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A HISTOItY OF THE SECRETARYSHIPS
THE EARL OF ABERDEEN AND VISCOUNT
Dr TIIK AUTHOR OP
"THE RIGHT HON. B. DISRAELI, M.P.,
A MTRUABY AND POLITICAL BJOOBAPUY."
The publication of a book on Foreign Policy at a time when the public mind is so much excited by the great events which are happening in the Crimea, and when our gallant soldiers are struggling so bravely against difficulties of every kind, may apparently need an apology. Yet the greatest victories are but glorious massacres unless followed by proportionate results. A work of this nature may possibly render the reasons for this mighty conflict more intelligible, and the conditions of a future peace more explicit. The labour of the diplomatist only commences as that of the warrior endsThe Foreign Minister at length supersedes the War Minister. It is then necessary to review our Foreign Policy, that Ave may know what it is we are fighting for, and what we ought to obtain.
The subject indeed is of vast extent. To do justice to all the questions which Thirty Years of Foreign Policy immediately suggest, would require many pages. Such a work might be much more easily written in four volumes than in one. On reflection, however, the author determined to compress his subject into a single volume. He thought that though his difficulties might be increased by confining himself within such narrow limits, yet, if he were in any degree successful in his design, a much clearer and more comprehensive view of the whole field of negotiation might be presented in the smaller compass than in a work on a more extended scale. A Diplomatic History of these times is yet to be written; it may possibly, at no distant time, be attempted; but even then a general sketch of the various subjects must be indispensable in order to estimate the relative influence of particular questions.
The author has striven to do impartial justice
to two able ministers. He has studiously avoided pitting one against the other. He has endeavoured to look at the acts both of Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston from one point of view. Carefully shunning the abstractions in which writers on Foreign Policy are prone to indulge, and making full allowance for the practical necessities of administration, the events as they arise are considered as they would appear to the English Secretary of State in Downing Street, and not as they might appear to a member of the Opposition, or to any extreme thinker. This method of judging political questions may not be popular; it is, however, the only one from which a just verdict on a minister can be pronounced.
But the author could not hesitate to condemn many of the measures which Lord Castlereagh agreed to at the Congress of Vienna, because they involved great moral principles, which no minister can ever be excused for sacrificing. It is true that Lord Castlereagh reluctantly consented to some of these stipulations; but this pleading can never be accepted as a sufficient excuse for his public acts. Had Mr.