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once alluded with telling sarcasm. Cobden utter uselessness of raising one's voice in oppoduring a debate had said that under certain sition to war when it has once begun, that I conditions he would fight, or if he could not made up my mind that so long as I was in fight would work for the wounded in the political life, should a war again break out hospitals. “Well,” was Palmerston's retort, between England and a great power, I would “there are many people in this country who never open my mouth upon the subject from think that the party to which he belongs the time the first gun was fired until the should go immediately into a hospital of a
peace was made." different kind, and which I shall not men- But by the time of the American war the tion."
principles which both Cobden and Bright had This was no uncommon manner of treating enunciated were much better understood. The the representations of Cobden among the war peace party failed to make the Crimean inparty outside the House of Commons. During vasion serve as an immediate illustration of the whole of the time during which the war their policy, but it is by no means certain that was prosecuted with an enthusiasm that was it did not assume to many minds the force of afterwards followed by a demand for searching an example of the value of their principles. inquiry, he was spoken of with derision or At any rate there began the development of dislike even among people who had once a feeling that armed intervention, and even regarded him as their political leader. The the threat of it, should no longer be regarded newspapers were filled with abuse of “Cobden, as the foremost British influence in relation to Bright, & Co.," as Palmerston once designated European quarrels and supposed "British them in a letter, and Mr. Bright was burned interests." in effigy. At the best they were regarded as doctrinaires or fanatics. Neither of these men The mention of “British interests” may swerved from their first assertions, however. well give us occasion to hear Mr. Gladstone Cobden held precisely the same opinions when, on the subject of the origin and reasons of the four years later, Lord Palmerston invited him Crimean war. His words are perhaps even to become a member of the cabinet. His views more worthy of attention from the fact that on public questions had undergone little or no they were written in 1878, twenty-four years change. Both he and Mr. Bright had learned after the period to which they relate. They that though to offer what they deemed to be occur in a review of that Life of the Prince explanations, appeals, or exhortations during Consort by Mr. (afterwards Sir) Theodore the time when the nation was urging or was Martin, already quoted in these pages. urged in the direction of war might be fol- Mr. Gladstone says it would be curious to lowed by good results, such endeavours were ascertain the precise date at which the idea useless amidst the tumult of the conflict. It was first broached that British interests reincreased their hatred of war to believe that quired the maintenance of the Ottoman Emit had the effect of making men reckless of pire, and states his belief that it is later than such appeals. “It is no use to argue, said Cob- 1828, when we were engaged in a policy of den, when speaking some years afterwards coercion against Turkey, out of which, just of the war in America, “It is no use to argue before, had grown the battle of Navarino. In as to what is the origin of the war, and no use that debate Lord Holland delivered a speech whatever to advise the disputants. From the which appeared to show that we had ancient moment the first shot is fired or the first blow alliances with Russia, that we had no treaty is struck in a dispute, then farewell to all rea- at all with Turkey before 1799, that the treaty son and argument; you might as well reason concluded was only for seven years, that it with mad dogs as with men when they have was simply part and parcel of our military begun to spill each other's blood in mortal measures against France, and that it began combat. I was so convinced of the fact during with these words :—“His Britannic majesty, the Crimean war, I was so convinced of the connected already with his majesty the Em
GLADSTONE'S DEFENCE-INTERPOSITION AGAINST RUSSIA.
peror of Russia by the ties of the strictest they afterward receded from it upon objecalliance, accedes by the present treaty to the tion being taken by Turkey. Russia, howdefensive alliance which has just been con- ever, covered the miscarriage of her opponents cluded between his majesty the Ottoman em- by sustaining the Turkish interpretation of peror and the Emperor of Russia.” The doc- the words, and thus sheltered their retreat trine of upholding the Ottoman Empire for from the support of the document they themthe sake of British interests was far from selves had framed. ' But it was not upon this being generally recognized by statesmen of miscarriage that the dispute came to a final the last generation, and Mr. Gladstone dis- issue. The broken threads of the negotiation tinctly says :—“It may be boldly affirmed were pieced together, and about the time when that it was not the avowed doctrine of the the year expired a new instrument of a modeBritish government in the proceedings imme- rate and conciliatory character was framed at diately anterior to the Crimean war.” He Constantinople and approved by the cabinets believes the idea “may probably be traced in of the five powers still in unbroken union. It the policy of 1840 and the armed assistance was the rejection of this plan by the Emperor lent to the decrepit empire against its Egyp- Nicholas, when it was presented to him in tian vassal," and that it “grew with rapidity, January, 1854, and not his refusal of Turkish fostered by the rather womanish suspicions amendments of the Vienna Note, that brought and alarms on behalf of India of which Russia about the war in the following March. This; gradually became the object.” It has, he says, Mr. Gladstone affirms, vindicates the British " grown with greater rapidity since the Cri- policy against the accusation of selfishness. mean war in proportion to the increased sus- As against the charge of Quixotry he says:ceptibility of the country, which has almost “If it is wholly unwise and unwarrantable learned to regard political alarm as standing for one power to constitute itself the judge in the first class of its luxuries—those, namely, and the avenger of European law, is it wholly which are daily and indispensable." Mr. Glad- wise and reasonable for two? So far as a stone puts the case distinctly enough; and question of this kind can be answered in the whatever may have been the necessity for abstract, undoubtedly it is not. It is a preceactual hostilities, it is a vindication of the dent by no means free from danger: a couple position assumed by England. At the outset of states cannot claim for themselves European the quarrel was one between Russia and authority. But this was not the enterprise on France in regard to ecclesiastical privileges at which France and England advisedly set out. the holy places. England was but an amicus | They began their work say from the time of curiæ, and in that capacity she thought Russia the Menschikoff mission in close association in the right. As, however, communications with Austria and with Prussia; and the four went on the czar unfortunately committed his together were the only powers who, by estabcase to a special envoy, Prince Menschikoff, lished usage, could represent the concert of whose demands upon the Porte appeared to Europe in a case where the fifth, an only the British government to render harmony in remaining power of the first order, was itself the Turkish Empire, if they should be ac- the panel in the dock. They pursued their cepted, thenceforth impossible. In the further work in harmony through the whole of the stages of the correspondence, which had thus year 1853. With March, 1854, came the crisis. shifted its ground, we found ourselves in com- Austria urged the two leading states, England pany with France, and not with France only and France, to send in their ultimatum to Rusbut with Europe. At one particular point it sia, and promised it her decided support. She must in fairness be allowed that Russia, with redeemed the pledge, but only to the extent her single rapier, had all her antagonists at a of a strong verbal advocacy. Without followdisadvantage. They had collectively accepted, ing out the subsequent detail of her proceedand they proposed to her a note known as the ings, she rendered thereafter to the allies Vienna Note, which she also accepted; and I but equivocal and uncertain service; without,
however, disavowing their policy either in act The sailing of the Baltic fleet had been or word. It was Prussia which, at the critical heralded by a banquet given to its commander moment, to speak in homely language, bolted; Admiral Sir Charles Napier at the Reform the very policy which she had recommended, Club; Lord Palmerston presided and made she declined unconditionally to sustain, from an after-dinner speech, which has since been the first moment when it began to assume the characterized as the kind of oration in which character of a solid and stern reality. In fact, a jocular elderly gentleman would propose the she broke up the European concert, by which it bride and bridegroom at a wedding-breakfast. was that France and England had hoped, and This is not an exact description of it; but it had had a right to hope, to put down the stub- was not in the best of taste, considering that bornness of the czar, and to repel his attack the occasion was one which was sufficiently upon
the public law of Europe. The question serious to make grave statesmen anxious, and that these allies had now to determine was it came to be singularly out of tune with the whether, armed as they had been all along results of Napier's expedition, about which with the panoply of moral authority, they the gallant admiral had six months afterwards would, upon this unfortunate and discredit- a bitter dispute with Sir James Graham, who, able desertion, allow all their demands, their as first lord of the admiralty, called his judgreasonings, their professions, to melt into thin ment and energy in question. The immediate air.
Would such a retreat by two result of Lord Palmerston's vivacity was a such powers have been for the permanent ad- grave remonstrance by Mr. Bright in the vantage of European honour, or legality, or House of Commons. It may be interesting
to give a passage or two of what the home
secretary really did say, or at all events of the We must now turn to the occurrences of portion which displeased others who were which both parliamentary proceedings and perhaps neither so earnest nor so serious as expressions of public opinion were indications, Mr. Bright. As an after-dinner speech it was and we shall have to look back a little in order doubtless amusing enough, and Lord Palmerto measure the progress of events. Probably ston was perhaps not altogether inexcusable the departure of our fleet for the Baltic was in resenting any public comment upon such a in the public eye the most significant of the matter in the House of Commons; but his preparations for an arduous struggle, and at retort on Mr. Bright was even in worse form the time it was made much of, although it than the speech itself. was afterwards found to be of little practical “ There was," said his lordship when he rose importance so far as naval operations were to propose the toast of the evening, “a very concerned. There had already been a grand remarkable entertainer of dinner company naval review at Spithead. The Grenadier called Sir R. Preston, who lived in the city, and the Coldstream Guards had been cheered and who, when he gave dinners at Greenwich, by an enthusiastic concourse as they departed after gorging his guests with turtle, used to from Waterloo Station for Southampton, the turn round to the waiters and say, 'Now bring Fusiliers had marched from Wellington Bar- dinner. Gentlemen, we have had the toasts racks, and as they passed had been cheered which correspond with the turtle, and now by the queen and the royal family from a let's go to dinner. Now let us drink the toast balcony at Buckingham Palace. On the 11th which belongs to the real occasion of our asof March (1854) the Baltic fleet, under Ad- sembling here. I give you ‘The health of my miral Sir Charles Napier, had left Spit- gallant friend Sir Charles Napier,' who sits head, having been visited by her majesty beside me. If, gentlemen, I were addressing and (so to speak) led out to sea by the a Hampshire audience consisting of country royal yacht, which kept its place at the head gentlemen residing in that county, to which my for some distance and then stopped till the gallant friend and myself belong, I should ingreat armada had swept by.
troduce him to your notice as an eminent agri
PALMERSTON'S SPEECH AT THE NAPIER BANQUET.
71 culturist. It has been my good fortune, when friend Sir De Lacy Evans lent his powerful enjoying his hospitality at Merchistoun Hall, aid in the same cause, and with the same sucto receive most valuable instructions from him cess. My gallant friend Sir Charles Napier, while walking over his farm about stall-feed- however, got the first turn of fortune, and it ing, growing turnips, wire-fencing, under-drain- was mainly owing to that victory of his that ing, and the like. My gallant friend is a the Queen of Portugal afterwards occupied the match for everything, and whatever he turns throne to which she was rightfully entitled, his hand to he generally succeeds in it. How- and the Portuguese nation obtained that conever, gentlemen, he now, like Cincinnatus, stitution which they have ever since enjoyed. leaves his plough, puts on his armour, and is A noble friend of mine, now no more, whose prepared to do that good service to his country loss I greatly lament, for he was equally diswhich he will always perform whenever an tinguished as a man, as a soldier, and as a opportunity is afforded to him.
diplomatist, the late Lord William Russell"I pass over those earlier exploits of his an honour to his country as to his familyyounger days which are well known to the told me that one day he heard that my gallant members of his profession; but perhaps one of friend Sir Charles Napier was in the neighthe most remarkable exploits of his life is that bourhood of the fortress of Valenza, a Porwhich he performed in the same cause of tuguese fortress some considerable distance liberty and justice in which he is now about from the squadron which he commanded. to be engaged. In the year 1833, when gal- Lord W. Russell and Colonel Hare went to lantly volunteering to serve the cause of the see my gallant friend, and Lord W. Russell Queen of Portugal against the encroachments told me that they met a man dressed in a very and the usurpations of Don Miguel—to defend easy way, followed by a fellow with two musconstitutional rights and liberties against arbi- kets on his shoulders. They took him at first trary power-he took command of a modest for Robinson Crusoe; hut who should these fleet of frigates and corvettes, and at the head men prove to be but the gallant admiral on of that little squadron he captured a squadron my right, and a marine behind him. “Well, far superior in force, including two line-of- Napier,' said Lord W. Russell, what are you battle ships, one of which my gallant friend doing here ?' Why,' said my gallant friend, was the first to board. But on that occasion 'I am waiting to take Valenza.' 'But,' said my gallant friend exhibited a characteristic Lord William, “Valenza is a fortified town, trait. When he had scrambled on the deck of and you must know that we soldiers underthis great line-of-battle ship, and was clearing stand how fortified towns are taken. You the deck of those who had possession of it, a must open trenches ; you must make apPortuguese officer ran at him full dart with proaches; you must establish a battery in his drawn sword to run him through. My breach; and all this takes a good deal of time, gallant friend quietly parried the thrust, and, and must be done according to rule.' 'Oh,' not giving himself the trouble to deal in any said my gallant friend, 'I have no time for all other way with his Portuguese assailant, that. I have got some of my blue jackets up merely gave him a hearty kick and sent him here and a few of my ship’s gun and I mean down the hatch way. Well, gentlemen, that to take the town with a letter;' and so he did. victory was a great event. I don't mean the He sent the governor a letter to tell him he victory over the officer who went down; but had much better surrender at discretion. The the victory over the fleet, which my gallant governor was a very sensible man; and so friend took into port; for that victory decided surrender he did. So the trenches and the a great cause then pending. It decided the approaches, the battery, breach, and all that, liberties of Portugal; it decided the question were saved, and the town of Valenza was between constitutional and arbitrary power
handed over to the Queen of Portugal. Well, a contest which began in Portugal, and which the next great occasion in which my gallant went on afterwards in Spain, when my gallant | friend took a prominent and distinguished
part-a part for which I can assure you that dinner to which allusion has been made, and I personally in my official capacity, and the as he has been kind enough to express an government to which I had the honour to opinion as to my conduct on that occasion, I belong, felt deeply indebted and obliged to deem it right to inform the honourable gentlehim-was the occasion of the war in Syria. man that any opinion he may entertain either There my gallant friend distinguished himself of me personally or of my conduct private or as usual at sea and on shore. All was one to political is to me a matter of the most perfect him, wherever an enemy was to be found; and indifference.” This was received with some I feel sure that when the enemy was found laughter and a good deal of cheering, and
wished to Heaven he had not been Palmerston continued, “I am further confound. Well, my gallant friend landed with vinced that the opinion of this country with his marines, headed a Turkish detachment, regard to me and to my conduct will in no defeated the Egyptian troops, gained a very way be influenced by anything that the honimportant victory, stormed the town of Sidon, ourable gentleman may say; I therefore treat
, captured three or four thousand Egyptian the censure of the honourable gentleman with prisoners, and afterwards took a prominent the most perfect indifference and contempt.” part in the attack and capture of the important The laughter and cheering were repeated at fortress of Acre. I am bound to say that the this; but they were mingled with cries of regovernment to which I belonged in sending monstrance. “Is that parliamentary or not?” those instructions which led to the attack said the veteran gladiator. “If it is not I do upon Acre were very much guided by the not insist on the expression.” opinions which we had received of the prac- Surely there must have been a kind of anticability of that achievement in letters from swering note of defiance or of pugnacity bemy gallant friend."
tween Lord Palmerston and Mr. Bright, and Whether the effects of the banquet still this, the first unmodified expression of it, came remained in a touch of gout which made him from the elder antagonist. But Palmerston unusually irritable, or whether he felt it to be a could scarcely have felt either the contempt monstrous proceeding to attack him for words or the indifference of which he almost boastuttered at “the social board,” and perhaps fully protested. The opinions enforced by an intended to infuse spirit and cheerfulness into orator of Mr. Bright's power,—by the successan otherwise dull assembly, cannot be easily ful advocate of free-trade,—would not always determined; but it is certain that Lord Pal- fall on the ears of a community dull with the merston resented with quite unwonted bitter- roar of war; and it is pretty certain that ness the reference made to the tone and temper though they may not have affected the public of his remarks at the Napier banquet. Mr. estimate with regard to Lord Palmerston perBright's expressions were certainly strong; he sonally, they had much to do with the change had, he said, read the proceedings with pain which came over English policy after Palmerand humiliation, the reckless levity displayed ston's death and with the impossibility of being in his opinion discreditable to the grave repeating a personal influence such as Paland responsible statesmen of a civilized and merston's, even had there been another statesChristian nation. Palmerston rose to reply, man possessing his peculiar abilities and qualiand commenced in his jaunty manner, “Sir, the fications. But what were Mr. Bright's opihonourable and reverend gentleman”-upon nions? The country was not altogether a which Cobden stood up to call the attention stranger to them, and whatever they may of the speaker to the phrase as flippant, un- have been, they were not, could not be, condeserved, and not justified by the rules of the temptible. Many of his declarations may have house. “I will not quarrel about the words," been founded on an erroneous impression of retorted Palmerston; "but as the honourable the facts of the case; his conclusions may have gentleman has been pleased to advert to the been drawn from imperfect information of circumstance of my being chairman at the diplomatic movements, exact knowledge of