Изображения страниц

inary to a scheme for undermining the Anglo- he appeared to me, in all the conversations French alliance, to which it should be remem- which I had with him, so profoundly Oriental bered a party in France itself continued to be in all his views and aspirations, that it struck jealously opposed. Prince Albert in an able me as impossible to make him comprehend letter replied to the emperor, showing the the ideas and the sentiments of the West, or reasons which made an alliance with the to get him to appreciate and still less to like French so desirable and so acceptable to the them. I should be curious to learn if he is people, since it was based upon the two nations still the same man I found him, and what being on the same level of civilization,--upon impression he makes upon your majesty." a mutual desire to develop as much as pos- This letter Lord Clarendon thought ought sible science, art, letters, commerce, -upon to put Napoleon III. on his guard against our close vicinity to each other, which makes a "that extremely well-veneered gentleman the good understanding necessary,--and upon

the Grand Duke Constantine;” but the emperor wellbeing and the happiness of the two coun- replied that he was only meeting civilities by tries, which are bound so intimately together. civilities, and what was the use of one who

If, on the other hand, they asked what was following a simple straightforward course, might be the basis of an alliance with Russia, disquieting himself about the mistakes of they found that there was a complete dissim- public opinion, which he could not prevent if ilitude of views, of feelings, and of ideas; that they existed, though his conduct gave no kind in the eyes of Russia, western civilization, far of warrant for them? from having any title to be encouraged, was the enemy that ought above all others to be The allied forces of the French and English resisted; and that there existed between the were soon engaged at Canton, Baron Gros two such an absence of mutual interests that, being the representative of France as Lord in truth, if the one ceased to exist, the other Elgin was of this country. Lord Palmerston, would scarcely be affected. Thus they con- before the dissolution in the spring of 1857, cluded that if, notwithstanding these funda- had intimated that, notwithstanding the admental differences, the Russian alliance was verse vote by Mr. Cobden's motion, the policy desired or sought for, this alliance could have of the government would be maintained by for its basis nothing but an external and acting in conformity with negotiations which purely political motive. Immediately all had been going on in concert with France, and Europe set to work to reflect, and asked itself he hoped, with the United States, to improve what this motive was; confidence was shaken; the commercial relations with China, by nego England naturally was the first to take the tiations with the court of Pekin. These negoalarm, which was soon shared equally by the tiations, however, came to nothing till they rest of the world.

were emphasized by gunpowder. The Indian “ Your majesty will find the Grand Duke mutiny and the Chinese hostilities practically Constantine a very agreeable man,"continued came to an end at about the same time. On the prince. “It is some years since I saw the 29th of December Canton was taken by him, but he then struck me as able, intelligent, the combined forces of France and England. thoroughly educated, and full of zeal and From the ships lying on the side of the city, ardour in everything which he undertakes. and from the Dutch Folly, a fort in the centre Above all, what left the deepest impression of the river, the defences of the place had on me was his eminently and exclusively been destroyed by shot and shell while the Russian characteristics. For him Holy Russia, men were being disembarked. By vightfall its beliefs, its prejudices, its errors and its on the 28th 5700 men were landed with a faults, the paganism of its religion, the bar- large quantity of stores; a fort from which barism of its populations, are objects of the the Chinese retreated was occupied. Next most profound veneration. He adores them morning the gunboats enfiladed the city wall with a blind and ardent faith. In a word, until the signal was given for an escalade.



After a reconnaissance scaling ladders were soil, he might seek compensation to France in fixed. A temple had been seized close to one the accession of territory; but the plans, of the gates. The French went first to the foot which afterwards resulted in the annexation of the walls, and the word being given the of Savoy and Nice, had probably not been English sailors and soldiers rushed towards the quite matured. He doubtless anticipated that scaling ladders; the blue jackets scrambled to such a scheme England might oppose strong up and planted the British flag on the battle- remonstrance, and with England he was dements. Division after division clambered sirous to maintain the best possible alliance. swiftly up the ladders, formed at the top, and in carrying out that desire, he had continually

In swept northward along the rampart. In less to count upon the ill-will of a section of polithan half an hour the eastern half of Canton, ticians in Paris, among whom were some infrom the north to the south gates, was in our

fluential leaders, and with these it was behands, fifteen of our men having been killed lieved that Walewski was in sympathy. For and 113 wounded. In six days Commissioner a time, during the close alliance of the Yeh was captured and taken on board the Crimean war, their voices were silenced, but Inflexible, where, in fear, he emphatically there was now something of reaction against denied his own identity. Probably he thought the cordial international sentiments which he would be hanged, till Mr. Parkes reassured had been sung in songs and spoken in public him of his personal safety, and he then sum- speeches, and the voices of the Anglophobists moned all his dignity and acted with almost were again heard. In Italy the emperor was ludicrous arrogance. He refused to leave his suspected. The patriots had been checked, chair, laughed at the idea of being removed and the cause of national freedom crippled or of giving up his official seals, and announced by the French bayonets, by which Rome and that he would sit there to receive the men the papal misgovernment were sustained. Elgin and Gros. In his packages, among There were hands ready to be lifted against other papers, were found the original ratifica- “ the man of December” by so-called republition of the treaties with England, France, and cans who were not Frenchmen, and by assasAmerica. He was afterwards taken as a sins who called themselves patriots, and proprisoner to Calcutta, and died in less than four fessed to be ready to become martyrs in the months afterward. Lord Elgin had not suffi- cause of Italy. These adverse conditions cient force to hold the city and control the were complicated by the fact that England, population, but the former governor, Pihkwei, and London in particular, continued to be was reinstated and undertook to carry on the refuge of political suspects, and of those affairs under agreed conditions until peace who had made their native cities too hot to was concluded.

hold them because of their political con

spiracies. Surely few men knew this better The position of Napoleon III. was one than Napoleon III., but the knowledge was which involved great uneasiness. The reforms not reassuring, and it added to his difficulties which it had been hoped might have been ac- by supplying the enemies of England in Paris cepted and inaugurated by the pope remained with a potent argument against his continued unfulfilled, and Rome was therefore still occu- loyalty to the alliance which he had deterpied by French troops at the very time that mined to maintain. the emperor desired to withdraw them, and The first attempt on the emperor's life was, was anxious to show some sympathy with the it will be remembered, by an Italian, Pianori, Italian aspirations for liberty, in which he had who, on the 28th of April, 1855, came forward himself borne a part in earlier days. Doubt- from the avenue near the corner of the Rue less he had in his mind some scheme by which, Balzac as though he were about to present a for any aid that he could give to the cause petition, and fired twice with a double-barof political freedom, by turning the French relled pistol as the emperor approached on arms against the Austrian occupiers of Italian horseback. Both shots missed, and the assas



sin was arrested and afterwards tried and took the same view as France, and, had there executed. He was said to have been the been nothing to fear from Russia in the future, agent of some of the lowest political refugees that view would doubtless have commended in London, and was an Italian escaped from itself to most thoughtful politicians. It became prison at Genoa, where he had been sent after evident, however, that the emperor had ceased having been tried at Rome for a political to care about the maintenance of the integrity assassination. The attempt of Bellemarre, of the Ottoman government with respect to who was a Frenchman and a lunatic, resulted the Principalities. The question was being only in the safe confinement of the prisoner, asked, What are his motives for approachbut frequent references were made to the ing Austria, when not long ago he was nearly knots of desperados believed to be always as ready to conclude an alliance between plotting in the purlieus of Leicester Square, France, England, and Russia, leaving out and to the encouraging asylum which was Austria, as Russia had been to form one of provided there for avowed revolutionists and Russia and France, with perhaps Prussia in professed murderers.

the back-ground, leaving out England ? That But there were other influences at work Napoleon III. hated Austria was well underwhich made the relations of the emperor more stood, and that he had some dreams of an ex. difficult. He had begun to play some secret tension of the French frontier, may have ingame of which nobody could quite discern the fluenced him to try whether it could be done intention, and probably it was only a tentative by a tacit understanding with the power that move in order that he might decide on a more grasped so much of Italy, and might be perdetermined policy. Not only was he begin- suaded to stretch out a band for the Principaning to return the civilities of Russia by the lities. But the scheme was futile. England acceptance of a visit of the Grand Duke Con- recognized the loyalty of Austria during the stantine to Paris (there was nothing in that,

Crimean war, and would make no party against for the queen had let it be understood that her. Nor was Austria anxious to intermeddle she was quite ready to receive the grand duke with the troublous question of the Danubian at Osborne, and it was said that he would territory. visit Paris and London to obtain capital for Russian railways), but he was half holding out In January, 1858, the Queen and Prince a hand to Austria, hinting that she might well | Albert, with the royal household, were busily occupy those Danubian Principalities, for the occupied with the betrothal of our Princess retention of which by the Ottoman Empire he Royal with Prince Frederick William, eldest had a few months before been willing to go

son of the Regent, Prince William (the preto war.

sent Emperor of Germany), who had taken The Emperor Napoleon had come to the the reins of the Prussian government during conclusion that the best thing for the Prin- the mental aberration of the king, his brother. cipalities themselves was that they should be A dowry of £10,000 and an annuity of £4000 united under a foreign prince, who should was settled by a parliamentary vote upon

the admit the suzerainty of Turkey. Russia also princess, with great unanimity, and many exadvocated their union, with this difference, pressions of respect and affection for the queen. that it should be presided over by a native The French emperor by that time had appaprince. This did not fall in with the views rently turned from Austria and was inclining of the French emperor, who seems to have to Russia, and in Vienna marked anxiety was been sincerely anxious to make the Principal- felt that France was at work in Italy and on ities strong as a barrier against Russia; the Danube to undermine the Austrian power. whereas, with a native prince at the head of Meanwhile Russia became exceedingly civil the state, he was well aware that Russia to England. Among all his advisers M. de would be able to use her accustomed arts to Persigny was the most outspoken and detergain a control over these provinces. Sardinia mined in warning Napoleon III. against doing



anything to weaken the alliance with England, to these provinces under the treaty was to be since all the sovereigns who were flattering or “independent and national,” with“ full liberty cajoling him for their own purposes looked of worship, of legislation, of commerce, and of down upon him as an adventurer, and had no navigation.” The Porte also undertook to belief in the stability of his throne or the convoke immediately in each of the two produration of his dynasty; whereas the English, vinces, a divan, composed in such a manner as who never flattered or cajoled anybody, but to represent most closely the interests of all who looked only to the interests of England, classes of society, who were to be called upon to were attached to the French alliance and to express the wishes of the people in regard to the sovereign of France, because the peaceful the definite organization of the Principalities. relations with that country were of the ut- This was all very well, and perhaps offered most importance to England.

a good basis, but now the Emperor of the Amidst these conflicting elements the cordial French was sidling towards Russia. The empersonal relations of the emperor and empress peror complained that the elections of the with our royal family were maintained. The divan had been tampered with, not only by Prussian Prince Frederick William was here; the Turkish government but by Austria, and the Austrian Archduke Maximilian, who was that of Moldavia had resulted in the election engaged to the Princess Charlotte of Belgium, of members known to be unfavourable to the daughter of King Leopold, was also on a visit; union of the two Principalities. the christening of the infant Princess Beatrice The visit to Osborne was a long palaver in was celebrated. At the lunch the archduke which the emperor and Prince Albert, Lord sat on one side of the queen, the Prussian Palmerston, Lord Clarendon, the Duc de Perprince on the other. “I hope," said Maxi- signy, and M. Walewski, took part. It emmilian, “it is a good omen for the future that braced much, including the notions of the emon this occasion England sits between Austria peror about a revision of the treaty of 1815 and Prussia.” He was a lover of this country. which would have involved a partial redistriThe queen was delighted with him, and bution of Europe. It went so far as a discusaugured a happy union for her young cousin, sion of a distribution of Africa, to which one the Princess Charlotte. Her majesty wrote would think the two veteran statesmen listto King Leopold, “He may and will do a ened with a kind of tolerant amusement. It great deal for Italy.” Alas! we shall see on ended in an arrangement for the abandonment a future page how these bright anticipations by Turkey of the results of the elections, and were frustrated by the tragedy of Mexico. by the emperor of his plan of uniting the

Napoleon III. had also expressed to De Principalities. But the visit was of the utPersigny an earnest desire to pay a visit to most advantage in renewing the bond of loyal the queen, and this being made known by friendship for the queen and prince which Lord Clarendon, it was appointed that the Napoleon III. felt truly and deeply; and in emperor and empress should arrive at Os- awakening him to the real character of those borne, whither Prince Albert hurried home overtures which were at the time influencing from the marriage at Brussels to receive the him to throw in his lot with Russia as against imperial guests on the 6th of August, when Austria, with whom, Prince Albert pointed

, the Reine Hortense brought them for the de- out to him, Russia was certain to renew sired interview. The visit was semi-political. friendly relations at an early opportunity.

The future constitution of the Principalities It must be remarked that Napoleon III. had had been left by the Treaty of Paris to be the rare quality of being able to listen to settled by the treaty powers, after receiving the plainest truths and to suffer contradiction the report of a special commission appointed without anger or resentment. " to investigate their present state, and to In August the queen and prince made a propose bases for their future organization.” yachting excursion to Cherbourg, but only for The administration guaranteed by the Porte a private visit to the place, and that journey


in /

may be said to have been the occasion of the filled with some explosive substance, which subsequent demand for fortifications on the had been thrown under the carriage, and the English coast, which was regarded as a part fragments of which flew in all directions, and of the so-called “invasion panic" of 1858. inflicted fatal injuries on ten persons, 156

On the 1st of January a letter came from being more or less severely wounded. the Emperor and Empress of the French in Neither the emperor nor the empress was cordial reply to the Christmas greetings which seriously hurt, but General Roguet, aide-dethe queen had sent them. In that letter the camp in waiting,who was sitting in the carriage, emperor said :

was wounded in the head, and the carriage itself “The 1st of January is usually a day that was much shattered. Several of the soldiers is anything but pleasant to me, for it is taken in attendance were struck, and two of them up with very tiresome receptions, and this mortally wounded. Their majesties, however, year seemed to me more disagreeable than did not turn back, but entered the opera-house, usual, for it begins on a Friday, and with a where they were received with the warmest fog that might be envied on the Thames. enthusiasm, and on their return to the TuiBut your majesty has contrived to dissipate leries the streets were illuminated, and they all the sad impressions of the day by deigning were loudly cheered by the populace. Some to send me a kind word, which I have just arrests immediately took place, and it was received, and which has touched me deeply. soon discovered that the plot for assassinating Believe me, madam, the wishes that I form the emperor had been concocted by an Italian for the happiness of your majesty, and for refugee named Orsini, who had, in the prethat of the prince and of your children, are vious year escaped from the fortress of Mantua, most sincere. Our thoughts, are full of where he was confined as a state prisoner by the 25th, and we share all the emotions which the Austrian government, and that his assoyour majesty must feel on this occasion.” ciates in the diabolical attempt were three

The 25th was fixed for the wedding of the other conspirators named Rudio, Pierri, and Princess Royal, an event which was celebrated Gomez. All four had been present in the Rue with loyal enthusiasm and rejoicing on the Lepelletier, and, with the exception of Pierri, part of the people, who had a very true admir- were armed with the deadly shells, which had ation and regard for the princess, and much been manufactured by Orsini's orders in Birsympathy with her majesty. Before that date, mingham, the assassins having set out from however, an event had happened which might London. have had a serious effect on the state of Eur- People in England knew Felice Orsini. He ope but for the consistent regard of the had given lectures, or rather orations, in sev. emperor for his engagement to England, and eral places, describing the circumstances of one might almost say his loyalty to the queen. his imprisonment and escape, and appealing As it was, it indirectly effected the sudden on behalf of Italian freedom and against Ausexpulsion of the ministry, and the temporary tria. He was a dark, handsome man, with suspension of the policy which they had pur- the deep shadowy eye, the coal-black beard sued. On the evening of the 14th of January, and hair, the erect figure, that people regard 1858, another and a more desperate attempt as being typical of the true Italian. His was made to assassinate the emperor as he lectures were listened to with applause and was on his way with the enpress to the opera. his appearance commanded attention; but While the carriage conveying their majesties there was then not sufficient enthusiasm in was being driven along the Rue Lepelletier, England to stimulate a hostile declaration three successive explosions were heard, the against Austria. It was reserved for the man gaslights were extinguished by the concussion whom Orsini attempted to kill to make that of the air, and the street was left in total declaration, and to do for Italy what probably darkness. This was soon found to have been no one else would at that time have underoccasioned by hand-grenades, of a pear shape, taken. Orsini was warned that the English

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »