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took leave, giving them his blessing. His ministers were then summoned, and finally he took leave of his servants. He himself gave directions for the funeral ceremonies, which were to be conducted without unnecessary display, since no expenditure was to be incurred when it could be so ill spared from the requirements of the war. On the 2d of March, at noon, after having been unable for more than an hour to articulate a syllable, he recovered for a few minutes the power of speech, and bade his son Alexander thank the garrison of Sebastopol in his name. His anxiety that Prussia should continue in the policy which it had, to so great an extent, observed, was manifest in what were almost his last words: “Dites à Fritz (his brother-in-law the King of Prussia) de rester le même pour la Russie et de ne pas oublier les paroles de papa."1

Thus died Nicholas of Russia at the age of 59, and after reigning 29 years. He had lived longer than his predecessors on the throne, and had already noticed that fact when he seemed to have a premonition that his end was approaching. The cause of his death was said to be pulmonary apoplexy, but of course poison was hinted at, though there appears to have been no foundation for any suspicion that he had died from other than natural causes. It was also asserted that the disease of which he died was either caused or accelerated by the violent fits of passion which overmastered him when he received intelligence of the reverses of his troops, the last having been occasioned by the news of Sardinia joining the allies; but it was pointed out at the time that these uncontrollable or uncontrolled outbreaks of fury, may have been a result rather than a cause of serious cerebral disorder.

The news of the death of the czar took the government and the country by surprise. It was solemnly announced in parliament, and was received by the public without unseemly exultation, but rather with a sense of awe and with deep seriousness. One of the most striking notices of the event in the public


press took the form of a cartoon in Punch by the famous John Leech. It was entitled "General Fevrier turned Traitor," and represented a skeleton in the uniform of a Russian officer laying his icy hand on the breast of the prostrate emperor. This picture caused a great sensation, and was afterwards referred to as a new example of the deep and often solemn significance, which had become an element even in some of the so-called lighter literature of the time.

The words referred to were an injunction to maintain under all contingencies the principles of the "Holy Alliance."

It was everywhere being asked, What will be the effect of the death of the czar in relation to the war? Shall we be obliged to continue hostilities to the bitter end, or will an opportunity be afforded for such negotiations on the "four points" as will lead to a pacific arrangement? It was generally believed that the Grand-duke Alexander, who had succeeded to the imperial throne under the name of Alexander II. Nicolaiewitch, was of a milder nature than his father, that he was very popular, and inherited neither the character nor the obstinacy of Nicholas. It was generally hoped that he would be willing to accede to peaceable overtures. But nobody knew what were the last instructions given by the late emperor to his heir, and the manifesto made by the latter at his accession was little less ambiguous than such declarations usually are. It was understood that he would be actuated by the same sentiments as those which animated his father. That might mean that he would prosecute the war without receding from former demands. He swore to regard the welfare of the empire as his only object, and expressed his desire to maintain Russia on the highest standard of power and glory, and in his own person accomplish the incessant wishes of Peter, of Catherine, of Alexander, and of his father. That might be still more significant. The only course which could be taken by England would be to continue pushing on preparations for a final blow at the power of Russia, and at the same time to send Lord John Russell to Vienna to see whether the proposed terms would be favourably received. These were the opinions of the government, and probably of the large ma

jority of the nation. Palmerston's suspicion of the good faith of Russia was apparently little altered by the accession of the Grandduke Alexander to the throne, and most people shared his doubts, and regarded the appeals of Bright and Cobden at the best as mere sentimental delusions, and at the worst as mean-spirited truckling to a base, cowardly, and huckstering policy. There was no longer any slackness on the part of the government in sending supplies to the Crimea, and recruiting was carried on with renewed energy. The hospitals were still full of the sick and wounded, while numbers of men suffered severely from frost-bite occasioned by the intense cold and the arduous duties they had to fulfil amidst ice and snow. There was too little disposition on the part of some of the commanding officers to give their men the full benefit of the suitable clothing sent out to them, and in many instances a return to the regulation uniform was insisted on. There was even a whisper when some of the regiments were reorganized that they were to return to the complete regimentals, including the stiff military stock. The Highlanders were made to abandon the comfortable fur caps with which they had been provided, and to resume the Scotch bonnets, which left their ears exposed to the cutting wind. The siege was being carried on with increasing effect, and the victory at Eupatoria released the Turkish contingent, which was ordered to march southward towards the north of Sebastopol, in order either to cut off the Russian supplies, or make it necessary for the enemy to keep a large body of men to prevent their communications from being intercepted.

The arrival of a number of our wounded soldiers who had been sent home to England had some effect in maintaining rather than in mitigating the desire to pursue the war until a more definite result had been achieved. The queen lost no time in giving practical expression to her sympathy with the brave men who had suffered so much during the terrible campaign, from which they had returned maimed or mutilated. Accompanied by the prince consort she visited the hospital at Chatham, and went through the wards, speaking to the

men who were lying there disabled, or to those who, being less seriously hurt or nearer to convalescence, were drawn up for her inspection. It was a pitiful spectacle; but the soldiers were so touched by the interest shown by the sovereign that before she left the building they raised a cheer; the ghost of a cheer,—so feeble was its tone as compared to the sound that had rung out many a time during the heat and ardour of battle, but full of meaning. At Buckingham Palace the wounded and disabled guards were mustered, that her majesty might speak to each man and inquire how he was wounded, and what were his hopes of regaining strength. Many who could not walk from the barracks were conveyed to the palace in an omnibus. There were strange stories to be told, and it was a sad sight to see so many fine fellows permanently injured by the loss of limbs, or by wounds which would leave them unfit for further duty. But most of them were still capable of following some occupations which were afterwards found for them, as care-takers in warehouses, gatekeepers, private watchmen, light porters at public buildings, and such comparatively easy callings as required discipline, punctuality, and order. Many situations of this kind were offered to those least seriously disabled, and the appeal made in their behalf may be said to have originated the organization which has since become so useful under the name of the Corps of Commissionaires.

The suspicions that the attempt to restore peace by a congress of the great powers at Vienna had altogether failed were too quickly justified. No basis of negotiations could be agreed upon. The proposed limitation of the preponderance of the power of Russia in the Black Sea was the rock upon which diplomacy split. M. Drouyn de Lhuys inquired whether Russia would consider her rights of sovereignty infringed if she deprived herself of the liberty of building an unlimited number of ships of war in the Black Sea. This question was asked on the 19th of March, and after taking forty-eight hours to think it over Prince Gortschakoff replied that Russia would not consent to the strength of her navy being


restricted to any fixed number either by treaty or in any other manner. He suggested a counterpoise of forces in the Black Sea by opening the Straits of the Dardanelles to the flags of war of all nations-a proposition really involving a general competition in the maintenance of enormous naval armaments, which would have meant a constant state of war instead of a permanent or practical peace. After this little weight was given to the profession with which Prince Gortschakoff accompanied this refusal, that Russia was prepared to examine any measures which might be proposed to her not inconsistent with her honour. Only one result was anticipated after the express declaration which her plenipotentiaries had made, that "any restriction upon her naval force in the Black Sea was derogatory to the sovereign rights of the emperor their master, and dangerous to the independence of the Ottoman Empire."

All this time the Russian representative was playing the old game of endeavouring to weaken the alliance between England and France by flattering the French emperor. It was against this country that the anger of Russia seemed to be directed.

In a letter dated 26th of March, 1855, by Count Nesselrode to his son-in-law Baron Seebach, the Saxon minister at the court of the Tuileries, which was written really à l'adresse of the Emperor of the French, and of which a copy was at once forwarded by him to the English government, Count Nesselrode says, speaking of his master, "L'empereur, quelles que soient ses dispositions pacifiques, n'acceptera jamais des conditions semblables, et la nation se soumettra à tous les sacrifices plutôt que de les subir." "Entre la France et la Russie il y a guerre sans hostilité," he says in another communication. "La paix se fera quand il (the Emperor of the French) la voudra. A mes yeux la situation se résume dans cette vérité."

The commission of inquiry obtained by Mr. Roebuck had soon examined a great number of witnesses, many of them (including the Duke of Cambridge) officers of high rank and considerable importance. The general ten

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| dency of the evidence was to show that the
commissariat and the land transport service
at the seat of war were grossly mismanaged.
Even at Scutari there was a great deficiency
of forage and only one place at which to obtain
it, so that a man would have to wait all day
before he could procure the supplies he wanted,
and the same blundering policy was car-
ried out before Sebastopol, where the irre-
gular feeding of the horses wrought incalcul-
able mischief. The Duke of Cambridge laid
much emphasis on the fact that the guards
were unable to obtain the London "porter"
which had been sent out to them as a prime
necessity. "We got porter at Scutari and at
Varna, but not afterwards. . . . I attribute
the sickness to the climate; but I think the
great mortality in the guards arose from the
men not being able to get porter." The
special correspondent of the Illustrated London
News and the almoner of the Times' benevolent
fund were also examined. Though the evi-
dence taken was quoted in some quarters as
a reason for assailing Mr. Gladstone and
Mr. Sidney Herbert for resigning office, it
would not appear that any particularly use-
ful end was answered by it, especially as it
had little or no application against the exist-
ing government, from which these gentlemen
had retired. Some of the testimony elicited
not only before the commission but by admis-
sions of officials in answer to questions in par-
liament, revealed a condition of things which
would have been ludicrous had the conse-
quences not been so sad. The greatcoats of
some of the soldiers, for instance, were said to
have been made of the worst possible material,
and utterly useless to the wearers.
scarcely denied; but the answer was that they
were "quite up to the pattern," the "object
being to give the soldiers as little as possible
to carry."

This was

There was no actual slackening of hostilities during the Vienna conference, and extensive preparations for a more vigorous prosecution of the siege continued to be made. Wednesday, the 21st of March, was appointed to be observed as a day for fasting and special prayer for a blessing on "the just and necessary war in which we are engaged." The

House of Lords attended divine worship in Westminster Abbey, and the Commons in the parish church of St. Margaret's, while services were held at almost all the principal churches and chapels throughout the country.

By this time it was generally understood that the negotiations at Vienna had proved abortive, and that the prospects of peace were, in fact, more remote than ever. The Russian government having on the 21st of April definitely rejected the proposals for neutralizing the Black Sea, or for limiting their own naval force there, the plenipotentiaries of England and France declared their powers exhausted, and announced their intention to return home. Lord John Russell left Vienna on the 23d of April, and was immediately followed by M. Drouyn de Lhuys. The salient features of the Austrian proposal were that the allies might each have two frigates in the Black Sea; that, if the Russians increased their fleet there beyond its existing number, the allies might each maintain there one half the number of the Russian ships of war; that Russia should be asked by Austria not to increase her naval forces in the Black Sea beyond the number actually there in 1853, and that whether she accepted this engagement or not Austria would sign a treaty making any increase beyond that number a casus belli. This was an extraordinary proposal, and as Prince Albert at once pointed out, "the proposal of Austria to engage to make war when the Russian armaments should appear to have become excessive is of no kind of value to the belligerents, who do not wish to establish a case for which to make war hereafter, but to obtain a security upon which they can conclude peace now." The same view had already been taken by our government and by the Emperor of the French. The Austrian proposals were not likely to deceive so astute a minister as Lord Palmerston, and they bore more of the appearance of Russian diplomatic suggestion than of the advice of a friendly ally. But there was a new complication. The French and English plenipotentiaries had both expressed their personal approval of the Austrian recommendation, but having no instructions to accept it had left the conference.

Lord John Russell had in his despatches indicated his concurrence, and we soon heard from the Emperor of the French that Drouyn de Lhuys had pressed the proffered terms upon him, urging the necessity for prompt decision. Various speculations have been made on the reasons for the French minister's acceptance of the Austrian proposals. It was hinted that he disliked the alliance of England with France, and was not unwilling to see a check placed on the power of England by compelling her to conclude an unsatisfactory peace. More probable was the notion, that he hoped the preparations of Austria to take the field against Russia, in case of a refusal of the offered terms by the former, or, eventually, in case of an undue increase of naval armaments in the Black Sea, would break up the continental league which had for so long kept France in check. It seldom occurs to English critics to suspect foreign diplomatists of weakness, or folly, or incapacity. The conduct of the French plenipotentiary could only be accounted for by supposing it to proceed from some more or less subtle policy. No such excuse was made for Lord John Russell, nor did he seem to give ground for it. At all events the Austrian proposal was utterly rejected by both governments, and the arguments of their representatives, who had returned from the conference, failed to convince them. There was one essential difference in the subsequent proceedings of the French and the English "plenipos." M. Drouyn de Lhuys resigned his office and was succeeded by M. Walewski as minister of foreign affairs, M. Persigny being sent as ambassador to London. Lord John Russell, who had so recently resigned, to the embarrassment and ultimate defeat of a ministry, remained in office to embarrass even if he could not defeat another government.

On the 4th of May, a week having elapsed without the papers relating to the Vienna conference being presented to the House of Commons, Mr. Disraeli sharply attacked the government, contrasting its dilatory conduct with that of 1796, when Lord Malmesbury was attempting to negotiate peace with France. Lord Palmerston in reply said the



cases were different, as we were endeavouring | peace," when he felt that there ought to be no

to negotiate through the intervention of Austria. He was not prepared to say that there might not be other means open, by which, through the friendly intervention of Austria, a proposition might be made which would have the effect of bringing hostilities to a close. He wished to leave the door open for negotiations. While on the one hand the government were determined to continue the contest in a manner consistent with the honour, the dignity, and the interests of the country, on the other hand they would not be parties to shutting the door against any possibility of concluding an honourable and satisfactory peace. This was not satisfactory to the opposition, who were determined to impugn the conduct of the ministry.

Meanwhile an Administrative Reform Association had been organized, which on the day following held a meeting at the London Tavern to carry resolutions that "the true remedy for the system of maladministration which had caused so lamentable a sacrifice of labour, money, and human life, is to be sought for in the introduction of large experience and practical ability into the service of the state; that the exclusion from office of those who possess in a high degree the practical qualities necessary for the direction of affairs in a great commercial country, is a reflection upon its intelligence and a betrayal of its interests; that, while we disclaim every desire of excluding the aristocratic classes from participation in the councils of the crown, we feel it our duty to protest against the pretensions of any section of the community to monopolize the functions of administration."

The chair at this meeting was taken by Mr. Samuel Morley, and the meeting itself chiefly consisted of merchants and traders in the metropolis, whose object it was to organize an association for administrative reform. Mr. Morley at the outset said he had come there because he honestly feared that we were drifting into that state which, if unchecked, must land us in revolution, and because, in all seriousness, he had no faith in order or peace which was not founded on contentment; and he for one was not disposed to say "Peace,


peace. An attempt had been made to show that this movement was a mere trading affair; but they would show that it was something more serious. They wished to see the public business of the country conducted in an efficient manner. They had been accused of a wish to attack the aristocracy; but there need be no alarm on that head in a country like England, where the great mass of the people are so much attached to the aristocracy. The meeting had not been called to discuss the war, upon the wisdom or justice of which he would not pronounce. Their sole object was to obtain a reform of the present system of government.

The speakers at this meeting emphatically protested that their representations were not a mere flash in the pan, but were founded on convictions which they were determined to follow to some practical issue. It soon appeared that they were likely to be supported by resolutions in both houses of Parliament. Immediately after the meeting we find the Earl of Ellenborough proposing an address to her majesty to declare the persuasion of the House of Lords "that, amidst all their disappointments, the people of this country still retain the generous feelings which led them at the commencement of the war willingly to place all the means required from them at her majesty's disposal; that they will still protect the weak against the aggression of the strong; and that they are not prepared to consent that Russia shall, by her increasing preponderance, so control the Turkish government as practically to hold Constantinople within her grasp.

"To acquaint her majesty, that while we admit and lament the privations to which war necessarily subjects all classes of the people, we yet venture to assure her majesty that they would, in so just a cause, bear those privations without complaint, if they could feel that the war had been well conducted, that the troops had not been exposed to any hardships which could have been avoided by forethought, and that everything had been done to enable them to achieve decisive success; and humbly to represent to her majesty that


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