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An 1860 Hansard nugget, featuring duplicitous Gauls and one of the great typos of our time

From 27/1/1860

"THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY inquired of Her Majesty's Government, pursuant to notice, whether they have received any Information as to the Negotiation stated by the Ministerial Journals in Paris to exist between France and Sardinia for the Annexation of the Duchy of Savoy and the County of Nice to the Dominions of the Emperor of the French?...The statements to which he had alluded had appeared in the two principal and habitual organs of the French Government. It was first published in Le Pays, the most careful and prudent of the Ministerial journals; but what had chiefly attracted the attention of Europe was its circulation in the columns of L'Indépendance Beige (sic), a Brussels paper in the enjoyment of Imperial favour, and possessing, perhaps, the most general circulation of any European journal".

See, I'm not making this up:



 (OK, it is an OCR error rather than a typo, but my point stands)

Anyway, enough of the flippancy and on to the more interesting bit:

This [in L'Indépendance Belge] article said that France was now determined by counsel, by her soldiers, and by sacrifices of every kind to substitute for the hereditary arrangements of Vienna the truthful policy of nationalities; and the writer went on to say that it was evident the day was drawing nigh when the superstructure raised by diplomatists must disappear before the power of logic and the course of events.

 Which takes us back to the First Empire and a France that looked like this:




  So, pretty alarming for France's neighbours, it must be said.

As the Marquess reckoned:

He was not aware that there had been any diplomatic declaration to this effect, but the dangers contingent upon the adoption of such a principle by the powerful Government of a great nation were much greater than any which could arise from the annexation of the Duchy of Savoy. Could it for a moment be imgined that England had no interest in the assertion of such a doctrine? Why, let us look at our own possessions, scattered over the face of the globe, and then see how far we could recognize the principle of nationality. How could England stand this test? How would it apply in the Mediterranean, or the Ionian Islands? How affect Gibraltar? How might it be brought to bear on Aden or the Empire of India, or our dependencies in another hemisphere? Why, if such were to be admitted as a valid ground there would not be a single country in Europe the foundation of whose title would not be shaken".

And there's more:

Such a doctrine would be quite subversive of those treaties and of that order and regularity which forty years' peace had brought about. Russia, indeed, prided herself upon her nationality. Nor, as regarded Poland, did he think they could collect the scattered remnants of a national existence. The restoration of Poland to nationality would almost remind one of Mr. Canning's expression regarding the repeal of the legislative union with Ireland: "Repeal the union—restore the heptarchy." Well, then, as to Prussia and this doctrine of nationality—sec how it worked from Posen to Aix-la-Chapelle. Again, witness its application to Austria. And here he must say that he looked upon the stability of Austria as one of the main elements of European security; and he wished that some one who had the same conviction, and had more opportunity of making his opinion known in the proper quarter, would urge how important it was to grant what was just and reasonable in the demands of Hungary. He hoped and believed that, as regarded her Hungarian dominions, the loyalty of the Hungarian people was not yet shaken.

Not a quote I have encountered before, but quite amusing.

France did indeed get Savoy, plus Nice, or Nizza - as a lot of the inhabitants called it  including a VERY peeved Garibaldi - after a rather dodgy referendum later in 1860.  Fans of nemesis might note that the national principle rather bit France with the outcome of the 1870 Franco-Prussian war..... 

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