I read it with all the acuteness of the critic, increased by the nervous anxiety of the friend, and feeling satisfied of its merit. I was only desirous of drawing general attention to it, as far as lay in my power, by recommending it to all my acquaintances, and commenting on it, in my salon, every evening. Many people are too idle or indolent to take the trouble of judging for themselves; a book must be pointed out to them as worthy of being read; and the rest, the merits of a good book will insure. Yours has been a regular hit, as the booksellers call it; a better proof of which I can not give you than that, on Saturday last, a copy of the first edition was not to be procured for love or money. It is not only praised, but bought, and has placed you very high on the literary ladder. Go on and prosper; your success furnishes an incitement that the first work of few authors ever gave, and it would be unpardonable not to persevere in a path that offers such brilliant encouragement. I ought not to omit mentioning that in Mr. Fonblanque you have had as judicious a critic as an anxious friend. His good taste and friendly
zeal on this occasion have secured him my friendship; admiration for his brilliant talents and respect for his unflinching honesty he had long since. Now lay this man to your heart, for be assured he is worthy of it. He is one of those extraordinary men, too good for the age in which they are born, too clever not to be feared instead of loved, and too sensitive and affectionate not to be grieved that it is so.
"I never fear genius and worth; it is only the egotistical irritability of mediocrity that I fear and shun. It grieves me when I see men like Fonblanque misunderstood or undervalued, and it is only at such moments that I am ambitious; for I should like to have power, wholly and solely, for doing justice to merit, and drawing into the sunshine of Fortune those who ought to be placed at the top of her wheel, with a drag to prevent that wheel revolving. 'Pompeii' has covered its author with glory; every one talks of, every one praises it. What a noble creature your brother is! such sublime genius joined to such deep, such true feeling. He is too superior to be understood in this age of pigmies, where each little animal thinks only of self and its little clique, and is jealous of the giants who stood between them and the sun, intercepting from them all its rays. Without these giants,' say they, 'what brightness would be ours! but they keep all the sun to themselves.' Poor Miss Landor!--for poor I must call the person who has either bad taste enough or bad feeling enough to abuse your book-how severely punished she must be by its success.
"Strange to say, I have just been interrupted by EE, who came to spend the evening with me, and who has only now left me. I told him what you stated, and he has requested me to inform you that he never has said an unkind word, or what he thinks could be tortured into unkindness, of you to any human being. He says that of this he can speak so positively, that he defies any one to assert the contrary, and that if you will name your informant, he will refute him. For the expressions of his constituents at Coventry he says he can not be responsible, and has no control over political differences, always producing hostile expressions, if not feelings.
"January 18th, 1836.
"I have great pleasure in telling you your book gains ground every day. The influential papers take extracts from it daily, and every one reads it. "I heard from Elast week; he says the Whigs were never so firmly seated as at present. The new peerages have given great dissatisfaction, particularly that of Lady I saw Mr. E. J. Stanley last evening, and he appeared in very good spirits, which looks well for his party. He is a good person, and well disposed toward you.
"I heard from your brother on Friday from Paris; he sent me an epistle in verse, which is a chef d'œuvre worthy of the first of our poets.
"Gore House, September 17th, 1840.
"I am never surprised at evil reports, however unfounded, still less so at any acts of friendship and manliness on your part. One is more than consoled for the mortification inflicted by calumnies, by having a friend so prompt to remove the injurious impressions they were likely to make. Alfred is at Doncaster, but he charges me to authorize you to contradict, in the most positive terms, the reports about his having participated in, or even known of the intentions of the Prince Louis. Indeed, had he suspected them, he would have used every effort in his power to dissuade him from putting them into execution. Alfred, as well as I, entertain the sincerest regard for the prince, with whom for fourteen years we have been on terms of intimacy; but of his plans we knew no more than you did. Alfred by no means wishes to conceal his attachment to the prince, and still less that any exculpation of himself should in any way reflect on him; but who so well as you, whose tact and delicacy are equal to your good nature, can fulfill the service to Alfred that we require?
Lady C writes to me that I too am mixed up in the reports. But I defy the malice of my greatest enemy to prove that I even dreamed of the prince's intentions or plans.
"Do you remember a friend of the Guiccioli's, a certain Marquis de Fressigny, or some such name, an elderly man, who lived in the Rue Neuve des Capucines? At the request of the Guiccioli, I sent two or three letters from her to him, under cover to Lady C, because he happened to live within two doors of Lady C, to save the sous for the petite poste. You know how foreigners attend to these little savings; and, lo and behold, no sooner does Lady Chear of the reports at Paris, than she conjures up an idea that this same Marquis de Fressigny (for it is some such name) is no other than the Marquis de C— · Channell, with whom the Prince Louis has been mixed up, but whose name I never heard of until I saw it in the papers. Tell me if you remember this same Fressigny? Have you heard from the Guiccioli lately, for I have not? Is it true that Dr. Lardner is gone to America? I have not heard from Edward since he went abroad-have you?
"I have been in Cambridgeshire for some weeks, and have only just returned. Alfred will write to you the moment he returns, but, en attendant, you are authorized and requested to contradict the rumors.
"Gore House, April 13th, 1843.
"Of all the kind letters received on the late bereavement, that has left so great a blank in my life, none have so much touched me as yours; for I know how to appreciate the friendship which prompts you to snatch from time so actively and usefully employed as yours always is, a few minutes for absent and sorrowing friends. This last blow, though not unexpected, has nevertheless fallen heavily on me, and the more so that the insidious malady which
destroyed my poor dear niece developed so many endearing qualities in her sweet and gentle nature, that her loss is the more sincerely felt. Two months before this last sad event we lost her little girl, that sweet and interesting child whose beauty and intelligence (though, poor thing! she was deaf and dumb) you used to admire. This has indeed been a melancholy year to me.
"Alfred's position, as you may well imagine, would of itself fill me with chagrin, and the protracted illness of two beings so dear to me, closed by their deaths, has added the last blow to my troubles. May you, my dear Henry, be long spared from similar trials, and be left health and long life to enjoy your well-merited reputation, in which no one more cordially rejoices than "Your sincere, affectionate friend, M. BLESSINGTON."
LETTERS FROM SIR H. LYTTON BULWER TO LADY BLESSINGTON.
"MY DEAR LADY BLESSINGTON,-I think D'Orsay wrong in these things you refer to to have asked for London especially, and not to have informed me how near the affair was to its maturity when St. Aulaire went to the Duke of B's, because I might then have prepared opinion for it here; whereas I first heard the affair mentioned in a room where I had to contend against every person present, when I stated what I think, that the appointment would have been a very good one. But it does not now signify talking about the matter, and saying that I should have wished our friend to have given the matter rather an air of doing a favor than of asking one. It is right to say that he has acted most honorably, delicately, and in a way which ought to have served him, though perhaps it is not likely to do so. The French embassador did not, I think, wish for the nomination. M. Guizot, I imagine, is at this moment afraid of any thing that might excite discussion and opposition, and it is idle to disguise from you that D'Orsay, both in England and here, has many enemies. The best service I can do him is by continuing to speak of him as I have done among influential persons, viz., as a man whom the government would do well to employ; and my opinion is, that if he continues to wish for and to seek employment, that he will obtain it in the end. But I don't think he will obtain the situation he wished for in London, and I think it may be some little time before he gets such a one as he ought to have, and that would suit him. The secretaryship in Spain would be an excellent thing, and I would aid the marshal in any thing he might do or say respecting it. I shall be rather surprised, however, if the present man is recalled. Well, do not let D'Orsay lose courage. Nobody succeeds in these things just at the moment he desires. With his position here (speaking of a French nobleman), he has been ten years getting made embassador, and at last is so by a fortunate chance. Remember also how long it was, though I was in Parliament, and had some little interest, before I was myself fairly launched in the diplomatic career. Alfred has all the qualities for success in any thing, but he must give the same trouble and pains to the pursuits he now engages in