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PLOTTING AGAINST THE ANGLO-FRENCH ALLIANCE.
of July, 1858, an "Act for the Better Government of India" was finally passed, providing that all the territories under the government of the East India Company should be vested in her majesty, and all the powers exercised by the Company should be in her name. One of her majesty's principal secretaries of state was to have the power previously exercised by the Company or by the Board of Control. The council to consist of fifteen members, of whom seven were to be elected from the then existing court of directors by that body, and eight were to be nominated by the crown. Vacancies among the nominated members were to be filled up by the crown,—and among the elected, by the remaining members of the council for a certain time, but afterwards by the secretary of state for India. The principle of competitive examinations for the civil service was extended, and its application improved. The military and naval forces of the Company were to be transferred to the crown. Except for opposing actual invasion, the Indian revenues were not, without the consent of both houses of parliament, to be applied to defray the expenses of any military operation carried on beyond the external frontiers of her majesty's Indian possessions; and by another clause, whenever an order was sent to India directing the commencement of hostilities, the fact should be communicated to parliament within three months if parliament were then sitting, or if not, within one mouth after its next meeting. The viceroy and governor-general was to be the supreme authority in India, and was to be assisted by a council, the nine provinces being each under its own independent civil government, but all being subordinate to the viceregal authority. Lord Canning was named viceroy, and Lord Stanley, the son of the Earl of Derby, became secretary of state for India. The queen was proclaimed throughout India in November, 1858. On the 1st of September the last court of the East India proprietors, as governors of India, had been held, and "John Company," as the natives in old time called it, had ceased to exist as a ruling power or authority.
But we must take a rapid retrospect of
other events which had occurred during 1857, and had resulted in the return of a Conservative government in 1858. The restoration of Lord Palmerston to power after the dissolution of parliament on the question of hostilities in China was an emphatic protest by the nation in favour of that "spirited policy" which he claimed to represent, but provision had to be made for maintaining some decisive action at Canton even before the result of the general elections were known. The question was, Where was the man, who at a juncture so critical, in face of an adverse vote of the House of Commons, on the chance of that vote being rescinded by the country, could be trusted with so delicate a misson; who could be relied on to conduct such an expedition against a foe alike stubborn and weak,-to go far enough, and yet not too far-to carry his point by diplomatic skill and force of character, and with the least possible infringement of the law of humanity;-a man with the ability and resolution to ensure success, and the native strength that can afford to be merciful? After "anxious deliberation" the choice fell upon Lord Elgin. Towards the end of April he left England on his mission.
Except for this trouble in China the session seemed likely to be a tolerably smooth, though an active one. The birth of the Princess Beatrice at Buckingham Palace on the 14th of April was a domestic event of importance to the royal family, and to all those who rejoiced loyally in the rapid recovery of the queen. Among the many letters of congratulation came a cordial message from the Emperor of the French, who took this opportunity of deprecating any opinions existing in England, that the approaching visit of the Russian Grand Duke Constantine to Paris meant more than an exchange of civilities. "I am grieved," wrote the emperor, "to see that the English wish to attach a significance to this visit which does not belong to it. We are gratified here by the good-will and courtesy shown to us by Russia, but this in no way weakens the interests and the feelings by which we are bound to England." It seemed obvious to Lord Palmerston and Lord Clarendon that the sudden friendly advances of Russia were prelim
which I had with him, so profoundly Oriental in all his views and aspirations, that it struck me as impossible to make him comprehend the ideas and the sentiments of the West, or to get him to appreciate and still less to like them. I should be curious to learn if he is still the same man I found him, and what impression he makes upon your majesty."
inary to a scheme for undermining the Anglo- | he appeared to me, in all the conversations French alliance, to which it should be remembered a party in France itself continued to be jealously opposed. Prince Albert in an able letter replied to the emperor, showing the reasons which made an alliance with the French so desirable and so acceptable to the people, since it was based upon the two nations being on the same level of civilization,--upon a mutual desire to develop as much as possible science, art, letters, commerce,-upon our close vicinity to each other, which makes a good understanding necessary,—and upon the wellbeing and the happiness of the two countries, which are bound so intimately together.
If, on the other hand, they asked what might be the basis of an alliance with Russia, they found that there was a complete dissimilitude of views, of feelings, and of ideas; that in the eyes of Russia, western civilization, far from having any title to be encouraged, was the enemy that ought above all others to be resisted; and that there existed between the two such an absence of mutual interests that, in truth, if the one ceased to exist, the other would scarcely be affected. Thus they con- | cluded that if, notwithstanding these fundamental differences, the Russian alliance was desired or sought for, this alliance could have for its basis nothing but an external and purely political motive. Immediately all Europe set to work to reflect, and asked itself what this motive was; confidence was shaken; England naturally was the first to take the alarm, which was soon shared equally by the rest of the world.
"Your majesty will find the Grand Duke Constantine a very agreeable man," continued the prince. "It is some years since I saw him, but he then struck me as able, intelligent, thoroughly educated, and full of zeal and ardour in everything which he undertakes. Above all, what left the deepest impression on me was his eminently and exclusively Russian characteristics. For him Holy Russia, its beliefs, its prejudices, its errors and its faults, the paganism of its religion, the barbarism of its populations, are objects of the most profound veneration. He adores them with a blind and ardent faith. In a word,
This letter Lord Clarendon thought ought to put Napoleon III. on his guard against "that extremely well-veneered gentleman the Grand Duke Constantine;" but the emperor replied that he was only meeting civilities by civilities, and what was the use of one who was following a simple straightforward course, disquieting himself about the mistakes of public opinion, which he could not prevent if they existed, though his conduct gave no kind of warrant for them?
The allied forces of the French and English were soon engaged at Canton, Baron Gros being the representative of France as Lord Elgin was of this country. Lord Palmerston, before the dissolution in the spring of 1857, had intimated that, notwithstanding the adverse vote by Mr. Cobden's motion, the policy of the government would be maintained by acting in conformity with negotiations which had been going on in concert with France, and he hoped, with the United States, to improve the commercial relations with China, by nego tiations with the court of Pekin. These negotiations, however, came to nothing till they were emphasized by gunpowder. The Indian mutiny and the Chinese hostilities practically came to an end at about the same time. the 29th of December Canton was taken by the combined forces of France and England. From the ships lying on the side of the city, and from the Dutch Folly, a fort in the centre of the river, the defences of the place had been destroyed by shot and shell while the men were being disembarked. By nightfall on the 28th 5700 men were landed with a large quantity of stores; a fort from which the Chinese retreated was occupied. Next morning the gunboats enfiladed the city wall until the signal was given for an escalade.
POSITION OF NAPOLEON III.
After a reconnaissance scaling ladders were fixed. A temple had been seized close to one of the gates. The French went first to the foot of the walls, and the word being given the English sailors and soldiers rushed towards the scaling ladders; the blue jackets scrambled up and planted the British flag on the battlements. Division after division clambered swiftly up the ladders, formed at the top, and swept northward along the rampart. In less than half an hour the eastern half of Canton, from the north to the south gates, was in our hands, fifteen of our men having been killed and 113 wounded. In six days Commissioner Yeh was captured and taken on board the Inflexible, where, in fear, he emphatically denied his own identity. Probably he thought he would be hanged, till Mr. Parkes reassured him of his personal safety, and he then summoned all his dignity and acted with almost ludicrous arrogance. He refused to leave his chair, laughed at the idea of being removed or of giving up his official seals, and announced that he would sit there to receive the men Elgin and Gros. In his packages, among other papers, were found the original ratification of the treaties with England, France, and America. He was afterwards taken as a prisoner to Calcutta, and died in less than four months afterward. Lord Elgin had not sufficient force to hold the city and control the population, but the former governor, Pihkwei, was reinstated and undertook to carry on affairs under agreed conditions until peace was concluded.
The position of Napoleon III. was one which involved great uneasiness. The reforms which it had been hoped might have been accepted and inaugurated by the pope remained unfulfilled, and Rome was therefore still occupied by French troops at the very time that the emperor desired to withdraw them, and was anxious to show some sympathy with the Italian aspirations for liberty, in which he had himself borne a part in earlier days. Doubtless he had in his mind some scheme by which, for any aid that he could give to the cause of political freedom, by turning the French arms against the Austrian occupiers of Italian
soil, he might seek compensation to France in the accession of territory; but the plans, which afterwards resulted in the annexation of Savoy and Nice, had probably not been quite matured. He doubtless anticipated that to such a scheme England might oppose strong remonstrance, and with England he was desirous to maintain the best possible alliance. In carrying out that desire, he had continually to count upon the ill-will of a section of politicians in Paris, among whom were some influential leaders, and with these it was believed that Walewski was in sympathy. For a time, during the close alliance of the Crimean war, their voices were silenced, but there was now something of reaction against the cordial international sentiments which had been sung in songs and spoken in public speeches, and the voices of the Anglophobists were again heard. In Italy the emperor was suspected. The patriots had been checked, and the cause of national freedom crippled by the French bayonets, by which Rome and the papal misgovernment were sustained. There were hands ready to be lifted against "the man of December" by so-called republicans who were not Frenchmen, and by assassins who called themselves patriots, and professed to be ready to become martyrs in the cause of Italy. These adverse conditions were complicated by the fact that England, and London in particular, continued to be the refuge of political suspects, and of those who had made their native cities too hot to hold them because of their political conspiracies. Surely few men knew this better than Napoleon III., but the knowledge was not reassuring, and it added to his difficulties by supplying the enemies of England in Paris with a potent argument against his continued loyalty to the alliance which he had determined to maintain.
The first attempt on the emperor's life was, it will be remembered, by an Italian, Pianori, who, on the 28th of April, 1855, came forward from the avenue near the corner of the Rue Balzac as though he were about to present a petition, and fired twice with a double-barrelled pistol as the emperor approached on horseback. Both shots missed, and the assas
sin was arrested and afterwards tried and executed. He was said to have been the agent of some of the lowest political refugees in London, and was an Italian escaped from prison at Genoa, where he had been sent after having been tried at Rome for a political assassination. The attempt of Bellemarre, who was a Frenchman and a lunatic, resulted only in the safe confinement of the prisoner, but frequent references were made to the knots of desperados believed to be always plotting in the purlieus of Leicester Square, and to the encouraging asylum which was provided there for avowed revolutionists and professed murderers.
But there were other influences at work which made the relations of the emperor more difficult. He had begun to play some secret game of which nobody could quite discern the intention, and probably it was only a tentative move in order that he might decide on a more determined policy. Not only was he beginning to return the civilities of Russia by the acceptance of a visit of the Grand Duke Constantine to Paris (there was nothing in that, for the queen had let it be understood that she was quite ready to receive the grand duke at Osborne, and it was said that he would visit Paris and London to obtain capital for Russian railways), but he was half holding out a hand to Austria, hinting that she might well occupy those Danubian Principalities, for the retention of which by the Ottoman Empire he had a few months before been willing to go
The Emperor Napoleon had come to the conclusion that the best thing for the Principalities themselves was that they should be united under a foreign prince, who should admit the suzerainty of Turkey. Russia also advocated their union, with this difference, that it should be presided over by a native prince. This did not fall in with the views of the French emperor, who seems to have been sincerely anxious to make the Principalities strong as a barrier against Russia; whereas, with a native prince at the head of the state, he was well aware that Russia would be able to use her accustomed arts to gain a control over these provinces. Sardinia
took the same view as France, and, had there been nothing to fear from Russia in the future, that view would doubtless have commended itself to most thoughtful politicians. It became evident, however, that the emperor had ceased to care about the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottoman government with respect to the Principalities. The question was being asked, What are his motives for approaching Austria, when not long ago he was nearly as ready to conclude an alliance between France, England, and Russia, leaving out Austria, as Russia had been to form one of Russia and France, with perhaps Prussia in the back-ground, leaving out England? That Napoleon III. hated Austria was well understood, and that he had some dreams of an extension of the French frontier, may have influenced him to try whether it could be done by a tacit understanding with the power that grasped so much of Italy, and might be persuaded to stretch out a hand for the Principalities. But the scheme was futile. England recognized the loyalty of Austria during the Crimean war, and would make no party against her. Nor was Austria anxious to intermeddle with the troublous question of the Danubian territory.
In January, 1858, the Queen and Prince Albert, with the royal household, were busily occupied with the betrothal of our Princess Royal with Prince Frederick William, eldest son of the Regent, Prince William (the present Emperor of Germany), who had taken the reins of the Prussian government during the mental aberration of the king, his brother. A dowry of £40,000 and an annuity of £4000 was settled by a parliamentary vote upon the princess, with great unanimity, and many expressions of respect and affection for the queen. The French emperor by that time had apparently turned from Austria and was inclining to Russia, and in Vienna marked anxiety was felt that France was at work in Italy and on the Danube to undermine the Austrian power. Meanwhile Russia became exceedingly civil to England. Among all his advisers M. de Persigny was the most outspoken and determined in warning Napoleon III. against doing
NAPOLEON III. AND ENGLAND-FELICE ORSINI.
anything to weaken the alliance with England, since all the sovereigns who were flattering or cajoling him for their own purposes looked down upon him as an adventurer, and had no belief in the stability of his throne or the duration of his dynasty; whereas the English, who never flattered or cajoled anybody, but who looked only to the interests of England, were attached to the French alliance and to the sovereign of France, because the peaceful relations with that country were of the utmost importance to England.
Amidst these conflicting elements the cordial personal relations of the emperor and empress with our royal family were maintained. The Prussian Prince Frederick William was here; the Austrian Archduke Maximilian, who was engaged to the Princess Charlotte of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold, was also on a visit; the christening of the infant Princess Beatrice was celebrated. At the lunch the archduke sat on one side of the queen, the Prussian prince on the other. "I hope," said Maximilian, "it is a good omen for the future that on this occasion England sits between Austria and Prussia." He was a lover of this country. The queen was delighted with him, and augured a happy union for her young cousin, the Princess Charlotte. Her majesty wrote to King Leopold, "He may and will do a great deal for Italy." Alas! we shall see on a future page how these bright anticipations were frustrated by the tragedy of Mexico.
Napoleon III. had also expressed to De Persigny an earnest desire to pay a visit to the queen, and this being made known by Lord Clarendon, it was appointed that the emperor and empress should arrive at Osborne, whither Prince Albert hurried home from the marriage at Brussels to receive the imperial guests on the 6th of August, when the Reine Hortense brought them for the desired interview. The visit was semi-political.
The future constitution of the Principalities had been left by the Treaty of Paris to be settled by the treaty powers, after receiving the report of a special commission appointed "to investigate their present state, and to propose bases for their future organization." The administration guaranteed by the Porte
| to these provinces under the treaty was to be "independent and national," with "full liberty of worship, of legislation, of commerce, and of navigation." The Porte also undertook to convoke immediately in each of the two provinces, a divan, composed in such a manner as to represent most closely the interests of all classes of society, who were to be called upon to express the wishes of the people in regard to the definite organization of the Principalities.
This was all very well, and perhaps offered a good basis, but now the Emperor of the French was sidling towards Russia. The emperor complained that the elections of the divan had been tampered with, not only by the Turkish government but by Austria, and that of Moldavia had resulted in the election of members known to be unfavourable to the union of the two Principalities.
The visit to Osborne was a long palaver in which the emperor and Prince Albert, Lord Palmerston, Lord Clarendon, the Duc de Persigny, and M. Walewski, took part. It embraced much, including the notions of the emperor about a revision of the treaty of 1815 which would have involved a partial redistribution of Europe. It went so far as a discussion of a distribution of Africa, to which one would think the two veteran statesmen listened with a kind of tolerant amusement. It ended in an arrangement for the abandonment by Turkey of the results of the elections, and by the emperor of his plan of uniting the Principalities. But the visit was of the utmost advantage in renewing the bond of loyal friendship for the queen and prince which Napoleon III. felt truly and deeply; and in awakening him to the real character of those overtures which were at the time influencing him to throw in his lot with Russia as against Austria, with whom, Prince Albert pointed out to him, Russia was certain to renew friendly relations at an early opportunity. It must be remarked that Napoleon III. had the rare quality of being able to listen to the plainest truths and to suffer contradiction without anger or resentment.
In August the queen and prince made a yachting excursion to Cherbourg, but only for a private visit to the place, and that journey