Изображения страниц

only neglected to cultivate them among his passed the usual number of years attained by
people, but opposed them throughout his life the members of the imperial family.
by the most violent and merciless means. “The constitution of the emperor is excel-
Every religious denomination was proscribed lent, but as he treats it like an enemy, and
except his own, and the Bible was rigorously in spite of his age does not deny himself any
banished his dominions. To close Russia excess, he often shakes this magnificent edifice.
against all liberal ideas, no matter how mod- At the period of which I am speaking he
erate, to prevent the faintest discussion and suffered from an obstinate indisposition, of
criticism of the acts of authority, to bear which the cause remained unknown. My
down all resistance, and subjugate and mould enemies, my friends, and, above all, my brother
sixty millions of men until the harshest mili- physicians, took advantage of this to charge
tary despotism should appear a natural and me first with want of foresight, then with
almost an indispensable thing, to substitute ignorance, and ultimately with poisoning. At
his own will for right, and, as a necessary that critical juncture I was summoned by the
consequence, to think himself infallible--these Grand-duchess Helen, who received me with
were the principles which filled his mind as a countenance at once cold and stern. She
his blood did his veins, and made the very inquired how the emperor was, and without
pulse of his life. By the exercise of a power waiting for an answer, added that she was
so unlimited a man runs the risk of becoming forewarned, and would abandon that august
mad with pride, but can never be great or health neither to ignorance, if there were
good. His system resolves itself into a species ignorance, nor to treason, if there were treason!
of deification of himself, and of an insulting She then motioned to me to retire. On
opinion of the rest of mankind. If the theory reaching home I was summoned to wait upon
itself was flagrantly false, he who cherished her husband, the Grand-duke Michael; his
and acted upon it could be little better than agitation was extreme, and he rushed towards
a huge delusion.” 1

I remained motionless, and instead of Yet it is difficult to believe that any man strangling me as I expected, he contented would pursue such a course except under the himself with putting his fist in my face, exspell of imperial fanaticism: a conviction that claiming, “Traitor!' I respectfully begged he was called upon to subdue everything to that he would give me the means of repelling the one end of national aggrandisement under an odious accusation by acquainting me with the personal direction of members of one the error which had suggested it. “You act family. The toil was exhausting, and would the virtuous man!' he exclaimed; "you play have killed almost any other man: the anxiety the philosopher, the stoic; but I will not suffer was so constant that everybody noted, not only myself to be deceived by this jugglery. The the occasional wild and almost horrifying stare, health of the emperor is in your hands; you but the heavy cloud of care that marred the are answerable to me for it with your life. lineaments of ihat proud, handsome face. On the day of that precious health being enAmidst all the exertion, the flattery, the con- dangered your learned head would only adstant work, and change, and wearing ambition here to your shoulders by a thread. Not a —there was the constant suspicion, if not the word, sir; understand, and go!' and I withdread of assassination or of poisoning. A drew, pursued by his threats. In my absence story of a terribly suggestive kind as showing the emperor had sent for me.

I found him the violent and almost brutal temper of the alone, stretched upon an easy-chair, his lionczar, as well as the peril to which he thought like head weighed down by suffering, his he was liable, was told privately at Breslau colour leaden, his air gloomy. He cast on me by Dr. Mandt in 1852, when the emperor was a penetrating glance, and after some minutes fifty-six years old, and had therefore already of a chilling silence, inquired how I found

him. I felt his pulse, which was strong and 1 Quarterly Review, March, 1355.

agitated; his tongue was bad, his general state


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]





alarming. "Well, sir?' said the emperor;

he which would counteract the effects of some always used to call me by my name, and this noxious drug previously administered. The alteration boded no good. “Sire, your majesty story was not made public till after the death has oppression and fever; it will be necessary of the emperor, on whom Dr. Mandt (who, to take an emetic.' At the word emetic the by the by, was a homeopath) continued to emperor raised his head abruptly—“An emetic! attend. you never prescribed one to me before.' I It must not be supposed, however, that the went into the laboratory adjoining his study, outbursts of violence displayed by the czar and soon after returned with the dose; it was were evidences of a brutal temper. They have not long before it acted, but I was not satis- been attributed as much to hereditary malady fied with the result. Another emetic appeared as to the conditions amidst which he was to me necessary, and after it had taken effect placed and the defects of his education. He the emperor raised his pallid countenance and was capable of great gentleness and of moods said to me, in a ton of suppressed wrath, ‘Is of deep

and those domestics who that all?' 'No, sire, for I must have bile.' were in personal attendance on him were “That is to say, you must have my bowels. warmly attached to him as to a kind master. Be it so; but remember this--I will have' That he was an affectionate father and husband (and he pronounced the word will in a manner is well known, and indeed though his marked to give it a threatening meaning),I will have attentions to women and his gallantriesthis one produce an effect. Fully sensible of which were more commands than intriguesthe danger and responsibility, I, at all risks, were notorious, his deep regard and esteem for trebled the dose; the vomiting was instanta- his wife remained unaltered to the day of his neous and complete. He inquired whether I death. She was the daughter of Frederick was satisfied. “Your majesty is completely William III. of Prussia, but according to the out of danger,' answered I, and we parted. Russian usage changed her name on her marOn the following day I found the emperor riage from Louise Charlotte to Alexandra Feostanding up and strong. Do you know, dorowna. They were married in 1796 while Mandt,' said he, 'that yesterday, while you Nicholas was grand-duke, and their eldest son were administering the medicine to me, I be- was born in the following year, on which lieved I was poisoned ?' 'I knew it, sire!' occasion Nicholas wrote to the metropolitan "You knew it-and you had the courage to Bishop of Moscow a very touching letter menadvise me to take an emetic! The state of tioning his joy at the happy termination of your majesty required it.' ‘But if it had his anxieties, and asking the bishop to be operated ill, what would your enemies have his guide and aid in accomplishing a vow to said? for you have enemies, and they are erect a chapel to the honour of Alexander numerous.' "They would have asserted sub- Newski in the church of the New Jerusalem. sequently what they insinuated previously,– In this letter he says, “It has pleased Divine they would have called me Mandt the Poi- Providence to make me taste the happiness of soner.' 'And that thought did not stop you?' being a father. He has deigned to preserve and here he held out his hand to me.”

both the mother and the son. The expression The suspicion of the czar on this occasion of gratitude, which is not necessary to Him has been explained by the fact that when an who searches the heart, becomes indispensable emetic was proposed he was at once reminded for a heart which is penetrated with it.” The that this was the very remedy which had deep affection and respect for his wife conbeen mentioned as an antidote in case of a tinued to the day of his death, and was manisuspicion of poisoning; and that, as he was fested on many occasions and in characteristic probably aware of the interview between

ways. It is recorded that when the military Mandt and the Grand-duke Michael, he im- insurrection broke out in St. Petersburg after mediately began to consider whether the doc- the death of the emperor Alexander the First, tor, to save himself, was about to give a remedy the new czar repaired with bis wife to the

[ocr errors]




chapel of the palace before putting himself at he was sent on a mission to Russia. It became the head of the regiment of horse-guards to give evident, not only, as Lord Aberdeen piteously battle to the insurgents in Isaac Square, and exclaimed, that we were drifting into war, but joined in prayer with her for the safety of the that the burden would have to be sustained by empire. While the engagement lasted, the England and France alone. It was afterwards empress, who could hear the incessant dis- declared, and not without reason, that the charges of cannon, remained prostrate, implor- French people were not altogether favourable ing Heaven for the preservation of her husband, to the war, which they regarded as affecting who, when victory had declared itself, returned English interests more than their own, but to throw himself into her arms and offer up they were not averse to the alliance with Engthanks with her on his knees for his complete land, and Napoleon III. was ready to represent

This desire to be together in trying a principle which France was willing to enconjunctures was manifested anew during dorse, in checking those overweening assumpsubsequent years. In spite of a disease of the tions of the czar which had led him to ignore lungs, which for several seasons forced her to the existence of French interests in his sugexchange the rigorous winter of St. Petersburg gestions to the English government. The for some milder climate, the empress would not Emperor of the French too, though he was leave her husband alone in his trials, and to willing to accept the name of a new-comer, this affectionate resolve he owed the consolation owed little to the courtesy of the high-handed of having by his death-bed the companion of Nicholas, It cannot be supposed that he his life. In former days, when she was absent went into a tremendous conflict for the purfor her health, the emperor had posted through pose of resenting any supposed slight, but Europe to surprise her in her winter-quarters. there appears to be a tone in the letter he In 1845 she had a country house at the gates addressed to the Emperor of Russia inviting of Palermo, and the door of her chamber being a pacific settlement, which is precisely that of opened one morning with an unusual noise, the new-comer, addressing an easy and rather the czar entered, having travelled incognito familiar remonstrance to the haughty claimant from Russia for the mere gratification of the of conservative rights which are put entirely interview.

out of the question. It will be seen that as the Russian empress It should be mentioned also that Napoleon was sister to the King of Prussia, the czar may III. had lost no time in forming a matrihave had some reason to expect that whatever monial alliance, and that he had made not Austria might do in the way of “moral sup- the slightest attempt to seek it in any of the port” to the claims of France and England in royal or imperial families of Europe. favour of the Ottoman Empire, the Prussian The declaration of the empire had been government would follow her only for a almost immediately followed by the marriage. short distance, and in this he was scarcely dis- The French emperor had long before made appointed. It soon became evident that Nicho- choice of a lady distinguished for her beauty las bad determined to accept no compromise and for eminent social talents; Eugénie Marie which the sultan an his visers would make. de Montijo, second daughter of Count de MonThough Lord Stratford de Redcliffe by his tijo, grandee of Spain, and of Marie Manuela astuteness more than once prevented an excuse Kirkpatrick de Closeburn, the descendant for proceeding to extremities by his sagacious of a Scotch Roman Catholic family. Her advice to the Turkish government, the Rus- education had been completed in France and sian emperor felt the appointment of Lord in England, and during travels through Stratford itself to be an additional cause for Europe. She was twenty-seven years of age irritation, since the designs of Russia had pre

at the time of her marriage to the emperor, viously been checked by the prompt and deci- who on the 22d of January, 1853, announced sive diplomacy of the British plenipotentiary, his intention to the senate by saying:who had been ill received, if not refused, when “ The alliance which I contract is not in


[ocr errors]


21 accordance with the traditions of ancient “She who has been the object of my prepolicy, and therein is its advantage. France, ference is of princely descent. French in by its successive revolutions, has separated heart, by education, and by the recollection of from the rest of Europe. Every wise govern- the blood shed by her father in the cause of ment ought to wish it to re-enter the pale of the empire, she has, as a Spaniard, the advanthe old monarchies. But this result will be tage of not having in France a family to more surely attained by a straightforward whom it might be necessary to give honours and frank policy, by loyalty in conduct, than and fortune. Without despising any by royal alliances, which often create a false one, I yet yield to my inclinations, after havsecurity, and substitute family interests for ing taken counsel with my reason and my those of the nation. Moreover, the example convictions. In fine, by placing independence, of the past has left in the minds of the people the qualities of the heart, domestic happiness, certain superstitious feelings. They have not above dynastic prejudices and the calculations forgotten that for seventy years foreign prin- of ambition, I shall not be less strong because cesses have mounted the throne only to behold I shall be more free." their race dispossessed or proscribed by war or revolution.

It was on the 29th of January, 1854, and “One woman alone seemed to bring happi- of course after the destruction of the Turkish ness, and to live more than the others in the fleet by the Russians at Sinope, that Napoleon memory of the people. That woman, the III. wrote to the Emperor of Russia:modest and good wife of General Bonaparte, “ Your majesty has given so many proofs was not the issue of royal blood. It must, of your solicitude for the tranquillity of Europe, however, be admitted that in 1810 the mar- and by your beneficent influence has so powerriage of Napoleon I. with Marie Louise was fully arrested the spirit of disorder, that I a great event. It was a pledge for the future, cannot doubt as to the course you will take in a real satisfaction, as the ancient and illustri- the alternative which presents itself to your ous house of Austria, which had been so long choice. Should your majesty be as desirous at war with us, was seen to intrigue for the as myself of a pacific conclusion, what would alliances of the elected chief of a new empire. be more simple than to declare that an armisUnder the late reign, on the contrary, the tice shall now be signed, that all hostilities patriotism of the nation suffered when the shall cease, and that the belligerent forces heir to the crown solicited fruitlessly, during shall retire from the places to which motives several years, a princely alliance, to obtain of war have led them? Thus the Russian it only in a secondary rank and a different troops would abandon the Principalities, and religion.

our squadrons the Black Sea. Your majesty, “When, in the presence of Europe, a man preferring to treat directly with Turkey, is borne on by the force of a principle to the might appoint an ambassador, who could level of ancient dynasties, it is not by giving negotiate with a plenipotentiary of the sultan an ancient character to his escutcheon, and by a convention which might be submitted to a seeking to introduce himself, at any cost, into conference of the four powers. a family, that he is accepted. It is rather, majesty adopt this plan, upon which the ever remembering his origin, by preserving Queen of England and myself are perfectly his own character, and by adopting frankly agreed, and tranquillity will be re-established in

presence of Europe the position of parvenu and the world satisfied. There is nothing in -a glorious title when one obtains it by the the plan which is unworthy of your majesty, voluntary suffrages of a great people. Thus nothing which can wound your honour; but departing from the precedents followed up to if, from a motive difficult to understand, your this time, my marriage became a private majesty should refuse this proposal, then affair, and there remained only the choice of France as well as England will be compelled


Let your

to leave to the fate of arms and the chances

the person.

of war that which might now be decided by evitable they were ready to engage in it with reason and justice.”

spirit and determination. It is said that the The Emperor of Russia replied on the 9th phrase of the czar, "Russia will prove herself of February:-“I have made, for the main- in 1854 what she was in 1812,” aroused the tenance of peace, all the concessions, both of war fever in France. But we must briefly form and substance, compatible with my hon- refer to the events which preceded this correour; and in claiming for my coreligionists in spondence, and then as briefly indicate the Turkey the confirmation of the rights and progress of the struggle during 1854 and 1855.

privileges which they have long acquired at we have already seen that the demands of


the price of Russian blood I claimed nothing Russia were founded on a clause in a treaty which was not confirmed by treaties. If the which, it was alleged, gave the czar a proPorte had been left to herself the difference tectorate over the Greek subjects of the sultan. which has so long kept Europe in suspense The treaty was that of Kutchuk-Kainardji, would have been solved. A fatal influence made in 1774 between the Ottoman Porte and has thrown everything into confusion. By Catherine II. of Russia, at a time when provoking gratuitous suspicions, by exciting Turkey had been repeatedly defeated, and was the fanaticism of the Turks, and by deceiving reduced to such extremities that she was their government as to my intentions and the ready to concede almost anything, and did in real scope of my demands, it has so exagger- fact relinquish Azof and Taganrog, at the ated the extent of the questions that the same time making the Crimea independent, probable result seems to be war.

with the result of its being afterwards calmly My confidence is in God and in my right, and appropriated as a possession of the Russian Russia, as I can guarantee, will prove herself Empire. It seems scarcely likely, therefore, in 1854 what she was in 1812. If, however, that in the same treaty which enforced these your majesty, less indifferent to my honour, enormous concessions a clause should have should frankly return to our programme, if been knowingly accepted, which, under colour you should proffer me a cordial hand, as I of giving Russia a right to demand from the now offer it to you at this last moment, I will sultan due protection to members of the Greek willingly forget whatever has wounded my feel Church in Turkey, might be at any time inings in the past. Then, sire, but then only, we terpreted to mean such a claim of interposition may discuss, and perhaps we may come to an on the part of Russia as would virtually understanding. Let your fleet limit itself to make the Porte entirely subservient to the preventing the Turks from sending additional czar in respect to a large proportion of its forces to the theatre of war: I willingly pro- subjects. All Europe may be said to have mise that they shall have nothing to fear been engaged in disputing about the literal from my attempts. Let them send a negoti- interpretation of the clause in the treaty of ator; I will receive him in a suitable manner. Kutchuk-Kainardji, on which Russia founded My conditions are known at Vienna. That its arrogant and inordinate claims, and many, is the only basis upon which I can allow dis- among whom was Mr. Gladstone, contended cussion."

that the wording of the treaty involved It was thought by Prince Albert and others the right of Russia to interpose if the sultan who were thoroughly acquainted with the failed to extend to the Christian churches the situation that the representations made by protection which had been promised. Of Napoleon III. to Russia, though they were course, accepting even to the full this interlittle likely to find favour with the czar, were pretation, it was still open to argue what was genuinely intended to avert if possible a war the kind or degree of protection intended, in which the French people were not at all and to what extent Russian interposition desirous to engage; but the temper of the could be permitted in a case affecting not French people themselves underwent a change the Ottoman Porte only, but the European after the reply came, and the war being in- powers; or at all events, not only the integrity

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »