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THE "TIMES" AND PRINCE ALBERT ON PUBLIC FEELING.
was so worded as to appear to have been written more in sorrow than in anger, went on to say that the appearance of the English and French fleets at Constantinople had served as a further incentive to the obstinacy of the Porte, and that the two powers had now sent their fleets to the Black Sea, proclaiming their intention to protect the Turks, and to impede the free navigation of Russian vessels of war employed for the protection of the Russian coast. After a course of proceedings unheard of among civilized nations, the czar declared that he had recalled his embassies for England and France, and had broken off all political intercourse with these powers. The proclamation ended by appealing to the fanaticism of the people against those who had sided with the enemies of Christianity.
It may be easily understood that this manifesto increased the war feeling in France and England to a pitch which would have made the tenure of any government uncertain unless it was prepared to take immediate action. At the end of 1853 the Times upheld the general demand for hostilities by reminders that the suspicion that our fighting days were over was a mistake, whether it was held in Russia or in England :
"The combined governments of England and France have exhausted their diplomacy, their remonstrances, and their patience, and they now see themselves apparently reduced to the alternative of quitting for ever their high station among the nations of the earth, forfeiting their promises, and abandoning their allies, or having recourse to war,-the sport of barbarous sovereigns, but the dread of free and progressive governments. This is no alternative—it is a decision. With whatever reluctance, the western powers must accept the challenge so insultingly flung to them. It has been greatly to the credit of our people that, under circumstances of no small irritation, they have forborne from embarrassing the course of negotiation by an indiscreet exercise of their right of public meeting, and have thus left diplomacy every opportunity for averting the scourge with which we are threatened. Equally meritorious has been their forbearance from expressing a natural
anxiety for peace, and an impatience of further taxation, at a time when such sentiments could only weaken the effect of our remonstrances and impair the confidence of our allies. The people of England have shown that they are not only temperate, but magnanimous, and capable of adopting in their collective capacity, when required by circumstances, the same prudent reserve and wise forbearance which are continually required from individual statesmen. We trust that in the coming struggle, which all our efforts seem powerless to avert, and which, though begun on the banks of the Danube, may spread from the Baltic to the Caspian, from the Caspian to the Ganges, and from the Ganges to the shores of the North Pacific, they may show a like firmness and constancy. We have not sought war, we have done all in our power to avoid it; but, if it must come, we trust its evils and sacrifices will be cheerfully borne, as we are sure its perils will be manfully confronted. We have enjoyed peace long enough to value it above all things except our honour, but not long enough to enervate our energies, or chill the courage which has carried us through so many unequal conflicts. The dawn of 1854 lowers dark with the presage of impending battle."
Prince Albert afterwards in a letter to King Leopold said: "Another mistake which people abroad make, is to ascribe to England a policy based upon material interests and cold calculation. Her policy is one of pure feeling, and therefore often illogical. The government is a popular government, and the masses upon whom it rests only feel and do not think. In the present instance their feeling is something of this sort. The Emperor of Russia is a tyrant, the enemy of all liberty on the Continent, the oppressor of Poland. He wanted to coerce the poor Turk. The Turk is a fine fellow; he has braved the rascal, let us rush to his assistance. The emperor is no gentleman, as he has spoken a lie to our queen. Down with the Emperor of Russia! Napoleon for ever! He is the nephew of his uncle, whom we defeated at Waterloo. We were afraid of his invading us? Quite the contrary. He has forgotten all that is past,
and is ready to fight with us in the glorious | the two countries, in the event of a declaration
cause against the oppressor of liberty. He may have played the French some tricks, but they are an unruly set, and don't deserve any better. D all the German princes who won't go with us against the Russian, because they think they want him to keep down their own people. The worst of them is the King of Prussia, who ought to know better."
There is a good deal of truth, and the evidence of keen perception in this, but it strikes one as peculiarly quaint, and there is a foreign air about it, though the prince was as English in his sympathies as it was afterwards shown he was faithful to the high position that he held in the country.
The war fever was reaching its height when, on the 27th of February, 1854, Lord Clarendon wrote to Count Nesselrode the ultimatum of England to Russia in the following terms: "The British government having exhausted all the efforts of negotiation, is compelled to declare to the cabinet of St. Petersburg that, if Russia should decline to restrict within purely diplomatic limits the discussion in which she has for some time past been engaged with the Sublime Porte, and does not, by return of the messenger who is the bearer of my present letter, announce her intention of causing the Russian troops under the orders of Prince Gortschak off to commence their march with a view to recross the Pruth, so that the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia shall be completely evacuated on the 30th of April next, the British government must consider the refusal or the silence of the cabinet of St. Petersburg as equivalent to a declaration of war, and will take its measures accordingly. The messenger who is the bearer of this letter to your excellency is directed not to wait more than six days at St. Petersburg for your reply." On the fifth day from the messenger's arrival Count Nesselrode verbally informed the English consul that "his majesty does not think it becoming in him to give any reply to Lord Clarendon's letter." In the course of the same interview, the British agent asked the count what the intentions of his government were with reference to the consular arrangements between
of war. Count Nesselrode replied: “That will entirely depend upon the course her Britannic majesty's government may adopt. We shall not declare war." The messenger (Captain Blackwood) returned to England on
the 25th March.
On the 28th the following declaration of the causes of war was published in the London Gazette:"It is with deep regret that her majesty announces the failure of her anxious and protracted endeavours to preserve for her people and for Europe the blessings of peace. The unprovoked aggression of the Emperor of Russia against the Sublime Porte has been persisted in with such disregard of consequences, that, after the rejection by the Emperor of Russia of terms which the Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of the French, and the King of Prussia, as well as her majesty, considered just and equitable, her majesty is compelled by a sense of what is due to the honour of her crown, to the interests of her people, and to the independence of the states of Europe, to come forward in defence of an ally whose territory is invaded, and whose dignity and independence are assailed. . . . The Emperor of Russia had some cause of complaint against the sultan with reference to the settlement which his highness had sanctioned, of the conflicting claims of the Greek and Latin churches to a portion of the Holy Places of Jerusalem and its neighbourhood. To the complaint of the Emperor of Russia on this head justice was done; and her majesty's ambassador at Constantinople had the satisfaction of promoting an arrangement to which no exception was taken by the Russian government. But while the Russian government repeatedly assured the queen's government that the mission of Prince Menschikoff to Constantinople was exclusively directed to the settlement of the question of the Holy Place at Jerusalem, Prince Menschikoff himself pressed upon the Porte other demands of a far more serious and important character, the nature of which he in the first instance endeavoured as far as possible to conceal from her majesty's ambassador. And those demands thus studiously concealed affected not the pri
vileges of the Greek Church at Jerusalem, but the position of many millions of Turkish subjects in their relations to their sovereign the sultan. These demands were rejected by the spontaneous decision of the Sublime Porte. Two assurances had been given to her majesty: one, that the mission of Prince Menschikoff only regarded the Holy Places; the other, that his mission would be of a conciliatory character. In both respects her just expectations were disappointed. . . . Her majesty, in conjunction with the sovereigns of Austria, France, and Prussia, has made various attempts to meet any just demands of the Emperor of Russia without affecting the dignity and independence of the sultan; and had it been the sole object of Russia to obtain the security for the enjoyment by the Christian subjects of the Porte of their privileges and immunities she would have found it in the offers that have been made by the sultan, but as that security was not offered in the shape of a special and separate stipulation with Russia it was rejected. Twice has this offer been made by the sultan, and recommended by the four powers; once by a note originally prepared at Vienna and subsequently modified by the Porte; once by the proposal of bases of negotiation agreed upon at Constantinople on the 31st of December and approved at Vienna on the 13th of January, as offering to the two parties the means of arriving at an understanding in a becoming and honourable manner. It is thus manifest that a right for Russia to interfere in the ordinary relations of Turkish subjects to their sovereign, and not the happiness of Christian communities in Turkey, was the object sought for by the Russian government; to such a demand the sultan would not submit, and his highness, in selfdefence, declared war upon Russia; but her majesty, nevertheless, in conjunction with her allies, has not ceased her endeavours to restore peace between the contending parties. The time has, however, now arrived when the advice and remonstrances of the four powers have proved wholly ineffectual, and the military preparations of Russia becoming daily more extended, it is but too obvious that the
of policy which, if unchecked, must lead to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. In this conjuncture her majesty feels called upon, by regard for an ally, the integrity and independence of whose empire have been recognized as essential to the peace of Europe, by the sympathies of her people with right against wrong, by a desire to avert from her dominions most injurious consequences, and to save Europe from the preponderance of a power which has violated the faith of treaties and defies the opinion of the civilized world, to take up arms in conjunction with the Emperor of the French for the defence of the sultan. Her majesty is persuaded that in so acting she will have the cordial support of her people, and that the pretext of zeal for the Christian religion will be used in vain to cover an aggression undertaken in disregard of its holy precepts, and of its true and beneficent spirit. Her majesty humbly trusts that her efforts may be successful, and that by the blessing of Providence peace may be re-established on safe and solid foundations."
We now find that the ears and eyes of our countrymen have become familiar with names of places afar off that had hitherto been scarcely noticed by schoolboys in their books of geography. Some of these knew what the Bosphorus was, and remembered something about the Chersonese, but to the great majority of Englishmen the very word Crimea was strange, and certainly Kertch, and Sebastopol, and Scutari had a very foreign sound with them. Sidney Herbert, as has been said in these pages, had beautiful estates in the very peninsula-nearly an island-which the British and French were now to invade; but it certainly was not generally known that the southern part of this country was not only rich in natural beauty, but contained some of the finest parks and gardens in the world. Here the Tartar and the Russian, the Mohammedan mosque and the convent of the Greek Church are mingled together among the rocky hills and the forests, while here and there a mouldering fortress suggests to the instructed eye some incident in the long and varied hisEmperor of Russia has entered upon a course tory of the country. Here grow the olive,
what England wanted was a bout of bloodshed, were "hucksters:"
"Last week came one to the county town,
the grape, and even the orange, while good | the war, but those who did not perceive that wines are yielded by some of the vineyards. Horses, sheep, oxen, honey, and silk are among the products of the southern portion of this interesting land, which was once Crim Tartary. The population is about a fifth of a million, and is very mixed, the greater portion being Tartars. This was the country in which the little river Alma was soon to give a name to one of the most important battles in history.
Something has already been said concerning the existence of what may be called the poetic English party, whose voices were for war at this time. The feeling with these politicians had something romantic and even ethereal about it. They seemed to think that England was reading the whole world a lesson by standing forward in defence of the weak, i.e. Turkey. Was "the sick man" (as Turkey was by that time currently called) to be quietly smothered by the "Colossus of the North?" No; we had neglected our duty with regard to Italy, Hungary, and Poland-it was now time to make what amends we could to our consciences. Such was the argument of this party. They also laid great stress upon the question of the education of the nation in manliness, upon what Florence Nightingale called the "re-tempering of peoples." The half-mad lover in Mr. Tennyson's "Maud" very nearly advocated war as a cure for social ills. Here, said he, we have been having for many years "the blessings of peace," but "we have made them a curse." Women poison their babies for the sake of the insurance money. Men, having lost the sense of brotherhood, for want of social strain (such as war creates) have made life rotten from end to end with fraud and selfishness. "Peace in her vineyard? Yes! But a company forges the wine." The inner heart of the nation is being eaten out by commercial fraud. Is not this war? It is war, "the viler, as underhand, not openly bearing the sword." Far better open conflict with a strong foe. Let us get rid of “the long, long canker of peace," and welcome "the blood-red blossom of war, with a heart of fire." Mr. Bright, Mr. Cobden, and a good many more were opposed to
To preach our poor little army down,
There was of course no lack of popular outcry for war-the mob are always for fighting. Those who dreaded and hated the idea of a French alliance were not numerous enough or well-informed enough to outrote the rest; the newspapers cried "War, war!" Lord Palmerston was devoted not only to the old idea of the balance of power, but to the old policy of keeping Russia not only away from Constantinople, but right away, as far as possible, from access to the Mediterranean; and everybody hated the Emperor Nicholas
everybody out of courtly or high-commercial circles. The newspapers made ludicrous capital out of the "movements" of our fleet in the Mediterranean under Admiral Dundas. Day after day the "bills" displayed such lines as, "The fleet preparing to advance!" and "The fleet in the Dardanelles!" until at last, after long waiting, came the announcement, "The fleet has passed the Bosphorus!" The street songs that celebrated this event were endless, and were in this style (we quote from an original):
"Old Nick will soon be made to quake,
"The fortress of Sebastopol
Will soon come down, alas!
Nicholas, Emperor of Russia, was vulgarly called "Old Nick" of course.
Manifestations of an intention to prepare for a probable war had not been wanting on our part, although the opportunities for negotiation had avowedly been kept open as long as possible. The camp at Chobham
THE NAVAL REVIEW.
Common could scarcely be deemed a hostile movement, as it had been proposed early in the year, and was part of a scheme for increasing the general efficiency of the army by training the troops to field operations in accordance with modern manoeuvres; but when the various brigades were assembled the spectacle presented was not without significance. A party of sappers and miners went down to prepare the camping-ground, dig wells, clear away obstructions, and erect the more important stores and buildings; and on the 14th there arrived from various quarters four regiments of cavalry, three battalions of guards, two brigades of infantry each comprising three regiments, a troop of royal horseartillery, and three batteries of horse-artillery. A company of sappers was there, and a pontoon train formed part of the equipment. Prince Albert went with the Duke of Cambridge to visit the camp on the arrival of the men, and remained there for two or three days in command of the brigade of guards. He took deep interest in the operations, and would have continued actively employed, but on his return to town with a severe cold was seized with an attack of measles, from which the royal children (except the two youngest), and finally the queen herself, afterwards suffered. The infection also reached the guests at Buckingham Palace, the young Crownprince of Hanover and the Duke and Duchess of Coburg, who had left England before they discovered that they had incurred the disorder, which they in turn had carried to the Duke of Brabant and the Count of Flanders, whom they met on their homeward journey. This, however, was after the review and the trial of field operations which took place before the queen at Chobham on the 21st of June. The queen had been staying at Osborne, whither she had gone a fortnight after the birth of her fourth son (Prince Leopold) on the 7th of April, and had returned on the 27th of May, so that this was her first appearance on any special public occasion after the event; but early in the morning her majesty and the prince, with the King of Hanover and the Duke of Coburg, were on the ground; the queen, on horseback in a military riding-habit,
rode with the prince and her guests down the lines, and afterwards witnessed the manoeuvres from a neighbouring height. The spectacle was realistic-for the country was open, but broken by hollows, woods or thickets, streams and marshes-and a hundred thousand spectators had assembled to witness it. The real value of the camp was to be found in the daily exercises, and though the weather for a great part of the two months during which the troops were under canvas was exceptionally rainy and tempestuous, the men showed themselves to be remarkably efficient and enduring.
More suggestive than the manœuvres at Chobham, however, was the naval review held at Spithead on the 8th of August. By that time the common impression was that war must soon become imminent, and the display of a naval force was regarded not only as a determined manifestation, but as an exhibition of the enormous development, or rather the vast reconstruction, of our maritime armaments. There were altogether forty vessels of war, of which twenty-five were of chief importance. Thirteen of these were screw and nine were paddle-wheel steamers, while three were sailing ships of the line. The steamvessels possessed a nominal total of nearly 10,000 horse-power, and an actual total of about 18,000 and of 44,146 tons, the number of hands being about 10,000. There were 1087 guns, of which 68-pounders were the chief feature, the smallest of the guns being 32-pounders and the largest throwing 84-pound shells.
At forty-five minutes past ten the royal yacht, the Victoria and Albert, entered between the leeward ships of the fleet, passing the Vesuvius and the Terrible, and then proceeding straight down the line towards the Duke of Wellington, gave an opportunity to the vast number of persons congregated on the decks of the steamers, which brought passengers to the spectacle, to welcome her majesty with bursts of enthusiastic cheering. After the queen and the royal party had inspected the Duke of Wellington, the signal was given to weigh, and her majesty led the fleet out to sea, the royal yacht occupying a central position between "the Duke" on the starboard and