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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
FRENCH COMPLAINTS AGAINST ENGLAND.
would not be roused to do what he desired. III. of a lack of personal courage-- but it At first he thought his orations had been was said that after leaving the opera-house, applauded out of practical sympathy with his when the imperial pair met at the cradle of cause, but he found he was mistaken, and be- the infant prince, the emperor gave way, and gan to search for a reason for his want of could not refrain from tears. This was not success. Orsini attributed it to the influence to be wondered at. He was beset with many of the Emperor of the French, whose visit difficulties, and this new attempt to assassinate to London occurred just at the time that the him was for a short time the occasion of fresh lecturer was disappointed and baffled. From complications. Orsini and Pierri were exethat time he appears to have had a settled cuted, the former remaining unmoved to the purpose to slay Napoleon III., and he found last, and encouraging his agitated companion others ready to give him the aid he asked for. to be calm. The other two conspirators were Had he known when he made his desperate imprisoned at the galleys for life. attempt, that the man he sought to kill had It was to the friendly wishes of the royal already pledged himself to Count Cavour to fol- family of England that the emperor's thoughts low certain plans of policy, which had led that naturally reverted, and both he and the emastute statesman to conclude that the power press wrote to the queen two days afterwards. of France would soon be exercised on behalf, The emperor said :-“In this the first monot of republican, but of national, free monar- ment of excitement the French are bent on chical Italy, the bomb might never have fallen finding accomplices in the crime everywhere, from his hand. But nobody, except those and I find it hard to resist all the extreme immediately concerned, had that knowledge. measures which people call on me to take. Orsini and his accomplices only succeeded in But this event will not make me deviate killing and seriously injuring a number of from my habitual calm, and, while seeking persons against whom he could have had no to strengthen the hands of the government, animosity, and in spattering the dress of the I will not be guilty of any injustice. I empress with blood. She had a narrow escape. am very sorry to intrude a subject so serious It was said that a piece of glass from the and engrossing upon your majesty at a moshattered window of the carriage struck her ment when I would fain speak only of the forcibly on the temple near the eye, and that happiness I feel in the thought that your another fragment had grazed the emperor's mother's heart will soon be satisfied. I would
also venture to beg your majesty to present Orsini himself was wounded by a portion to the Princess Royal all my congratulations of one of the exploded shells, and left a track on her marriage. Our warmest good wishes of blood by which his captors were able to
will be with her and with you upon the 25th.” follow him. He admitted that it was he who There was a serious underlying meaning in had committed the crime, and made no appeal this letter. If Napoleon III. was disposed to for mercy or for a mitigation of his punish- take the attempt of Orsini calmly when speakment, though he used every effort to avert the ing of it to the Queen of England, there were charge of complicity from a man who had a large number of Frenchmen who were ready been accused of being an accomplice. Singu- to use indignant and even violently abusive larly enough Orsini wrote from prison to language in relation to the crime and the Napoleon III. imploring him to support the English protection of political criminals. Eng. Italian national cause. It was believed that land was accused of offering hospitality to the emperor would have spared his life but assassins. Count Walewski, as minister of for the frightful recklessness of a crime which foreign affairs, wrote to Count Persigny, the led to the death and injury of so many per
French ambassador in London, a despatch sons. During the horrible attempt both the which, though it was of course much less ememperor and the empress maintained their phatic than menacing messages which had calm bearing--no one ever accused Napoleon I been forwarded to Sardinia, Switzerland, and
Belgium, was strong enough to be taken to in their writings of every kind, the assassinaimply an offensive imputation against this tion of a foreign sovereign, and actually to country for affording countenance and protec- prepare its execution, a French administration tion to men by whose writings “assassination would not wait to receive the demands of a was elevated into a doctrine, openly preached, foreign government, nor to see the enterprise and carried into practice by reiterated attacks” set on foot. ... To act against such conupon the person of the French sovereign. spiracies, to anticipate such crimes, public
“It is,” said the despatch, " no longer the notoriety would be sufficient to set our law in hostility of misguided parties manifesting motion, and measures of security would be itself by all the excesses of the press, and taken immediately. Well, then, France is every violence of language; it is no longer astonished that nothing of a like nature should even the labours of factions seeking to agitate have taken place in England, and Frenchmen opinion and to provoke disorder; it is assassin- say either the English law is sufficient, as ation reduced to a doctrine, preached openly, certain lawyers declare—and why, then, is it practised in repeated attempts, the most recent not applied ? or it is insufficient, which is the of which has just struck Europe with stupe- opinion of other lawyers, and in this case why faction. Ought the English legislature to does not a free country, which makes its own contribute to the designs of men who are laws, remedy this omission? In one word, not mere fugitives, but assassins, and continue France does not understand, and cannot underto shelter persons who place themselves beyond stand, this state of things, and in that resides the pale of common right and under the ban the harm; for she may inistake the true sentiof humanity? Her Britannic majesty's gov- ments of her ally, and no longer believe her ernment can assist us in averting a repetition sincerity.” of such guilty enterprises by affording us a There was little to be said against this languarantee of security which no state can guage, and it showed how much more moderrefuse to a neighbouring state, and which we ate Persigny was than the foreign minister. are authorized to expect from an ally. Fully But Persigny was more truly loyal to the relying, moreover, on the high principle (haute English alliance, and stronger representations raison) of the English cabinet, we refrain than his,—even those which were made by from indicating in any way the measures members of the French chambers, where Tropwhich it may see fit to take in order to com- long and Morny uttered violent denunciations, ply with this wish. We confidently leave to could be excused by men like Lord Clarenit to decide the course which it shall deem don, who, writing to Prince Albert, said: best fitted to attain the end in view."
“Great allowance is to be made for men M. Persigny himself made his contribution whose fortunes depend upon the life of the to the strong remonstrances from France. In emperor, and who were speaking under the reply to a deputation informing him that the excitement and exasperation which the atrocorporation of the city of London had voted cious attempt on his life could not fail to proan address to the emperor, he said :-The true duce. Nor is it to be expected that foreigners, question "does not lie in the attempts at who see that assassins go and come here as assassinations in themselves, nor even in the they please, and that conspiracies may be crime of the 14th of January, which your gov- hatched in England with impunity, should ernment would have hastened to warn think our laws and policy friendly to other against if it could have known it beforehand; countries, or appreciate the extreme difficulty the whole question is the moral situation of of making any change in our system.” France, which has become anxiously doubtful But what the calm deliberate judgment of of the real sentiment of England. Reasoning a statesman might regard with equanimity, by analogy, popular opinion declares that if the people of England and some of those to there were in France men sufficiently infamous whom they looked for the demonstration of to recommend at their clubs, in their papers, national spirit, were not likely to pass by
THE “CONSPIRACY TO MURDER” BILL.
without a quick answer. Unfortunately, too, French division at Rouen, who had been one the offensive tone towards England, which of the foremost of those who inveighed against could only be assumed to exist in Walewski's this country, and he sent it pretending that despatch, became obvious in the congratu- it was from the Army and Navy Club, the latory addresses which were sent to the em- committee of which, hearing of the outrage, peror from some of the regiments of the afterwards offered fifty pounds reward for the French army. Certain colonels of these regi- detection of the offender. Everybody was ments appeared to revel in invective against asking what was to be done, what was the the English, and the numerous opponents of reply to be made to the demands, or what apthe alliance probably took the opportunity to peared to be the demands of the French forfoment this feeling of antagonism. The terms eign minister? Where was Lord Palmerston ? used in some of these addresses were so extra- Lord Palmerston appeared to be in some vagantly offensive that they became ludicrous. respects more firmly seated than ever. He Due allowance of course was needed for the had recently, perhaps because of attacks of excitability of the French temperament,and for gout and advancing age, exhibited rather
, the usually exaggerated phraseology of military more brusquerie, and a little less bonhomie, officers of a certain class, which at that time dis- when he had to reply to awkward or displayed considerable strength of self-assertion. agreeable questions, and a few acute politiEven the milder of these addresses deplored cians stroked their chins as they looked somethat powerful friends, whose brave armies had what askance at him, but he had lost little if lately fought by their sides, should under the anything in the opinion of the country, and name of hospitality protect conspirators and his government appeared to have in it the assassins, surpassing those who had gone be- elements of lasting strength. He and Lord fore them in all that was odious. Others, Clarendon and Lord Cowley were convinced however, demanded “an account from the of the good faith of the French emperor toward land of impurity which contains the haunts of England. They had met him at Osborne, they the monsters who are sheltered by its laws." had marked the frank deference with which “Give us the order, sire," said this address, he listened even to refutations of his own “and we will pursue them even to their strong- opinions. It was worth while to make some holds.” Another division exclaimed, “Let the concessions, and to go out of the ordinary miserable assassins, the subordinate agents of course to preserve the entente cordiale. These such crimes, receive the chastisement due to concessions had been made, the ordinary their abominable attempts, but let also the course had, in one sense, been departed from infamous haunt in which machinations so in- before the publication in the Moniteur of the fernal are planned be destroyed for ever.” Of addresses from the French army had aroused course “the infamous haunt” meant London, public temper here. In Walewski's communiand this was the strain in which several of the cation there was not, after all, anything comaddresses were couched. There was no bear- promising to the honour of England, if, as ing that. Who was to resent the insolence Lord Clarendon had hinted, due regard were of these French colonels? There was, of course, had to the mode of speaking and thinking in a great deal of indignation expressed, and the France. defiant replies made in public speeches and There was no denying the fact that Orsini newspapers in England sometimes almost had gone direct from England, and that he, rivalled in absurdity the menaces which had like the active agents in previous conspiracies occasioned them. Punch appeared with a against the emperor's life, had also lived for cartoon representing a French colonel in the some time in England. Public feeling was character of a crowing cock, and with a few revolted by the way the asylum we had afcontemptuous words underneath. Some wise- forded had been abused by men of this stamp, acre thought it would be a capital thing to and it was prepared to sanction any reasonsend the caricature to the colonel of the able measure to prevent English soil from
being used with impunity for the concoction measure giving power to the secretary of state of plots against the life of a foreign sovereign. to send away any foreigner who was suspected On the 8th of February, 1858, Lord Palmer- by the government to be plotting a scheme stou brought forward, not a really effective against the life of a foreign sovereign, the measure, but one which, while it was calcu- government being bound to state the grounds lated to allay the natural irritation of the on which the person was sent away, either to French government, and to appease the ex- a secret committee of parliament, or to a compectations of the emperor, would, if it had
mittee composed of the three chiefs of the passed into law, have been almost inoperative, courts of law. This, however, was abandoned, unless by some straining of its provisions. It partly perhaps because it was obvious that to was, in short, a bill ostensibly intended to gain the required information it would be make conspiracy to murder a felony punish- necessary to employ a secret political police. able with penal servitude for five years, or The same objection appears to bave been overimprisonment with hard labour for three looked in the bill which was subsequently inyears--that offence being only a misdemeanour troduced. under the existing law.
But before that bill could be read a second It scarcely needs to be pointed out that the time, the tone adopted in France had aroused punishment, whether by short imprisonment popular indignation here. At a great meetor by penal servitude, of a detected conspiracy ing in Hyde Park the threats of the French to murder, is quite a different thing to the colonels were quoted, and great excitement refusal of an asylum to political refugees on was shown; while the arrest, in his lodgings the mere suspicion that they may contemplate at Bayswater, of a Dr. Simon Bernard on a assassination. Conspiracy to murder was never charge of complicity in the Orsini plot, and tolerated under the English law, but we had his subsequent committal on a charge of murfew secret means of discovering what might der, and as accessory before the fact, increased be the plots of political refugees who found the feeling of suspicion that the law of Engan asylum in this country. Few men could land was about to be wrested in compliance have known this better than Napoleon III., with the demands of a foreign government. who had himself lived and plotted in, and At the same time public indignation, after carried out his schemes from, London, and it had become less unreasonable, gave rise to was well aware that political malcontents from one of the most important events which ever all countries and the protestors against all occurred in the social or political history of tyrannies sought safety in England, beyond the nation. The militia had already been the reach of the despotisms, or it might some- strengthened and reorganized; but now came times be the reasonable laws, against which a steady and determined renewal of former they preached revolt.
proposals, by competent men, for the formaPalmerston's Conspiracy to Murder Bill tion of volunteer regiments. It is a subject to had passed the first reading by 299 votes to which we may have to recur at greater length 99, and there seemed to be little reason to hereafter, and it is enough to say here that doubt that it would become law. The India many thousands of volunteer riflemen, whose Bill No. 1 had just before passed its first happily chosen motto was soon declared to be reading with a triumphant majority, and Sir “Defence, not Defiance," were rapidly enrolled Richard Bethell, who was then attorney-gene- under officers who had at all events plenty of ral, walking home with Palmerston on the energy and enthusiasm, and were not deficient night of the division, said jocularly that his in ability. lordship ought, like the Roman consuls in a When the Conspiracy Bill came up for the triumph, to have somebody beside him to re- second reading, it had been discovered that no mind him that he was mortal. The remark actual reply had been sent to the despatch of became significant.
Count Walewski, though doubtless Lord Cow. It had been intended at first to introduce a ley had received instructions to discuss its terms