Изображения страниц


in public appointments, to party and family | valued the difficulties of a contest with Russia, influences, and to a blind adherence to routine, and was of opinion that the war could not has given rise to great misfortunes, and terminate in a treaty between that power and threatens to bring discredit upon the national the allies, but rather in a general treaty, in character, and to involve the country in grave which all the great powers of Europe must disasters.” The house went to a division, and take part and give their security for maintainthe resolution was negatived by an immense ing the integrity of Turkey. In this view of majority; but during a two nights' debate the case he thought it of the highest impormany of the evils complained of were ad- tance to secure the co-operation of Austria, mitted, and the subject was at all events to which government he attributed no bad “ ventilated.”

faith whatever. He thought the proposition It was at this time, that by an order in emanating from Count Buol, combined with council, candidates for the public service were one by which there should be a counterpoise ordered to be subjected to educational tests, to any force which Russia might have in the and this was afterwards extended to a more Black Sea, did afford a basis for a treaty of public and competitive examination.

peace. That proposition was, that a treaty But a still more important parliamentary should be entered into between the powers,-event had occurred before the disposal of the France, England, and Austria,-guaranteeing report of the commission of inquiry, and the the integrity and independence of Turkey. motion that arose out of it. Lord John Rus- He was not authorized to agree to this; but sell bad again resigned--unwillingly this time, he told Count Buol that he would communicate and in consequence of the false position in them to his government. Those propositions which he was discovered to have placed him- were deliberately considered by the British self, and of a severe resolution which was government, which came to the conclusion that brought forward by Sir E. L. Bulwer. they did not offer a safe basis for a peace. The

Mr. Milner Gibson had on the 6th of July French government came to the same concluasked the government for some further ex- sion-Austria still declaring that she thought planations of what bad really been done at the third point admitted of more than one Vienna, for an avowal of their candid opinions solution, and that she was not therefore bound and their true designs. He, as a representative to go to war with Russia. He was of a differof those who desired peace, had understood ent opinion, although Austria had represented that Lord John Russell had gone to Vienna that her proposition should be made an ultiin order to make peace; but his colleagues matum to Russia. If he had left office on the seemed to have thwarted him. It appeared decision of the government he would be asto him that, assuming Count Buol's statement suming as a plenipotentiary a course of conto be correct, Lord J. Russell, when he was duct which could not be justified by such a calling upon the house to continue the war, position; while on the other hand, as a minister inust have known that proposals had been of the crown, he felt it his duty not to emmade, likely to lead to a peaceful solution of barrass a government placed in the difficult the question at issue. If this were so, the circumstances which surrounded that of his house should be informed of the fact.

noble friend. On the contrary he felt that he The answer given by Lord John,—though it ought to support his government, and he was showed that he was not at one with the minis. open to the censure of those who entertained try which had appointed him as their represen- a different opinion. tative on a mission of the utmost importance, This statement roused Mr. Cobden to inand was therefore exceedingly damaging to the dignant remonstrance. He had never, he government,-might have been less remark- said, heard a speech that filled him with more able but for his former warlike and uncom- grief than that of the noble lord; for he could promising speeches, delivered after his return not help thinking that he had not dealt with from Vienna. He said he had never under- / fairness or candour towards the country, nor






with a proper spirit in not resigning. Such a did not consider that they could now, “after course of proceeding on the part of the noble the events and proceedings which have since lord was calculated to destroy all confidence occurred,” form the foundation of a satisfacin public men. He was of opinion that a tory peace. Neither the house nor the public change of ministry would give the only showed any disposition to accept the statechance of an honest party in the house and ment in mitigation of their displeasure at in the country.

the position in which they found themselves The position of the government was indeed placed, before their adversary and Europe, precarious. Lord Palmerston, with his usual of carrying on a war condemned by a leading loyal pluck, attempted to defend the conduct member of the executive government. The of his colleague, and declared it to be a novel explanation was generally regarded only as proposition to say that a minister should re- making bad worse. tire from a government because he thought Lord John Russell, anticipating the effect terms of peace might have been accepted when of the coming discussion, announced his resiyhis colleagues were of a different opinion. But nation, and he was succeeded in the colonial it was evident that Lord John Russell must office by Sir William Molesworth; but it was resign. Denunciations of his conduct followed said that he would still have retained office from Mr. Roebuck; and Mr. Disraeli with but for the outspoken advice of candid friends, severe irony said that, having arrived at a among whom was Mr. Bouverie, the vicefavourable solution of the difficulties with president of the Board of Trade. The governwhich he had had to contend, and having in ment had a narrow escape, and the comments his own mind accomplished measures which on the political situation both inside and would secure peace to his country, all he had outside the House of Commons were bitter to do was to communicate those measures to enough. “There have been many instances his colleagues in the cabinet; that having done of friends and friendships," said Mr. Disraeli. so and finding no sympathy among them, he

“ There is the devoted friend who stands had quietly pocketed his own opinions and by one like the noble lord (Palmerston); but remained "in a cabinet of war a minister of there is another kind of friend immortalized peace.” This was the end of the government, by an epithet which should not be mentioned the head of which was to have been a minister to ears polite. We all know that friend. It of surpassing energy, and no doubt transcen- was, I believe, a brilliant ornament of this dent experience; this the end of the ministry house who described that kind of friend; which was to put the right men in the right and I must say, that, although the devoted places; this the end, that even peace and war friend, the prime minister, must after to-night had become mere party considerations; that be allowed to take the highest position, still, the interests of the country were sacrificed to for a friend of the other description-candid the menace of a majority, and that the tumults and not bad-natured --- commend me to the and turbulent assemblies of Downing Street president of the Board of Trade." B:it Dis were to bafile all the sagacity of all the con- raeli's satire developed into denunciation : ferences of Vienna.

“ The foremost of your statesmen dare not On the 10th Sir E. Bulwer Lytton gave meet the controversy which such questions notice of the following motion :-“That the provoke. He mysteriously disappears. With conduct of the minister in the recent negotia- the reputation of a quarter of a century, a tions at Vienna has, in the opinion of this man who has reformed parliament, who, as house, shaken the confidence of this country in he has told us to-night and often before, is those to whom its affairs are intrusted.” Two

1 "Sir Fretful," in Sheridan's Critic, says that if one is days later Lord John Russell explained to the

abused in print "why one is always sure to hear of it house that although at the end of April and in from one d-d good-natured friend or another."

2 Canning who, in his “New Morality," wrote: the first days of May he thought the Austrian

"But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can send, propositions might have been assented to, he Save, save, oh save me from the candid friend!"

the successful champion of civil and religious pendent of them; in fact, by the opposition of liberty, in the cause and the name of which the French government. he has accomplished great triumphs-he who Mr. Gladstone spoke towards the end of the has met the giants of debate-he who has debate, just before the motion was withdrawn. crossed his rapier with Canning, and even for He complained that Lord John Russell had, a term shared the great respect and reputation in his speech on Mr. Disraeli's motion, conwhich the country accords to its foremost men, demned the last of the Russian proposals, then with no less a person than Sir Robert Peel- before the house, though that proposal seemed he dare not meet the debate. But who dares to him to be substantially the very same meet it? The first minister of the crown .... measure which the noble lord had himself has shown by his language and the tone of supported at Vienna. As to the charge made his mind that if the honour and interests of against the government by the right honourthe country be any longer intrusted to his able gentleman opposite, that the cabinet care, the first will be degraded, and the last, I was at one time disposed to accept the noble believe, will be betrayed.”

lord's proposals, he thought they were not It is curious to note that the tone adopted amenable to it, for it appeared from the papers by Disraeli towards Lord Palinerston arose that, on the very day when Lord John Rusostensibly in defence of Sir E. B. Lytton, of sell's proposals were received in London, Lord whom Palmerston had said that he had in his Clarendon expressed to Count Colloredo his speech misrepresented the views of Lord John condemnation of the plan. So far from blamRussell, and charged Lord Clarendon with ing the govertiment for hesitating about this expressing only his own opinion in his de- offer of peace, he blamed them for not giving spatches. Palmerston had said that he would the propositions that consideration which their hold the honourable baronet to that statement, gravity demanded, and for abruptly closing and he would give him his choice whether that the hope of an honourable

peace. statement showed misrepresentation or the The position of the government was congrossest ignorance. If the honourable baronet stantly assailed, and probably only the widelyever obtained high office, as his friends ex- spread belief in Lord Palmerston's acuteness pected, he would certainly afford an illustra- and active ability could have sustained it. tion of his own remark—that the changes of Only the night after Mr. Roebuck's motion of our government made us ridiculous in Europe. censure was passed over, the ministry narrowly He admitted that he had refused to accept the escaped a serious defeat, and one which would resignation of the noble lord; and had offered have produced very awkward consequences. to stand or fall with him. But, in answer to By a convention concluded with Turkey on the taunts of the honourable baronet, he could the 26th of June, the governments of France tell him, in the name and with the authority and England undertook to guarantee the payof his colleagues, that the cabinet was a united ment of the interest of a loan of £5,000,000 to

Turkey. The French Chambers had already It was upon this that Disraeli rose and sanctioned this convention, but the resolutions began his damaging speech by taunting the introduced with a similar object by Lord Palnoble lord with the bullying tone which he merston on the 20th of July met with an ophad assumed towards the honourable baronet. position as determined as it was unexpected. The noble lord stated that his cabinet was a The money was, it was said, absolutely necesunited one; but he had good reason to believe sary to enable the Porte to bear its share of the that their union consisted in this—that when costs of the war; but without the guarantee the noble lord returned from Vienna his pro- proposed there was no chance of its being posals were favourably received by all the raised, yet the resolutions were only carried members of the cabinet, and that their accept- by a majority of three, the numbers being 135 ance of them was only prevented by other to 132. The bill to give effect to the resolucircumstances which were altogether inde- tions, however, was passed without opposition. RENEWAL OF NEGOTIATIONS-PROSPECTS OF PEACE.




There can be no doubt that the antagonism were then pursuing, he was discharging his of Mr. Gladstone and of those who were asso- duty as a patriot and a loyal subject of the ciated with him, numerically too small to be queen. called a party, but at the same time possessing A few days afterwards Lord Palmerston considerable weight and influence, did much took an opportunity of retorting. to embarrass the government. Mr. Gladstone “No man," he said, “could have been a had already pronounced against the continu- party to entering into the great contest in ance of the war when a door might be left which we are engaged—no man, at least, ought open for reasonable negotiation on terms to have been a party to such a course of policy which, as he believed, would practically secure --without having deeply weighed the gravity the conditions, that at an earlier stage had of the struggle into which he was about to been demanded. This attitude exposed him to plunge the country, and without having satissharp criticism and to no little abuse, not only fied his mind that the cause was just, that the from the friends of the government but from motives were sufficient, and that the sacrifices the opposition, who, while they proclaimed which he was calling upon the country to make the necessity for prosecuting the war, charged were such a: a statesman might consider it the ministry with uncertainty, feebleness, and ought to endure. There must be grave readivided intentions. Bright and Cobden, how- sons which could induce a man, who had been ever, saw in Gladstone a new and powerful, a party with her majesty's government to that though not a professed ally, seeking to put line of policy, who had assisted in conducting an end to hostilities, while Palmerston turned the war, who had, after full and, perhaps, unupon his former colleague with that slashing exampled deliberation, agreed to enter upon style of reprobation in which he was an the war, who, having concurred after that full adept. The occasion arose when Mr. Laing and mature deliberation in the commencement moved for further papers on the subject of the of the war, had also joined in calling upon Vienna conferences. Mr. Gladstone strongly the country for great sacrifices in order to protested against prolonging the war, and continue it, and who had, up to a very recent blamed the ministry for continuing it by period, assented to all the measures proposed rejecting the Austrian proposals as a basis of for its continuance; there must, indeed, be agreement to which all the plenipotentiaries grave reasons which could induce a man, who at Vienna had agreed. Lord Clarendon, he had been so far a party to the measures of the contended, had not shown in his despatches government, utterly to change his opinions, to any real desire for peace. It was to be feared declare this war unnecessary, unjust, and imthat we might increase the breach between politic, to set before the country all the imaourselves and Austria, and the alliance of ginary disasters with which his fancy could Turkey was such as that of Anchises in rela- supply him, and to magnify and exaggerate tion to Eneas on his flight from Troy. We the force of the enemy and the difficulties of were gradually drifting away from friendly our position.” concert with Austria, Sardinia was dragging Mr. Gladstone would have said that he had heavily through the conflict in mere depend- grave reasons for opposing the continuance of ence upon England, and he did not believe a war after terms had been suggested by that France was likely to add £100,000,000 which it might cease, but there were few more sterling to her debt for a mere difference opportunities for discussion. On the 14th of between limitation and counterpoise. The August parliament was prorogued, and it was Western powers could only for a moment con- well for the ministry that events almost trol the future destinies of Russia. He placed directly afterwards occurred which quickly the undivided responsibility of the continuance led to the proclamation of peace. In fact it of war on the head of the ministry, and be- may be said that without those most interested lieved that in endeavouring to recall the being aware of it, the terms for renewed government from the course of policy they | negotiation were already in sight.

It is now necessary to indicate the succes- desire had been placed at his disposal for sive events which brought the war to a close carrying out his plan of bringing an overmore rapidly than anybody in England had whelming force against the allies, and the anticipated. The destruction of Kertch had numbers at his command were said to be been a blow to the Russians, and the bom- so great, that it was thought they must bear bardment of the arsenal and dockyard of down any resistance. At the same time we Sveaborg by the allied fleets in the Baltic, were told at what a frightful sacrifice of life where Rear-admiral Dundas was able to effect the enemy was bringing up the hordes on operations, which, for want of heavy mortars, i which he relied so confidently, to destroy us. Sir Charles Napier had declined to hazard in The route from Sebastopol to Simpheropol, the previous year, was an equally important it was ascertained upon the authority of a manifestation that the war had really assumed Russian eye-witness, speaking at St. Petersthe proportions of a deadly struggle. From burg, was already so encumbered with dead the morning of the 9th till the morning of the bodies, dead horses, and dead cattle, that the 11th of August the furious assault was con- whole line was infected with pestilential tinued almost without intermission. It was vapours, was impassable for vehicles, and computed that 10,000 shells must have been could only be traversed on horseback. poured into the fortress in one day, and that Meanwhile, the losses of the allies in the not less than 1000 tons of shot and shell had trenches were very great. On the 21st of been fired by the English alone. “The enemy July, General Simpson had reported to Lord is now firing thirty rockets a minute,” said Panmure that his trenches were advanced to a Russian account of this tremendous bom- within 200 yards of the Redan and could not bardment. The fire was from our gun and be pushed further, and, moreover, that the mortar boats and from batteries which the Redan itself bad been so much strengthened French had established on a neighbouring since the attack in June that any attempt island.

upon it must fail. A combined attack by the Finding the destruction of the stores and French and English on the Malakhoff was, in arsenals and every building of importance to his opinion, the only practicable operation,

, be complete, the admiral resolved to make no and the Malakhoff was the key to the posifurther attempt on the fortifications them- tion. The troops were waiting for General selves, as this must have cost many lives, Pelissier to announce that he was ready for without any corresponding advantage, even

the assault. if successful. As it was, he was able, when But the Russians probably understood this reporting to the admiralty on the 11th the well enough, and their endeavour was directed success of his operations in the destruction of to raise the siege before any further successes this important arsenal and dockyard, to add were achieved by the allies. It was a desperthat few casualties had occurred, and that no ate effort to concentrate the whole Russian lives had been lost in the allied fleets.

force upon the invaders, but on the 16th of Report said that the condition of the Rus- | August, the day before we were to recomsian forces showed that their supplies of food mence a fierce bombardment during which and ammunition were beginning to fail, but an attempt was to be made on the two forthat the whole military resources of the tresses,-from fifty to sixty thousand Russiaus, country were being concentrated on the including five divisions of infantry, six thouCrimea, with a view to some supreme effort. sand cavalry, and twenty batteries, which Men without end, it was said, were being collected during the night under the command sent thither as reserves, and a great blow of General Liprandi, descended into the valley would shortly be struck at the besieging of the Tchernaya near the Traktir bridge. This forces. Prince Gortschakoff had not attacked attack was only a portion of a general assault them before, because he had not hitherto had (planned, it was said, at St. Petersburg), by sufficient men. Now everything he could | which, from the inside of Sebastopol as well

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »