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Title: Lord Lyons: A Record of British Diplomacy - Volume 1 of 2
Author: Newton, Thomas Wodehouse Legh
Language: English
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LORD LYONS

VOLUME I

[Illustration: _Lord Lyons,
from a photograph taken at Boston, U.S. in 1860._]



  LORD LYONS

  A RECORD OF BRITISH DIPLOMACY

  BY

  LORD NEWTON

  IN TWO VOLUMES

  VOLUME I

  WITH PORTRAITS

  LONDON

  EDWARD ARNOLD

  1913

  _All rights reserved_



PREFACE


It was the practice of the late Lord Lyons to preserve carefully the
whole of his correspondence, whether official, semi-official, or
private, and upon his death this accumulation of papers passed into the
possession of his nephew, the present Duke of Norfolk.

I have been able to draw to some extent upon my own diary and
recollections of the five years (1881-1886) during which I served as a
member of Lord Lyons's staff at the Paris Embassy, but that period
represents only a very small portion of his official career, and it is
from the above mentioned papers that this work has been almost entirely
compiled. All the material was placed unreservedly at my disposal, and I
desire to make full acknowledgment of this mark of confidence. I desire
also to express my gratitude to the numerous persons who have readily
given their consent to the publication of important letters in which
they possess a proprietary interest: notably to Emily Lady Ampthill,
Lord Clarendon, Lord Derby, Lady Granville, Lady Ermyntrude Malet, Lord
Rosebery, the Hon. Rollo Russell, Lord Salisbury, and Lord Sanderson.

I am indebted to Mr. J. F. Marshall and Mr. Alan Parsons for their
assistance in sifting the enormous mass of documents found at Norfolk
House, and to the Hon. Arnold Keppel for a service rendered at a
subsequent period. Finally, I have to thank Mrs. Wilfrid Ward for an
interesting contribution entitled "Lord Lyons in private life,"
containing personal details only available to a near relative.

  NEWTON.

_October, 1913._



CONTENTS OF VOL. I


  CHAPTER I
                                                                     PAGE
  EARLY LIFE

  Early Life--Enters Diplomatic Service, 1839--Appointed unpaid
  attaché at Athens--Unfavourable prospects--Paid attaché at
  Rome, 1853--Condition of the Papal States--Life at Rome--Appointed
  Secretary of Legation at Florence--Question of the
  'Tavola di Stato'--Sent to Naples to deal with the case of the
  _Cagliari_--Success of his mission and appointment as Minister
  at Florence--Succeeds to peerage on death of his father--Appointed
  Minister at Washington, 1858                                          1


  CHAPTER II

  WASHINGTON

  1859-1860

  Arrival at Washington--Effect produced in America by the Franco-Austrian
  War--Feeling in America with regard to England--San
  Juan and Mexico--Rising passions between Northern and
  Southern States--Disclaimer of matrimonial intentions--Accompanies
  Prince of Wales on Canadian tour--Delight of President
  Buchanan at receiving a letter from Queen Victoria--Prince
  of Wales's visit to the United States                                12


  CHAPTER III

  OUTBREAK OF CIVIL WAR--THE 'TRENT' CASE

  1860-1861

  Crisis caused by election of President Lincoln--Mr. Seward as
  Secretary of State: his threatening language--Capture of Fort
  Sumter--Desirability of England and France acting in conjunction--Danger
  of an attack upon Canada--Growth of ill-feeling
  towards England--Effect of battle of Bull's Run--Mr. Seward
  on the essential difference between American policy and that
  of Foreign Nations--Seizure of a Foreign Office bag--British
  Consuls and the Confederate Government--The Trent incident:
  seizure of Messrs. Mason and Slidell--Lord Lyons's decision to
  maintain complete reserve--H.M. Government urged to provide
  for defence of Canada--Attitude of American public--Instructions
  of Her Majesty's Government--Mr. Seward's reception of
  the despatch--Liberation of Messrs. Mason and Slidell--Lord
  Lyons's consideration acknowledged by Mr. Seward--Advantage
  of occasional silence                                                29


  CHAPTER IV

  COURSE OF THE CIVIL WAR

  1862-1865

  Course of the Civil War--Mr. Seward's altered policy towards
  England--Visit of the French Minister, M. Mercier, to the Confederate
  Headquarters--Lord Lyons declines to accompany him--Rumoured intention
  of France and England to mediate--Breakdown in health owing to
  overwork--Failure of French attempt at intervention--Dissatisfaction in
  Northern States--Indiscretion of a British Consul--Arbitrary
  proceedings of American cruisers--Lord Russell and the
  _Alabama_--Grievances of foreigners resident in the United
  States--Liability of British subjects to military service--Method of
  recruiting the Northern armies--Hardships of 'Volunteers'--The Bounty
  System--Surprising proposal by Mr. Seward--Reciprocity negotiations:
  Lord Lyons's objections to a Canadian representative--Difficulty of
  obtaining redress for aggrieved British subjects--Lord Lyons directed
  to proceed to Canada and to report on its defence--Return to
  Washington--Breakdown in health--The work at the Washington
  Legation--Proceeds to England--Retires temporarily from Diplomatic
  service owing to ill-health                                          79


  CHAPTER V

  CONSTANTINOPLE

  1865-1867

  Offer and Acceptance of Constantinople Embassy--Sir Henry
  Bulwer--Comparative calm at Constantinople--Arrogance of
  French Ambassador, M. de Moustier--Lord Stratford de Redcliffe
  on Turkey--Sultan Abdul Aziz and his passion for ironclads--The
  Principalities: Prince Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen
  chosen as Hereditary Prince--Difficulties relating to his
  Investiture--Crete: The Fortress of Belgrade--Lord Stanley on
  Greece--Russian policy towards Turkey--Pro-Russian proclivities
  of Napoleon III.--Projected visit of the Sultan to France and
  England--Mr. Hammond's apprehensions with regard to the
  Sultan--The Dragoman system at Constantinople--Appointed
  Ambassador at Paris                                                 144


  CHAPTER VI

  THE SECOND EMPIRE

  1867-1869

  Arrival at Paris--The Empress on the Roman Question--The Emperor's
  desire for a Conference--Mr. Odo Russell on erroneous French impressions
  with regard to the Papacy--Prince Napoleon on the probability of war
  with Germany--Credulity of the Emperor of Russia--Visit of Prince
  Napoleon to Germany: his impressions--Difficulties of Napoleon
  III.--General uneasiness in France and depression of Emperor--Suggested
  offer of throne of Spain to Duke of Edinburgh--Lord Clarendon's
  conversations with the King of Prussia and Moltke--Lord Clarendon and
  Napoleon III.--Lord Clarendon at the Foreign Office--Views of the Crown
  Prince of Prussia--Emperor's love of Conferences--The Luxemburg Railway
  affair--Apprehensions in England and Belgium of French designs--Views
  of Queen Victoria and Gladstone--Confidential instructions to Lord
  Lyons--Desire of Empress to visit India--Lord Lyons requested to vote
  on party question in House of Lords--Formation of Constitutional
  Administration under Emile Ollivier--Distrust of the Emperor        177


  CHAPTER VII

  SECRET PROPOSALS FOR DISARMAMENT

  1870

  Attempt by Lord Clarendon, at request of Count Daru, to induce
  the Prussian Government to partially disarm--Emile Ollivier
  on disarmament--Memorandum by Lord Clarendon communicated
  to Bismarck--Objections raised by Bismarck--Count
  Daru on Bismarck's arguments--Intended reduction of the
  French army--Second attempt by Lord Clarendon--Bismarck's
  final answer                                                        246


  CHAPTER VIII

  THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR

  1870

  Internal situation in France--Further military reduction sanctioned--The
  Plébiscite: general uneasiness--Official satisfaction at result
  of Plébiscite--Sycophantic diplomatists--Gramont appointed
  Foreign Minister--Official views respecting the value of British
  colonies--Accurate prophecy by Lord Clarendon--Death of Lord
  Clarendon: Lord Granville Foreign Secretary--The Hohenzollern
  Candidature--Explosion of Chauvinism--Lord Lyons's explanation
  of the manner in which the war was forced upon the Emperor
  Napoleon--Conduct of the Empress during the early stages of the
  war--Fall of the Empire: Thiers and Jules Favre--Thiers's
  mission--Malet's mission to Bismarck--Consent of Bismarck to receive
  a representation of the Provisional Government                      280


  CHAPTER IX

  THE GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE

  1870-1871

  Departure from Paris to join Provisional Government at Tours--Chaudordy
  on cession of territory--Attempt of Gustave Flourens to overthrow the
  Government at Paris--Thiers's interviews with Bismarck--Bismarck and
  _Les militaires_--Gladstone on cession of territory--Denunciation
  by Russia of Black Sea clauses in Treaty of Paris--Question of
  Bismarck's connivance--French and German grievances against
  England--Lord Lyons joins Provisional Government at Bordeaux--Difficulty
  in securing a French Representation at Black Sea Conference--Revival of
  French hopes at close of 1870--Bombardment of Paris--Thiers willing to
  cede territory: his superiority to Jules Favre--Armistice--General
  election--Thiers's conduct of the Peace Negotiations--Peace conditions
  accepted--Outbreak of the Commune: Lord Lyons and other diplomatists go
  to Versailles--Malet and Paschal Grousset--Murder of the Archbishop of
  Paris and the hostages--Suppression of the Commune--Return to Paris.
                                                                      322



LIST OF PLATES IN VOL. I


                                                             FACING PAGE

  LORD LYONS                            _Frontispiece_
    _From a photograph taken at Boston, U.S., in 1860_

  WILLIAM HENRY SEWARD                                        32

  PRINCE NAPOLEON                                            194



LORD LYONS

A RECORD OF BRITISH DIPLOMACY



CHAPTER I

EARLY LIFE


Born in 1817, Richard Bickerton Pemell Lyons, second Baron and first
Viscount and Earl Lyons, eldest son of the distinguished Admiral Sir
Edmund (subsequently first Baron Lyons), was apparently destined like
his younger brother for a naval career, since at the age of ten he was
already serving as an honorary midshipman. A sailor's life, however,
must have been singularly uncongenial to a person of pronounced
sedentary tastes whom nature had obviously designed for a bureaucrat; in
after years he never alluded to his naval experiences, and it was
probably with no slight satisfaction that the navy was exchanged for
Winchester. From Winchester he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where
he took his degree in 1838, being apparently at that period a quiet,
well-behaved, hard-working youth, living carefully upon a modest
allowance, and greatly attached to his parents and family.

In the following year he entered the diplomatic service as unpaid
attaché at Athens, where his father occupied the position of Minister.
In 1844 he became a paid attaché at Athens, and passed thirteen
uneventful years at that post.

At this stage of his career, prospects looked far from promising; he
had started later than usual, being twenty-two at the period of his
entry into the service; younger men were senior to him; he had had no
opportunity of distinguishing himself at Athens, and as he laments in a
letter to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Malmesbury, written in April,
1852, he felt 'mortified and humiliated that a man six years younger
than himself had been passed over him as Secretary to the Legation in
which he had served for thirteen years.' Promotion indeed seemed so
remote that, having reached the age of thirty-five, he seriously
contemplated abandoning diplomacy altogether.

As a matter of fact, there was no cause for uneasiness. In 1852 he was
transferred as paid attaché to Dresden, and early in the following year
received the gratifying intimation that Lord John Russell, who had been
struck with his capacity, had appointed him paid attaché at Rome. 'What
I mean for him,' wrote Lord John Russell, 'is to succeed Mr. Petre, and
to conduct the Roman Mission, with £500 a year. If there were any post
of Secretary of Legation vacant I should gladly offer it to him, as I
have a very good opinion of him.' The importance of the post at Rome
consisted in the fact that, whereas technically dependent on the Tuscan
Mission at Florence, it was virtually semi-independent, and might
easily form an excellent stepping-stone to higher and more important
appointments if activity and discretion were displayed.

In June, 1853, Lyons started for his new post carrying despatches, and
as an illustration of the conditions of travel upon the continent at
that period, it is worth noticing that the expenses of his journey to
Rome amounted to no less a sum than £102 3_s_. 3_d_., inclusive of the
purchase and sale of a carriage, although no man was ever less prodigal
of public money. Nor is there any record of any official objection to
this somewhat alarming outlay.

In 1853 the Pontifical Government, exercising its sway over some
3,000,000 inhabitants of the Roman States, was in possession of no
inconsiderable portion of the Italian peninsula, and presented the
remarkable spectacle of a country jointly occupied by two foreign armies
whose task it was to protect the Pope against his own subjects. With
this object, 10,000 Austrians were stationed in the Ancona district, and
10,000 French troops in Rome, the latter paying their own expenses, but
the former constituting a heavy charge upon the Holy Father with his
embarrassed revenue and increasing deficit. The foreign policy of the
Government was in the hands of Cardinal Antonelli, and not long after
his arrival Lyons was able to write that in spite of 'his peculiar
position' (unaccredited to the Government in Rome), and that in some
quarters England is regarded as the natural enemy of the Papacy, I have
found that notwithstanding a very strong opinion to the contrary, at
Rome, as at most other places, one succeeds best by transacting one's
business in the most plain and straightforward manner, and through the
most direct channels. By acting on this principle and by being very
quiet and unobtrusive, I think I have in part allayed the suspicions
which are felt towards us always more or less at Rome, and I am
certainly on a better footing with Cardinal Antonelli than I had
at all expected to be.

The business between His Majesty's Government and that of Rome was not
of an overpowering nature, and was chiefly concerned with the proposed
establishment of regular diplomatic relations; with the alleged
intention of the Papal Government to create a Hierarchy in Scotland, and
with the inconvenient zeal of ardent Protestants in the Papal dominions.
As regards the establishment of diplomatic relations it seems highly
doubtful whether the Papal Government really desired to see a new
Protestant Mission at Rome: Cardinal Antonelli disclaimed any intention
of creating Roman Catholic Bishops in Scotland, but the religious
activity of British subjects in the Pope's dominions was a constant
source of petty troubles. It must be admitted, however, that it was
singularly easy to fall out with the Papal Government. The importation
of Bibles was forbidden, the distribution of tracts was punished with
imprisonment; one man of English extraction was incarcerated for a
lengthy period because, according to his own statements, he had not
communicated with sufficient regularity; and there were over 600
political prisoners in gaol at Rome at the same time.

As for the official relations between England and the Papal Government
they were friendly enough, and when the Crimean war broke out, feeling
at the Vatican was strongly anti-Russian, for it was believed that
whereas the Roman Catholic Church had nothing to fear from Protestants
and Mussulmans, the Greek schism was a real and threatening danger.

The following letter addressed to his brother, Captain Lyons, gives a
not uninteresting description of the life led in Rome by an unmarried
diplomatist without much private means, and incidentally shows the deep
affection which he entertained for his family.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Rome, January 3rd, 1855.

    You may imagine what a relief to me it was, after reading your
    letter of the 18th, to see Admiral Dundas' arrival at Constantinople
    announced in the Malta paper. Your letter of the 3rd is almost,
    indeed I think quite, the most interesting I ever read. The only
    drawback to the delight all these letters are to me, is that you
    were still lying up. That I hope is over, and that you will be very
    prudent about it. We have now a weekly post from Constantinople and
    Malta, which is a great comfort. Mention all the details you can in
    your letters about the siege and operations by sea and land. The
    Malta papers bring nothing that can be depended upon. Besides the
    intense interest, it is a great advantage to me diplomatically to
    have good intelligence to communicate here, and is a great help to
    getting information, which is useful to me, on Roman matters.
    Details about Sir E. and yourself are always the most precious
    things you can write, and they cannot be too numerous or too minute.

    My _ménage_ consists of two men. I am obliged to have two, in order
    not to have to open the door myself, if I send one out. I have a
    good-sized sitting room, much better furnished than most Roman
    Lodgings, a second sitting room, which serves as Anteroom, and
    Breakfast Room, good Bedroom and a Dressing Room. I have very little
    sun, which I think an advantage, though in general it is thought the
    greatest of disadvantages--I breakfast at home, and dine with some
    of the other Diplomatists at a little quiet Table d'Hôte, where
    there is a very good dinner. In winter I dine out three or four
    times a week, and always spend the evening in society. I never do
    anything at all in the way of hospitality. With the immense number
    of English here, it would be impossible for me to get on, unless I
    made this rule. In summer I had some men occasionally to play at
    Whist, all of course Foreigners. I have taken my present lodging to
    the end of June. My hope is to go to England for two or three months
    about that time. I pay between 14 and £15 sterling a month for my
    apartment. It is in a capital situation--and a second floor. It is
    an admirable country for long rides, but very bad for short ones.
    The pavement of the Town is so slippery that it is dangerous to ride
    over it--most of the gates are at a very great distance, and after
    you pass them, you have a mile or two of stone wall, before you get
    out into the open country--which is beautiful and excellent for
    riding. The result is that I never do ride. Being almost the only
    Englishman here who has anything to do, beyond sight seeing and
    amusement, my hours do not suit my Countrymen. My great friend is a
    Count Gozze, Austrian Secretary of Legation. He is an old Dresden
    friend of mine. Rome is a very rainy place, which obliges me often
    to hire a carriage to go out in the evening. The hired carriages are
    good, but dear, about nine shillings for an evening. Lord Walpole is
    here--no one else I think that you know. I have scribbled all this
    because you ask me, and because little details about the writer (if
    one really cares for him) are generally the most interesting parts
    of letters, written where there are no great events going on. You
    would think me oldwomanish if I mentioned half my anxieties about
    you and my Father.

A few months later, the brother, Captain Lyons, an exceptionally
promising and gallant naval officer, died of wounds received before
Sebastopol.

In 1856 promotion came in the shape of the secretaryship of Legation at
Florence, but he continued to be employed in Rome, and stood
twenty-second on a list of twenty-four secretaries of Legation. His
prospects of further advance did not appear reassuring, and in March
1857, he writes to his father (now a peer), 'My chance at present seems
to rest almost entirely on Lord Clarendon's disposition to give
practical effect to the good opinion he expresses of me. I should trust
with more confidence to that, if he had not promoted six secretaries of
Legation before me during my residence here, and afterwards offered me
as promotion the post of Secretary of Legation at Florence. Had it not
been for your visit to England at the critical moment, I should now have
been no more than simple Secretary of Legation, doing nothing at
Florence.'

In the autumn of 1857, Lord Normanby, Minister at Florence, having gone
on leave, Lyons was sent to take his place, and, instead of having
nothing to do, found himself at once involved in one of those trivial
questions which so deeply exercised the diplomacy of a former
generation, but which are now of rare occurrence.

Earlier in the year the Pope had paid a visit to Tuscany, and during his
stay at Florence a banquet was held in his honour, to which the members
of the diplomatic corps were invited. Much to their indignation they
were not accommodated at the Tavola di Stato or Sovereign Table, where
His Holiness was seated, and Lord Normanby, the British Minister, a
K.G., Ex-Viceroy, and social magnate, considered that an apology was
due from the Tuscan Government. Unfortunately for Lord Normanby, his
colleagues, having previously agreed to support him, backed out of their
undertaking, and the task of extracting an apology fell upon Lyons, for
Lord Normanby had departed uttering dark threats that he would not
return unless the apology was forthcoming. The Foreign Office took up
the matter seriously, and for no less than three months an animated
controversy was carried on, in the course of which 'The Tuscan
authorities showed themselves so thoroughly wrongheaded that every time
the subject was mentioned they said or did something which made it more
difficult for them to go back,' and Lord Clarendon administered to them
'a severe rebuke.' Finally, whether owing to the severe rebuke or not,
some sort of expression of regret was obtained; the injured Lord Normanby
returned to his post, and Lyons resumed his duties at Rome. Whence he
writes on March 6, 1858:--

    The question of Reforms in the Papal Administration, which was so
    much agitated during the Pope's journey and immediately afterwards,
    appears to be entirely forgotten. The repressive measures which have
    been adopted in France since the attempt on the Emperor[1] would
    seem to render it difficult for H.M. to urge other sovereigns to
    Liberal reforms. The mode in which the intelligence of the attempt
    was received at Rome was shocking. One can hardly say that any class
    expressed horror: the lower people openly declared their regret that
    the crime had not been successful, and the middle classes took
    little pains to conceal that they shared this feeling. In fact the
    policy which is supposed to be adopted by France of coquetting with
    the Liberal Party, without doing anything serious in their favour,
    has alienated the sympathies of this part of Italy.

Reforms of a simple character were evidently urgently needed in the
Papal Administration, for just about this time a Canadian bishop and
other British tourists were openly plundered on the main road between
Rome and Civita Vecchia.

The turning point in Lyons's fortunes may be said to have arrived when
early in March he received orders from Lord Malmesbury to proceed to
Naples to inquire into the case of the _Cagliari_.

The _Cagliari_ was a mail steamer plying between Genoa, Sardinia and
Tunis, and on June 25, a number of Mazzinians who had taken passage in
her seized the master and the crew, altered the course of the vessel,
landed at the Island of Ponza in Neapolitan territory, where they
liberated three hundred political prisoners, and subsequently proceeded
to Sapri, in the neighbourhood of Salerno. Here they again disembarked,
expecting the inhabitants to rise in their favour, but encountered a
superior force of Neapolitan troops who killed or captured the whole
party, whilst the _Cagliari_ was seized by Neapolitan warships as
she was making her way ostensibly to Naples. Some weeks later it was
ascertained that amongst the prisoners in Naples were two English
engineers, Watt and Park by name, and it was stated that these two men
were entirely ignorant of the conspiracy, and had been forced by the
conspirators to work the engines under threats of being summarily
shot if they refused. Under the circumstances, as was only natural,
application was made by the British Government that they should at least
have a fair trial, and that the acting Vice-Consul at Naples should be
permitted to visit them in gaol.

Diplomatic relations between England and the Neapolitan Government
having been suspended for some years, Lord Clarendon wrote himself
direct to Signor Carafa, the Neapolitan Foreign Minister, in November,
urging the necessity of dealing with the case in an equitable spirit,
but with incredible perverseness and stupidity the Neapolitan Government
continued to refuse upon one pretext or another either to release the
men or to bring them to trial, or even to permit the Vice-Consul to
visit them. In March, 1858, Watt and Park were still in gaol, and had
been subjected to such abominable treatment that the health of both
was completely broken down, and Watt had become partially insane. Under
these circumstances, a change of government having in the meanwhile
occurred in England, Lord Malmesbury directed Lyons to proceed at once
to Naples and inquire into the case. Although the whole question had
been considerably complicated, partly owing to a note of Sir James
Hudson to the Sardinian Government having been unaccountably altered by
a member of his staff, and partly owing to a rooted belief on the part
of high Neapolitan legal authorities that engineers were responsible for
a ship's course, the Lyons Mission soon bore fruit, and the two
unfortunate Englishmen were both set free, nominally on bail, before the
end of the month, it having become evident to every one that they were
absolutely innocent. But the Neapolitan Government was by no means out
of its difficulties. It was pointed out that as two innocent men had
been imprisoned for nine months, and treated with great barbarity during
the greater part of the time, they were entitled to an indemnity which
was fixed at £3000. Worse was to follow, for, egged on by the Sardinian
Government, the British Government put forward a demand that the
_Cagliari_ should be surrendered on the ground that its capture had
been illegally effected. Both these demands were refused, and finally,
in May, 1858, a special messenger was sent to Naples instructing Lyons
to leave unless within ten days the Neapolitan Government consented to
accept mediation, and stating that England would make common cause with
Sardinia under certain circumstances.

The message could not have been an agreeable one to deliver, and what
the Neapolitan Government disliked more than anything else was the
appearance of yielding to Sardinia. 'Ah! s'il n'y avait que l'Angleterre!'
had always been the expression used by Signor Carafa; but his Government
had placed itself hopelessly in the wrong, and Lyons was able to report
that the indemnity would be paid, and that the _Cagliari_ had been
placed 'at his disposal.' It was an additional satisfaction to him to
add that: 'Far from threatening, I did not even go so far as my
instructions warranted, for I did not say that His Majesty's Government
proposed that the mediator should retire at the end of three months, nor
did I tell Signor Carafa that I was myself ordered to go back to Rome if
the mediation should be refused at the expiration of ten days.'

In spite of the unpleasant nature of this affair, Lyons contrived to
remain on the very best of terms with the Neapolitan Ministers with whom
he had to deal, and Lord Malmesbury was so favourably impressed with his
tact and skill that he at once appointed him Minister at Florence. His
professional future was now assured; but far greater honours were in
store for him, for in November, 1858, came the offer of the Washington
Legation, an offer which, with characteristic modesty, he accepted with
considerable misgivings as to his competence. Nor could it be said that
success had arrived with unusual rapidity, for he was already forty-one.

In the same month he succeeded to the peerage on the death of his
father. His mother had died some years previously; his brother had
perished in the Crimea, and the only remaining near relatives were his
two sisters, one of whom was married to the Duke of Norfolk, and the
other to a Bavarian gentleman, Baron von Würtzburg.


FOOTNOTES:

  [1] Napoleon III.



CHAPTER II

WASHINGTON

(1859-1860)


In February, 1859, Lord Lyons, accompanied by some members of his staff
(a novelty to one who hitherto had been obliged to work unaided) was
despatched to Washington in H.M.S. _Curaçoa_, and owing to the limited
coal capacity of that vessel, the voyage occupied no less than forty-two
days, a period which must have been singularly disagreeable to a man who
in spite of some years' naval service always suffered from sea sickness.
The new Minister was received with marked courtesy by the U.S.
authorities, and presented his letter of credence on April 12, Mr.
Buchanan being President at the time, and General Cass occupying the
position of Secretary of State.

Although the Presidential message of the previous December had
contained some rather ominous passages with regard to the relations
between England and the United States, the sentiments now expressed
were friendly in character and showed a disposition to settle pending
difficulties in an amicable spirit.

The first letter of importance addressed by Lord Lyons to Lord
Malmesbury deals with the effect produced in the United States
by the outbreak of war between France and Austria.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Washington, May 24, 1859.

    I had intended to write a despatch respecting the effect produced
    in the U.S. by the War in Europe, but we are so short of hands in
    the Chancery, that it is as much as we have been able to do to get
    through the regular matters of business which must be treated
    officially. I can however give you in a very few words an account of
    the state of feeling here, which is probably just what you would
    have expected it to be.

    The sympathies are all with France and against Austria, but they do
    not seem very strong; one sentiment however does appear to be both
    strong and universal--the desire to take advantage of the state of
    things in Europe to carry out American Views on this side of the
    Atlantic; in short to get hold of Mexico and Cuba. The present wish
    of the President is, I think, both to be and to appear to be on the
    best terms with us. He is careful to vindicate us, in the newspaper
    which is his organ, against all imputation of insincerity in Central
    American Affairs. The Departments are particularly attentive to all
    the smaller matters I have to bring before them, and apparently
    anxious to do what I ask. But here I am afraid the practical effect
    of their goodwill is likely to end. The Government is so weak that I
    do not think it would venture, even in a small matter, to do
    anything for us which would expose it to the least unpopularity. I
    feel my way cautiously, endeavouring to be very plain and firm upon
    clear British Questions, and to avoid doubtful topics as much as
    possible.

    The immediate object of the President with regard to Mexico appears
    to be to avoid the ridicule which would be heaped upon him if the
    Government of Juarez were to fall immediately after the American
    Cabinet had at last made up their mind to recognize it. Instructions
    are, I am told, on the point of being sent to Mr. McLane to
    negotiate a treaty with Mexico, partly, it is said, with the object
    of giving Juarez a little moral support, partly perhaps to get so
    advantageous a Treaty from him, as to engage public opinion here to
    declare itself more strongly in favour of his being upheld by the
    U.S. Whether Mr. McLane will be instructed (as Mr. Forsyth was) to
    propose to purchase part of the Mexican territory, I am unable to
    say.

    I am very much obliged by your sending out Mr. Warre, and am
    impatiently expecting him. It is absolutely necessary to have a good
    man here to direct the Chancery; I think too this mission would be a
    very good school for a young man who really wished to learn his
    business, and I should welcome any one who was industrious, and
    wrote a thoroughly good legible hand.

    It is particularly desirable that the Staff should be complete,
    because if the Minister is to have any knowledge of the Country and
    people, it is indispensable that he should visit, from time to time,
    the principal cities. This is not like a European State, in which
    politics and business are centred in the Capital, and can be studied
    more advantageously there than elsewhere. No political men make
    Washington their principal residence, in fact they cannot do so, as
    it sends no members to Congress, either to the Senate or the House
    of Representatives. Commerce it has none. It is in fact little more
    than a large village--and when Congress is not sitting it is a
    deserted village.

Another letter dated May 30, shows that he was under no illusion as to
the feelings entertained by a large section of the American public,
while fully conscious of the difficulties with which the United States
Government, however well intentioned, was forced to contend.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Malmesbury._

    Washington, May 30, 1859.

    You will anticipate from my private letter of the 24th my answer to
    your inquiry as to what would be the animus of this Government if
    England became involved in the present war.

    The first notion both of Government and People would be to take
    advantage of the circumstance to take their full swing upon this
    side of the Atlantic, and especially so far as the people are
    concerned to get hold of Cuba and Mexico. The wiser heads see
    very distinctly the imprudence of fresh acquisitions of territory,
    and the great danger to the Union of introducing large Bodies of
    Citizens of Spanish and mixed Races. I believe this to be the
    feeling of the present Administration, but no administration
    disregards the popular cry.

    So far as I can learn, the American acquisitiveness is directed
    rather South than North, and is disposed to be content for the
    present, with what is most easy to lay hold of. Except on the part
    of the most rancorous of the Irish here there does not appear to
    be much desire of exciting disturbances in Canada or any of our
    Colonies.

    I think that if we were engaged in war the Americans would be
    (particularly with reference to neutral rights at sea) punctilious,
    exacting and quarrelsome to a degree. There is hardly any amount of
    violence to which a captain of an American man of war, if he were
    clearly in superior force, might not be expected to resort, in order
    to prevent American merchantmen being interfered with. And however
    outrageous in itself and opposed to International Law the conduct of
    the American officers might be, it would meet with enthusiastic
    applause from the multitude, and consequently the Government would
    not dare to disavow it. This admiration of bullying and violent
    proceedings on their own side, which appears to be universal among
    the populace here, and the want of firmness on the part of the
    Government in withstanding it, seem to me to constitute some of the
    greatest difficulties we should have to contend with in keeping at
    peace with America when we were at war with other Powers.

    I do not think the general sympathies of the Americans need be taken
    much into the account. The violent feelings aroused at particular
    conjunctures by the events of the war, or by special matters of
    dispute, are what will sway the mob, and therefore control the
    Government. The upper classes here have certainly in general a
    strong sympathy with England; they are proud of her position in the
    world, they are anxious for her good opinion, they admire her
    political institutions, and are extremely discontented with those of
    their own country. But the upper classes keep aloof from political
    life, and have little influence in public affairs. The mass of the
    Irish Emigrants appear to regard England with bitter hatred, their
    numbers give them weight in elections, but their moral power is
    small. I should hardly say that the Bulk of the American people are
    hostile to the old country but I think they would rather enjoy
    seeing us in difficulties. Those even who are most friendly like to
    gratify their pride by the idea of our being reduced to straits and
    of their coming to our rescue.

    I conceive that the wish both of Government and people would certainly
    at first be to remain neutral, and reap all the advantages to their
    commerce which could not fail to result from that situation, and
    their interest in remaining at peace with us is so apparent and so
    immense, that it could not fail to tell for some time. But the
    People are irritable, excitable, and have a great longing to play
    the part of a first-rate power.

    The Government would no doubt endeavour to maintain neutrality, but
    it would follow public feeling, and probably become exacting,
    captious, and (to use a term more expressive than classical)
    'bumptious' to a very irritating extent. A great deal would depend
    upon firmness on our side. If they thought they could attain their
    ends by threats and bluster, there would be no limit to their
    pretensions. Perhaps the best way to deal with them would be to
    gratify their vanity by treating them in matters of form as great
    people, being careful to communicate with them respecting our views
    and intentions in something the same manner as if they were really a
    considerable military power: to avoid interfering in matters in
    which we are not sufficiently interested to make it worth while to
    raise serious questions, and above all in matters directly affecting
    British interests and British Rights to be clear and distinct in our
    language, and firm and decided in our conduct, to convince them that
    when we are in the right and in earnest, we are more unyielding, not
    less so than formerly--in short to avoid as much as possible raising
    questions with them, but not to give way upon those we raise.

    I need not remind you that these are the crude ideas of a man who
    has been only seven weeks in the country, and who has necessarily
    passed them in a small, and at this season, almost deserted town,
    which is merely the nominal Capital.

    I am anxiously looking out for Mr. Warre, whose arrival you announce
    that I may soon expect. It would add much to the efficiency of the
    Mission, and be a great comfort to me to have an additional unpaid
    attaché, provided he were industrious, desirous to improve, and
    capable of writing a good hand.

The change of Government which took place in England during the summer
substituted Lord John Russell for Lord Malmesbury at the Foreign Office,
and following the example of his predecessor, Lord John desired to be
supplied with confidential information by private letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, July 11, 1859.

    At present the President and his Cabinet appear to desire both to
    be, and to be thought by the Public to be on the best terms with us.
    They are however so weak in Congress, that I doubt whether they
    would venture to do anything for us which would be the least
    unpopular. It is not therefore to be hoped that they will make any
    effort to open to us the Coasting Trade, to extend the provisions of
    the Reciprocity Treaty with Canada, to make a Copyright Convention,
    or, in short, take any liberal course in commercial matters. Nor
    indeed is it likely to be in their power to carry any measures
    tending to put us on equal terms with themselves in these respects.
    The Democratic spirit in this country appears to be all in favour
    of Protection and Exclusive Privileges. Happily the interest of
    the South is against a high Customs Tariff; and this checks the
    Protectionist Tendencies of the Manufacturing North.

    Mr. Dallas will have communicated to you the Statement which has
    been for months preparing here, of the views of this Government
    respecting neutral rights. The Cabinet, I understand, hope that they
    shall obtain great credit with the people for their efforts to
    establish American views on this point. They are very anxious to
    obtain our co-operation, and imagine, I think, that they may induce
    us to claim now concessions to Neutrals which would result in being
    a considerable restraint to our assertion for ourselves of
    Belligerent rights if we should become involved in war.

    I think that our Relations with the U.S. require more than ever--at
    this moment--caution and firmness. Caution--to avoid raising
    questions with them, without a positive necessity; firmness--to make
    them feel that they cannot take advantage of the State of affairs in
    Europe to obtain undue advantages in matters directly affecting
    British Interests or British Rights. For my own part I endeavour to
    speak firmly and distinctly upon all matters which fall within the
    proper province of the British Minister in this country and to avoid
    all doubtful topics.

           *       *       *       *       *

    The Americans, both Government and People, are I think very much
    pleased by attentions and civilities, and very prone to fancy
    themselves slighted. This quality may be sometimes turned to good
    account, and should certainly be borne in mind when it is necessary
    to keep them in good humour.

One of the many questions which had for some time engaged the attention
of the two Governments was the disputed ownership of the island of San
Juan on the Pacific coast, and this case afforded an instance in which
the Government of the United States was hampered by an agent whom it was
not inclined to disavow. The culprit was a certain General Harney who
in a high-handed manner occupied the island without authorization,
and conducted himself in a generally offensive manner, but although
President Buchanan was considerably embarrassed by his action, he was
too much afraid of the press and the mob to order the withdrawal of
the troops. For some time there appeared to be a chance of an actual
collision, and Lord John Russell showed considerable irritation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Abergeldie, Sept. 21, 1859.

    The affair of San Juan is very annoying. It is of the nature of the
    U.S. citizens to push themselves where they have no right to go, and
    it is of the nature of the U.S. Government not to venture to disavow
    acts they cannot have the face to approve.

    The best way perhaps would be that we should seize some other island
    to which we have as little right as the Americans to San Juan. But
    until we know the answer of the American Government to your note and
    the proceedings of Governor Douglas, we can hardly give you
    instructions.

    If you could contrive a convention with the U.S. by which each Power
    should occupy San Juan for three or six months, each to protect
    person and property till the boundary question is settled, it will
    be the best arrangement that can be made for the present.

As a matter of fact the U.S. Government showed itself more reasonable
than had been expected: a superior officer, General Scott, was sent to
settle matters, Harney, to use Lord John Russell's expression, was 'left
in the mud,' and after a joint occupation and protracted negotiations
the question of the ownership of San Juan was referred to the arbitration
of the King of Prussia, who gave his award in favour of the United
States some years later.

San Juan, however, was but one amongst a multitude of questions
requiring solution, and the great difficulty which Lord Lyons had to
contend with was--to use his own words, 'The idea that, happen what may,
England will never really declare war with this country has become so
deeply rooted that I am afraid nothing short of actual hostilities would
eradicate it.' One of these questions concerned the Slave Trade.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Dec 6, 1859.

    You will see by my despatches of this date, that there is very
    little prospect of any satisfactory result from our remonstrance
    concerning the Slave Trade. Lamentable as it is, I am afraid the
    President goes beyond public opinion already in the measures he
    takes against it. In the South the rendering it legal has many
    avowed advocates, and it is to be feared that some of the professed
    Abolitionists of the North derive too much profit from dabbling
    themselves in the trade to desire any efficient measures for its
    suppression. The greater part of the vessels engaged in it seem to
    be fitted out at New York. The state of feeling at this moment in
    the South upon the whole question of slavery is shocking. The
    Harper's Ferry affair seems to have excited Southern passions to an
    indescribable degree. The dissolution of the Confederation is but
    one of the measures which are loudly advocated. There are plans for
    the re-enslavement of all the emancipated negroes and for the
    purging the South of all whites suspected of Abolitionist
    tendencies. The difficulty which we shall have in obtaining decent
    treatment for coloured British subjects will be almost insuperable.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Another source of trouble between us and the Southern States may
    arise from the measures which they are taking to drive out all
    persons suspected of unorthodox notions on slavery, and the orthodox
    notion seems to be that slavery is a divine institution. In many
    parts of the South, Vigilance Committees are formed who turn people
    out at a moment's notice, without any pretext even of law. If any
    attempt is made to treat British subjects in this manner, I trust
    you will approve of my encouraging the Consuls to insist upon the
    law being observed in their case, and to resist any endeavour to
    inflict banishment or any other penalty upon an Englishman, except
    in due form of law. But it will require a great deal of prudence
    and discretion to act in each case, for a fair trial is a thing
    impossible in this country of election judges and partisan juries
    when party feeling is excited, and any redress we may exact for the
    wrong to England, will be too late for the individual in the hands
    of Lynch Law Assassins.

    The great hope is that the excitement is too violent to last, but
    before it subsides, it may do incalculable harm to these states and
    raise very painful and awkward questions for us.

If the hope expressed in the last paragraph was fallacious, the
forebodings as to the possible tribulations of British subjects proved
before long to be only too well founded.

Asked by Lord John Russell for his opinion on the position of affairs in
Mexico, he points out _inter alia_, that--

    The actual annexation of Mexico to this Confederation raises
    immediately one of those questions between the Northern and Southern
    States which have already gone a great way to dissolve the Union
    altogether. The Southern States desire the addition of territory
    _south_, with a view to extending slavery and adding to the
    Pro-Slavery votes in the U.S. Senate. To this the North is
    conscientiously opposed on religious grounds, to say nothing of the
    indignation it feels at the notion of its own vast superiority in
    wealth and population being swamped in the Senate. Even now, since
    every State sends equally two senators, whatever may be its
    population, the North has not the influence it ought to have in the
    Senate which is the more important branch of the Legislature. As
    the religious sentiment in the North approaches very nearly to
    fanaticism, and as the Southern feeling on the point has become
    furious passion, there is little chance of their coming to an
    agreement upon a matter which calls these feelings into play. In
    this particular question the South have on their side the national
    vanity which seems always childishly gratified by any addition to
    the already enormous extent of the territory. In the meantime the
    course of events seems to be bringing about the gradual annexation
    of Mexico. The Mexicans in the northern part of their country have
    fallen to that point, that they can neither maintain order on the
    frontier nor hold their own against the savage Indians within it.
    They will (to use an American expression) be 'squatted out' of their
    country whenever and wherever any considerable number of the more
    energetic race choose to settle. But this is a very different thing
    from the sudden incorporation of a vast territory and of a large
    population totally different in race, language, religion and
    feeling, and (so far as the experiment has been tried) utterly
    incapable of maintaining order among themselves under the U.S.
    system of government. All the wiser and more conservative
    politicians in this country deprecate as an unmitigated evil the
    sudden annexation of Mexico; nor are such men willing to undertake
    a protectorate of Mexico. This they say would be an enormous
    innovation upon their whole political system which has never
    admitted of any other connexion than that of perfectly equal
    sovereign states, bound by a Federal tie on terms the same for all.

The Presidential Message of December, 1859, was noticeable for an
earnest appeal to the North and South to cultivate feelings of mutual
forbearance.

The message also made clear the policy of the President towards Mexico;
in accordance with the principles of the Monroe doctrine, European
intervention in that country was repudiated, and American intervention
recommended.

A passage referring to San Juan while obviously intended to exculpate
General Harney, paid a handsome tribute to the moderation and discretion
shown by the British Admiral (Baynes) commanding on the Pacific
station; and the President in conversation expressed the hope that the
approaching close of his administration would leave 'a clear score' with
England. No doubt President Buchanan was sincere in his expressions,
but unfortunately, early in 1860, signs were not wanting, that in the
distracted state of the country owing to the rising passions between
North and South, many people believed that a foreign war would be the
best means of promoting unity, nor was there much doubt as to which
foreign country would be selected for the experiment.

Washington has already been disrespectfully alluded to as little better
than a large village, and as bearing little resemblance to an ordinary
capital, but it is evident that Lord Lyons found plenty of enjoyment
there. He was on excellent terms personally with the State officials and
his diplomatic colleagues; liked the members of his staff, and above all
rejoiced in the fact that there was plenty of work to be done--a good
deal more, indeed, than the ordinary person would have approved of. One
of his few complaints is that he is much beset by the inventors of
implements of war. 'I have not the slightest knowledge practical or
theoretical respecting implements of war, and should consequently never
be justified in recommending one more than another to the authorities at
home. I absolutely decline to see, touch, or have brought into my house
any explosive material, I should not feel easy at having even in a
garret such a box as you (the Consul at New York) have received for Her
Majesty. I should be inclined to ask for authority from England to sink
it in the Atlantic Ocean.'

'I am getting on tolerably well here, I hope, on the whole, and have no
complaints to make of the Americans,' he admits in letters to other
correspondents, and adds: 'I am afraid marriage is better never than
late. The American women are undoubtedly very pretty, but my heart is
too old and too callous to be wounded by their charms. I am not going to
be married either to the fascinating accomplished niece of the
President, or to the widow of a late Foreign Minister, or to any other
maiden or relict to whom I am given by the newspapers.'

These sentiments sound rather rash even at the age of forty-two, but
they remained unchanged. It would be incorrect to describe him as a
misogynist, but he successfully withstood all attempts to marry him.
In after years, an exalted personage (neither Queen Victoria nor the
Empress Eugenie) was so insistent upon the advisability of his espousing
one of her ladies-in-waiting, that she eventually couched her proposal
in the form of an ultimatum. Lord Lyons asked for and obtained a delay
of twenty-four hours, and decided upon consideration to refuse. In view
of an event which occurred not long afterwards the decision proved to be
a prudent one, and probably confirmed him in the suspicions which he
appeared to entertain of the opposite sex.

It had been decided that the Prince of Wales should make a tour in
Canada in the summer of 1860, and the Duke of Newcastle, at that time
Colonial Secretary, consulted Lord Lyons as to the advisability of
H.R.H. paying a visit to America. The latter, upon consideration,
pronounced in favour of it. He did not arrive at this decision without
some hesitation. It was feared by persons of experience that the
disaffected Irish in New York and elsewhere might make themselves
disagreeable; the Prince's time was limited, and he would obviously
be unable to make an extended tour, and so might involuntarily cause
offence, whilst it was highly probable that the necessity for preserving
a strictly non-official character might also give rise to difficulties.

On the other hand, President Buchanan extended an invitation in such
cordial terms that it would have been ungracious to decline.

Lord Lyons joined the Prince of Wales in Canada in August, and the tour
must have been an agreeable change even to a person of his sedentary
inclinations. Since his arrival at Washington, fifteen months before, he
had never slept or been six miles outside the town. 'Whenever,' he
explains to a friend, 'I have planned a journey, I have been stopped by
invasions of islands in the Pacific or some other "difficulty" as a
dispute is called here.' It may be surmised, however, that such
obstacles were much less objectionable to him than they would have been
to any one else; he hated travel, openly avowed that he loathed
sight-seeing, and welcomed the opportunity of 'getting Niagara and the
Lakes done this way; it will be a good thing over.'

It was eventually decided that the Prince's visit to the States should
take place in September, and the announcement was not only received
with unbounded satisfaction, but caused prodigious excitement. 'The
President was moved from the usual staid solemnity of his demeanour by
his gratification at receiving an answer from Her Majesty written with
her own hand. At the close of our interview he hurried off with it in
great delight (no doubt to show it to his niece) saying: "It is indeed
something to have an autograph letter from Queen Victoria!"[2] Nor was
the President's gratification confined to the family circle, for he
asked and obtained permission to publish the royal letter which had
afforded so much satisfaction. As soon as the news became known
invitations of every kind at once began to pour in from all quarters,
and offerings of the most varied description made their appearance at
the Legation, which included such objects as equestrian sugar statues of
H.R.H., pots of ointment for the Queen, books of sermons for "Baron
Renfrew," and a set of plates for the "Prince of Whales." Innumerable
requests arrived too for interviews, autographs, and mementos, amongst
which may be cited an application for a photograph from a citizen of
Lowell "for his virgin wife."'

It was, of course, unfortunately necessary to decline the invitations,
for the itinerary had been settled beforehand, and it had been wisely
decided that the Prince should never stay with any private individual,
but always be lodged at an hotel at his own expense, that he should
refuse to receive addresses and deputations, and should neither hear nor
make public speeches. It was also considered desirable that receptions
of British subjects should not be encouraged, and that he should not
attend any demonstration of his fellow-countrymen so as not to excite
any feeling of jealousy.

As for the gifts which were proffered in great profusion, they were
regretfully declined in accordance with the usual practice of the Royal
Family.

In spite of the nominally private character of the Prince of Wales's
tour in the United States, most careful arrangements were found to be
necessary wherever he made a stay. At New York, in particular, which
city appears to be, beyond all others, interested in Royal personages,
the programme could hardly have been of a more elaborate nature had an
Emperor been visiting an Imperial Sire and Brother; even the ladies with
whom H.R.H. was expected to dance, having been selected long in advance.
The chief difficulty in New York and elsewhere seems to have been the
prohibition of speeches at banquets. The Americans, overflowing with
hospitable enthusiasm, were only too anxious to display their friendship
in public utterances, but the British Government had wisely decided that
nineteen was too early an age at which to begin making speeches in a
foreign country, and the rule of silence was rigidly adhered to.

The Prince of Wales's tour, although necessarily brief, included,
besides Washington, some of the principal cities in the States, and
judging from the contemporary correspondence, was attended by singularly
few untoward incidents, proving, in fact, successful beyond expectation.

The happy effect produced by this visit was described in an official
despatch, and private letters corroborate the favourable impression
created.

'I have more completely realized, as the Americans say, the wonderful
success of the Prince of Wales's tour than I did when it was in
progress. I have now had time to talk quietly about it with men
whose opinion is worth having, and also to compare newspapers of various
shades of politics. I am glad to see that the incognito and other
restrictions maintained are represented as a peculiar compliment to
the Americans as showing a desire to associate with them on more equal
terms than would be possible with subjects.'[3]

'The Prince of Wales's tour in the U.S. went off completely to the
satisfaction of all parties from the beginning to the end. It was rather
hard work for me, as he never went out without me, nor I without him,
and I had quantities of letters to write and people to see and keep in
good humour. Nevertheless H.R.H. himself and all the people with him
were so agreeable, that on the whole I enjoyed the tour very much while
it was going on. I look back to it with unmixed satisfaction.'[4]

Much of the success, although he was too modest to allude to it, was
probably due to his own carefulness and forethought.


FOOTNOTES:

  [2] Lord Lyons to Lord J. Russell, July 9.

  [3] Lord Lyons to the Duke of Newcastle, Oct. 29.

  [4] Lord Lyons to Mr. Griffith, Nov. 10.



CHAPTER III

OUTBREAK OF CIVIL WAR--THE 'TRENT' CASE

(1860-1861)


Before the close of 1860 the relations between North and South had
reached the critical stage: the mutterings of the coming storm grew
louder, and when it became clear, in November, that Abraham Lincoln was
to be the new President, secession advanced with rapid strides, while
conviction became general that a collision was inevitable.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Duke of Newcastle._

    Dec. 10, 1860.

    It is difficult to believe that I am in the same country which
    appeared so prosperous, so contented, and one may say, so calm when
    we travelled through it. The change is very great even since I wrote
    to you on the 29th October. Our friends are apparently going ahead
    on the road to ruin with their characteristic speed and energy.

    The President (Buchanan) is harassed beyond measure. It is a very
    unfortunate moment for our negotiations, but the present state of
    things makes me more than ever anxious to get the San Juan question
    safely landed beyond the reach of the incoming administration.

The approaching rule of Lincoln entailed the disquieting probability of
the appointment of Mr. Seward as Secretary of State.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, Jan. 7, 1861.

    It is considered almost certain that Mr. Seward is to be Mr.
    Lincoln's Secretary of State. This will be regarded as a defiance
    of the South, unless (as is expected) Mr. Seward comes out with a
    conciliatory speech in the Senate. With regard to Great Britain, I
    cannot help fearing that he will be a dangerous Foreign Minister.
    His view of the relations between the United States and Great
    Britain has always been that they are a good material to make
    political capital of. He thinks at all events that they may be
    safely played with without any risk of bringing on a war. He has
    even to me avowed his belief that England will never go to war with
    the United States. He has generally taken up any cry against us, but
    this he says he has done from friendship, to prevent the other
    Party's appropriating it and doing more harm with it than he has
    done. The temptation will be great for Lincoln's party, if they be
    not actually engaged in a civil war, to endeavour to divert the
    public excitement to a foreign quarrel. I do not think Mr. Seward
    would contemplate actually going to war with us, but he would be
    well disposed to play the old game of seeking popularity here by
    displaying violence towards us. I don't think it will be so good a
    game for him as it used to be, even supposing we give him an
    apparent triumph, but I think he is likely to play it.

    This makes me more than ever anxious to settle the San Juan
    question.

The forebodings came true. Mr. Seward, a lawyer, who had aimed at the
Presidency himself, became Secretary of State, and caused the British
Government and the diplomatists at Washington many uncomfortable
moments.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, March 26, 1861.

    Mr. Seward came to me on the evening of the 20th ultimo, and asked
    me to let him speak to me very confidentially....

    Mr. Seward observed that he considered it all important to ward off
    a crisis during the next three months; that he had good hopes that
    if this could be effected a counter revolution would take place in
    the South; that he hoped and believed it would begin in the most
    distant State, Texas, where indeed he saw symptoms of it already. It
    might be necessary towards producing this effect to make the
    Southern States feel uncomfortable in their present condition by
    interrupting their commerce. It was however most important that the
    new Confederacy should not in the mean time be recognized by any
    Foreign Power.

    I said that certainly the feelings as well as the interests of Great
    Britain would render H.M.'s Government most desirous to avoid any
    step which could prolong the quarrel between North and South, or be
    an obstacle to a cordial and speedy reunion between them if that
    were possible. Still I said, if the U.S. determined to stop by force
    so important a commerce as that of Great Britain with the
    cotton-growing States, I could not answer for what might happen.

    Mr. Seward asked whether England would not be content to get cotton
    through the Northern Ports, to which it could be sent by land.

    I answered that cotton although by far the most important article of
    the Trade was not the only point to be considered. It was however a
    matter of the greatest consequence to England to procure cheap
    cotton. If a considerable rise were to take place in the price of
    cotton, and British ships were to be at the same time excluded from
    the Southern Ports, an immense pressure would be put upon H.M.'s
    Government to use all the means in their power to open those Ports.
    If H.M.'s Government felt it to be their duty to do so, they would
    naturally endeavour to effect their object in a manner as consistent
    as possible first with, their friendly feelings towards both
    Sections of this Country, and secondly with the recognized
    principles of International Law. As regards the latter point in
    particular, it certainly appeared that the most simple, if not the
    only way, would be to recognize the Southern Confederacy. I said a
    good deal about my hopes that Mr. Seward would never let things come
    to this, with which it is unnecessary to trouble you.

    I thought that Mr. Seward, although he did not give up the point,
    listened with complacency to my arguments against interference with
    Foreign Commerce. He said more than once that he should like to take
    me to the President to discuss the subject with him. The conclusion
    I came to was that the questions of a forcible collection of the
    duties in the Southern Ports, and of a blockade of those Ports were
    under discussion in the Cabinet, but that Mr. Seward was himself
    opposed to those measures, and had good hopes that his opinion would
    prevail.

    It would appear however that a change took place in the interval
    between this conversation and yesterday. Mr. Seward, the principal
    Members of the Cabinet, the Russian Minister, M. de Stoeckl, and the
    French Minister, Mons. Mercier, with some other people dined with
    me. After dinner, Mr. Seward entered into an animated conversation
    with my French and Russian Colleagues, and signed to me to join
    them. When I came up I found him asking M. Mercier to give him a
    copy of his Instructions to the French Consuls in the Southern
    States. M. Mercier made some excuse for refusing, but said that what
    the instructions amounted to was that the Consuls were to do their
    best to protect French Commerce 'sans sortir de la plus stricte
    neutralité.' Mr. Seward then asked me to give him a copy of my
    instructions to H.M.'s Consuls. I, of course, declined to do so, but
    I told him that the purport of them was that the Consuls were to
    regard questions from a commercial not a political point of view,
    that they were to do all they could to favour the continuance of
    peaceful commerce short of performing an act of recognition without
    the orders of Her Majesty's Government.

[Illustration: William Henry Seward.

London: Edward Arnold]

    Mr. Seward then alluded to the Peruvian Papers, and speaking as he
    had done all along very loud, said to my French and Russian
    Colleagues and me, 'I have formed my opinion on that matter, and I
    may as well tell it to you now as at any other time. I differ with
    my Predecessor as to _de facto_ Authorities. If one of your Ships
    comes out of a Southern Port without the Papers required by the laws
    of the U.S., and is seized by one of our Cruisers and carried into
    New York and confiscated, we shall not make any compensation.' My
    Russian Colleague, M. de Stoeckl, argued the question with Mr.
    Seward very good humouredly and very ably. Upon his saying that a
    Blockade to be respected must be effective, Mr. Seward replied that
    it was not a blockade that would be established; that the U.S.
    Cruisers would be stationed off the Southern Coast to collect
    duties, and enforce penalties for the infraction of the U.S. Customs
    Laws. Mr. Seward then appealed to me. I said that it was really a
    matter so very serious that I was unwilling to discuss it; that his
    plan seemed to me to amount in fact to a paper blockade of the
    enormous extent of coast comprised in the Seceding States; that the
    calling it an enforcement of the Revenue Laws appeared to me to
    increase the gravity of the measure, for it placed Foreign Powers in
    the Dilemma of recognizing the Southern Confederation, or of
    submitting to the interruption of their Commerce.

    Mr. Seward then went off into a defiance of Foreign Nations, in a
    style of braggadocio which was formerly not uncommon with him, but
    which I had not heard before from him since he had been in office.
    Finding he was getting more and more violent and noisy, and saying
    things which it would be more convenient for me not to have heard, I
    took a natural opportunity of turning, as host, to speak to some of
    the ladies in the room.

    M. de Stoeckl and M. Mercier inferred, as I do, that within the last
    two days the opinion of the more violent party in the Cabinet had
    prevailed, at all events for the moment, and that there is a danger
    that an interference with Foreign Trade may take place at any
    moment. I hope that it may still be prevented by the fear of its
    producing a recognition of the Southern Confederacy. But I am afraid
    we must be prepared for it.

    It may perhaps be well, with a view to the effect on this
    Government, that the Commissioners who are on their way to Europe
    from the Southern States should not meet with too strong a rebuff in
    England or in France. Such a rebuff would be a great encouragement
    to violent measures. In fact, notwithstanding my contradictions, the
    Senate, and indeed, I fear, the President is not uninfluenced by the
    bold assertions made by some Members of the violent Party that they
    have positive assurances from Y.L. and other Members of H.M.'s
    Government that _under no circumstances whatever_ will Great
    Britain recognize the independence of the South.

    M. Mercier thinks it advisable that he and I should have a
    discretionary Power to recognize the South. This seems to me to be
    going too fast. I should feel a good deal embarrassed by having such
    a power in my pocket, unless the contingency in which it was to be
    used should be most clearly stated. What does appear to be of
    extreme importance is that England and France should act in concert.

Lincoln had been inaugurated as President in March, and in the following
month the long-awaited collision occurred at Charleston, when the
Confederates opened fire upon and captured Fort Sumter. The forts in
Charleston harbour had by common consent become the test case, and the
capture of Fort Sumter signalized the fact that a population of little
over 5 millions of white men had had the audacity to challenge over 22
millions of their fellow-countrymen.

Charleston, by the way, besides its importance in American history,
seems to have been a place where slavery was a very thorough-going
institution, judging from the following advertisement in the _Mercury_,
of March 25th, 1861.

       *       *       *       *       *

    NOTICE. TEN DOLLARS REWARD.

    Runaway on Friday night, March 23rd, my woman 'Silvey,' about forty
    years of age, of a light brown complexion, and has spots on her
    face as if done with powder, and limps a little, and speaks very low
    when spoken to. She formerly belonged to the Rev. Mr. Keith, and of
    late to Johnson the tailor, in King Street, near George Street. When
    she left she had a chain around her ankles to keep her from going
    off, but she went anyhow. Apply to P. Buckheit, north-west corner of
    Line and Meeting Streets.

Mr. W. H. Russell, the well-known correspondent, was in Charleston a few
days after the fall of Fort Sumter, and wrote as follows:----

       *       *       *       *       *

    Charleston, April 19, 1861.

    I arrived here the night before last _viâ_ Baltimore, Norfolk and
    Wilmington. North Carolina was in revolt--that is, there was no
    particular form of authority to rebel against, but the shadowy
    abstractions in lieu of it were treated with deserved contempt by
    the 'citizens,' who with flint muskets and quaint uniforms were
    ready at the various stations to seize on anything, particularly
    whisky, which it occurred to them to fancy. At Wilmington I sent a
    message to the electric telegraph office for transmission to New
    York, but the 'citizens' of the Vigilance Committee refused to
    permit the message to be transmitted and were preparing to wait upon
    me with a view of asking me what were my general views on the state
    of the world, when I informed them peremptorily that I must decline
    to hold any intercourse with them which I the more objected to do in
    that they were highly elated and excited by the news from Sumter. I
    went over the works with General Beauregard: the military injury
    done to Sumter is very trifling, but Anderson's defence, negative as
    it was, must be regarded as exceedingly creditable to him.

           *       *       *       *       *

    In a week's time the place will be a hard nut to crack. One thing
    is certain: nothing on earth will induce the people to return to the
    Union. I believe firmly their present intention is to march upon
    Washington, if it were merely as a diversion to carry the war away
    from their interior.

War having now actually broken out, the question of the blockade of the
Southern ports became all important for England.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, April 15, 1861.

    I am getting very uneasy about the intention of the Government with
    regard to stopping intercourse with Southern Ports. Now that war has
    begun it seems difficult to suppose that they will abstain from
    taking advantage of their one great superiority, which is their
    navy. I suppose that a regular blockade would be less objectionable
    than any such measures as closing the Southern Ports as Ports of
    entry, or attempting to collect duties for the U.S. by ships
    stationed off them. The rules of a blockade are to a great extent
    determined and known, and our ships could at all events resort to
    any Ports before which the U.S. did not establish a regular
    effective blockade. But if the U.S. are to be permitted to seize any
    ship of ours wherever they can find her within their jurisdiction on
    the plea that by going to a Southern port she has violated the U.S.
    custom laws, our commerce will be exposed to vexations beyond
    bearing, and all kinds of new and doubtful questions will be raised.
    In fact, this, it seems to me, would be a paper blockade of the
    worst kind. It would certainly justify Great Britain and France in
    recognizing the Southern Confederacy and sending their fleets to
    force the U.S. to treat British and French vessels as neutrals in
    conformity with the law of nations.

    Just as Mr. Seward was confident that he had prevailed in the
    Cabinet, the President and the violent party suddenly threw over his
    policy. Having determined not to resign, he pretends to be pleased,
    and one of his colleagues says of him that in order to make up for
    previous lukewarmness he is now the fiercest of the lot. It is a
    great inconvenience to have him as the organ of communication from
    the U.S. Government. Repeated failures have not convinced him that
    he is not sure to carry his point with the President and the
    Cabinet. He is therefore apt to announce as the fixed intentions
    of his Government what is in reality no more than a measure which he
    himself supports.

    I am in constant apprehension of some foolish and violent proceeding
    of the Government with regard to Foreign Powers. Neither the
    President nor any man in the Cabinet has a knowledge of Foreign
    Affairs; they have consequently all the overweening confidence in
    their own strength which popular oratory has made common in this
    country. I believe the best chance of keeping them within bounds
    will be to be very firm with them, particularly at first, and to act
    in concert with France, if that be possible.

    As I have mentioned in my despatches, information coming from the
    Southern Commissioners sent to negotiate with the Government here,
    it may be as well to mention that they did not seek any intercourse
    with me, and that I never had any communication with them, direct or
    otherwise. I do not know that I should have thought it necessary to
    refuse to communicate with them, if it had been proposed to me, but
    the fact is as I have just said.

The policy of acting in conjunction with France was adopted with
considerable success, as will appear later, but hitherto the British
Government had not given any very clear lead, Lord John Russell
contenting himself with the view that he relied upon 'the wisdom,
patience, and prudence of the British Minister to steer safely through
the danger of the crisis.' It was absolutely necessary, however, to deal
with the Blockade Question, and the Cabinet consulted the Law Officers
of the Crown, with the result that the Southern States were recognized
as belligerents.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord John Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, May 6, 1861.

    I cannot give you any official instructions by this mail, but the
    Law Officers are of opinion that we must consider the Civil War
    in America as regular war--_justum bellum_--and apply to it all
    the rules respecting blockade, letters of Marque which belong to
    neutrals during a war. They think moreover it would be very
    desirable if both parties would agree to accept the Declaration of
    Paris regarding the flag covering the goods and the prohibition of
    privateers.

    You will of course inform our naval officers that they must conform
    to the rules respecting Blockade, of which they are I believe in
    possession. The matter is very serious and very unfortunate.

An important conversation took place on May 17, between Lord J. Russell
and Mr. Adams, the new American Minister in London, in which the latter
went so far as to state that Lord John Russell's language to his
predecessor, Mr. Dallas, had been construed in an unfavourable light in
the United States, and that he was afraid that his own mission might
come to an end unless the unfavourable impression was corrected. He
further complained of the recognition of the South as a belligerent.
Lord John Russell in reply declined to give an undertaking that, apart
from belligerent rights, England would never recognize the Southern
States, but he endeavoured to make it clear that, if anything, popular
sympathy in England was with the North, and that H.M. Government were
only desirous of maintaining a strict neutrality. Any one reading the
correspondence of the period cannot fail to realize that Lord John
Russell was perfectly sincere in his expressed wish to preserve perfect
impartiality, in spite of the querulous and acrimonious tone which
occasionally characterized his communications.

Lord Lyons, on his side, was only too anxious to avoid the slightest
semblance of anything which might cause offence to the United States
Government. He was constantly impressing upon the various Consuls that,
strict neutrality being the policy of H.M. Government, they must not be
led away by their sympathies, but confine themselves to obeying orders.
He vetoed the requests for warships, which they occasionally clamoured
for, in the traditional consular spirit, and urged caution upon the
British naval Commanders and the Canadian authorities. Fortunately, both
Admiral Milne and Sir Edmund Head, the Governor-General of Canada, were
prudent and tactful men, who ably co-operated with him. With both of
these he corresponded confidentially, and made no secret of the
apprehensions which he entertained.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Sir E. Head._

    Washington, May 22, 1861.

    You will perhaps consider the notion that the U.S. should at this
    moment provoke a war with a great Power as preposterous, and _à
    priori_ it must seem incredible to any one. Nevertheless I am
    so seriously alarmed by what I see passing around me here and
    especially by the conduct of the Cabinet that I have thought it my
    duty to call the attention of our Government to the danger which I
    conceive to exist. To avert it is the main object of all I do here.
    I am afraid however that things are coming to a point at which my
    diplomacy will be completely at fault.

           *       *       *       *       *

    I could write a great deal to explain my reasons for fearing that if
    a war be not imminent the risk is at any rate so great that it ought
    at once to be guarded against. My mind is almost unremittingly
    employed in devising means to maintain the peace. In this, even more
    than in ordinary cases, I think the best safeguard will be found in
    being evidently prepared for war. Nothing is so likely to prevent an
    attack as manifest readiness to prevent one. I have thought it right
    to state to H.M. Government my opinion that it is not even now too
    soon to put Canada into a complete state of defence and to provide
    both in the West Indies and on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts the
    means of resisting attack in case of war or of making our neutrality
    respected if peace can be maintained.

    Canada is, as you know, looked upon here as our weak point. There
    are in the Cabinet men who are no doubt as ignorant of the state of
    feeling in Canada as they were of that in the Southern States and
    who believe that there is a strong American feeling in Canada. You
    will not have forgotten that Mr. Seward, during the Presidential
    canvass, publicly advocated the annexation of Canada as a
    compensation for any loss which might be occasioned by the
    disaffection of the South. The people calculate here (I am afraid
    not without reason) upon being effectively aided in an inroad upon
    Canada by the Irish Secret Societies which have been formed
    especially in the State of New York nominally for the purpose of
    invading Ireland.

    I can hardly hope that you will not think the antecedent
    improbability of this country's rushing to its ruin by adding
    Foreign to Civil war so great as to prove that I must be led away by
    visionary apprehensions. However this may be, it may be convenient
    to you to know what my knowledge of men and things here has brought
    me to believe and what I have in consequence written home.

    Our Government has taken the only position sanctioned by
    International law and by precedent. It observes absolute neutrality
    and impartiality between the contending parties, recognizing, as it
    is bound to do, both as invested with belligerent rights. No other
    course was open to it, except that of an offensive alliance with one
    side against the other. The North have certainly not asked for such
    an alliance and would doubtless reject an offer of it with disdain.
    And yet they choose to be in a fury because we do not try to occupy
    some untenable position as their partisans.

    No one defines our position more clearly than their own great
    authority Wheaton.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, May 21, 1861.

    One of the great difficulties I have to contend with in my endeavour
    to keep this Government within such bounds as may render the
    maintenance of peace possible is the persuasion which prevails even
    with sensible men that _no_ outrage will compel England to make
    war with the North. Such men, although seeing the inexpediency and
    impropriety of Mr. Seward's treatment of the European Powers, still
    do not think it worth while to risk their own mob popularity by
    declaring against it. If they thought there was really any danger
    they would no doubt do a great deal to avert it.

    Of these men the most distinguished is Mr. Sumner. He has
    considerable influence in Foreign Questions and holds the important
    office of Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He
    is in correspondence with many people in England, and I believe with
    the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. I think no greater service could be
    rendered to the cause of peace than to make Mr. Sumner aware of the
    real perils to which Mr. Seward and the Cabinet are exposing the
    country. If some means cannot be devised of checking them, they will
    carry not only arrogance but practical vexations to a pitch which
    will render the maintenance of peace impossible. If Mr. Sumner's
    correspondence from England convinced him that there was real danger
    in Mr. Seward's proceedings, he might do a good deal to put a stop
    to them. I think I have done something to shake his confidence, but
    I believe he still relies to a great degree upon assurances he
    received from England under circumstances wholly different from
    those which now so unhappily exist.

Only a few years earlier, a British Minister, Sir John Crampton (like
Lord Sackville, in 1888), had been offered as a sacrifice to the Irish
vote, and received his passport, and it began to look as if this
spirited action might be repeated.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, June 4, 1861.

    The present game of the violent party appears to be to discover or
    invent some shade of difference in the conduct of England and France
    in order to use violent language, or even to take violent measures
    against England without necessarily involving themselves in a
    quarrel with France also. The plan most in vogue at this moment
    seems to be to send me my passport. After their experience in the
    case of Sir J. Crampton they look upon this as a measure which would
    gain them most applause by its appearance of vigour without exposing
    them to any real danger. They have not yet hit upon any fault to
    find with me personally, except that I _must_ have written
    unfriendly despatches to my government, because my government has
    taken a course which they do not like. The whole is no doubt an
    attempt to carry a point by bluster which will perhaps fail if it be
    encountered with mild language and very firm conduct. For my own
    part I conceive my best line will be to avoid giving any possible
    reason for complaint against myself personally and to keep things as
    smooth as I can. If H.M. Government concede nothing to violent
    language it will _probably_ subside, but there is such a dementia
    in some of the people here that we must not be surprised at any act of
    violence they may commit.

    Mr. Seward will be furious when he finds that his adherence to the
    Declaration of Paris will not stop the Southern privateering. This
    is one of the difficulties of making the proposals respecting
    maritime law. But the great trouble will be the fuss which the
    Southern government will make about receiving a communication from
    England and France. It will be a great advantage to have a discreet
    and able man like Mr. Bunch to employ in the South. I trust it may
    be possible to grant him some compensation for the risk and loss to
    which he is exposed by remaining there.

Another long letter of June 10 illustrates the tension of the situation,
and again urges the necessity of attending to the defence of Canada.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord John Russell._

    Washington, June 10, 1861.

    I owe you more than common thanks for your private letter of the
    25th.

    Mr. Adams' Report of his first conversation with you appears to have
    produced a good impression on the Cabinet. This I learn from Mr.
    Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, who dined with me the day
    before yesterday. I have not seen Mr. Seward since they arrived. It
    is too dangerous to talk to him on such subjects for me to bring
    them up unnecessarily.

    I hope we may see some moderation in the tone of the Newspapers.
    The people in the North are beginning to be aware of the immense
    encouragement which their predictions of a war with England have
    given to their Southern Foe. I understand that the effect at
    Richmond of the repeated assertions in the Northern Papers of the
    hostility of England to the North has been prodigious.

    I have written so much officially on the risk of a sudden
    Declaration of War against England by the U.S. that I have nothing
    to add on that subject. That such an act of madness is so far from
    impossible, that we ought to be prepared for it at any moment, I
    am thoroughly convinced. I am doing all I can to avoid awkward
    questions--for to give way upon any such question would be still
    more dangerous to peace than to make a firm stand. The safe course
    therefore is to prevent questions arising, if possible. But the
    first thing to be done towards obtaining anything like permanent
    security is to remove the temptation to attack Canada.

    I am a little nervous about our Company of Marines on San Juan. I
    don't know that I can suggest any precautions to Governor Douglas
    which would not be more likely to do harm than good. I have besides
    no means of sending him a letter, which would not be liable to
    be read on the way. I can communicate with the Admiral in the
    Pacific in cypher, but I do not know where he may be. Under any
    circumstances the Government here would of course be able to send
    intelligence of war having broken out to the Pacific sooner than I
    could.

    M. Mercier, the French Minister here, appears to be very frank and
    cordial with me. The instructions which he read to me insist very
    strongly upon his acting in entire concert with me. I think he may
    perhaps have received a confidential Despatch desiring him to
    proceed cautiously, for he is going at a much slower pace than his
    language a short time ago would have led one to expect. His giving
    Mr. Seward a copy of the Exposition of the French Jurists on the
    question of Belligerent Rights, as he did before of M. Thouvenel's
    account of his conversation with Mr. Sanford, seems to show a
    straightforward desire to make this Government acquainted with
    the real sentiments and intentions of the Emperor. The language
    M. Mercier uses to me and to his other Colleagues, as well as
    that which he uses to Americans in my presence, is in direct
    contradiction to the reports that France will assist the North,
    which are so assiduously repeated and commented upon in the American
    Newspapers. I am very willing to let him take the lead in our
    communications about the Declaration of Paris. It would be playing
    the game of the enemies to peace with England for me to go faster in
    these matters than the French Minister.

    Among other difficulties in the way of making your communication to
    the Southern Consuls, is that of getting it safely to them. All
    regular communication with the South is cut off. I suppose the
    Government here would give either M. Mercier or me a Pass for a
    special Messenger if we asked for one--but it may be desirable to
    afford as little evidence as possible of our being connected with
    the communication. The Southern Government will no doubt do all in
    their power to give importance and publicity to the communication.
    This Government will very probably withdraw the Exequaturs of the
    Consuls who make it. The withdrawal would not be altogether free
    from inconvenience to us, as it would interfere with the Consuls'
    holding intercourse with the Blockading Squadrons, which it is
    sometimes of importance that they should be able to do.

    I think the English and French Governments will find it necessary to
    make the Cabinet of Washington clearly understand that they _must_
    and _will_ hold unofficial communication with the Southern
    Government on matters concerning the interests of their subjects.
    The announcement should if possible be made _collectively_, and in
    such a form as to preclude the Cabinet's pretending to find a
    difference between the conduct of France and England. The Government
    of the U.S. can perform none of the duties of a Government towards
    Foreigners in the Seceded States; and it is a preposterous
    pretension to insist upon excluding Foreign Governments from
    intercourse with the authorities however illegitimate, to whom their
    Subjects must in fact look for protection.

    The inactivity of the Troops on both sides would be satisfactory, if
    one could hope that there was still any chance of the question's
    being solved without any serious fighting. As it is, one would be
    glad that something should be done as soon as possible to enable an
    opinion to be formed on the relative strength and spirit of the
    Armies. I believe that the real secret is that from want of training
    in the men, and total lack of waggons, horses and other means of
    transport, neither Government can move troops in any considerable
    numbers except by railroad. I can see as yet no signs of the spirit
    of conquest in the North flagging, or of the South losing courage.
    The Financial Difficulty will be the great one on both sides. The
    Southern men are said to serve without pay--but this Government has
    fixed the pay of the volunteers and militiamen at the same rate as
    that of the regular army, eleven dollars (about 45 shillings) a
    month, for a private, in addition to clothes and rations.

    I must do the little I can to influence the Senators and
    Representatives when they come up next month; but there is only too
    much reason to fear that fierceness against England will be popular,
    and that the Legislators will vie with each other in manifesting it.
    What I think they are most likely to do is to give the President
    authority to declare war with us, without waiting for the sanction
    of Congress.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Since I wrote what precedes I have been informed privately that in
    Mr. Dayton's Report of his audience of the Emperor, there is a
    rather ambiguous phrase put into the Emperor's mouth, respecting His
    Majesty's desire to contribute to put an end to the dispute between
    North and South. My informant says that the President and Mr. Seward
    _really_ interpret the phrase as signifying that the Emperor would
    be willing to assist the North to subdue the South--and that it is
    from this supposition that Mr. Seward does not send M. Mercier back
    the 'Exposition' and enter into the discussion about neutral Rights.
    Mr. Seward is naturally puzzled by the apparent discrepancy between
    the Emperor's language and that of His Majesty's Minister here. The
    men in the State Department who are accustomed to business look, it
    seems, upon the Emperor's words, even as reported by Mr. Dayton, as
    no more than a vague assurance of goodwill, pointing to mediation
    rather than to anything else. I will endeavour to get M. Mercier to
    set the President and Mr. Seward right as soon as possible, for the
    delusion is a very dangerous one for England, and a much more
    dangerous one for the U.S.

The ill-feeling towards England continued to grow worse as time went on,
and apparently was due largely to sentiment. The success of the South in
founding a practically independent government was so galling to the
North that anything which implied the admission of a self-evident fact,
such as the recognition of the Southern States as belligerents, was
inexpressibly galling. Fortunately, England and France were acting in
unison, and even Mr. Seward's ingenuity was unable to show that there
was any difference between the attitude of the two countries. Writing on
June 24, Lord Lyons reported that he had discovered that Mr. Seward had
prepared a despatch which was all but a direct announcement of war, and
that it was only the intervention of the President and of the more
reasonable members of the Cabinet which prevented its being sent to the
American Minister in London. The great qualities of President Lincoln,
by the way, do not appear to have been recognized at this early period,
for competent judges pronounced that although well-meaning and
conscientious, he gave no proof of possessing any natural talents to
compensate for his ignorance of everything but Illinois village
politics.

Towards the end of July the military inactivity, due to causes mentioned
earlier, came to an end, and the historic fight of Bull's Run took place
on the 21st.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, July 22, 1861.

    It is too soon to form any speculations on the result of the defeat
    of yesterday. Neither General Scott nor the Government had
    calculated on the possibility of anything like it, and as for the
    people of the North, they talked at all events as if the victory was
    already theirs. If the North have anything like the spirit to which
    they lay claim, they will rise with more resolution than ever to
    avenge the defeat. The test will be the conduct of the Militia
    Regiments. The three months' term of service of most of them has
    just expired: some had gone home and the rest were on the point of
    following--leaving the war to be carried on by the Volunteers and
    the Regular Army. If the Militia regiments remain and others come
    up, we may conclude that the warlike spirit of the North is
    unbroken. If they do not, there may be a chance of peace. For this
    battle will not facilitate recruiting for the army and the
    Volunteers--and unless the Capitalists are urged by patriotism or
    squeezed by mob pressure, the loans will fail and the money to pay
    the Volunteers will not be forthcoming.

    I am myself inclined to hope that Congress may show some dignity
    and good sense. The general opinion is that it will be violent and
    childish--vote men and money on paper by millions--slay its Southern
    enemies by treason bills--and ruin them by confiscation acts--decree
    the immediate and unconditional abolition of slavery in the Southern
    States--the closing of the Ports, and what not.

Amongst other results of Bull's Run was the production of the following
minute by Lord Palmerston. If his judgment on the temper of the North
was completely wrong, his other observations might be profitably studied
by the numerous persons in this country who hold the view that efficient
military forces can be improvised whenever an emergency arises.

       *       *       *       *       *

    MINUTE OF LORD PALMERSTON.

    Aug. 15, 1861.

    The defeat at Bull's Run or rather at Yankee's Run proves two
    things. First, that to bring together many thousand men and put
    uniforms upon their backs and muskets in their hands is not to make
    an army: discipline, experienced officers and confidence in the
    steadiness of their comrades are necessary to make an army fight and
    stand: secondly, that the Unionist cause is not in the hearts of the
    mass of the population of the North. The Americans are not cowards:
    individually they are as reckless of their own lives as of the lives
    of others: ..., and it is not easy to believe that if they had felt
    they were fighting for a great national interest they would have run
    away as they did from the battle, or that whole regiments would have
    quietly marched away home just before the fight was to begin. The
    Truth is, the North are fighting for an Idea chiefly entertained by
    professional politicians, while the South are fighting for what they
    consider rightly or wrongly vital interests.

The defects and weaknesses disclosed by this defeat produced much
contemptuous criticism upon the military inefficiency of the United
States. In reality there was no cause for surprise. In April, 1861, the
entire regular army of the United States only amounted to 16,000
officers and men. Many of the officers had taken sides with the South.
Not one of them had ever had the opportunity of commanding any
considerable number of troops, and public opinion was so entirely
uninstructed concerning military questions that every local politician
considered himself competent to become a colonel, or even a general. But
what Bull's Run showed more conclusively than anything else, was that
the task of subjugating the South was infinitely greater than had
been anticipated, and that the confident boastings of enthusiastic
Northerners were as foolish as they were unjustified. We, however, as
a nation, had not then, and have now, little cause to jeer at the
Americans for their failure: we had embarked, only a few years earlier,
upon the Crimean Campaign almost equally unprepared for a serious
struggle, and less than forty years later, in 1899, one of our most
eminent military authorities undertook to finish off the Boers before
the date of the Lord Mayor's Banquet.

About this time Anglo-American relations showed a slight improvement,
although Mr. Seward, in a characteristic outburst, took occasion to
point out that 'the policy of Foreign Governments was founded upon
considerations of interest and of commerce, while that of the United
States was based on high and eternal considerations of principle and the
good of the human race; that the policy of foreign nations was regulated
by the government which ruled them, while that of the United States was
directed by the unanimous and unchangeable will of the people.' Yet he
had clearly become more peaceable, and this welcome tendency was perhaps
due to the British Government having increased the Canadian garrisons in
response to the urgent pressure of Lord Lyons and the Canadian
authorities.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Sir E. Head._

    Washington, Aug. 2, 1861.

    The intentions of the Government are at this moment more peaceful
    than they have been. But I do not yet see any reason to modify the
    views I expressed in my previous confidential letters. The present
    change has been mainly produced by our preparations for defence and
    by the quiet firmness with which we have maintained the position we
    took up with regard to Belligerent Rights. I think it as necessary
    as ever to complete our preparations for defence, and I find that
    the knowledge that we are making such preparations calms instead of
    irritating this people.

    There is nothing very surprising in raw levies being seized with
    such a panic as that which led to the flight from Bull's Run. The
    want of spirit before and since shown by the Militia regiments is a
    worse sign. Two went away, on their term expiring, one may say from
    the battlefield itself. The defeat, and even the danger of
    Washington being taken, have been unable to induce any whose time is
    up to remain. The Government considers that we are now safe again
    from an attack here, but for some days our reliance was only upon
    its not entering into the enemy's plan to come here.

    As day after day passes without an onward movement of the Southern
    troops, the war spirit seems to revive in the North. But it will
    require a decided Northern victory to bring back the enthusiasm and
    the unanimity which appeared on the fall of Fort Sumter. A peace
    party is beginning to show itself timidly and weakly, but much more
    openly than it would have dared to do two months ago.

    We have nearly got through another Tariff Bill without a serious
    attack upon the Reciprocity Treaty, thanks more to the haste, I am
    afraid, than the good will of the Legislators. It will be a
    wonderful tariff, whichever of the plans now before Congress is
    adopted.

    Mr. Seward some weeks ago took credit to himself for having recalled
    Mr. Ashman on finding that his mission was ill looked on. This gave
    me a good opportunity of telling him that H.M. Government
    considered that they had a good right to complain of his having been
    sent at all without proper communication being previously made to
    them and to me.

    I have applied for the discharge of the two minors about whom you
    wrote to me officially. I am not sure of getting it. My applications
    for discharge from the Army and Navy have become necessarily so
    numerous that they are not viewed with favour.

Such elaborate pains had been taken to prevent anything in the least
likely to irritate the Government of the United States, that it was all
the more annoying when an incident occurred which gave excuse for
complaint.

The Consuls in the Southern States were permitted to send their
despatches in Foreign Office bags through the lines on the reasonable
condition that no advantage was to be taken of the privilege in order to
provide information which might be of use to the enemies of the United
States Government. The rule was rigidly observed at the Legation, and
the Consuls had been repeatedly warned not to infringe it in any way;
but in an evil hour, Mr. Bunch, the British Consul at Charleston, a
capable and industrious official, committed his bag to a friend, who,
unknown to the Consul, also took charge of about two hundred private
letters. The messenger was arrested by the United States authorities,
and imprisoned. The letters, of course, were seized, but so also was the
Foreign Office bag, addressed to Lord Russell, and a Foreign Office bag
has always been considered as one of the most sacred objects upon earth.
The United States Government, professing that a most serious offence had
been committed, and taking advantage of an error in the passport of the
messenger, sent the bag over to London by special messenger, and
demanded the recall of the unfortunate Consul Bunch. The opportunity, in
short, was too good to be lost. When the bag was eventually opened, in
Downing Street, it was found to contain nothing but despatches and a few
letters from British governesses and servants who had been permitted to
make use of it in consequence of the discontinuance of the post. In
fact, it was an essentially trivial matter, but the tension between the
two countries was so great that Lord Russell thought that it might
possibly lead to a rupture of official relations, and sent the following
instructions:--

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Abergeldie Castle, Sept. 13, 1861.

    It is not very probable, but it is possible that the complaint
    against Bunch may be a preliminary to the breaking off of official
    intercourse between the two countries.

    Your name has been kept out of the correspondence on both sides,
    but if the Envoys are to be withdrawn, you will be sent away from
    Washington.

    In that case I wish you to express in the most dignified and guarded
    terms that the course taken by the Washington Government must be the
    result of a misconception on their part, and that you shall retire
    to Canada in the persuasion that the misunderstanding will soon
    cease, and the former friendly relations be restored.

    It is very desirable to obtain an explanation from Consul Bunch, and
    you may authorize Admiral Milne, after due notice, to Mr. Seward, to
    send a gunboat to Charleston for the purpose.

Consul Bunch, in spite of his troubles, remained for over a year in
Charleston after this incident. Eventually the American Government
revoked his exequatur, and he made a semi-state return to England in a
man-of-war.

In the late autumn, Mr. Seward began to show signs of returning to his
earlier manner, and it was plain enough that he had only been seeking to
gain time by his moderation. He now maintained that any communication
between a Foreign Government and the Confederate Government was an
offence against the United States, and it became more and more necessary
for England and France to come to some distinct agreement as to what the
nature and extent of those communications should be. Mr. Seward's
contention was obviously absurd. South Carolina had seceded nearly a
year previously. State after State had followed its example; the United
States Government had not made the slightest progress in restoring its
authority, and exercised no power or influence in any portion of the new
Confederation. On the other hand, there was a _de facto_ government in
that Confederation which was obeyed without question and exercised the
functions of government with perfect regularity. It was clear that a
government which was without the means of protecting British subjects
had no right to prevent us from holding necessary and informal
communications with the only power to which British subjects could look
for protection and redress of grievances. Cases of British subjects
being compulsorily enlisted, of British goods being seized on board
vessels captured by Southern privateers, and instances of a similar
nature were of constant occurrence. It was preposterous that under these
conditions British Consuls should be expected to refrain from
communication with the Confederate authorities. Fortunately, although
the British interests involved were infinitely the more important,
French interests were affected too, and upon this, as upon most other
difficult questions, Lord Lyons received the hearty and loyal support of
his French colleague, M. Mercier.

On November 8, an incident of the gravest nature occurred, which seemed
likely to render futile all the laborious efforts which had been made to
keep the peace between England and the United States.

The English mail steamer _Trent_, one day out from Havannah, was met by
the American warship _San Jacinto_ and stopped by a shell fired across
her bows. She was then boarded by a party of marines, and the officer in
command of the party demanded a list of the passengers. The production
of the list having been refused, the officer stated that he knew the
Confederate delegates to Europe, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, to be on
board, and insisted upon their surrender. Whilst the discussion was in
progress, Mr. Slidell made his appearance and disclosed his identity.
Thereupon, in defiance of the protests of the captain of the _Trent_ and
of the Government mail agent, Mr. Slidell and Mr. Mason, together with
their secretaries, were seized and carried off by force to the _San
Jacinto_, and taken as prisoners to New York.

The news arrived in England on November 27, and, naturally, caused the
greatest excitement and indignation. It was felt that the limits of
concession had been reached, that a stand must now be made if we ever
intended to maintain our national rights, and, as a proof that they were
in earnest, the Government decided upon the immediate despatch of 8000
men to Canada.

The first private letter from Lord Lyons was written on November 19.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Nov. 19, 1861.

    I have written so much officially on this unfortunate affair of
    Mason and Slidell that I have hardly left myself time to thank you
    for your kind private letter of the 2nd.

    I am told confidently that orders were given at Washington which led
    to the capture on board the _Trent_, and that they were signed by
    Mr. Seward without the knowledge of the President. I do not vouch
    for the truth of this. I am afraid he is not sorry to have a
    question with us like this, in which it is difficult for France to
    take a part.

Lord Lyons had made up his mind from the first that, as it was
impossible for him to form a correct opinion as to what had actually
occurred, the only thing to do was to maintain an attitude of complete
reserve. In the absence of authentic information, he felt that on the
one hand it would be unsafe to ask for a reparation which might be
inadequate; on the other hand he was reluctant to make a demand which
might be unnecessarily great. Consequently, he resolved to take no steps
until he received instructions from home, refused to say a word on the
subject either officially or unofficially, and instructed the Consuls to
maintain silence.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Nov. 22, 1861.

    I have all along been expecting some such blow as the capture on
    board the _Trent_. Turn out how it may, it must I fear produce an
    effect on public opinion in both countries which will go far to
    disconcert all my peaceful plans and hopes. I am so worn out with
    the never-ending labour of keeping things smooth, under the
    discouragement of the doubt whether by so doing I am not after all
    only leading these people to believe that they may go all lengths
    with us with impunity that I am sometimes half tempted to wish that
    the worst may have come already. However I do not allow this feeling
    to influence my conduct, and I have done nothing which can in the
    least interfere with any course which you may take concerning the
    affair of the _Trent_.

    If the effect on the people and Government of this country were the
    only thing to be considered, it would be a case for an extreme
    measure one way or the other. If the capture be unjustifiable we
    should ask for the immediate release of the prisoners, promptly,
    imperatively, with a determination to act at once, if the demand
    were refused. If, on the other hand, the capture be justifiable,
    we should at once say so and declare that we have no complaint to
    make on the subject. Even so, we should not escape the evil of
    encouraging the Americans in the belief that we shall bear anything
    from them. For they have made up their minds that they have insulted
    us, although the fear of the consequences prevents their giving vent
    to their exultation. They would not however consider it so manifest
    a proof of yielding on our part if we at once declared that we had
    nothing to complain of, as if we did complain without obtaining full
    reparation. Of course, however, I am well aware that public opinion
    in this country is not the only thing to be thought of in this
    question. While maintaining entire reserve on the question itself, I
    have avoided any demonstration of ill-humour. My object has been, on
    the one hand, not to prevent the Government being led by its present
    apprehensions to take some conciliatory step, and on the other hand
    not to put H.M. Government or myself in an awkward position, if it
    should after all appear that we should not be right to make the
    affair a serious ground of complaint.

    Congress will meet on December 2nd, which will not diminish the
    difficulty of managing matters here. It is supposed that General
    McClellan will be obliged to attempt some forward movement, in
    order that he and the Government may be able to meet the fiery
    legislators. They hoped the Beaufort affair would have been
    sufficient, but like all they do, the effect is so much weakened,
    first by the preposterous boastings beforehand, and secondly by the
    fabulous accounts of the success first given, that something new
    must if possible be provided.

    The Finances are kept in an apparently prosperous condition, by
    postponing all but the most pressing payments. In this manner the
    New York Banks are not pressed to pay up the sums they have taken of
    the Loan. The people are so enamoured of their last brilliant
    discovery in political economy that it was seriously intended to
    raise the Morrill Tariff, in order that no money might go out of the
    country and nothing be imported but 'gold and silver to carry on the
    war with.' The Cabinet has now however, I understand, determined to
    recommend that the Morrill Tariff be not touched. One cannot help
    hoping that some one may be reasonable enough to suggest the idea of
    a Revenue Tariff.

    General McClellan's own plan is said to be to gain a great victory,
    and then, with or without the sanction of Congress and the
    President, to propose the most favourable terms to the South if it
    will only come back. It is a curious sign of the confusion into
    which things are falling, that such a plan is coolly discussed. I
    mean that part of it which consists in the General's acting without
    the consent of the President and Congress.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Nov. 25, 1861.

    The people here are extremely frightened about the capture on board
    the _Trent_. The New York money market gives signs of this. Another
    indication is the moderation of the newspapers, which is for them
    wonderful. They have put in more correct accounts of my language (or
    rather silence). I rather suspect that this must have been done on a
    hint from Mr. Seward. As a general rule I abstain from noticing
    anything the newspapers say about me. On this occasion in particular
    contradiction from me would have been almost as dangerous as
    affirmation, so I left the assertions to take their chance.

    The Consuls in the South do not behave well about forwarding private
    letters. There is a fresh case which I report to-day. Mr. Seward
    has, I think, behaved properly about it. I am afraid I shall be
    obliged to ask you to support me by some severe act, if my last
    instruction is not obeyed.

    I write, as indeed I act, as if our relations with this Government
    were to be unchanged. Let the affair of the capture on board the
    _Trent_ turn out how it may, I am not confident that I shall long
    be able to do so.

Writing on the same date to Admiral Milne, he repeats that nothing
whatever has passed between him and the U.S. Government on the subject
of the _Trent_, and adds: 'I suppose I am the only man in America who
has expressed no opinion whatever either on the International Law
question, or on the course which our Government will take.' Such
reticence appears almost superhuman.

The attitude, however, of an important section of the American public
was anything but reticent. Captain Wilkes sprang at once into the
position of a national hero. Congress passed a vote of thanks to him; he
was banqueted, toasted, serenaded, and shortly became an admiral. A
member of the Government, Mr. Welles, Secretary of the Navy, noted for
his hostility to England, distinguished himself by officially
congratulating Captain Wilkes upon his heroic action; intimating at the
same time that the 'generous forbearance' he had shown in not capturing
the _Trent_ could not be treated as a precedent in subsequent cases of
the infraction of neutral obligations. The Governor of Boston also
distinguished himself by the following statement at a public banquet:
'That there may be nothing left to crown this exaltation, Commodore
Wilkes fired his shot across the bows of the ship that bore the British
lion at its head,' while many other prominent citizens followed his
example.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Nov. 29, 1861.

    The Consuls in the South are crying out for ships again. This is the
    solution for every difficulty in the Consular mind, as my experience
    in the Mediterranean taught me long ago; though what the ships were
    to do, except fire a salute in honour of the Consul, I could never
    discover. I had some trouble, as you may perhaps recollect, in
    checking the Consular ardour to send ships up the Potomac to my own
    relief last spring. Sir A. Milne objects strongly to sending ships
    to the Southern Ports, unless with a specific object and definite
    instructions, and I think he is quite right. It is quite true that a
    town _may_ be bombarded some day by the United States forces: that
    British subjects may have their throats cut by the negroes in a
    servile insurrection, or be tarred and feathered by a Vigilance
    Committee. But we cannot keep a squadron at every point to protect
    them, and I do not know what points are particularly threatened.

    I shall do all in my power to keep things smooth until I receive
    your orders about the _Trent_ affair. This can in any event do no
    harm. There is a story here that, in a recent hypothetical case, the
    Law Officers of the Crown decided in favour of the right of the
    United States to take Mason and Slidell out of a British ship or
    postal packet. I do not know whether Mr. Adams has written this to
    Mr. Seward, but I am inclined to think that the Government believe
    it to be true.

The uncertainty as to the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown
rendered it all the more necessary to keep quiet and wait for orders,
and the situation was rendered a little easier on account of there being
no mention of the _Trent_ in the Presidential Message. Mr. Galt,
the Canadian Finance Minister, happened to be in Washington at the
beginning of December, and had an interesting conversation with
President Lincoln, who disclaimed for himself and the Cabinet all
thought of aggression against Canada. The President also stated that he
himself had been opposed to Mr. Seward's circular putting the coasts
into a state of defence, but had been overruled. On being asked what the
recommendation to make fortifications and depôts of arms on the Great
Lakes meant, he only said, 'We must say something to satisfy the
people.' About the Mason and Slidell case, he remarked, 'Oh, that'll be
got along with!' He further volunteered the observation that if he could
not within a reasonable period get hold of Virginia, Kentucky, and
Missouri, and keep Maryland, he should tell the American people to give
up the contest, for it would be 'too big' for them.

The impression produced upon Mr. Galt was that President Lincoln himself
was honest and sincere in what he said, but that he was very far from
being master of his Cabinet. Mr. Galt returned to Canada, bearing a
letter to Lord Monck, the new Governor-General, urging the necessity of
preparing for defence, and also an ingenious arrangement for warning the
Canadian Government in case of emergency, without having recourse to
cypher telegrams, which might arouse the suspicions of the Americans.

On December 13, intelligence was received in America of the arrival in
England of the first news of the capture of Mason and Slidell, the
submarine cable, of course, not being at that time in operation. A great
fall in all securities immediately took place.

At midnight on the 18th, the Queen's messenger bearing the fateful
despatches from Lord Russell arrived at the British Legation at
Washington.

The principal despatch, dated November 30, 1861, had been drawn up after
consideration by the Cabinet, and the purport of it was that the United
States Government were informed that International Law and the rights of
Great Britain had been violated, that H.M. Government trusted that the
act would be disavowed, the prisoners set free and restored to British
protection. Should this demand be refused, Lord Lyons was instructed to
leave Washington.

The draft of this despatch was submitted to the Queen, and, in the
opinion of the Prince Consort, the wording was of somewhat too
peremptory a character. The suggestions of the Prince Consort were
embodied in a memorandum quoted by Sir Theodore Martin in his book, and
the object of them was to remove any expressions in the despatch which
might unduly affront a sensitive nation, and at the same time enable it
to retreat from a false position without loss of credit or dignity. The
Prince was suffering from a mortal illness at the time, and was dead
within a fortnight; it was the last occasion upon which he took any part
in public affairs, but never, probably, did he render a greater service
to the country of his adoption than when he persuaded the Cabinet to
modify the wording of this momentous despatch. As amended in accordance
with the Prince Consort's suggestions, the crucial passages ran as
follows:--

    Her Majesty's Government, bearing in mind the friendly relations
    which have long subsisted between Great Britain and the United
    States, are willing to believe that the United States's naval
    officer who committed this aggression was not acting in compliance
    with any authority from his Government, or that if he conceived
    himself to be so authorized, he greatly misunderstood the
    instructions which he had received.

    For the Government of the United States must be fully aware that
    the British Government could not allow such an affront to the
    national honour to pass without full reparation, and Her Majesty's
    Government are unwilling to believe that it could be the deliberate
    intention of the Government of the United States unnecessarily to
    force into discussion between the two Governments a question of so
    grave a character, and with regard to which the whole British nation
    would be sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling.

    Her Majesty's Government, therefore, trust that when this matter
    shall have been brought under the consideration of the Government of
    the United States, that Government will, of its own accord, offer to
    the British Government such redress as alone would satisfy the
    British nation, namely, the liberation of the four gentlemen, and
    their delivery to your Lordship, in order that they may again be
    placed under British protection, and a suitable apology for the
    aggression which has been committed.

    Should these terms not be offered by Mr. Seward, you will propose
    them to him.

It will be observed that in the above there is nothing of an aggressive
or minatory nature, but in a further despatch of the same date, Lord
Lyons was instructed to allow Mr. Seward a delay of seven days, if the
latter asked for it. If at the end of seven days no answer was returned,
or any answer which was not a compliance with the demands of Her
Majesty's Government, then the British Minister was directed to leave
Washington with all the members of his staff and the archives, and to
repair forthwith to London.

Accompanying the despatches was a private letter from Lord Russell to
Lord Lyons.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Pembroke Lodge, Dec. 1, 1861.

    The despatches which were agreed to at the Cabinet yesterday and
    which I have signed this morning impose upon you a disagreeable
    task.

    My wish would be that at your first interview with Mr. Seward you
    should not take my despatch with you, but should prepare him for it,
    and ask him to settle with the President and his Cabinet what course
    they would propose.

    The next time you should bring my despatch and read it to him fully.

    If he asks you what will be the consequence of his refusing compliance
    I think you should say that you wish to leave him and the President
    quite free to take their own course, and that you desire to abstain
    from anything like menace. I think the disposition of the Cabinet is
    to accept the liberation of the captive commissioners and to be
    rather easy about the apology: that is to say if the Commissioners
    are delivered to you and allowed to embark in a packet for England,
    and an apology or explanation is sent through Mr. Adams that might
    be taken as a substantial compliance. But if the Commissioners are
    not liberated, no apology will suffice.

    M. Thouvenel promises to send off a despatch on Thursday next giving
    our cause moral support, so that you may as well keep the despatch
    itself a day or two before you produce it, provided you ask at once
    for an interview with Seward.

    The feeling here is very quiet but very decided. There is no party
    about it: all are unanimous.

    The best thing would be if Seward could be turned out, and a
    rational man put in his place. I hear it said that the Americans
    will not fight, but we must not count upon that.

    I have every reliance that you will discharge your task in the
    temper of firmness and calmness which befits a British
    representative.

Mr. Hammond, the permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, whose
judgment was in after years shown to be far from infallible, expressed
the opinion that Messrs. Mason and Slidell would be immediately
executed, so that there might be an answer ready whenever their release
was demanded. A warship was ordered to proceed from Halifax to New York
to receive the members of the Legation in case an unfavourable reply
should be received from the American Government.

On December 7, Lord Russell wrote again privately to Lord Lyons.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Foreign Office, Dec. 7, 1861.

    I have been going over in my mind the possible evasive answers of
    Mr. Seward, falling short of substantial compliance with our
    demands, in order to give you some contingent instructions.

    But the result is that I fear I should embarrass you more by such a
    course, than by leaving you to the exercise of your own excellent
    judgment.

    What we want is a plain Yes, or a plain No to our very simple
    demands, and we want that plain Yes or No within seven days of the
    communication of the despatch.

    The devices for avoiding the plain course are endless, and the
    ingenuity of American lawyers will seek perhaps to entangle you in
    endless arguments on Vattel, Wheaton and Scott.

    Here are two plain answers. If the _Trent_ had been brought into
    Boston harbour, the Prize Court must have condemned the captors to
    pay costs for illegal detention. This, at least, is our opinion.

    But Captain Wilkes superseded the authority of the Courts instituted
    and recognized by the Law of Nations. Seeing that there was no
    chance that any Court of Justice, or any law could justify the
    capture of the four Americans, Captain Wilkes has set aside all
    Courts of Justice and all law, and has taken into his own hands, by
    virtue of his cannons and cutlasses, the solution of a question
    which demanded if raised at all, a regular, a solemn and a legal
    decision.

    These are the grounds therefore upon which our demands are based and
    upon which they should be urged.

    P.S.--I have just received your letter of the 22nd. If you receive
    the Confederate prisoners under the protection of the British flag,
    we shall be satisfied. But if that is not to be obtained, you will
    only have to obey your instructions and withdraw.

Mr. Hammond, a very unfortunate prophet, predicted that 'the Americans
will never give way. The humiliation will be too great, and after all
their boastings against Europe, they will scarcely be satisfied to yield
to the common reprobation with which the act has been received. We hear,
too, that the President himself is most determined against concession,
having rejected peremptorily General McClellan's conciliatory advice.'
It must be admitted, however, that if Mr. Hammond was wrong, plenty of
other people shared his views on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lord Russell's despatch having arrived at Washington late at night on
December 18, Lord Lyons called upon Mr. Seward on the 19th, and
acquainted him with its general tenour. Mr. Seward received the
communication seriously and with dignity, nor did he manifest any
dissatisfaction. At the conclusion of the interview, he asked to be
given the following day for consideration, and also for communication
with the President. He thought that on the 21st he would be able to
express an opinion upon the communication, and in the meanwhile
expressed his gratification at the friendly and conciliatory manner in
which it had been made by the British Representative.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Dec. 19, 1861.

    Before I left Mr. Seward he said that there was one question which
    he would put to me 'informally,' but which it was most important
    that I should answer. Was any time fixed by my instructions within
    which the U.S. Government must reply? I told him that I did not like
    to answer the question; that what of all things I wished to avoid
    was the slightest appearance of a menace. He said I need not fear
    that; he only wished me to tell him privately and confidentially. I
    said that on that understanding, I would tell him that the term was
    seven days. He then said that much time would be lost if I did not
    let him have a copy of your despatch 'unofficially and informally';
    that so much depended upon the wording of it, that it was impossible
    to come to a decision without reading it. I told him that the only
    difficulty I had about giving it to him at once officially was that
    the seven days would at once begin to run. He said that was very
    true, but I might let him have it on the understanding that no one
    but himself and the President should know that I had done so. I was
    very glad to let him have it on these terms. It will give time for
    the Packet (which is indeed already due) to arrive with M.
    Thouvenel's Despatch to M. Mercier, and in the meantime give Mr.
    Seward who is now on the peace side of the Cabinet time to work with
    the President before the affair comes before the Cabinet itself. I
    sent the Despatch to him in an envelope marked 'Private and
    Confidential.' Almost immediately afterwards he came here. He told
    me he was pleased to find that the Despatch was courteous and
    friendly, and not dictatorial or menacing. There was however one
    question more which he must ask me, without an answer to which he
    could not act, but at the same time he must have the answer only in
    strict confidence between himself and me. I had told him in
    confidence that I was to wait seven days for an answer on the
    subject of the redress we required. Supposing he was within the
    seven days to send me a refusal, or a proposal to discuss the
    question? I told him that my instructions were positive and left me
    no discretion. If the answer was not satisfactory, and particularly
    if it did not include the immediate surrender of the Prisoners, I
    could not accept it.

    I was not sorry to tell him this in the way I did. I avoided all
    menace which could be an obstacle to the U.S. yielding, while I did
    the only thing which will make them yield if they ever do, let them
    know that we were really in earnest.

    I don't think it likely they will give in, but I do not think it
    impossible they may do so, particularly if the next news from
    England brings note of warlike preparations, and determination on
    the part of the Government and people.

    Mr. Seward has taken up all my time, which is my excuse for this
    scrawl. I shall be able to write to you to-morrow.

The second interview took place on the 21st, and the following letter
explains the reasons for allowing Mr. Seward an additional two days--a
happy expedient, which probably contributed in great measure to the
ultimate solution of the difficulty--and also graphically depicts the
general uncertainty and alarm which prevailed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Dec. 23, 1861.

    I have followed, I think to the letter, in my communications with
    Mr. Seward on the _Trent_ affair, the plan laid down in your private
    letter of the 1st. The packet is unfortunately so late that M.
    Mercier will not receive the promised instruction from M. Thouvenel
    until to-morrow, but I could not have again put off communicating
    your despatch to Mr. Seward without an appearance of vacillation
    which would have been fatal. No time was practically lost by my
    consenting to the delay from Saturday to Monday, for whether the
    seven days expired on Saturday next or Monday next, I should have
    been equally unable to announce the result to you sooner than by the
    packet which will sail from New York on Wednesday, the 1st January.

    I feel little or no doubt that I shall have an answer of some kind
    before the seven days are over. What it will be depends very much
    upon the news which will be brought by the packet to-morrow. If it
    convinces the people here that it is surrender or war, without any
    hope of a diversion in their favour by France, our terms will
    perhaps be complied with. If there is any hope left that there will
    be only a rupture of Diplomatic Relations, or that we shall accept
    the mediation of France, no concession will be made. There is no
    doubt that both government and people are very much frightened, but
    still I do not think anything but the first shot will convince the
    bulk of the population that England will really go to war.

    M. Mercier went of his own accord to Mr. Seward the day before
    yesterday and expressed strongly his own conviction that the choice
    lay only between a compliance with the demands of England and war.
    He begged Mr. Seward to dismiss all idea of assistance from France,
    and not to be led away by the vulgar notion that the Emperor would
    gladly see England embroiled with the United States in order to
    pursue his own plans in Europe without opposition. He said that if
    he could be of use, by making these sentiments known to Senators and
    other influential people, he was quite ready to do so. Mr. Seward
    asked him whether he had received special instructions from his
    Government on the subject. M. Mercier said no, but that he expected
    some immediately, and that he had no doubt whatever what they would
    be. Mr. Seward did not accept his offer to prepare influential men
    here for giving way, but merely said, 'Let us wait and see what your
    instructions really turn out to be.'

    It is announced that General Scott is more than halfway across the
    Atlantic on his way here, I suppose in the hope of appearing again
    on the stage as the Grand Pacificator. If he gives the sanction of
    his name to a compliance with our terms he will certainly render the
    compliance easier to the Government and less unpalatable to the
    people. But I cannot foresee any circumstances, under which I should
    be justified in departing from your instructions. Unless I receive
    an announcement that the prisoners will be surrendered to _us_, and
    at least not a refusal to make an apology before noon on this day
    week, no other course will be open to me than to demand my passports
    and those of all the members of the Legation and go away at once. In
    case of a non-compliance, or of the time elapsing without any
    answer, it will probably be desirable for me to take myself, the
    Secretary of Legation, and the greater part of the Attachés off at
    once, leaving, if necessary, one or two of the junior attachés to
    pack up the archives and follow as quickly as possible. It is a case
    in which, above all others, delay will be dangerous. I am so
    convinced that unless we give our friends here a good lesson this
    time, we shall have the same trouble with them again very soon,
    under less advantageous circumstances, that even my regard for them
    leads me to think it all important that they should receive the
    lesson. Surrender or war will have a very good effect upon them, but
    anything less will make them more self-confident than ever, and lead
    them on to their ruin.

    I do not think there is any danger of the Government's deliberately
    taking any step to precipitate hostilities upon my departure. On the
    contrary, if they let me go, it will be in the hope that the
    interruption of diplomatic relations will be all they have to fear
    from us. But they have so little control over their officers, that I
    think we must be prepared for acts of violence from subordinates, if
    they have the chance of performing them, in cases where no immediate
    danger is incurred. I shall suggest to the Governors and Naval
    Officers to take reasonable precautions against such acts. A
    filibustering expedition of the Irish on the frontiers of Canada, to
    damage the canals, or something of that sort, may also be on the
    cards.

    It is generally believed that the Government will insist on an
    immediate advance of the Grand Army of the Potomac, in the hope of
    covering a surrender to England with (to use President Lincoln's
    phraseology) a 'sugar coating' of glory, in another quarter if
    possible.

    You will perhaps be surprised to find Mr. Seward on the side of
    peace. He does not like the look of the spirit he has called up. Ten
    months of office have dispelled many of his illusions. I presume
    that he no longer believes in the existence of a Union Party in the
    South, in the return of the South to the arms of the North in case
    of a foreign war; in his power to frighten the nations of Europe by
    great words; in the ease with which the U.S. could crush rebellion
    with one hand and chastise Europe with the other; in the notion that
    the relations with England in particular are safe playthings to be
    used for the amusement of the American people. He sees himself in a
    very painful dilemma. But he knows his countrymen well enough to
    believe that if he can convince them that there is a real danger
    of war, they may forgive him for the humiliation of yielding to
    England, while it would be fatal to him to be the author of a
    disastrous foreign war. How he will act eventually, I cannot say.
    It will be hard for him to face present unpopularity, and if the
    President and Cabinet throw the whole burden on his shoulders, he
    may refuse to bear it. I hope that without embarrassing him with
    official threats, I have made him aware himself of the extreme
    danger of refusing our terms.

    Since I have been writing this letter, M. Mercier has come in and
    related to me more in detail the conversation he had with Mr. Seward
    the day before yesterday. In addition to what I have already
    mentioned, he says that he told Mr. Seward that it would be
    impossible for France to blame England for precisely the same course
    that she would herself have pursued in similar circumstances: that
    of course he could not pretend to give advice on a question
    concerning national honour without being asked to do so, but that it
    might be of advantage to the U.S. Government for him to dispel
    illusions which might exercise a baneful influence on its
    determination.

    M. Mercier reports the conversation to-day to his Government. I
    think it as well, at all events for the present, not to put it into
    an official despatch, but it might perhaps be well that Lord Cowley
    should know that I am disposed to speak in very high terms of the
    moral support given to my demands by M. Mercier.

    I am told that the Senate is still more angry about the combined
    expedition against Mexico than about the _Trent_ affair. They will
    hardly be so absurd as to manifest their displeasure in such a way
    as to add France and Spain to their adversaries.

    P.S.--I have kept M. Mercier _au courant_ of all my communications,
    confidential as well as official, with Mr. Seward, but I have given
    no information as to either to any one else.

There was now nothing to be done but to sit and wait for the American
reply. It arrived on December 27, in the shape of a note from Mr. Seward
of the most portentous length abounding in exuberant dialectics, but the
gist of which was contained in the two following short paragraphs:--

'The four persons in question are now held in military custody at Fort
Warren in the State of Massachusetts. They will be cheerfully liberated.

'Your lordship will please indicate a time and place for receiving
them.'

The question of peace or war had hung in the balance for weeks, but the
victory was complete, and British diplomacy achieved a success which was
not equalled until Fashoda supplied a somewhat similar case in 1897.

So far from being intoxicated with his remarkable triumph, as would have
been the case with some diplomatists, Lord Lyons communicated the news
to Lord Russell in matter-of-fact terms which were typical of his calm
and practical nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Washington, Dec. 27, 1861.

    It is of course impossible for me to give an opinion upon the
    argumentation in Mr. Seward's voluminous note. Time barely admits of
    its being read and copied before the messenger goes. But as the four
    prisoners are given up, immediately and unconditionally, it is quite
    clear to my mind that you will not wish me to decide the question
    of peace or war without reference to you. A rupture of diplomatic
    relations, not followed by war, would be worse than war itself, for
    after that, nothing but actual hostilities would ever convince the
    Americans that there was any limit to our forbearance.

    I hope, however, that the Note will, on further examination, be
    deemed sufficient. In that case it might not be unadvisable to give
    credit to Mr. Seward, in speaking to Mr. Adams, and the more so
    perhaps because Mr. Adams is, or at all events was, devoted to Mr.
    Seward and his policy. I cannot say that my general opinion of Mr.
    Seward has undergone any change; but without inquiring into his
    motives, I must allow him the merit of having worked very hard and
    exposed his popularity to very great danger.

    I shall not be able to give you any information to-day as to the
    effect produced upon the public. Mr. Seward has begged me to keep
    the answer a secret until to-morrow. He intends to publish it in the
    newspapers here to-morrow, and has sent a copy to New York to be
    published simultaneously there. In the latter case it will be
    conveyed to the public in Europe, as well as to you, by the same
    packet which takes this letter. Mr. Seward told me he 'had been
    through the fires of Tophet' in order to get the prisoners
    surrendered.

    I have seen with very great satisfaction that you have informed Mr.
    Adams, in answer to the remonstrances about Mr. Bunch, that H.M.
    Government must and will hold communication with the Confederate
    Government. I am also extremely glad that the instructions to the
    Consuls on the subject have been sent to the Admiral to forward, not
    to me. In fact, if we are able to maintain peace with the U.S. it
    will be very desirable to separate the Consuls in the South as much
    as possible from this Legation. It will hardly be possible for me to
    keep well with the Government here, if I am supposed to have the
    direction of communication with the enemy's Government.

    I think it very important, with a view to the preservation of peace,
    that advantage should be taken of the opportunity to put Canada into
    a state of defence; and indeed (as I said in a despatch which I
    wrote in May last) to provide for the security of all our
    possessions on both sides of this Continent. While Canada, in
    particular, is apparently defenceless, the Americans will never
    believe that we contemplate the possibility of war. And it must
    never be forgotten that when they make peace with the South, they
    may have a large army to provide with employment, and an immense
    amount of popular dissatisfaction and humiliation to find a safety
    valve for.

    My intention is to propose to Mr. Seward that I shall send a
    man-of-war or a British mail packet to Boston to receive the
    prisoners. I should propose that they should go in the first
    instance to Halifax. But I should suggest to the Captain to consult
    their wishes as far as possible, but certainly _not_ to take them to
    a Confederate port. Neither of the ships of war at New York would, I
    suppose, be large enough to take them across the Atlantic, but I do
    not think I ought to refuse to provide them with a passage to
    Europe, if they ask for one. This seems due to them, inasmuch as it
    was the failure of the British flag to afford them protection which
    lost them their passage on board the _Trent_. Of course if they go
    in a mail packet, I shall take precautions against any risk of an
    'heroic' Captain applying the doctrines maintained here and bringing
    the packet before an American Prize Court for adjudication. In any
    case I shall give a caution to the Commander of the ship which takes
    them, that they are not to be received with honours or treated
    otherwise than as distinguished _private_ gentlemen.

    Those who have not seen the Americans near, will probably be much
    more surprised than I am at the surrender of the prisoners. I was
    sure from the first that they would give in, if it were possible to
    convince them that war was really the only alternative. My
    difficulty has been to make them aware that it was surrender or war,
    without making such threats as would render the humiliation too
    great to be borne. This was the object of my confidential
    communications with Mr. Seward before I gave him your despatch.

The main point having been gained, it remained to settle how the
surrender of the prisoners could best be carried out without causing
unnecessary ill-feeling and arousing a popular agitation which might
drive the United States Government into committing some high-handed
action in order to maintain itself. It was finally decided that, in
order to avoid the trouble which Mr. Seward feared from the inhabitants
of Boston, they should embark at Provincetown. They were accordingly
conveyed in an American ship from Fort Warren to Provincetown, and there
embarked on a British warship for Halifax, it having been expressly
stipulated that the transfer should not take place at night. From
Halifax they proceeded subsequently to Europe.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Dec. 31, 1861.

    The Americans are putting the best face they can upon the surrender
    of Slidell and Mason, and as far as has depended upon me I have done
    everything to make the pill as easy to swallow as possible. But I
    cannot disguise from myself that the real cause of the yielding was
    nothing more nor less than the military preparations made in
    England. They are horribly out of humour and looking out for some
    mode of annoying us without danger to themselves. There is a talk of
    discriminative duties on British goods, of a non-intercourse Act,
    and other absurdities. What is more serious is a proposal, which it
    is said will be introduced into Congress next week, to repeal the
    Act for carrying into effect the Reciprocity Treaty. This would be a
    direct breach of the treaty, and would of course be an indisputable
    _casus belli_. It has often been suggested before, in the old belief
    that we should bear anything rather than go to war with the U.S. I
    hope they have had a lesson which will make them wiser.

    I cannot help fearing that it is as necessary as ever, nay more than
    ever necessary, to be prepared to give a warm reception whether to
    regular invaders or to filibusters from the U.S. who may make an
    attempt upon Canada. In fact I am not reassured respecting the
    maintenance of peace. For the present we have some security in Mr.
    Seward. For he must do his best to maintain peace or he will have
    made the sacrifice in the case of Mason and Slidell in vain. As in
    that case, so in others, he sees now that besides the utter ruin of
    the country, a war with us would give the ascendancy to the ultra
    party who are opposed to him in the Cabinet and in Congress. He
    fears too, and with great reason, that it would throw the country
    into a state of anarchy, in which chiefs of a totally different
    frame of mind from him would have the upper hand. But he may be
    swept away, or, if he find it impossible to hold his position or his
    own principles, turn round and play a desperate game with the
    ultras. I have given him the opportunity of offering amends
    spontaneously in three rather awkward matters, and, as you will see
    by my despatches, he has been prompt in seizing it.

    On reading his enormous note at leisure, I find that it is much more
    of an apology than I thought from the hurried perusal which was all
    I had time to give to it before I sent it off to you. But with your
    letters before me, I should have taken much less _ad referendum_;
    for the surrender of the prisoners is after all the main question.
    On the other hand, I should not have gone out of my way to declare,
    on my own responsibility, that the note was perfectly satisfactory,
    unless it had contained a formal apology in plain words.

    I have a better opinion of the Boston mob than Mr. Seward has, and
    should have had very little fear of the prisoners being insulted, if
    I had taken them from Fort Warren directly on board a British
    man-of-war. I am not sorry however to spare the Bostonians (who are
    among the most friendly to us of the Americans) what they might
    consider a mortifying and humiliating spectacle. I have at Mr.
    Seward's request not made the name of the place at which the
    prisoners are to be transferred generally known. Indeed, I found
    that many people were going to Boston to be present on the occasion,
    and there is no advantage in having a crowd or a sensation about it.

It is sad to record that some of the American clergy showed a most
unchristianlike spirit in connection with the termination of the _Trent_
case; the following remarkable prayer uttered in the Senate affording an
instructive example:--

       *       *       *       *       *

    Thirty-Seventh Congress--Second Session.
    In Senate--Monday, December 30, 1861.

    [Prayer by Revd. Dr. Sunderland.]

    O Thou, just Ruler of the world, in this hour of our trial, when
    domestic treason stabs at the nation's heart, and foreign arrogance
    is emboldened to defeat the public justice of the world, we ask help
    of Thee for our rulers and our people, that we may patiently,
    resolutely, and with one heart abide our time; for it is indeed a
    day of darkness and reproach--a day when the high principle of human
    equity, constrained by the remorseless sweep of physical and armed
    force, must for the moment succumb under the plastic forms of soft
    diplomacy. Yet, in the face of this, will we not be shaken in our
    conviction that Thou art ever with him who, in the interest of human
    liberty and the Christian faith, by all the means in his power works
    righteousness and defends the truth.

    O God, give to this our nation honesty, unity and courage; bring
    this unnatural rebellion to a speedy end; and then prepare us to
    assert upon a broader scale, and with a vaster force, the
    inalienable rights and responsibilities of man: through Jesus
    Christ. Amen.

Upon the whole, except for occasional manifestations of ill-humour, such
as, for instance, a resolution in the House of Representatives in favour
of creating a great navy to 'defend the seas from the sway of an
arbitrary trident,' the surrender was taken quietly, and Mr. Seward
handsomely acknowledged the great consideration which had been shown by
Lord Lyons in his conduct of the negotiations.

Congratulations now began to pour in upon him, and Lord Russell wrote
that nothing could have been better than his conduct, and that his
patience, forbearance, and friendly discretion had gone far to secure
the favourable result obtained. Another communication from Lord Russell
intimated that the Queen, 'taking into consideration the judgment and
conciliatory temper which you have shown in your negotiations at
Washington, especially in regard to the _Trent_, has directed that you
should be raised to the rank of G.C.B.

In acknowledging these congratulations, Lord Lyons disclaimed having
performed any brilliant or striking service. The only merit which he
attributed to himself was that of having laboured quietly and sedulously
to smooth over difficulties and to carry out the instructions he
received from the Foreign Office. Writing to Mr. Hammond, he explained
that he had resisted the temptation 'to do something' 'which always
besets one when one is anxious about a matter'; and that from the first
he had been convinced that the more quiet he kept the better would be
the chance of the instructions from home producing their effect. To
other correspondents he expressed the view that it was the British
military preparations which had turned the scale in favour of peace.

It would, of course, be an exaggeration to attribute solely to Lord
Lyons the credit of having successfully prevented the calamity of a war
between England and the United States. That credit is in reality due to
others as well as to himself: to the Home Government for their prompt
and decisive precautions, to the Prince Consort for his timely
interposition, to the French Government for their loyal support at a
critical moment, and to the good sense eventually displayed by the
Americans themselves. But no one reading the _Trent_ correspondence can
fail to realize that the issue of peace or war depended to a great
extent upon the method in which the British representative at Washington
carried out his task, and that the slightest error in judgment on his
part would have rendered the conflict inevitable.

In after years Lord Lyons frequently expressed the opinion that if there
had then been telegraphic communication across the Atlantic it would
have been impossible to avert war, and it is more than likely that he
was correct, although it is improbable that many people realized it at
the time.

It is also evident that a judicious silence may occasionally be of
inestimable value. It not unfrequently happens that taciturnity is
mistaken for profundity--

    'O, my Antonio, I do know of those,
    That therefore only are reported wise
    For saying nothing.'

and many a diplomatist and many a politician has gained a reputation for
excessive sagacity by possessing sufficient good sense to conceal his
ignorance by maintaining silence, but the restraint which enabled Lord
Lyons to refrain from saying a single word upon a question over which
the whole population of the United States was buzzing for six or seven
weeks was little else than an inspiration.



CHAPTER IV

COURSE OF THE CIVIL WAR

(1862-1865)


Although the immediate danger of war between England and America had at
all events temporarily vanished, and the United States Government had
put a good face upon the matter, it was only natural that a soreness
should remain; nor did the slowness of military operations tend to
restore that government to a more equable frame of mind. Much of the
enthusiasm which marked the outbreak of hostilities had already
evaporated, but the hatred of the South had continued to grow in
intensity, and although the latter was undoubtedly suffering great
hardships and privations, there was no sign of failing courage, and
every prospect of a long and bitter contest. The difficulty of finding
men for the Northern army continued to increase; the prospect of having
to raise twenty or thirty millions sterling in taxes from a people
unaccustomed to pay any apparent taxes at all for Federal purposes was
particularly unpleasant, more especially as there appeared to be no
immediate probability of a striking military success; and it was not
surprising that the country showed signs of great depression. Under
these circumstances, a marked division of parties in the North began to
show itself. One, which may be termed the Revolutionary Party, was in
favour of prosecuting the war at all hazards and by all means; of
proclaiming the immediate abolition of slavery in the South; promoting a
servile insurrection there; turning out the Cabinet, and even deposing
the President if he proved to be an obstacle; keeping Congress
permanently in session to spur on the Government, and the Generals,
maintaining a paper currency by inflicting heavy penalties for
depreciating it, and so on. The Foreign Policy of this party consisted
in a return to reckless conduct and language towards Europe in general,
and an attempt to obtain the support of France against England.

On the other side, however, were now ranged the President, Mr. Seward,
and the more moderate men. Mr. Seward had now, strange to say, become a
kind of guarantee for peace, for after the concessions he had made, a
foreign war would have been fatal to his reputation, and it was only
fair to assume that his conversion to a more moderate course was
genuine. Still there was danger to England from both sides. If the party
of violence should show itself reckless enough to risk anything, the
moderate party might conceivably provoke a foreign war either as an
excuse for giving up the contest with the South, or to divert popular
irritation after having abandoned the contest as hopeless.

Meanwhile, Mr. Seward's demeanour towards England had changed so much
that, early in 1862, his friendliness had become actually embarrassing.
Quite a considerable force, according to British standards, amounting to
something like 12,000 men, had been already despatched, or were under
orders to proceed to Canada, and Mr. Seward now made the surprising
offer that these troops and stores should be landed at Portland, a port
in the United States, and sent overland to Canada. However well meant
the invitation, it would manifestly have been most imprudent to accept
it. It must have been plain to the densest understanding that these
troops and stores were only being sent to Canada in order that we might
be prepared, if unhappily a rupture should take place between England
and the United States. Therefore, if troops and stores so conveyed were
eventually used against the United States, there would have been a
violent outcry of treachery against us throughout the country. The
danger, too, of some unpleasant incident occurring during the landing or
during the passage of the trains with which it would be impossible to
deal, was so obvious, that the invitation was declined with thanks. Too
much love is sometimes almost more inconvenient in diplomacy than
hatred.

Mr. Seward's anxiety, at this time, however, to show himself a friend to
England continued, and he took particular care to point out, in proof of
his new attitude, that up till the last moment (December 26) he had been
the only person in the Government who was in favour of the surrender of
Slidell and Mason, and that President Lincoln had been opposed to
surrender and was in favour of arbitration only. In fact, Mr. Seward
appeared to be seized with the desire of overwhelming not only England,
but France as well, with demonstrations of friendship and confidence,
and it is perhaps not uncharitable to assume that two reasons were
contributory causes to this agreeable change of tactics. One of these
was that the appearance of a good understanding with these two Powers
would exercise a beneficial influence upon the money market; the other
was the fear of one or both of them recognizing the South and breaking
up the blockade. Probably Mr. Seward's fears of French interference were
increased by a visit paid by M. Mercier, in the spring, to Richmond, the
Confederate Headquarters. M. Mercier, whether instructed from home or
not, was bent upon this visit, which the United States Government could
not prevent, but which they could hardly be expected to view with
favour, and after the manner of French diplomatists of the period, he
was probably unable to resist the temptation of trying to effect a
striking _coup_, although there was not the slightest reason to suspect
him of any disloyalty to his English colleague. Lord Lyons wisely
declined to accompany him, and prophesied that he would end by getting
into trouble, which proved to be the case, for the journey naturally
gave rise to all sorts of comments. As will be seen from the following
letter, both M. Mercier and Mr. Seward drew incorrect conclusions from
the information derived during this visit; the former being convinced
that the subjugation of the South was an impossibility, and the latter
confidently believing that the end of the war was close at hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

     _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

     Washington, April 23, 1862.

    M. Mercier came back from Richmond yesterday. He went soon after his
    arrival to see Mr. Seward and came afterwards to me. He is persuaded
    that the confidence and the resolution of the Confederates are
    increased rather than diminished by recent events. If they are
    worsted anywhere they will still not surrender. They will destroy
    their stores of cotton and tobacco, and all other property which
    they cannot remove. They will retire into the interior of their
    country and defy the North to follow them. They will endure any
    privations and sufferings rather than be again united to the North.
    Their unanimity and devotion to the cause are wonderful. They are
    not carrying on a war in the usual manner for dominion as the North
    is: they consider themselves to be fighting for their homes and
    their liberty, and are making and are ready to make any sacrifices.

    Such is the impression which M. Mercier says was made upon him by
    what he saw and heard.

    I asked him whether he had obtained any specific information as to
    the extent of the naval and military resources of the Confederates.
    He said that they admitted that they were in want of arms and
    ammunition, and said that but for this they could keep a very much
    larger army in the field. They had no difficulty about men. On the
    contrary, they had more than they could arm. They had another
    'Merrimac' nearly ready at Norfolk: they had an iron-plated vessel
    on the James River: they had iron-plated vessels nearly ready at New
    Orleans. If they lost New Orleans and all the seaboard, they would
    be as far from being subdued as ever.

    I inquired of M. Mercier whether he had entered upon any particular
    matter of business with the members of the Confederate Government.
    He said he had avoided the appearance of having come to transact
    business: that the French tobacco would be spared if the rest was
    burnt, provided it could be distinguished and separated from that
    belonging to private persons.

    I asked M. Mercier if anything had passed on the subject of the
    position of the Consuls. He said that if the idea of calling upon
    them to take out exequaturs from the Confederate Government had ever
    been entertained, it was now abandoned; there appeared to be a very
    good disposition towards foreigners in general; less good perhaps
    towards the English as a nation than others, perhaps because more
    had been expected from that country than from any other, and the
    disappointment had consequently been greater. On the other hand, the
    Confederate leaders professed to have abandoned all expectation of
    succour from Europe: indeed, they declared that all they desired was
    such an interruption of the blockade as would enable them to get
    arms.

    M. Mercier said that he was more than ever convinced that the
    restoration of the old Union was impossible; that he believed the
    war would, if the Powers of Europe exercised no influence upon it,
    last for years; that he thought that in the end the independence of
    the South must be recognized, and that the governments of Europe
    should be on the watch for a favourable opportunity of doing this in
    such a manner as to end the war. The present opportunity would,
    however, he thought, be peculiarly unfavourable.

    I did not express any opinion as to the policy to be eventually
    pursued by France or England, but I entirely agreed with M. Mercier
    that there was nothing to do at the present moment but watch events.

    This morning Mr. Seward spoke to me about M. Mercier's journey. He
    said that M. Mercier had, probably without being altogether aware of
    it himself, obtained very valuable information for the U.S.
    Government. He himself was quite convinced from M. Mercier's account
    of what had passed, that the Confederates were about to make a last
    effort: that they had their last armies in the field; and that their
    last resources were brought into action. Their talking of retiring
    into the interior was idle. If the U.S. were undisputed masters of
    the border states, including Tennessee, and of the sea coast, there
    would be no occasion for any further fighting. Anybody who liked to
    retire into the interior was welcome to do so and stay there till he
    was tired. Mr. Seward went on to say that he had had some difficulty
    in preventing M. Mercier's journey making an unfavourable impression
    upon the public. With this view he had caused it to be mentioned in
    the papers that M. Mercier had had a long interview with him on his
    return from Richmond; he had in the evening taken M. Mercier to the
    President, which also he should put in the newspapers: to-night he
    was to dine with M. Mercier to meet the captain of the French ship
    of war which had brought M. Mercier back: to-morrow the President
    would pay a visit to that ship.

    I suppose the truth lies somewhere between M. Mercier's views of the
    prospects of the South and Mr. Seward's. Mr. Seward was of course
    anxious to weaken any impression M. Mercier's language may have made
    upon me.

    The Slave Trade Treaty has met with much more general approval than
    I expected. It has excited quite an enthusiasm among the
    Anti-Slavery party. I have never seen Mr. Seward apparently so much
    pleased. Mr. Sumner, who has had the management of it in the Senate,
    was moved to tears when he came to tell me that it had passed
    unanimously.

As had been foreseen and pointed out to M. Mercier, the most
unsatisfactory result of his visit was the impression it produced that
France was disposed to act independently of England, but there is no
evidence to show that such were the intentions of the French Government
at the time, and M. Mercier himself always showed himself to be a most
frank and honest colleague.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, May 16, 1862.

    The Government here is very much disquieted by the rumoured
    intentions of England and France with regard to intervention. This
    is not altogether without advantage, as they are more disposed to be
    considerate, or, at all events, civil, when they have doubts about
    us, than when they feel sure of us. They are more civil to France
    than to England partly because they are more doubtful about her, and
    partly because they never will have, do what she will, the same
    bitterness against her as they have against England. Mr. Seward is
    encouraged by some of his English correspondents to believe that the
    Mexican affair will produce a serious disagreement between England
    and France.

    M. Mercier thinks it quite within the range of possibility that the
    South may be victorious both in the battles in Virginia and in
    Tennessee. He is at all events quite confident that whether
    victorious or defeated they will not give in, and he is certainly
    disposed to advise his Government to endeavour to put an end to the
    war by intervening on the first opportunity. He is however very much
    puzzled to devise any mode of intervention which would have the
    effect of reviving French trade and obtaining cotton. I shall
    suppose he would think it desirable to go to great lengths to stop
    the war, because he believes that the South will not give in until
    the whole country is made desolate, and that the North will very
    soon be led to proclaim immediate emancipation, which would stop the
    cultivation of cotton for an indefinite time.

    I listen and say little when he talks of intervention. It appears to
    me to be a dangerous subject of conversation. There is a good deal
    of truth in M. Mercier's anticipations of evil, but I do not see my
    way to doing any good.

           *       *       *       *       *

    The credit of the Government has been wonderfully kept up, but it
    would not stand a considerable reverse in the field. It is possible
    under such circumstances that a peace party might arise, and perhaps
    just _possible_ that England and France might give weight to such a
    party. However, all this is a mere speculation. We are (as usual) on
    the eve of a crisis which is to clear up everything.

A threatened breakdown in health, due chiefly to overwork, forced Lord
Lyons reluctantly to apply for leave to return to England before the
severe heat of a Washington summer had set in, and in making the
application he pointed out that during the three years which had elapsed
since his arrival in the United States he had only been absent for four
nights from Washington, with the exception of the two months during
which he was officially in attendance on the Prince of Wales. The work
in fact was incessant, the staff of the Legation scanty, and things were
not made easier by the autocratic Hammond, who suddenly recalled one of
the attachés to London, that enlightened bureaucrat being apparently
quite incapable of realizing that a young man's time might be more
profitably employed at Washington during the Civil War than in preparing
for some perfunctory and trumpery examination which could perfectly well
have been undertaken at any subsequent period. The appeals to the
autocrat of the Foreign Office for assistance are as pathetic as they
are moderate. 'I conjure you to send me out two or at least one good
working attaché as soon as possible. Brodie is completely out of health;
Warre is always prostrated by the abominable heat of this place; Monson
can do a great deal, but his constitution is not of iron; and as for
myself I cannot do much Chancery work in addition to my proper duties.
Indeed, I shall soon break down. What you see of our work gives a very
small idea of the amount of it. It seems to me that everybody North and
South who gets into trouble discovers that he or she is a
non-naturalized British subject.'

Nor were any high qualifications demanded. Geniuses were not in request.
'What we want is a good steady industrious copier, _well conducted in
private life_. I have no objection to quite a young one; such a man as
Jenner would suit me perfectly. Anderson, Monson, and I are all
sufficiently well up in ordinary Chancery management to make it
unnecessary to have more genius or more experience than is required for
copying.'

Writing to his old chief Lord Normanby, the confession is made that
Washington 'is a terrible place for young men; nothing whatever in the
shape of amusement for them, little or no society of any kind now; no
theatre, no club. I have no time to think whether I am amused or not.'

Being constitutionally incapable of exaggeration, this last statement
may be accepted as literally accurate.

Leave for three months having been granted, the sanguine Mr. Seward did
not fail to draw hopeful conclusions from the circumstance, and there
appeared to be no sign of immediate trouble in the near future.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, June 9, 1862.

    I was so unwell yesterday that I was unable to do anything, which
    has prevented my sending you by this mail some general information
    on the prospects of the war and some other matters.

    I did not think that Mr. Seward would object to my going. He has, in
    fact, taken up the idea with so much enthusiasm that I have been
    obliged to endeavour to check his anticipation of the wonders I am
    to effect, or rather to make him understand that my own views, not
    his, are those which I must express to you.

    I take his willingness that I should go as a sign that he does not
    expect serious trouble, for I think that he would rather be in my
    hands than those of a man new to him if he did.

    I am afraid that there are three things to which we must not blind
    ourselves:

    1. That we have a very small chance of getting cotton from this
    country for a long time to come.

    2. That there is no Union feeling in the South.

    3. That the war has become one of separation or subjugation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, June 13, 1862.

    I had quite an affectionate parting with the President this morning.
    He told, as is his wont, a number of stories more or less decorous,
    but all he said having any bearing on political matters was: 'I
    suppose my position makes people in England think a great deal more
    of me than I deserve, pray tell 'em that I mean 'em no harm.' He
    does not pay much attention to foreign affairs, and I suppose did
    not like to talk about them without Mr. Seward. I am to hear Mr.
    Seward's last words at New York on Tuesday evening. I embark the
    following morning, and hope to pay my respects to you in person a
    few days after this letter reaches you.

    It is quite time for me to get away from this place. The heat to-day
    is overpowering.

Lord Lyons arrived in London about the end of June, and a letter to Mr.
Stuart who had been left in charge of the Legation at Washington shows
that he was considerably alarmed at the hostile feeling prevailing
throughout the country against the North, largely due to the inability
to obtain cotton, but also embittered by the tone of the American press.
As an instance of this feeling, alluding to the rumour that McClellan
had suffered a serious defeat, he adds: 'I am afraid no one but me is
sorry for it.' McClellan's misfortunes certainly provoked demonstrations
of pleasure in the House of Commons during an ill-timed debate which
took place in July, and a celebrated speech by Gladstone in which he
asserted that 'Jefferson Davies and the leaders of the South have made
an army; they are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made, what
is more than either--they have made a nation,' certainly tended to show
that however impartial the Cabinet intended to be, the sympathies of
England were to a great extent with the South.

During his stay in England he was in constant communication with the
Cabinet, and the general belief of ministers was that whilst extremely
reluctant to interfere in any way in the American contest, interference
might be forced upon them. Mediation was again in the air, and M.
Mercier and the French Government thought that an opportunity had
arrived for proposing it.

Lord Lyons, after having been detained by Lord Russell for the purpose
of additional consultations, set out again for Washington in October
accompanied by the late Sir Edward Malet, who remained for a
considerable period on his staff, and became one of his closest friends.
In fact, with the exception of the late Mr. George Sheffield, who was
already acting as his private secretary, and of the late Sir Michael
Hubert, who subsequently acted in the same capacity, it is doubtful
whether any other person of his acquaintance ever reached the same
degree of intimacy or shared his confidence to an equal extent.

The visit to England had in no sense changed the policy of the British
Government towards the United States, and there were no fresh
instructions with regard to mediation, intervention, recognition of the
South, and the numerous other matters which occupied attention. Nor had
any essential change taken place in the situation in America, and Lord
Lyons, immediately after his return expressed the opinion that foreign
intervention, short of the use of force, would only make matters worse.
The indefatigable M. Mercier, however, in whose thoughts intervention
was always uppermost, was full of a new plan, although, with the violent
party predominant in the Cabinet, the moment did not appear propitious.
M. Mercier's idea was that France, with the consent and support of
England, should offer mediation alone. He thought that the difficulty
which the irritation against England threw in the way of mediation might
thus be avoided, while the fact of England supporting France would give
to France the weight of both Powers. According to his information,
Russia, probably from a desire to separate France and England, was
disposed to join France in offering good offices, but, independently of
other considerations, the presence of Russia might be an obstacle to the
success of his plan. It would take away from the offer of mediation the
element of intimidation, which, though kept in the background, must be
felt by the United States to exist. The mediation of all the European
Powers (France, England, Russia, and perhaps Prussia) would be a
different matter. It might have the effect of reconciling the pride of
the United States to negotiation with the South, and might, in certain
conjunctions, be usefully employed. But it would be more easy for the
Government of the United States to reject an offer from the four Powers
than from England and France, or from France only. England and France
had an obvious and pressing interest in putting an end to hostilities
and the means of supporting their counsels by their navies.

Such was M. Mercier's plan, but he received little encouragement from
his British colleague, who had anticipated something of the kind, and
with habitual caution declined to pronounce any opinion until he had
received instructions from home. As a matter of fact, he had foreseen
this proposal when in England, and had obtained an assurance from Lord
Russell that it should be discussed by the Cabinet.

The two following letters from Lord Russell to Lord Lyons show that
M. Mercier was really in accordance with his own Government.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Woburn Abbey, Nov. 1, 1862.

    The Emperor of the French wishes to offer peace to both parties, and
    he says both parties will agree to peace, the one on the ground of
    Union and the other on the ground of Separation! I fear we are no
    nearer to peace, if so near, as we were a year ago.

    Seward's avowal to Mr. Stuart that he looks to mutual extermination
    and the superior numbers of the North, in order to restore the
    Union!!! is the most horrible thing I ever heard.

    Cobden, I fear, is right when he says that to preach peace to them
    is like speaking to mad dogs. I am much less sanguine than I was,
    but I shall be glad to hear your views on your return. Russia must
    be a party to any thing done by us and France--if we do anything.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Woburn Abbey, Nov. 8, 1862.

    Flahault has been instructed to propose to us in conjunction with
    Russia to ask North and South to suspend their war for six months. I
    have not seen the despatch.

    We shall consider our answer on Tuesday next.

The Emperor's proposal was declined by the British Government, and at
first peremptorily declined also by the Russian Government, but as soon
as the latter perceived, by a speech made by Lord Palmerston at the
Guildhall, that there was no chance of an acceptance of the proposal by
England a circular was issued, stating that if France persisted in her
intention, the Russian Minister at Washington would be instructed to
give it moral if not official support. Thus, as on many other occasions,
did Louis Napoleon's elaborate scheme vanish into space.

One fresh difficulty which had arisen in the meantime was the diminished
influence of Mr. Seward with the President and his ministers. He
had become much more conciliatory in his dealings with foreign
representatives, but was apparently unable to carry his points with
other departments, and had fallen in public estimation by signing the
Abolition Proclamation which had been imposed upon him, in opposition to
all his views by the Radical party in the Cabinet. Towards the end of
the year it seemed quite probable that he would have to resign, and the
contingency was viewed with consternation, for although Mr. Seward had
very pronounced faults, he now represented the Moderate party, and his
departure would signify the surrender of President Lincoln to the Ultra
Radical party, prepared to risk everything, even to a foreign war, in
order to maintain itself in power.

Upon the whole, there was every excuse for dissatisfaction with their
Government on the part of the Northern public. After about two years'
fighting the two main armies of the North and South remained in much the
same position, but, if anything, the balance of gain appeared to rest
with the South. New Orleans, it is true, had been captured, but the
invasion of Virginia had failed, and Richmond was as unapproachable as
ever. The North were the attacking party, and if they failed to advance
it was equivalent to a defeat. Disappointment and discouragement had
succeeded to confidence and enthusiasm, and if the contest imposed much
severer hardships upon the Confederates than upon their opponents, there
was no sign of faltering, and their spirit remained as high as ever.

Before the end of 1862 the prices of ordinary articles in the
Confederate States had already greatly increased. As early as October,
according to the consular reports, the price of tea at Savannah was
sixteen dollars a pound; brown sugar sixty cents; loaf sugar
unobtainable, and the commonest brown soap seventy-five cents. At
Charleston, coal was unprocurable; black cloth fetched fifty-three
dollars a yard; shoes cost thirty-four dollars a pair; beer thirty
dollars a dozen; sugar a dollar a pound; butter a dollar and a half, and
the pound sterling was worth fourteen dollars. In view of these figures
it would be interesting to learn the cost of a banquet given by General
Ripley in December 1862, to some French officers at Charleston, at which
Consul Bunch, of revoked exequatur fame, was present, and which must
surely have been the most sumptuous meal ever partaken of in a besieged
town since the days of Belshazzar.

       *       *       *       *       *

    BILL OF FARE.

    Oysters on Shell.

    FISH.
    Salmon, Anchovy sauce.

    SOUP.
    Green Turtle.     Oyster.

    RELEVÉES.
    Fillet of Beef, braisé with Mushrooms,
    Capon, with Truffes à la Regence.

    BOILED.
    Leg of Mutton, Caper sauce,
    Turkey, Celery sauce.

    COLD.
    Boned Turkey, garnished with Jelly,
    Chicken Salad, à la Française,
    Game Pattie, with truffles, decorated with Jelly.

    ENTRÉES.
    Sweet Breads, larded en croustade, sauce petits pois,
    Fillets of Teal Duck, bigare, sauce Italienne,
    Quails, braisés, sauce Champignons,
    Snipe, broiled on Toast,
    Fillets of Venison, sautés, sauce Poivrade,
    Fried Oysters.

    RELISHES.
    Sardines, Olives, Celery, Assorted Pickles,
    Horseradish, Pickled Onions, Cranberry Jelly,
    Worcestershire sauce.

    VEGETABLES.
    Baked Sweet Potatoes, New Irish Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes,
    Spinach, Cauliflowers, Turnips, Rice.

    ROAST.
    Turkey,      stuffed with truffles,      Saddle of Mutton,
    Baked Ham, Madeira sauce.

    GAME.
    Wild Duck,      Wild Turkey,      Venison, with Jelly.

    PASTRY.
    Plum Pudding, Brandy sauce.
    Apple and Mince pies,    Omelette Soufflée,    Lady Fingers,
    Vanilla Kisses,  Sponge Cake,  Cup Custard,  Madeira Jelly.

    DESSERT.
    Apples,      Nuts,      Coffee, etc.

If, however, the South was feeling the effects of privation, the North
had no cause to rejoice. In September, 1862, Lincoln had issued the
preliminary proclamation of Emancipation, but the hope that it would
consolidate the North had not been realized. The second proclamation
appeared on January 1, 1863, and had no greater success, serving only to
exasperate the South still further and increasing the divisions in the
North. The Democratic party was afraid to declare openly for peace, but
disguised efforts in favour of it were now made, and it was sought to
induce some of the State Legislatures to pass resolutions in favour of
an armistice and a convention. Men of all shades of politics had lost
heart, but the most probable cause of peace seemed to be the
impossibility of raising or keeping together a great army unless the
national spirit could be raised by some striking military successes,
meanwhile the division of feeling in the North had reached such a
pitch that the patriots who had formerly clamoured for a foreign war to
reunite North and South were now calling for a foreign war to reunite
the North itself.

The general demoralization induced M. Mercier to make yet another
attempt at mediation. Upon this occasion he was approached by the
well-known journalist, Mr. Horace Greeley, whose object it was to
ascertain whether the Emperor Napoleon could be relied upon as a real
friend to the United States in case of his being accepted as a mediator,
a 'real friend,' meaning, of course, one who would insist upon the
restoration of the Union. M. Mercier's fresh attempt met with no greater
success than before, nor was it surprising, for his action was based
upon an entire misconception.

Being firmly convinced that the restoration of the Union was impossible,
he failed to realize that this must be the basis of all negotiations,
and although most people were heartily sick of the war and were not
prepared to refuse to the South all terms short of unconditional
surrender, they had not been brought to the point of acquiescing in a
cession of territory.

The French proposal, with which we had been careful not to associate
ourselves, was, of course, declined by the American Government. Mr.
Seward re-established some of his popularity by the character of his
answer; distrust of the Emperor Napoleon increased, and the only party
which benefited in any way was England, for the increase in ill-feeling
towards France had the result of diminishing to some extent the
animosity against us, and M. Mercier himself was now almost as much
attacked in the press as the British Minister had been in the past.

Early in the year, an incident occurred which might have had unpleasant
consequences had it not been promptly dealt with. In spite of the
endless embarrassments created by the blockade, the British Government
was sincerely anxious not to give the United States Government any
ground for complaint, and the Consuls had been continually enjoined by
Lord Lyons to adhere closely to the recognized rules of International
Law where a state of blockade existed. To his consternation he now
learnt that the Consul at Mobile proposed to send away from that port a
quantity of specie in a British man-of-war. 'I should be very much
alarmed,' he wrote, 'if I thought it likely that he would find a captain
of man-of-war as foolish as himself. I really could not answer for peace
if, in addition to the irritation about the _Alabama_, should come the
fury which would be excited, if it were shown that our men-of-war had
carried Confederate gold through the blockade. No proof that the money
was intended for, or even that it had been actually paid to, British
bondholders would ever convince people here that it had not been used to
purchase munitions of war.' Unfortunately a simple-minded captain had
been discovered by the Consul, and before it was possible to communicate
with him the specie had been shipped. This action, which was due solely
to stupidity, was impossible to defend, and would have provided the
American Government with a first-class grievance; clearly the best thing
to do was to anticipate any complaints, and consequently the Consul was
wisely dismissed before the matter became really public. The promptitude
with which this regrettable incident was dealt with contrasts favourably
with the difficulty which was experienced in persuading the American
Government to deal adequately with grievances arising out of the
proceedings of their own officials.

At this period of the war innumerable complaints were received from
British Governors, Naval officers and Consuls with regard to the
arbitrary proceedings of United States cruisers, and it was plain that
these proceedings were largely due to the exasperation caused by the
exploits of the _Alabama_, and by the rumours that similar vessels were
being built in England for the Confederates. This exasperation was
perfectly natural, but not altogether reasonable, for it never seems to
have occurred to the Americans that the fault lay partly with their own
Navy. Great pressure was put upon President Lincoln to issue letters of
marque, and had privateers made their appearance and exercised
belligerent rights against neutral merchantmen, the difficulty of
preserving peace would have been increased tenfold. Mr. Seward was known
to be strongly in favour of the policy of issuing letters of marque, and
the matter was brought to the attention of Mr. Adams by Lord Russell,
who always appeared somewhat unnecessarily disposed to suspect Mr.
Seward of hostile intentions.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Chesham Place, March 14, 1863.

    I don't think Mr. Seward means to quarrel with us, but perhaps he
    will bluster rather more when he has lost the support of Congress.

    Adams told me that the privateers, if sanctioned at all, were not
    intended to interfere with nice questions of International Law, but
    only to encounter the _Alabama_ and other vessels of that sort.
    If this be so I doubt if they will be fitted out at all, but if
    they are fitted out I think they will not keep their hands off
    English merchant ships.

    We have no thoughts of recognizing at present. If you are asked our
    intentions by Seward, say that our opinion is that the Republican
    Party ought not to leave the glorious work of peace to the
    Democrats, but as a Neutral Power, our intention and wish is to let
    the war work itself out, as it is sure to do by the moral exhaustion
    of the war spirit.

    Our procession and wedding went off splendidly. The Princess of
    Wales is charming and would make New York stand on tiptoe to behold
    her.

In a further conversation with Mr. Adams he made the significant remarks
that if the contemplated privateers sought for Confederate merchant
ships they would not find any, and that if they interfered with neutral
vessels and the law of blockade they would probably involve their own
and the British Government in 'very awkward questions.'

Lord Russell, in spite of his sincere and often proclaimed desire to
remain absolutely impartial, hardly seems at this time to have realized
the disastrous consequences of not having prevented the departure of the
_Alabama_ and similar vessels.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 28, 1863.

    The outcry in America about the _Oreto_ and the _Alabama_ is much
    exaggerated, but I must feel that her roaming the ocean with English
    guns and English sailors to burn, sink and destroy the ships of a
    friendly nation, is a scandal and a reproach. I don't know very well
    what we can do, but I should like myself to refer the question of
    indemnity to an impartial arbiter.

    When things are more advanced towards a termination, I think this
    might be done. It would be dangerous to do it at present, or even
    to hold out hopes of it. I will think further of it, and if I remain
    in the same mind, will submit the question to the Cabinet.

    The _Peterhoff_ and the _Magicienne_ are now before the Law
    Officers. I will send you instructions about them next week. The
    seizures by Admiral Wilkes seem like a plan to embroil our two
    countries. He always protests that such is not his object, but his
    acts do not agree with his words.

    I should like anything better than being obliged to take the part of
    the Confederates. But then President Lincoln must not be getting up
    war cries to help his declining popularity.

The two vessels alluded to had been captured on their way to Matamoros,
in Mexican territory, and the British Government contended that the
traffic to that place was legitimate, while the United States Government
maintained, probably with justice, that the goods were intended for
Texas. Matamoros, which was situated on the Rio Grande, separating
Mexico from the United States, sprang into prominence in 1862 in
consequence of the war, became the seat of a brisk trade, and provided
one of the numerous difficulties arising out of the blockade, which had
now been greatly extended owing to the rapid development of the Federal
Navy.

As for Admiral Wilkes, the hero of the _Trent_, his arbitrary conduct
was the subject of continual complaints; he showed marked discourtesy in
connection with H.M.S. _Barracouta_, and upon one occasion a cruiser
under his command went so far as to fire a shot across the bows of
H.M.S. _Cygnet_, and as the long-suffering British Admiral Sir A. Milne
observed, to fire a shot across the bows of a neutral ship of war when
hove to, was going a step further in the already uncourteous proceedings
of the American cruisers. Admiral Wilkes always disclaimed any
intention of unfriendliness, but his proceedings were a fruitful source
of irritation, and Lord Russell certainly conceived the impression that
he and his official chief, Mr. Welles, were bent upon picking a quarrel
with us.

Feeling between the two countries was not improved by the inopportune
publication of a Blue Book. The Democrats, who had been faring badly, by
some mysterious process of reasoning, came to the conclusion that the
object was to destroy them and denounced Lord Russell for having lost
them an election in Connecticut by his Machiavellian proceedings. They
vented their indignation upon the Legation at Washington, and the
position of the minister became more and more unpleasant, added to which
his health again showed signs of giving way.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, April 13, 1863.

    I have written as much as I have time and strength for officially. I
    have been unwell all the last week, but not seriously so. I think
    the state of things here, as far as peace with us is concerned, more
    alarming than it has been since the Trent affair. They are not a
    people who can be soothed by concessions, and they are a people who
    after any amount of bluster will give in if they think that their
    opponents are in earnest and are stronger than they. I would rather
    the quarrel came, if come it must, upon some better ground for us
    than the question of the ships fitted out for the Confederates. The
    great point to be gained, in my opinion, would be to prevent the
    ships sailing, without leading the people here to think that they
    had gained their point by threats. I am in trouble altogether, for
    the good will to me personally, which had miraculously survived so
    long, seems at last to have sunk altogether under the stroke of the
    last Blue Book.

It must have been peculiarly irritating, after all the efforts he had
made, to find them neutralized by the clumsy action of the Home
Government, but in his private correspondence there occur no expressions
of resentment against those who had thus weakened his position, probably
because his sense of discipline and loyalty to his official chiefs was
so strong as to preclude anything in the nature of criticism. It is
customary, before publishing Blue Books on Foreign Affairs, to consult
both the Foreign Government concerned and the British representative
accredited to it, but presumably in this case the usual practice was not
observed.

In one direction, however, there was an improvement. The British
Government tardily realizing the danger arising from the building of
Confederate cruisers in England took steps to prevent it, and the
situation was eased for the time being.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, April 24, 1863.

    So far as I can judge in this short time the Americans have eagerly
    grasped at the intelligence of the endeavours to stop the
    Confederate vessels building in England, as a relief from their
    dread that they were really drifting into a war with us. I cannot
    yet say whether the exasperation is subsiding. I have not much fear
    that they will ever put a _casus belli_ to us, but I do fear that
    they may force us to make demands upon them to which, however
    plainly just, party considerations may render it difficult for the
    administration to yield. I seem to be getting on pretty well again
    with Mr. Seward, but not with others since the Blue Book, and Mr.
    Seward cannot control the feelings or the actions of the other
    members of the administration either as regards England or her
    Representative here personally. However, for the moment, things
    certainly look more peaceful than they did a week ago. I mean
    peaceful towards us, for there are no symptoms of an approaching end
    of the civil war.

One danger at any rate was removed, at all events temporarily, for the
American Government determined not to proceed with the issuing of the
letters of marque. The chief danger, however, lay not so much in the
exasperation caused by the Confederate ships as in the proceedings of
the United States cruisers, and it was feared that a repetition of such
seizures as those of the _Peterhoff_ and _Magicienne_ might rouse such a
feeling of indignation in England that it might become necessary to put
forward demands for redress which the Americans would be too angry to
comply with. For some reason, too, the relations between the British
Legation and the Navy Department (perhaps owing to Mr. Welles's
anti-English proclivities), were much less satisfactory than was the
case with the other Government offices, and whenever an American naval
officer had been admittedly in the wrong, explanation, regret, or
redress were generally postponed so long (as in the case of the _Trent_)
that the United States Government found itself in the position of having
either to make a marked concession to England, or to run the risk of
refusing just demands. Lord Lyons's usual practice was to leave the door
open for spontaneous action on their part up to the last moment, and to
abstain from making anything like a demand or even an embarrassing
observation for as long as possible; but his difficulties in dealing
with such questions were increased by a quarrel between Mr. Seward and
Mr. Welles. Mr. Seward, to do him justice, generally seems to have
exercised a pacific influence, but party spirit ran so high, and the
Democrats detested him so cordially, that even those who were known
to be friendly towards England could not resist the temptation of
denouncing his 'humiliating concessions to British arrogance' when
they got the opportunity.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Admiral Sir A. Milne._

    Washington, May 11, 1863.

    I have given Mr. Seward verbally a warning from H.M. Government that
    the impression which prevails in England that the United States are
    systematically endeavouring by fair means and by foul to stop our
    trade with Matamoros is producing very dangerous effects. Mr. Seward
    said that he should be able to give very satisfactory assurances on
    this head. I observed to him that I thought some decided practical
    steps were necessary to do away with this impression. I reminded him
    of his previous assurances and of his instructions to the Navy
    Department, and pointed out those instructions were apparently set
    at nought by the U.S. officers. I said that the great point was to
    make the subordinate officers feel the effects of the displeasure of
    the Government, when they violated neutral rights; that it was not
    likely the naval officers would pay much attention to the assurances
    given by the Government to Foreign Powers, and that it was not to be
    expected that they would pay much attention to formal instructions
    to themselves, if they found that they could practically violate
    them with impunity. The Government ought, I said, to remove its
    subordinates from situations in which they were peculiarly exposed
    to temptations to make an unlawful use of belligerent powers. I told
    Mr. Seward that I should regard another questionable seizure of a
    British merchant vessel in the neighbourhood of St. Thomas, or
    another questionable seizure anywhere of a British vessel bound to
    Matamoros, as little less than a calamity.

    I trust that I made so much impression as to render it probable that
    these matters will be arranged for the present, as far as _words_
    go, and that something will be done to check the vexatious
    proceedings of the cruisers. What this Government ought to do is to
    remove their ships from St. Thomas altogether and recall Admiral
    Wilkes. I have not however much confidence in their doing anything
    really effectual. Many of the naval officers would like a war with
    England. They know well enough that it would not be a naval war, but
    they are envious of Captain Semmes and the _Alabama_, and would
    rather roam about picking up prizes, than go on with the dull and
    harassing work of blockading. Then the universal exasperation in the
    country against England makes the Government unwilling and afraid to
    do anything which looks like a concession to us. Thus things are in
    a dangerous state, and it will be a great comfort to me to be within
    reach of you by telegraph.

    If any more privateers get out of our ports, the Government here may
    be forced by public clamour to issue letters of marque somewhat
    suddenly. Mr. Seward has verbally promised to give us notice, but
    this is a very vague assurance: of course it will not do for me to
    discuss beforehand any particular arrangements about them, because
    this would imply acquiescence in their being issued, which we are
    far from wishing to signify beforehand.

    I have been unwell for more than a month, and am beset by a quantity
    of small vexatious business concerning the wrongs of British
    subjects who have suddenly proclaimed their unswerving loyalty to
    the British Crown and demanded my protection.

    Many thanks for your private letter. You will think that I am trying
    to make up for the quality of my information by quantity of writing.
    The fact is I am too much knocked up to be able to write shortly.

The representations made with regard to Admiral Wilkes, partly owing to
the good offices of Mr. Seward, at length produced a satisfactory
result, and that enterprising officer was promoted to a command in the
Pacific, much doubtless to the relief of all concerned. Lord Lyons was
extremely careful to conceal the fact that he had been in any way
instrumental in obtaining this transfer, and congratulated himself upon
the advent of a temporary lull in the storm against England: a lull,
however, which the escape of another _Alabama_ from Liverpool, of a
considerable Federal success or even a mere accident, might convert into
an even more furious tempest.

Two years previously Mr. Seward had announced that the policy of the
United States, unlike that of other countries, was 'based on high and
eternal consideration of principle and the good of the human race,' but
aliens resident in America, and more especially Englishmen, might have
been excused for complaining that this lofty and inspiring ideal was
accompanied by a vast amount of inconvenience and hardship.

Foreigners who have taken up their abode in a country where a state of
war prevails are naturally subjected to much that is objectionable to
them, in the natural course of things, and as a general rule find it
extremely difficult to obtain redress, for whilst they remain in a
country which is not their own they must submit to any exceptional
legislation which the force of circumstances may require. Foreign
Governments are not in a position to decide whether this exceptional
legislation is justifiable or not, and the utmost that the alien can
expect is, either that he should be allowed time to depart, or that his
Government should protect him by remonstrance or otherwise when he is
dealt with illegally; and the general principle which is usually adopted
is that foreign interference should be as sparing as possible and that
the foreigner should take his chance with the native citizen.

It was not long before foreigners in the United States were made to
realize the disadvantages of living in a country where civil war
prevailed. When hostilities began, the Government, reasonably enough,
took steps to suspend when necessary the ordinary law, that being a
practice almost invariably adopted by civilized countries under similar
circumstances. Persons suspected of disaffection or treason were
arbitrarily arrested, kept in prison under the authority of the
military, and detained there without trial; and amongst these were
occasionally _bonâ fide_ British subjects and others who claimed to
be such. Where martial law exists, it is only natural that occasional
cases of injustice or harshness should arise, and it is clear that a
certain number of British subjects suffered without due cause, but upon
the whole it does not appear the United States Government exercised its
powers with undue severity, or that it acted in a more arbitrary manner
than would have been the case with a European Power in a similar
position.

In February, 1862, nearly all political prisoners, other than spies,
were ordered to be released on parole, and in April Lord Lyons was able
to report that although the Executive Government retained the power to
make political arrests it was rarely exercised. He stated that he was
not aware of any British subject being detained arbitrarily as a
political prisoner, and that although arrests without form of law were
still being made by the military authorities in places occupied by the
forces of the United States, they appeared to be confined in general to
persons accused of offences affecting, more or less, the discipline or
safety of the army.

As was only to be expected, there were an enormous number of
applications made to the Legation by persons who were aggrieved by the
operation of martial law, but what gave far more trouble was the attempt
of the United States Government to exact military service from resident
British subjects.

The established principle is that resident aliens, in return for the
enjoyment of ordinary civil rights, should be liable to discharge
certain duties in connection with the administration of justice and the
maintenance of order, and that in certain cases they may reasonably be
called upon to take part in the defence of the country against invasion.
On the other hand, the incorporation of aliens in the regular army or
navy is manifestly unjust, for it prevents departure from the country
and might conceivably incur the obligation of having to fight against
their own countrymen. This, it is true, is not applicable to a civil
war, but an alien might well argue that a civil war, waged between
citizens for an object in which he, as an alien, had no concern, was a
totally insufficient reason for dragging him into the contest. It is
difficult to believe, for instance, that the United States Government
would tolerate the compulsory service of American citizens in the army
of a South American Republic in the event of an attempt being made to
impress them during a civil war. Consequently, when hostilities began,
the Washington Legation was besieged by persons who desired to be
exempted from service by getting registered as British subjects, many of
whom had announced their intention of becoming American citizens at the
earliest opportunity. _Prima facie_ it seems only reasonable that
persons who deliberately exchange one nationality for another, more
especially if like many of the Irish emigrants they have professed
undying hostility to England, and everything English, should accept any
liability imposed upon them, but the question was complicated by the
fact that they had not acquired full rights of citizenship, the
naturalization of a foreigner in America, necessitating a residence of
five years in the United States, and a declaration of intention three
years in advance.

Instructions upon this question were requested from Her Majesty's
Government before the war broke out, and in reply it was stated that
there was nothing in International Law which prohibited a Government
from requiring resident aliens to serve in the police or militia; if,
however, the militia were to be embodied for active service, and
substitutes were prohibited, then 'the position of British subjects
would appear to deserve very favourable consideration, and to call for
every exertion being made in their favour.' A similar opinion was
expressed in July, 1861.

The difficulty really arose out of the defective military organization
of the United States, which was based upon the voluntary system. The
so-called voluntary system, which is in reality only a high-sounding
device to impose upon an impecunious minority what ought to be a general
obligation, may be an admirable institution in time of peace, but it
invariably breaks down in a really serious emergency, and it was the
totally inadequate nature of that system which forced both combatants in
the American Civil War to have recourse to all sorts of discreditable
expedients.

It has already been stated that at the beginning of the war the American
regular army consisted of only 16,000 officers and men all told.
Immediately after the seizure of Fort Sumter, in April, 1861, President
Lincoln called out 75,000 militia, and in May he called for 42,000
volunteers for three years, half of whom were to serve in the regular
army, and half in the navy. At first these appeals were responded to
with the greatest enthusiasm, but it was not long-lived, for, as has
been related, even as early as the battle of Bull's Run in July, militia
regiments insisted upon leaving at the completion of their period of
service, and from that date the difficulty in finding recruits continued
to increase.

The pay of the privates was in May, 1861, raised to thirteen dollars a
month, which, however, may be considered low when compared with the five
shillings a day we paid to untrained men during the Boer War, and it
became clear that not only was it difficult to attract volunteers, but
also to keep them when obtained. In view of the methods employed in
recruiting them it was not surprising that the results were frequently
unsatisfactory.

The usual method employed was to inform the Governor of a State of the
number of men required. The Governor having made the necessary
announcement, private persons came forward offering to raise regiments.
Each set forth his claims, his influence in the State or among a certain
portion of the population, and his devotion to the party in power.

From the persons thus presenting themselves the Governor made his
choice. Generally the person upon whom the choice fell laid it down as
a condition that he should have the command of the regiment. The next
thing was to find soldiers. Friends seized with the same martial ardour
promised to bring so many recruits if they were made--the one a
Captain--another a Lieutenant--another a Sergeant, and so forth. The
framework was thus formed and partially filled up, and the regiment
being thus organized, the lists were carried to the Governor for his
approval.

The inconveniences of such a system were obvious, and experience showed
that it was much less adapted, than had been supposed, for the purpose
of raising an efficient army. It was considered, however, to possess
certain political advantages, one of which was that there was little
fear of the officers ultimately forming anything like a separate
military or aristocratic caste.

The real inconvenience of the system, however, was that sufficient men
were not forthcoming in spite of the inducements offered by means of
high pay, and the Government was forced to have recourse to all sorts of
iniquitous devices in order to get hold of so-called volunteers, many of
whom were foreigners. The most objectionable practice was that of giving
bounties to agents for bringing in recruits. The effect of this at the
beginning of the war was that great numbers of men deserted from the
British navy, and the Admiral at Halifax reported that at one time there
were a hundred deserters from one ship alone, the _St. Vincent_, but as
the contest progressed the bounty system was responsible for innumerable
cases of kidnapping in which British subjects were the sufferers.
Kidnapping especially flourished in New York where the emigrants were an
easy prey, and to such a point had corruption been carried that the
Governor admitted to the British Consul that out of every million of
dollars expended in bounties, fully four-fifths of the amount were
secured by bounty and substitute brokers and crimps.

       *       *       *       *       *

    'The fraud and violence combined,' wrote Consul Archibald from New
    York, 'which are now used in procuring recruits for both army and
    navy are disgraceful, and it is idle for the authorities to think of
    putting down the malpractices of the villains who carry on the
    business of kidnapping recruits, or of making the world believe they
    are sincere, while they hold out such inducements to these vagabonds
    for carrying on their White Slave Trade and Black Slave Trade too. I
    have numerous complaints, but, as in a great majority of cases the
    victims, at last, succumb and take a portion of the bounty, for they
    rarely get more than a portion, it would be unavailing to ask for
    their release.'

    In the autumn of 1862, Fire Island was filled with unfortunates
    cheated and deluded, or forced thither by the police who received
    ten dollars a head for each man. Now in addition to the enormous
    bounties offered, there is placarded in conspicuous places on the
    walls of the New Park barracks at the City Hall the following very
    suggestive notice: 'Fifteen dollars Hand Money given to any man
    bringing a volunteer.'

The following report from a Federal General shows that the strictures of
Consul Archibald were thoroughly justified.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Important Letter from General Wistar._

    VICTIMS OF THE BOUNTY SWINDLERS DESERTING IN LARGE NUMBERS,--EVILS
    OF THE PLUNDERING SYSTEM ON OUR ARMIES IN THE FIELD, ETC.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Headquarters United States Forces,
    Yorktown, Va., April 15, 1854.

    General--An extended spirit of desertion prevailing among the
    recruits recently received from the North, in some of the regiments
    of my command, has led me to make some inquiries resulting in
    apparently well-authenticated information, which I beg respectfully
    to communicate to you in this unofficial manner, deeming it required
    by humanity, no less than by our common desire to benefit the
    service.

    There seems to be little doubt that many, in fact I think I am
    justified in saying the most, of these unfortunate men were either
    deceived or kidnapped, or both, in the most scandalous and inhuman
    manner, in New York city, where they were drugged and carried off to
    New Hampshire and Connecticut, mustered in and uniformed before
    their consciousness was fully restored.

    Even their bounty was obtained by the parties who were instrumental
    in these nefarious transactions, and the poor wretches find
    themselves on returning to their senses, mustered soldiers, without
    any pecuniary benefit. Nearly all are foreigners, mostly sailors,
    both ignorant of and indifferent to the objects of the war in which
    they thus suddenly find themselves involved.

    Two men were shot here this morning for desertion, and over thirty
    more are now awaiting trial or execution.

    These examples are essential, as we all understand; but it occurred
    to me, General, that you would pardon me for thus calling your
    attention to the greater crime committed in New York, in kidnapping
    these men into positions where, to their ignorance, desertion must
    seem like a vindication of their own rights and liberty.

    Believe me to be, General, with the highest esteem, your obedient
    servant,

       *       *       *       *       *

    J. J. WISTAR.

    To Major-General John A. Dix, New York City.

These outrages committed in the name of the Voluntary System, and many
of the victims of which were Englishmen, constantly took place even
after the Act of July, 1862, which provided for the enrolment in the
militia of all able-bodied citizens between the ages of eighteen and
forty-five, and it may be presumed therefore either that the United
States Government was afraid to enforce its laws or that the so-called
'volunteers' were chiefly foreign subjects. In any case, amongst
these unhappy victims were numerous British youths under twenty-one
years of age, and the efforts made to obtain their discharge on the
ground of their being minors were rarely successful and eventually
abandoned altogether.

In the South, apparently, the state of things was equally bad, if not
worse; British subjects were imprisoned on all sorts of pretexts in
spite of Consular protection papers, and enlistment was frequently the
price of liberty. The Southern press was particularly scathing on the
subject of aliens, especially Irishmen who endeavoured to evade military
service.

       *       *       *       *       *

    We can conceive nothing more disgraceful than the conduct of
    Irishmen, for example--but we trust they are few--who have been
    cursing the British Government ever since they could talk, who have
    emigrated to this country to escape the British Yoke, but who now
    run to an English Consul and profess themselves subjects of Queen
    Victoria in order to evade their duties in the land of their
    adoption. We say that we fervently trust there are but few Irishmen
    of whom this can be said, for such are a disgrace to their old
    island, and bring the blush of shame to the cheek of their
    compatriots who fight in our foremost ranks upon every field. Nobody
    will be more pleased than our good Irish citizens if these fellows
    are sent under guard to the camp.

    The attention of conscript officers is therefore called to the
    foreign Consul's offices, to the railroad cars and the roads.

The question of the liability to conscription of British subjects
naturally produced a voluminous correspondence.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

     Washington, July 24, 1863.

    Military events, or at all events military news, have been scarce
    during the last few days. The really important question seems to be
    the enforcement of the Conscription Act. On the one hand we hear of
    wide-spread plans of resistance to it, organized among the Germans,
    as well as the Irish population in all parts of the Country; on the
    other hand it is represented that the Government is determined to
    enforce it at the point of the bayonet, and to begin at New York, as
    soon as it can get things ready. We have as yet had no proof that
    any serious resistance to the Government will be provoked by any
    measures it may take. The Democrats at New York are, as might be
    expected, frightened by the mob--they dare not encourage resistance
    to the Conscription, lest they should let loose an uncontrollable
    gang of plunderers. On the other hand, if the Government succeeds in
    getting military command of New York there is very little chance of
    any but the Government candidate's coming in as President when Mr.
    Lincoln's term expires.

    British subjects are not the least violent in language about the
    Draft, and are far from being pleased either with H.M. Government or
    with H.M. Minister here. I have given myself a world of trouble to
    make the burthen of proving their claim to exemption as light as
    possible. If I have not succeeded as well as I ought, I have done
    more than most people, who knew anything about the difficulties,
    expected. I have written you a very long despatch about it--much
    longer than I intended, but I thought it well to put something on
    record to show that the matter had been properly attended to. I have
    taken more pains myself about it, and given Mr. Seward more trouble
    about it, than about any matter which I have had to treat with him.

    M. Mercier's absence has made it difficult to concert measures
    speedily about the Cotton question, but his Secretary of Legation
    and I intend to speak to Mr. Seward about it to-morrow. We do not
    mean to go to Mr. Seward together. I have so little hope of
    effecting anything practical, that I should hardly feel in earnest
    about it, if it were a matter of less importance. As it is, I shall
    of course do my best. As soon as this affair is in train, I hope to
    set out for Canada. My present notion is to wait here for the
    despatches from London of the 18th--which ought to arrive the middle
    of next week--and to wait at New York for the despatches from London
    of the 25th, and then, if they bring nothing to hinder it, to go on
    to Quebec. I shall present Mr. Stuart as _Chargé d'affaires_ before
    I leave Washington. It would be impossible to carry on the immense
    amount of protection to British subjects' business here, without
    some one on the spot who could write officially to the Government.
    Mr. Stuart is both perfectly capable of managing difficult questions
    himself, and perfectly willing to refer them to men higher in office
    when it is proper to do so--a rare combination of merits.

The question was finally decided to the satisfaction of His Majesty's
Government by a Proclamation of the President which allowed aliens a
period of sixty-five days, during which their departure was permitted,
and interference on behalf of persons who had failed to take advantage
of the opportunity was subsequently refused. As for the difficulties
experienced by the United States Government, they seem to have been met
by enforcing conscription where it was possible, and delaying it where
serious opposition was feared.

In August, 1863, a somewhat surprising proposal came from Mr. Seward. In
a confidential conversation with Lord Lyons he expatiated upon the
necessity of reviving a better feeling between Great Britain and the
United States, and of making some demonstration calculated to produce
the desired effect. England, he said, had made such a demonstration
before the war by the visit of the Prince of Wales, which had been
productive of the happiest results. Now it was the turn of the United
States to make a corresponding display of goodwill, but it was difficult
to devise the means of doing so, as the President could not travel, and
America possessed no Princes. Would Lord Lyons think the matter over?

The latter, having duly reflected, expressed the opinion that there was
no real hostility to the United States in England, although there was
undoubtedly a certain amount of sympathy with the South, and that
consequently there was no necessity to take any extraordinary step. Mr.
Seward, however, having returned to his suggestion of making some
counter demonstration in the nature of the visit of the Prince of Wales.

       *       *       *       *       *

    'The only conjecture I can make,' wrote Lord Lyons, 'is that he
    thinks of going to England himself. He may possibly want to be
    absent for some reasons connected with the Presidential contest. If
    he thinks that he has himself any chance of being taken as a
    candidate by either party he is the only man who thinks so at this
    moment. It is however generally considered to be an advantage to a
    candidate to be out of the country during the canvass. I cannot see
    any good which his going to England could effect with regard to
    public opinion. If he considered himself as returning the Prince of
    Wales's visit, the absurdity of the notion would alone prevent its
    being offensive. The majority of the Americans would probably be by
    no means pleased if he met with a brilliant reception. He has,
    besides, so much more vanity, personal and national, than tact, that
    he seldom makes a favourable impression at first. When one comes
    really to know him, one is surprised to find much to esteem and even
    to like in him. It is however hardly worth while to say more on the
    subject, for it is a mere conjecture of mine that he was thinking
    of going to England when he spoke to me. It might however be of
    advantage for me to know whether you would wish to encourage the
    idea of some public demonstration or other, if he should return to
    the subject when I get back to Washington. I told him that so far as
    public opinion in England was concerned, the one thing to do was
    to let us really have a supply of cotton; that without this
    demonstrations and professions would be unsuccessful: that with it
    they would not be required.'

Whether Lord Lyons's conjecture was well founded or not, the prospect of
a visit from Mr. Seward possessed no charms for Lord Russell, whose
antipathy to the American Secretary of State has been already noted. The
following letter appears to be full of good sense and instructive as
regards the real value of those visits of exalted personages which
produce such illimitable enthusiasm in the press.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Oct. 2, 1863.

    Upon considering Mr. Seward's hints to you of doing something here
    as an equivalent or a return for the Prince of Wales's visit to the
    United States, I do not see my way to anything satisfactory. These
    visits of Great Personages seldom have more than a transient effect;
    they form no real and solid relation of friendship between nations,
    though if undertaken at a fortunate moment, they serve to bring out
    and demonstrate a friendship already existing.

    The visit of the Prince of Wales was thus fortunately well timed;
    but if Mr. Seward or any conspicuous statesman of the United States
    were to visit this country now he would find us all divided. The
    Government would show him every attention and civility: the
    Anti-Slavery party would probably make great show of sympathy by
    addresses and public receptions. But the party who press for
    recognition of the South would hold aloof, and in some unmistakable
    manner, prove that there is a great deal of sympathy with the South
    in this country.

    In these circumstances I do not think that any such mark of
    friendship as Mr. Seward suggests would be likely to produce the
    good effect of which he is desirous. Mr. Sumner's conduct is very
    bad; he has taken infinite pains to misrepresent me in every
    particular. I have done my best to counteract his efforts by my
    speech at Blairgowrie. I don't know how far I may be successful, but
    I rely on your constant watchfulness to prevent any rupture between
    the two countries, which of all things I should most lament.

    The question of the ironclads is still under investigation. The
    Cabinet must consider it very soon, and I have no doubt we shall do
    all that is right to preserve our neutrality free from just
    reproach--unjust reproach we shall not yield to.

    I hope you are now quite well, and as the heats must be over I trust
    you will not suffer for the next six months from the climate of
    Washington.

Owing to continual ill-health, Lord Lyons was compelled to pay a visit
to Canada in the autumn, and upon his return to Washington in October,
accompanied by Admiral Milne, he found Mr. Seward in a more conciliatory
frame of mind than ever, chiefly owing to the detention of Confederate
ironclads in England. Mr. Welles and the lawyers at the Navy Department,
however, still 'appeared to be thoroughly wrongheaded and unable to see
that municipal law is one thing and International Law and the relations
between Governments another.' The Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Chase,
engaged on an electioneering tour, distinguished himself by spirited
speeches, talking of 'taking Old Mother England by the hair and giving
her a good shaking,' and was himself outdone in rancour against England
by another distinguished politician, Mr. Sumner. There was in fact no
sign of change in the feeling of the people at large towards us, and the
visit of a Russian squadron to New York was made the occasion of an
anti-British and anti-French demonstration.

Considering that the war had now lasted for several years, it seems
rather remarkable that the British Government had not thought it worth
while to send military or naval officers to watch the operations, but
judging from the following letter, the idea never seems to have occurred
that there was anything to learn.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Nov. 3, 1863.

    I have no news of importance--political or military to write to-day.
    The crisis at Chattanooga has not yet taken place, so far as we
    know.

    I doubt whether people in Europe are aware of the extent of the
    progress of this Country in military strength or of the preparations
    which have been made for the contingency of a War with an European
    Power. It is impossible for me to undertake to give anything like
    detailed information on the subject; but it may be worth while for
    Her Majesty's Government to consider whether it is important for
    them to know what is really being done, and if so, what measures
    will be best with a view to their obtaining regularly information
    practically useful. I have no fancy for having a military or Naval
    Attaché--and I am not certain how the appointment of one might be
    taken here. It _might_ create suspicion--on the other hand it
    _might_ be taken as a compliment. I am inclined to think that
    Officers unconnected with the Legation sent quietly, but by no means
    secretly, would learn most. But if the Legation is to be depended
    upon for the information, it is absolutely necessary that there
    should be in it some one having a professional knowledge both of
    naval and military matters. I myself know as little of such matters
    as any man--and were it otherwise, I have as much proper Diplomatic
    business to do as I can manage. The correspondence with Mr. Seward,
    which requires minute care in many cases, grows more and more
    burdensome. New cases arise daily, and the old ones never seem to
    come to an end. I have had considerably more than nine hundred notes
    from Mr. Seward already this year.

    I don't think the Government here at all desires to pick a quarrel
    with us or with any European power, but the better prepared it is,
    the less manageable it will be.

This suggestion was eventually acted upon as appears later.

About this time, the mission to Europe of Messrs. Mason and Slidell
having failed in its object, the Confederate Government resolved upon
the expulsion of the British Consuls resident in the South, who were
informed that they could no longer be permitted to exercise their
functions, or even to reside within the limits of the Confederacy.
Doubtless the active part the Consuls had taken in endeavouring to
prevent the compulsory enlistment of British subjects contributed
towards this action, but the ostensible reasons were, firstly, that they
received their instructions from the British Minister residing in
Washington, and secondly, that Mr. McGee, the Consul at Mobile, had been
dismissed from his post because he had allowed specie intended for the
payment of interest on a State debt to be shipped from that blockaded
port to London on board of a British warship. In Lord Lyons's opinion
the action of Mr. Jefferson Davis's Government appeared reasonable.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Nov. 17, 1863.

    Mr. Walker has sent me a copy of his despatch to you enclosing Mr.
    Benjamin's letter to Mr. Slidell explaining the reasons to be given
    for the expulsion. The objection to the Consuls being under the
    orders of the Minister at Washington appears reasonable enough. As
    you know, I have all along been of opinion that the connexion
    between the Southern Consulates and the Legation was full of
    inconvenience. The objection to Mr. Cridland's appointment, that it
    was made by me, has, in fact, no other foundation than that your
    orders to Mr. Moore on the subject were sent through me; in
    transmitting them I took the precaution expressly to desire Mr.
    Moore to word the appointment as one coming from H.M. Government
    and not to mention me.

    Mr. Benjamin's lecture on the duty of Belligerents to pay their
    debts is totally beside the purpose. Of course no one could have
    wished more than I did that the British creditors should receive
    their money. I wished that all British subjects should be able to
    remove their property from the Confederate States, and most of all I
    wished that an unlimited amount of cotton should be exported. What I
    objected to was that a British Consul should engage himself in
    committing a breach of blockade, and that a British man of war,
    which had been admitted on the faith that she should carry away
    nothing but despatches, should carry through the Blockade the very
    article to the exportation of which the United States most objected.
    It is rather cool of Mr. Benjamin to say that the United States
    could not but have been glad that specie should be exported, when he
    knew that at the time the great anxiety of the Confederates was to
    get specie through the blockade to pay for their purchasers of
    warlike stores in Europe, and that the great anxiety of the United
    States was to prevent this.

At the close of 1863 it became evident that the cause of the South was
failing, but the reverses of the Confederates seemed only to stimulate
them to fresh exertions, while President Davis's eloquent message in
December proclaimed that the patriotism of the people was equal to every
sacrifice demanded by their country's needs.

In the preceding autumn, Mr. Seward, in pursuance of his laudable policy
of conciliation, had suggested that the Reciprocity Treaty with Canada,
which would expire shortly, might afford an opportunity of making a
friendly demonstration. His suggestion was that the British Government
should make inquiries from him on the subject of its renewal, but Lord
Russell, who was prone to regard him with suspicion, had not responded
to this advance with any favour. In the early part of 1864 it became
evident that the treaty was in considerable danger, and the Canadian
Government began to show signs of natural anxiety, especially in view of
the fact that a hostile motion was pending in Congress. The following
letters disclose the objections of the professional diplomatist to being
saddled with amateur assistants.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Viscount Monck._

    Washington, Jan. 28, 1864.

    The Canadians appear to me to be acting unwisely about the
    Reciprocity Treaty at this moment. Their true policy is to keep as
    quiet about it as possible. The more they agitate, the more they
    convince people here that the Treaty is a good bargain for Canada
    and a bad bargain for the United States. The utmost we can ever
    dream of doing now is to stave off a successful motion in Congress
    calling upon the President to give the notice for abrogating the
    Treaty. I doubt whether we shall be able to do this, but our only
    chance lies in keeping quiet and endeavouring to induce the Executive
    Government to exert its influence unostentatiously against the
    motion. If the Executive Government can be induced to do so, it will
    be by considerations connected with its relations with the Imperial
    Government. The moment the question is treated as one between the
    United States and the Provinces, all hope of maintaining the Treaty
    vanishes.

    I cannot have a Canadian here supposed to be peculiarly in
    my confidence on the subject. This would impose upon me a
    responsibility which I cannot undertake. Directly there was the
    least appearance of a Canadian being here in any such position, I
    should feel bound to take decisive steps to show that the appearance
    was false. My own opinion is that the Canadians will only do
    themselves harm by coming lobbying here; but if they choose to do
    so, they must do it entirely independently of me, and I would
    suggest that any who came for this purpose should not be furnished
    with letters of introduction to me, and should be advised not to
    call upon me.

    At the same time, I think it right to say that I do not believe that
    we shall find it possible to maintain the Treaty long after the U.S.
    can abrogate it. The impression is very strong that it is a bad
    bargain for them, and they will probably give the notice very soon
    after the terms of the Treaty allow of their doing so, with a view
    perhaps to negotiating another. If matters reach this point, it will
    no doubt be very desirable that whoever negotiates the new Treaty
    should be thoroughly informed on all the details of Canadian
    commerce, and then will be the time for a Canadian Cobden to be sent
    here. At present there are no questions of detail to be considered:
    the only practical thing is to stave off the notice of the
    abrogation as long as possible, and the only chance of doing this,
    is, in my opinion, the exertion of the _Imperial_ influence.

    I very well understand the difficulty of keeping quiet when one is
    very anxious on a subject, and the immense relief it is to be doing
    something. I can also well understand that if there were a
    discussion on the details of the Treaty, the Canadians would wish to
    have an advocate better informed on the details than the British
    Minister at Washington is ever likely to be, but the object now is
    to _avoid_ discussion.

It became necessary, however, to modify these views, for Mr. Seward
changed his mind, and whereas he had at first discountenanced the
presence of official and semi-official Canadian representatives he now
expressed himself in favour of their coming over privately and lobbying
Members of Congress, that being, in his opinion, an effective method of
promoting good relations between the two countries.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Feb. 9, 1864.

    I am very sorry to say that the agitation against the Reciprocity
    Treaty has gone on increasing, and that it now appears probable that
    a Resolution calling upon the President to give as soon as possible
    notice for abrogating it, will be passed by Congress. The Canadian
    Ministers are very anxious to be doing something in the matter, in
    order to cover their responsibility as regards their constituents
    hereafter. They had a desire to send an agent here to advise with me
    and to speak to the American Cabinet and to members of Congress.
    This I have told Lord Monck privately, I will not hear of. I could
    not undertake to keep the peace for a month if I had a man here by
    my side, over whom I could have no practical control, and who would
    be really guided only by Canadian party politics, but who would yet
    be supposed to be more or less in my confidence, and therefore to be
    entitled to speak for me and H.M. Government. My troubles are great
    enough without adding Canadian electioneering views to the
    difficulties I have to contend with.

    Mr. Seward's opinion was that the quieter the Canadians kept the
    better, and so was mine, and so it would be still, if Mr. Seward had
    not changed his. He now thinks that discussion on the subject cannot
    be avoided, and a good effect would be produced by visits to
    Washington of influential Canadians coming 'on their own hook' and
    talking in a friendly manner to Senators and Deputies. He does not
    recommend that they should appear to have any special connexion with
    me, nor any semblance of an official or quasi-official character of
    any kind, nor does he consider it to be desirable that any one
    individual should stay long.

    I am corresponding privately with Lord Monck about this action of
    Mr. Seward's, and I defer writing about the Treaty officially until
    I come to some understanding with him about it. Mr. Seward's opinion
    is so much more likely to be correct than mine, that I do not like
    to discourage Canadians coming in the way he suggests. Beside which
    I have very little hope of staving off the Resolution for the
    abrogation of the Treaty in any way, and therefore do not feel
    justified in preventing efforts being made by the Canadians
    themselves, provided I am clear of all connexion with them, and
    that they do not compromise me or the Imperial Government.

    The attack on the Treaty is now caused much more by ill will to
    England and her Colonies than by any commercial or financial
    considerations. The same spirit has caused the introduction of a
    Bill into Congress to repeal the Act allowing goods to pass through
    the United States without paying duty in transit to and from Canada.
    In fact the absence of any serious opposition in Congress renders
    both Houses very unmanageable.

The views expressed in these two letters may appear unsympathetic as
regards Canada, but apart from his rooted and well-founded distrust of
amateur diplomatists, Lord Lyons's main task was to keep the peace if
possible between England and the United States, and he was therefore
justified in refusing to be associated with any persons who might
conceivably add to the difficulty of a very critical situation. In
addition to this he was always inclined to resent the tendency of
Canadian Ministers to do a little diplomacy of their own, and held
strongly that it would be time enough for them to think of diplomacy
when they had provided themselves with an army and a navy.

The extreme caution which he constantly displayed in avoiding anything
which might disturb American susceptibility in the smallest degree is
well illustrated by a letter to Mr. Hammond respecting the appointment
of a new secretary to the Washington Legation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Hammond._

    Washington, April 5, 1864.

    I have been terribly frightened by hearing that there has been a
    notion of sending Mr. Horace Johnstone to this Legation. To have the
    brother of a man married to the sister of Slidell's Secretary of
    Legation in Paris would expose the whole of this mission to all
    kinds of suspicion and ill will. It is impossible for any one not
    here to conceive the captiousness of the Federals, in and out of
    office, on these points. It is almost beyond my power to keep
    matters straight with them, do what I can, and if I had a man in the
    Legation who was personally suspicious to them I should have no hope
    of keeping out of scrapes. If Mr. Johnstone were here, I think the
    only way I could employ him for the advantage of H.M.'s service
    would be in carrying the next despatches home.

So much alarmed was he at the prospect of Mr. Johnstone's appearance
that he also communicated his objections to the Private Secretary at the
Foreign Office, and even wrote to Lord Russell saying that if Mr.
Johnstone arrived he should feel it his duty to order him to remain at
the port of disembarkation until further instructions were received.
Most men would probably have considered that the family connexions of a
junior member of the Legation were of no importance, but Lord Lyons
was one of those who never took any risks.

In accordance with the suggestion made in the previous autumn, some
officers were at last despatched from England in order to follow the
operations of the Federal Army.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, April 19, 1864.

    The two military officers, Colonel Gallway and Captain Alderson,
    sent by the War Office to report on military matters here, are about
    to set out for the Army of the Potomac. Some great attempt will
    probably be made by that army within a very short time. Everything
    is supposed to depend on the success of the operations. The
    Presidential Election and the Finances in particular hang in the
    balance. Captain Goodenough, the officer sent here by the Admiralty,
    confirms my impression that the Americans are very seriously
    preparing for a Foreign War. I think we should never be for long
    without naval and military officers here to watch and to report on
    these matters. The men employed should be made to understand that
    their principal duty is to keep H.M. Government so well informed of
    the state of preparation and of the position of the naval and
    military forces of the United States that if a war were to break out
    at a moment's notice, our Admiralty and War Office would know
    exactly what to do. It is quite impossible that a Diplomatic Mission
    can do this without the assistance of professional men; and the more
    completely the responsibility is thrown on the professional men, the
    more effectually will the work be performed. With the present
    feeling of the United States Government I think the officers had
    better come with a decidedly official character, either as naval or
    military attachés to the Legation, or under any other name: but I do
    not think that the most effective mode of obtaining the requisite
    information would be to let them subside into permanent attachés
    residing here, and making mere routine reports by each mail.
    It would, of course, be well before publishing any appointment of a
    definite official character, to let me ascertain that it would be
    acceptable to this Government to have officers here in that
    particular character.

    There can unhappily be no doubt that three-fourths of the American
    people are eagerly longing for a safe opportunity of making war with
    England, and to what extent this feeling may be played upon, and
    with what results, during the Presidential Elections, no one can
    say.

    The ill will shows itself in many ways--principally in vexatious
    proceedings in regard to the neighbouring Colonies. The last attempt
    in Congress is to repeal an Act of 1831 in virtue of which there are
    no higher duties levied on British rafts, boats, and Colonial
    vessels in the American ports on the Lakes, than are levied on
    similar American craft in the British ports. I have spoken to Mr.
    Seward about it, and I hope, if it is a matter of importance to
    Canada, that we shall be able to stop it.

The ill will alluded to above showed itself in an unpleasant and
undignified manner in connection with the visit of the British officers.
Application had been made on behalf of Major-General Lindsay, M.P.,
commanding the Brigade of Guards in Canada to be allowed to visit the
Army of the Potomac, and, much to the surprise of the Legation, a pass
was refused by the Secretary of War, although the point was pressed as
far as was prudent; but worse was to follow, for the Secretary of War
actually refused passes also to Colonel Gallway and Captain Alderson,
the two officers specially sent out by the British Government. 'I do not
trust myself,' wrote Lord Lyons, 'to say all I think about this
discourtesy, but I have let the people here know that this is not the
way to maintain friendly feelings, and have reminded them of the very
different manner in which we treated the officers sent by the United
States to the Crimea.'

Of more importance than this act of discourtesy was the apparent
preparation for a foreign war on the part of the United States
Government. There could, unfortunately, be little doubt as to the
country against which these preparations were being made, and the danger
was that, in the existing temper of the American people, advantage might
be eagerly taken of any conjunction of circumstances which would enable
a declaration of war against England to be made with tolerable safety.
The letters of Lord Russell do not display a realization of the enormous
increase of the military and naval power of the United States, and it
does not appear that he appreciated the vast change which had taken
place in the relative power of England and the United States. In the
past, the latter had been restrained from provoking hostilities by fear
of the advantages which the greatly superior military and naval forces,
then habitually maintained by England, would confer on their enemy at
the outset. Now, however, they considered the reverse to be the case.
They believed, and probably they were right, that they could throw an
overwhelming force into Canada, and that sudden attacks on some of the
British colonies, such as Bermuda and the Bahamas, would in all
probability be successful. They believed that they could inflict
enormous injury to British commerce, and it was plain that an immense
booty could be obtained by sending out their swift cruisers with as
little notice as possible.

It was difficult to discover an adequate explanation of the bitter
feeling which, at that time, actuated the majority of the American
people against England; and it was still more difficult to combat it,
because it was largely unreasonable and quite regardless of facts
and arguments. In reality it resulted from the exasperation caused by
the civil commotion which constituted the first check to a previously
uninterrupted course of progress and prosperity, and the Americans,
mortified and angry, found it a relief to vent their ill-humour upon
England, against whom they had an old grudge. Under these adverse
circumstances, it is easy to realize how difficult must have been the
position of the British Minister at Washington, and it is not surprising
that his letters and despatches of the period were couched in a more
pessimistic tone than had been the case for some time. 'I am out of
heart altogether,' he wrote to Lord Russell, in consequence of the
manner in which his representations to the American Government, with
regard to the grievances of British subjects, were treated. These
grievances related chiefly, at this period, to the hardships inflicted
upon the crews of blockade runners and to the iniquities of the United
States recruiting agencies, iniquities which were fully admitted in an
official report of General Dix, the Military Commandant at New York, and
in neither case was it found possible to obtain adequate redress. The
following note will serve as a sample of the communications which
passed:--

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Seward._

    Washington, July 3, 1864.

    This day week you came to my door with the President to tell me that
    I might write to England to say that Mr. James McHugh would be
    released immediately. He was still in Fort Lafayette yesterday. What
    to say in writing to England to-morrow I know not. Could not orders
    be sent by telegraph to the military authorities at New York to
    release McHugh at once and to report by telegraph that they have
    actually done so?

    I am very much pained by what has happened about Eneas and Rahming,
    as well as about McHugh, and am utterly unable to devise any
    satisfactory explanation to send home.

To add to his troubles the health of Lord Lyons again began to give way
under the strain, and as the following letter shows, his staff was
insufficient for the work.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Hammond._

    Washington, June 14, 1864.

    We cannot get on without more hands in the Chancery here. I could
    not refuse to let Heneage go, on the death of his father, but he was
    ill to be spared.

    One really first-rate second secretary and two ordinary working
    second or third secretaries should come out at once if the work is
    to be done. It has doubled since last year. We ordered an immense
    register which we calculated would last through the year, having
    made ample allowance as we thought for the usual progressive
    increase of correspondence. We are already obliged to order another
    of the same size.

    For my own part I am worn out altogether.

Although never prone to spare himself or to exaggerate, such phrases as:
'I am worked to death here,' and 'I am worn out by the heat and the
work,' occur in letters to other correspondents, and in order to prevent
a complete breakdown he was directed by Lord Russell to proceed to
Canada to confer with Lord Monck as to the defence of the Dominion.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Russell to Lord Lyons._

    July 23, 1864.

    I think it will be useful that you should go to Canada soon. If, as
    you think, the Americans may take a sudden resolution to attack us,
    it will be important to consider how and when we can best defend
    ourselves. I should be very glad that with this view you should
    consult Lord Monck, and also that you should, if possible, see Sir
    James Hope, who might come up the St. Lawrence to meet you at
    Quebec. The defence of Quebec both by land and sea is one of the
    most important points for the consideration of the Cabinet. It is
    also of great importance to ascertain what the Canadian Government
    are prepared to do for themselves.

    If, as is probable, Grant will not succeed in reaching Richmond and
    is obliged to retire, the American Government may not be willing to
    add to the number of their enemies, especially as the Emperor of
    Mexico may have the assistance of French troops, and may hold an
    unfriendly position to the Northern, and a friendly attitude to the
    Southern States. I shall be glad to send a civil or military agent
    or commissioner to the Confederate States, and think of sending him
    by Mexico and Texas. It would be by no means a recognition, but
    would be useful as regards our interests in the Southern States.

Lord Russell never seems to have thoroughly believed in the ultimate
success of the North, and frequently expressed the opinion that, as the
re-establishment of the Union was impossible, it would be well to come
to terms with the South, but he could scarcely have been expected to
foresee that the day would come when the United States Government would
order the Emperor Napoleon out of Mexico.

As regards the mission to Canada, Lord Lyons pointed out that whereas it
was very desirable that he should confer with the Governor-General on
many questions, amongst others, the 'wholesale system of seducing,
entrapping and kidnapping recruits for the United States Army from
Canada,' yet that his own opinion on the naval and military questions
concerning the defence of that country was worth nothing at all. His
general impression, however, was that the Dominion was altogether
indefensible, unless the Canadians were prepared to make such a stand
and such sacrifices as the Southerners had done. Whether he ever made
any recommendations, as the result of his visit, or whether, if they
were ever made, any attention was paid to them does not appear, but
there is reason to believe that the British Government eventually nerved
itself to spend the stupendous sum of £50,000 on Canadian defence.

The Canadian visit was undertaken very reluctantly, in spite of
weariness and ill health, partly on account of the press of work, and
partly because it would be necessary to leave as Chargé d'Affaires a
Secretary of Legation (Mr. Burnley), who had only just arrived in the
country, and of whose abilities and judgment he was completely ignorant.
Consequently he took the precaution of asking the Foreign Office to
intimate clearly that, whether outside American territory or not, he
should still be considered the superior authority in the Legation, and
that if he deemed it necessary to give an instruction, it must be
obeyed. This stipulation was not intended as a reflection upon Mr.
Burnley, who indeed showed himself perfectly competent, but was merely
an instance of that extreme caution which never left anything to chance.

At the end of August he was suffering so much from the excessive heat of
Washington and from nervous prostration that he no longer felt able to
discharge his duties satisfactorily, and set out for Canada much against
his will, remaining there until October. The change of air, however,
effected little improvement, and letters to friends announcing his
return complain of ill health and low spirits. While on the journey
back, he met at dinner, at New York, by a singular coincidence, General
Dix, on the night when the news of the St. Albans raid arrived. During
the dinner the latter received a telegram stating that a band of
Confederate desperadoes had made a raid from Canada upon a place called
St. Albans, raided some banks and committed some murders. General
Dix said that he had sent orders to the military officers in the
neighbourhood to take measures for apprehending the raiders, and that he
had directed these officers to use their best endeavours to seize them
on American territory, but that rather than allow them to escape, they
were to be pursued beyond the frontier, such action being, in his
opinion, justifiable under International Law. Upon being asked whether
he had given this order on his own authority or under instructions
from Washington, the General admitted that he had acted on his own
responsibility. This was clearly one of the most alarming incidents that
had yet occurred, and had General Dix's orders been carried out, there
must inevitably have been war between England and the United States.
Fortunately, however, the American Government disavowed General Dix's
ill-advised orders, and the prompt action of the Canadian authorities
contributed towards a peaceful solution. The raiders were seized and
made to give up their booty; police were stationed along the frontier,
the volunteers were called out, and effective steps taken to prevent
similar occurrences in the future.

The settlement of this affair must have been one of Lord Lyons's last
transactions with the American Government, for upon his return to
Washington his health rapidly grew worse, and as scarcely any letters
from him are to be found between the end of October and the middle of
December it is to be presumed that he was so incapacitated that the work
devolved upon Mr. Burnley. Early in November he was forced to apply for
leave, which was granted in December.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Washington, Dec. 5, 1864.

    I am truly obliged to you for so promptly sending me leave to come
    home. When I wrote to you on the 1st of last month to ask for it, I
    hardly expected to have such urgent need of it as I have now, but a
    few days afterwards I became so ill as to be utterly unable to do
    any work. I have not made any satisfactory progress towards a
    recovery, and am scarcely in a state to travel. There seems however
    to be no prospect of my getting any better while I stay here, and I
    shall therefore, if possible, set out for New York to-morrow, in the
    hope of being able to embark there for England on the 14th.

    I am told that the American papers have stated that I have been
    dangerously ill with typhoid fever. I have had no fever at all. My
    principal malady is a nervous headache.

In letters to other correspondents he explained that being quite unable
to work he considered himself simply an impediment to the transaction of
public business, and was going away simply on leave of absence. During
the last few days of his stay in America he was too unwell to write, or
even, as he explained to Mr. Seward, equal to a conversation, and it was
doubtful whether he would be well enough to travel. Accompanied,
however, by Mr. Sheffield, he embarked at New York and arrived in London
during the closing days of December.

The fact was that he had completely broken down under the continuous
strain of the last four years, and in view of the circumstances it was
not surprising. Some idea of the work at Washington may be gathered from
the following official figures.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Despatches and Letters sent to and from Her Majesty's Legation at
                   Washington during the year 1864._

   Foreign Office            to Lord Lyons    966  From Lord Lyons    653
   United States Government     "      "     1816       "      "     2782
   Consuls                      "      "     1155       "      "     1390
   Naval and Colonial
   Departments                  "      "      311       "      "      360
   Miscellaneous                "      "     2242       "      "     3141
                                             ----                    ----
                                             6490                    8326

To these figures must be added a number of lithographs and other answers
for which forms had been devised and which therefore were not
registered, nor does it seem probable that Lord Lyons's numerous private
letters to the Secretary of State and other correspondents are included;
whilst there is no mention of telegrams.

It would really not be much of an exaggeration to assert that, unless
absent or incapacitated by illness, nearly every one of these thousands
of documents was either originated by or submitted to the British
Minister. The late Sir Edward Malet in his book 'Shifting Scenes,' has
borne witness to the indefatigable industry of his chief. 'At Washington
any quantity of letters arrived daily asking every imaginable question,
and often making untenable complaints. They were all opened by Lord
Lyons, who made a pencil note upon them indicating the tenor of the
answer to be sent, and returned them to the Chancery. Draft answers were
then written, which were again sent up to Lord Lyons with the letters.
He would nearly always alter the wording. Then he put an "L" at the
bottom, and returned them to be written out for signature. In this way
not a letter issued from the Legation which had not been approved by the
chief. It was a most valuable safeguard, for you can never be sure what
a young man may say when he gets a pen into his hand. It is the moment
when the evil spirit of the Jack-in-office, unless he be entirely exempt
from it, which is very rare, gets the better of him, and prompts him to
make some epigrammatic or cutting reply. I learned no more valuable
lesson while working under Lord Lyons than that every letter received
must be answered, and that the answer must be staid in form and well
considered in substance, whatever might be the ignorance, the petulance,
or the extravagance of the writer to whose letter you were replying.' It
may be added that he rigidly adhered to this practice throughout his
official career, and that there must be many members of the Diplomatic
Service now living who would corroborate the opinion expressed by Sir
Edward Malet.

From the same source we learn the usual routine of the Chancery during
the Civil War. The secretaries and attachés had to be at their desks at
9 a.m. They worked continuously without a luncheon interval until past 7
p.m., then adjourned to Willard's Hotel to indulge in the pernicious
local habit of swallowing cocktails, dined at 8, and were frequently
obliged to return to the Chancery afterwards and work till midnight or
even later. There is no reason whatever to suppose that Sir Edward Malet
indulged in any exaggeration, and it is therefore not surprising either
that the junior members of the Legation occasionally broke down or that
many of them were desirous of being appointed to some less exacting post
than Washington. In spite, however, of the disadvantageous circumstances
under which Sir Edward Malet passed his time at Washington, it is worthy
of note that he considered that every one in the British Diplomatic
Service should rejoice if he had the chance of going there, and he bore
emphatic testimony that, according to his experience, English people
were treated with extraordinary courtesy and hospitality however high
political feeling may have run.

Lord Lyons, upon arriving in England, found a home provided for him at
Arundel by his sister, the widowed Duchess of Norfolk, to whom he was
deeply attached, and it was hoped that the rest and retired life would
restore him sufficiently to enable him to resume his post at Washington.
He made, however, little progress towards recovery, and for some time
was almost incapable of either physical or mental exertion; in fact, so
unsatisfactory was his condition, and so remote appeared the probability
of his being able to resume his duties, that, in the spring of 1865, it
became necessary for him to resign his post and to retire temporarily if
not permanently from the service. A letter to Mr. Stuart, a former
member of his staff, explains the circumstances of his retirement.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Stuart._

    Norfolk House, March 16, 1865.

    I am very much obliged by your kind letter inquiring for me. You
    will have seen that I have gone out of the service altogether and
    have become a gentleman at large without pay or pension. My health
    did not admit of my fixing a time for going back, and the Cabinet
    became nervous about leaving Washington without a Minister in these
    critical times. I confess I do not feel so much relief or even
    pleasure as might have been expected, and I seriously thought of
    offering to go back immediately when I heard of the decision of the
    Cabinet. But my own feelings as to health and still more the
    opinions of the doctors deterred me. I have certainly got a great
    deal better, but I seem to stick at a certain point. I can go about
    without inconvenience, but still a small thing brings on a headache.
    The old Legation at Washington is completely broken up. Malet goes
    to Lisbon, Sheffield to Frankfort and Kennedy and Seymour to Vienna.
    I to a certain extent enjoy being in England, but I am not well
    enough nor quite sufficiently satisfied with the wind up of my
    Washington Mission, to enjoy myself thoroughly. Lord Russell has
    been extremely kind to me, and so indeed has every one here, but
    neither I nor they can do much for my benefit while my health is in
    its present state.

    You seem to be doing well as usual in your present post, and you
    are, I trust, flourishing in all respects.

In a letter to Mr. Seward expressing his regret at being prevented from
thanking President Lincoln in person for the unvarying kindness and
consideration shown to him during the last four eventful years the
following passage occurs:--

    You will find Sir Frederick Bruce (his successor at Washington) as
    anxious as I was to act in concert with you for the maintenance of
    peace and good will, and you will, I am sure, be glad to form with
    him the confidential and intimate relations which did so much, in my
    case, to make my task easy and agreeable. The friendly and
    unconstrained terms on which we were produced so much good, that I
    am most anxious that my successor's intercourse with you should be
    placed at once on the same footing.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Mr. Seward to Lord Lyons._

    Washington, March 20, 1865.

    I accept your farewell with sincere sorrow. But I reconcile myself
    to it because it is a condition of restoration of your health. All
    of my family commend me to tender you assurances of sympathy.

    I have never desponded of my country, of emancipation of her slaves
    and of her resumption of her position as an agent of peace, progress
    and civilization--interests which I never fail to believe are common
    with all branches of the British family. So I have had no doubt that
    when this dreadful war shall be ended, the United States and Great
    Britain would be reconciled and become better friends than ever.

    I have thought that you are entitled to share in these great
    successes, as you have taken so great a part of the trials of the
    war. But God disposes. I feel sure that if I never find time to go
    abroad again, you with recovered health will come here to see the
    reign of peace and order. So I shall not dwell upon our parting as a
    final one.

It is satisfactory to realize that these two men, between whom so many
encounters had taken place, parted on terms of friendship and mutual
esteem. Each, in fact, had been able to appreciate the good qualities of
the other, and in subsequent communications with his own Government,
Lord Lyons frequently expressed the hope that Mr. Seward would continue
to be responsible for the foreign policy of the American Government.

The official acknowledgment of Lord Lyons's services at Washington was
couched in warmer terms than is usually the case.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Russell to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 25, 1865.

    As your successor, Sir Frederick Bruce, is to take his departure
    this day from the shores of England, I take this opportunity to
    testify to your Lordship the sense which Her Majesty's Government
    entertain of your invaluable services as Her Majesty's
    Representative at Washington.

    The return which I enclose of the number of despatches and letters
    received by Her Majesty's Mission to the United States during the
    years 1864 gives some notion of the amount of labour which has been
    undergone by Your Lordship, the Secretary of Legation and other
    members of the Mission.

    But the prudence, the moderation, the good temper, the
    discrimination and the just regard to a friendly Government shown by
    Your Lordship during the trying period which has elapsed while Your
    Lordship was charged with the most honourable, but at the same time,
    the most difficult duties with which any diplomatic agent can be
    entrusted, these are incapable of any remuneration and cannot be
    estimated by any measurement.

It is to be hoped that the previous pages have, to some extent,
demonstrated that Lord Russell's language was not that of hyperbole,
and that the value of Lord Lyons's unobtrusive services was not
over-estimated. It was the good fortune of this country to be
represented during a protracted and dangerous crisis by a man who,
distinguished by exceptional prudence, tact, judgment, and sincerity,
added to these qualities a most minute knowledge of his own duties
accompanied with indefatigable industry. It is not too much to say that
any one wanting in these qualities would have found it impossible to
prevent the calamity of war between England and the United States, and
the diplomatist who successfully avoids a catastrophe of this nature and
at the same time protects the interests of his country is as deserving
of gratitude as the successful commander who appears upon the scene when
diplomacy had failed.

One little detail characteristic of the man is worth noting. He used to
state, in after life, with much apparent satisfaction, that during his
five years' residence in the United States, he had never 'taken a drink,
or made a speech.'



CHAPTER V

CONSTANTINOPLE

(1865-1867)


Although temporarily retired, it was scarcely probable that the
Government would fail to utilize a man who had proved himself to be so
valuable a public servant, and as early as February Lord Russell had
already intimated that he proposed to offer to Lord Lyons the Lisbon
Legation, although to transfer a minister from Washington to Lisbon
seems a somewhat dubious compliment.

In June he was sufficiently recovered to receive the degree of D.C.L.,
and in the following month there arrived from Lord Russell the offer of
the Embassy at Constantinople, Lord Russell being careful to state in
his letter that the Queen highly approved of the appointment and that
Lord Palmerston heartily concurred. The offer was of course gratefully
accepted, and an urgent request that Malet and Sheffield should be
permitted to accompany him was granted, although both had been already
named to other posts. The appointment, when it became known, was
received with general approval, and congratulations came from all
quarters, but the signal compliment which had been paid him, far from
turning his head, only elicited the expression that he knew rather less
of the East than most people and that he entered upon his duties with
many misgivings.

Accompanied by Malet and Sheffield, Lord Lyons arrived at Constantinople
in October, 1865, under somewhat peculiar circumstances. It is unusual
for two ambassadors to be present at the same post at the same time, but
Sir Henry Bulwer, in spite of many protestations that he wished to be
relieved of his duties, was still residing at the Embassy, having
possibly imbibed the spirit of procrastination from the locality, and it
is conceivable that the Foreign Office considered that the best means of
accelerating his departure was to send out his successor with orders to
present his credentials as soon as possible.

The two ambassadors were lodged under the same roof. At first Lord Lyons
was the guest of Sir Henry Bulwer, then the conditions were reversed,
Sir Henry becoming the guest of his successor, and the comedy concluded
with the simultaneous presentation at the palace of the letters of
recall and letters of credence of the outgoing and incoming ambassadors.
After rather more than a fortnight, Sir Henry Bulwer was induced to take
his departure to some unknown destination, but, much to the
embarrassment of his successor, announced his intention of returning
before long. Those who are acquainted with the history of British
diplomacy must remember a very similar episode which also occurred at
Constantinople about twenty-six years ago, when a special envoy was
residing there in addition to the ambassador.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Russell._

    Constantinople, Oct. 25, 1865.

    Sir Henry Bulwer received me very kindly and cordially, and has told
    me very fully what his views are, both as to Turkish politics in
    general, and as to the particular questions now uppermost. He had a
    private audience of the Sultan the day before yesterday, and after
    it, went on board the _Caradoc_, intending to sail the same evening.
    This, however, he did not do, and I went on board to see him
    yesterday afternoon. He meant then to sail at daylight this morning.
    I hear that he has now put off his departure till to-morrow. As to
    his destination, he seems to waver between Malta, Naples and
    Palermo. Lady Bulwer stays a little longer. Sir Henry talks vaguely
    of coming back here as a traveller in the spring, and the Sultan has
    offered to place a house at his disposal if he does so. I could not
    tell him that I thought it advisable either for the public service
    or for himself that he should come back so soon, especially as he
    thinks the place particularly disagrees with him. He has been so
    friendly and agreeable that I half blame myself for not being more
    willing to see him again here.

    I can write little that can be depended upon about public matters
    here. Everybody represents everybody else as being engaged in a
    series of intrigues so complicated as to be utterly beyond my
    comprehension. Fuad and Ali appear very easy to get on with, and I
    think that I shall have little difficulty in transacting all
    important business directly with them, as long as they remain in
    office. My idea is not to give an opportunity for starting
    difficulties by announcing a great change which I should not be able
    to carry out, but actually to do the business myself, as much as
    possible without dragomans. My colleagues seeing this will no doubt
    follow my example. The dragoman system will then languish, and the
    opportunity may then be taken of giving it the _coup de grace_ if
    that should seem advisable.

    The impression made upon my mind by Fuad Pasha's conversation on the
    finances was that he will make every effort to pay the interest on
    the Foreign Loans regularly, but that the Government will frequently
    be very hard up for money and will then raise it by any expedient
    and on any terms for the moment. In this way a new irregular
    internal or quasi-internal debt will arise, which, when it reaches a
    certain point, will have to be converted, or funded, or provided for
    in some way; and then the country becomes more and more involved.
    Whether the undeveloped resources of the country, which must be very
    great, can be brought into play soon enough to balance the growing
    debt, I cannot of course pretend to say. The great measure in
    contemplation is to secularize the Vacoufs. The tenures on which
    this property is held and transmitted are so peculiar and
    complicated that it will require some study to enable me to
    understand the subject. I confess one cannot help feeling that most
    of the property will be interrupted by dishonest agents on its way
    to the Treasury.

    My colleagues seem very well disposed to be cordial and easy to deal
    with, but M. de Monstier, whom they all seem to regard as the great
    difficulty, is not yet here.

The Constantinople Embassy, justly regarded as one of the big prizes in
the British Diplomatic Service, is, under ordinary circumstances, the
most onerous post of all; and, as past occupants know to their cost, the
distinguished position occupied by the British ambassador, the almost
princely state in which he lives, the magnificence of his residences,
the charm of the Bosphorus and the pleasure derived from living in what
is at once one of the most beautiful and one of the most interesting
cities in the universe, are somewhat dearly bought by the constant,
thankless, and fruitless labour in which they are habitually engaged.
Their time is ceaselessly occupied in combating the intrigues of other
Powers, in ineffectual attempts to redress the real or fictitious
grievances of British subjects, in the urging of nebulous schemes
vaguely described as reforms, and in hopeless efforts to avert the
inevitable doom awaiting a people, who, in spite of some admirable
qualities, are constitutionally incapacitated from realizing what are
their true interests. After the stress and turmoil of the last five
years at Washington, however, Constantinople must have appeared to the
new ambassador almost in the agreeable light of a rest cure.

For once in a way, things were fairly quiet: there were no signs of any
immediate crisis, and although the Turkish Government was involved in
its habitual financial difficulties, in the autumn of 1865 the only
questions which appeared likely to give rise to trouble were those
relating to the Moldo-Wallachian Principalities, to Crete, and to a
Firman for the Bey of Tunis. But whatever may be the internal condition
of the Turkish Empire at any given period, or whatever may be its
external relations, there is invariably one representative of the Great
Powers at Constantinople whose _rôle_ it is to threaten, browbeat, and
coerce. At the period in question this duty was discharged with zest by
the French Ambassador, the Marquis de Moustier, whose mission it was to
'_porter haut le drapeau de la France_'--in other words, to bully and
bluster whenever opportunity permitted, and of whom the Turks and his
foreign colleagues stood in deadly fear. The Russian Minister at that
time was the celebrated General Ignatieff, of whom Lord Lyons
subsequently expressed the opinion that 'General Ignatieff would be an
admirable diplomatist if he were only a little more veracious.' And it
seems odd nowadays to read that on nearly every matter the French and
the Russians were in opposition to each other. In fact, General
Ignatieff used to declare that his French colleague was so insupportably
arrogant that it was impossible to do business with him. Each
endeavoured to enlist the new British Ambassador upon his side;
naturally, without success, as intrigue was essentially foreign to his
nature, and he had no intention of allowing himself to become embroiled
in their quarrels. Writing in November to Mr. Erskine, the British
Minister at Athens, he was able to say that 'Here we are as quiet as
possible; the disease with which the Turk is threatened appears to be
atrophy; want of money and want of men. There are no questions of
interest at this moment, nor even any particular matter for the
diplomatists to quarrel about.'

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Earl of Clarendon._[5]

    Constantinople, Dec. 6, 1865.

    I don't know what to say of the Turkish finances. Notwithstanding
    the drought, the cholera, etc., etc., it is alarming that in a year
    of profound tranquillity at home and abroad, the Government should
    find itself absolutely without money. As this was the case, I
    suppose a new foreign loan was better than scraping together, at
    enormous sacrifices, enough money here to provide for the interest
    of the old loans next month. They promise that they will pay over to
    the Bank, as it comes in, the revenue from the sources which are
    most certain, so as to provide in ample time for the interest on the
    foreign loans. But what will they have left to live upon? I am
    trying to get something like an accurate notion of what their
    prospects are for next year.

    The only probability of trouble for the present seems to be in the
    Principalities. If Mr. Green[6] is right, the overthrow of Couza by
    an internal revolution is imminent. As he is unable to suggest
    any means of saving Couza or of making any improvement in the
    administration of the Principalities, I don't know that he is wrong
    in thinking it best to leave things for the present to the chapter
    of accidents. At any rate I think I shall do well to try and keep
    the question as quiet as possible here until I have instructions
    from you about it.

    As you will see by my despatches I do all the important business
    myself with Aali Pasha. Of course, I do not take a Dragoman with me
    when I go to him. I shall do away with the Dragoman system, as far
    as it is possible and compatible with the public service to do so.
    By degrees it may be done away with altogether--but it will be some
    time before it will be possible to get ordinary matters done at the
    Turkish office without having some one perpetually nagging at them
    who can speak to them in their own language.

A letter from the veteran Lord Stratford de Redcliffe to Lord Lyons is
not without interest as showing the views he held towards the close of
his life with regard to the Turkish Empire.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dec. 13, 1865.

    It gave me much pleasure to hear from you. I hope, and indeed I
    doubt not, that as time moves on you will be more and more pleased
    with the situation. You are lucky I think, to have no great
    questions to begin with. Sooner or later some will arise, and
    meanwhile you have time to sound the depths and shallows around you
    and to lay a good foundation for future action. Be assured that my
    good wishes will go with you, and if you surpass me in my own line,
    so much the better. I am now too old to be jealous.

    It does not surprise me that the Principalities continue to give
    trouble. They stand in a false position towards Turkey. The allies
    have not been happy in their manner of dealing with them. Prince
    Couza's government is an anomaly. Austria would be a safer neighbour
    to the Porte, even the whole length of the Danube, than either
    Russia or an independent Union.

    The finances of Turkey are, no doubt, a great and growing difficulty.
    They _need not_ be so with Russia in abeyance, the Empire
    guaranteed, an increasing trade, a Sultan who professes economy and
    no interruption of peace. But they _are naturally_ so in right of
    ministerial ignorance, of an inveterate habit of abuses, of too much
    facility for borrowing, and of the little personal prudence at the
    Porte. I tremble at hearing of another large loan from France. It
    might be better if, acting in concert with our neighbour, we made
    the Turkish Ministers feel more deeply the responsibility of their
    extravagance and unwillingness to reform. I was glad to learn some
    little time ago that our Government presses the Porte for statements
    of its financial condition which may be relied on, and that the
    Ottoman Bank maintains its independence, as opposed to the rash
    requirements launched from Constantinople.

    I sincerely hope that you will be able by and by to see your way to
    some progress in other matters of essential reform.

The financial outlook became so alarming that at the beginning of 1866
the Turks contemplated engaging a British Controller; but--and this
throws an instructive light upon the intrigues which prevail at
Constantinople--they were afraid to apply for one because they knew that
if they did so, the French would insist upon a Frenchman being engaged
as well. Aali and Fuad Pasha used to appear and make long speeches which
'would have done credit to a Chancellor of the Exchequer,' but their
eloquence produced no practical result, and Sultan Abdul Aziz, who,
according to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, was pledged to economy,
possessed singularly extravagant tastes, foremost amongst his
extravagances being a mania for buying ironclads and endeavouring to
create an imposing Turkish fleet. As there was no necessity to build up
a big navy and little probability of the Turks ever being able to make
any effective use of it if ever created, the only thing to be said in
favour of Abdul Aziz's hobby was that the ironclads were always ordered
in England.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Earl of Clarendon._

    Constantinople, February 14, 1866.

    There is rather a delicate matter for us which bears materially upon
    the Ottoman finances. The Sultan has a passion for ironclad frigates
    and insists upon ordering them. His Ministers (except, I believe,
    the Capitan Pasha) make some feeble opposition. We have, I believe,
    rather encouraged the thing than otherwise. The orders are executed
    in England to the advantage of our shipbuilders, and I think Sir
    Henry Bulwer had an idea that though they would not be much use in
    the hands of the Turks, they might be manned and used to advantage
    by allies of the Turks in case of war.

    I think it would be undesirable, on many accounts, that we should
    now take the initiative in remonstrating against this particular
    expense. If however the question of Turkish finance comes up in
    Europe we shall hear a great deal of these ironclads and we may be
    asked to join France in a representation against them. We may
    possibly have to propose to France to join us. If we do anything it
    would be well to consult Musurus confidentially, as he has a great
    deal to do with ordering them in England.

    There are, I think, three mailed frigates here, one nearly ready in
    England and one laid down there. It is also said that the Sultan
    insists upon one still larger and more powerful being ordered, but I
    do not know whether the order is actually given. The expense is of
    course immense in proportion to the revenue of the country and
    considering the rate at which the Porte borrows money.

What the result of consulting Musurus Pasha was, does not appear; but,
in view of the determined obstinacy of Sultan Abdul Aziz, it is not
likely that remonstrances from any quarter would have had much effect.

In February, the difficulties with regard to the Principalities came to
a head. Prince Couza, who had been elected Hospodar in 1859 (and who
incidentally had given a great deal of trouble) was deposed by
successful conspirators and expelled from the country, Mr. Green, the
British Minister at Bucharest, having thus proved himself a true
prophet. The inhabitants of the Principalities appeared to be unanimous
in desiring the continuation of the Union, and, at the same time, a
foreign prince as their ruler, to the consternation of the Porte, which
had a well-grounded foreboding that a similar phenomenon would shortly
manifest itself in other outlying provinces of the Empire, and that
disintegration would follow. As for the other Powers concerned, the
Russians were strongly in favour of a separation of Moldavia and
Wallachia. The Austrians were credited with the same views, while it was
feared by the Turks that the French would put forward a candidate of
their own in the shape of a foreign prince. Eventually it was agreed to
refer the whole question to a conference at Paris, into which the
British Government entered unshackled by any pledges or previous
announcement of its views.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Earl of Clarendon._

    Constantinople, March 14, 1866.

    The Grand Vizier and Aali Pasha seem to be in very low spirits about
    the Paris Conference. M. de Moustier seems to be constantly
    frightening them. I am willing to comfort them, but I am determined
    not to say anything which may be interpreted by them as a pledge,
    either from my Government or myself. They are horribly afraid of
    France and they would like to lean upon us, but they think that we
    care more for France than for them, and believe that we are apt to
    blame them for weakness without being willing to protect them
    against the consequences of their resistance. I think they are wrong
    in thinking that it would have been better for them to have had the
    Conference here. The French Government itself seems to me to be
    always more reasonable than its agents abroad.

    I have not been able to get any fresh information about the
    Finances. The Syndicate to receive the revenues set apart for the
    payment of the Foreign Loans is not yet established, though it is a
    month since Fuad Pasha assured me that the decree was 'all but
    printed.' The Commission which is examining the actual state of the
    Finances seems to have great difficulty in getting at the truth.
    None of its proceedings have yet been made public. I preach economy
    and retrenchment, but I have not mentioned the ironclads
    particularly to the Ottoman authorities as General Ignatieff appears
    to suppose. I have certainly not attempted to defend the expenditure
    incurred for these vessels when I have heard it attacked by my
    colleagues and other people.

    I have certainly got on very well with my colleagues hitherto, but
    then we have had no serious questions to discuss.

The unhappy Turks, bullied by Moustier, at their wit's ends to find
money, and distracted at the threat of internal troubles, seem about
this period to have once more recurred to the old proposal of a Russian
Protectorate, and to have hit upon the brilliant idea of making money,
at the same time, out of the Principalities.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Earl Cowley._

    April 18, 1866.

    The Turks are very low, and I hear that a good deal of discussion
    goes on about the hopelessness of obtaining any efficient protection
    from the Western Powers, and the consequent necessity of making the
    best terms they can with Russia. France they look upon as an enemy;
    England as a lukewarm and indifferent friend. They hope that they
    might get a good sum out of Russia for the Principalities; that they
    might satisfy her appetite for territory by giving them to her, and
    that then by letting her exercise great influence for the protection
    of the Eastern Church in the rest of the Empire, they might satisfy
    her, and persuade her to abstain from coming to Constantinople
    herself, and to keep other Powers off. Of course nothing so absurd
    as this, or at all like it, has been said to me by Aali or Fuad, but
    I hear that this sort of language is held by a great many Turks
    amongst themselves, and it may be a symptom worth noting.

    We are all anxiety to hear something from Paris about the Plébiscite
    and Prince Charles of Hohenzollern. Till I know what our Government
    think, I can give no advice to the Turks.

The result of the Paris Conference was that Prince Charles of
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was chosen as Hereditary Prince of Roumania,
much to the consternation of the Turks, who saw in this practical
abandonment of their suzerainty, the approaching disintegration of their
Empire, and therefore began to threaten an occupation of the
Principalities. This they were dissuaded from attempting, and the
efforts of British diplomacy were directed towards obtaining a
recognition of Prince Charles on reasonable terms, a task which was not
facilitated by the Sultan's sudden dismissal of the capable Grand
Vizier, Fuad Pasha, or by the refusal of the Roumanians to behave with
even decent courtesy towards the Porte. A prodigious amount of
negotiation and correspondence passed with reference to the Investiture
of the Prince by the Sultan, and that the fault lay with the Roumanians
is shown by the following extract from a letter[7] written in August:
'The Turks have been wonderfully yielding and moderate about the
Principalities, and if there had been anything of the same spirit at
Bucharest, Prince Charles would have been invested long ago. There is a
hitch now, and there will be at least more delay.' In this troublesome
matter the English and the French Governments worked together in order
to arrive at a satisfactory solution, and the much-denounced M. de
Moustier seems to have done something to help his colleague.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._[8]

    Constantinople, Sept. 12, 1866.

    M. de Moustier sets out for Paris this day week. He and I have been
    very good colleagues. Since Lord Clarendon decided to advise the
    Porte to recognize Prince Charles, M. de Moustier and I have worked
    cordially together to settle the Principalities question in that
    sense, and I hope the thing may be done before he goes. A stable
    honest government in the Principalities is the best thing for all
    parties, and the recognition of Prince Charles is the obvious means
    of arriving at this. Whether he will prove a success or a failure
    will depend upon his character and his ability to govern through the
    constitutional forms, for the Hospodar must in fact for some time be
    a Cæsar or he will soon be nothing.

    M. de Moustier is not at all liked by his other colleagues here, and
    he has inspired the Turks with more fear than love. As he and I have
    not differed on any serious matter (except just at first about the
    Suez Canal), I cannot very well say how I should have liked him as
    an opponent.

    The Turks seem horribly afraid of Benedetti as his successor. I wish
    the mantle had fallen upon Mercier, with whom I got on so well at
    Washington.

It is strange to learn that Prince Charles, who has since developed into
a model constitutional monarch, produced at first the impression of
being a perfect firebrand, full of ambitious schemes, and actually
credited with the design of eventually establishing himself as 'The
Charlemagne of the East.' Mr. Green, the British Minister at Bucharest,
thought it desirable to give him some paternal advice, upon his own
responsibility, telling him that the Roumanians had no intention of
putting up with a mere show Prince; that he would have to work hard;
that great mistakes had been made since his arrival in the country, that
these would eventually be visited upon his head, and that he should take
warning from the fate of Couza. 'He was very polite,' added Mr. Green,
innocently, 'but I don't think he half liked what I said, or that he
quite understood it. It was probably the first time he had heard the
truth since he has been in the country.'

Foreign princes who undertake to govern Balkan States, however, often
have to put up with worse things than unpalatable truths, and the
conduct of Prince Charles and his advisers with reference to the
question of investiture was of a nature which not only justified strong
language, but necessitated strong pressure from France and England.
After bargaining and haggling for several months, and obtaining all
sorts of concessions from the Porte, the Roumanians actually proposed
that 'in order to meet existing difficulties' the Prince should be
invested at Constantinople without any conditions at all. The chief
stumbling block appears to have the phrase '_partie intégrante_,' in the
Declaration, and it was not until it had been made clear that neither
France nor England would recognize the Prince unless this condition
was complied with that the sacramental words were agreed to. Eventually
more reasonable views prevailed at Bucharest, and Prince Charles at last
proceeded to Constantinople for the ceremony of Investiture. The Turks,
as is their wont, received him with great courtesy, and the impression
he created was of the most favourable kind, the only person who
exhibited dissatisfaction being the Russian Minister.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Green._

    Therapia, Nov. 1, 1866.

    The Prince will, I suppose, arrive at Bucharest two or three days
    before this reaches you. I hope he is satisfied with his visit to
    Constantinople. There was some hitch about the interchange of
    civilities with the Russian Minister and one or two other chiefs of
    missions, I believe. I suppose however all was set right before His
    Highness went away. The Prince himself showed, I thought, great good
    sense in these matters of etiquette as well as in more important
    matters. I should be glad if you would take an opportunity of
    letting him understand discreetly that I personally was thoroughly
    satisfied, not that he can doubt it.

The Principalities Question having been satisfactorily settled, M. de
Moustier, who, in the meanwhile, had become Minister for Foreign
affairs, lost no time in claiming all the credit for himself. With his
usual good sense, Lord Lyons showed complete indifference to the egotism
of his former colleague.

    'It is the way of French diplomatists everywhere, and of almost all
    diplomatists at Pera, to take to themselves the credit of every good
    thing that has been done,' he wrote to Lord Cowley, 'so far as the
    Turks are concerned. I have borne in mind what you told me in Paris
    of your own system of dealing with them, and have endeavoured to let
    them have the credit of their good deeds, whatever part I may have
    had in bringing them about. M. de Moustier has certainly not
    followed the same plan. His article in the _Moniteur_ gives no
    credit either to the Turks or to me. Whatever may be our relative
    shares in settling the questions, it cannot be doubted that if I had
    chosen from jealousy, or any other motive, to thwart him, I could
    easily have done so. However, if good is done, I am willing to
    forego my share of the boasting.'

It is hardly necessary to state that the semi-comic question of the
Principalities was but one of many difficulties threatening in every
part of the Turkish Empire, from the Fortress of Belgrade to the
Lebanon. The long letter to Lord Stanley of December 19 is one which,
with slight variations, might have been written by every British
Ambassador at Constantinople at any time during the last fifty years,
but is quoted in full because it seems to constitute a comprehensive
review of the condition of Turkey at the close of 1866; and it is
perhaps worthy of note, as showing how completely the politics of Europe
have changed, that the gigantic struggle between Prussia and Austria
passed unnoticed and without producing the slightest apparent effect in
the Near East.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Constantinople, Dec. 19, 1866.

    I am afraid that it is only too true that a storm is brewing in the
    East. There is a very apparent change in the policy of Russia, or at
    least, in that of her agents in Turkey. When I arrived a year ago
    there was every appearance of a desire on the part of Russia to keep
    things quiet in Turkey. Now her agents make no secret of their
    sympathy with the Cretan insurrection and with Christian malcontents
    throughout the Empire and appear to be determined to recover their
    old position as the special friends and protectors of all the
    Orthodox Christians, and to be willing enough to see troubles and
    disturbances break out in all directions. Greece is bent upon
    mischief, and the question whether we are or are not to have an
    Eastern Question forced upon us in the spring depends upon whether
    or no Greece can be kept in order. All this suits the Russian game.
    If we interfere to bring the Hellenes to their senses, she hopes to
    recover her lost popularity at our expense. If we do not, she will
    claim the merit of having hindered us.

    I cannot make up my mind to recommend the Turks to take a bold
    course. Discouraging as is the spectacle afforded by the Turkish
    army and navy in Crete, I think it probable that the Turks would in
    the end get the better of the Hellenes if they were allowed to deal
    with them without any interference from Europe. But Europe
    undoubtedly would interfere. I very much dread the effects of
    allowing the Greeks to get up disturbances in this country in the
    spring. If the disturbances are very serious they will probably lead
    to the destruction of Ottoman rule in Europe. What will take its
    place it is impossible to foresee, but I think it is pretty clear
    that the Turks will not go without a desperate struggle, and that in
    mixed districts we shall have massacres and every kind of horror.
    Great calamities may possibly be avoided if we can keep the Turks
    going and make them go on tolerably well for some years longer. If
    they are really capable of radical improvement, if they can live
    upon equal terms with the Christians, and establish a good
    government, so much the better. If things go on as they have done
    lately, the Turks will be gradually squeezed out, as the Americans
    say, by the increase in numbers, wealth and intelligence of the
    Christians. I am not one of those who look upon the Turkish Empire
    as good _per se_--to be upheld at all hazards--but in the interest
    of all parties, I should like to let it down gently; but in order to
    make this possible, the Turks must be prudent and behave well to all
    their subjects.

    The arguments against giving up the Fortress of Belgrade are
    strongly put in Mr. Longworth's despatch to me of which he has sent
    you a copy. For my own part I doubt whether the _Levée en masse_ of
    the Mussulman population of Turkey to defend it, would not shake the
    Empire to pieces. In the face of the extreme unpopularity of the
    Sultan personally and of the Government with the Mussulmans, I doubt
    whether the Ministers would be willing to risk an appeal to them.
    The same state of things however makes the Ministers very fearful of
    the effect of giving up the Fortress. It seems that Europe will
    advise the Porte to abandon it, and this, I am inclined to think, is
    the proper advice for Europe to give. I do not think that it is
    advice which it would be fair to press very strongly unless (as is
    by no means impossible) the Porte may wish to be able to say to the
    Sultan and the people that they were obliged to yield to all Europe
    united against them on the point. I don't think that England, or any
    other power, should encourage the Porte to hold out, unless of
    course it were deemed to be a matter of such importance that
    material aid would be given to help the Porte out of any scrape into
    which its holding out might bring it. On the other hand, unless we
    were prepared to do this and to do it effectually, we should make
    ourselves unnecessarily odious to the Christian races, and neither
    obtain nor deserve any gratitude from the Turks, if we alone advised
    them to keep the Fortress. Aali Pasha does not talk as if he had any
    idea of yielding. His plan will probably be to say neither yes nor
    no, unless circumstances compel him to give a categorical answer to
    the Servians.

Lord Stanley, who at this period ruled at the Foreign Office, was not an
optimist by nature, had no illusions about the future of Turkey, and his
letters contain references to many other questions which appeared likely
to create trouble in Europe; besides Crete and the Fortress of Belgrade.
With regard to the latter he observed that the 'Turks have the same right
to stay there that every one has to do foolish things where only his own
interest is concerned.' 'The Austrians,' he wrote in October, 'have made
their greatest mistake of this year (which is saying a good deal) in the
choice of Beust as Minister.

'The general impression is that Bismark[9] (_sic_) will not be able to
hold power, from the state of his health. I do not envy the King of
Prussia left alone to carry out plans which he probably has never
understood and to face a German Parliament which he only consented to
call in reliance on his adviser's capacity to manage it.'

Another letter refers to a contemplated visit of the Prince of Wales to
St. Petersburg, and, in view of 'his strong anti-Turkish opinions of
which he makes no secret,' points out that care should be taken to
explain to the Russian Government that H.R.H. did not represent the
opinions of the Cabinet.

Other communications from the same Minister mention that the Americans
had revived the _Alabama_ claims 'in a friendly and temperate manner,'
and there are many allusions to the disquieting symptoms in France. 'I
hear,' he wrote in November, 'that the one idea of everybody, high and
low, in France is that the country is defenceless (with 600,000
soldiers), and that the lowest estimate of the necessary force laid
before the commission now sitting involves an addition of 400,000 more.
They have so long been used in that country to be surrounded by weak
states that the mere neighbourhood of an equal is regarded by them as a
threat.'

In the beginning of 1867 one difficulty was cleared out of the way, for
Lord Stanley having formally tendered his advice, the Turkish Government
consented to evacuate the Fortress of Belgrade. This unusual display of
good sense was all the more creditable on account of the terror which
Sultan Abdul Aziz inspired in his ministers; but the protracted
insurrection in Crete constituted not only a danger, but also a fertile
source of intrigues amongst Foreign Powers.

Lord Stanley took the matter-of-fact view that Greece had estranged
British sympathy through financial immorality; and he was probably
correct, for in the case of Turkey, it was not until the repudiation of
her debts, that there was much fulmination against the iniquities of
Ottoman rule.

'Opinion here is undecided about the Cretan quarrel,' wrote this prosaic
nobleman, who is credited with having himself refused the throne of
Greece. 'Nobody much believes in the Turks, but the old Phil-Hellenism
is dead, and cannot be revived. Greece is too much associated in the
English mind with unpaid debts and commercial sharp practice to command
the sympathy that was felt thirty years ago. And now that questions of
more interest and nearer home are being discussed, Crete will drop out
of men's minds.'

A little later, the French Government suddenly and quite unexpectedly
proposed the cession of Crete to Greece; and this violent change in the
policy hitherto pursued, rendered difficult joint action on the part of
England and France with regard to Turkey. The original idea underlying
French policy had been that the two Governments should force certain
reforms upon the Porte, more particularly with regard to encouraging
public works to be undertaken by foreign capitalists, and that the Turks
should be made prosperous in spite of themselves. The difficulty in
carrying out this beneficent programme consisted in the fact that there
were no means of influencing the daily details of administration upon
which its execution and success depended, and it seemed highly probable
that the joint guardianship of England and France might degenerate into
a struggle between the two Embassies for personal influences in making
and unmaking governors and ministers, to say nothing of the danger of
the perpetration of gigantic jobs under the guise of giving public works
to foreign capitalists. Nor, of course, was the Turkish Government in
possession of funds to carry out any programme whatever.

Lord Stanley refused to entertain the French proposal with regard to
Crete, and advanced much the same reasons as those probably brought
forward more than forty years later.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Stanley to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 21, 1867.

    The Eastern Question remains where it was. France has certainly not
    dropped her idea of urging the cession of Crete. I have distinctly
    refused to join in this advice, as you will see by my despatch. The
    Russians seem jealous of French interference, though they cannot
    object, as it is in the sense of their often expressed opinions. The
    Italian Government shows an inclination to take part in the
    discussion, but rather, as I conceive, for the purpose of asserting
    its position as a first-rate power than with any definite idea of
    what it wants. Indeed, I think I trace in Italy a feeling of
    jealousy of the increase of the Greek power, lest Greece should
    become a troublesome neighbour and rival.

    The chief event which is interesting the diplomatic world at the
    present moment is a report--not wholly unfounded as I believe--of
    the cession of Luxemburg by Holland to France. Prussia will resent
    it (if it comes to pass) and Belgium will not be the happier for
    being thus partly surrounded by French territory.

The Emperor (who had probably abandoned the control of his Eastern
policy to M. de Moustier) received a warning from Lord Cowley.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Cowley to Lord Lyons._

    Paris, March 22, 1867.

    I found Moustier on my return a very different man from what I had
    left him, in respect to Turkey, but I had, a few days after my
    arrival, a conversation with the Emperor in which I warned him of
    the dangerous game he was playing in hastening the dissolution of
    the Turkish Empire, which could only turn to the profit of Russia,
    and I think that H.M. sees the matter in this light now and that he
    has desired Moustier to hold his hand and not forestall events. I
    fear however that things cannot go on much longer in Turkey as they
    are. The great matter now should be to educate the Christians for
    the emancipation which awaits them, by giving the outlying provinces
    as much autonomy as possible, but it 'will be a bitter pill for the
    Turks to swallow.'

    There is no particular news here--fresh irritation against Prussia,
    which will become dangerous if it does not die out before next year.

The vagary on the part of the French Government produced much confusion
amongst the diplomatists at Constantinople, who all came to the British
Ambassador with such different stories of what one had done, of what
another was going to do, and of what a third would not do, that he
eventually became as much puzzled as any one else, and adopted an
attitude of strict neutrality.

The following letter to Lord Stanley is of interest for various reasons.
It expresses the deliberate opinion of an exceptionally impartial man
upon Russian policy towards Turkey, and there are references in it for
the first time to two new factors in the Eastern Question, viz. the
Bulgarians and the Young Turks.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Constantinople, April 10, 1867.

    The Turks stand at bay for the moment. They have sent Omar Pasha to
    Crete and are confident that he will reduce the island to
    submission. If he fails to do so in a reasonable time, they must
    confess that the task is too hard for them and leave the settlement
    of the question to the European Powers. France has played the game
    of Russia and apparently has not succeeded after all in satisfying
    her. She has brought Turkey nearer to ruin than it has yet been. It
    all forwards the policy of Russia, which is to keep Turkey unquiet,
    to prevent any approach to conciliation between Turks and
    Christians, to keep up a constant drain on the finances--in short,
    to have the country entirely at its mercy whenever circumstances
    render it convenient to seize it. Aali Pasha and Fuad Pasha both
    assure me that the dividends due in July on the foreign loans will
    be punctually paid; but, with the best intentions, the Porte will
    not be able to pay its foreign dividends much longer, if it is
    obliged to keep a large force on a war footing on the frontier of
    Greece; and to provide against insurrections excited from abroad in
    other quarters. The Bulgarians appear to oppose a strong _vis
    inertiæ_ to the Russian and Hellenic attempts to induce them to use
    and demand autonomy. Their principal quarrel is with the Greek
    clergy foisted upon them by the Patriarchate here. I have not been
    able to form a positive opinion on their demands for a separate
    Patriarch of their own, but I incline to think that the Porte would
    do well to grant it. Russia now urges that the Bulgarians should
    have a civil representative instead, but this would come very near
    to autonomy.

    The discontent among the Mussulmans is very great. It is
    particularly so at Constantinople, where the employees of the
    Government form an important class, and where in consequence of the
    non-payment of salaries, they, and all who live by them, are reduced
    to the greatest distress. The 'Jeune Turquie' party is produced
    partly by this and partly by the desire of Mustapha Fazyl Pasha and
    others to oust Fuad and Aali and to take their places.

    Reports from the Consuls on the treatment of the Christians will
    have been pouring in upon you. The greater part of the grievances of
    the Christians are the results of bad government and bad
    administration of justice, and affect Mussulmans and Christians
    alike. Their peculiar grievances are their practical exclusion from
    the high offices of the State, the rejection in many cases of their
    evidence in the Law Courts, and what is most intolerable, the
    position in which they stand socially and politically with regard to
    the Turks. The Turks will not look upon them as equals and cannot
    trust them. In fact the Christians cannot feel loyalty to the
    Government because they are not trusted and employed; and they
    cannot be trusted and employed because they are not loyal to the
    Government. It is a perfect example of a vicious circle. It is
    useless to deny that the position of a Christian subject of the
    Porte is a humiliating position, and it is vain to expect that
    within any reasonable time the Christians will look upon the
    existing Government as anything but an evil to be endured or
    possibly even upheld as a less evil than revolution, but nothing
    more.

It will be realized from this instructive letter that however bad the
Turkish Government, it had to contend with obstacles which are not
encountered by other countries, and that in reality it never had a fair
chance, although it is only just to add that when a real chance did
occur, upon the overthrow of Abdul Hamid, in 1908, the opportunity was
deliberately thrown away.

The Turks, however, had sufficient sense to concede the Bulgarian demand
for a separate church, and by thus affecting a schism between the latter
and the Greeks, succeeded in prolonging their hold over Macedonia for a
longer period than would otherwise have been the case.

Meanwhile Lord Stanley had been thinking of other matters, and the
allusions to Alaska and to Canada in the letter of April 4, afford a
delightful instance of the light in which British statesmen viewed
Colonial questions at that period.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Stanley to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, April 4, 1867.

    The Eastern Question has left us quiet during the last ten days. I
    hear nothing more of the proposed cession of Crete, and I suspect
    the French have found out that they had been going a little too fast
    and too far.

    The Luxemburg business has monopolized attention. Holland was
    willing to sell the Grand Duchy if the consent of Prussia could be
    secured, and France wished and wishes to buy, but Prussia steadily
    refuses. Holland dares not act without Bismarck's permission, and
    for the moment the plan seems to have fallen through. But the
    Emperor cannot afford a fresh defeat, and I fear we have not seen
    the end of the transaction. There is an almost universal expectation
    of war.

    The Americans, as you will see, have bought a large amount of
    worthless[10] territory from Russia at a nominal price. Their motive
    is probably twofold: to establish a sort of claim in the future to
    British North America, lying as it does between their old and their
    new possessions; and to gain a victory over us by doing without our
    knowledge an act which they probably think will annoy England. In
    that expectation they will be disappointed, for I cannot find any
    one who cares about the matter, and the press in general treats it
    with indifference. It is true that in Canada the feeling may be
    different.

The Luxemburg difficulty (which had the effect of producing a temporary
rapprochement between France and Russia with regard to the Eastern
Question) was settled by a conference in London, and letters from Lord
Stanley and others show that war was narrowly averted, and that the
French were not ungrateful for the action of the British Government.

    'We have been too busy at home to have much leisure for Eastern
    affairs,' wrote Lord Stanley. 'The success of the Conference in
    keeping the peace was not, I think, expected by the general public
    and has given proportionate satisfaction, more perhaps here than
    elsewhere, and more in France than in Russia. The Emperor dreaded
    the idea of war and would have accepted almost any terms. The
    Prussians, being prepared and knowing that the French were not so,
    professed great indifference as to the result of the negotiations.
    Many still say that the inevitable quarrel is only postponed. It may
    be so, but I am inclined to think that in such matters to gain time
    is to gain everything. Irritation subsides, new questions arise to
    divert attention, and the opinion of the country has time to declare
    itself. I am told that at Paris the feeling of gratitude to England
    is general and strong.'

In May, in spite of Crete, it was arranged that Sultan Abdul Aziz should
pay a visit to France, and both the French and Turks, unlike Lord
Russell, whose opinion on the value of such visits has been already
quoted, thought that it would be productive of great results. The Turks
were especially delighted, because they thought the invitation a proof
that France would not persist in the alliance with Russia which had been
so perilous to the Ottoman Empire. It was hoped that if France could be
brought back to her old attitude of co-operation with England in
deprecating foreign aggression, things might be kept quiet, and that the
internal situation might improve. The recent pro-Russian proclivities of
Napoleon III. had drawn upon him some very sharp remonstrances from Her
Majesty's Government, and a despatch from Lord Cowley shows that the
Emperor had to put up with some remarkably plain speaking. He was told
by the British Ambassador that if he would devote a little more
attention to Eastern affairs he would probably refrain from constant
intervention in the internal affairs of Turkey, unless indeed he wished
to see that Empire collapse; and when he attempted feebly to explain
that Russia deserved some satisfaction for her pride wounded by the
result of the Crimean War, and that the best method of restraining her
aggressive proceedings was to act in conjunction with her, he was
informed that the best way of meeting insidious Russian policy was by
honest and open opposition. It must doubtless have been extremely
irritating to the British Government to see this disposition to fritter
away the effects of the policy which led to the Crimean War, and the
probability is that the Emperor had no definite idea as to what he
wanted and was merely drifting along, in his usual manner, without
realizing the possible results.

    'I fancy,' said Lord Lyons, 'that great efforts will be made to
    please and astonish the Sultan in France and to impress him with the
    power of the country. He is not stupid or bigoted, but he has had
    very little education. He is more amiable than he looks. He speaks
    only Turkish. His hobby is the Navy and the way for us to impress
    him would be to show him as many ships, and particularly ironclads,
    as we can--that is to say if we can show as many or more than the
    French. He is Oriental enough to expect hospitality, as he practises
    it here, and I suppose he would be much hurt by any etiquette which
    he thought a slight. Politically, I think a visit from him to
    England would be a good thing if we received him personally as well
    as the French did. As he has taken up the idea of going to England,
    he would of course be very much mortified at not being cordially
    received, and advantage would be taken of anything of the kind by
    the enemies of Turkey here to weaken his and our position. I
    suggested to Fuad Pasha to let the question of his visit to England
    be still, until I could communicate with you about it, but I
    understand he has telegraphed to Musurus to speak to you. I suppose
    the Sultan, of whom they all seem as much afraid as if he still cut
    off heads, ordered him to do so and he dared not object. I believe
    the Sultan will not leave Constantinople till he has made quite sure
    of not finding the Emperor of Russia at Paris. Fuad says he will
    take a very small suite, but I suppose it will be a larger suite
    than a European Sovereign would have. I believe he will take a sort
    of noble guard he has, who wear very picturesque costumes of
    different parts of the Empire: there used to be fifty of them, but I
    hardly suppose all will go.'

It very soon became evident that the Sultan was quite determined to go
to England, and it was clearly desirable that he should be received with
no less distinction and ceremony than in France. In a courtly manner he
conveyed to the Ambassador that he would be deeply mortified if he were
not given the opportunity of paying his respects personally to Queen
Victoria, and his ministers laid great stress upon the desirability of
His Majesty being received by the Lord Mayor, the importance of that
magnate standing apparently as high in the estimation of the Oriental as
of the Frenchman. The mingled pleasure, alarm, and agitation evoked by
the Sultan's intended visit are well illustrated by the following letter
to Lord Lyons from a man who seemed marked out to add to the gaiety of
nations, Mr. Hammond.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Foreign Office, May 30, 1867.

    We should like to know as soon as possible at what time we may
    calculate on seeing the Sultan and what members of his family or of
    his Government he brings with him, and the rank and description of
    his suite and their numbers. It is to be hoped they will not be too
    numerous, and that as he is to be lodged in the Palace, the usual
    habits of Orientalism will for the time be laid aside and the
    services of his Harem be dispensed with during his visit. It would
    shock the people in this country to hear of the Sultan being
    attended by persons not proper to be mentioned in civilized society,
    and no small inconvenience might result if he was known to have
    slaves in his suite, for it would be impossible to answer for the
    enthusiasts of Exeter Hall with so fair an opportunity before them
    for displaying their zeal and doing mischief.

    Aali Pasha has, I think, been in England, and you might have means
    of bringing these little matters before him in such a delicate way
    as not to shock the Sultan's ideas of propriety or mastery. The
    French probably would not be so particular in these respects, but
    they have not Writs of Habeas Corpus dangling before their eyes, nor
    unrestricted liberty of speech and print to provide against.

    Whatever information you can give us of the Sultan's habits of
    living and of the sort of accommodation he will require will be very
    acceptable to the Lord Chamberlain's office, and any hints as to
    what it would most interest him to see would be valuable.

    In London, you know, we have no manufactories, but there are the
    Arsenal at Woolwich; the large private shipbuilding yards in the
    Thames, if he did not care to go to Portsmouth for a day; the
    Museum, Bank, Post Office and some few things of that sort which are
    probably peculiar in their extent to this country. It might also
    interest him, if he is a reformer, to see our prisons, from which he
    might take useful hints. Does he keep reasonable hours, and would he
    be shocked at balls, or restrain himself from throwing a
    handkerchief at any beauty that might cross his path?

Sultan Abdul Aziz's visit to England passed off without administering
any of those shocks to public feeling which Mr. Hammond contemplated
with so much alarm. There are no means of ascertaining what precise
effects were produced upon the Sultan's mind, but it is to be presumed
that the object lesson afforded by an English prison was wasted upon
him, for anything more unlike an English prison than a Turkish gaol it
would be difficult to imagine. The ill-fated Abdul Aziz was accompanied
on this journey by his young nephew, destined to become famous
subsequently as Abdul Hamid II., but he, too, has kept his impressions
to himself, and the only topic upon which he has been known to
expatiate, is the excellence of English servants, who 'always treated
him in a fatherly manner.'

In the meanwhile Lord Lyons's stay at Constantinople was drawing to a
close, for at the end of April, Lord Stanley had offered him the Embassy
at Paris. The offer was made in highly flattering terms, the Foreign
Secretary expressing his regret at withdrawing the Ambassador from an
important post, the duties of which he so thoroughly understood, but
adding that Paris was the first place in the diplomatic service, and
that the Eastern Question seemed likely to be superseded by even more
serious difficulties nearer home. It is probable that the honour was all
the more appreciated because it was unsolicited and unexpected, as shown
by the following letter from him to Lord Cowley.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Constantinople, May 8, 1867.

    When I first heard that you were likely to give up Paris, I felt, as
    I think I said in my letter to you, alarmed at the prospect of the
    Embassy's falling into other hands. I should have been indeed
    alarmed had I then known into what hands it was likely to fall. I
    received on the 3rd a letter from Lord Stanley offering it to me. I
    have accepted in deference to my father's often repeated injunction
    never to refuse promotion, but I confess I am full of misgivings and
    anxieties. I had heard nothing whatever from the Foreign Office till
    I received Lord Stanley's letter last week.

The appointment, when it became known publicly, was generally approved,
and no one wrote in warmer terms of congratulation than Lord Clarendon,
who had been Lord Stanley's predecessor at the Foreign Office, and who
stated that he had himself suggested Lord Lyons to his successor as the
most suitable man for the post.

Thus, at the comparatively early age of fifty he had attained the
highest place in the British diplomatic service.

As regards Lord Lyons's two years occupation of the Constantinople
Embassy, it has already been pointed out that the period was one of
comparative calm, and that there were no sensational questions to be
dealt with. Unlike some of his predecessors and successors, he had not
been instructed to make any change in the policy pursued by the British
Government towards Turkey, and it had not fallen to his lot to be forced
to adopt a threatening and aggressive attitude. Consequently, his
experiences of Constantinople were agreeable and unexciting; his
relations with the Turkish Ministers and with his colleagues had been
singularly amicable, and he left the place with regret. It would be
affectation to claim that his stay there left any permanent mark upon
our policy in the East, but there were two minor matters in which his
influence made itself felt. Entertaining a profound dislike to intrigue
and tortuous methods, he made it his business to diminish as much as
possible the so-called Dragoman system and to substitute for it a
different and more open method of transacting the business of the
Embassy. The other matter related to the practice of extorting favours
and concessions from the Porte. It has always been the tradition of
British diplomacy in the East, and it may perhaps be said to be unique
in this respect, that the influence of the Ambassador should not be used
to procure concessions, honours, or favours on behalf of British
subjects. Upon this point he carried the principle of abstention to
almost extravagant lengths, as the following incident shows. The
daughter of a gentleman connected with the Embassy was about to be
married, and the newspaper _La Turquie_ announced that the Sultan had
sent a magnificent present. The announcement caught the eye of the
vigilant ambassador, who immediately wrote to the father:

    I think you will do well to take steps to remove the unfavourable
    impression which this paragraph cannot but make. There can be little
    if any difference between such a present and one made directly to
    yourself; and the most friendly course I can take is to advise you
    to prevent the acceptance of it, and to have a paragraph inserted in
    the _Turquie_ explaining that it has not been retained.

This must have been singularly unpleasant for all parties, and it is
quite likely that the Ambassador found himself morally bound to
compensate the lady by making an equally magnificent present as a
substitute for the Sultan's rejected gift.

An application to support a concession to Mr. Brassey for the
construction of a railway from Constantinople to Adrianople met with no
favour at all. He explained that he was constantly applied to in order
to support all sorts of concessions for railways and similar
undertakings, and that his practice was to reply that it was not his
business to meddle in such matters unless instructed to do so by the
Foreign Office, and that concessionaires should therefore in the first
place address themselves to the Home Government. 'The fact is that there
is often much dirty work connected with the management of such matters
at the Porte, and I wish to be clear of them.' Over and over again there
appears in his letters the emphatic statement that he 'refuses to take
part in the dirty work by which European speculators are apt to get
concessions out of the Turks.'

It would not be difficult to find arguments against this attitude, which
in these days of increased international competition it would be
impossible rigidly to maintain, but the views which prevailed fifty
years ago with regard to the abstention of British diplomacy from every
species of concession mongering probably did more than anything else to
inspire Orientals with a belief in our integrity as a nation.


FOOTNOTES:

  [5] Lord Clarendon, upon the death of Lord Palmerston, became Foreign
  Secretary in place of Lord Russell.

  [6] British minister at Bucharest.

  [7] Lord Lyons to Mr. Stuart.

  [8] In consequence of the change of Government, Lord Stanley
  (subsequently Earl of Derby) had now become Foreign Secretary.

  [9] It used to be said that it took a Franco-German war to secure the
  correct spelling of this name. It is certainly a curious fact that
  another Foreign Secretary also used to spell it incorrectly.

  [10] Alaska.



CHAPTER VI

THE SECOND EMPIRE

(1867-1869)


Lord Lyons, accompanied by Malet and Sheffield, whom he had again been
permitted to retain on his staff, entered upon his duties at Paris in
October, 1867, and there he remained until within a few months of his
death, some twenty years later. He arrived at a time when, although the
outward splendour of the Empire still dazzled the popular imagination,
the prestige, influence, and popularity of the Imperial Government, and
more especially of the Emperor himself, had suffered a series of
disastrous shocks. If Napoleon III.'s career had ended in 1862 he would
presumably have left a great name in history and a record of brilliant
successes; after that period, however, everything seemed to go wrong for
him. Poland, the Danish War, and the Austro-Prussian War had shown that
his pretension to control the policy of Europe had practically vanished;
the incomprehensible Mexican enterprise had ended in disaster and
disgrace, and to add to these glaring failures in foreign policy there
was deep-seated discontent at home. In the autumn of 1867 a fresh
embarrassment to France was created by the action of Garibaldi, who
succeeded in embroiling two Governments which had latterly been on most
friendly terms. The alliance between Italy and Prussia in 1866 had been
a temporary expedient only; the sympathies of Victor Emmanuel had always
been on the side of France, and when at the close of that year, the
Emperor decided upon the withdrawal of his troops from Rome, it seemed
not improbable that a permanent alliance between Italy and France might
be effected. This combination was defeated by the action of Garibaldi in
invading the Papal States, and the Emperor, dominated by the clerical
party, found himself compelled not only to use threatening language
towards the Italian Government, but to send a French expedition to
re-occupy Rome and defend the Pope against his enemies. Mentana was the
result, and it soon became plain that the policy of the French
Government was to prevent Italy from obtaining possession of Rome, M.
Rouher, the French Prime Minister, at a subsequent period going so far
as to declare that France would never tolerate such an outrage on its
honour. In spite of all this, signs were not wanting that there was no
desire on the part of either France or Italy to go to war. Mentana had
cleared the air, and the chief danger seemed to consist in the renewed
French occupation of Rome. As Lord Stanley pointed out, it was
comparatively easy for the Emperor to go to Rome, but the difficulty lay
in getting out again, for who was to keep order after the evacuation?
Napoleon III. had, in fact, released himself from momentary
embarrassments at the cost of heavy trouble in the future. In accordance
with his favourite practice, he now made the proposal that the so-called
Roman Question should be submitted to a Conference of the Powers at
Paris--a proposal which did not commend itself to England, and was
opposed by Prussia at the instigation of Bismarck, whose object it was
to accentuate the differences between France and Italy. To what extent
the Empress Eugénie participated in the direction of French foreign
policy has often been the subject of discussion, but there can be no
doubt that she held decided views with regard to the Roman Question and
the proposed Conference.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Nov. 11, 1867.

    After I had presented the Queen's letter this morning, the Empress
    kept me in conversation for an hour. She began by expressing in warm
    terms respect and affection for the Queen and in particular
    gratitude for Her Majesty's kind reception of her at the last visit.

    The Empress proceeded to speak of the Roman question and insisted
    strongly on the necessity for a Conference and on the importance and
    propriety of non-Catholic as well as Catholic powers taking part in
    it. She expressed a very strong desire that England should not stand
    aloof.

    Without taking upon myself to anticipate your decision on the
    matter, I endeavoured to make the Empress aware of the very great
    difficulty and delicacy of a Conference to us. It appeared to result
    from that. Her Majesty said that, in her own opinion, the proper
    basis for the deliberations would be the maintenance of the _status
    quo_. This, she seemed to think, would be a fair compromise between
    the demand of the Pope that all the provinces he had lost should be
    restored to him and the pretensions of Italy to Rome itself.

    The conversation having been brought round to the measures to be
    taken immediately, I endeavoured to impress upon the Empress the
    advantage of withdrawing the troops without a day's unnecessary
    delay, if not from the Roman territory altogether, at least from
    Rome itself. Her Majesty said that there was nothing in principle
    against withdrawing to Civita Vecchia at once, and that certainly
    the Emperor and she herself were anxious to bring all the troops
    back to France as soon as it was safe to do so.

    The Empress spoke discouragingly of the state of Italy--of the
    little progress that had been made towards uniting and assimilating
    the various sections of the population--of the financial
    difficulties and other unfavourable points. She said however that
    the unity of Italy had been the work of the Emperor, and that it
    would be absurd and disadvantageous to allow it to be destroyed. She
    believed that the French expedition had in reality been of as much
    or more service to King Victor Emmanuel than to the Pope. His
    Majesty's throne was threatened, she thought, by the revolutionary
    party quite as much as was the Temporal power of the Pope.

    Among a great variety of topics which came up, the Empress spoke, by
    way of an illustration, of the Kingdom of Greece. She said it had
    been a mistake, if that Kingdom was to be created at all, not to
    give it territory enough to enable it to exist. She did not however
    seem to think it would be advisable at this moment to make over
    Crete or any other Ottoman province to Greece. She appeared to be
    aware of the extreme peril to the whole Ottoman Empire of detaching
    any portion of it in this way.

    The Empress spoke with much grace both of manner and of expression,
    and I think with very great ability.

    For my own part I endeavoured principally to make an impression on
    her mind respecting the immediate withdrawal of the troops to Civita
    Vecchia at least, and I am inclined to think that I succeeded so far
    as to ensure the repeating to the Emperor what I said on this point.

    I hear from all quarters that the Emperor's own position in France
    becomes more and more critical. Every one seems to admit that he
    could not do otherwise than send the expedition to Rome, but the
    success which attended it does not seem to have made much
    impression. All parties except the ultra-clerical appear to desire
    to get out of the intervention as soon as possible. So far as I can
    make out, the weakness of the Emperor's position lies simply in
    loss of prestige arising partly from his want of success on many
    recent occasions, and mainly, I imagine, from the inconstancy of men
    and Frenchmen in particular. In fact he has reigned eighteen years,
    and they are getting tired of so much of the same thing and want
    novelty.

Lord Stanley's comment upon this letter was that the Empress's 'frank
and sensible conversation' furnished the best reason he had received yet
for keeping out of the affair altogether, and he observed with some
justice that what Her Majesty's proposed compromise amounted to, was
that the Pope should keep all that he had already, and merely renounce
his claim to what, under no circumstances, he could ever hope to
recover. The more he considered the proposed Conference the more
hopeless it appeared to him. There was no plan, nothing settled, no
assurance that there was even a wish for agreement amongst the Powers
interested. They were being asked to discuss a question on which they
were certain to differ, and the sole reason given for summoning a
Conference was that the Emperor disliked bearing the responsibility
which he had assumed. Why should we be asked to bear it for him? It must
have been a congenial task for a man of Lord Stanley's temperament to
throw cold water upon the vague and slipshod proposals of the unlucky
Emperor, and he was probably fortified in his conclusions by the
attitude of Prussia and by the reluctance of Russia, in spite of a
Conference being 'always a temptation to Gortschakoff.'[11]

Another personage of some importance, Prince Napoleon, also held decided
views upon the Roman question, which he imparted to the Ambassador in
the hope that they would thus be brought before the Emperor.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Nov. 15, 1867.

    I have had a long interview with Prince Napoleon this afternoon. He
    does not desire that England should agree to the Conference. He
    thinks that the best service England could render to the Emperor
    would be to advise him to give up the idea of a Conference and
    settle the matter with Italy, by satisfying, at least in a certain
    measure, Italian aspirations. He declares that Italy will never be
    quiet, and that the unity of Italy will never be assured until she
    gets Rome for her capital. He believes that the Emperor's support of
    the Pope is very unpopular with the great majority of the French
    people, and that it will, if persevered in, be a serious danger to
    the dynasty. He takes a gloomy view altogether of the state of
    feeling in France, and thinks that the Emperor will not be able to
    hold his own, unless he abandons the system of personal government
    and gives a large increase of liberty. He wishes England to give
    this advice to the Emperor.

    He volunteered to say all this to me and entered into a great many
    details. He spoke with great animation and remarkably well.

    My share of the conversation was but small. I think the advice which
    the Prince wishes us to give to the Emperor would be sound in
    itself, but that it would produce no good effect, unless His Majesty
    felt that he was in a strait, and asked our opinion. I am myself
    very little inclined to thrust advice upon him out of season.

Prince Napoleon on this and, as will be seen, on subsequent occasions,
showed that his judgment was remarkably correct, but it is not probable
that his Imperial cousin benefited by his sage advice, for Lord Stanley
agreed that it was undesirable that the British Government should become
the channel of his opinions. Both he and the Ambassador, however,
thoroughly realized that the Emperor had no fixed plan, and was merely
following his usual hand-to-mouth policy of staving off present at the
cost of future embarrassments.

Napoleon's vague and unpractical views were exposed in a conversation
with Lord Lyons, which apparently took place in a crowded ball-room.
Asked what was to be the basis of the Conference, he made the cryptic
reply: '_Mon Dieu! la base est d'assimiler le pouvoir du Pape à
l'Italie_,' which sounds like unadulterated nonsense; and when pressed
to explain how an unpalatable decision was to be enforced upon a
recalcitrant Pope, His Majesty was only able feebly to suggest 'moral
influence.' Nevertheless, he showed no ill-feeling, and, with habitual
good nature, addressed no reproaches to the Ambassador with regard to
the unsympathetic attitude of Her Majesty's Government. In spite of many
rebuffs and discouragements, the Emperor and his ministers continued to
labour on behalf of their ill-starred project with an energy worthy of a
better cause; but circumstances were eventually too strong for them. The
real opponent all along had been Prussia, and the aim of the Prussian
Government was to throw the blame on to England. The French were well
aware of the fact, and did not consequently display ill-will towards us,
and it seems to have been the speech of M. Rouher, already referred to,
which made it clear that a Conference would be little better than a
waste of time; for when the Italians asked for an explanation they were
informed that M. Rouher's speech only asserted more emphatically what
had been said before. Meanwhile the French troops continued to remain at
Rome, although King Victor Emmanuel complained bitterly to Lord Clarendon
of their presence and declared that, should they be withdrawn, he would
undertake that there should be no aggressive action against the Pope.
The erroneous impression which influenced French policy with regard to
the Papacy was explained in a letter to Lord Lyons from that acute
observer, Mr. Odo Russell,[12] who was the British representative at Rome
at the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Rome, Dec. 10, 1867.

    Cardinal Antonelli constantly talks of you with affection and
    respect and often expresses his desire to see you again.

    Many thanks for your letter of the 4th about a preliminary
    conference. Rouher's speech, I take it, has put an end to all
    that--at least so Cardinal Antonelli tells me--and the joy caused at
    the Vatican that France will never allow Italy to hold Rome is
    immense.

    You are perfectly right in not thinking that the Court of Rome has
    changed since you were here.

    French diplomatists and statesmen are but too apt to interpret the
    clear and precise language of the Court of Rome according to their
    own wishes and to think and proclaim that the Pope will adopt and
    follow the wise counsels of France, etc. etc.

    Now I say, give the Pope his due, and at least give him credit for
    being consistent, whether you agree with him or not.

    In the long run, an Italian priest will always outwit a French
    statesman, and no Frenchman can resist the influence of Rome. A
    year's residence suffices to make him more Papal than the Pope, whom
    he fondly believes to be a French institution under the immediate
    control of the French clergy.

    I have often marvelled at French notions of the Papacy, and now it
    has grown the fashion to mistake the cause of the Pope for that of
    France, even among men who might know better.

    A permanent French occupation is the only possible machinery by
    which the Temporal Power can be imposed on Italy. The national
    feeling against the Temporal Power is certainly much stronger than I
    myself thought in Italy, and the bitter hostility of the Romans has
    been proved by the hideous means employed by them to destroy life
    and property in the October conspiracy.

The accuracy of these views was sufficiently demonstrated in 1870.

Before the end of the year Prince Napoleon made another of his frequent
appearances at the Embassy, and announced that he looked upon a war with
Germany in the spring as certain. He considered that there were only two
courses which could have been taken with prudence--the one to resist the
aggrandizement of Prussia immediately after Sadowa--the other to accept
it with favour; what had been done had merely caused so much irritation
that France would eventually be forced into war. He denounced Thiers,
who, while pretending to advocate peace, was always crying out that
France was being wronged and humiliated, and thought that even a
successful war would be full of danger to the Empire. Apparently his own
policy was to unite with Italy against the Pope and establish liberal
institutions in France, a course which the Emperor had now rendered it
impossible to adopt, as he had committed himself to the Pope, and was
not likely to play the part of a Constitutional monarch after eighteen
years of absolute power. 'He speaks very well, and with a good deal of
animation,' wrote Lord Lyons, 'and his opinions sound much better as he
delivers them than they read as I write them.' But, making every
allowance for exuberant verbosity, this Prince seems to have held much
sounder and more definite opinions than his Imperial relative.

Not long after Prince Napoleon came the Foreign Minister, M. de
Moustier, with his story.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Jan. 16, 1868.

    M. de Moustier says that the reports he receives from Berlin and
    other quarters confirm his impression that Prussia is averse to a
    war with France; that the relations between Austria and Prussia are
    improving, and that such being the case Prussia is awakening to a
    sense of the danger of Russian designs in Eastern Europe. On the
    other hand he says that Baron Brunnow gives the most positive
    assurances that Russia will do nothing against Turkey. He trusts
    that these assurances may be depended upon, but he thinks that the
    Russian Government uses its ambassadors as screens, behind which to
    carry on its own manoeuvres.

    Nigra, the Italian Minister here, tells me that his last news from
    Florence gives him strong hopes that the Menabrea Ministry will
    maintain itself. I presume that the object of Italy should be to
    convince the Emperor that Rome will be safe without the French
    troops--I mean to make the Emperor himself really confident of it.
    This done, I suppose diplomacy is capable of devising some formal
    guarantees to satisfy the French public. I do not believe that
    France has as yet done more than hinted at some security that Italy
    will take her side, if she quarrels with Prussia. I do not know that
    she has even hinted at anything of the kind. A demand for an
    engagement of this sort would be unreasonable and probably futile.
    If France is ever hard pressed by Prussia, the Italians will go to
    Rome unless some other Powers step forward to bar the way. At all
    events, it will not be by promises extracted beforehand that they
    will be stopped.

    The real danger to Europe appears however to be in the difficulties
    of the Emperor Napoleon at home. The discontent is great and the
    distress amongst the working classes severe. The great measure of
    the session, the new Conscription Act, is very unpopular. There is
    no glitter at home or abroad to divert public attention, and the
    French have been a good many years without the excitement of a
    change. I think that Europe, and England in particular, are more
    interested in maintaining the Emperor, than in almost anything else.

The accuracy of this forecast, like that of Mr. Odo Russell, was also
demonstrated in 1870, when, upon the retirement of the French garrison,
the Italian troops marched into Rome, and the temporal power of the Pope
came to an end. It is not, however, altogether fair to place the whole
responsibility for the collapse of French policy in Italy upon Napoleon
III., for whereas he was no doubt personally in favour of an united
Italy; there was a strong party in France which was strongly
opposed to it, and convinced that French interests lay in a divided
country. The mention of Russia in the above letter makes the following
remarkable communication not inappropriate.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Jan. 22, 1868.

    The Emperor told me last night that his Ambassador at St. Petersburg
    had had a curious conversation with the Emperor Alexander.

    The Emperor Alexander had, he said, asked the Ambassador whether the
    French Government were fully aware of the extent of the plot which
    was actively carried on for the destruction of all the monarchical
    governments in Europe, and the assassination of sovereigns and Royal
    families. After giving some details His Majesty had suggested to
    the Ambassador that the several Governments should communicate
    information to each other and unite their efforts to defend
    themselves.

    The Emperor Napoleon proceeded to tell me that it was asserted that
    the first and principal attempt was to be made in England; that the
    palaces and public buildings were to be blown up, and the Queen and
    Royal Family seized and put on board a steamer in the Thames and
    'disposed of.' The Emperor Napoleon went on to say that the supposed
    details of the scheme to overthrow the Government of England were of
    course absurd, but he seemed to intend to suggest that we should be
    vigilant, and that he himself would be glad to co-operate with us.
    He said that Mazzini, who had let him alone for some time, had now
    again taken up the idea of assassinating him, and was busily
    employed in making plans for effecting their purpose. He told me
    that Mazzini was very ill and he did not express any wish for his
    recovery.

    The Emperor talked to me a long time and related to me interesting
    anecdotes, some very amusing, of the conduct of various persons
    towards him in past times.

Cheap sensational magazines were not in existence in 1868, or one would
be disposed to infer that the Emperor Alexander had been indulging in
this species of literature, since it seems difficult otherwise to
account for such credulity in high places. As for the Emperor Napoleon's
anecdotes of his youth, they are unfortunately denied to the world, for
the most distressing feature in Lord Lyons's correspondence is the
almost complete absence of anything in the nature of indiscretions. The
conversation, however, serves to show on what intimate terms he already
stood with Napoleon III.

In the spring, letters received from Lord Stanley show that the British
Government was feeling some uneasiness with regard to America, more
especially in connection with the _Alabama_ question, and, as now was
frequently the case, Lord Lyons's advice was requested on various
points. As to the general policy which should be pursued, he reiterated
his former opinion that the chief danger consisted in the belief of the
ordinary American politician that England would submit to anything
rather than fight. Neither party would wish to have the responsibility
of actually making war with England, but each party would very much like
to be able to boast of having made her yield without fighting, and would
vie with each other in calling for unreasonable concessions if they
thought there was any chance of obtaining them. The best chance,
therefore, of keeping the peace was to be very firm and uncompromising
in questions of arrests and other measures necessary for putting down
Fenianism, as these were manifestly well grounded, and the rights of the
same kind so frequently claimed and exercised by the Americans during
the war had never been contested. In anything doubtful, we should be
mild and conciliatory--not that mildness and conciliation would make
much impression in America--but in order to satisfy a section of the
British public. The present danger, he considered, lay in the
over-conciliatory, over-yielding tone of a great number of English
writers and public men, which might lead the Americans to fancy they
would be quite safe in pushing us into a corner, and so bring about a
state of things which would render a fight unavoidable. As for the
_Alabama_ question, he urged that the more quietly the claims were
discussed, the more satisfactory the result was likely to be, and he
strongly advised that the discussion should take place in Europe
rather than in the United States: it would be a mistake to send a
_mission d'éclat_ to Washington, as such a mission would be taken as a
surrender at discretion. Whether the mission of Lord Ripon and his
colleagues to Washington three years later could be correctly described
as a _mission d'éclat_ or not is of little importance, but it certainty
ended in surrender.

The letters from Paris about this period abound in misgivings as to the
political situation in France. The conviction was becoming general that
the Bonaparte dynasty was too weak to stand any shock. The Emperor, it
was true, began to show indications of proceeding gradually towards
Parliamentary government, in the hope of founding a state of things
which might render the position tenable on his death for his son, but it
seemed more probable that the progress might be too slow for the object.
Towards the end of February some apprehension was created by a
circumstantial rumour that the Emperor had announced positively to
Russia that France would not allow the annexation of the Grand Duchy of
Baden to the North German Confederation, and a month later a vague fear
was felt of the imminence of a _coup de théâtre_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, March 27, 1868.

    I ought to say that there are, among not unreasonable or
    inexperienced people, vague apprehensions that the Emperor may,
    _more suo_, resort to a _coup de théâtre_ and declare war when it is
    least expected. The only act which can be cited in support of these
    apprehensions is the formation of two more camps of instruction this
    year than usual. It is said that the effect of this will be to have
    two additional army corps ready to take the field at short notice.
    But the real ground of the apprehension appears to be a resemblance
    real or fancied between the declaration and proceedings of the
    Emperor now, and those which preceded the war with Italy. I believe
    it to be true that Prince Napoleon has told the Emperor that war
    with Germany must be made this year or never, but I do not think the
    Prince advises the war being made at all. The general impression
    indeed here appears to be that there is at this moment an amount of
    discontent in the annexed provinces which might be turned to account
    now by France, but which will subside in a year's time, if the
    Prussian Government is left to carry into effect its plans. Southern
    Germany, it is thought, would go with France _after_ a French
    victory, but not without one. For my own part I am more inclined to
    believe that the Emperor is sincerely anxious to preserve peace. In
    case of war he must take the field in person, and it is much doubted
    whether he is willing or able to endure the mental and bodily
    fatigue of a campaign. Defeat would be fatal and anything short of
    great success and additions of territory far from advantageous. It
    is of course impossible to say what a man so reserved and really so
    little in the habit of making up his mind long beforehand, may or
    may not do, and therefore the possibility of a _coup de théâtre_
    must I suppose always be kept in one's mind. Still I must say that
    all I can make out leads me to believe that his present wishes and
    intentions are peaceful.

A good deal of interest had been aroused by a visit of Prince Napoleon
to Germany in the spring, which gave rise to much speculation in the
political world. His friends gave out that it was merely an ordinary
tour. Others, who were supposed to be well informed, declared (probably
much to the satisfaction of the Prince) that he had been sent on a
private mission from the Emperor, of which none of His Majesty's
Ministers had any cognizance. Two different objects were assigned to the
mission; one that he was commissioned to assure Bismarck of the
Emperor's determination to remain at peace if possible, but to represent
that Bismarck should act so as to make it easy, and should not use the
presumed hostility of France so frequently as a lever to move public
opinion in Germany. The other and less probable object with which he was
credited, was that he was to summon Prussia to join France against Russia
in Turkey, a fantastic absurdity which was directly contrary to
Moustier's policy in the East. The probability is that Prince Napoleon
had no mission at all, but the long letter which follows is interesting
as showing what correct conclusions an intelligent person can
occasionally draw from a well-timed visit to a foreign country.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, March 31, 1868.

    Although I have not seen Prince Napoleon myself since his return
    from Germany, I think I can give you a tolerably accurate notion of
    the language he holds.

    He speaks with satisfaction of the manner in which he was himself
    received at Berlin. He thinks that Count Bismarck will not provoke
    France to war by increasing at present the area of the North German
    Confederation, or any other overt act. He believes him to be
    sincerely desirous of avoiding a war, but not to be willing to allow
    any interference on the part of France in the affairs of Northern
    Germany, or to make any patent concession whatever to France. He
    conceived it to be vain to talk to Prussia of disarmament, as she
    would answer that she was already disarmed, having only 200,000 men
    under arms. Her system, which would enable her to put from 4 to
    600,000 men in a condition to take the field in eight or ten days,
    she could not be persuaded to change.

    The Prince has seen nothing, except in the United States, like
    the contempt in which foreign nations are held in Prussia. Austria
    is not considered to be worth taking into account at all. Great
    indifference is professed as to Italy and Turkey. The Prince does
    not believe that there is any formal treaty between Russia and
    Prussia, but is convinced that there is an understanding that, in
    return for a friendly neutrality in the West, Prussia is, in case of
    being at war with France, to give Russia free scope in the East.

    The Prince gives no weight to the assertions that the recently
    annexed provinces would see with pleasure an attack by France upon
    Prussia and use it to recover their independence. He is not blind to
    the discontent which prevails among a great part of the populations
    in those provinces, but he is convinced that an attack from abroad
    would rouse an almost universal spirit of resistance in Germany
    which would extend even to the German possession of Austria. The
    allegations to the contrary come from adherents of the dispossessed
    dynasties, who fancy that their own peculiar feelings are the
    feelings of the mass of their countrymen. The Saxon army might
    possibly be a danger to the Prussians, if the Prussians should be
    defeated, and in that event, Bavaria and Wurtemberg might also
    support France. But they would none of them do anything for France
    until she had gained so decided a victory as to have no need of
    them. In Saxony the Prince found the army to be ill-disposed to
    Prussia, but not the commercial classes.

    The Prince has not come back with the idea that France could easily
    attempt to annex Rhenish Prussia. He believes that the inhabitants
    are now prosperous and contented and better off than they would be
    under France with her present institutions. Cologne might turn out
    to be another Saragossa to France. The case might in his opinion be
    different in the Palatinate, and France would, he supposes, have
    little difficulty in 'assimilating' Belgium if she obtained
    possession of that country.

    So far the impressions brought back by the Prince are calculated to
    show that the policy of France should be to remain at peace, and his
    language to the Emperor may have had a good effect. But he has also
    said to the Emperor and others that a war with Prussia should be
    made this year or never; that the consolidation of Germany is
    proceeding surely and rapidly; that the adhesion of Southern Germany
    will soon follow, and that hereafter war would have to be waged with
    a Germany thoroughly united and perfectly organized.

    Prince Napoleon is himself opposed to war. He considers that an
    unsuccessful war would overthrow the Emperor and his dynasty and
    send the whole Bonaparte family to the right about. A war only
    partially successful would, he thinks, rather weaken than strengthen
    the Emperor at home, while a thoroughly successful war would simply
    give His Majesty a fresh lease of 'Cæsarism' and adjourn
    indefinitely the liberal institutions which he considers essential
    to the durability of the dynasty. At the same time the Prince is not
    without apprehension as to war being made this season. He fears weak
    men, and he looks upon the Emperor as a weak man. He fears the
    people who surround His Majesty, the Generals, the Chamberlains, the
    ladies of the Palace. It has been particularly observed that while
    the Prince has been very communicative as to the opinions expressed
    by him to the Emperor, he has been, contrary to his wont, wholly
    silent as to what the Emperor said to him.

This account of Prince Napoleon's views was derived from Colonel
Claremont, the British Military Attaché, who was on intimate terms with
him. Prince Napoleon, one of the best abused and most unpopular of
Frenchmen, had, with all his talents, little fixity of purpose, no real
perseverance, and was too much wanting in courage to become the head of
a party; but the insight which he displayed with regard to the real
situation between France and Prussia is really remarkable. There is
hardly a single opinion, in the letter quoted above, which was not shown
subsequently to be absolutely accurate and well founded, and one cannot
help suspecting that he afterwards must have derived some melancholy
consolation from the realization of his prophecies of evil.

[Illustration: _Prince Napoleon._

LONDON EDWARD ARNOLD]

The general uneasiness which was felt in France, and to which constant
allusion is made in private letters and in despatches, was in no way
allayed by the pacific declarations of the Emperor, which seem, indeed,
to have made an effect exactly contrary to what was intended. It was in
vain that ministers made reassuring statements; bankers and capitalists
had lost confidence in the maintenance of peace, and, although the
diplomatic world was quiet, the public was convinced that war was
imminent. The one thing that was certain was that France was preparing
for a war of some kind, and the suspicions of Lord Stanley were aroused
by a request from Moustier that Her Majesty's Government should 'give
advice' to the Prussian Government.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Stanley to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, April 14, 1868.

    You will receive from me to-day a despatch which seems to confirm in
    some degree the apprehensions so generally felt at Paris. It may
    mean less than it appears to imply, but a warning given at Berlin
    that any attempt or any measure tending towards the annexation of
    the South German states will be regarded unfavourably at Paris,
    is so like a threat that one cannot help feeling anxious as to the
    result, and how it can be conveyed in language which will not be
    considered offensive, passes my comprehension. If nothing else had
    occurred, one might think that it was only a piece of unnecessary
    fuss on the part of Moustier, whose alternations of activity and
    indolence are not always easy to follow; but looked at together with
    the military preparations which have so much alarmed Colonel
    Claremont and which you do not seem to contemplate without some
    uneasiness, the state of things indicated is certainly not pleasant.
    Perhaps I make too much of this: up to the present time I have
    always contended against the alarmist view of the situation, and
    Bernstorff,[13] whose information is generally good, shows no
    anxiety. It is the business of war departments in all countries to
    look at foreign policy from their special point of view, and I class
    the utterances of General Moltke with those of Marshal Niel, as
    professorial rather than political.

    In any case I am not disposed to volunteer advice which would
    certainly be uncalled for, probably useless, and perhaps altogether
    out of place. Nor can I fail to detect in Moustier's language a
    wish, hardly concealed, to enlist England on the side of the French
    claim that Prussia shall not be enlarged--though it is disguised
    under the form of asking us to give advice in the interests of
    peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

There can be no doubt that Lord Stanley was right, and that Moustier's
intention was to commit England to the French side under the guise of a
friendly communication to the Prussian Government. The refusal to be
drawn into Franco-Prussian entanglement was sound, but, as will be seen,
the British Government did attempt to intervene shortly afterwards.

In spite of highly coloured orations by Marshal Niel, and of an
important speech by General Moltke on the position which Germany should
hold as a predominant power in Europe, and of the use to be made of the
army and navy in consolidating German unity, which caused much
irritation in France, the fear of the outbreak of war passed temporarily
away, and calm again reigned in the diplomatic world. In August, Lord
Cowley, former ambassador at Paris, paid a visit to the Emperor Napoleon
at Fontainebleau, and found him in a very depressed mood.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Aug. 11, 1868.

    Lord Cowley wrote me a short note after his return from
    Fontainebleau and sent me an account of what had been said there.

    He appears to have thought the Emperor aged, and to have found him
    much depressed. His Majesty said little of Foreign Politics, but
    spoke gloomily of his own position in France. He said that the
    country districts were still for him, but that all the towns were
    against him: a vast number of persons had congregated at Troyes to
    see him, but he had been assured by the Prefect that most of them
    were in reality red Republicans. The Emperor does not seem to have
    said anything about the Queen. The Empress held the same language
    that she and her entourage did to us, but from an expression she let
    fall, it would seem that she is sore at heart about the visit. The
    public appear to be rather accepting the version that it was in
    compliance with a request from the Empress, that Her Majesty, being
    ill and fatigued, abstained from returning the visit.

    It is not certain whether the Emperor and Empress will be at
    Biarritz or at St. Cloud at the time of Her Majesty's return. If
    they are at Biarritz there can be no question of any visit, and this
    might give an opportunity for a letter, which might smooth the
    difficulties of the point of etiquette. If the Emperor and Empress
    are at St. Cloud, it must be considered the same thing as if they
    were at Paris.

    I hear from other persons besides Lord Cowley that the Emperor is
    very much out of spirits. It is even asserted that he is weary of
    the whole thing, disappointed at the contrast between the brilliancy
    at the beginning of his reign and the present gloom--and inclined,
    if it were possible, to retire into private life. This is no doubt a
    great exaggeration, but if he is really feeling unequal to governing
    with energy, the dynasty and the country are in great danger.
    Probably the wisest thing he could do, would be to allow real
    parliamentary government to be established, so as to give the
    opposition a hope of coming into office by less violent means than
    a revolution.

The 'soreness of heart' referred to a visit of Queen Victoria, who had
passed through Paris in July on her way to Switzerland. It had been
arranged, after prodigious correspondence, that the Empress should come
up to the Elysée Palace and call upon the Queen at the Embassy (the
Elysée having been selected on account of its proximity), but apparently
nothing was settled about a return visit on the part of the Queen. At
all events, no return visit was paid to the Elysée, and the consequence
was that a section of the French press seized upon the occasion
maliciously to represent that the Emperor and Empress were no longer
treated with consideration by the ancient Royal Houses, and that England
was all in favour of the pretensions of the House of Orleans.

These attacks naturally caused much annoyance to the Emperor, who was
always very sensitive where the Orleans family was concerned, and he was
placed in a somewhat embarrassing position with regard to the return
journey of Queen Victoria through Paris, since, owing to the visit of
the Empress not having been returned, he was unable to pay his respects
as he had been anxious to do. The difficulty was eventually solved by
the Emperor and Empress arranging to go to Biarritz at the time when the
Queen was expected to pass through Paris on the return journey, and an
explanatory letter from the latter was considered to have closed the
matter satisfactorily. If any trace of soreness remained it was
doubtless removed by the highly successful visit of the Prince and
Princess of Wales later in the year.

The Imperial spirits, which were much in need of a tonic, were
temporarily revived by the demonstrations of loyalty shown by the
National Guards at a review held in August, and this evidence of
personal popularity appears to have surprised most people. It may be
presumed, however, that the unfortunate Emperor was frequently misled on
these occasions. Astonishment and admiration had frequently been evoked
at the spectacle of the autocrat shaking hands freely with blouse-clad
working men and exchanging fraternal greetings with them on the occasion
of public festivities, but, according to the Prefect of Police, these
favoured individuals were in every case his own detectives masquerading
as horny-handed sons of toil.

Two questions of secondary importance about this period were brought to
the attention of the British Government, the one concerning Tunis, and
the other the Throne of Spain. In Tunis the French showed an
unmistakable intention to establish themselves as the paramount power,
and it was not clear whether England would remain indifferent or not.
Lord Stanley, upon being asked for instructions, gave it as his personal
opinion that there was no occasion to show any jealousy of French
influence there, and that the position of the French as near neighbours
gave them a strong interest. He declined to believe in annexation, as
Algeria had not been such a success that any government would be likely
to desire to extend the French dominions in North Africa. The French
Government therefore obtained, as far as we were concerned, a free hand,
and although Bismarck intimated that the claims of Prussia in Tunis
would have to be considered, it is probable that had it not been for the
Franco-German War, that country would have become a French possession in
1870 instead of in 1880.

With regard to Spain, it is worthy of note that the Spanish Government
was in 1868 desirous of offering the throne to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Both Queen Victoria and her ministers, however, were strongly opposed to
the project, and their opposition was founded on good sense. The throne,
they considered, was insecure. New dynasties took root with difficulty,
more especially in Spain, where respect for foreigners was not a
national characteristic, and it would be disagreeable for England to
have an English prince, however detached from England, involved in a
civil war, and possibly ejected. Again, even if the experiment were
successful, it would confer no real advantage on England, while it would
probably excite extreme jealousy in France. Further, we should probably
be asked to give up Gibraltar in return, and if this were refused, which
of course would be the case, there would be a complaint, if not of
absolute unfairness, yet at least of ingratitude on our part. If any
form of monarchy was to be retained, the opinion was expressed that the
cause of religious freedom would be better served by a moderate Catholic
on the throne than by a Protestant.

Such were the matter-of-fact views of Her Majesty's Government as
expressed by Lord Stanley, and nothing more was heard of the proposed
candidature of the Duke of Edinburgh. The straightforward action of the
British Government on this occasion contrasts favourably with that of
other Powers when the question of the choice of a King of Spain recurred
two years later.

In October, Lord Clarendon, who had been Lord Stanley's predecessor at
the Foreign Office, arrived in Paris. Lord Clarendon, in addition to a
thorough acquaintance with foreign political questions, enjoyed
apparently the great advantage of being a _persona grata_ to all the
principal personages in Europe, and was honoured with the confidence of
Napoleon III., the King of Prussia, King Victor Emmanuel, the Pope, and
a host of other persons occupying high and responsible positions. As the
Liberal party was at that time in opposition, he bore no responsibility,
and it was therefore possible for him to use language and arguments
which might not have been appropriate to any one speaking officially on
behalf of a government. The valuable and interesting information which
Lord Clarendon thus obtained was, in accordance with the high principles
upon which he acted, placed unreservedly at the disposition of his
political opponents.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Oct. 13, 1868.

    Lord Clarendon arrived here on Saturday. He has given me accounts of
    interesting conversations he has had with the King and Queen of
    Prussia and with General Moltke. The details he will no doubt repeat
    to you when you see him. The sum of what was said by all three is
    that Prussia earnestly desires to keep at peace with France; that
    she will be very careful not to give offence and very slow to take
    offence: that if a war is brought on she will act so as to make it
    manifest to Germany and to Europe that France is the unprovoked
    aggressor: that a war brought on evidently by France would infallibly
    unite all Germany. Moltke seemed to believe that the Emperor
    Napoleon must know too well how thoroughly prepared Prussia is to
    provoke a war lightly. He was, on his side, well aware of the
    complete state of preparation in which the French were: he thought
    Prussia had lost an opportunity after Sadowa, and that if she had
    then known that France could not bring more than 150,000 men into
    the field, she might have settled the whole affair of German unity
    out of hand. This opportunity had been lost, according to him, by
    the incorrectness of the information from the Embassy at Paris, and
    now Prussia must have peace if possible in order to organize her
    system of government civil and military.

    In short, Lord Clarendon is sure that the Emperor Napoleon may be
    confident that he has nothing to fear from Prussia, if he does not
    give her just provocation: but, on the other hand, that Prussia does
    not fear a war, if she can show Germany and the world that she is
    really forced into it.

    I think I might very well mention to Moustier the impression Lord
    Clarendon has brought back, and indeed to the Emperor, if I have an
    opportunity.

    Lord Clarendon gathered from Moltke and others that there is a very
    strong feeling in the Prussian army against Russia and a very great
    repugnance to accepting Russian assistance. In case however of a war
    with France, Prussia must of course (Moltke observed) get help
    wherever she could find it, and must at all events use Russia to
    paralyze Austria. Austria he thought hostile, and very naturally so,
    to Prussia, and ready to do all the harm she can. She is not
    however, in his opinion, in a condition to be otherwise than neutral
    at the beginning of a war.

    Lord Clarendon tells me he most forcibly pointed out to the King of
    Prussia and Moltke the extreme danger of giving France any
    provocation; anything like a challenge could not be passed over by
    the Emperor: if the glove were thrown down, public feeling would
    oblige His Majesty to take it up. Lord Clarendon urged them to
    settle the Danish question, and even suggested that some way should
    be sought of giving a satisfaction to French _amour propre_.

    It will be seen that the information obtained by Lord Clarendon
    coincided more or less with the impressions derived by Prince
    Napoleon. Upon Lord Stanley it produced a reassuring effect, and
    confirmed him in his opinion that the Prussians were in a state of
    alarm which they were endeavouring unsuccessfully to conceal, under
    an ostentation of being ready for whatever might happen. In any
    case, he thought, they would have a respite until the spring.

    Lord Clarendon was fortunate enough to be able to give the Emperor
    Napoleon the benefit of his Prussian experiences.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Stanley._

    Paris, Oct. 20, 1868.

    Lord Clarendon dined at St. Cloud yesterday, and had a long
    conversation with the Emperor after dinner. He repeated to His
    Majesty the pacific language which he had heard from the King of
    Prussia, the Queen of Prussia, and General Moltke. The Emperor heard
    the pacific assurances with evident satisfaction, and spoke very
    strongly himself in the same sense. Lord Clarendon was thoroughly
    convinced that the Emperor was exceedingly anxious to avoid war and
    thoroughly convinced that peace was desirable for the interests of
    the dynasty. At the same time, His Majesty declared that if anything
    like a challenge came from Prussia it would be impossible for him to
    oppose the feeling of the army and the nation, and that he must, in
    such a case, for the sake of his own safety, make war. He was most
    anxious that England should step in to enable France and Prussia to
    withdraw with honour from their present antagonistic attitude. This
    is an idea which, as you know, has been vaguely suggested to me more
    than once by men more or less in the Emperor's confidence. It has
    never been hinted by Moustier in speaking to me. The Emperor
    appears, however, to have dwelt a good deal upon it with Lord
    Clarendon yesterday, and even to have entered a little upon details.
    He seems to have relished the idea of other great powers being
    united with England in a sort of mediation, but I did not gather
    that he had any matured plan, or any distinct notion of the way in
    which practical effect could be given to his wishes. His object was
    to calm public opinion in France, and the means of doing this were
    to be a sort of collective confirmation by Europe of the Treaty of
    Prague, and a sort of pressure to be exercised by Europe on France
    and Prussia which would compel them, or rather enable them, to
    diminish their military preparations and take effectual steps to
    restore public confidence. Whatever may be the feasibility of the
    Emperor's project, it is important to know what is in his mind, and
    convenient to learn it with so much certainty, and at the same time
    in a way which prevents its being presented to H.M. Government as a
    proposal or a suggestion to them. There is nothing as the matter
    stands which necessitates even an expression of opinion from us.

    The Emperor told Clarendon in strict confidence of a proposal which
    he had not, he said, mentioned even to his Ministers. Men of weight
    (_des hommes sérieux_) had proposed a Confederation between the
    South German States and Switzerland. Lord Clarendon pointed out
    objections to the notion, such as the want of any real bond of
    sympathy or interest between Switzerland and the proposed
    confederates, and the offence which would be taken by Prussia, and
    the Emperor appeared (for the moment, at least) to have given up the
    idea.

    The King of Prussia told Lord Clarendon, and Lord Clarendon repeated
    it to the Emperor, that the speech at Kiel was intended to be
    thoroughly pacific, and that its object was to make the Prussian
    army and the public take quietly the anti-Prussian cries stated to
    have been uttered by the French troops at the camp at Chalons. The
    Emperor positively declared that no anti-Prussian cries and no
    political cries of any kind beyond the usual loyal cheers had been
    uttered at the camp.

    Of Spanish affairs little seems to have been said in the
    conversation with the Emperor. At dinner the Empress talked of
    little else. She did not appear to favour any particular solution of
    the question or any particular candidate for the Crown. She appeared
    to expect both political troubles and extreme misery from the famine
    which she says is undoubtedly impending. As to her own estates and
    those of her relations in Spain she says they return absolutely
    nothing, and that the peasants have not even put by grain enough to
    sow the land. No one dares to store up grain or to bring it from
    abroad lest he should be torn to pieces by the ignorant people as an
    _accapareur_.

From this interesting communication it will be noted that Napoleon III.
apparently reposed more confidence in Lord Clarendon than in his own
ministers; the '_hommes sérieux_' were, however, probably mythical, as
the proposed Confederation of Switzerland and the Southern German States
was not a project which would commend itself to practical people, and is
more likely to have been conceived in his own nebulous imagination. The
important conclusion to be drawn from his language is that the Emperor
was, at all events, at that period, sincerely anxious to avoid war,
conscious of the military power of Prussia, and extremely anxious to
induce the British Government to take some step in the nature of
mediation which should avert the threatened conflict and enable France
to withdraw with honour. This suggestion had already been ineffectually
made to Lord Stanley in the spring; but, as will be seen, a similar
suggestion was again put forward in the following year and acted upon.

Before the end of 1868 changes took place both in the British and in
the French Foreign Offices. The return of the Liberal party to power
restored Lord Clarendon to his old post, and M. de Moustier gave
place to M. de La Valette. The departure of Moustier was no loss. At
Constantinople he had shown himself to be restless and overbearing; in
France he was not considered to be entirely satisfactory where
semi-financial matters were concerned, and he finished his career by
nearly getting into a serious scrape with the Prussian Government over
the question of the latter being represented on a proposed Commission at
Tunis. The Emperor Napoleon, although he entertained no grievance
against Lord Stanley, naturally welcomed the return to office of Lord
Clarendon.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Dec. 15, 1868.

    I came back from Compiègne yesterday. During the week I was there
    the Emperor seemed to be in remarkably good health and spirits, and
    was to all appearance very free from care. If he has any special
    plan regarding foreign politics, he is keeping it _in petto_ to
    electrify the Corps Diplomatique on New Year's Day, or the Chambers
    in his opening speech. He talked a great deal to me of his desire to
    maintain his cordial understanding with England and of his
    confidence in your helping him to do so, but he did not speak as if
    he had any intention of putting our friendship to any special test
    at present.

    He said that the conduct of the Greeks was very annoying, but that
    in dealing with them, we must make some allowance for their feeling
    of nationality and not _froisser_ it too much. I observed to him
    that the Greeks, by their conduct with regard to Crete, were
    producing a state of things which would be absolutely intolerable,
    and that they were in my opinion doing themselves much more harm
    than they did the Turks. In this he seemed to concur. My Russian
    colleague, Stackelberg, was in a dreadful fuss about the Turco-Greek
    question. The main anxiety he expressed was, not unnaturally, for
    the King and the dynasty. We might perhaps work upon Russia by
    showing that the dynasty would be continually popular if Greek
    aggressions, and consequently excitement and disorder in Greece, are
    allowed to become chronic.

    The Emperor talked a little and the Empress a great deal about
    Spain; both took a gloomy view of the prospects, but neither gave
    any hint of the solution to be desired.

The Crown Prince of Prussia, whose peaceful proclivities became
subsequently known to the world, happened to be in England at this
time, and Lord Clarendon took the opportunity of discussing the
Franco-Prussian situation with him. The Crown Prince had already
impressed Lord Stanley with his amiability, modesty, and good sense, but
it is evident that, like many others, he had not fully realized the
great sacrifices which the Germans were ready to make in the cause of
national unity.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyon._

    Foreign Office, Dec. 18, 1868.

    My inchoate letter on the 16th was cut short by the Crown Prince of
    Prussia, with whom I had an interesting conversation. He is even
    more pacific than his Father, and unlike his Father would be glad to
    put the army on something more like a peace footing. The King
    however is unapproachable on this subject, but the Prince says that
    in a year or two he will have to yield to the outcry of the people
    against the increased taxation that such monster armaments entail.
    He means to consult some experienced officers as to the manner in
    which reduction can be made without offence to the dignity of his
    martial Sire, and he said that something had been done in that
    direction by postponing till January the assembling of the levies
    that ought to have taken place in October. I urged strongly upon him
    the necessity of maintaining the _status quo_, and particularly
    warned him against the incorporation of the Grand Duchy of Baden
    into the Northern Confederation. He quite entered into the reasons
    for this and said it would probably be a long time before the
    interests of the South would necessitate a junction with the North,
    although it would ultimately be inevitable.

    When I last saw you on my way home from St. Cloud I told you that
    the Emperor wished me to report my conversation with him to the
    Queen of Prussia--I did so. She forwarded my letter to the King and
    sent me his answer, which was not only pacific but extremely
    courteous to the Emperor. He said there was no fear of the _status
    quo_ being changed now, but that some time or other the South and
    North must be united, and that it would be far better to _calmer les
    esprits_ by teaching people to expect it and not to look upon it as
    a danger or a menace to France, which it would not be any more than
    the existing state of things. I wrote all this to the Emperor who
    assured me that the King of Prussia's opinions had interested him
    much and that he agreed in his views about the inexpediency of a
    Congress.--Disraeli made a bad use at the Lord Mayor's dinner of
    your letter giving an account of my interview with the Emperor, for
    he gave it to be understood that Stanley was successfully mediating
    between France and Prussia, etc; La Tour d'Auvergne, to whom the
    Emperor had told our conversation, was much annoyed and feared that
    he might be thought guilty of an indiscretion.

    I was glad to learn by your letter of the 15th that you thought well
    of the Emperor's health, as reports have of late been rife that he
    was failing both in body and mind--their object was probably, and as
    usual, some Bourse speculation.

The chronic anxiety with regard to the relations between France and
Prussia which prevailed at this time was partially forgotten early in
1869 in consequence of a slight crisis in the East. The Cretan
Insurrection had lasted for several years, and the Turks had shown
themselves incapable of suppressing it in consequence of the attitude
of the Greek Government, which, supported by Russia, openly encouraged
the revolutionary movement. Greek armed cruisers ran the blockade,
volunteers openly showed themselves in uniform in the Greek towns, and
the Greeks showed a disposition to go to war, rightly assuming that
Europe would never allow their country to be reconquered. At length the
situation, from the Turkish point of view, became intolerable, and in
December, 1868, the Turkish Government delivered an ultimatum, which was
rejected by the Greeks and diplomatic relations were broken off. The
opportunity was at once seized by the Emperor Napoleon in order to
propose a Conference. Conferences had, as is well known, a special
attraction for Napoleon III., who delighted to figure as a magnificent
and beneficent arbiter graciously condescending to settle the squabbles
of inferior beings, but a Conference has also often captivated the
imagination of many diplomatists besides the late Prince Gortchakoff,
whose chief delight it was to make orations to his colleagues. Nothing
produces so agreeable a flutter in diplomacy as the prospect of a
Conference. Where shall it be held? What is to be its basis? Who are to
be the representatives? What Governments shall be entitled to appear? If
such a one is invited, will it be possible to exclude another? And
supposing these knotty points to be satisfactorily settled, shall some
Power possessing doubtful credentials be allowed a _voix consultative_,
or a _voix délibérative_? In this particular case, there was no
difficulty in fixing upon the place, but there was considerable
difficulty with regard to the participation of Greece, as Turkey flatly
refused to meet her. The prospect of a Conference was not viewed with
much satisfaction by Lord Clarendon, who asked awkward but necessary
questions about 'basis' and so forth, and warned Lord Lyons that he
would have to be very firm with La Valette on this point, 'as I know by
experience in 1856 how fickle the Emperor is, and how invariably his
minister changes with him, and throws over the engagements upon which we
had the best reason to rely.'

Neither did Lord Lyons look forward to it with any pleasure: 'The
Conference seems likely to bring into strong light some things which
would perhaps be better in the shade,' he wrote. 'For instance, an
understanding between Russia and Prussia on the Eastern Question;
bitterness between Austria and Russia, etc., etc. I understand that
there is great rejoicing over the prospect of the Conference at the
Tuileries.' Probably Lord Lyons's distaste arose partly from the fact
that foreign diplomatists have a habit of coming and rehearsing to their
colleagues the speeches with which they propose subsequently to
electrify the assembled Conference. It is only fair to admit, however,
that the Conference was brought to a fairly satisfactory conclusion. The
Greeks, who had given a great deal of trouble with their consequential
pretensions, were admitted under a _voix consultative_ condition, and a
settlement was arrived at which enabled diplomatic relations to be
resumed with Turkey. To put it shortly, the Greeks were informed that
they were bound to respect the rules common to all Governments in their
future dealing with the Ottoman Empire (surely not a very onerous
provision), and the hope was expressed that all the causes for complaint
embodied in the ultimatum of the Porte would be removed. Crete, in
consequence, remained comparatively quiet for about ten years.
When, however, a few days after the satisfactory conclusion of this
business, the Prussian Government came forward with a proposal that
there should be yet another Conference at Paris on International
Postage, M. de La Valette was obliged summarily to reject it, as
'the French public was sick to death of the very word.'

Early in 1869, considerable apprehension was created by the Luxemburg
railway affair. A French and a Belgian railway company whose lines
adjoined, had endeavoured to bring about an amalgamation, and the
Belgian Chamber, naturally afraid of the consequences which might result
from French influences within Belgian territory, passed an Act
prohibiting concessions of railways without the authorization of the
Government. This action caused considerable ill-feeling in France, and a
universal belief existed that the Belgian Government had been instigated
by Bismarck. It was obvious that England could not remain indifferent to
the danger of what would now be called the 'peaceful penetration' of
France into Belgium,--in other words, the ultimate annexation of that
country--and one of the first notes of alarm seems to have been sounded
by no less a person than Queen Victoria.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _General Grey to Lord Clarendon._

    Osborne, Jan. 14, 1869.

    The Queen desired me to write to you yesterday in returning the
    private letters you sent her with reference to what you said in one
    of your letters of the probable designs of France in Belgium. Her
    Majesty wished me to inform you that she had more than once called
    the attention of the late Government to this subject. The King of
    the Belgians in writing to her had repeatedly expressed his
    apprehensions that either by means of a Customs convention or by the
    purchase by a French company of the Luxemburg Railway to which
    unusual privileges and advantages would be conceded by the French
    Government, France might seek to obtain a footing in Belgium highly
    dangerous to her future independence and neutrality. Her Majesty,
    though hoping the King might exaggerate the danger, has invariably
    expressed the strongest opinion that England was bound, not only by
    the obligations of treaties, but by interests of vital importance to
    herself, to maintain the integrity and independence as well as the
    neutrality of Belgium; and that the best security for these
    essential objects would be found in the knowledge that any
    proceedings which seemed to threaten their violation would bring
    England at once into the field.

    Her Majesty did not mean that any official communication should be
    made on the subject, but that the habitual language of our ministers
    at Berlin and Paris should be such as to leave no doubt as to the
    determination of England.

This communication from the Queen was followed not long afterwards by a
memorandum from Mr. Gladstone, laying stress upon the fact that the
'independence of Belgium was an object of the first interest to the mind
of the British People,' and hoping that it would be made clear to the
French Government 'that the suspicion even of an intention on the part
of France to pay less respect to the independence of Belgium than to the
independence of England would at once produce a temper in the country
which would put an end to the good understanding and useful and
harmonious co-operation of the two Governments.' This was very clear
language--especially for Mr. Gladstone--and the Ambassador was directed
to hint to the French Government that Belgium was under our special
protection.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Feb. 16, 1869.

    Baron Beyens, the Belgian Minister, comes to me frequently about the
    Grand Luxemburg Railway affair, and is very naturally in great
    tribulation both for himself and his country.

    M. de La Valette also loses no opportunity of speaking to me about
    it, and appears also to be very much disturbed. For my own part, I
    can only preach in general terms conciliation to both.

    I have found M. de La Valette calm and moderate, but I am afraid
    there can be no doubt that the affair is extremely annoying to the
    Emperor, and that His Majesty is very angry. M. de La Valette asked
    me to call upon him to-day, and told me in the strictest confidence,
    though he did not pretend to have absolute proof of it, that the
    whole thing was instigated by Count Bismarck. He considered that
    there were three possible solutions of the question.

    The first, that France should at her own risk and peril annex
    Belgium to herself. To this solution M. de La Valette was himself
    utterly opposed.

    The second was the adoption of retaliatory financial and commercial
    measures. To this he was also opposed, considering it to be
    undignified, to be injurious to the interests of Frenchmen, and to
    constitute a punishment for all Belgians innocent as well as guilty.

    The third course was to pursue the line already taken. To admit
    fully the right of the Belgian Government to act as it had done, but
    to declare in very distinct terms that it had been guilty of a very
    _mauvais procédé_ towards France, and that the Government of the
    Emperor was deeply wounded and very seriously displeased. He said
    that he was about to prepare a despatch in the above sense.

    I need not say that I did all in my power to strengthen his aversion
    to the two first courses, and to induce him to soften the tone of
    his communication to Belgium.

    He seemed however to be afraid that the Emperor would be hardly
    satisfied with so little, and he declared it to be quite impossible
    that any friendship could hereafter exist between the French
    Government and the present Belgian Ministry. In fact, he was far
    from sure that his policy would be adopted.

    He talks of Bismarck and his ways in a tone which is not
    comfortable, and the irritation in France against Prussia seems to
    increase rather than diminish. Certainly confidence in peace has not
    increased lately.

M. de La Valette may have been calm and moderate, but his Imperial
Master was very much the reverse, and his conduct of the affair was a
striking instance of his ineptitude. He had thoroughly frightened the
Belgians, alienated public opinion in England, and aroused well-founded
suspicions throughout Europe that he intended to fasten a quarrel upon
Belgium in order to facilitate its eventual annexation. According to
Lord Clarendon, the idea that Bismarck had prompted Belgian action was a
complete mare's nest, but even if that were not so, it ought to have
been plain to the Emperor that if there was one thing more than another
which would gladden Prussia, it was a misunderstanding between France
and England. The feeling in England at the time may be judged by
Gladstone's language, who wrote to Lord Clarendon in March 12--

    'That the day when this nation seriously suspects France of meaning
    ill to Belgian independence will be the last day of friendship with
    that country, and that then a future will open for which no man can
    answer.'

This apparently was what the Emperor was unable to see.

    'Bismarck is biding his time quietly,' wrote Lord Clarendon. 'If
    France annexes Belgium and we take no part he will be delighted, as
    France could no longer complain of Prussian aggrandisement. If we do
    take part, he would be equally delighted at the rupture between
    England and France, and would come to our assistance. Either way he
    thinks Prussia would gain. Why should Napoleon and La Valette assist
    him? A quarrel between France and England or even a coolness is the
    great German desideratum.' 'I believe,' he adds in another letter,
    'nothing would be more agreeable to Prussia than that the intimacy
    between the two countries should be disturbed by a territorial
    encroachment which would run on all fours with Prussian
    aggrandisement.'

For some reason, which was not clear, the Emperor persisted in making
the question a personal one, announcing that he 'could not and would not
take a _soufflet_ from Belgium,' and the British Government became so
apprehensive of his attitude that the somewhat unheroic course was
adopted of sending a warning to the French Government, but leaving the
responsibility of presenting, or of withholding it, to the Ambassador.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 16, 1869.

    We are very anxious about the Belgian business because more or less
    convinced that the Emperor is meaning mischief and intending to
    establish unfriendly relations with Belgium preparatory to ulterior
    designs. It is very imprudent on his part, and he will only reap
    disappointment, for even if he meditates war with Prussia he could
    not undertake it upon a worse pretext or one less likely to win
    public opinion to his side, as it would wantonly entail an
    interruption, to use a mild term, of friendly relations with
    England. It is unnecessary to say that we attach extreme importance
    to the maintenance unimpaired of those relations, and it is
    therefore our paramount duty to omit no effort for that object.

    I have accordingly, by the unanimous desire of the Cabinet, written
    you a despatch calling the serious attention of the French Government
    to the dangerous eventualities that we see looming in the distance,
    but the mode of dealing with that despatch may be delicate and
    difficult, and we therefore leave the decision on that point to your
    discretion. You can either read it, or tell the substance of it at
    once to La Valette, or you may keep it for a short time until some
    crisis arrives when it could best be turned to account. I feel that
    this is rather hard upon you, and I would much rather have been more
    precise, but, on the spot, you will be such a much better judge of
    opportunity than I can pretend to be here, and if the warning is to
    have any success it will depend on its being given at the right
    moment and in the right manner.'

One cannot help wondering whether a similar confidence in an
Ambassador's judgment is still shown at the present day, the views of
the so-called 'man on the spot' being now generally at a considerable
discount. In this case, Lord Lyons gave reasons showing that the warning
was not needed, and would not be of any advantage to Belgium, while
complaining that he disliked going about with a live shell in his
pocket. A few days later, however, Lord Clarendon wrote again saying
that he thought that the warning would have to be addressed shortly, as
public opinion in England was beginning to become excited, and attacks
were being made upon the Government for not using stronger language or
showing its determination to stand by Belgium, while the King of the
Belgians was anxious to make his woes known through the English press.
'If,' said Lord Clarendon, 'the Emperor attaches value to the English
Alliance he ought not to sacrifice it by a sneaking attempt to
incorporate Belgium by means of a railway company and its employés. If
he wants war it is a bad pretext for doing that which all mankind will
blame him for.'

It was not unnatural that Lord Clarendon should have felt uneasy at the
threatening development of this apparently insignificant railway
difficulty, because it was plain that the one object which the Belgians
were bent upon was to entangle us in their concerns, and to make us
responsible for their conduct towards France; nor, again, was this an
unreasonable proceeding upon their part, for Belgium was an artificial
state, and as dependent upon foreign guarantees for her existence as
Holland was dependent upon her dykes. Perhaps in order to reassure the
British Government, Marshal Niel's aide-de-camp and General Fleury were
sent over to London in April. They brought a message from the Marshal to
the effect that France was ready for anything, and that the Emperor had
only to give the word; but that to begin by a rupture with England about
a miserable Belgian difference would be a _sottise_. These visitors did
more to convince the French Ambassador in London that there was no
danger of war than all his correspondence with the French Foreign
Office, but Lord Clarendon continued to be apprehensive of the influence
excited upon the Emperor by shady financiers and by an untrustworthy
representative at Brussels.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, April 19, 1869.

    I have never, as you know, felt any confidence in the soft sayings
    and assurances of the French Government, but I did not think they
    would have exposed the cloven foot so soon and completely as they
    have done. No affair has given me so much pain since my return
    to this place, and I foresee that out of it will grow serious
    complications and an end to those friendly relations between England
    and France that are so advantageous to both countries and which have
    had an important influence on the politics of Europe.

    What provokes me is that _sales tripotages_ should be at the bottom
    of it all, and upon that I have reliable information. I know of all
    the jobbery and _pots de vin_ that are passing, and yet it is to
    fill the pockets of half a dozen rascals, just as in the case of
    Mexico, that the Emperor allows himself to be dragged through the
    mud and to imperil the most manifest interests of France.

    The policy of the French Government is perfectly understood at
    Berlin, where the leading object of Bismarck is to detach us from
    France. We might to-morrow, if we pleased, enter into a coalition
    with Prussia against France for the protection of Belgian
    independence, which is a European and not an exclusively French
    question; but we will do nothing of the kind so long as there is a
    hope that France will act with common honesty. I wish you would
    speak seriously to La Valette about the _tripoteurs_, and represent
    the disgrace to his Government of playing the game of such people,
    which will all come out and be known in the same way as the Jecker
    bonds are now unanimously acknowledged to have been the cause of
    that fatal Mexican expedition.

    I send you rather a curious despatch from Loftus. Bismarck's ways
    are inscrutable, and he is never to be relied upon, but he has had a
    union with us against France in his head ever since the Belgian
    business began, for Bernstorff, who never speaks without
    instructions, has said on more than one occasion to Gladstone and to
    me that though Prussia would not undertake to defend Belgium
    single-handed, as that country concerned England more nearly than
    Prussia, yet that we had but to say the word, and we should soon
    come to terms. I treated this, as did Gladstone, rather as a _façon
    de parler_ and a ruse to detach us from France, which is Bismarck's
    main object, as I did not choose that Bernstorff should have to
    report the slightest encouragement to the suggestion, but it _may_
    come to that after all.

Colonel Walker, the British military attaché at Berlin, whom Lord
Clarendon considered to be one of the most enlightened and intelligent
men of his profession, was in London at the time, and he reported that
there was not the slightest sign of any active military preparation in
any part of Prussia, and that the idea of war was so much discouraged by
the military authorities that it was no longer talked of in military
circles, whereas formerly it had been the only topic of discussion. The
manoeuvres were to be held in the Prussian provinces most remote from
France, and there was a fixed determination to give the latter no cause
for offence, not from fear of that country, for there was a conviction
that Prussia would have the best of a war, but owing to internal
difficulties. Colonel Walker added that the mutual indisposition of the
North and South to each other was becoming so manifest that the
unification of Germany was far distant.

This comforting piece of intelligence Lord Lyons was instructed to
communicate to the French Foreign Minister.

The Luxemburg Railway difficulty was finally disposed of by a Commission
at London, but before this took place, the Belgian Liberal Minister, M.
Frère-Orban, found it necessary to pay a visit to Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, April 28, 1869.

    Frère-Orban had a farewell audience of the Emperor this morning. He
    tells me that his Majesty was very gracious. Frère appears to have
    insinuated that the business was finished. The Emperor expressed a
    hope that something good would be done in the Commission. The
    Emperor dwelt upon the necessity of France and Belgium being upon
    the best terms in order to put a stop to all the ideas of annexation
    which certain journals were continually putting forward. His Majesty
    said that the annexation of Belgium to France would be disagreeable
    to England, which would of itself be a reason sufficient to make him
    averse from it. His Majesty had on his table the Arcolay pamphlet
    which asserts that Prussia would be unable to defend South Germany
    against France. He said that in an answer to this pamphlet published
    at Berlin, the Belgian army was counted among the forces to act
    against France, and observed that France and Belgium ought to be on
    too good terms to render such an employment of the Belgian army
    possible. Frère said that His Majesty had only to make Belgium feel
    convinced that her independence was safe, in order to ensure her
    sympathy with France. Frère appears to have been much pleased with
    the audience on the whole, though he would rather the Emperor had
    said distinctly that he did not expect any result from the
    Commission, and looked upon the whole question as at an end. He is
    very well satisfied with the result of his mission to Paris, as he
    has placed the relations on a friendly footing, and conceded
    absolutely nothing.

    The great points now are for the Belgians not to sing songs of
    triumph, and for us and everybody to avoid all appearance of having
    exercised any pressure. The Emperor cannot safely take a snub from
    any foreign nation, and he feels this very strongly.

It is to the Emperor's credit that, in spite of disastrous failures, he
always seems to have preserved a courteous and amiable demeanour. In
this particular case, it is probable that he did not know clearly what
he wanted himself, and that, misled by unscrupulous advisers, he
entertained vague notions as to the possibility of annexing Belgium, and
then withdrawing, as best he could, when the difficulties were realized.
At all events, the sole result was a rebuff and an increased want of
confidence in his integrity. In short, the mismanagement of this railway
affair, which should never have been allowed to attain so much
importance, and the collapse of his previous attempt upon Belgium,
justified the sneer levelled at him by Bismarck, who, as recorded by
Busch, remarked in 1870, 'He (Napoleon III.) should have occupied----and
held it as a pledge. But he is, and remains a muddle-headed fellow.' A
still more scathing definition was applied to him by his distinguished
countryman, M. Thiers--_une immense incapacité méconnue_.

The private correspondence in 1869 with Lord Clarendon, who was by far
the most voluminous letter-writer amongst English Foreign Secretaries,
contains references to many topics besides the relations between France
and Prussia, such as Tunis, the Eastern Question, Spain, the internal
situation in France, the inauguration of a new Prussian seaport, the
Suez Canal, and a host of other subjects. Amongst these may be mentioned
two projected visits of exalted personages. The Khedive Ismail was
expected in England, and there was some uncertainty as to how he should
be treated. In the previous year he had ingratiated himself with the
Sultan of Turkey by agreeing to pay an increased tribute, and as a
consideration had obtained the title of Khedive and the privilege of
securing the Viceroyalty of Egypt for his own family. Being of a vain
and ostentatious disposition, however, he had now fallen into disfavour
with his Suzerain by reason of the royal airs which he assumed and of
actions which seemed to imply that he considered himself to be an
independent ruler. 'Pray let me know,' wrote Lord Clarendon, 'how the
Viceroy is received at Paris. The Turkish Ambassador has been boring me
with protestations against the royal receptions already given to him and
which he fears may be repeated here. He yesterday showed me a telegram
from Constantinople, saying that _l'effet serait fort regrettable_ if
the Viceroy was lodged in the same apartment at Buckingham Palace that
the Sultan occupied. He declares that this voyage through Europe is to
dispose Governments favourably to recognize his independence, and that
he will be backed by France against his suzerain.'

Upon making inquiries at Paris it was found that the same question had
been raised there, the Turkish Ambassador having made a remonstrance
against the Khedive being lodged in the Elysée, and a special request
that at least the room in which the Sultan slept should not be
desecrated by his obnoxious vassal. The French Foreign Minister had
thereupon advised the Ambassador to consider the remonstrance about the
Elysée and the bedroom as _non avenue_, as it could only serve to make
the Ambassador and his Government look ridiculous. Nevertheless, M. de
La Valette admitted that the Viceroy was taking too independent a line,
and that the proposal to neutralize the Suez Canal was an Imperial
question which should originate from the Porte, and not from the
Egyptian ruler.

The other and more illustrious traveller was the Empress Eugénie, who
was desirous of attending the inauguration of the Suez Canal, and who
unexpectedly intimated that she wished to make a tour in India. Upon
this becoming known, Queen Victoria caused her to be informed that her
presence in any part of the British dominions would always be most
welcome, and that every arrangement would be made for her comfort and
convenience.

    'The Empress talked to me last night,' wrote Lord Lyons, 'for a very
    long time and with great animation, not to say enthusiasm, of her
    project of going to India. She gives herself two months away from
    France, during which she proposes to go to Ceylon and most of the
    principal places in India except Calcutta. She repeated her thanks
    to the Queen and to you, and said that as the Queen had never been
    herself to India, she herself, as a Foreign Sovereign, could not
    think of receiving Royal Honours, and besides, that she particularly
    wished for her own sake to observe the incognito and to be allowed
    to go about and see things in the quickest and most unostentatious
    manner. I told her that she had only to let us know exactly what her
    wishes were and every effort should be made to carry them out. She
    particularly begged that her idea of going to India might not be
    talked about, lest it should be discussed and criticized in the
    papers. I cannot suppose she will ever really go to India, but she
    is full of it now. La Valette will stop it if he can, for his own
    sake; for he depends a good deal upon her support at the Palace.'

This journey, of course, never took place. La Valette prevented it by
representing to the Empress that if she went to Suez she must also go to
Constantinople, and thus sufficient time for a tour in India was not
available.

A trivial incident in French high society which occurred about this time
serves to show with what extraordinary facility the most exaggerated
statements can be circulated and credited. Writing to Lord Lyons, Lord
Clarendon stated that he had been informed that the former had been
placed in a most disagreeable position at a party given by Princess
Mathilde, at which a recitation had been delivered marked by the most
furious abuse of the English, and that the Emperor had gone up to the
reciting lady and ostentatiously complimented her.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, May 9, 1869.

    The only foundation for the story you mention is the fact that I was
    at a party at the Princesse Mathilde's at which a play was acted and
    some verses recited. The room however was so small that only the
    Emperor and Empress and some of the principal ladies had seats in
    it. The rest of the company were dispersed in other rooms. For my
    own part I was two rooms off, entirely out of sight and out of
    hearing of the performance and recitation. Among the verses was, I
    believe, an old ode of Victor Hugo's in praise of the First Emperor.
    I have never read it, but I dare say it is not over-complimentary to
    England. I hear the Emperor was affected to tears by it, but it
    certainly neither placed me in an awkward situation, nor gave me any
    emotion, for it was out of sight and hearing, and I did not know it
    had been recited.

In June Lord Lyons received his first request to take part in a division
in the House of Lords. As far as is known, he had never made any
declaration as to his political views, but apparently he figured on the
Whip's list as a Liberal or Whig, and Lord Clarendon wrote saying that
the Conservative Lords had determined upon the suicidal course of
throwing out the Irish Church Bill, and that as the House of Commons was
'capable of anything' it was imperative to prevent such a disaster; that
every vote in the Lords was of value, and that if he had no serious
objection it was desirable that he should come over and vote on the
second Reading. The answer to this appeal strikes one as a model of
common sense.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, June 6, 1869.

    I am very much obliged by your kind consideration in not _pressing_
    me on the subject of coming over to vote on the Irish Church Bill.
    I will frankly say that I have a very strong disinclination to do
    so. The professional objections are too obvious to mention, and I
    have another feeling which would make me hesitate. I have as yet
    never taken any part whatever in home politics. If I ever come to
    live in England, I shall of course endeavour to take a political
    line and to be of any use I can. In the meantime I should have great
    difficulty in reconciling myself to the idea of now and then giving
    a sort of blind vote, either for the sake of party, or from
    deference to friends however much I might value and esteem them.

In other words, he knew scarcely anything about the merits or demerits
of the Bill which he was expected to support, and was, of all men, the
least inclined to give a vote on a question with which he was
unacquainted. Lord Clarendon, however, doubtless much against his
inclination, was compelled to return to the charge.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    June 12, 1869.

    I am writing in the Cabinet room, and by the unanimous desire of my
    colleagues, to request that, unless you object to the Irish Church
    Bill, you will come over and give us the benefit of your vote on
    Friday.

    It is not often that the vote of the Ambassador at Paris is wanted,
    and if I remember rightly, Cowley only once or twice sent me his
    proxy; but proxies are now abolished, and the real presence is
    necessary. Every vote is of importance, as the question is one of
    great gravity not only as respects the Irish Church but the conflict
    between the two Houses that is impending, and that must if possible
    be averted.

    Gladstone has just expressed a strong opinion as to the duty of a
    peer not to abstain from voting when he is not disabled from doing
    so, and does not admit that diplomatic convenience is a sufficient
    reason against his doing so.

    I hope therefore you will come over if you are not opposed to the
    Bill.

It being practically impossible to resist an intimation of this kind
from an official chief, Lord Lyons reluctantly went over to London to
vote, and as he had not yet even taken his seat, took the precaution of
asking a trusty friend in the Foreign Office to find out what the
necessary formalities were. The following somewhat naïve communication
possesses a modern interest as it discloses the fact that backwoodsmen
were as much in existence then as they are now.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Mr. Staveley to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, June 16, 1869.

    Not being able to get any reliable information in the Foreign Office
    as to your _modus operandi_ in regard to taking your seat to-morrow,
    I have been down to the House of Lords this afternoon and saw one of
    the clerks in the Crown Office, who says that all you have to do is
    to present yourself at the Peers' entrance to-morrow not later than
    4.45 p.m., when you will receive from the clerk in attendance for
    that purpose the necessary writ to enable you to take your seat.

    Nothing further is necessary, and many peers presented themselves
    and took their seats for the first time this session, for the debate
    of Monday last, with no further formalities.

The obvious comment on this incident is that Mr. Gladstone and his
colleagues were totally wanting in a sense of proportion, and their
action justifies the belief that the eminent persons who govern this
country are sometimes literally incapable of looking beyond the next
division list in Parliament.

If a British Ambassador is to inspire confidence in his countrymen
it is all important that he should not be a partisan or dependent in any
degree upon party favours. The majority for the second reading of the
Bill was 33, and no fewer than 108 peers were absent from the division
unpaired. Yet because the whip (probably a person of very mediocre
intelligence) said that he wanted every vote that could be obtained, the
Ambassador was sent for, made to figure as a party hack, and forced to
give a vote on a question of which he had admittedly no knowledge, and
upon which his opinion was valueless. It will be seen later that similar
attempts to force him to vote were subsequently made by people who ought
to have known better, but fortunately without much success.

Towards the close of April, 1869, the French Legislative Session came to
an end, and with it expired the Chamber elected in 1863. The General
Election took place in May, and, as an insignificant number of
opposition deputies were returned, owing to the unscrupulous
intervention of the Executive, the results were received with much
satisfaction in Government circles. It was generally felt, however, that
even the huge Government majority would be more independent than in the
late Chamber, and that a very real control would be exercised over the
Ministers. It was even expected by some that the Emperor would formally
announce the acceptance of the principle of the responsibility of
Ministers to Parliament.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, May 25, 1869.

    I understand that the result of the elections gives pleasure at the
    Tuileries. The Imperialists generally seem very well satisfied.
    They consider the result to be a complete defeat of the Orleanists,
    a defeat of the Legitimists and a defeat of the moderate
    Republicans; the Chamber being thus divided into supporters of the
    dynasty and Ultra-Republicans. They think the prominence of the
    _Spectre Rouge_ will frighten and unite the people at large, and
    cause them to rally round the dynasty. I cannot help being afraid
    that there are more _rouges_ elected than is very safe, and the
    election of such a sanguinary socialist as Baucel both at Paris and
    Lyons is an uncomfortable symptom. The opposition will not be
    inconveniently numerous, and its violence will be in all probability
    simply a source of weakness.

    I could not get Rouher to listen to any hint to propose to Prussia
    that a French vessel should be sent to Jahde,[14] though he seemed
    willing enough to send one if invited. You have, however, I think,
    entirely prevented them having any suspicion of our having been
    coquetting with Prussia, or having been willing to curry favour with
    her at the expense of France.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, May 29, 1869.

    It is very generally believed that Rouher will be made the scapegoat
    and placed in the honourable retreat of the Presidency of the
    Senate. Since the great rally of the Moderates to the dynasty it has
    become the fashion to throw upon Rouher personally the blame of all
    the measures which he has had to defend. I don't know who can be
    found to take his place as Government orator.

    Speculation is occupied in divining how the Emperor will take the
    elections. Some think that, finding himself in front of an
    opposition of _Rouges_, he will again take the part of the Saviour
    of Society and begin a new epoch of Cæsarism. Others, looking to the
    comparatively large number of independent members, whose elections
    the Government did not oppose, and to the liberal professions made
    even by the official candidates, expect a formal announcement of the
    responsibility of Ministers to the Chamber, and Parliamentary
    Government in form and in fact. An opinion not the least probable is
    that His Majesty will make no change, but appoint Ministers and
    direct his policy more or less in deference to the Chamber,
    according to circumstances.

    I hope Beust's meddling in the Belgian question has been merely an
    awkward attempt to curry favour with the Emperor, but it may have
    had the mischievous effect of encouraging fresh pretensions on the
    part of France. Jealousy of Prussia will for a long time to come
    ensure sympathy between France and Austria.

The complacent feelings with which the election results were at first
received at the Tuileries soon gave place to very different emotions. M.
de La Valette was under no illusion as to the unimportance of a victory
over the Orleanists, and had frequently assured the Emperor that they
had no real backing in the country, and that His Majesty's extreme
susceptibility with regard to the attention shown to the Princes of that
House by the Court and by society in England was totally unnecessary.
The more the elections were considered the less they were liked. It
began to dawn upon the Emperor that it had been a mistake to help the
Reds with a view to crushing the Orleanists or Moderate Liberals. A
majority in the Chamber was indeed secured to the official candidates,
but the moral weight of the votes given for them was small, for the
influence of the Government had been unsparingly and unscrupulously used
to secure their return, and even the official candidates had, with few
exceptions, been forced to issue very Liberal addresses. Fear of the
extreme men might bring the officials and the independent members
together in the Chamber, but it was generally realized that the
Government would have to go at least halfway to meet the Liberals. In
short, it was difficult to conceal the fact that the elections had not
resulted in a manifestation of confidence in the Imperial Government,
and that they had shown that the party bent upon revolution at any price
was dangerously large. Under these circumstances it was not surprising
that the French Government showed itself alarmed and irritable, and
although the country appeared to have declared against war there were
not wanting Imperialists who would have been ready to look upon a
provocation from abroad as a godsend.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, June 8, 1869.

    The elections of yesterday in Paris seem to me satisfactory, for I
    certainly prefer Orleanists and Moderate Republicans to Reds, and it
    is a great thing to be rid of all the questions Rochefort's return
    would have produced. In the Provinces the official candidates seem
    to have had the worst of it.

    The lessons to be drawn from the general election are not pleasant,
    for it is impossible to find anywhere a symptom of approval of
    personal government. It is not that the French desire a
    Parliamentary government _à l'Anglaise_, but they are tired of the
    uncertainty and disquiet in which they are kept by the fact that
    peace and war, and indeed everything, depend upon the inscrutable
    will of one man whom they do believe capable of giving them
    surprises, and whom they no longer believe to be infallible. I don't
    like the look of things. I dare say we shall be quiet for some time,
    but like the French public, I live in dread of a surprise.

    It is true that Fleury is likely to go as Minister to Florence,
    though it is a secret. He would keep his office of Grand Ecuyer, but
    he would go because he felt that he had lost his influence with
    the Emperor and would not choose to stay here only to look after
    horses and carriages. I don't think his departure a good sign. He
    has lately been rather liberal in politics, and he is one of the few
    men who would be certainly true to the Emperor and brave and
    resolute if it came to actual fighting in the streets. The object of
    his mission to Florence would be to manage the withdrawal of the
    French troops from Rome. I have no doubt the Emperor wants to
    withdraw them, but he wants also to be sure that the Pope will be
    safe without them. I dare say, too, that His Majesty is angry about
    the conduct of the clergy in the elections. They voted according to
    their own predilections, and certainly did not make the support of
    the Government a primary object.

General Fleury, a man of charming personality, and a prominent figure in
French society, was the author of the celebrated rejoinder, _Pourtant,
nous nous sommes diablement bien amusés_, upon an occasion when the
Second Empire was severely criticized some years later. Lord Clarendon
was another of those who felt misgivings over the elections. 'I feel
precisely as you do,' he wrote to Lord Lyons, 'about the elections and
the danger of a surprise that they create. Cæsar thinks only of his
dynasty, and I expect he foresees greater danger to it from responsible
Government than from war. It is not surprising that the French should be
exasperated at always living on a volcano and never knowing when it may
burst out and what mischief it may do them. The Bourgeoisie and the
_actionnaires_ must fear revolution, but they must be beginning to weigh
its evils against those which they are now suffering from. Fleury was a
friend of peace and of England, and I am very sorry that he should so
much have lost his influence as to make him accept a foreign mission.'

The elections were followed by a certain amount of rioting in Paris, and
some hundreds of persons were arrested, but the only effect of these
disorders was to strengthen the hands of those who advised the Emperor
to hold fast to absolute and personal government. The latter was quite
willing to sacrifice individuals to the Chamber, and was aware of the
necessity of making some concessions in a Liberal sense, but he
continued to resist any extension of the power of the Legislative Body.
The latter might have obtained what was desired by calm and patience,
for no minister would have been strong enough to successfully withstand
the demand, but it is not in the nature of Frenchmen to achieve
practical successes without noise and ostentation, and it was plain that
troublous times were ahead. Had Napoleon III. been wise he would have
taken the bull by the horns and announced something that would have
satisfied the Chamber and the country. Unfortunately, the one thing he
refused to give up was the one thing which his opponents were determined
to wrest from him--personal government.

In July the Constitutional agitation was advanced a stage by an
important interpellation of the Government demanding that the country
should be given a greater share in the direction of affairs and asking
for a ministry responsible to the Chamber. This demand was very
numerously signed, and much to the general surprise amongst the
signatures were many names belonging to the Government majority. It was
evident that the country and the Chamber were determined to put some
check on personal government.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, July 7, 1869.

    We are going on here _à toute vitesse_, whither, it is not very
    pleasant to think. A new form has been agreed upon for the famous
    interpellation.

    More than a hundred Deputies have signed the demand, and among the
    signatories are to be found even some of the regular courtiers, such
    as Prince Joachim Murat and the Duc de Mouchy. It is entirely
    illegal for the Corps Legislatif to discuss the Constitution, but
    things seem to have gone much too far for such scruples to have any
    weight. It would be amusing, if it were not rather alarming, to see
    the eagerness among men of all parties to be forward in the race
    towards Liberalism. Rouher preaches patience and moderation, but the
    Oracle from St. Cloud gives no certain response to the many votaries
    who try to extract a declaration of its views. This it is, which has
    been one of the main causes of the falling away of the Imperial
    Deputies. To keep the majority together, it would have been
    necessary that a distinct _mot d'ordre_ should have been given them,
    the moment the Chamber met. No one is willing to take the unpopular
    side without some assurance that he will not be thrown over by the
    Prince he wishes to serve; and what is worse, the want of decision
    shown has very much diminished confidence in the resolution and
    ability of the Sovereign, and consequently the willingness of
    politicians to throw their lot in with his. When one looks at the
    position in which things stood, I will not say before the election,
    but between the election and the meeting of the Chamber, one is
    astonished at the rapid descent of the personal power and the
    reputation. Whether concessions will come in time to enable him to
    stop before he is dragged to the bottom of the hill, is even
    beginning to be questioned.

The Prince de La Tour d'Auvergne, the French Ambassador in London, who
was much astonished at the number of persons who had signed the
Interpellation Demand, told Lord Clarendon that the French Government
had brought it entirely on themselves by the scandals perpetrated at the
elections. Both he and Lord Clarendon were convinced that Rouher was
destined to be the Imperial scapegoat. In this they were correct.
Rouher resigned; and La Tour d'Auvergne himself changed places with La
Valette.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, July 14, 1869.

    When France enters upon a new road it is difficult to guess where it
    will lead her to, and revolution may be looming in the distance, but
    I think and hope it may be staved off for a time. The Senate will
    probably put on as many checks as it dares, and the Emperor will
    have a good many dodges for defeating his own programme, but he has
    proceeded so unskilfully that he must have shaken the confidence of
    those whose support he ought to reckon upon.

    He should at once, after the unmistakeable verdict of the country
    against personal government, have made up his mind how far he would
    go with, or resist public opinion, and not have left his supporters
    without that _mot d'ordre_ that Frenchmen cannot dispense with; but
    his silence compelled them to speak, and no one will now persuade
    the people that he has not yielded to the threatened interpellation.

    If they are once thoroughly impressed with the notion that he is
    squeezable they will continue to squeeze him, and the language held
    even by his immediate entourage is ominous. The middle-class fear of
    violent charges, and, above all, of the Reds, may come to his aid,
    but he must be sadly in want of sound advice. Rouher's retirement,
    even though it be temporary, is, I conclude, indispensable, but I
    hope the Imperial confidence will not be given to Drouyn, who
    besides being the most untrustworthy of men, is the most dangerous
    of councillors. The point which concerns us most is the successor to
    La Valette, whose resignation Prince La Tour bears with perfect
    equanimity.

The ministerial changes seemed to produce no beneficial effects as far
as the Emperor's position was concerned, and the letters from the
Ambassador became increasingly pessimistic.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, July 27, 1869.

    I grieve to say that the Emperor seems to lose ground. His own
    partisans seem more and more to doubt his having energy and decision
    enough to hold himself and them. What is serious is that this doubt
    is strong among the generals. They would stick to him if they felt
    sure of him, because a reduction of the army is one of the leading
    doctrines of his opponents. Prince Napoleon has found an occasion
    for having a letter published repudiating all responsibility for the
    conduct of the Government of late years. I have been told very
    confidentially that the Empress complained bitterly to the Grand
    Duchess Mary of Russia of the inconstancy and ingratitude of the
    French people, and said that if the people were tired of her and the
    Emperor, they were quite ready to leave the country and save their
    son from the dangerous and thankless task of trying to content
    France. No one seems to apprehend any immediate danger. The general
    impression is that if the Senatus Consultum is a fair execution of
    the promises in the message, things will go on quietly enough until
    the meeting of the Chamber, which may be safely put off till
    December. The most hopeful sign to my mind is the reasonable and
    Constitutional way in which the French seem to be getting accustomed
    to work for Reforms. If the Emperor sees pretty clearly what to
    yield and what to keep, and will express his intentions in time and
    stick to them, all may go well yet. But can decision and firmness be
    inspired, if they are not in the natural character, or the
    reputation for them, if once lost, be recovered?

In spite of the evident deterioration in Napoleon's position and of the
growing distrust in him which was now universally felt, unfavourable
rumours as to the state of his health caused something resembling a
panic. The French funds, which were higher than they had ever been
before, fell suddenly in August. They had risen because the
Constitutional concessions were believed to make it certain that the
Emperor would not make war: they fell because alarming reports were
spread about his ill-health. As a matter of fact, he was suffering from
rheumatism, and there was no real danger, but there is always a
difficulty in ascertaining the truth about illustrious invalids. Much
inconvenience and delay, however, were caused by his indisposition, for
it seems to have been his habit to retire to bed at any hour of the day,
if he felt unwell, and there was no certainty of seeing him, even when
he made an appointment. As his plans depended upon his health, and as
there was further a certain amount of complication caused by the
projected visit of the Empress to the East, nobody quite knew what would
happen, and the _joueurs à la baisse_ profited by the situation to bring
off a big _coup_ on the Bourse.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Weisbaden, Aug. 31, 1869.

    I hope the report given to you of the Emperor's health is correct.
    The banker has told me to-day that he had not remembered for years
    such a panic at Frankfort as was produced by the news that he was
    dangerously ill. If his illness is not serious and he soon gets well
    again, the fright will rather do good as making people awake to the
    enormous importance of his life. Even, however, if he lives, your
    able despatch describing the state and the prospect of affairs in
    France gives cause sufficient for anxiety, and I have an instinct
    that they will drift into a republic before another year is over.

Had Lord Clarendon lived a few months longer he would have been able to
congratulate himself upon one of the most accurate political prophecies
on record, for the Republic was actually proclaimed in Paris on
September 4, 1870. It should be added that his voluminous letters show
a thorough knowledge of and profound insight into French politics.

The political situation in France at the end of August, 1869, was, on
the whole, apparently somewhat more reassuring than had been the case
earlier in the year. The Emperor's message announcing a great
Constitutional reform had been read in the Corps Législatif in July,
and was followed by a general amnesty for all political and press
offences. The change of Ministry was well received, because it involved
the retirement of M. Rouher, the ablest supporter of the old system of
government, although it was known that many eminent deputies were
unwilling to take office until the Constitutional change had come into
effect. The general impression produced upon the public was favourable,
and although many Liberals were careful to declare that they accepted
the proffered changes simply as an instalment, only the
ultra-Republicans and irreconcilables affected to repudiate them and
treat them with contempt. Even the latter, however, were obliged to
express approval of the amnesty. Meanwhile the country had remained
calm, and so far, the stream of reform appeared to be flowing swiftly
and with unruffled surface. Close observers, however, were under no
illusion as to the critical situation which was concealed behind these
favourable appearances.

The preservation of the Monarchy and of order in France depended as much
upon the Emperor as it had done during the early years of his reign, and
he was far from being as strong as then. He had been at the head of the
Government for more than eighteen years, and the temperament of the
French seemed to preclude the idea that they could tolerate any rule for
a lengthy period. A young generation had sprung up free from the dread
of the bloodshed and disorder which accompanied the revolution of 1848,
and eager for change and excitement. The Emperor's foreign policy had
not of late years succeeded in gratifying the national pride, nor had
his recent concessions done as much as might have been expected to
recover his reputation. The ultra-Imperialists believed that if he had
shown resolution and decision immediately after the General Election, no
reforms would have been necessary; they thought that the reforms became
inevitable simply because he vacillated and gave his majority no
assurance of support. The Liberals had not much belief in his good
faith, and the friends of the Empire entertained a well-grounded fear
that the new powers granted to the people would be used for the purpose
of overthrowing the dynasty and establishing a republic. On the one
hand, there was an impression that the Emperor had no longer sufficient
firmness to resist these subversive attempts; on the other, the Liberals
found it difficult to believe that a sovereign who had for many years
exercised so directly, in his own person, absolute power, could ever be
brought voluntarily to abandon it. Thus there was apprehension on both
sides, and while some feared that the Emperor would be led from
concession to concession until he had no power left, others feared that,
finding it impossible to reconcile himself to his new position, he would
have recourse to some violent expedient, such as war or a _coup d'état_,
in order to extricate himself from his difficulties.

It was generally taken for granted that the choice lay between the
Bonaparte dynasty and a republic of an extreme character. The Emperor
still retained some personal popularity, but he no longer inspired the
fear and the admiration which had hitherto prevented revolutionary
attempts. His best chance seemed to lie in foreign Governments treating
international questions in such a way as to enhance as far as possible
his reputation, and it was certainly not to the interest of England that
he should be displaced, for his own commercial policy was decidedly
liberal, and it was highly doubtful whether the Corps Législatif would
be equally so, when it came to dealing with Tariffs and Commercial
Treaties.

When Lord Lyons returned from his leave in November, he found the
Emperor in good spirits, full of amiable sentiments with regard to
England, and very cheerful about the political prospects in France. He
did not appear to know much about the Porte and Khedive question,
which had for some time been giving rise to considerable trouble, but
responded at once to the Ambassador's appeal to his own _amour propre_
in favour of the Commercial Treaty, which seemed to be in jeopardy. The
Empress had gone to the East, and he was consoling himself for her
absence by giving small dances at the Tuileries for some American young
ladies.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Dec. 3, 1869.

    I am more than ever impatient to settle this Khedive affair because
    I am afraid that I see symptoms of the French Press taking up his
    cause against his lawful master. La Tour d'Auvergne's tenure of
    office is very precarious, and if he goes before it is settled, his
    successor is as likely as not to take the popular side, which in
    France is undoubtedly that of the contumacious vassal. La Tour
    d'Auvergne is himself uneasy, and it is apparent that it is only the
    desire to act with us which keeps the Emperor from taking the
    Khedive's side decidedly. If the Porte plays many more of these
    pranks, it will bring about the independence of Egypt, or a quarrel
    between England and France on the subject.

    It is in vain to draw any conclusions from the proceedings of the
    Deputies, or the innumerable commentaries made upon them. The
    Ministers profess to be delighted with the elections of President
    and Vice-Presidents, but then I cannot forget that they were
    enchanted for the first few days with the results of the General
    Election which produced the present Chamber. My own hope is that out
    of the chaos a working Liberal-Conservative majority will be
    developed; but who is to be the Minister? Emile Ollivier seems to be
    losing, not gaining ground in the Chamber. If the Emperor goes
    straight and throws himself a little more on the classes, who,
    having something to lose, are naturally conservative, he may do well
    yet. There is certainly a return of goodwill towards him. The fear
    is that he may hope to strengthen himself by coquetting with his pet
    ouvriers, who have so little gratitude for the really important
    services he has rendered them. If reproached, they answer, he has
    done something for us, but what have we not done for him? What I
    mean by coquetting with them, is trying to gain by their support,
    power, and popularity at the expense of the Chamber.

    I can't pretend to say whether the new majority will hold together
    when the question of distributing the places arises; whether they
    will find it possible to get on with the Emperor, or (which most
    concerns us) whether they can and will maintain the Commercial
    Treaty. I am afraid we shall never again, either in political or
    commercial affairs, have as good times as we had under the personal
    power of the Emperor--by _we_ of course I mean the _English_.

With this sentiment Lord Clarendon fully concurred: the Emperor, he
said, was parting with power so reluctantly that he would create
distrust, but 'I quite agree with you that we shall never have such good
times again under a Parliamentary instead of a personal _régime_.'

A few days after this letter was written, La Tour d'Auvergne and his
colleagues were already anxious to resign, although the Emperor wished
to retain them. It was supposed that Drouyn de Lhuys would be one of
their successors: 'Angels and Ministers of grace, defend us!' was the
comment of Lord Lyons upon this rumour, which Lord Clarendon received
with equal apprehension. Another political event at this juncture was an
announcement by the Empress that she intended to keep aloof from
politics in the future, and to devote herself to works of charity--an
announcement which did not carry universal conviction at the time.

The Cabinet, which was in so shaky a condition, contained some nominal
free traders, and it was feared, not without cause, that the new
Government might denounce the existing Commercial Treaty, although La
Tour d'Auvergne expressed confidence that such would not be the case. 'I
have my misgivings,' wrote the Ambassador, sadly, 'for I am afraid the
country is Protectionist, and I think the Free Trade zeal in the south
will cool, as they become aware that we shall not retaliate.'

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Dec. 21, 1869.

    Nothing but absolute force will turn French Ministers and their
    wives from their sumptuous official palaces. La Tour d'Auvergne,
    whom I should indeed like to keep, is really anxious to go. I don't
    feel sure that any of the others are. I suppose the Emperor must
    change the Ministry as soon as the verification of powers is over,
    but he has not made up his mind yet, and his hesitation is doing him
    harm in all ways. There is, I believe, a Conservative reaction, or
    rather a revival of the fear of the red spectre in the country. The
    Emperor may turn this to good account, if he will govern
    constitutionally through a Parliamentary Ministry, but it will not
    sustain him in a return to personal government.

    I don't think things look well for the Commercial Treaty, and the
    notion of some Free Traders that it should be denounced on account
    of its origin, and with a view to making a greater advance towards
    real free trade, will probably give the _coup de grâce_ to it.
    The difficulty of passing new free trade measures through the Chamber
    would, I should think, be infinitely greater than that of
    maintaining the present Treaty.

The formation of the new Government was not actually completed before
the end of the year, although the Emperor in true Constitutional fashion
wrote a letter to M. Emile Ollivier in his own hand, asking him to form
a Cabinet. There was a feeling that his Ministry would not be long
lived, and moderate men shrank from joining it, thus playing into the
hands of the revolutionary parties. Amongst those who thought that the
new Government would be short-lived was Lord Clarendon--

    'Ollivier's task,' he wrote, 'requires tact, experience, firmness,
    knowledge of men, and a few other qualities in which he seems
    singularly deficient, and I cannot think his Ministry will last. La
    Valette thinks that the object of the implacables is to discredit
    the Chamber collectively and individually, so as to make its
    dissolution appear a necessity; then to pass a new electoral law;
    then to have a General Election with which the Government would be
    prohibited from interfering; then to have a Chamber of Rocheforts
    and Raspails, which would be more than the _commencement de la fin_.

    'This is rather a gloomy view, expressed confidentially, of course,
    and we must hope that the Emperor will be able to defeat intrigues
    of the existence and gravity of which he must be well aware.'

As an instance of the general uncertainty prevailing, it may be
mentioned that M. de La Valette, until the contents of the Emperor's
letter to Emile Ollivier became known, was convinced that Imperial
indecision would take the form of resumption of absolute power.

The new ministry was finally completed in the early days of January,
1870, and proved to be considerably stronger than had been believed
possible. Some of the new Ministers had curious antecedents with regard
to the Emperor. Ollivier himself had previously been an opponent of the
Empire, and his father had been sentenced to be deported to Cayenne,
while Count Daru, the new Foreign Minister, had actually voted for the
Emperor's impeachment. It was creditable, therefore, that personal
matters did not exclude men from office. What chiefly concerned England
was the line which the new Government was likely to take with regard to
the Commercial Treaty which was about to expire. According to the
Emperor, there was nothing to fear, and he assured the Ambassador that
he had come to an understanding with Ollivier on the subject, but it was
ominous that several members of the Cabinet were ardent Protectionists,
amongst them being the Minister of Public Works. In conversation the
Emperor spoke cheerfully about the political situation, quite in the
tone of a Constitutional Monarch. The Empress, on her side, declared
that she had no _caractère politique_ in the State, and enlarged on the
enormity of the attacks in the press upon a person so entirely without
political position, attacks which were certainly odious, and generally
directed to matters unconnected with politics. As for the Ministers,
they all praised the Emperor, and declared that their relations with him
were perfectly Constitutional and satisfactory; everything seemed going
smoothly until the death of the journalist Victor Noir at the hands of
Prince Pierre Bonaparte once more threw politics into confusion. After a
certain amount of rioting, however, and much trouble caused by
Rochefort, things resumed their usual condition for the time being.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Jan. 18, 1870.

    I am one of the hopeful, and I see or fancy I see signs of the
    success of the present Ministry in their attempt to found
    Parliamentary Government. But people are very uneasy, and the
    tactics of the Revolutionists are to keep up an agitation enough to
    paralyze trade, and make the peaceably-disposed think that the
    present Government is not strong enough to be worth having. These
    manoeuvres might lead to a resumption of personal power, which
    would be almost as dangerous as a republican revolution.

    People seem to find it difficult to believe that the Emperor will
    abstain from intriguing against his Ministers. They say it is in his
    nature to do so, and remind one that he set up a newspaper against
    Rouher. The Ministers themselves, on the other hand, seem to be
    thoroughly satisfied with His Majesty. Daru says that he and his
    colleagues are confident of success; that they would have two or
    three difficult months to pass, but that they expect to have
    convinced the Republicans by that time that a revolution is hopeless.
    He spoke with great satisfaction of the complete adhesion of the
    middle class at Paris to the Ministry, and of the offers they make
    of their services in case of need.

    Claremont saw the Emperor this afternoon. He thought His Majesty
    looking fat and heavy. He found an opportunity of making a remark to
    him on the necessity of the Ministry being supported by the Chamber,
    which seems to have been taken in good part.

    I hear on good authority that the Empress professes to find much
    greater good than she expected in the Parliamentary Government, and
    that she says the Pierre Bonaparte affair would have been much more
    disastrous under the old system. Several of the new Ministers and
    their wives appeared last night at a ball at the Tuileries for the
    first time since 1848. The Empress, as well as the Emperor, was
    particularly gracious to them.

It may be mentioned in connection with the Tuileries balls, that the
Ambassador used to receive very numerous applications from persons in
English society who were desirous of being invited to these
entertainments, and it was usually not possible to satisfy their wishes.
After the fall of the Empire, this particular species of application
practically disappeared, there being apparently no overwhelming anxiety
to attend the Republican social functions.

Before the end of January an important debate took place in the Chamber
on the Commercial Treaty, M. Thiers appearing as the chief Protectionist
champion. Free Traders professed to derive some encouragement from it,
as a vote against the denunciation of the Treaty was carried by 211 to
32; but it was obvious that these figures could not be taken as a test
vote of the strength of the Free Trade and Protectionist parties, since
the votes of the majority were influenced by a variety of
considerations.


FOOTNOTES:

  [11] The vanity which was responsible for Prince Gortschakoff's love
  of conferences is frequently referred to in Busch's 'Bismarck.'

  [12] Subsequently Lord Ampthill.

  [13] Prussian Ambassador in London.

  [14] Now Wilhelmshafen.



CHAPTER VII

SECRET PROPOSALS FOR DISARMAMENT

(1870)


It will be remembered that in October, 1868, the French Government had
practically suggested that Her Majesty's Government should 'give advice'
to Prussia on the subject of disarmament, and that Lord Stanley, who was
Foreign Secretary at the time had resolutely declined to do anything of
the kind. A fresh effort was now made in the same direction, no details
of which, so far as is known, have ever been made public.

_Mutatus mutandis_, there was a curious similarity between the language
held at Paris and at Berlin respectively. The French proclaimed that
they would not go to war with the Prussians, provided the latter did
nothing objectionable. The Prussians replied that they did not want to
go to war with France, provided they were allowed to do as they pleased,
and both asserted that the maintenance of peace depended upon England,
which they explained by affirming that England had only to declare that
she would join against whichever Power broke the peace; the real meaning
of this being that at Paris it was expected that England should announce
beforehand that she would side with France in case of war, while at
Berlin it meant that she should announce beforehand that she would side
with Prussia.

Early in January it had become known to the British Government, and
presumably also to the French Government, that Bismarck intended to
create a North German Empire, and that the King of Prussia was by no
means disinclined to become an Emperor, and it may have been this
knowledge which prompted the French Government to make another attempt
to induce England to suggest disarmament. It was felt that the only
chance of success was to set about the work as quietly as possible, and
if there was one individual who was better fitted than any other to
undertake this delicate task it was undoubtedly Lord Clarendon, who, as
has already been pointed out, was on intimate terms with the principal
personages concerned. Lord Clarendon was approached in January by La
Valette, the French Ambassador, and consented to make the attempt.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, Jan. 26, 1870.

    I had a long talk with La Valette to-day about disarmament. It is no
    new subject to me, but one which I have long had at heart, although
    it presents serious difficulties on account of the King of Prussia's
    obstinacy. He does not meditate, or desire war--far from it. But his
    army is his idol, and he won't make himself an iconoclast. Not so
    the Crown Prince, with whom I discussed the subject at great length
    a year ago. Our relations with Prussia are very friendly, and
    perhaps we are in as good a position as any other Power to make an
    attempt to bell the cat, and Count Daru may be sure that I will do
    all I can to meet his views, but I am sure that he will admit that
    some tact and _ménagements_ are necessary. I spoke to Gortchakoff
    in the summer about Prussian disarmament, and he entirely concurred,
    though he said Russia would take no initiative.

Further letters from Lord Clarendon emphasized the necessity of keeping
the matter secret, and authorized Lord Lyons to assure the French
Government that it would not be compromised in any way, and that he
undertook the business with hearty good will, but with small hope of
success, as the King of Prussia was almost unapproachable on the subject
of the army.

On January 30th, M. Emile Ollivier called upon Lord Lyons.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Jan. 30, 1870.

    I have just had a visit from M. Emile Ollivier and we have spoken
    confidentially on several subjects.

    The thing uppermost in his mind was Disarmament. He said he was very
    anxious that England should exert her influence with Prussia. He
    explained the position of the present French Ministers with regard
    to the subject. They depended, he said, principally on the great
    agricultural population of France for support against Socialism and
    Revolution. It was essential therefore that they should do something
    for that population. To conciliate them, either taxes might be
    remitted or the call upon them for recruits be diminished. There
    were great difficulties in the way of remitting taxes, and when a
    reduction of the army was proposed, the Ministers were met by the
    Emperor and the military party with a declaration that it would be
    unsafe to diminish the forces of France, while those of Prussia were
    on their present footing--that the effect would be that Prussia
    would make some attempt on Southern Germany, and war be the
    consequence. If, however, Prussia would make a simultaneous
    disarmament, all would, he thought, be well and a great security for
    peace would be given. It was true that the Prussians urged that
    their army was on a peace footing already, and that they could not
    be expected to change their whole military system, but M. Ollivier
    conceived that while no doubt the Prussian system enabled the
    Government to call nearly the whole male population to arms, it
    depended upon the Government to decide how many it would actually
    call upon each year.

    I explained to M. Ollivier the difficulty and delicacy of the
    question, the peculiar views of the present King of Prussia, and the
    small hope there could be of prevailing upon His Majesty to consent
    to a reduction of the army. I said that it would be your special
    care that the French Government should not be compromised by any
    step you might take. I added that it was plain that the only chance
    of success was to approach Prussia in a strictly confidential
    manner; that any formal diplomatic move on our part would be
    resented or misrepresented as a pretension to interfere in the
    internal affairs of the country, and would expose France as well as
    ourselves to a rebuff.

    M. Ollivier said that he was extremely grateful to you, and that he
    entirely concurred in the opinion that the move must be made in a
    cautious and confidential manner. He was particularly alive to the
    importance of not exposing France to the appearance of being
    slighted; in fact, he would not conceal from me that, under present
    circumstances, a public rebuff from Prussia would be fatal. '_Un
    échec_,' he said, '_c'est la guerre_!' Those who had to render an
    account to Parliament and the country were less able than the former
    Government to put up with any wound to the national pride. Their
    main object was peace, but they must show firmness, or they would
    not be able to cope with Revolution and Socialism at home.

    M. Ollivier went on to say that, whether we succeeded or not at the
    present moment, it was very necessary that the way should be paved
    for disarmament in Prussia, and that it should be felt that England
    was in favour of it. The time must come when France would be obliged
    to make a public proposal to Prussia to disarm: it was impossible
    that the French Government could assume, in the eyes of France and
    the world, any share of the responsibility for the present
    exaggerated armaments and expenses. They would be obliged to show
    the French people and the German people too where the responsibility
    really lay. The best course would be to avoid, by a confidential
    arrangement for simultaneous action, the necessity of claiming
    special praise for either party, or throwing special blame on
    either. If this could not be, the next best thing would be that
    Prussia should be prepared to receive, in a proper spirit, a
    proposal from France, and the confidential steps you thought of
    would, in his opinion, certainly be likely to effect so much at
    least.

    He spoke with great affection of the Emperor, and assured me that
    H.M. acted in the most perfect harmony and confidence with his new
    Ministers, and that no difficulty had arisen on any subject, though
    the Ministers had maintained and were determined to maintain their
    independence and their authority as the responsible Government of
    the country.

An opportunity for Lord Clarendon's good offices presented itself very
soon; Count Bismarck had written a despatch to the Prussian Minister in
London in which he alluded in complimentary terms to the friendly
interest which Lord Clarendon had always shown in the welfare of
Prussia, and the latter made this an excuse for communicating his views
on disarmament, the method selected being a memorandum which Lord
Augustus Loftus[15] was directed to bring to Bismarck's notice in strict
confidence.

In communicating to Lord Lyons a copy of this memorandum it is
instructive to learn that the British Cabinet Ministers, with one
exception, were kept in ignorance of Lord Clarendon's action. 'I have,'
he wrote on February 3, 1870, 'only mentioned the matter to the Queen
and Gladstone, both of whom highly approve. The Queen will be ready
to write to the King of Prussia whenever I think her doing so may be
useful. You will be able to assure Daru that I have in no way
compromised the French Government.'

The memorandum which, it was faintly hoped, might impress the
flinty-hearted Bismarck ran as follows:--

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord A. Loftus._

    Foreign Office, Feb. 2, 1870.

    A few days ago, Count Bernstorff read to me a despatch from Count
    Bismarck concerning the German Confederation which contained some
    allusions to myself that gave me particular satisfaction, as a proof
    that Count Bismarck recognized the sincerity of my interest in the
    welfare and greatness of Germany.

    If I am not mistaken in this I hope he will not think that I abuse
    the confidence he seems disposed to place in me by asking him
    privately through you to consider a subject that I have long had at
    heart, and in making this request, it is, I am sure, unnecessary for
    me to disclaim any intention to interfere in the internal affairs of
    Prussia--such an intention would be alike presumptuous and useless.

    But it is in the general interest of Europe, of peace, and of
    humanity that I desire to invite the attention of Count Bismarck to
    the enormous standing armies that now afflict Europe by constituting
    a state of things that is neither peace nor war, but which is so
    destructive of confidence that men almost desire war with all its
    horrors in order to arrive at some certainty of peace--a state of
    things that withdraws millions of hands from productive industry and
    heavily taxes the people for their own injury and renders them
    discontented with their rulers. It is a state of things in short
    that no thoughtful man can contemplate without sorrow and alarm, for
    this system is cruel, it is out of harmony with the civilization of
    our age, and it is pregnant with danger.

    To modify this system would be a glorious work, and it is one that
    Prussia, better than any other Power, might undertake. She would not
    only earn for herself the gratitude of Europe, but give a great
    proof of her morality and her power; it would be a fitting
    complement of the military successes she has achieved.

    I know full well the difficulties that would beset such a course of
    policy. I know how great and deserved is the King's parental feeling
    and affection for his army--that he would view its reduction with
    pain, and that he might not think it safe to diminish its numerical
    force; but His Majesty is wise and foreseeing, and his moral courage
    is always equal to the measures he believes to be right, and should
    Count Bismarck think it not inconsistent with his duty to recommend
    a partial disarmament to the King, I cannot but consider that the
    moment is a singularly propitious one for the purpose.

    The great standing army of France would of course come first under
    the consideration of the King, but France has been never more
    peacefully disposed than at the present time, under a responsible
    Government which cannot make war 'for an idea,' because it
    represents a nation that is determined to maintain peace so long as
    there is no just cause for war, and because the Emperor entirely
    shares the feelings of his people. I know that the present
    Government of France will seek for popularity and power in a
    peaceful policy and in economy, notwithstanding the vast and
    increasing wealth of the country and the almost proverbial
    indifference of the people to taxation.

    There would consequently, I am convinced, be no opposition on the
    part of the French Government to a reduction of the army _pari
    passu_ with Prussia. For reasons, however, quite intelligible,
    neither Government may choose to take the initiative in such a
    proposal; but if I had authority to do so, I do not doubt that the
    Queen would allow me to sound the ground at Paris, in a manner
    entirely confidential, that should in no way compromise either
    Government, whatever might be the result of the suggestion.

    Pray read this letter to Count Bismarck with the sincere expression
    of my esteem.

With all due respect to Lord Clarendon, this lecture (for that is what
it amounted to) betrayed some want of appreciation of the real
situation, for he seems to have regarded the Prussian army as largely
the plaything of the King, and not to have fully realized the great
object for which it was intended. Were he alive at the present day his
moralizings on the iniquity of armaments would presumably be still more
condemnatory. Lord Lyons's comment on the communication was, that if the
Prussians would not listen to Lord Clarendon, they would certainty not
listen to any one else, but he so little expected success that he
regretted that the French Government had raised the question at all. If,
he pointed out, the Prussian Government would not agree to disarm, the
new French Ministers would be very angry and might turn round and say,
'If you will not disarm, you must mean ill towards us, and we would
rather fight it out at once, than ruin ourselves by keeping up, for an
indefinite time, war establishments.' No doubt it would be an excellent
thing if Prussia would take the opportunity of disarming while the
French Government and the French nation were in the mood, for the happy
moment might pass away, and war might again be looked upon as a remedy,
though a desperate one, against socialism and revolution. Evidently he
had small belief in the efficacy of the step.

The forebodings entertained both by Lord Lyons and by Lord Clarendon
himself were very shortly realized. In a few days there arrived from
Lord Augustus Loftus a long letter reporting his conversation with
Bismarck, from which the following extracts are quoted:--

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord A. Loftus to Lord Clarendon._

    Berlin, Feb. 5, 1870.

    I read your private and confidential letter to Count Bismarck.

       *       *       *       *       *

    He first observed that he should wish to know what guarantee you
    could give, or propose should be given, for the maintenance of
    peace, or the security against danger. 'You,' he said, 'live in a
    happy island and have not to fear an invasion. For 250 years Germany
    has been exposed to and suffered French invasion; no one can accuse
    us of being aggressive; Germany, as now constituted, has all that
    she wants, and there is no object of conquest for her. But our
    position,' he added, 'is an exceptional one. We are surrounded by
    three great Empires with armies as large as our own, any two of whom
    might coalesce against us.' He then reverted to March of last year.
    He said that he was aware that at that moment, had it not been for
    the influence of M. Rouher, an occupation of Belgium would have
    taken place. Although there had been no direct understanding with
    England, it was felt and known at Paris that Prussia would have
    supported England, if action had been taken. It was this knowledge
    that warded off action, and Belgium was saved. He had not at the
    time mentioned the imminence of the danger to the King, for he was
    afraid that His Majesty would have taken military measures which
    would have rendered the situation more critical. He then observed
    that in 1867 he had had a conversation of several hours with the
    Emperor Napoleon. He had discussed with him the causes which had led
    to the overthrow of Louis XVI., Charles X., and Louis Philippe--that
    their fall was owing to want of energy and decision. He had told the
    Emperor that, when he was travelling in dangerous company, the only
    thing to do was to have a revolver in his pocket. The Emperor
    had adopted this principle; he had the army with him, especially the
    Guards; but Bismarck observed that lately one or two cases had
    occurred which proved that the army was beginning to be tainted with
    socialism. Bismarck said that the Emperor had had but two courses to
    pursue; either to grant more internal liberty, or war; and the
    Emperor had told him very clearly that if the one failed, there
    could be no other alternative. 'Now,' said Bismarck, 'this danger
    occurred only 10 months ago, and who can say that it may not occur
    again?'

       *       *       *       *       *

    He then went into an account of the hostility of the Muscovite party
    towards Germany: of the dislike of the Czarewitch to everything
    German, adding that whenever the Emperor Alexander dies, the
    relations will undergo a great change.

       *       *       *       *       *

    He expressed a hope that you would say nothing at Paris on this
    subject, as any refusal of Prussia to a proposal of disarmament
    would make the position more dangerous.

    He said that he did not dare even to name the subject of your letter
    to the King, much less show it to His Majesty. He would get into a
    fury and immediately think that England was trying to weaken Prussia
    at the expense of France; nor was the present a judicious moment to
    do so, for the King had only lately known what had taken place about
    Belgium, and had in consequence expressed his cordial feelings
    towards England. If the proposition came from France, the King would
    view it as a ruse, but would not listen to it. Coming from England,
    said Bismarck, it would make the worst impression on him.

    I used all the arguments I could in support of your suggestion, and
    read to him certain extracts from your other letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

    In conversation Bismarck remarked that Prussia might have acquired
    South Germany without cost and risk, had she pleased to do so,
    by which I understood him to refer to the cession of Belgium to
    France.

       *       *       *       *       *

    I left your letter marked 'confidential' in Bismarck's hands, as
    I thought it essential that he should reflect over the powerful
    arguments it contains, but he expressly declined to lay it before
    the King. He will answer it through Count Bernstorff. It is evident
    to me that there is not the smallest chance of inducing the King
    to listen to a reduction of his army, and I must fear that any
    proposals to him of this nature would only make him suspicious and
    distrustful of England.

In spite of the view expressed in the last paragraph, it may fairly
be presumed that Bismarck's alleged fear of the King of Prussia was
a shameless fabrication. There is nothing whatever in subsequent
revelations to show that he stood in any awe of 'Most Gracious,' and the
latter appears to have always been a more or less passive instrument in
his hands.

In forwarding this correspondence to Lord Lyons, Lord Clarendon observed
that his suggestion appeared to have been a complete failure, and that
Bismarck was evidently just as hostile to the idea of disarmament as his
royal master. Lord Lyons was directed to communicate the substance of
the correspondence to Count Daru, but only in general terms, as when
Bismarck's answer arrived in London, fresh light might possibly be
thrown upon the subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, Feb. 11, 1870.

    When I went to see Daru yesterday he opened the conversation by
    telling me that he had received a letter from La Valette, from
    which he learned that Count Bismarck had refused to consent to your
    suggestion that Prussia should disarm. Three reasons were, Count
    Daru said, given by Count Bismarck, none of which appeared to have
    any weight.

    The first was that he could not even mention the subject to the
    King. This device had, Daru said, been resorted to by Count Bismarck
    in the affair of Luxemburg; in fact, it seemed to be the usual mode
    which the Count took of avoiding any discussion which he did not
    like; it was however the duty of Ministers to bring wholesome
    proposals before their Sovereign, whether the proposals were
    palatable or not. In fact, Daru seemed to think that if Count
    Bismarck himself desired to disarm, he would be able to obtain the
    consent of the King.

    The second argument was that the neighbours of Prussia need not be
    uneasy at her military strength, because she was not a conquering
    Power. This, Count Daru thought, might have been said with reason,
    if Prussia had made no acquisition since 1815; but to say so now, he
    declared, to be simply preposterous. Prussia had shown herself to be
    a particularly ambitious Power, and her ambition had been already
    extremely successful. For his own part, he rather admired than
    blamed her desire to aggrandise herself, but he could not be
    expected to listen seriously to an assertion that her power was no
    cause of alarm because she was not a conquering nation.

    Count Bismarck's third argument was that Prussia was not nearly so
    ready for war as France--that, in fact, she had only 300,000 men
    under arms, while France had upwards of 400,000. This, also, Count
    Daru thought, simply ridiculous. Prussia could, he said, at any
    moment, without an act of the Legislature, without a law, without
    even a Royal Decree, by a simple order of the Minister of War, call
    an immense force into the field, a force, too, of trained men, at a
    moment's notice. There was nothing in France like this.

    Daru went on to say that Count Bismarck's arguments did not at all
    mend the matter. France must act as if Prussia had simply refused
    to disarm. How was this state of things to be dealt with?

    'I have determined,' said Daru, 'to disarm, whether Prussia does so
    or not. In fact, I have resolved to ask the Emperor at once to
    sanction a considerable reduction of the French army. I cannot make
    this reduction as large as I should have done, if I had more
    satisfactory accounts of the intentions of Prussia. All I can
    propose, is to reduce the annual French contingent from 100,000 men
    to 90,000. As our men serve nine years, this will eventually effect
    a reduction of 90,000 men--a real absolute reduction. I shall thus
    give a pledge to Europe of pacific intentions, and set a good
    example to Prussia. I shall probably add great weight to the party
    in Germany which demands to be relieved from military burdens, and,
    I trust, enlist public opinion everywhere on my side. I shall also
    furnish Lord Clarendon with a powerful argument, if, as I sincerely
    hope, he will persevere in his endeavours to work upon Prussia. I
    beg you to give my warmest thanks to him for what he has already
    done, and to express to him my anxious hope that he will not
    acquiesce in a first refusal from Prussia.'

    Daru went on to say that it appeared that Count Bismarck had been so
    little aware that your suggestion had been made in concert with
    France that he had particularly requested that the French Government
    might not be made acquainted with it. He begged me to express
    particularly to you his gratitude for the care you had taken not to
    compromise the French Government.

    He concluded by saying that he could not at the moment say for
    certain that the reduction would be made in the French army, because
    the Emperor's sanction had not yet been given. He was afraid His
    Majesty would not relish the proposal, but he felt confident that
    His Majesty would accept the advice of his Ministers.

    I told him that my personal opinion was that the best chance of
    obtaining a disarmament in Prussia was to set a good example and
    leave public opinion in Germany to work without foreign aid. Demands
    from abroad for disarmament seemed to me likely to irritate the King
    in Prussia, and to give him and the military party grounds for an
    appeal to national patriotism against foreign dictation. I thought
    that the effect of the disarmament of France in strengthening the
    feeling in Germany against military burdens would be very great if
    it were not counteracted by appeals which might wound German
    susceptibilities.

    Daru seemed to agree generally with me, but not to be willing to say
    anything which would pledge him to abstain from calling officially
    upon Prussia to disarm, if it suited the home policy of the Ministry
    to do so.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Feb. 12, 1870.

    Daru seems to have taken Bismarck's refusal better than I expected.
    We have not, however, got the definitive answer which is to come
    through Bernstorff, and as Bismarck kept a copy of my letter I have
    little doubt that he will show it to the King, though he pretended
    to be afraid of doing so.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Count Daru may be sure that I shall not let the subject drop, though
    I shall wish to proceed in it as I think most prudent. I have only
    mentioned it to Gladstone among my colleagues, and of course, to the
    Queen, who takes the warmest interest in the matter. I had a letter
    from her yesterday, expressing a hope that the French Government
    would not at present make any official _démarches re_ disarmament,
    as she is sure, from her knowledge of the King's character, that it
    would do more harm than good. I am quite of the same opinion and
    think it would arouse German susceptibility, which is quite as great
    as the French, whereas we want to make German opinion act in our
    behalf.

    Nothing is more likely to bring over Germany than France partially
    disarming without reference to Prussia, and I sincerely hope that
    this project of Daru's will be carried out. The Germans will be
    flattered by it as a proof of confidence, and it will furnish them
    with a fresh weapon against their war Budget.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lord Clarendon's statement that he meant to persevere in his efforts
afforded much gratification to Count Daru. With regard to Lord
Clarendon's desire that the matter should be kept as secret as possible,
he explained that he had confined the knowledge of it as much as
possible to himself, Lord Lyons and La Valette, but that of course he
had been obliged to mention it to the Emperor and to Ollivier, and he
'seemed to be rather afraid that neither of these important persons
would be perfectly secret.'[16]

Bismarck's reply to Lord Clarendon did not afford much ground for hope.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, Feb. 19, 1870.

    The day before yesterday, Bernstorff brought me Bismarck's answer to
    my letter, and I enclose a translation.

    It is courteous, but the intention not to disarm is manifest. I have
    been detained so late at the Cabinet that I cannot write a letter
    for you to read to Daru, so I have marked Bismarck's letter, and you
    can extract the passages in the shape of a memorandum which you can
    leave with Daru in the strictest confidence. I should much like to
    hear what he will think of it, in order to shape my reply.

    Bernstorff, who evidently spoke from a private letter of Bismarck's
    that he did not show me, laid much stress upon the active ill-will
    of Russia whenever the present Czar is gathered to his fathers--the
    present Cesarewitch and the Slav races are very hostile to
    Germany--(I believe this is true), and this hostility would be
    encouraged, according to Bismarck, if German means of resistance
    were weakened, it would invite coalition, under circumstances easily
    imaginable, between Austria, Russia, and France against
    Prussia--hypothetical cases of this kind are easily invented to
    support foregone conclusions, but there is a _sort_ of opening as to
    a conference between Powers as to proportionate reductions and
    exchange of guarantees. I don't mean to lay much stress on this, nor
    should I think that it would be productive of a practical result,
    but you might allude to it as a sign that the negation is not
    absolute.

    Pray, however, lose no time in correcting the error into which Daru
    has been led by La Valette as to an official despatch or a speech in
    Parliament from me. I cannot conceive how he made such a mistake,
    for I said nothing of the kind.

Bismarck's answer was of considerable length, and is quoted in full
because it is a document of historical interest. It will be observed
that it was in the main an amplification of the views expressed verbally
to Lord Augustus Loftus a fortnight earlier, and that it contained
specious arguments designed to impress upon Lord Clarendon the entirely
unaggressive nature of Prussian policy. The belief, however, of Lord
Clarendon and of the French Ministers, that Bismarck entertained no
suspicion as to how the proposal originated, implies a simplicity on
their part which he must have thoroughly enjoyed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Count Bismarck to Count Bernstorff._

    [_Translation._]                   Berlin, Feb. 9, 1870.

    Lord Augustus Loftus has read to me a private letter addressed to
    him by Lord Clarendon on the 2nd Inst. Its object is to discuss with
    me in a manner strictly private and confidential a plan for the
    partial disarmament of the Continental Powers. After a few friendly
    expressions concerning myself, which I cordially reciprocate, the
    English Statesman proceeds to enlarge upon the hardships and burdens
    imposed on the Nations of Europe by their excessive armaments;--He
    conceives that it would be much to Prussia's credit and well worthy
    of her great military renown if she were to co-operate in
    endeavouring to alleviate those burdens; he thinks that the King our
    August Master, sincerely attached as he is to his army, would not
    shrink from the adoption of such a measure, provided he were
    convinced of its justice;--he deems the present moment peculiarly
    fitted for making this overture, on account of the peaceful
    disposition of all the Powers and more especially of the Emperor
    Napoleon and of his present Government; and he states his readiness,
    provided he can count on our friendly assistance, to sound the
    Emperor and his Government with a view to eventually opening
    negotiations on the subject.

    The English Ambassador has doubtless sent home a report of the
    Verbal answers which I gave to the above communication.--In order,
    however, to meet the confidence reposed in me by Lord Clarendon in
    a similar spirit, I feel called upon to address you in a manner
    equally confidential, and one which for that very reason admits of
    my speaking with the utmost frankness.

    Lord Clarendon cannot doubt, as indeed the opening observations in
    his letter plainly shew, that I render full justice to the friendly
    feelings and intentions which he entertains towards Prussia and the
    North German Confederation.

    I am convinced that no European State or Statesman exists who does
    not wish to see the feeling of confidence strengthened and Peace
    maintained; and further that no German Government would wish to
    impose upon its people the maintenance of an army in excess of that
    proportion for which the requirements of its safety imperatively
    call.

    Were the question officially put to us whether the diminution of our
    military strength is compatible with the secure maintenance of our
    independence, we should not decline to share in any deliberations
    which might take place on the subject; and we should carefully sift
    the question whether the great neighbouring Military Powers are
    willing or able to give us guarantees such as would compensate
    Germany for the decrease in the amount of Security which She has
    hitherto owed to her armies.

    Lord Clarendon does His Majesty the King full justice when he infers
    that no considerations or feelings of a purely personal nature would
    deter him from adopting a measure which he had once recognized as
    right and proper, but Lord Clarendon will as readily understand that
    however willing we may be to enter into a strictly confidential
    interchange of ideas on this important question, we must reserve to
    ourselves the Right of making a careful estimate of the relative
    position of the Parties most deeply interested in the matter, and of
    judging whether the concessions which we ourselves might probably be
    expected to make stand in a fair and just proportion to those which
    it would be in the power of other Nations to make. Our very
    geographical position is itself wholly different from that of any
    other Continental Power, and does not of course admit of comparison
    with the insular position of Great Britain. We are environed on all
    sides by neighbours whose military strength is of such a nature as
    to form an important element in all political combinations. Each of
    the other three great Continental Powers is on the contrary so
    placed that at least on one of its frontiers it is not open to a
    serious attack, and France is so situated as to be practically
    secure from danger on three sides. These three Powers have of late
    years considerably increased their military strength and have done
    so in a proportion in excess of our own:--Austria and France have
    remodelled wholly their military systems, so as to be able to assail
    us at any moment with increased forces. The armies of Austria,
    France and Russia, have each an army which, when on a Peace footing,
    is superior in numbers to our own. Our system is moreover so to
    speak so thoroughly transparent, that any increase in our effective
    force can at once be appreciated; the amount of any addition or
    decrease which we may make in our military force can therefore be
    most accurately calculated.

    The military systems of other Nations are of a different nature.
    Even in the case of nominal Reductions they admit of the maintenance
    or renewal of their full effective strength; they even admit of a
    material increase of force being made without attracting notice or
    at all events without entailing the possibility of proof.--With us
    on the other hand, the whole military system, which from its very
    nature is a matter of publicity, becomes more so owing to the nature
    of our Institutions.

    Under these circumstances, and in the event of a discussion on
    measures of such great importance being actually opened, we must ask
    ourselves what guarantees can be given to us that our Position as
    regards other Powers will not be practically impaired by our
    signifying our adherence to a system, which however just and
    even-handed it might appear in its action, would in reality not deal
    with equal fairness with all the Parties concerned.

    Any weakening of Prussia's Power, any disturbance of the balance of
    Power in Europe, can hardly be for the interest of England. It must
    be acknowledged that whilst, on the one hand, the state of
    preparation for War of the Great Powers gives rise to apprehension,
    as set forth in Lord Clarendon's letter, still that very state of
    preparation may on the other prove a practical guarantee that any
    attempt to assail or to disturb existing Rights will be firmly and
    effectively met.

    Of this I conceive that the past year has afforded fresh proofs, and
    Lord Clarendon, intimately acquainted as he is with the Events of
    that Period, will be best able to judge of the truth of my Remark.

    The maintenance of Peace has not been due merely and solely to
    pacific views entertained by Rulers personally, for the Power and
    readiness of neighbouring states has had great weight in affecting
    opinion and in determining Resolutions. The Inclinations of a Nation
    may be essentially peaceful, they may rest on a keen appreciation of
    its own interests, but they are nevertheless liable to be suddenly
    changed either by some unforeseen accident, or by fictitious
    agitation. Under such circumstances, neither the most powerful
    Monarch, nor the most influential Minister is able to estimate or to
    guarantee the duration of peaceful Inclinations.

    I am persuaded that when you submit these Remarks for Lord Clarendon's
    consideration, he will not see in them a Refusal to enter into the
    Views which he has so happily and eloquently set forth, but rather
    as the expression of the very serious responsibility which rests
    with a Minister who is called upon to advise his Sovereign in a
    matter pregnant with such important consequences.

    I can of course have no objection to your reading this letter to
    Lord Clarendon, I must however ask you to make the communication in
    the strictest confidence, in accordance with the character of
    thorough privacy with which Lord Clarendon, with Great Tact and to
    my entire Satisfaction, has invested the matter.

Bismarck's views, as set forth above, were communicated by Lord Lyons to
Count Daru on February 22, and the latter remarked that, upon the whole,
matters were rather better than he expected, as there was no categorical
refusal to consider the question of disarmament. In his opinion, that
question was a very simple one. The military forces of the great
Continental Powers bore a certain proportion to each other; in order to
maintain that proportion, very heavy burdens were imposed upon each
country, but if, by common agreement, each reduced its army by a certain
number of men, the same proportion would be preserved, while the burdens
were alleviated. If, however, a minute discussion of guarantees and
securities were began, very awkward topics might be brought forward. For
instance, the right of Prussia to garrison Mayence, was, to say the
least, doubtful, and the fortifications she was erecting on the North
Sea might give rise to comment. At this stage of the conversation, Lord
Lyons hastily intervened in order to point out the extreme disadvantage
of mixing up Mayence and the North Sea with the question of disarmament,
and Count Daru concluded by saying that he was quite content to leave
the matter entirely in the hands of Lord Clarendon, as nobody else could
manage it so well.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 12, 1870.

    Outsiders are not always good judges, but it seems to me that
    Ollivier makes enemies unnecessarily and gives certain pretexts to
    the Imperialists, who of course work on the Emperor's mind against
    his Government. I fear there will be a split one of these days.

    I agree with you that Prussia will never declare that she will not
    complete the unity of Germany, because she looks upon it as
    inevitable. Nothing, as the King himself said to me, can prevent the
    gravitation of the weak towards the strong, but that it would not
    take place in his life, possibly not in that of his son.

    France, if not grown wiser by that time, will probably consider it a
    _casus belli_, but I don't see that it would make much difference
    to her, as the whole military force of the South is now actually at
    the disposal of the Confederation, and she would weld all Germany
    together as one man if she attempted by force to prevent Bavaria,
    Würtemberg, and Baden from joining the North, when they had
    determined that it was for their own interest to do so.

    I have fired another shot at Bismarck about disarmament, but I don't
    expect better success from it than from the first. The King of
    Prussia, a little time ago, told the Duke of Oldenburg, who pressed
    him on the subject, that he would disarm if other Powers did the
    same, so he is not so completely unapproachable as Bismarck would
    lead us to suppose.

Lord Clarendon's second attempt upon Bismarck was made on March 9, and
took the form of a lengthy letter to Lord Augustus Loftus, in which the
arguments in favour of disarmament were reiterated and endeavours made
to convince Bismarck that Prussia had really no cause for uneasiness.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord A. Loftus._

    Foreign Office, March 9, 1870.

    I have delayed writing to request that you would convey to Count
    Bismarck my cordial thanks for the courtesy and frankness with which
    in a private letter dated Feb. 9th, he answered my letter to you on
    the subject of partial disarmament.

    The delay has been occasioned by my endeavours to ascertain
    correctly the relative forces of the great military Powers, and I
    hope that Count Bismarck will not consider that I trespass unduly on
    his time and his confidence if I again revert to a subject which
    more than any other I have at heart, and which an English Minister
    may have some claim to discuss without suspicion of his motives,
    because England is not a military Power, but is deeply interested in
    the maintenance of peace, and the progress and prosperity of the
    Continent.

    I am as convinced as Count Bismarck himself can be that no German
    Government would wish to impose upon its people the maintenance of
    an army in excess of that proportion for which the requirements of
    its safety imperatively call, and I would not desire the reduction
    of a single regiment if I thought it would impair the independence
    and the honour of Prussia, which in their plenitude I regard as
    essentially beneficial to Europe.

    But can it be honestly affirmed that the power and independence of
    Prussia are menaced from any quarter? and, if not, surely the
    military force of Prussia is excessive and entails upon other
    countries the unquestionable evil of maintaining armies beyond the
    requirements of their safety.

    The only countries from which, owing to geographical position,
    Prussia could anticipate danger are Russia, Austria, and France, and
    can it be said that from either there is any real cause for
    apprehension? In the conversation I had with Count Bernstorff,
    when he communicated to me the letter of Count Bismarck, he dwelt at
    some length upon the ill-will of Russia towards Germany, which might
    take an active form on the death of the present Emperor, and for
    which Prussia ought to be prepared, but Count Bismarck must know
    better than myself that Russia has long since, and wisely, ceased to
    aim at influence in Germany or intervention in German affairs, and
    that all her energies are now directed eastwards with a view of
    extending her territory and her commerce in Asia. Whatever
    sentiments may be suggested in other quarters by a rapid development
    of the present policy of Russia which has the entire support of
    public opinion in that country, it appears certain that Germany can
    have no danger to guard against from Russia, whatever may be the
    personal feelings or opinions of the reigning sovereign.

    On paper, and only on paper, Austria has an army of 800,000, but she
    could not, even on the most pressing emergency, bring 200,000 men
    into the field. Her finances are dilapidated and her internal
    disorganization affords just cause of alarm. Danger to Prussia from
    Austria must, for many years to come, be a chimera.

    The military peace establishment of France is nominally greater than
    that of Prussia; the former being 400,000 and the latter being
    300,000; but the number of troops stationed in the costly and
    unproductive colony of Algiers is not, and cannot ever be less than
    60,000 men; other colonial possessions require military protection,
    and as the garrisons in Lyons and other great towns necessary for
    the maintenance of order are not less than 40,000 men, the
    establishments of the two countries are as nearly as possible upon
    an equality. Can this state of things be regarded as a menace or a
    danger to Prussia? I am greatly mistaken if any Prussian statesman
    or General would reply to this inquiry in the affirmative.

    The question then to my mind appears quite simple. The military
    forces of the great Continental Powers have a certain proportion to
    each other; in order to maintain that proportion, very heavy burdens
    are imposed upon each country, but if by common agreement, each
    reduces its army by a certain number of men, the same proportions
    will be maintained, while the burdens, which are fast becoming
    intolerable will be alleviated.

    Count Bismarck however thinks that if the question of diminishing
    the military strength of Prussia is entertained, it will be
    necessary carefully to inquire what guarantees can be given by
    neighbouring Military Powers in compensation to Germany for a
    decrease in the amount of security which she has hitherto owed to
    her armies.

    Upon this I would respectfully beg to observe that a minute
    discussion of guarantees would be endless and dangerous. The
    legitimate rights and precautionary measures of independent
    Governments would be analysed in a spirit possibly of unfriendly
    criticism, and if agreements were arrived at, constant vigilance
    over their faithful fulfilment would be necessary, and this might
    possibly give rise to the quarrels that the agreements were intended
    to avert, and which would at once put an end to the compacts.

    It is upon a dispassionate consideration of the probable course of
    events that the question of partial disarmament should in my opinion
    be decided, and in France (the only country with which we need
    concern ourselves) what do we find? A nation resolutely pacific: a
    Government depending on popular support and therefore equally
    pacific: a responsible Minister declaring that France will not
    interfere with the affairs of her neighbours, and the Sovereign
    willingly assenting to a diminution of one-tenth of the annual
    conscription without asking for reciprocity on the part of Germany,
    and thereby showing his confidence in the King's declaration.

    I venture to think that the present state of opinion in France,
    founded as it is upon a true estimate of French interests, is a more
    solid guarantee than any that the respective governments of France
    and Germany could effect for their own security.

    Count Bismarck will admit, and I am sure that a statesman so liberal
    and far-sighted will admit without regret, that the people
    everywhere are claiming and must obtain a larger share in the
    administration of their own affairs, and that, in proportion
    as they do so, the chances of causeless wars will diminish. The
    people well understand the horrors of war, and that they, and not
    their rulers, are the real sufferers: they equally understand and
    will daily become more impatient of the taxation for those costly
    preparations for war which in themselves endanger peace, and I
    believe that there is at this moment no surer road to solid
    popularity for Government than attending to the wants and wishes of
    the people on the subject of armaments.

    I have reason to know that the reduction in the French army would
    have been carried further if the Government could have hoped that
    the example would be followed by Prussia. Sooner or later, however,
    this reason will be publicly assigned, and then upon Prussia will
    rest the responsibility not only of maintaining so large a force
    herself, but of compelling other countries reluctantly to do the
    same.

    It would be to me a matter of most sincere pleasure to think that no
    such responsibility will rest on Prussia, but I should hardly have
    presumed to recur to the subject if I had not gathered from the
    patriotic letter of Count Bismarck that further discussion was not
    absolutely precluded, and I had not therefore been encouraged to
    hope that he might think it proper to make my suggestions known to
    his Sovereign.

Bismarck's reply to this exhortation was equally long, and contained
some arguments of such a puerile nature that it can hardly be believed
that he expected them to be taken seriously.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord A. Loftus to Lord Clarendon._

    Berlin, March 12, 1870.

    On the receipt of your private letter yesterday morning, I asked for
    an interview with Count Bismarck, and he received me last evening.

    I first observed that you would have hardly ventured to recur to the
    subject of disarmament, had you not thought that his letter to Count
    Bernstorff abstained from putting a veto on discussion, and from a
    feeling that the King of Prussia would reap general esteem and
    admiration in Europe by giving a patent proof of his Peace Policy,
    whilst on the contrary, His Majesty might incur unpopularity if the
    French should be enabled to say that they were compelled by Prussia
    to keep up an armament against which the Nation is disposed to
    protest.--I then read your letter to Count Bismarck. He listened
    with great attention, merely making two observations during my
    reading--

    1st. That France had only 40,000 men in Algeria, and 2nd that the
    Constitutional Government in France was only of three months'
    existence, and therefore its stability could not be yet said to be
    ensured. When I had finished, Count Bismarck stated that, as far as
    France alone was concerned, Prussia and the North German
    Confederation might not feel themselves endangered by a diminution
    of the Army, but he said Austria and France might join together and
    even the 250,000 men which you give to Austria might in conjunction
    with France prove to be a serious embarrassment to Prussia. The
    20,000 men which might perhaps be dispensed with, would then be just
    the balance which might turn the Scale against Prussia.

    He then reverted to France. He said although the Nation was now
    pacific, you know as well as I do that a war cry may be raised in
    France, on any emergency, and at the shortest notice.

    If, said Count Bismarck, the present Constitutional Government had
    been three years instead of three months in existence, then there
    would be some chance for its duration and for the maintenance of
    Peace. At the present moment, he observed, there was a party anxious
    to restore the former state of things, a personal Government.
    Amongst that Party, there was the Empress Eugénie, and they would
    not be sorry to divert the public attention from home affairs by
    raising some question of Foreign Policy.

    He said that the Provincial Press of France (and he reviewed
    articles from all the Small Provincial Papers) teemed with abuse
    against Prussia.

    There were other indications in Europe which did not leave him without
    some disquietude for the maintenance of Peace.

    He first alluded to the local provincial Press in France as
    continually preaching antagonism to Prussia, then to certain reports
    which had reached him of the purchase of horses in France, but to
    these he did not attach much importance. He then referred to reports
    he had received from the Prussian Minister at Copenhagen, who
    observed, that if any State of larger dimensions were to do what
    Denmark was now doing, some sinister design would evidently be
    attributed to it.

    He considered the appointment of Monsignor Klazko by Count Beust to
    a post in the Foreign Office at Vienna as significative of the
    intentions of Austria, and he observed that Count Beust was
    intriguing with the Polish Party for some object which was not clear
    to him. He then referred to Southern Germany and to the intrigues of
    the Ultra-Montaine party, and cited a saying of the late Prince
    Schwarzenberg 'that the three Empires (France, Austria, and Prussia)
    should unite against the Heretics in Europe.'

    To these observations I replied that the Safety of Prussia was
    secured by her Military system which supplied necessary reserves and
    Landwehr, without the incubus of such an enormous standing army, and
    that Prussia was therefore in a position to be able to give an
    example to Europe.

    On the whole, although Count Bismarck appeared to be somewhat
    incredulous as to the pacific appearance of Europe, he was less
    decidedly opposed to any disarmament than on the last occasions I
    spoke to him. He asked whether it was desired that he should mention
    the subject to the King. I replied in the affirmative, and suggested
    that he should have your Lordship's two letters translated and
    submitted to His Majesty.

    On my mentioning that any attempt at mutual guarantees would be very
    unadvisable, he said that without some guarantee the question of
    entertaining disarmament would be difficult; but he said it more as
    a passing observation than as a fixed decision.

    I am afraid that if the question of disarmament is entertained at
    all (and probably neither the King nor Count Bismarck will like to
    discard it entirely) it will be hedged round with so many
    conditions, that it will be rendered impossible; great care will be
    required that the question of disarmament shall not become a
    question of Contention, and thus give a pretext for discussion, to
    be followed perhaps by war.

    I asked Count Bismarck casually what foundation there was for the
    repeatedly recurring reports of General Fleury's attempts to bring
    about a Russo-French Alliance.

    Count Bismarck said that General Fleury on his arrival had acted
    without instructions, and he attributed no importance to these
    reports.

    He said that at first the Emperor of Russia had rather been taken
    in, and that he had written a letter to the King of Prussia (he did
    not say on what subject), but that the King of Prussia had replied
    in a manner most satisfactory and agreeable to the Emperor, and that
    it was then that the Emperor of Russia sent the St. George to the
    King of Prussia.

    I could see that Count Bismarck has no fear of the Russian policy
    towards Prussia, so long as the Emperor lives and that Prince
    Gortchakow remains Minister.

    I shall see Bismarck later, and will then inform you what view the
    King takes of the proposal for disarmament.

This unpromising communication was transmitted to Paris, and Lord
Clarendon comforted himself with the thought that there was still a ray
of hope, as Bismarck had promised to bring the matter before the King,
and there might therefore be an opportunity of recurring to it later on.
Daru, too, did not look upon the position as hopeless.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, March 17, 1870.

    I read to Count Daru this afternoon a memorandum giving a short
    summary of the principal points in Lord A. Loftus's letter to you of
    the 12th about disarmament.

    He said that on the whole the impression made on his mind was good.
    There was more disposition to consider the subject, and Count
    Bismarck seemed rather to have sought to find something to say
    against disarmament, than to have alleged reason which could be
    supposed to have any real weight with him.

    At all events, Count Bismarck mistook the state of France. The
    people were honestly and sincerely pacific, and the Constitutional
    system might be considered as firmly established. He would not deny
    that the French were a proud and susceptible people, and that they
    could be roused to war by their Government, if their honour or their
    patriotism were appealed to. But the present Government were as
    pacific as the people, and they had the full confidence of the
    Emperor and the nation--of the nation, he said, not of the Corps
    Législatif, whose support was not cordial--nor of the Senate, which
    did not like them--nor of the countries, who hated them. Count
    Bismarck would see in a few days, a series of measures which would
    convince him that Constitutional Government was irrevocably
    established in France. The Ministers had obtained, or were on the
    point of obtaining, His Majesty's sanction to reforms which would
    convince all the world that the Emperor had not only landed on the
    shore of Parliamentary Government, but had burnt his ships behind him.

    As to Count Bismarck's argument that Prussia must be prepared to
    face the united armies of France and Austria, Count Daru remarked
    that it was preposterous to maintain that any one Power of Europe
    must endeavour to be a match for all the rest united. If Austria
    united with France, Prussia might find allies also. It was not to be
    supposed that all Europe would stand by and look on at a fight with
    France and Austria on one side and Prussia on the other.

    Finally, he repeated that on the whole, Count Bismarck's language
    was more satisfactory than it had yet been.

The conclusion to be drawn from this conversation is that Count Daru
must have been more easy to please than most people; but all hopes
were shortly dashed to the ground when a letter arrived from Lord
Augustus Loftus reporting the result of his further communications with
Bismarck.

Bismarck stated that Lord Clarendon's letters had been translated and
laid before the King, and that the proposal had not been favourably
entertained by His Majesty. There were only two methods of reducing the
German Army, one to change the present legislative enactments, and
thereby the whole military system; the other, to reduce the term of
military service to two and a half years. The first was considered to be
impossible, and, as for the second, the King had resisted Parliament on
the subject for five years, and now declared that he would rather give
up his throne than yield. Further, the King viewed the proposal as being
put forward in favour of France and French policy, and without regard to
the safety of Prussia. To use Bismarck's own expression: 'It was the act
of a _cool friend_.' 'It is all very well for you,' said Bismarck,
'living in an island, where no one can attack you, to preach
disarmaments, but put yourselves into our skin. You would then think and
act differently. What would you say if we were to observe to you that
your navy was too large, that you did not require so many ironclads,
that you lavished too large a portion of the taxation of the country in
building ships, which in the peaceful disposition of Europe were not
required? If we recommended you to diminish your naval armament?'

To this home-thrust the Ambassador made the somewhat unconvincing reply
that as evidence of our pacific disposition we had just sold an ironclad
to the Prussian Government, and were ready to sell others--a reply
which was received with irreverent merriment; neither do the imposing
sentiments expressed respecting the general happiness and prosperity of
Europe seem to have made much impression upon the man of blood and iron.
The utmost that could be obtained from him was a vague statement that
the whole question would be discussed by the Parliament 'in a year or
so,' and that a decision must then be taken as to what was required for
the safety of the country. 'I saw,' wrote the Minister sadly, 'that it
was useless to pursue the question further.' Lord Clarendon realized
that the game was up.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 23, 1870.

    I send you a copy of Loftus's letter, and you will, I am sure, agree
    with me that more harm than good would be done by further pressing
    the question of disarmament, after the very decided expression of
    the King's opinion. You can tell Daru in mild terms the two
    objections raised by His Majesty and that, on the whole, I consider
    it better to wait and not to show much anxiety until the War Budget
    comes to be discussed next year, when the example of France, as
    regards military reductions, the pacific temper of her people, and
    the consolidation of her institutions, cannot fail to have a
    beneficial effect on the Federal Parliament. At present, it seems
    that the Liberal party, upon which Bismarck must lean more and more,
    would only support reduction on the condition that he would change
    his policy and invite, or coerce the South into the Confederation.
    Bismarck on this subject has behaved with prudence, at the expense
    of popularity, as regards Baden (the sorest point with the French),
    and he should not be pressed into a course he dislikes or thinks
    dangerous to the continuance of good relations with France. He is
    foolish about the press and always irritated by articles, however
    worthless, against Prussia, which he usually thinks are written by
    authority, or are the true manifestation of public opinion in the
    particular country.

    You will observe that the King thinks I have been acting in the
    interest of France, and it is therefore not only on public grounds,
    but as regards myself personally, that I am very desirous that the
    most complete secrecy should be observed respecting the whole of
    these unsuccessful negotiations, if they can be so called. I know
    well the suspicious character of the King, and if he thought that we
    had cast in our lot completely with France, he would straightway set
    about a more intimate alliance with Russia which would not be for
    the interest either of England or France.

    Pray therefore impress upon Daru the necessity of complete
    discretion.

Thus ended an attempt in the success of which no one probably felt much
confidence. Various conclusions may be drawn from the correspondence
quoted above. There seems to have been no doubt that the French
Government (whatever may have been the sentiments of the Emperor) was
sincerely anxious for a partial disarmament and the promised reduction
of the annual contingent by 10,000 men was evidence of good intentions.
There was, however, an essential difference between the French and
Prussian view as to what constituted conquest and aggression which in
reality precluded any real settlement.

Prussia held that it was not conquest or aggression to annex any German
States, while France considered that the annexation of any States south
of the Maine would be as much conquest or aggression on the part of
Prussia, as it would be, on the part of France, to annex them herself.
Prussia refused to declare that she would not complete the unity of
Germany. France, on her side, refused to declare that she would not
interfere to prevent it.

As for Bismarck's arguments against disarmament, some of them were
positively grotesque, and it must have required more than ordinary
assurance to contend, for instance, that Denmark and Monsignor Klazko
constituted a menace to Prussia, whilst the artifice of representing the
King as a sort of uncontrollable despot was too thin to deceive any one
of ordinary intelligence. On the other hand, Bismarck seems to have
displayed commendable patience and restraint when lectured on the
iniquity of the Prussian military system. Lord Clarendon's language
rather conveyed the impression that England stood upon a moral pinnacle
which entitled her to admonish other nations as to the errors of their
ways, but the claim was vitiated by the fact that she maintained, and
intended to maintain, a navy of overwhelming strength, while if her
military power was even more insignificant than it is at the present
day, the cost of the British Army amounted to much more than that of the
Prussian Army, and therefore the less said about unproductive
expenditure the better. If, in fact, the respective expenditure of the
two countries upon armaments is borne in mind it seems almost incredible
that Lord Clarendon should have ventured to preach economy to the
Prussian Government. During the previous year, the total British
expenditure upon armaments amounted to no less than twenty-four millions
and a quarter. Of this sum, rather more than fourteen millions were
allotted to the Army, and nearly ten millions to the Navy. Now the total
military and naval expenditure of the North German Federation at the
same period only amounted to ten millions eight hundred thousand pounds,
and the Prussian contribution towards the total represented a little
over seven millions. It might also be added that England was quite ready
at all times to supply to an unlimited amount, ironclads, rifles and
munition of war to any foreign customer, however depraved. And yet we
are pained and surprised when any one suggests that we are occasionally
hypocritical!

But the most striking conclusion to be drawn from the correspondence is
that Lord Clarendon, with all his knowledge of continental politics,
does not seem to have fully grasped the really essential fact; he seems
to have thought that by professions of friendship, by small concessions
on the part of France, and by the establishment of more liberal
institutions in that country, the threatened danger might be averted,
whereas it was the fixed and inexorable determination of Bismarck to
force a conflict upon France whenever the favourable opportunity should
arise. A high tribute to Lord Clarendon's statesmanship was, however,
paid by Bismarck at a later period. On making the acquaintance of one of
his daughters a few years later, he opened the conversation with the
singular remark that, never in the whole course of his life, had he been
so relieved as when her father died; and then proceeded to explain that
had Lord Clarendon lived, there never would have been a Franco-German
war. As he did not enter into details, it may be presumed that he
considered Lord Clarendon's influence to be so great that he might have
successfully persuaded the French to acquiesce in some insignificant
enlargement of Prussia.

All the participators in the disarmament negotiation appear to have kept
their counsel on the subject, and there is, at all events, no mention of
it in the two standard works which deal with Bismarck's career.


FOOTNOTES:

  [15] British Ambassador at Berlin.

  [16] Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon, Feb. 18, 1870.



CHAPTER VIII

THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR

(1870)


Whilst the barren disarmament negotiations were proceeding, the internal
political situation in France had not improved. Though calm on the
surface, a section of the people was becoming more socialistic, and
socialism produced stagnation in business, a desire on the part of the
lower classes for revolution and a corresponding desire on the part of
the middle classes for a strong government again. Ministers were uneasy,
for although the new Constitution had been well received by the country
at large, its weak point lay in the right reserved by the Emperor of
appealing to the people, a right which nothing could induce him to
abandon, and which he was about to exercise by submitting the recent
Constitutional changes to a plébiscite. Theoretically, this should have
afforded gratification to the Republicans, as being in conformity with
their view that the public should decide everything directly itself, but
they were in reality well aware that the French people were not yet
Republican in sentiment.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, April 5, 1870.

    There is a good deal of uneasiness in the French political world.
    The great thing for the moment is that the Ministers should get a
    good majority in the Chamber at the end of the debate on the new
    Constitution which is now going on. They are afraid that some of
    their usual supporters will abstain from voting. The 'Appeal to the
    People' is so thoroughly Napoleonic an idea, and so completely in
    accordance with the peculiar character and modes of thinking of
    Napoleon III., that it would be very hard to make him give it up.
    One cannot wonder at people's being distrustful of the use he may
    make of it. The submitting the present changes in the Constitution
    to a plébiscite is certainly legally necessary and admitted to be so
    by all parties. What people are afraid of is that the Emperor will
    insist upon calling for it in a Proclamation so worded as to make
    the acceptance by the people a vote in favour of his person, as
    against the Chambers and Ministers.

    You will see from Claremont's report that the Government has agreed
    to reduce the military contingent by another 10,000 men, making it
    80,000 instead of 90,000 as the present Government proposed, and
    instead of 100,000, as it was fixed by the late Government.

It was not surprising that the French Ministers, as well as many other
people, should feel suspicious about the plébiscite, and that frequent
councils should have taken place at the Tuileries with the object of
inducing the Emperor to consent that in future no plébiscite should be
submitted to the people unless it had first been voted by the two
Chambers. For one thing, it was feared that few people would care enough
about it to take much trouble to vote, and it really did not seem very
probable that a peasant would take a long walk to express his opinion on
the question of whether the Senate should have the power of originating
certain laws. Therefore the Ministerial crisis which arose, and the
Emperor's determination not to yield about the Appeal to the People,
were attributed to a Machiavellian plot on his part, and it was believed
that the return to personal government was to be brought about by
getting rid of the independent Ministers, Ollivier included. The belief
was possibly unfounded, but the Emperor's previous history had not
inspired his people with implicit confidence in him, and they were
always convinced that he had an incurable taste for conspiracy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, April 13, 1870.

    It is impossible not to feel very uneasy about the present state of
    things in France and the sort of _locus standi_ that the enemies of
    the Empire have obtained for suspecting the Emperor, who will be a
    long time in recovering, if he ever does, the public confidence he
    now seems to have lost. Revolutions are not made with half measures,
    any more than with the proverbial rose water, and among the ships
    that the Emperor was supposed to have burnt behind him when he
    landed on the Constitutional shore, the plébiscite ought surely to
    have been included. No doubt he would have divested himself of a
    favourite weapon, but he should have foreseen the very serious
    objections to it that would arise in the mind of the most moderate
    friend of Constitutional Government, and he would have done far
    better for himself to have given it up and taken his chance, for
    with or without plébiscite, that is what he is now reduced to, and
    his chances will be improved by endeavouring with sincerity to guide
    the stream rather than oppose himself to it.

As the result of the crisis, both Daru and Buffet left the Ministry,
thus weakening the Cabinet and diminishing materially the chance of a
quiet and satisfactory establishment of Parliamentary Government. Thiers
was generally supposed to have been the principal mischief-maker.
Lord Russell was at this time in Paris, and in conversation with
Ollivier the latter expressed himself most confidently about the
plébiscite, and thought that if six million people voted it might be
looked upon as a decided success. Another opinion on the plébiscite was
volunteered by Mr. Gladstone. 'If the Emperor is really stickling for
the right to refer when he pleases to the people for an Aye or No upon
a proposition which he is to frame, that, in my opinion, reduces
Constitutional Government to an absolute mockery, just as it would
reduce to a shadow the power of a Legislative Assembly.'

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, April 21, 1870.

    The prospects of the quiet establishment of Constitutional
    Government are in some respects better and in some worse. They are
    better inasmuch as men of property, bankers, and others, are giving
    money and exerting themselves to obtain a decided success for the
    Plébiscite. They are worse, inasmuch as the suspicion of the
    Emperor's intentions appears to increase, and people become more and
    more afraid that if he gets a really large majority on the
    Plébiscite, he will revert to personal government. The imprudent
    language of the Right and their undisguised avowal of their hopes
    produce this feeling. The Emperor himself has neither said nor done
    anything to warrant it.

    Ollivier asked me what progress had been made in the disarmament
    question. I made him understand, without going into details, that it
    must be let sleep for the present, and he agreed immediately.

    There is a hitch about the English evidence before the Parliamentary
    Committee on the Régime Parlementaire. The Committee have proposed
    that only one English witness shall be heard. Emile Ollivier will do
    his best to put things straight. I told him that if a proper and
    courteous answer was made to our tender of evidence, I would
    undertake that we would not abuse their civility by asking for too
    much of their time.

    Emile Ollivier dines with me to-day, and will, I hope, learn and
    profit by Lord Russell's instruction in Constitutional Government.

English manufacturers were naturally desirous of putting their case
before the Parliamentary Committee on the Commercial Treaty, but the
members of the Committee did not appear equally desirous of hearing
them. According to Lord Lyons, who, like all his official contemporaries,
was in principle a Free Trader, and felt compassion for the misguided
economics of continental nations, the majority of the Committee were
infected by a politico-economical heresy which took the form of
demanding that any advantages which foreign manufacturers might enjoy,
should be balanced by import duties, which they persisted in calling
'compensation.' His advice was that any English witnesses who might be
called, should confine themselves very closely to facts and not allow
themselves to be led into discussions on trade principles, 'as it is not
easy to reply in French to a Committee, of which the anti-Free Trade
members are much hotter than the Free Traders.'

As the date of the plébiscite drew near, Ollivier's confidence and
satisfaction continued to increase, but some discomposure was caused by
the hostile action of Thiers and his friends. No one had ever expected
that Thiers would long endure that any Government of which he was not a
member should go on smoothly, and in the present instance, he was able
to establish a plausible case by protesting that the Emperor, in
reserving the right to appeal to the people, was nullifying liberal
institutions. At an opportune moment, however, a plot against the
Emperor's life was discovered, in which a man named Beaury was
concerned, and although of small importance, it was considered likely
to produce a considerable effect upon public opinion.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, May 6, 1870.

    I thought Emile Ollivier rather out of spirits yesterday, or at all
    events not so confident as he is usually. He seemed to hope the
    publication of the details of the plot would produce a great effect
    and increase the 'Ayes' for the Plébiscite. That there really was a
    plot is certain, but it may be doubted whether the conspirators were
    numerous enough, or were men of sufficient note, to make the danger
    so great as to frighten the voters. I am not surprised at La
    Valette's being out of spirits, for the situation is really very
    critical, and it is difficult to conceive any ending which will
    place him and Rouher where they were again.

    With reference to Loftus's despatch, I sincerely hope that his most
    confidential correspondent is not so well informed as he represents
    himself to be, and that no change is really contemplated in the
    _status quo_ of Hesse and Baden. It would be quite a mistake to
    suppose that this is a moment at which it would be safe to defy
    France. On the contrary, a war unmistakably provoked by Prussia,
    would be hailed by many as a welcome diversion from internal
    difficulties. So far as I can judge, _Ollivier is not the man to
    shrink from one_. There is more security against a sudden surprise
    than there was under the personal government, but there is also less
    probability that the Emperor's health and personal views will
    prevent war.

The plébiscite took place on May 8, and an ecstatic note from Ollivier
announced success.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _M. E. Ollivier to Lord Lyons._

    Paris le 9 mai, 1870.


    La Victoire est complète!

    A Paris nous avons gagné cent mille voix, et jusqu'à présent voici
    les resultats.

    Oui 6.189.506
    Non 1.305.881

    manquent 37 arrondissements, l'armée, la marine, l'Algérie.

The complete returns showed that about 7,250,000 voted 'Yes,' and
1,500,000 'No.' The Minister was thus justified in his satisfaction.
Nearly all the big towns, including Paris, had voted against the
Government, as had been expected, but on the other hand the agricultural
population had showed itself to be practically unanimous in favour of
the Empire. One of the disquieting surprises was provided by the Army,
no less than 50,000 votes being recorded against the Emperor. Riots, as
usual, broke out in Paris after the voting was over, but were suppressed
without difficulty. In connection with these riots an ingenious but
discreditable device, was resorted to for the purpose of seducing the
soldiers in the Prince Eugène Barracks, these having been supplied by
the Republicans with _bons_ (orders for free admission) on the
neighbouring houses of ill-fame, on the presumption that the holders of
these orders would feel peculiarly aggrieved at being confined to
barracks.

The general impression created was that a large majority was safer than
a moderate one would have been, and much safer than a very small one.
This was the view entertained by Lord Clarendon, who had always
considered the plébiscite to be a great mistake, but was now anxious to
make the best of it, and instructed the Ambassador to congratulate
Ollivier and to express the hope that he would be able to surround
himself with Liberal Ministers determined to keep order. An Empire based
upon soldiers and peasants could not be said to be placed on a solid
foundation, and no effort should be spared to enlarge the basis.

The Imperial success at the plébiscite produced a sycophantic outburst
amongst the diplomatists at Paris, and a movement was promoted by the
Nuncio and Prince Metternich, the Austrian Ambassador, with the object
of asking for an audience, and offering the collective congratulations
of the Diplomatic Corps to the Emperor. The ineptitude of the proposal
was evident.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, May 12, 1870.

    I wish the flunkeyism of the Nuncio and Metternich was displayed in
    some other way than congratulating the Emperor on the success of his
    foolish Plébiscite. It is an improper interference in the internal
    affairs of France, which, if allowed, would justify a remonstrance
    of the Diplomatic Corps against some measure they disapproved; but,
    of course, we can neither oppose nor abstain, and it will be well
    for you to join cordially. But I hope there will be no expression of
    opinion in favour of the Plébiscite, or recognition of it as a
    component part of Constitutional Government. We should be justly
    condemned if we joined however indirectly in any such opinion. I
    asked La Valette this morning whether such congratulations would be
    agreeable to the Emperor, and he answered, with a shrug of the
    shoulders: 'Il a le gout des compliments.'

Upon further consideration Lord Clarendon decided that it would be
unwise if the British representative took any part in the proposed joint
congratulation, as it was foreseen that it might provoke awkward
discussions in the House of Commons. Lord Lyons was therefore directed
to inform Ollivier at once, that, much as the British Government
sympathized with the Emperor and his dynasty, no worse service could be
done to him than by offering compliments upon his success. He would at
once be attacked for having invited or rather tolerated intervention in
the internal affairs of France, and the Queen of England, in an
analogous case, could not possibly accept such an address from
foreigners as that would imply a sort of right to interfere which might
prove extremely inconvenient. The Emperor would gain much more with the
nation by courteously declining to receive foreign opinions upon his own
acts and the domestic affairs of France, than by any assurance that
Foreign Governments were united in approving a measure about which there
existed a considerable difference of opinion in France. These views were
to be communicated to Ollivier in a friendly manner with the assurance
that they should be brought to the Emperor's notice.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    Paris, May 19, 1870.

    I think we are well out of the scrape of the collective
    congratulations. The notion was Metternich's and the Nuncio only
    came into it to a certain degree, lest his refusing to do so should
    give offence. So far as I know, the Nuncio has behaved very well,
    and has not brought _us_ forward, but has simply told Metternich
    that he found the Diplomatic Corps generally cold on the subject,
    and therefore thought it better not to go on with it. Metternich
    appears to have acquiesced. I have not seen him; he was out when I
    called, which was, I think, lucky; and we have not met.

    There is a Ball at the Tuileries on Monday, at which I shall
    probably have a chance of saying something pleasant to Cæsar. I
    shall be careful to keep within the terms sanctioned by Mr.
    Gladstone. We may at any rate rejoice at the establishment of
    Parliamentary Government in France, and hope, till we have evidence
    to the contrary, that the means provided for upsetting it will not
    be resorted to. The present Plébiscite was undoubtedly technically
    necessary to the legality of the new Constitution, and as such was
    insisted upon by Daru and other Liberals. Let us hope it will be the
    last.

    I have received the usual invitation in the name of the Emperor to
    the function on Saturday evening. I must not leave the Embassy in
    darkness if everybody else illuminates, but I think the idea a
    foolish one, as being likely to give rise to street riots.

    Two of the new Ministers are unknown to fame, but their appointment
    is a relief to those who apprehended appointments from the Right.
    There is no remarkable speaker in the Ministry except Ollivier
    himself.

    Gramont called upon me yesterday and was profuse in expressions of
    friendship to England, to you, and to me.

The appointment, however, of the Duc de Gramont[17] could hardly have
been in the nature of a relief, for, as far back as the beginning of
1868, when Ambassador at Vienna, he had announced that he considered a
Franco-Prussian war unavoidable.

The formal announcement of the result of the plébiscite was made to the
Emperor on May 21, in the Salle des États of the Louvre, and must have
been one of the last, if not the very last, of the brilliant ceremonies
which marked the reign of Napoleon III. It was attended by all the
dignitaries of the realm, the Senators, the deputies, the civic
functionaries, the Diplomatic Corps; an imposing array of troops filled
the Place du Carrousel; and Cæsar himself, elevated upon a dais, replied
to the congratulations offered to him by the Chambers in a speech full
of those resounding and occasionally meaningless phrases which
invariably meet with a responsive echo in an assembly of Frenchmen. It
was, in fact, the final coruscation of the Imperial fireworks, and, in
the prosaic words of Lord Lyons, 'the ceremony went off extremely well.'

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Clarendon._

    May 24, 1870.

    I made a little speech to the Emperor about the Plébiscite at the
    ball last night. I did not in fact go as far as Mr. Gladstone
    allowed, but what I did say appeared to be to His Majesty's taste.
    At all events he was extremely gracious and cordial. I don't know
    that any one except the Prussian Ambassador has asked for a special
    audience to deliver congratulations, but I have not made inquiries,
    because I neither wished to put it into my colleagues' heads to do
    so, nor to appear as if it seemed to me the natural thing to do. All
    seems to be quite right with the Emperor and Empress, so far as H.M.
    Government, and you in particular, and I am concerned. He has been a
    good deal annoyed and disappointed by the tone of the English press.
    After all, he has established a Constitutional form of Government,
    more democratic than that which exists in England, and the worst way
    to encourage him to persevere is to assume at once that he does not
    mean to do so. Selfishly, we ought to remember that his influence in
    the Government is the principal security we can have for _Free Trade
    and cordiality between the two countries_.

    What the Emperor will really do depends on the course of events. I
    believe nothing of the stories of his having deep-laid schemes. It
    is a pity that he has not stronger men in the Cabinet--men strong
    enough to resist him in case of need--and to direct the Chamber. A
    dissolution is hardly to be thought of at present. The people at
    large would not stand being disturbed to vote again soon, and
    consequently the votes would be few, and principally Republican.
    There is danger in the influence of the Emperor's old political
    friends, who want to regain their old position, and in some of the
    influential military men who want a war for promotion and glory. And
    there is danger in the position in which the Plébiscite has placed
    him--owing mainly to the Republicans, who, much more than he is, are
    to blame for making it a question between him personally and them.
    The function of the 21st went off very well; indeed, wonderfully
    well, considering how great a part of the audience was composed of
    Senators and Councillors of State who have lost in importance by the
    Constitutional change.

The excitement attending the plébiscite gave way before long to a
feeling of political lassitude, and to those surmises concerning the
probabilities of weathering the session which habitually preoccupy
Constitutional Governments. It is of more interest to turn for a moment
to a matter which is now fortunately viewed in a very different light.

Having been asked his advice on some question concerning Canada, Lord
Lyons wrote to Lord Clarendon the following as his deliberate opinion,
and it must be borne in mind that he had had exceptional opportunities
of studying the Canadian situation:--

    I never feel comfortable about Canada and our North American
    possessions. I do not believe we have the means of defending them
    against the United States in case of war, and I am by no means
    confident that the colonists would be unanimous and enthusiastic in
    helping us to do so. I am afraid too that the colonists are
    beginning to see that in matters short of war, we feel that we must
    let the United States do very much as they please: in short that we
    doubt our having the strength to resist them, and, unless under a
    very strong provocation, have not the spirit to try. I was struck
    by an observation made some time ago by the Governor of Newfoundland
    respecting the French claims and the coast fisheries, viz. that the
    Colonists felt that if the United States were their masters, the
    questions would soon be settled in their favour. In fact it seems to
    be in the nature of things that the United States' prestige should
    grow and ours should wane in North America, and I wish we were well
    and creditably out of the scrape.

In the course of the previous year he had already expressed the opinion
that the great problem for us in American politics was to find some fair
and honourable way of dissolving all connection between England and our
North American colonies.

Lord Clarendon on his side was equally emphatic. 'I agree,' he wrote on
June 1, 'in every word you say about our possessions in North America,
and wish that they would propose to be independent, and to annex
themselves. We can't throw them off, and it is very desirable that we
should part as friends.'

The views of Lord Stanley on this subject have already been quoted,
and, if search were made, no doubt it would be discovered that similar
sentiments were entertained by nearly all the mid-Victorian statesmen.
I have a clear recollection of hearing, less than thirty years ago, a
Cabinet Minister, who had been Colonial Secretary, express the opinion
that 'colonies were expensive luxuries which only a rich country like
England could afford to indulge in.'

One of the last letters written by Lord Clarendon refers to suspicions
created by the visit to Ems of the Emperor of Russia, the King of
Prussia, and Bismarck.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Clarendon to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, June 8, 1870.

    I have nothing of importance to write about.

    Loftus says that the Berlin public is much _intrigué_ by the sudden
    departure of the King and Bismarck for Ems, as the Czar was at
    Berlin ten days before, when Bismarck pretended to be too ill to
    come and meet him.

    Bernstorff professes entire ignorance on the subject, and supposes
    that, as Ems is now Prussian, the King thinks it necessary to give a
    personal welcome to his Imperial relative.

    This is possible, but not probable, and I suspect, though I can give
    no good reason for so doing, that the more complete unification of
    Germany occupies the Prussian mind, beginning of course by the
    incorporation of Baden, and that it is thought desirable to get a
    Russian sanction of the project, in the event of its leading to war
    with France. One fails, however, to discover any reason why Russia
    should make an enemy of France and endanger the peace of Europe in
    order to justify the ambition of Prussia and enable the King to
    unduly tax his subjects for an unnecessary army.

Lord Clarendon's suspicions in this case were as correct as his prophecy
with regard to the establishment of a Republic in France, although the
words 'unnecessary army' might be taken exception to in the light of
subsequent events. Benedetti[18] happened to be in Paris at the time when
Lord Clarendon's letter arrived, and he informed Lord Lyons that he
had 'entire confidence in the assurances of the King of Prussia and
Bismarck, and that he did not apprehend any danger to peace, unless
circumstances were too strong for His Majesty and his Minister, and this
he thought improbable.' The idea of circumstances being too strong for
Bismarck might fairly be classed with the danger to Prussia
threatened by the appointment of Monsignor Klazko.

Lord Clarendon died on June 27, and was succeeded at the Foreign Office
on July 6 by Lord Granville. The celebrated announcement that there
had never been so great a lull in foreign affairs was made upon the
authority of Mr. Hammond,[19] whose singularly faulty judgment and
unhappy prophecies have been already commented upon. At the same time,
it must in justice be admitted that appearances in the early summer of
1870 were unusually deceptive owing to the general calm which prevailed
in the diplomatic world.

When the Hohenzollern candidature thunderbolt fell in the early days
of July, the Duc de Gramont lost no time in intimating to the British
Ambassador that France would go to war with both Spain and Prussia
rather than allow a Hohenzollern to reign at Madrid. But although
Gramont seemed bent upon committing the French Government to this
course, he allowed it to be seen that he would be very grateful for any
exertion England might make to induce the King of Prussia to forbid his
kinsman to go on with his candidature. The election of Montpensier, he
said, might be looked upon as a _mauvais procédé_ towards the Emperor
and the dynasty, but the putting forward a Prussian was an insult and an
injury to all France. Similar language was held by the French Ambassador
in London.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Granville to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, July 6, 1870.

    Your telegram of yesterday arrived while we were debating the Land
    Bill. It took Mr. Gladstone and me by surprise. I received your
    despatch and private letter this morning, and on my return from
    Windsor, M. de La Valette called on me. He held the same language to
    me as that reported by you to have been held by Gramont. France
    disclaimed all interference with Spain, but stated the arguments
    which made the possession of the Crown of Spain by a Prussian Prince
    dangerous to France. I am writing to catch the post, and I cannot
    repeat to you all the reasons which he gave, concluding by assuring
    me that the circumstances were of the gravest character, and that in
    his opinion, the Government of the Emperor could not, under the
    pressure of public opinion, admit a project of such a nature. He
    added however that there was no reason why any preliminary means
    should not be tried to avert so great an evil, and he addressed
    himself to the Government of the Queen, on the strength of our
    friendly relations, and our desire to maintain the peace of Europe,
    to exercise all our influence upon Prussia and upon Spain to stop
    the project.

    I told M. de La Valette of the surprise which the matter had been to
    H.M. Government, that I perfectly understood the unfavourable effect
    which such an announcement was contemplated to produce in France,
    although I did not agree with all the arguments which he had used
    with respect to the importance to so great a nation as France of a
    German prince on the throne of Spain.

    I said it was a matter of some regret to me that such strong
    language as that reported by you to have been addressed to the
    Prussian Ambassador should have been used. But I added that it was
    not so much a moment for the general discussion, as to see what
    could be done.

    I readily assented to his request to use what influence we might
    possess both with Prussia and Spain, but without any pretension
    to dictate to either Power, to induce them to take into the most
    serious consideration all the bearings of this question, such as its
    gravity required, and I promised to communicate with you, Lord A.
    Loftus, and Mr. Layard at once.

    It is very sad that I should be writing to you in the place of one
    who would have had so much personal power in such a matter as this.

In the meanwhile, however, the explosion of Chauvinism in France and the
attitude of the French Ministers rendered the situation more alarming
from day to day. Undoubtedly the French Government desired and hoped to
carry their point without actual war, but Ministers had burnt their
ships and left themselves no means of escape if they failed in their
attempt to win a moral victory over Prussia. As Gramont remarked,
'_l'Avènement du Prince de Hohenzollern, c'est la guerre_!' It was
almost impossible to see what injury to French interests could be caused
by the presence of a Hohenzollern at Madrid, but the question had been
taken up as a point of honour, and was therefore more dangerous than if
treated from a material point of view. The Emperor, according to Lord
Lyons, remained at this stage of the crisis, very calm and extremely
confident that he would get his way without war. There was no doubt that
he was strongly averse from war, partly on account of his own views, and
partly on the ground of his ill-health, which would be a serious
drawback if he were forced to take the command of the army; but he also
felt that it would not be safe for him to submit to another rebuff from
Prussia, and his Constitutional Ministers were inconveniently anxious to
show their spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, July 10, 1870.

    The state of things to-day may be told in half a dozen words. If the
    Prince of Hohenzollern's renunciation is announced in 24 or 48
    hours, there will be peace _for the moment_. If not, there will be
    an immediate declaration of war against Prussia. I cannot however
    answer for even this situation lasting for the 48 hours. The French
    are getting more and more excited. They think they have got the
    start of Prussia this time in forwardness of preparation; that they
    have a better cause of war, as being one less likely to rouse the
    Germans, than they are likely to get again; and in fact that they
    must have it out with Prussia sooner or later; and that they had
    better not throw away this chance. When I say that I cannot answer
    for things remaining in as favourable a situation as they are now,
    for 48 hours, I mean that if the excitement goes on, the French may
    choose to pick a quarrel on the form of the renunciation, or some
    other pretext, even if the Prince retires.

    End how it will, the whole affair is a terrible misfortune, for the
    French and the Prussians will hate each other more than ever, and I
    hardly expect to see their animosity come back to the quiescent
    state in which it was a month ago.

    Gramont says that, so far from the energetic language and
    preparations of France thwarting your endeavours to preserve peace,
    they afford the only chance of your succeeding.

    I told him I did not at all agree with him.

This letter reveals two colossal errors on the part of the French. They
honestly thought that they were better prepared for war than the
Prussians, and they believed that the latter could be successfully
intimidated.

As late as July 12 Lord Granville still believed that Prussia did not
really want war, and hoped that the pressure applied to the Hohenzollern
Prince by Queen Victoria and other important personages would avert the
calamity. Writing on the same day, Lord Lyons said that he did not
despair of peace, but that the war feeling was very strong, both in and
out of the Ministry.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Granville to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, July 13, 1870.

    Nothing can be better than your work at Paris, and I only wish it
    may prove successful. My colleagues and the House of Commons are
    getting very angry, and Gladstone wishes me to use stronger language
    to the French Government than would, in my opinion, be useful for
    the object, although it is true that no nation is powerful enough in
    these times to stand up against the public opinion of Europe.

    Your telegram of this evening leaves some hope, but I very much
    doubt whether, even if we are asked by France, we can exert any more
    pressure on Prussia, who in substance has done all that we were told
    to ask and all that Gramont said was necessary to put an end to the
    dispute.

    La Valette is very angry. He gets a communication from his Foreign
    Office once in three days, and then there is hardly anything in it.
    His argument to-day is probably not the one his Government uses. 'I
    do not, like everybody else, suspect the French of having had a
    project of going to war. But having got into the wrangle, having
    found their warlike preparations so popular, and having roused
    effectually the feelings of France and Prussia, they do not like to
    abstain from a fight, which they think will come, and in which
    during the next six weeks their enemies would be unprepared.

    I have some thoughts of asking the Cabinet, if war is declared,
    whether it would be wise to ask both Governments whether they are
    prepared to respect the neutrality of Belgium. It is always safer,
    or at least, generally so, to do nothing; but both, in doubt, would
    be more likely to give a favourable answer, than either flushed with
    victory. Let me know what you think, and please make any other
    suggestions which may occur to you if the emergency arises.

    As far as I can judge, all the Neutral Powers are sincerely anxious
    for peace. Italy, certainly so. The only thing which we have done,
    of which I doubt, is having asked Italy a leading question about an
    Italian Prince. They seem to wish to entangle us further in the
    matter. It was of great importance before Spain and France were
    reconciled, but now I presume it will be discreet to let this matter
    remain in the hands of the parties concerned.

The phrase 'in which during the next six weeks their enemies would be
unprepared,' seems to imply that H.M. Government were singularly
ill-informed as to the true state of Prussian military efficiency.

Upon July 14, Lord Lyons reported that an article in the _North German
Gazette_ seemed to make war absolutely inevitable, and that Benedetti,
who was expected in Paris the following day, confirmed the accuracy of
the newspaper. Werther, too, the Prussian Ambassador, had announced to
Gramont that 'he had been granted leave of absence and was about to take
advantage of it immediately.' Even the guileless Hammond was alarmed.
'Why Bismarck went to Berlin instead of Ems, and finally retired to
Varzin without personal communications with his master, is not easy to
explain, and with a person of his character the proceeding is somewhat
suspicious.' The last hope of peace practically vanished when Bismarck
intimated that he could not recommend to the King for acceptance the
proposal made by H.M. Government.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, July 16, 1870.

    It will be a miracle if we are as good friends with France six
    months after the beginning of this wretched war, as we are now, and
    it will require the utmost tact, prudence and consideration for
    French susceptibilities to prevent all the improvement in feeling
    between the two nations, which has grown up in the last twenty
    years, being entirely destroyed.

    We have already a question with Gramont about his assertion that we
    recognized the justice of his complaint. I hope it may be possible
    to let this drop, but if not it is to be noted that, my memorandum
    correcting the assertion on your authority was in his hands the
    night before he repeated the assertion in his declaration of
    yesterday.

    In referring to his declaration that if the Hohenzollern
    renunciation were obtained, France would be satisfied, it may be
    well to bear in mind that the exact words he used to me were: '_If
    the Prince of Hohenzollern should now, on the advice of the King of
    Prussia_, withdraw his acceptance of the Crown the whole affair
    would be at an end.'

    This point becomes of less importance as France now seems to set the
    Hohenzollern affair aside altogether, and to rest her _casus belli_
    wholly on the boast of the affront to Benedetti.

    Above all things we must try and keep as much as possible out of
    Blue Books. If it is absolutely necessary to have one now, pray let
    me have the opportunity of looking over anything of mine which it is
    proposed to publish, and suggesting omissions. It would also be a
    great relief to me to be allowed to consult Gramont himself, as I
    did La Valette on the Cretan Blue Book. The cases are not the same,
    and I might not use the power, but I should like to have it. I am
    the more alarmed with regard to Gramont, as his reputation for
    inaccuracy is so universal, that there must be some foundation for it.

    Newspaper correspondents, amateur travellers, and so forth, are
    already tormenting me to get them leave to accompany the French
    Army. I believe none are to be allowed; but if it be otherwise, I
    think the danger of being held responsible for their indiscretions
    would be so great and so damaging to our relations with France, that
    I do not think I should be justified in applying for leave on any
    private recommendation, however strong: in fact, I should not be
    willing to apply on anything short of a distinct official order, in
    each case from you; and such an order I should be sorry to receive.

    I tremble at the thought of the Blockades. Those during the American
    Civil War kept us in perpetual hot water and within an inch of war
    with the United States, and the labours of working out the cases
    without coming to a rupture was very nearly the death of me. Heaven
    defend us from anything like an _Alabama_ case with the French!

    It is important that I should know as soon as possible whether our
    Embassy at Berlin might take charge of French subjects in Prussia.
    I am pretty sure to be sounded very soon, and might perhaps be able
    to soften the very bad impression a refusal would make, by
    preventing the request being made. I should wish us to accept, and I
    don't see why, as impartial neutrals, we might not take charge also
    of the Prussians in Paris, if we were asked, though I would rather
    avoid this if possible.

Just at this moment the _Liberté_ caused some embarrassment by
publishing more or less correct details respecting the secret
negotiations which had taken place earlier in the year between Lord
Clarendon and Bismarck on the question of disarmament. Lord Granville
had not been in the confidence of Lord Clarendon, and it now was
necessary to explain to him what had passed. How the _Liberté_ obtained
its information does not appear. Daru always stoutly maintained that he
had not mentioned the matter to any one except the Emperor and Ollivier,
and the disclosures involved not only a gross breach of confidence on
the part of some one--presumably a French Foreign Office official--but
also a danger that Bismarck might demand explanations. The tremendous
events, however, of the next few weeks, diverted attention from the
_Liberté's_ revelations. War was formally declared on July 19.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, July 19, 1870.

    The war has been forced upon the Emperor principally by his
    own party in the Chamber, the Right, and by his Ministers.
    Constitutional Government has so far established itself that a
    Ministry in a minority in the Corps Législatif is as much bound to
    go out as a Ministry in the House of Commons. The Emperor was in a
    bad position to resist, because after the line taken at the time of
    Sadowa, it would have been too dangerous for him to be put forward
    as the cause of France's truckling to Prussia. The whole affair is a
    series of blunders which has culminated in an awful catastrophe.

    Gramont told me this afternoon that La Valette wrote him a very
    _bizarre_ story. La Valette said that it had been considered by the
    British Cabinet whether they should not send an English force to
    occupy Belgium during the war, which would be a strange way of
    showing respect for Belgian neutrality.

    I should myself be very sorry to see a British soldier landed on the
    Continent, and seriously alarmed if any force that was landed was
    under a hundred thousand strong.

    Gramont told me also that Bray[20] had hit upon a combination to
    which France would have no objection if it were possible. Bray
    declared that Bavaria would be neutral if the neutrality of Baden
    were secured. Gramont said however that of course to carry out such
    an arrangement, the Prussian troops must retire from Rastadt.

    He said he had just been informed that Italy had called out two
    classes of her military contingent. He did not know what this might
    mean. Italy has not yet made to France any declaration of policy.

    Gramont concluded by saying that he supposed all the Minor States
    would wait for a battle and then declare for the victor.

The neutrality of Belgium was, of course, one of the main preoccupations
of H.M. Government, but there is no reason to suppose that a British
occupation was ever seriously contemplated, and La Valette's report on
the subject was probably caused by the vanity of appearing to possess
special pieces of information which often leads diplomatists astray.
Belgium was not, however, the only country which had reason to feel
alarmed. The position of Denmark before hostilities actually began
between France and Prussia was both painful and critical. The Danish
Minister at Paris appeared at the British Embassy in great distress,
saying that he knew nothing of what his Government intended, and asking
for information; as it seemed quite likely that the Danish capital would
be occupied by whichever of the two opposing armies could get there
first. It was common knowledge that a great expedition was fitting out
for Copenhagen at Cherbourg, and that General Trochu, who passed for
about the best French general, was to command it. And if French forces
appeared off Copenhagen it would be impossible to restrain the people
from marching against the Prussians, although there was, as yet
apparently, no understanding between the French and Danish Governments.

On July 25 the _Times_ surprised the world by publishing the text of a
draft treaty concerning the annexation of Belgium which it was alleged
had been submitted by the French Government to Bismarck in 1866.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, July 26, 1870.

    I have had some conversation with Gramont about the nefarious Projet
    de Traité which the _Times_ has given to the world, but as he has
    written to La Valette about it, I had better leave you to receive
    from him the French version. The only curious, and to me quite new
    statement which he made, was that Bismarck had at one time offered,
    if France was afraid of the odium of occupying Belgium, to occupy it
    first himself, and then to retire in apparent deference to
    remonstrances from France, and so give France a pretext for
    entering.

    It has long been a common belief among diplomatists that France and
    Prussia have at different times discussed the propriety of seizing,
    the one upon Belgium, the other upon Holland. No such scandalous
    iniquity has been contemplated since the partition of Poland, and it
    is much worse than the partition of Poland, for there might be some
    colourable assertions that Poland was turbulent, ill-governed, that
    most of the population were serfs, and that she was an inconvenient
    neighbour. But Belgium and Holland are free, extremely well
    governed, and, to say the least, perfectly inoffensive neighbours.
    One must leave it to the parties concerned to defend themselves from
    the reproach of such odious projects, and I hope they will.

    The insinuation in the leading article in the _Times_ that the
    subject has been revived by France since the Hohenzollern crisis
    seems to me to be extremely improbable.

    Bernstorff's attempts to make you vouch for the authenticity of the
    _Projet_, without committing himself, is as poor a little trick as I
    ever heard of.

    I send you in a despatch the official account of the cause of the
    tardiness in producing Benedetti's despatch, that is to say,
    delicacy on the part of Gramont. The version accepted by the public
    is that the whole affair had been forgotten at the Ministère until
    at last Benedetti himself remembered it and had it looked up.

With the object of prejudicing European opinion against Prussia, the
Emperor wrote the well-known letter to Gramont from Metz, on July 28,
accusing Bismarck of having proposed to France the annexation of
Belgium, but the sole result was that both parties were shown to have
played an equally sordid part in the transaction, and they were
consequently both induced to agree to the English proposal that they
should give a new and formal pledge not to violate Belgian integrity.

In a letter dated July 31, is a dispassionate analysis of the inadequate
causes which had brought about a rupture at that particular moment.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, July 31, 1870.

    I see the public, with their usual tendency to attribute everything
    to deep-laid plots and schemes, generally suppose that war was a
    foregone conclusion on the part of France and of Prussia. I don't
    believe it in the case of Prussia, and I know it not to be the fact
    as regards France. Prussia threw the first stone, by bringing on the
    Hohenzollern question. France made a peaceful settlement difficult
    by Gramont's irritating declaration on the 6th. The cause of the
    change from a mild to an irritating declaration was the arrival of
    the report from the Chargé d'Affaires at Berlin, that Thile[21]
    pooh-poohed the French remonstrance, and said that the question
    _n'existait pas pour le Gouvernement Prussien_. Then came the
    great fault of France in not accepting the renunciation of the
    Hohenzollern as a final settlement; but, even at the last moment the
    declaration of the 16th would have concluded with a phrase leaving
    the door open to the mediation of a Congress, if the article in the
    _North German Gazette_ had not arrived, and convinced the French
    that Bismarck had decided upon war. However, it is no use crying
    over spilt milk.

    I understand that the Emperor writes to the Empress that no great
    action is to be expected for three or four days. At the French Head
    Quarters there was an apprehension that the Prussians might attempt
    to turn the right flank of the French Army.

Subsequent revelations have shown how profoundly the course of events
was influenced by the action of Bismarck in connection with the tone of
the German press, and by his distortion of the celebrated Ems interview
between the King of Prussia and Benedetti, but this was of course
unknown at the time.

One humorous incident in connection with the outbreak of hostilities is
worth recording. Animated by what Lord Clarendon would have called the
spirit of flunkeyism, the Paris diplomatists grew greatly excited over
the question of illuminations in the event of French victories. As was
only to be expected, the accommodating Austrian Ambassador was foremost
in advocating rejoicings, and he and his Italian colleague were bent
upon illuminating their Embassies, while the representatives of the
smaller Powers, such as Switzerland, who lived in less conspicuous
abodes, opposed the proposal, and were supported by the British
Ambassador. The question was referred home, and the Foreign Office took
the common-sense view that the Ambassador should not illuminate without
necessity, but should do so rather than cause trouble or give offence.

The early reverses of the campaign were concealed from the public with
some success, MacMahon's defeat being known at the Embassy twelve hours
before the official announcement; but as soon as the truth came out, the
population of the capital seems to have believed that the Germans would
at once appear before Paris.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, Aug. 8, 1870.

    If the panic in the army is as great as it is in the capital, it is
    all over with France. One would think that the Prussians were
    already in Montmartre. There must, it is supposed, be a great battle
    fought before they can get there, and the French may win it.

    I have been beset with Representatives of small Powers, all except
    the Belgian, in consternation, and with Rothschilds and other
    bankers in despair. They hope England will interfere to stop the
    Prussian army on its road to Paris: not an easy task if the road is
    open.

    All Gramont could or would tell me was that the Emperor was
    concentrating forces between Metz and Chalons, and that a great
    battle was expected.

    I was really ashamed to speak to him about our Treaty, but I thrust
    your despatch on him, knowing you were anxious to avoid delay. He
    said: _n'ayez pas peur, nous n'avons pas grande envie d'entrer en
    Belgique dans ce moment_.

In the Chamber, no one, even on the Right, had the generosity to say a
single word in defence of the unfortunate Emperor when a declaration was
made from the Tribune that all the disasters were due to the
inefficiency of the Commander-in-Chief. Ollivier and his colleagues
resigned, and General Trochu, who had been given an unimportant command
in the South, was hailed as the possible saviour of the country, and
offered, in vain, the War Office in the new administration of Count
Palikao. It is instructive to note that Gramont (upon whom Bismarck
subsequently heaped the most savage contempt) denied to Lord Lyons that
he had ever been in favour of war. According to him, the strongest
phrase in the declaration of July 6 was inserted at the Council on that
morning, and was not in his draft, and he threw the blame of the
imprudent haste in going to war on Leboeuf's confident declaration that
neither France nor any other country had ever been so well prepared for
war before. Leboeuf's celebrated declaration about gaiter buttons has
always been cited as almost unequalled for fatuity, but it is an
undoubted fact that Gramont himself was convinced that a Franco-Prussian
war was inevitable, and he is not known to have discouraged the idea.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Aug. 16, 1870.

    So far as we can conjecture, the military situation is very bad, and
    the political is certainly as bad as can be. There are ups and downs
    in the spirits of the French about the war, but the Emperor and the
    dynasty seem simply to sink lower and lower. La Tour d'Auvergne[22]
    speaks still as a loyal subject, but I know of no one else who does.
    The Empress shows pluck, but not hope. She has sent her nieces away,
    and she summoned the Bonapartes in Paris to the Tuileries yesterday,
    and told them plainly that the time was come for them to look after
    themselves.

    No party wishes to come into office, with the risk of having to sign
    a disadvantageous peace. It is this which has hitherto kept the Left
    within bounds. They wish the peace to be made by the Emperor before
    they upset him. No one can tell what the effect of a victory might
    be; few people expect one, and fewer still believe that the effect
    would be to set the Emperor on his legs again. The Paris population
    so far seems to have behaved well.

The one thing, in fact, upon which there seemed to be general agreement
was that the Empire was doomed.

By the middle of August the feeling in Paris against England, produced
largely by articles in the London press, had reached a very disagreeable
point, and the Ambassador was obliged to ask that he might be spared
from having to make too many obnoxious communications to the French
Government; these communications consisting of complaints put forward by
the Prussian Government through the channel of the British Embassy at
Paris, which it was really the duty of the United States Legation to
deal with.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Hammond._

    Paris, Aug. 23, 1870.

    The last paragraph of your letter of this morning frightens me not a
    little. You say the Prussians complain of a flag of truce being
    fired upon and of field hospitals being shot at; and you add: 'You
    will probably hear from us about these matters, if Bernstorff makes
    a formal representation.' I hope this does not imply that you mean
    to adopt all Prussian complaints as British, and make me the channel
    of communicating them to the French Government. Please do not forget
    that the United States Legation, not this Embassy, represents
    Prussian interests in France, and that if you impose upon me such
    works of supererogation as making unpleasant communications from
    Prussia, you will expose me to well-merited snubs, and damage my
    position so much that I shall be able to effect very little in a
    real emergency. The particular things which you mention ought not to
    be made the subject of diplomatic representation at all: they ought
    to be discussed by Flag of Truce between the two Generals.

Why H.M. Government should have taken the inexplicable course of
gratuitously offending the French Government is not explained, but at
all events the practice was abandoned.

When, towards the end of August, it was announced that the Crown Prince
was advancing upon Paris, the Empress, the members of the Government,
and the Chambers, proclaimed their determination to stay in the town.
The Empress probably feared that if she once left, she might never
return; but the decision to attempt to govern a country from a besieged
town was so obviously unpractical that it can hardly have been taken
seriously, for it was plain that each party in turn would discover that
it was essential to be in communication with the outside world. The
Empress herself seems to have preserved her fortitude during this
unhappy period. 'I saw the Empress yesterday,' wrote Lord Lyons, on
September 1, 'for the first time since the war. She was calm and
natural, well aware, I think, of the real state of things, but
courageous without boasting or affectation. She let me know by La Tour
d'Auvergne that she would like to see me. She did not invite, nor did I
offer any advice or any assurances or conjectures as to what England or
any other Power was likely to do.'

Within three or four days of this interview the Empress herself was a
fugitive, the Empire had collapsed without a hand being raised to defend
it, and the mob, breaking into the Chamber, had called the Third
Republic into existence. The delight of changing one form of government
was so great that the French almost forgot for the moment that the enemy
was practically at the gates of Paris, but M. Jules Favre, the Minister
for Foreign Affairs in the new Provisional Government, lost no time in
communicating with Lord Lyons and sounding him with regard to mediation.

According to Jules Favre, the new Government had two courses of action
in view. The first was to proclaim loudly that France would fight to the
death rather than make any undue concessions to Prussia. This was the
course intended for public consumption. The second and practical course
was to accept cordially the intervention of Foreign Powers with the
object of restricting French sacrifices within endurable limits. In
other words, he thought that France ought to submit to paying the
expenses of the war, provided her territorial integrity remained intact.
As for agreeing to a cession of territory, no man in France would
venture even to speak of such a thing, and the Government and the people
were equally determined to perish rather than give way upon it. The
public, and in particular, the inhabitants of Paris were greatly averse
from any pecuniary sacrifice, but he (obviously considering himself
to be an exceptionally far-seeing statesman) felt so strongly that a
pecuniary sacrifice was necessary, that unless the principle was acceded
to, he should feel bound to leave the Government. If, therefore, foreign
Governments would offer mediation upon the basis of keeping French
territory intact, their intervention would be extremely useful and ought
to be admitted gratefully by France. If, however, Foreign Powers could
only mediate on the basis of a cession of territory, their interference
would be ineffectual and offensive, rather than agreeable to France.

It is rather surprising, in view of this artless opinion, to learn that
Jules Favre seemed to be pretty well acquainted with the feeling in
Germany; and, at all events, he realized that the one neutral Power who
was likely to influence Prussia was Russia. It is also rather surprising
to learn that he considered the immediate proclamation of a Republic to
be a mistake, due to the impetuosity of the Paris population, and
calculated to alienate the French provinces as well as foreign
Governments, and he was forced to admit that the new Government was
completely under the control of the mob.

On September 6, a surreptitious interview took place between Lord Lyons
and M. Thiers, who was not a member of the Government of National
Defence.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, Sept, 6, 1870.

    I have had conversations to-day, both with Thiers and with Jules
    Favre. They think they can bring public opinion to accept a peace
    with a large pecuniary indemnity to Prussia, but they are afraid of
    being thought by the populace to be begging the aid of England at
    this moment: so much so, that Thiers was afraid either of coming
    here or of my going to his house, and asked me to meet him at
    Alphonse de Rothschild's.

    I put to him the extreme difficulty of inducing Prussia to accept
    mediation without securing some cession of territory, and asked him
    whether he would still be in favour of its being offered, even if
    Prussia were almost certain to reject it. He considered the Pros and
    Cons. On the one hand, he saw danger to France and to Europe, if the
    neutral Powers should look quietly on, while France was being
    destroyed, without any sort of mark of feeling, or of protest
    against her dismemberment. On the other hand, he did not conceal
    from himself that it might lower the authority of the other Powers,
    and in some sort put a seal upon the predominance of Prussia, if
    they spoke in vain and took no steps to give effect to their
    language. After some consideration, however, he said he inclined
    to the opinion that the offer should at all events be made.

    I told Jules Favre that Thiers had hesitated about this. He answered
    at once: 'I do not hesitate for a moment. I decidedly wish the
    mediation, on the basis of the integrity of our territory, to be
    made, whether Prussia accepts it or not.'

    Jules Favre was very decided about the armistice. He thought France
    could not herself ask for one, in her present position, but it was
    plain enough (which is certainly not at all surprising) that he
    would be very grateful to any neutral Power who would try to bring
    one about.

    Time presses, for the Prussians may be said to be almost literally
    at the gates.

    Thiers pointed out with all his clearness and eloquence the danger
    to the different nations of Europe, of the predominance of Prussia,
    and dwelt also a good deal upon the risk of a Red Republic, with a
    foreign propaganda, etc., etc., if the present Government were
    overthrown in consequence of further military reverses, or of a
    disgraceful peace. He pointed out that, with the exception of
    Rochefort, all the Provisional Government were Moderate Republicans
    and honest men. Rochefort was, he said, very manageable and less
    dangerous in the Government than out of it. He was in hopes order
    would be maintained, but he did not shut his eyes to the fact that
    the Government was without the means of resisting the mob of Paris,
    if the mob should become excited or enraged by defeats.

    There seems to me to be a great deal of depression in Paris. People
    seem to feel that an obstinate defence of the town might only lead
    to its destruction and leave France more at the mercy of Prussia
    than ever. They have also a great dread, that while the respectable
    citizens are on the ramparts, the Reds may pillage the town.

    How all this may turn out, I do not pretend to guess. The first
    days of a Revolution are generally those on which the mob behaves
    the best. Hitherto everybody has behaved extremely well, and only a
    few people have suffered from the unfortunate epidemic which
    prevails and makes every one who cannot speak French well be taken
    for a Prussian spy.

    Jules Favre has not yet announced his appointment as Minister for
    Foreign Affairs, nor, I think, seen any of the Foreign Diplomatists
    except me. The circular which he has prepared for Foreign Powers
    is very fierce in its language, but it mentions peace, and even
    pronounces the word '_traiter_' and he seems to consider it rather a
    bold step towards accustoming the people of Paris to the idea of
    treating while the Prussians are still on French soil.

Lord Granville, as his letters show, was at first by no means anxious to
mediate, but altered his mind, because he was under the impression that
the change of government in Paris had made the Prussians more anxious to
treat. The French were not to be informed of this altered attitude on
the part of their adversary but were to be encouraged to put forward
'elastic' proposals, Bismarck having graciously intimated that he had
no objection to England becoming the channel of communication. The
objections to mediation were sufficiently obvious. If the basis of a
cession of territory were to be adopted, then it would be clearly
undesirable for any neutral country to attempt to exercise any pressure
upon France, and there would not be anything to be gained by such
action, for France could always obtain peace on these terms from Prussia
without foreign aid. If, on the other hand, mediation was adopted on the
basis of the integrity of French territory, there appeared to be little
or no chance of success.

In spite of the unpromising prospects various attempts were made to
sound the views of the Prussian Government with regard to an eventual
peace on the basis of integrity of territory. The Russians were
requested by the French to make known the terms on which the latter were
prepared to treat. Communications at Berlin were made by the Italian
Government, and the meddling Beust caused it to be announced to the
Prussian Government that France would accept an armistice on the
condition of territorial integrity. As he was a _persona ingratissima_
to Bismarck, his efforts were not likely to meet with much success, and
it was intimated to him and to the others that Bismarck reserved to
himself all discussions concerning the conditions of peace, and that the
Prussian officials at Berlin had no authority to enter upon such
matters.

Before anything definite was decided upon as to how the Prussian
Government was to be approached, Thiers started upon his historic
mission to the Courts of the various Great Powers with the object of
enlisting their practical sympathy on behalf of France.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, Sept. 12, 1870.

    The provisional Government, though the most moderate and regular I
    ever heard of, is sometimes a little sudden in its movements; and
    accordingly Thiers's mission was announced in the _Journal Official_
    before Jules Favre mentioned it to me, though I must do him the
    justice to say that he came at an early hour for the purpose. It is
    patriotic of Thiers to undertake it at his age, and with a prospect
    at best of assisting to make a bitter peace just supportable. I am
    glad you should hear from him the real state of things as to the
    internal condition and prospects of society and Government in
    France. He will also, I suppose, bring you the last word of the
    Provisional Government on peace. My impression is that they will
    give up almost anything to save territory; but they are, or at all
    events believe themselves, capable of a great _coup de désespoir_
    rather than yield that. The Reds within are more likely to give
    permanent trouble than the Prussians without.

    Some of my colleagues are I am afraid rather cross at my not setting
    them the example of going off to Tours. The notion under present
    circumstances seems to me most injudicious. Either the French will
    make terms as soon as the enemy approach Paris, or being unable to
    do so, they will stand a siege and announce a desperate resistance.
    Upon this last contingency coming to pass we had better get out of
    Paris as fast as we can; but if there is negotiation we may possibly
    be of use here, while we could certainly be of none at Tours, to
    say nothing of the absurdity of our going off under present
    circumstances to Tours, without the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The various interviews which took place between Thiers and Lord
Granville have been described at length by Lord Fitzmaurice. In the
main, the causes of the war, as expounded by Thiers, were in accordance
with those described by Lord Lyons in the letters previously quoted,
although he seems to have unjustly laid much of the responsibility upon
the Empress, and to have unduly exalted his own prescience, having
always been obsessed with the idea that he was a military genius. As for
the form of government in France, although an Orleanist himself, he
considered that Bonapartists, Bourbons, and Orleanists were all out of
the question for the time being, and that a Republic was the only
possible solution under existing circumstances. To put it shortly,
he had started on his mission through Europe in order to obtain
intervention, and had began with England in order to persuade her if
possible to use her moral influence in securing peace. This application
was supported by much high-sounding rhetoric on the subject of the
ancient friendship between England and France, and of the necessity of
the former retaining her due ascendency in the Councils of Europe, etc.,
etc., etc. Exhausted at the conclusion of his eloquent arguments, he
went to sleep, as recorded by Lord Granville, without waiting to listen
to the latter's reply, and the really practical part of the conversation
seems to have been the suggestion that the way should be paved by the
British Government for an interview between Jules Favre and Bismarck.

On the next day Thiers proposed that H.M. Government should at once
recognize the Republic; but to this Lord Granville demurred, on the
ground that it would be contrary to precedent, and that the Republic
had at present no legal sanction, because no Constituent Assembly had
yet decided on the future government of the country.

Upon the occasion of a third interview, Thiers's arguments seem to have
been still more forcible.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Granville to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, Sept. 16, 1870.

    I called again on M. Thiers at his request to-day. He thanked me for
    the letter which I had written to Bernstorff, although he thought it
    might have been in warmer terms.

    He informed me of his plan to go to Petersburg, by France, Turin and
    Vienna. He said that by that way he should be within reach of
    telegraphic and other news, and could be recalled, if wanted. He
    should go back if his concurrence was absolutely necessary to the
    conclusion of peace. He admitted that it would be most painful to
    sign any peace at this time; that M. Jules Favre, on the contrary,
    did not dislike the notion of it.

    He spoke sanguinely of the defence of Paris: he counted the number
    of armed men and the completeness of the ordnance. He gave some
    credence to the report of General Bazaine's bold march. He then came
    back to the subject of England's apathy: he dwelt upon the loss to
    her dignity; the danger to her and to all Europe of the immense
    preponderance of Germany. Austria must lose her German provinces.
    What would not 60,000,000 Germans do, led by such a man as Bismarck?
    I told him that I would not further discuss that matter with him,
    and that his arguments went further than his demands. They were in
    favour of an armed intervention. I had no doubt of what public
    opinion here was on that point. He spoke of the sad task he had
    undertaken, at his age, to go from Court to Court, almost as a
    mendicant, for support to his country. I told him that it was most
    honourable to him at his age, and after his long public life, to
    undertake a task in which it was thought that he might be of use,
    and that he ought not to be discontented with his mission here. He
    could hardly have hoped, even with his ability, to change the
    deliberate course of policy which H.M. Government had adopted, and
    which they had announced to Parliament. But his second object, that
    of explaining the necessity at this moment of the present Government
    in France, and of the merits of M. Favre and General Trochu, and its
    leading members, had had much effect upon me, and upon others with
    whom he had conversed. We had also during his presence here arranged
    the possibility of a meeting between M. Favre and Count Bismarck,
    which if it took place (about which I was not sanguine) must, in any
    case, be of some use.

    We parted in a most friendly manner.

The offer to sound Bismarck on the question of receiving Jules Favre
was enthusiastically received by the latter, who had a strong personal
feeling on the subject. As, however, he had just concocted the
celebrated proclamation that France would never consent to yield 'a
stone of her fortresses or an inch of her territory,' he could hardly be
said to approach the question of peace in a practical spirit, nor did he
receive much assistance from his countrymen in general, for at that
period no Frenchman could be found who was willing to admit openly the
possibility of a cession of territory, whatever opinions may have been
entertained in secret. Shrewder judges than Jules Favre, who, although
able and honest, was too emotional for diplomatic work, suspected, with
reason, that Bismarck was determined not to negotiate through neutrals,
and not to negotiate at all except under the walls of Paris or in Paris
itself.

The emissary appointed to approach Bismarck was Malet, who was selected
because he was discreet, knew German well, and was already acquainted
with Bismarck, but no sooner had he been despatched than the Austrian
Ambassador, Metternich, announced that he had received authority from
Vienna to go in company with his colleagues to the Prussian
Headquarters. Efforts were made to stop Malet, but fortunately without
success, and the private letter from the latter (extracts of which have
already been published) recounting his interview, is a singularly
graphic and interesting presentment of Bismarck's real disposition.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Mr. Malet to Lord Lyons._

    Paris, September 17, 1870.

    During my two interviews with Count Bismarck on the 15th he said
    some things which it may not be uninteresting to Your Lordship to
    know although from the confidential familiar manner in which they
    were uttered, I did not feel justified in including them in an
    official report.

    He stated it was the intention to hang all persons not in uniform
    who were found with arms. A man in a blouse had been brought before
    him who had represented that he was one of the Garde Mobile: Count
    Bismarck decided that as there was nothing in his dress to support
    his assertion he must be hung, and the sentence was forthwith
    carried into effect. His Excellency added, 'I attach little value to
    human life because I believe in another world--if we lived for three
    or four hundred years it would be a different matter.' I said that
    although some of the Mobile wore blouses, each regiment was dressed
    in a uniform manner and that they all bore red collars and stripes
    on their wristbands. His Excellency replied that that was not
    enough, at a distance they looked like peasants and until they had
    a dress like other soldiers those who were taken would be hung.

    He said. 'When you were a little boy you wanted your mother to ask a
    lady, who was not of the best position in society, to one of her
    parties, your mother refused on which you threw yourself on the
    ground and said you would not rise till you had got what you wanted.
    In like manner we have thrown ourselves on the soil of France and
    will not rise till our terms are agreed to.' In speaking of the
    surrender of the Emperor he observed, 'When I approached the
    carriage in which the Emperor was His Majesty took off his cap to
    salute me. It is not the custom for us when in uniform to do more
    than touch the cap--however I took mine off and the Emperor's eyes
    followed it till it came on a level with my belt in which was a
    revolver when he turned quite pale--I cannot account for it. He
    could not suppose I was going to use it but the fact of his changing
    colour was quite unmistakable. I was surprised that he should have
    sent for me, I should have thought I was the last person that he
    would wish to receive him because he has betrayed me. All that has
    passed between us made me feel confident that he would not go to war
    with Germany. He was bound not to do so and his doing it was an act
    of personal treachery to me. The Emperor frequently asked whether
    his carriages were safe out of Sedan, and a change indicating a
    sense of great relief came over him when he received news of their
    arrival in our lines.' M. de Bismarck talked in the most
    contemptuous terms of M. de Gramont, allowing him only one merit
    that of being a good shot. He touched on the publication of the
    secret treaty, but his arguments in defence of it were rather too
    subtle for me to seize them clearly. He said the secret should have
    died with him had France had a tolerable pretext for going to war,
    but that he considered her outrageous conduct in this matter
    released him from all obligation.

    'If,' he remarked, 'a man asks the hand of my daughter in marriage
    and I refuse it I should consider it a matter of honour to keep the
    proposal a secret as long as he behaved well to me, but if he
    attacked me I should be no longer bound. This is quite a different
    question from that of publishing a secret proposition at the same
    time that you refuse it; you must be a Beust or an Austrian to do
    that.'

    In talking of the scheme to replace the Emperor on the throne by the
    aid of Bazaine and the French Prisoners in Germany, I asked whether
    His Majesty was now in a state of health to be willing to undertake
    such a work. He answered that he never in his life had seen the
    Emperor in the enjoyment of better health and he attributed it to
    the bodily exercise and the diet which late events had forced upon
    him.

    Count Bismarck spoke of Italy and appeared to think that it was in
    immediate danger of Republican revolution. He said 'If,' as appeared
    likely at the beginning, 'Italy had sided with France such a
    movement would have broken out at once; we had everything prepared,
    and could have forced on a revolution within three days after a
    declaration of war.'

    On leaving him he asked me if I had a horse, saying, 'I would offer
    you mine but the French are in the habit of firing on our
    Parlementaires and as I have only one I cannot afford to lose it.'

From the French point of view there was very little encouragement to
be derived from these frank and even brutal opinions, but one result
of some importance was obtained, for at the close of the interview,
Bismarck intimated to Malet 'as a friend' that if a member of the
Government of National Defence chose to come he would be happy to
receive him, and added that he need feel no anxiety as to the nature of
his reception. Upon returning to Paris, Malet gave this message to Jules
Favre at the British Embassy, and although the latter said nothing at
the moment, he proceeded shortly afterwards to Ferrières, where the
celebrated interview took place, and the opportunity of making peace on
easy terms was thrown away, for 'as an old friend' Bismarck had also
assured Malet that the Prussians were not going to ask for Alsace or
Lorraine, but only for Strasburg and Metz, as a precaution against
future attacks.


FOOTNOTES:

  [17] As Minister for Foreign Affairs.

  [18] French Ambassador at Berlin.

  [19] 'The Life of Lord Granville.'

  [20] Bavarian Minister.

  [21] Prussian Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

  [22] Foreign Minister.



CHAPTER IX

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE

(1870-1871)


The investment of Paris being now imminent, the Diplomatists had to make
up their minds as to whether they should remain or leave, and the latter
course was adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Tours, Sept. 19, 1870.

    I was a good deal put out at having to leave Paris. The interest is
    still there: there was no danger in staying, and of course the
    Diplomatists could have got the Prussians to let them through the
    lines. But as soon as Jules Favre himself advised that I should go,
    I had nothing to say to my colleagues of the Great Powers, whom I
    had withstood, not without difficulty, for some time. At all events
    I could not have stayed if they went, without exposing myself to all
    kinds of misrepresentation, and presenting myself to the public and
    Foreign Powers as the special partisan and adviser of the present
    French Government. The Representatives of the small Powers, or most
    of them, want to be able to go home when they leave Paris, and are
    very much afraid of the expense and difficulty of finding lodgings
    here. Well they may be: I myself spent eight hours yesterday walking
    about or sitting on a trunk in the porte cochère of the hotel, and
    have at last, in order not to pass the night _à la belle étoile_,
    had to come to a house out of the town.

    I don't expect much from Jules Favre's interview with Bismarck, but
    I am very impatient to know whether he was received, and if so, what
    passed. I should be glad that Bismarck should distinctly announce
    his terms, though I can hardly hope they will be such as France will
    accept now. But it would be well, whatever they are, that the French
    should know them, and thus get their minds accustomed to them, and
    so know also what amount of resistance is better than yielding to
    them. I myself think that the loss of territory and the humiliation
    of France and the great diminution of her power and influence would
    be great evils and great sources of danger: but, if we can have no
    means of preventing them, I am certainly anxious that we should not
    aggravate them by holding out hopes that our mediation could effect
    a change, or rather by allowing the hopes to be formed, which the
    mere fact of our mediating could not but give rise to. I have read
    with great interest the accounts of your conversations with Thiers,
    and have been still more interested by your correspondence with
    Bernstorff on 'benevolent neutrality.' On his part it is just the
    old story I used to hear in America from the Northerners: 'The
    ordinary rules of neutrality are very well in ordinary wars, such
    as those in which we were neutrals, but our present cause is so
    pre-eminently just, noble and advantageous to humanity and the rest
    of the world, that the very least other nations can do is to strain
    the laws of neutrality, so as to make them operate in our favour and
    against our opponents.'

    Thiers himself was expected here yesterday. Jules Favre did not
    say positively that he was coming here himself, but he gave me to
    understand that it was not improbable he should do so. He must make
    haste, for we hear that the railway we came by is already broken up,
    and all the others were impassable before.

As Lord Lyons's departure from Paris to Tours was practically the only
action in the course of his career which was subjected to anything like
unfavourable criticism, it is desirable to point out that as far back as
August 31, Lord Granville had written to him in these words: 'I
presume that your post will be with the Government as long as it is
acknowledged; and that if the Empress and her Foreign Minister go to
Lyons or elsewhere, you would go too.' It is almost inconceivable that
any one should have advocated the retention of the Ambassador in Paris
after that city had been cut off from the outside world; some of the
members of the Government, it is true, including Jules Favre remained
there, but the _de facto_ Government of the country was temporarily
established at Tours, and when Tours seemed likely to share the fate of
Paris, the Government was transferred to Bordeaux. It was so obviously
the duty of diplomatists to remain in touch with the French Government
that the wonder is that any objection should ever have been raised, and,
as has already been narrated, Lord Lyons had been urged to move long
before he would consent to do so. The action of the Ambassador was the
subject of an attack upon him subsequently in Parliament by the late Sir
Robert Peel, which proved singularly ineffective.

Few people had anticipated much result from Jules Favre's visit to
Bismarck, and when the latter insisted upon a surrender of territory
being accepted in principle, the French envoy burst into tears.
According to Bismarck this display of emotion was entirely artificial,
and he even accused Jules Favre of having painted his face grey and
green in order to excite sympathy, but in any case it became perfectly
plain that no agreement was in sight and that the war would have to
continue. In justice to the French it must be said that Bismarck seemed
to have made his terms as harsh in form as they were stringent in
substance, and it was difficult to conceive any Government subscribing
to his conditions; as for poor Jules Favre he had to console himself by
issuing a stirring address to his fellow-countrymen.

Although the French public naturally began to display some impatience
and irritation at the slowness with which 'Victory' was being organized,
and to talk of Carnot, the old Republic, and the necessity of a Red
Republic if heroes were to be produced, the Tours Government continued
to hold its own fairly well; there was little trouble about the
finances; disorders were suppressed, and the arrival of Gambetta infused
a good deal of energy into the administration. After the manner of
French statesmen, Gambetta, upon his arrival at Tours, issued a spirited
proclamation, announcing _inter alia_ that Paris was impregnable, and
explaining that as the form of Government had changed from a shameful
and corrupt autocracy to a pure and unsullied Republic, success was a
moral certainty. Gambetta, who had assumed the office of Minister of
War, summoned to his assistance the veteran Garibaldi, and the arrival
of the former obviously embarrassed the peace-loving diplomatists, who
expressed regret that his balloon had not capsized on the way from
Paris.

By the middle of October, however, the French Government began to show
signs of wiser dispositions.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Tours. Oct. 16, 1870.

    As you will see by my long despatch of to-day, I went yesterday with
    the Comte de Chaudordy[23] into the questions of the '_pouce de notre
    territoire_' and the '_pierres de nos forteresses_.' The fortresses
    have in point of fact been tacitly abandoned for a long time,
    provided the dismantling them only, not the cession of them to
    Prussia is demanded.

    M. de Chaudordy said that he would tell me what was in the bottom of
    his heart about the cession of territory, if I would promise to
    report it to your Lordship only in such a form as would ensure it
    never being published now or hereafter, or even being quoted or
    referred to.

    Having received my promise and taken all these precautions, he said
    that he did not regard some cession of territory as altogether out
    of the question. The men at present in office certainly could not
    retreat from their positive declaration that they would never yield
    an inch of territory; but if the interests of France appeared to
    require positively that the sacrifice should be made, they would
    retire from office, and give place to men who were unshackled, and
    not only would they abstain from opposing such men, but would give
    them full support in signing a peace, which, however painful,
    appeared to be necessary. M. de Chaudordy was convinced and indeed
    had reason to know that the men now in office had patriotism enough
    to act in this way in case of need, but he could not authorize me to
    tell you this as a communication from the individuals themselves,
    much less as a communication from the French Government. It would be
    ruin to the men themselves and to the cause, if it should transpire
    that such an idea had ever been contemplated at a moment like this.
    For it to be carried into effect with any success, it must appear to
    rise at the critical time out of the necessities of the hour.

    He concluded by reminding me of my promise that what he had said
    should never be published or even referred to.

    I thanked him for the confidence he had placed in me, and assured
    him that he need not have the least fear that it would be abused. I
    said however at the same time that he must feel, as I did, that
    however useful it might be to be aware of the disposition he had
    mentioned, as entertained by the men in power, it would be very
    difficult for a Government to make information, given with so much
    reserve, the foundation of any positive measures.

This criticism was sufficiently obvious. If the information was never to
go beyond Lord Lyons and Lord Granville, of what practical use could it
be? It can only be supposed that those who sent Chaudordy, intended that
his confidential communication should somehow or other reach the
Prussian Government.

Hard upon Chaudordy, followed a man destined before long to achieve a
melancholy celebrity, General Bourbaki. General Bourbaki had been the
victim of a strange mystification, which resulted in his being permitted
to leave Metz upon a secret mission to the Empress at Chislehurst, and
when it was discovered that the whole thing was an ingenious fraud
perpetrated by one Regnier (probably with the connivance of Bismarck),
and that the Empress had never sent for him at all, he returned to
France, but was not permitted to re-enter Metz. Consequently, he
repaired to Tours and gave the Ambassador the benefit of his views.

General Bourbaki, as a professional soldier, took a most gloomy view of
the military situation. He did not think that an army capable of coping
with the Prussians in the field in anything like equal numbers could be
formed in less than five or six months, even with first-rate military
organizers at the head of affairs, instead of the present inexperienced
civilians. According to him, the Army of Metz was in admirable condition
and might perhaps break out, but even so, where was it to go? Its
provisions and ammunition would be exhausted long before it could get to
any place where they could be replenished. As the surrender of Paris was
really only a question of time, the most prudent thing to do would be to
make peace whilst those two fortresses were still holding out, and it
would be to the interest of Prussia to do so, because if Metz fell,
Bazaine's army would disappear, and there would be no Government left in
France with whom it would be possible to treat, and the Prussians would,
therefore, be forced to administer the country as well as occupy it. The
Provisional Government, who must have had a high opinion of Bourbaki,
offered him the title of Commander-in-Chief and the command of the Army
of the Loire, but he declined the honour on the ground that he would not
be given unlimited military powers, and that nothing could be effected
under the orders of civilians absolutely devoid of military capacity.

Another visitor was M. Daniel Wilson, who achieved a sinister notoriety
during the Presidency of M. Grévy in connection with the alleged sale of
honours, etc. Wilson's object was to urge the desirability of summoning
a Constituent Assembly without delay, as he and his moderate friends
were convinced that such a body would be in favour of peace. He himself
considered the prosecution of the war under existing circumstances to be
a crime, and he was not disposed to allow the six or seven men who had
seized upon the Government, to achieve the ruin of France. Their only
excuse for postponing the elections was the difficulty of holding them
in the districts occupied by the Prussians, but if an armistice could be
obtained, that difficulty would disappear, and an armistice of only
fifteen days would make the resumption of hostilities impossible. The
interest attaching to this visit lay in the fact that a peace party was
now actually in existence, whereas the Provisional Government at Tours,
the Ministers left in Paris, and the advanced Republicans seemed to
be still fully bent upon war _à outrance_, and as little willing as
ever to hear of a cession of territory.

Bazaine capitulated on October 27, and shortly afterwards Thiers who had
returned to Paris from his circular tour round the Courts of Europe
proceeded to the Prussian Headquarters to discuss with Bismarck the
question of an armistice, a course of action which the Provisional
Government had agreed to, provided it were initiated by a third party.
The attitude, however, of Gambetta and his friends did not encourage
much hope of success.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Tours, Oct. 31, 1870.

    Gambetta's Proclamation and the language Chaudordy has again been
    directed to hold about cession of territory, will show you how vain
    it is to try to induce these people to give a negotiation a fair
    chance by abstaining during the course of it from violent and
    imprudent language.

    Nothing can look worse for France than things do at this moment. A
    reign of terror, perseverance in hostilities until the country is
    utterly ruined, a dissolution of all order and discipline in the
    army, and a total disorganization of society might seem to be
    threatened. I take comfort from the thought that much allowance must
    be made for the first ebullition of grief and rage at the surrender
    of Bazaine, and that some of Gambetta's fire and fury may be
    intended to divert blame from himself for a catastrophe which he did
    nothing to prevent. Anyhow things are gloomy enough, and I am
    nervous and uneasy about Thiers and his mission, and should be glad
    to hear that he was at least safe out of Paris again.

The news of the capitulation of Metz was at once followed by an
unsuccessful outbreak against the Government in Paris, headed by the
well-known revolutionary, Gustave Flourens, who seized the Ministers and
proclaimed the Commune at the Hotel de Ville. The Ministers, however,
were shortly liberated by the Garde Mobile and National Guards and order
was restored without much difficulty in the course of a few hours.
Flourens, who was subsequently shot by the Versailles troops during the
suppression of the Commune in 1871, was generally regarded as the most
formidable 'man of action,' and had lately been residing in London. It
is interesting to record the impression which the wasted potentialities
of England made upon this impartial visitor. _Me voici, avec mes amis
Félix Pyat et Louis Blanc à Londres, dans ce pays d'Angleterre qui
pourrait être si grand à condition de n'avoir point ni les Lords ni la
Bible!_ One almost wishes that he had been spared to witness the
operation of the Parliament Act.

The Paris Government, adroitly profiting by the overthrow of Flourens
and his friends, at once organized a plébiscite in the city, and emerged
triumphantly with over 500,000 votes recorded in their favour as against
60,000 dissentients. This was all to the good, as it showed that
moderate opinions were still in the ascendency, and whereas the fall of
Metz was at first received with frantic cries of rage and war to the
knife, people began to look a little more calmly on its effect on the
military situation, and hopes were entertained that the mission of
Thiers to Bismarck, which had been promoted by Her Majesty's Government,
would result in the conclusion of an armistice. These hopes were doomed
to disappointment, for after several interviews at Versailles, during
the course of which an agreement for some time appeared probable,
negotiations were finally broken off on the question of revictualling
the various fortresses, more especially Paris.

Thiers, who had repaired to Tours after the failure of his efforts, gave
Lord Lyons in strict confidence a full and interesting account of his
negotiations with Bismarck.

At the first important interview, which took place at Versailles on
November 1, no serious objection was raised to the proposals of the
French Government, and after a conversation which lasted two or three
hours, Thiers took his leave with good hopes for the success of the
negotiation.

The second conference, on the following day, passed equally
satisfactorily. On Thursday, the 3rd, Bismarck kept Thiers waiting a
short time, and said that he had been detained at a military meeting
held by the King. He seemed annoyed and irritable, and indeed on one
occasion, quite lost his temper. Nevertheless, Thiers resenting this, he
apologized and assumed a civil and indeed caressing demeanour. He
asserted that _les militaires_, as he always called them, made
objections to the proposed revictualling of Paris and that they also had
some reservations to make with respect to the suggested elections. _Les
militaires_ also urged that if, as proposed, Paris were to be
provisioned during twenty-five days' armistice, those days would be
absolutely lost to the German arms, and the surrender of the town
deferred for at least that time. On being sounded as to what might be
considered an equivalent, it appeared that two or more of the detached
forts, or some other concession equally inadmissible, would be demanded.
On finding, therefore, that Bismarck was unshaken in declaring that
positively _les militaires_ would not allow Paris to be revictualled,
Thiers had no alternative but to withdraw from the negotiation and to
request facilities for communicating the result to the Government in
Paris. _Les militaires_, it will be observed, played much the same
convenient part in this affair as the King of Prussia in the arguments
used against Lord Clarendon's secret disarmament proposals.

Upon the Paris Government becoming acquainted with these terms, Jules
Favre directed Thiers to break off the negotiations and leave Versailles
immediately; a decision which Bismarck stated caused him great regret
and induced him to suggest that elections should be held even while
hostilities were going on. He made no offer, however, of any concession
with regard to the revictualling of Paris.

The conclusion which Thiers arrived at was that there was both a
political and a military party at the Prussian Headquarters. The
political party, with which Bismarck himself to a great extent agreed,
was desirous of bringing the war to an end by concluding peace on
comparatively moderate terms. The military party held that the glory of
the Prussian arms and the future security of Germany demanded that the
rights of war should be pushed to the utmost, and that France should be
laid waste, ruined, and humiliated to such a degree as to render it
impossible for her to wage war again with Germany for very many years.
He could not, however, discover even among the most moderate of the
so-called political party any one who seemed to ask less than the
cession of Alsace and of that part of Lorraine in which German is
spoken. It seems clear that Bismarck impressed Thiers with his sincerity
at the commencement of the negotiations, and with the belief that he was
subsequently overruled by _les militaires_, but whenever it was
suggested that the armistice had been proposed to both parties by the
neutral Powers, Bismarck showed much 'impatience and annoyance.' He
showed Thiers the letters which the Emperor Alexander had written to the
King of Prussia. They were 'warm, earnest letters,' but written as from
a friend to a friend, without in the least assuming the tone of a
sovereign addressing a brother sovereign on a matter concerning the
relations of their respective Governments. Of Great Britain, it is sad
to learn, he spoke with 'special ill-humour.' One subject upon which he
touched is not without interest at the present day. He complained
bitterly of the treatment to which the crews of captured German merchant
vessels were subjected, and said that he should give orders to have an
equal number of French non-combatants arrested and treated in the same
way. When it was mildly suggested that this would hardly be in
accordance with international maritime law, he exclaimed with some
violence: 'Who made the code of maritime law? You and the English,
because you are powerful at sea, it is no code at all, it is simply the
law of the strongest!' To this Thiers appears to have retorted that he,
Bismarck, did not on all occasions seem disposed to repudiate the law of
the strongest.

So far as the convocation of a National Assembly was concerned Bismarck
alleged complete indifference, explaining that he had now two
Governments with which to treat, one at Paris, and the other at
Wilhelmshöhe, and although he expressed unmitigated contempt for the
Emperor Napoleon, he was nevertheless quite ready to make use of him
to attain his ends.

During the fruitless negotiations which had taken place, first when
conducted by Jules Favre, and secondly when conducted by Thiers, the
British Government found itself in a somewhat embarrassing position. It
was perfectly sincere in desiring to bring about peace between France
and Prussia, but it was unwilling to identify itself with the one
proposal which would have had that effect, viz. the cession of
territory, and the perplexity in which the English Ministers found
themselves is illustrated by a letter from Mr. Gladstone to Lord Lyons.

       *       *       *       *       *

    11, Carlton House Terrace, Nov. 7, 1870.

    I have seen your letter to Lord Granville in which you notice that
    in a note to him I had expressed a hope you would not allow the
    French to suppose we adopted their view as to integrity of
    territory.

    I do not recollect the exact words to which you may refer, but I
    write a line lest I should by chance have conveyed a false
    impression.

    At an earlier stage of this tremendous controversy, the French took
    their stand upon inviolability of soil. That ground always seemed to
    me quite untenable in the case of a country which had made recent
    annexations.

    The French also declared that they would surrender neither an inch
    of their territory nor a stone of their fortresses. This appeared to
    me an extravagant proposition, and, what is more important, I
    venture to say it was thought unreasonable by my colleagues and by
    the country generally. It is possible that my note may have referred
    to either of these views on the part of France.

    But I am very sorry if I have conveyed to you on my own part, or by
    implication on the part of any one else, the belief that we approved
    of, or were in our own minds indifferent to the transfer of
    Alsatians and Lorrainers from France to Germany against their will.

    On this subject, I for one, entirely concur with the opinions you
    have so admirably expressed in your letter, and I should be to the
    last degree reluctant to be a party not only to stimulating a German
    demand of this kind, but even to advising or promoting a compliance
    with it on the part of France.

    All this you will see is quite distinct from and consistent with the
    desire which you and which we all entertain that the Defence
    Government of France should not needlessly deal in abstract
    declarations, and with a full approval of your reticence as to the
    conditions of peace.

    On the failure of the armistice I think the Cabinet will disperse,
    as having nothing more to consider in the present circumstances. I
    cannot help feeling doubtful whether the Prussians do not lose more
    than the French by the unhappy failure of the negotiations.

    We are all more grieved at the failure than surprised.

It is difficult to read much meaning into the above involved epistle.
How, for instance, could any fortresses be surrendered without Alsatians
and Lorrainers being handed over to Prussia? Put into plain language,
the letter presumably meant that H.M. Government was anxious to remain
friends with both sides, but was afraid to make the one recommendation
to the French which would have been of any use, and hoped that the
proposal of a cession of territory would eventually be made on the
latter's initiative.

Thiers, who in the course of his tour round the capitals of Europe had
vigorously denounced (especially to the Italians) the apathy and
selfishness of England, now intimated to the Ambassador that he was
willing to go back to London if he could contribute, by so doing, to
bring about an armistice and a peace, but received no encouragement;
partly because it was thought that the less the British Government
did, which appeared to be prompted by France, the more Bismarck might be
inclined to yield, and partly because it would cause irritation in
France, if Thiers made another formal expedition to England without
producing any marked result.

A momentary elation was just about this time produced at Tours by the
victory of General d'Aurelle des Paladines and the recapture of Orleans,
but Gambetta does not appear to have lost his head in consequence of
this temporary success or to have attached undue importance to it.
Gambetta's opinion was that France could hold out for four months, and
that the Germans would not be able to stay so long in the country. He
told Lord Lyons that he approved of the armistice on the terms proposed
by the Government of Paris, and implied that he did, rather than not,
approve of the readiness of that Government to conclude one still, if
through the representations of the neutrals Prussia should yet be
brought to consent to reasonable terms for one. He manifested great
indignation at Bismarck's contention that there was no Government in
France, maintained that the Government of National Defence was a
properly constituted Government entitled to exercise all the powers of
the nation, and said that there was no need whatever of a Constitutional
Assembly. As for General d'Aurelle des Paladines, his hour of triumph
was soon terminated; the Prussians drove him out of Orleans, and his
failure was ascribed by the Republicans to his action in proceeding to
venerate some relics in the Orleans cathedral.

In the meanwhile Mr. Gladstone's Government found themselves confronted
with a difficulty which had to some extent been foreseen, but which was
entirely unexpected at that particular moment. In the beginning of
November, Prince Gortschakoff issued a circular denouncing the clauses
of the Treaty of Paris which related to the Black Sea. Lord Granville
communicated the intelligence in a letter to Lord Lyons dated November
11.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Foreign Office, Nov. 11, 1870.

    The shell has fallen suddenly. I expected it, but not in so abrupt a
    form. If it was to come, I am not sure that I regret the way it has
    done. Do not communicate officially my answer till the Russian
    Government has received theirs: the messenger leaves London
    to-night.

    I am curious to hear what the Provisional Government will say. I
    presume they will try to make a bargain on the subject. You will of
    course explain to them that it is, at the very least, a more serious
    subject for them than for us.

    The handling of the matter is delicate and difficult. We are
    unanimous about the first step, more in doubt about the next.

    If Bernstorff gets permission to give a safe conduct to Odo Russell,
    we mean to send him to-morrow to Versailles with our answer and a
    private letter from me to Bismarck. I presume there is a private
    understanding between Russia and Prussia, but it is not certain;
    Bernstorff as usual was dumb, but intimated his surprise at the
    form.

    He tells me that my question will be met with a negative as to
    provisioning Paris: the Generals will not hear of it. If so, I shall
    ask whether he will still give facilities for an election without an
    armistice, and then I shall request you to press the expediency of
    summoning a Chamber on the Provisional Government--always declaring
    that you do not wish to interfere with the self-government of
    France.

Why it should have been assumed that the action of the Russian Government
was more serious as regards the French than ourselves, is not
particularly clear. Whatever the French Government may have said in
public on the subject, there can be little doubt that in secret they
hailed it as a welcome diversion which might be turned to advantage. If
it brought about a congress or conference, it might cause a stir amongst
neutrals resulting in a check to Prussia as well as to Russia. The
ingenious Thiers at once grasped at the possibility of forming an
European Alliance against these two Powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Tours, Nov. 14, 1870.

    Thiers has just paid me so long a visit that he has left me very
    little time to write. His notion is that England, Austria, Italy,
    Turkey and Spain should now unite with France to check the
    aggression of Prussia and Russia, and he thinks that without war
    this would lead to a Congress in which all Europe would settle the
    terms of peace. If England lets the occasion go by, it will, in his
    opinion, be she, not France, who will have sunk to the rank of a
    second-rate Power. I thought my prudent course was to listen and say
    nothing, which, as you know, is easy with him; for he talks too well
    for one to be bored with him, and is quite content to talk without
    interruption.

    He had a violent argument with Chaudordy in the presence of
    Metternich and me on the subject of the elections. Chaudordy
    maintains the Government view that they are impossible without an
    armistice. Thiers took the other side, and at last cried out: 'They
    will at least be much more free under the Prussians than under
    Gambetta's Prefects!'

In 'Bismarck, his Reflections and Reminiscences,' there occurs the
suggestive passage:--

    'It was consequently a fortunate thing that the situation offered a
    possibility of doing Russia a service in respect to the Black Sea.
    Just as the sensibilities of the Russian Court, which owing to
    the Russian relationship of Queen Mary were enlisted by the loss of
    the Hanoverian Crown, found their counterpoise in the concessions
    which were made to the Oldenburg connexions of the Russian dynasty
    in territorial and financial directions in 1866; so did the
    possibility occur in 1870 of doing a service not only to the
    dynasty, but also to the Russian Empire.... We had in this an
    opportunity of improving our relations with Russia.'

There can hardly be a shadow of a doubt that the denunciation of the
Black Sea clauses was what is vulgarly called a 'put up job' between
Bismarck and the Russian Government, probably arranged at Ems in the
spring; but when Mr. Odo Russell made his appearance at Versailles in
order to discuss the question, Bismarck assured him that the Russian
action had not met with his sanction and added that the circular was
ill-timed and ill-advised. (In private, he subsequently expressed the
opinion that the Russians had been much too modest in their demands and
ought to have asked for more.) As, however, the face of the British
Government had to be saved somehow, a Conference in London was
suggested, and the efforts of Lord Granville were concentrated upon an
attempt to persuade the Provisional Government of France to take part in
it. This proved difficult, for the French made it clear that they were
not anxious to do so unless they could get some advantage out of it, and
intimated that they meant to accept aid from any quarter where it might
be obtained--even from the 'Satanic Alliance,' as Thiers called it, of
Russia. One of the difficulties encountered in dealing with the French
Government arose from the discrepancy between language used in London by
the French Ambassador and that used by Chaudordy at Tours. The latter
was not a Minister and the Government consequently did not feel bound to
support him. Chaudordy himself took advantage of his anomalous position
to talk freely and to treat what he had said, according to
circumstances, as pledging or not pledging the Government, and, besides
this, the Government at Tours was liable to be disavowed by the
Government at Paris.

How serious the situation was considered to be in London may be judged
by the following two letters from Lord Granville to Lord Lyons.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Foreign Office, Nov. 28, 1870.

    Pray exert all your influence to obtain the assent of France to the
    Conference. It will of course be an annoyance to her that peace
    instead of war prevails, and there is no doubt that a general
    conflagration might be of advantage to her. But you may point out
    that the very nature of the question almost precludes instant and
    offensive war, and that hostilities distant in point of time would
    be nothing but an embarrassment to her.

    With regard to the Diplomatic position, it is a great step for the
    Provisional Government that Prussia has asked us to obtain her
    consent to a Conference. On the other hand, it would be a severe
    blow to the Provisional Government if they were left out in the
    cold, while the other Powers were settling a question of so much
    interest to France.

    If such an unfortunate state of things were to occur, we should do
    our best to protect the dignity of France, but it would be
    difficult. Do not encourage France to suggest delay.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Foreign Office, Nov. 30, 1870.

    The French are unwisely playing the same game as they did under
    Gramont about the Belgian Treaty. In each case, Bismarck had the
    sense to do at once what was to be done.

    It is an enormous step for the Provisional Government to be
    recognized by Prussia, Austria, Turkey, Italy, and England as
    capable of attending a Conference, and it will be very foolish of
    them to lose the opportunity and remain out in the cold.

    As London is the place, it would be my duty to issue the formal
    invitations; at least I suppose so. Do your best to persuade them.

    The Government here wish to hold their own, but are most desirous of
    a prompt and peaceable solution of this 'Circular' question.

    We shall adhere to anything we say, but you will observe that we are
    not rash.

    Turkey, Austria and Italy are not pleasant reeds to rest on.

    If we go to war, we shall be very like the man with a pistol before
    a crowd, _after_ he has fired it off. Do not let a pacific word,
    however, escape your lips.

These two letters are a sufficiently clear indication of the highly
uncomfortable position in which H.M. Government found itself involved,
and of the urgent necessity of discovering some face-saving formula.
France being incapacitated, it could hardly be supposed that Austria and
Italy would go to war with Russia on account of a question whether
Russia should or should not maintain a fleet in the Black Sea, and
England with her ludicrous military establishments would therefore have
been left to undertake the contest single-handed, or, at most, with the
assistance of Turkey.

Ultimately, of course, a Black Sea Conference met in London, and a
French representative, the Duc de Broglie, put in an appearance just as
it was terminating, after ineffectual efforts had been made to secure
the presence of M. Jules Favre. Lord Fitzmaurice, in his 'Life of Lord
Granville,' has elaborately endeavoured to show that the Conference
resulted in a triumph for British diplomacy. If the acceptance of a
particular form of words (of which, by the way, no notice was taken by
Count Aehrenthal when he annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in defiance of
the Treaty of Berlin), constitutes a success, then Mr. Gladstone's
Government were entitled to congratulate themselves; but as the Russians
got their way and established their right to maintain a fleet in the
Black Sea, they could legitimately claim that for all practical purposes
the triumph was theirs.

In the course of his interviews with Thiers, Bismarck had denounced
England, and before the end of 1870 the feeling between England and
Prussia was anything but friendly. At the outbreak of hostilities
British sympathy had been almost universally on the side of Prussia, but
as the war progressed, public opinion began to veer round. The change in
opinion was due partly to sympathy with a losing cause, partly to an
impression that the Prussians were inclined to put forward unjust and
exaggerated demands, partly to the violent abuse which appeared in the
press of both countries, as well as to a variety of other causes. A
letter from Mr. Henry Wodehouse, one of the secretaries at the Paris
Embassy, shows that the Crown Prince of Prussia, whose Anglophil
sympathies were well known, deplored the tone of the German papers, and
alludes at the same time to a domestic squabble in high German circles,
thus showing that the Prussian Government as well as the French was not
entirely exempt from internal dissensions.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Mr. Wodehouse to Lord Lyons._

    Rouen, Nov. 16, 1870.

    On Monday morning, before leaving Versailles, I had an interview
    with the Crown Prince of Prussia at H.R.H.'s desire.

    H.R.H. informed me that, at the last moment, when it was thought
    that all was arranged for the Union of South Germany with the North
    German Confederation, the Würtemberg Minister, instigated, it was
    believed, by the Bavarian Government, had asked for a delay in order
    to consult the other members of the Würtemberg Government, and had
    started for Stuttgardt with this object. This sudden decision had
    caused the King of Prussia and his Government very great annoyance.

    H.R.H. spoke of the hostile tone lately adopted towards England by
    the German press, which he assured me, was quite contrary to the
    wishes of the Prussian Government, and that he himself much
    regretted it, as he feared it would give rise to a spirit of
    animosity between Prussia and England.

    H.R.H. desired me to report this conversation to Lord Granville on
    my arrival in England.

As was shown in the case of the American Civil War, it is extremely
difficult for a neutral to keep on good terms with both parties, however
much it may be desired to preserve an absolutely impartial attitude. The
French blamed us because they considered that we had not rendered them
the kind of assistance which they thought was due to them. The
Prussians, on the other hand, were always discovering grievances which
betrayed our partiality. Upon the whole it is not surprising that our
attitude provoked excessive irritation on their part, for we were
continually harping on and deploring the iniquities of war, while
perfectly ready to make a handsome profit out of it by selling anything
to the belligerents. The late Sir Robert Morier admirably described the
British attitude as it appeared to German eyes. "We sit by like a
bloated Quaker, too holy to fight, but rubbing our hands at the roaring
trade we are driving in cartridges and ammunition. We are heaping up to
ourselves the undying hatred of this German race, that will henceforth
rule the world, because we cannot muster up courage to prevent a few
Brummagem manufacturers from driving their unholy trade."[24] It is only
fair to add, however, that German censure was confined to England; the
Americans, who exported arms in just the same way, were never denounced,
but possibly this was due to the fact that they assumed a less
self-righteous attitude.

Whatever may have been Bismarck's private sentiments with regard to
England, he was not unconciliatory in public, and the various
difficulties which arose were settled satisfactorily. One of the last
unpleasant episodes was the sinking of several British merchant vessels
in the Seine by the Prussian artillery towards the close of the year,
for which compensation was demanded, and a passage in Busch's 'Bismarck'
shows his method of dealing with such matters. 'When the Germans, a
short time before the conclusion of the Preliminary Peace at Versailles,
sank some English coal ships on the Lower Seine and the English made a
row on the subject, the chief asked me (Lothar Bucher), What can we say
in reply? Well, I had brought with me some old fogies on the Law of
Nations and such matters. I hunted up what the old writers called the
Jus Angariæ, that is to say, the right to destroy the property of
neutrals on payment of full compensation, and showed it to the chief. He
sent me with it to Russell, who showed himself to be convinced by this
"good authority." Shortly afterwards the whole affair with the Jus
Angariæ appeared in the _Times_. We wrote in the same sense to London,
and the matter was settled.'

Mr. Odo Russell, whose presence at Versailles had been utilized to
ascertain what terms of peace were likely to be granted, wrote before
the middle of December that he was convinced that Bismarck would refuse
to treat except upon the basis of unconditional surrender, and the
failure of the sorties from Paris and of the operations near Orleans
caused Thiers to lose heart, although Gambetta was as determined as ever
to continue the struggle and to postpone the convocation of a National
Assembly for as long as possible. Thiers indeed went so far as to
declare in private to the Ambassador that further resistance was
useless, and that it was a crime as well as a folly to continue it. The
last disasters of the French, which were partly due to two shocking
pieces of bad luck--the balloon which should have brought Trochu's plan
for combined action with the Army of the Loire having been blown off to
Christiania, and a sudden rise of the Marne having rendered co-operation
with General Vinoy impossible--forced the Tours Government and the
Diplomatists to migrate to Bordeaux. An offer on the part of the Foreign
Office to send a warship to that port for the benefit of the Ambassador
and his staff was declined with thanks: 'Under ordinary circumstances, I
think I am better without one, and indeed personally I should be much
less afraid of the Prussians than of the Bay of Biscay.'

It used to be a tradition in after years that the sole perceptible
effect of the Franco-German War upon the British Embassy was that Lord
Lyons's footmen ceased temporarily to powder their hair, but to judge by
a letter to Hammond, Ambassadors suffered inconveniences as well as
humbler people.

It is probable too that the social disorganization produced by the war
provided distinguished diplomatists, who are necessarily amongst the
most ceremonious of mankind, with some novel sensations. Upon one
occasion, when Lord Lyons had occasion to call upon Gambetta, the
Dictator was too busy to see him for some minutes, and deputed a
subordinate to make his excuses. The latter began his conversation with
the remark: 'Allons boire un bock!' a hospitable invitation hardly in
accordance with the traditions of conventional diplomacy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Hammond._

    Bordeaux, Dec. 12, 1870.

    Many thanks for the _Bradshaw_ and the _Times_, and very many more
    for your letter of the 7th, which has just arrived by messenger.

    Not having the archives here, I cannot look up the regulations about
    the expenses of an Embassy on its travels, as this is now. What I am
    anxious about is that some compensation should be made to the junior
    members who are with me, for the additional expense they are put to
    by their migration. I am willing to do anything I can for them, but
    there are of course limits to what I can afford, and it would be
    utterly repugnant to all my feelings and principles, for me to have
    an allowance for entertaining them. In old times, when manners and
    feelings were different, this might do; but in the present day the
    position of an hotel keeper for his subordinates is destructive of
    discipline and comfortable relations between a chief and the members
    of his Embassy.

    The difficulty of finding lodgings and the prices are much greater
    than they were at Paris. I have nothing but one room for study,
    drawing-room, bedroom and all; and have just been asked six hundred
    pounds a month for one floor of a moderate sized house.

The junior members alluded to included Malet and Sheffield. It had, of
course, been necessary to leave some of the staff at Paris.

In spite of Thiers's failure to obtain an armistice, the French
Government still made strenuous efforts in the same direction and even
succeeded in pressing the Pope into their service. The latter broached
the subject to Count Arnim, the Prussian Minister at Rome, proposing
that the revictualling of Paris should be accepted as a basis, and
received a severe snub for his pains. He was informed, 'in very harsh
terms,' that the proposal could not be considered, and further, that it
was impossible to negotiate with a nation whose bad faith was
scandalously exhibited by the daily appearance in arms of French
officers who had given their word of honour not to serve again during
the war. After much haggling, the French proposals resolved themselves
into three alternatives, each of which was categorically rejected by
Bismarck.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Mr. Layard._[25]

    Bordeaux, Dec. 20, 1870.

    The difficulty of communication is between this place and England,
    and arises from the utter irregularity of all trains, caused by the
    movements of the troops. St. Malo has become the usual port of
    embarkation and disembarkation for our messengers.

    Things are at present at a deadlock. The French want: either a peace
    without cession of territory; or an armistice with the revictualling
    of Paris for the number of days it lasts; or a European Congress to
    settle the terms of peace between France and Germany. Bismarck
    peremptorily rejects all three proposals, and does not say precisely
    what his conditions of peace are. I suppose the King of Prussia
    holds to taking Paris as a satisfaction to military vanity, and that
    if the military situation continues favourable to Germany, he will
    accept nothing much short of unconditional surrender, while Paris
    resists. Of course, unless, by a miracle, Paris is relieved, its
    surrender is a question of time--but of how much time? They declare
    here that it can hold out without any very material suffering until
    the middle of January, and for many weeks longer, if the population
    will be content to live on bread and wine. But, supposing Paris to
    fall, will peace be made? Here it is declared that the South will
    still continue the war, and at any rate there seems to be every
    probability that the violent party will not surrender its power
    without a struggle. Then the financial question must soon become a
    difficulty. I am told that since the investment of Paris began three
    months ago, not less than thirty-two millions sterling have been
    spent. It is however idle to speculate when events march so fast. I
    can tell you little of the present state of the armies. Bourbaki is,
    I believe, at Bourges, and Chanzy at Le Mans. I have a military
    attaché,[26] Fielding, who has been with Chanzy's army during all the
    affairs near Orleans and since, and who has the highest opinion of
    his military talents.

    The acceptance, pure and simple, of the Conference on the Russian
    question arrived from Paris the day before yesterday.

Towards the close of December the remarkable elasticity of the French
character was manifested in a recovery from the depression which had
been produced by the failure of the sorties from Paris and the recapture
of Orleans by the Germans. The overpowering energy of Gambetta was
chiefly responsible for the creation of new armies, and the moment again
appeared unfavourable for peaceful counsels. Thiers and his party
considered that the Government was only pushing the country on to more
complete ruin, and were urgent in their call for a National Assembly.
The majority of the great towns of the South, Bordeaux included, were
against an Assembly or any interference with the existing Government,
and Gambetta and his adherents were determined to go on with the war and
keep themselves in power by all means available. Gambetta was the only
member of the Government outside Paris who counted for anything, and the
moderates were placed at a considerable disadvantage owing to Jules
Favre being detained there.

Thiers, who had never joined the Government, prognosticated that it
would immediately come to an end upon the fall of Paris, and that a
moderate (_honnête_) republic would be established in the greater part
of the country, while Lyons, Marseilles, Toulon and other places in the
south would set up a socialistic form of government, and do an enormous
amount of harm before suppression. In the opinion of competent judges,
if the country could have been fairly polled at this particular period,
the majority (consisting of course mainly of the peasants) would have
been found to be Bonapartist, in spite of all that had taken place. The
bourgeoisie and inhabitants of the smaller towns would have shown
themselves to be in favour of quiet and security of property, and would
therefore have probably voted for the Orleanists, as the best
representatives of those principles; and the masses in the large towns
would have turned out to be republican and socialist. A genuinely free
expression of opinion would, however, have been difficult to secure, for
Gambetta's prefects were, if anything, more unscrupulous than the
Emperor's and, under existing circumstances, had greater means of
downright intimidation.

In the closing days of 1870 fresh efforts were made by H.M. Government
to start the Black Sea Conference as soon as possible, and to persuade
the French to send a representative without delay. Under the
circumstances, it might have been supposed that they would have named
their Ambassador in London, but for some obscure reason, it was decided
that Jules Favre was the only possible man, and as he was shut up in
Paris it was necessary to obtain a safe conduct for him from the
Germans. The following letter is of interest as an impartial
appreciation of Jules Favre, and as containing some sage opinions upon
the question of the Black Sea and the Dardanelles.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, Dec. 26, 1870.

    I did all I could in favour of Tissot. He would have been a much
    more convenient plenipotentiary than Jules Favre and have
    facilitated the business of the Conference and the speedy
    termination of it. Jules Favre is, I believe an honest and really
    patriotic man--by which I mean a man who will sacrifice his own
    position and interests to what he believes to be the real good of
    his country. But he has not hitherto shown himself to be a good
    diplomatist or a skilful negotiator, and is too much led away by his
    feelings to be a good practical man of business. He will at all
    events go to London with a real knowledge of the state of things in
    Paris, and if he thinks the convocation of a National Assembly
    feasible and advisable, will have more means than any one else of
    bringing it about in spite of Gambetta. It will be good too that he
    should see for himself what the real feelings and intentions of the
    English Government are. He is a man, who would, I should think, be
    touched by real kindness and consideration for his country and
    himself in these times, and sensitive in case anything like a slight
    was put upon him or them--and particularly if the situation of
    France were not taken very seriously by all who approach him. He was
    a fierce and even truculent orator in the Chamber, but in private
    life is mild and agreeable. His power of speaking may be an
    inconvenience in the Diplomatic Conference, and I fancy he is led
    away by his 'verve' when he does get into a speech, and says
    sometimes things more forcible than judicious. I should think he
    would never himself sign a peace by which territory was yielded, but
    I conceive him to be a man who would make room for others to do so,
    and help them, if he was really convinced that it was necessary for
    France.

    I suppose the Germans will make no difficulty about the safe
    conduct: it is for their interest to have some influential member of
    the Government who might enable peace to be made in an emergency, in
    which Gambetta might, if unchecked, have recourse to desperate
    measures.

    At this moment I think the French have recovered their hope of
    making a successful resistance to the Dismemberment of the country.
    I am not very sanguine after all that has occurred, but I do think
    the military prospects less gloomy than they have been since Sèdan,
    or at all events, since Metz. You will, I conclude, soon have a
    really trustworthy account of things in Paris from Claremont.

    The Conference, I suppose, must end in Russia carrying her main
    point practically, and therefore it only remains to make it as much
    as possible an antidote to the scheme of raising her prestige in
    Turkey, by the form she adopted, of setting the other parties to the
    Treaty at defiance. I am afraid not much can be done towards this. I
    should suggest a very careful consideration of the meaning of the
    restoration to the Sultan of the right to open the Dardanelles and
    the Bosphorus at pleasure, and a very cautious wording of the
    article establishing it. Otherwise, considering the weakness of the
    Porte, I am afraid the new right might become a snare and a danger
    rather than a safeguard. It was so much easier for the Porte to say:
    'I cannot' in answer to inconvenient importunity, than it will in
    future be to say: 'I will not.' Even under the Treaty prohibition
    the Turks had not the firmness they might have had in resisting
    demands for vessels to pass. I can conceive circumstances under
    which it might suit them to let a Russian fleet through into the
    Mediterranean, if only to be rid of it for the time in the Black Sea.

In Busch's 'Bismarck' there are many references to Jules Favre's
emotional disposition. At the first interview which took place, a French
peasant was told to keep watch outside the house where the Chancellor
and Favre were negotiating, and the latter was unable to resist the
temptation of making a speech to his fellow-countryman. 'Favre, who had
gone into the house with the Chancellor, came out and addressed his
countryman in a speech full of pathos and noble sentiments. Disorderly
attacks had been made, which, he said, must be stopped. He, Favre, was
not a spy, but, on the contrary, a member of the new Government, which
had undertaken to defend the interests of the country, and which
represented its dignity. In the name of International Law and of the
honour of France, he called upon him to keep watch, and to see that the
place was held sacred. That was imperatively demanded by his, the
statesman's, honour, as well as by that of the peasant, and so forth.
The honest rustic looked particularly silly as he listened open-mouthed
to all this high falutin, which he evidently understood as little
as if it were so much Greek.' Bismarck entertained a well-founded
contempt for rhetoric, and Jules Favre's eloquent verbosity was to him
only an instance of the way in which Frenchmen could be successfully
duped. 'You can give a Frenchman twenty-five lashes, and if you only
make a fine speech to him about the freedom and dignity of man of which
those lashes are the expression, and at the same time strike a fitting
attitude, he will persuade himself that he is not being thrashed.' It is
probable too that Jules Favre's inability to appreciate Bismarck's
undisguised cynicism contributed to the disfavour with which he was
regarded as compared with the other negotiator, Thiers. When during one
stage of the negotiations, Jules Favre complained that his position in
Paris was very critical, Bismarck proposed to him that he should
organize a rising so as to be able to suppress it whilst he still had an
army at his disposal: 'he looked at me quite terror-stricken, as if he
wished to say, "How bloodthirsty you are!" I explained to him, however,
that that was the only right way to manage the mob.'

Whatever the merits or demerits of Jules Favre, a disagreeable surprise
was inflicted upon both the British Government and the Government of
National Defence by a refusal on the part of Bismarck to give him a safe
conduct through the German lines. At first, difficulties were raised in
connection with alleged violations of flags of truce; but upon the issue
of a proclamation by Jules Favre, Bismarck took advantage of the
opportunity in order to prevent his departure for London on the ground
that it would imply an official recognition of the Government of
National Defence.

At all events, he made such stipulations about the way in which the safe
conduct should be applied for, that Jules Favre with his strong
sentimental character found it impossible to comply with them, and he
was also honourably reluctant to leave Paris just before the bombardment
was about to begin. Bismarck, it is clear, was determined that he should
not go to London if he could prevent it. The meeting of the Conference
was postponed and by the time the final arrangements in connection with
it had been made, negotiations for peace had begun and it became
necessary for Favre to remain in Paris.

At the close of 1870, the bombardment of Paris had not yet begun: the
French hopes of military success were based upon Generals Chanzy and
Bourbaki; the German terms of peace were still unknown, and there was
every sign that the extreme Republicans were disposed to break with
Favre and Trochu and to perpetuate their power by war _à outrance_ and a
_loi des suspects_, or reign of terror. The most surprising feature in
the situation was that Russia, who had been in fact an active ally of
Prussia, by undertaking to watch Austria, and had obtained nothing
whatever for France, was in much higher favour than the other blameless
neutrals, it being fondly imagined that the Emperor Alexander's
influence would be successful in obtaining favourable peace terms; and
so adroitly did the Russians play their cards, that they persuaded
Moltke that the 'malevolent neutrality' of England was the sole cause of
the continuance of the war. Such at least was the purport of a
communication which the latter made to Mr. Odo Russell at Versailles.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Bordeaux, Jan. 7, 1871.

    The French claim a success at Bapaume, but prudent people are
    already speculating on what the consequences of the fall of Paris
    will be. It is very generally thought that Gambetta will place
    himself at the head of the ultra-Republicans, throw himself into
    Lyons, or some other southern town, and proclaim war and democracy
    _à outrance_. But what will Bismarck do at Paris? Will he try to
    obtain a government with whom he may make a reasonable peace, or
    will he promote war and anarchy with a view to ruin France utterly,
    and induce her to accept a monarch from his hand? In the former case
    he will perhaps either summon the old Legislative Body, or get
    together some meeting of Notables, who might appoint a provisional
    government to sanction a National Constituent Assembly as soon as
    possible, and in the meantime to treat upon the preliminaries of
    peace. The Moderates and chiefs of the old parties (except the
    ultra-Republican) might be not unwilling either to attend a summons
    of the old Corps Législatif, or to some other temporary body; for
    they are excessively dissatisfied with their present position, and
    think they see symptoms of the approach of the reign of terror and
    of a violent socialistic government.

    As for Bismarck's notion of bringing back the Emperor at the head of
    the captive army, it is, I suppose, very doubtful whether the
    Emperor would give in to it, still more doubtful whether the
    released army would, and quite certain that the country would loathe
    a sovereign thus imposed upon it. If however Bismarck is bent upon
    it, it must be supposed that he intends to make some concessions to
    the Emperor to make his return to France palatable to the nation. If
    so, Belgium will be in danger, and Holland also, and Bismarck may
    return to one of his former projects of coming to an understanding
    with France, through the Emperor, and dealing with the small states
    just as he pleases. I suppose Russia will look after Denmark as well
    as she can. These dangers may seem visionary but I don't think they
    are so visionary as to make it superfluous to consider how
    they may be guarded against. Hateful as it would be to the towns and
    the educated classes, to have a sovereign imposed upon them by
    Prussia, it must not be forgotten that the peasants are still
    Bonapartists, and that a plébiscite in favour of the Empire might be
    managed.

    I think I have made them feel here that you have been very friendly
    and considerate about Jules Favre.

At the opening of the year 1871, the hope of relieving Paris depended
upon the three armies which the energy of Gambetta and the Government of
National Defence had created in the North, Centre, and West, and on
paper the prospects of the French were far from hopeless, for their
forces in numbers far exceeded those of the Germans. In Paris alone
there were supposed to be something like half a million fighting men,
and the three armies above mentioned amounted to between four and five
hundred thousand men. The Germans had 220,000 men in position round
Paris, their forces in the provinces were numerically inferior to the
French armies opposed to them, and the strain upon them must undoubtedly
have been severe. The quality of Gambetta's levies, however, was unequal
to the task, and as each of the French armies succumbed in turn, the
fall of Paris became inevitable. The bombardment, which had been
postponed as long as possible, in the hope that internal disorders would
precipitate the capitulation, began in January.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, January 12, 1871.

    If the telegraphic intelligence which is published as having come by
    this balloon is to be depended upon, the Prussians have begun the
    actual bombardment of the town of Paris itself, without giving
    Diplomatists, Neutrals, or any other non-combatants a chance of
    withdrawing. To say nothing of other feelings, this makes me very
    uneasy about the English left in the place. Most of them have
    perhaps only themselves to blame for staying in despite of warning
    but there must be many who had valid reasons, or were without the
    means to come away.

    People are very much alarmed as to what may happen inside the town
    for the last two or three days, if a surrender become inevitable.
    There are two or three hundred thousand people (workmen and their
    families) who have a positive interest in the continuance of the
    siege, during which they are supported by the Government without
    being called upon to expose themselves, or at all events without in
    fact exposing themselves to much danger.

    The intention of not listening to terms of peace, including any
    cession of territory, whether Paris be taken or not, is as loudly
    and as positively proclaimed here as ever. I am afraid Bismarck, who
    certainly does not at all understand the French character, and who
    does not appear to have a very delicate consideration for anybody's
    feelings, may add to the difficulties of peace by the manner in
    which his conditions are propounded, as well as by the substance of
    them.

    The Diplomatists here are beginning to talk hypothetically of what
    they should do if one or more Governments should be set up in France
    on the fall of Paris. I do not think much good comes of giving
    opinions beforehand on supposed cases. It is of course clear that
    the Diplomatic Body cannot go wandering about France in the suite of
    any set of men, who are not beyond dispute the _de facto_ Government
    of the country. And I suppose, _caeteris paribus_, if there be a
    Government in the Capital that must be taken to be the Government
    for the time being. It is so impossible to foresee what will happen,
    that I do not ask you for instructions.

    Chaudordy on the other hand, continues to press for the immediate
    recognition of the Government of National Defence by England--saying
    that they do not want any fresh letters of credence to be presented,
    but would be quite satisfied with a simple note declaring that Her
    Majesty's Government entered into official relations with the
    existing Government in France. I conclude that Gambetta urges him to
    do this, with a view to strengthen the position of the National
    Defence Government or of what remains of it, if Paris falls; and on
    the other hand Chaudordy himself would be very glad to have obtained
    some decided result during his Administration of the _extra muros_
    foreign Department. He has certainly on the whole acted with skill
    in a very difficult position, and France and the Government ought to
    congratulate themselves on having him to act for them. I don't think
    that Jules Favre or any member of the Government would have done
    anything like as well. But in France more even than in other
    countries a little éclat is more appreciated than years of useful
    unobtrusive labour.

    Thiers has told me in the strictest confidence that when he was at
    Versailles Bismarck offered to make peace on the basis of a
    pecuniary indemnity, the retention of Strasburg and Alsace, and the
    restoration to France of Metz and Lorraine. They seem to have
    brought the matter sufficiently into shape to be submitted to the
    Government at Paris. Thiers wanted Trochu, Picard and Jules Favre to
    come to him to the outposts, but, as you may recollect, only Favre
    came. Thiers offered to take upon himself the responsibility and
    odium of signing a treaty on this basis, if the Government would
    make him its plenipotentiary, but Favre declared that it would be
    impossible even to mention any cession of territory even to the
    people of Paris.

    The most astonishing thing to me perhaps is the buoyancy of the
    French finances. I understand that the Government have by strong
    persuasion obtained from the Banque de France a new loan (it is said
    of upwards of twenty millions sterling) and this will keep them
    going for the present. There is already however, some difficulty in
    circulating the 'bons du Trésor' even at a discount.

    I had observed the advertisements in the second columns of the
    _Times_ and thought of trying to get the paper occasionally into
    Paris. In fact however the advertisers have exactly the same means
    of sending letters and telegrams to Paris that I have. I will
    nevertheless try. No special help can be expected from the
    Government. It is only by using the thinnest paper and reducing the
    despatches by means of photography that they can bring them within
    the weight which pigeons or secret messengers are able to carry.

There is no reason for doubting the correctness of this important
statement made by Thiers, and it only shows how much more competent he
was to conduct the negotiations than Jules Favre, and what a much better
judge he was of the real situation than Gambetta. It would indeed be one
of the ironies of history if the failure of Picard and Trochu to meet
him at the outposts on that eventful day in November was the cause of
the loss of a province to France, and of a vast addition to the war
indemnity.

It was not long before a succession of hideous disasters demonstrated
the hopelessness of the French situation. General Chanzy, in command of
the army of the West, although in superior force, was completely
defeated at Le Mans on January 12th. On the 19th, the Northern army
under Faidherbe was defeated at St. Quentin and ceased practically to
take any further part in the war. On the same date a sortie from Paris
on a large scale was repulsed with heavy loss, and produced amongst
other results the resignation of Trochu, a sanguinary riot in the town,
and the liberation from prison of Flourens and other revolutionaries.
The crowning misfortune was the memorable _débâcle_ of Bourbaki, one of
the most tragic episodes in modern warfare. It was evident that further
resistance was useless, and the fictions which had so long sustained the
spirits of the defenders of Paris were finally destroyed. On January 23,
the unfortunate Jules Favre presented himself at Versailles and as there
was no further question of 'pas une pierre de nos forteresses etc.,' an
armistice was finally agreed to on the 28th. Under the provisions of the
armistice it was arranged that elections should be held as soon as
possible for a National Assembly in order that the question of the
continuance of the war, and upon what conditions peace should be made,
might be decided. Jules Favre, unlucky to the last, stipulated that the
National Guards should be permitted to retain their arms, a concession
which he had cause bitterly to regret before long.

The news of the armistice was received at Bordeaux with rather less
indignation than had been expected, but Jules Favre was loudly denounced
for not having included in it Bourbaki's army, the fact being that
Bismarck, who was well aware of the ruin which threatened the force, had
expressly refused to do so. Gambetta, while not actually repudiating the
armistice, issued violent proclamations, loudly denouncing its authors,
declaring that his policy as Minister of War remained unchanged, and
urging that the period of the armistice should be employed in organizing
the forces which were destined to free France from the invaders. These
proclamations were followed by a decree in which the liberty-loving
democrat enacted that no person should be eligible for the new Assembly
who was connected with the royal families which had hitherto reigned in
France, or any one who had served in any capacity as an official under
the Empire. This outrageous proceeding produced a protest from Bismarck
on the ground that it was a violation of the freedom of election
stipulated in the armistice, and as Gambetta continued recalcitrant, the
Paris section of the Government of National Defence, which included,
amongst others, Favre, Trochu, and Jules Ferry, issued another decree on
February 4, annulling that of Gambetta. Representatives of the National
Defence Government from Paris arrived at Bordeaux on February 6, and
upon that day Gambetta resigned the office of Minister of War, and
Emmanuel Arago was appointed in his place. As Paris was now again in
communication with the outside world, the opportunity was taken, not
only of cancelling Gambetta's decrees, but of getting rid of the
Delegation Government, of which he had been the virtual dictator.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, Feb. 7, 1871.

    So far as we can judge here (and we have not very good means of
    judging) the moderate Conservative 'Ticket' is likely to be carried
    in most of the Elections. The result would be an assembly composed
    of men who in their own hearts will wish for peace, and whose
    Constituents will heartily wish for it. But there is always fear of
    each individually thinking it necessary to express for himself in
    public heroic sentiments, and of no one being willing to bell the
    cat and sign or even vote for ratifying the Treaty. Much of course
    will depend upon the terms. The cession of Alsace might possibly be
    submitted to, if it were distinctly apparent that it was the only
    means of saving Lorraine. The terms of the Armistice would make one
    hope that Bismarck is at least willing to avoid propounding
    conditions unnecessarily irritating.

    Probably the most prudent thing for France to do would be to accept
    anything like reasonable terms of peace at once--for every day's
    delay in the departure of the German troops from the country,
    retards most seriously the beginning of the recovery from the
    misfortunes military, political, and financial, which are exhausting
    the springs of life. It is nevertheless very probable that the
    Assembly, or the Government it appoints, will make a solemn official
    appeal to Europe for its mediation. They may also ground a special
    appeal to Europe on the plea that the people of the Provinces to be
    ceded, ought to have a voice in the matter. In fact they have much
    to say to Europe, to which it will be difficult to make an answer.
    Bismarck, however, seems to be ready to snap his fingers at Europe.

    Chaudordy naturally declines as far as possible the responsibility
    of talking or taking any measures, as he is now the servant of a
    Government, whose existence will probably end in a few days.
    Privately he urges strongly, with a view to public opinion in
    France, that England should be very prompt in recognizing officially
    the Government appointed by the Assembly. In this I think he is
    right.

    Prudent men (Thiers included) appear to think that at all events as
    a temporary measure, a moderate republic, as the form of Government
    least likely to produce dissension should be adopted. Indeed, of the
    various pretenders, no one I suppose would wish to be in any way
    responsible for such a peace as must be concluded. Some people
    indeed apprehend that the Assembly may be too conservative, or as it
    is called, reactionary, but I don't think this need give any one but
    the Rouges the least uneasiness.

    The appearance now is that Gambetta will not go beyond legal
    opposition, and that he will content himself with putting himself at
    the head of the ultra-democratic and '_guerre-à-outrance_' party in
    the Assembly. In fact there is no symptom that an attempt to set
    himself up, by the aid of the mob in the great towns, in opposition
    to the Assembly would have any success. He is not himself by
    character inclined to such courses, but he has people about him who
    are.

    Jules Favre is fiercely attacked first for having concluded an
    armistice which did not comprehend the Army of the East, and
    secondly for not having mentioned this exception when he announced
    the armistice to the Delegation here. This last proceeding (which I
    attribute to his want of business-like habits), is of course utterly
    indefensible. It may however have been rather convenient than
    otherwise to Gambetta, as it enables him to attribute to this cause
    the flight into Switzerland, which I suppose, the Army of the East
    must at all events have been driven to. The attack against him for
    not surrendering Paris at discretion, and stipulating nothing for
    the Provinces, seems to me to be more unfair--for what would the
    Provinces have said if he had let loose upon them the forces, which
    after the occupation of the forts might have been spared from the
    German Army round Paris.

    Barring accidents, there seems reason to hope that we shall tide
    over the time to the meeting of the Assembly next week, pretty
    quietly.

    At all events the suspension of the bloodshed and other horrors is a
    relief which I feel every moment. Four Prussian shells fell into the
    small convent near the Val de Grace at Paris in which I have a
    niece--but providentially neither she nor any of her fellow nuns
    were hurt.

The elections to the new National Assembly took place on February 8, all
political groups participating, and resulted more or less in accordance
with general expectation. In Paris, where there were many abstentions,
extreme men like Louis Blanc, Victor Hugo, Gambetta and Rochefort were
returned, and the example of Paris was to some extent followed by the
big towns, but the general tone of the Assembly proved to be
conservative, and almost reactionary, the sole question submitted to the
candidates having been that of Peace or War. In effect, the feeling
apparently predominant in the minds of the majority of the electors was
aversion from the Government of National Defence, a feeling naturally
accentuated by the recent crushing disasters, and the result was to throw
discredit upon the Republican system of Government with which the
Ministers were identified. But although the Assembly was in reality
anti-Republican it was not the opinion of experienced politicians that
it would be advisable to proclaim a monarchy; still less, that any one
of the rival dynasties should be called immediately to the throne. On
the contrary, they considered that a republic, moderate in its
principles, and perhaps tacitly understood to be only temporary, would
best promote union for the present, and that under such a form of
Government it might be easier to obtain a ratification of such a peace
as appeared to be possible, and to carry the painful measures necessary
to give effect to it. It was also thought that if a monarchy were to be
established it would have a better chance of enduring if the dynasty
postponed its accession until the wounds from which the country was
suffering should begin to heal, and that the all-important choice of a
sovereign should be postponed to a calmer period. So far as could be
judged, if a dynasty were decided upon at all, the chances appeared to
be in favour of the House of Orleans, but there were nevertheless,
amongst the members returned, between one hundred and fifty to two
hundred Legitimist supporters of the Comte de Chambord, and not a few
Bonapartists.

As for the all-important question of peace or war which the Assembly was
to be called upon to decide, it was evident that the majority of the
electors, in voting against the existing Government, intended to vote at
the same time for peace, and therefore the majority of the members
entered it with pacific intentions; but they were not prepared to vote
for peace at any price, and although conditions which would have been
scouted two months earlier were now considered to be worthy of
discussion, the exaction of immoderate and humiliating demands might
again arouse the spirit of desperate resistance, especially when argued
under the excitement produced by heated parliamentary debates.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, Feb. 10, 1871.

    Thiers, Dufaure, and Grévy are likely, so far as one can judge,
    without knowing the result of the Paris elections, to take the lead
    in the National Assembly. Grévy is avowedly a moderate Republican,
    and the two others are for a moderate Republic, as a transitional
    government to prepare the way for a Constitutional Monarchy. Such,
    at least, are certainly Thiers's views, but I am speaking rather
    without book about Dufaure.

    What I am most afraid of is that Bismarck's conditions may be so
    hard as to turn the really pacific Assembly into a war _à outrance_
    one. The war could not in all probability go on long, but it might
    give us three months more of bloodshed, destruction and misery, and
    add to the difficulty of establishing eventually a good government
    here. An Assembly elected two months ago would have been very
    different from the present one, supposing one could have been
    elected at all; but, two months ago, Gambetta would have been strong
    enough to reject the armistice and refuse to convoke the Assembly.
    His entourage had even now prepared warrants for arrest of his
    colleagues, with a view to his assuming the Dictatorship and going
    on with the war without an Assembly, but he is wiser and less wicked
    than they. He will probably make a vigorous leader of the violent
    Republican opposition in the Assembly.

    Of course under present circumstances I have nothing to do but to
    stay here, as it will be for the present the seat of government. It
    will be a comfort to have a whole real government, and not half a
    one, to deal with.

    Chaudordy has at last come round to the opinion that a
    plenipotentiary should be named to the Conference, simply to speak
    for France on the Black Sea question, without any _arrière pensée_
    about bringing in other matters. He said he would telegraph as well
    as he could _en clair_ to let Jules Favre know this. Bismarck will
    not let telegrams in cypher through, and there are no more pigeons.

    What the French are craving for is some open, patent sympathy and
    support from us. They would give us comparatively little thanks for
    taking unostentatious steps in their favour with the Germans, though
    such steps were much better calculated to obtain something for them.

The extreme desirability of showing some evident sign of sympathy with
France was impressed upon Her Majesty's Government who were urged to
lose no time in doing so, with a view to the future relations between
the two countries. The French, who certainty are not less prone than
other nations in seeking to attribute a large share of their misfortunes
to the shortcomings of other people, were inclined to put the blame of
their calamities and disasters as much as possible, upon the Neutral
Powers, who had not interfered actively in their defence; and England,
who had certainly exerted herself more than any other Power in seeking
practical means for making peace attainable, was very unjustly singled
out for peculiar obloquy. This feeling had arisen partly because the
long alliance between the two countries had made the French expect more
from England than from others; partly because other Powers had
ingeniously represented that their own inertness had been caused by the
unwillingness of England to come forward, and had also, on various
occasions, put England forward as the leading Power among the Neutrals,
in order to give her the greatest share of the unpopularity which
accompanies neutrality. French feeling was, therefore, at the time
highly irritable on the subject of England, and it was suggested that a
good impression would be created if Her Majesty's Government would be
very prompt in recognizing whatever Government were adopted by the new
Assembly, even if it did not assume a permanent character. Another
suggestion was, that if the terms offered by the Germans appeared
unendurably hard, the French might make an appeal to the rest of Europe;
that appeal would probably take the form of a request for the mediation
of the Great Neutral Powers, or for the assembling of an European
Congress, and an immediate compliance on the part of England with either
of these requests would go far towards re-establishing good feeling.
Even if Germany rejected all intervention, this would not affect the
impression made by the action of England in responding to the appeal of
France, and although more could probably be obtained by the exercise of
quiet and unostentatious influence upon Germany, yet nothing that might
be obtained in that way would have anything like the same value in the
eyes of France as an open declaration of sympathy with her and an avowed
advocacy of her cause, even if no practical result followed. In short,
what was required, at that particular moment, was a policy of
sympathetic gush.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, Feb. 16, 1870.

    Your telegrams announcing that you have adjourned the Conference,
    and that I may recognize the new Government immediately have been a
    great satisfaction to me. I hope we shall bring French feeling round
    to its old cordial state, if we can give them a little patent
    sympathy in their misfortunes. The Commercial Treaty will be a
    trouble hereafter, but it was in great danger even before the fall
    of the Empire, and I hope will be let remain quiet until the time
    approaches for giving the notice next February.

    I had a confidential conversation with Thiers last night. He seems
    to have taken already _de facto_ the direction of affairs, and will
    probably be given it _de jure_ by the Assembly to-morrow. He is very
    anxious to keep the three fractions of the Chamber who are for order
    at home and for a reasonable policy about peace together, in order
    to resist the Reds. He means therefore to take moderate Republicans,
    Legitimists and Orleanists into his Ministry. Jules Favre is to be
    his Minister for Foreign Affairs, and there will of course be
    moderate Orleanists and Legitimists. If Thiers can succeed in
    getting the united support of Orleanists, Legitimists, and moderate
    Republicans, he expects to have a working majority of nearly
    three-quarters of the Assembly. I suppose his difficulty will arise
    from the impatience of the Orleanists, who are believed to have
    nearly half the seats in the Assembly, and who are impatient and
    hungry after their long deprivation of the sweets of power.

    Thiers told me that he should take great pains to select men of
    station and ability for his diplomatic appointments. In furtherance
    of his policy of conciliating all parties, he supports M. Grévy, a
    moderate Republican, for the Presidency of the Assembly.

    I like Jules Favre and have a good opinion of his character, but I
    don't think that he has hitherto shown himself to be skilful as a
    diplomatist or a negotiator. Thiers says however that he now gets on
    extremely well with Bismarck. There is however a very general
    opinion that Thiers means to go himself to Versailles to negotiate
    the Peace. He did not give me to understand that he intended to do
    so, and there are serious inconveniences in the head of the
    Government's being away from the Assembly and the centre of affairs,
    to say nothing of the ordinary objections to the chief of a
    Government conducting negotiations in his own person.

    The feeling in the Assembly yesterday when Alsace and Lorraine were
    mentioned was strong and universal, and gives reason to doubt
    whether they will even now be brought to vote a cession of
    territory. In that case I suppose the only remedy would be a
    plébiscite, if a cession of territory is absolutely insisted upon.
    The Assembly might refer the question to the people, and I suppose
    that, in their present mood, the great majority of the population
    voting secretly, would vote Peace and not War, and that the vote
    might be taken in a very short time. I don't know however what the
    Germans would say to the notion, and I don't think such a plan of
    throwing off the responsibility worthy of the Assembly, or a happy
    precedent for Parliamentary Government.

    Of what Thiers means to do respecting the definitive government of
    the country, he gave me no hint. His present policy is to try and
    get France out of her present straits by the united help of all the
    reasonable parties, and not to give any indication as to the future
    which might have the effect of alienating any of them.

As had been expected, Thiers proceeded himself to Versailles to
negotiate the Peace preliminaries. He was obviously the person best
fitted to do so, for he was at once the most moderate and capable
amongst Frenchmen, the least unwilling to make terms in conformity with
the exigencies of the situation, and the only man in a position to carry
his way in the Assembly.

On February 26, the preliminaries of Peace were signed and contained
even harsher conditions than had been anticipated, but the military
position of France was so absolutely hopeless that resistance to them
was impracticable. The war indemnity was reduced from six milliards to
five, but this constituted the sole success of the French negotiators,
unless the formal entry of the German troops into Paris might be taken
as a somewhat barren substitute for the restoration of Belfort; certain
matters of detail, chiefly connected with finance, were postponed for
future consideration at Frankfort.

In view of what has already been written respecting the secret
negotiations which took place during the campaign, it is impossible not
to be struck with the heroic folly displayed by the French in the latter
stages of the war. If it is true that their gallant struggle under the
stimulus of Gambetta and the Government of National Defence inspired the
admiration of the world, it is equally obvious that human life and
treasure were ruthlessly wasted in a hopeless cause. Bismarck, it is
well known, was strongly opposed to any accession of territory, beyond
what was absolutely necessary, and would have much preferred a pecuniary
compensation. If, instead of following the lead of Gambetta, the
counsels of Thiers had been adopted, peace would have been made long
before the fall of Paris became imminent; millions of money would have
been saved, thousands of lives would not have been uselessly sacrificed,
and Lorraine would have remained French instead of becoming the chief
contributory cause towards undying hatred of the German people.

Thiers returned to Bordeaux upon the accomplishment of his melancholy
mission, and a debate took place in the Assembly on the question of the
ratification of the Peace preliminaries. The discussion gave opportunity
for much recrimination and for much display of emotion, especially on
the part of Victor Hugo, but Thiers's success was a foregone conclusion
and the Peace preliminaries were accepted by 546 votes to 107.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, March 2, 1871.

    I suppose we may say peace at last. I hear that the discoveries made
    by the Committees on the Military Forces and on the Finances were so
    overwhelming, as to convince every member that defence was
    absolutely impossible. This reduced the debate yesterday to mere
    idle vapouring on the part of the Opposition. One speech was simply
    absurd--that of Victor Hugo. The rest were perhaps fair speeches,
    but there was no eloquence worthy of the occasion, and there was an
    evident unreality about the Opposition. The majority had determined
    not to speak. Thiers's few words were very telling; no one but
    Thiers could have got so many to vote; the fear was that a great
    number would abstain from voting, and so the Ratification would
    either not be carried at all, or be carried by too small a majority
    to pledge the country.

    Chaudordy did not vote, he hankered to the last after an appeal to
    the Neutral Powers. Even supposing the Germans would have given time
    by prolonging the Armistice, which they certainly would not, I don't
    think France would have gained anything by the appeal. Either
    Bismarck would have peremptorily refused to let the Neutrals have
    anything to say; or, if, _par impossible_, he had made some
    concessions, he would in return of course have required them to
    acquiesce explicitly in his other terms; and this, I think, would
    have been as bad for France, and worse for the dignity of the
    Neutrals themselves, than the present state of things. At least we
    are free from any sort of sign of approval of the monstrous
    conditions Prussia has imposed by sheer force.

    How France is to be governed, and how the milliards are to be paid,
    are hard questions. The majority of the Assembly, which is decidedly
    anti-republican, hardly expects to establish a Government to its
    taste, without some actual fighting with the Reds in Paris and other
    large towns. It therefore does not at all like the idea of moving
    the Assembly to Paris. Thiers, I think, wishes to go to Paris, or at
    least to move the Assembly to some place near enough to enable the
    Executive Government to be carried on in Paris. The inconveniences
    of the present roving system are manifold; and I cannot help
    thinking that the sooner the Government settles in the Capital, and
    has its fight (if fight there really must be) with the Mob over, the
    better.

    As to what the New Government is to be, there would, with the
    present Assembly in its present mood, be, one would think, little
    difficulty in getting a large majority for a Monarchy, if the fusion
    between the Legitimists and the Orleanists were once decidedly and
    irrevocably made, and I suppose the Moderate Republicans would not
    hold aloof from such a Government, provided it was _bonâ fide_
    parliamentary. Thiers, I believe, still thinks that for the present
    a Moderate Republic is the best compromise between all opinions, and
    the form of Government which least disunites Frenchmen. He has now
    immense influence, but the claimants of the throne and their
    supporters in the Assembly seem to be already impatient; and Thiers
    will have nothing but painful measures to bring forward, and will be
    accused of desiring to perpetuate his own power.

    I am afraid our Commercial Treaty is in the greatest danger. With
    Thiers as head of the Government and as Minister of Finance, and the
    popular feeling hostile to free trade and not in good humour with
    England, it will be strange if we hold our own about the Treaty, or
    a liberal tariff in France. It was indeed very doubtful whether the
    Treaty could be maintained even under the Constitutional Empire.

    Grant's Message has for the moment turned the wrath of the French
    from the Neutrals to the Americans. It is strange that the
    Americans, who are so abominably thin skinned themselves, never show
    the least consideration for the national feelings of other Peoples.
    The French are, of course, peculiarly sensitive at this moment, and
    prone to resent anything like a demonstration of disregard for them.
    I am truly thankful that you stopped Walker's entering Paris with
    the Germans.

    I have not been able to speak to Thiers since he came back, but I am
    going to present my letters of Credence to him this evening.

The harshness of the peace conditions shocked Lord Granville, who
thought them not only intolerable to France, but a dangerous menace to
the sacred idol of free trade.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Granville to Lord Lyons._

    Foreign Office, March 1, 1871.

    _Vae Victis_ indeed! How hard the conquerors have been, and what a
    mistake in a great country like Germany to give up all direction of
    its affairs to one bold unscrupulous man!

    We do not believe in France being able to bear the burden which has
    been put upon her.

    I presume one of the results will be to put protectionist duties on
    all imported articles. I do not think we should complain much. We
    shall lose to a certain degree, but infinitesimally as compared with
    France. You had better, in conversation with Thiers, and others, say
    that you shall regret it on French account. They want money, which
    is to be chiefly got in England. Here, rightly or wrongly, we
    believe that protective duties are most injurious to the revenue to
    which money-lenders look for their interest. If it is known that
    Thiers means to go in for large armaments and for protection,
    self-interest will shut up the hoards here.

Peace having now at length been assured, there arose the question of
where the new Assembly was to establish itself, and as there was an only
too well-founded suspicion that Paris was no place for a conservative
chamber with a hankering after a monarchy, Versailles was eventually
selected.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Bordeaux, March 6, 1871.

    Thiers asked me yesterday whether I thought it would be advisable
    for him to bring the state of affairs between France and Germany
    before the Conference in London.

    I did not very well see what there was to submit to the Conference,
    as the preliminaries of peace were signed and could not be altered.
    I thought it however better to avoid any discussion on this point,
    and to say decidedly that in my opinion it would be very unadvisable
    to do anything of the kind. I told him that I thought it would be a
    particularly bad opportunity to take, if he wished to consult the
    European Powers; that the German Plenipotentiary would say, and say
    with reason, that his Government had entered into a Conference for a
    specific purpose and was not to be entrapped into an extraneous
    discussion, that in this view he would no doubt be strongly
    supported by the Russian, and that probably none of the
    Plenipotentiaries would approve of a proceeding, which would
    certainly retard the business for which the Conference had met, and
    might very likely break it off altogether.

    I think Thiers rather asked my opinion pour 'l'acquit de sa
    conscience,' than from having himself any strong desire to attempt
    to bring his affairs before the Conference. At any rate he gave a
    very conclusive argument against doing so himself, for he said that
    it might have the effect of delaying the Prussian evacuation of the
    neighbourhood of Paris.

    He hopes to get the half milliard necessary to get the Prussians out
    of the forts on the North side of the Seine, before the end of the
    month. He speaks altogether more hopefully of the financial
    prospects than any one else whom I have heard. He says Bismarck was
    extremely hard about the money, and that the negociation was nearly
    broken off altogether on the question of Belfort. On this question
    he believes Bismarck was with him, and had a tremendous fight to
    obtain leave from the Emperor and Moltke to make the concession.
    Strange as it may appear Thiers seems really to have a sort of
    liking for Bismarck personally, and to believe that if he had been
    let have his own way by the _militaires_, he would have been much
    kinder to France.

    It has been generally supposed that the Assembly will adjourn to
    Versailles, and St. Germain has also been mentioned; but Thiers told
    me yesterday that he should himself propose Fontainebleau. He would
    like himself to take it to Paris, as soon as the Prussians are out
    of the forts, but the majority will not hear of putting themselves
    so near the Belleville mob. I think it will be a great mistake not
    to go to Paris, and I hope Thiers will pluck up a spirit, and carry
    his point. He said something about being glad to have me near him at
    Fontainebleau, but I do not know that it was more than a compliment.
    At any rate I am myself strongly of opinion that the best thing for
    me to do is to go to Paris as soon as possible, and re-establish the
    Embassy there on the normal footing. If there should be (which I
    doubt) any necessity for my going to Thiers or Fontainebleau or
    elsewhere for more than a few hours at a time I should still propose
    to have the headquarters of the Embassy in the Faubourg St. Honoré
    and to treat my own occasional absence as accidental. In fact to act
    as I did when invited to Compiègne in the Emperor's time. I hope to
    be in Paris by the end of this week, or at latest, the beginning of
    next.

The Ambassador and his staff returned to Paris on March 14, finding the
Embassy quite uninjured, no traces of the siege in the neighbourhood,
and the town merely looking a little duller than usual. They were
enchanted to be back, and little suspected that in three or four days
they would again be driven out.

Previous attempts on the part of the Red Republicans to overthrow the
Government of National Defence during the siege had met with failure,
but Favre's stipulation that the National Guards should be permitted to
retain their arms gave the Revolutionary Party its opportunity. The new
Government was obviously afraid to act, and matters came to a crisis
when an ineffectual and half-hearted attempt was made to remove some
guns which had been seized by National Guards. Regular troops brought up
against the latter refused to fight and fraternized with their
opponents; two generals were shot under circumstances of great
brutality, a Revolutionary Central Committee took possession of the
Hotel de Ville and proclaimed the Commune, and the Government withdrew
such regular troops as remained faithful to Versailles. On March 18, the
insurgents were completely masters of the right bank of the Seine, and
on the following day an emissary from the French Foreign Office appeared
at the Embassy with the information that the Government had been forced
to retire to Versailles, and that as it was no longer able to protect
the Diplomatic Body at Paris, it was hoped that the Representatives of
Foreign Powers would also repair to Versailles with the least possible
delay. Nearly all of these did so at once, but Lord Lyons with his
pronounced sedentary tastes had had quite enough of moving about and
decided to wait for instructions.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Paris, March 20, 1871.

    We are in a strange state indeed. How it will end, who shall say.
    The Prussians may be glad of a chance to wipe away the absurdity of
    their three days' occupation by a more serious entrance, and it may
    suit their rulers to put down Belleville, with a view to checking
    the progress of Republicanism. I should think however it would be
    wiser of them with their hatred of France, to leave the Parisians to
    accomplish their own ruin.

    A good many National Guards have gone out towards Versailles,
    whether with the view of making a serious attack on the Government
    and the Assembly remains to be seen. It seems to be doubtful whether
    there are _any_ troops, except perhaps the Papal Zouaves on
    whom the Government can depend.

    The proclamations of the Central Committee in the _Journal
    Officiel_, which I send you officially, are worth reading. They seem
    to me to be in form much more calm, dignified and sensible than the
    proclamations of the Government of National Defence used to be. In
    substance they are not specimens of political knowledge and wisdom.

    It is to be hoped that the Assembly will not make matters worse by
    violent and ill-considered resolutions. I suppose it will be furious
    with Thiers for having brought it to Versailles, and it is on the
    cards that it may be really attacked there to-day by the Parisians.
    Any way, I should not be at all surprised if the Assembly
    transferred itself to some dismal French provincial town.

Instructions, however, were shortly received to proceed to Versailles,
and he betook himself there on the 21st, taking with him Wodehouse and
Sheffield, and leaving Malet, Colonel Claremont, Lascelles,[27] and
Saumarez[28] at the Embassy.

At Versailles complete ignorance appeared to prevail as to the actual
situation; Jules Favre knew nothing, and either the Government had no
plan or was not prepared to disclose it; but, as, at all events, during
the early stage of the conflict, railway communication with Versailles
was not interrupted, it was possible to come up to Paris occasionally at
the risk of being seized by the Communists as a spy, and see how matters
were progressing.

Thiers, in the early days of the Civil War affected to believe that the
revolt would speedily be brought to a satisfactory termination, and the
knowledge that he personally was largely responsible for the existing
situation doubtless prompted him to minimise the danger as much as
possible. By withdrawing the regular troops to Versailles, he had left
the well-disposed inhabitants of Paris at the mercy of an armed
revolutionary mob, and if a renewed bombardment or fresh Prussian
occupation of the town was the result, the fault would have been largely
his. The Assembly too found itself in a ridiculous position; it had been
brought to Versailles because it had been represented that the
Administration could not be carried on away from the capital, and no
sooner did it arrive at Versailles than the whole Government was driven
out of Paris.

The optimism with which Thiers viewed the progress of events in Paris
was not shared by onlookers at Versailles. They could not help seeing
that the members of the Central Committee were continually gaining
ground, and had now obtained control of the whole or very nearly the
whole of the city: that the slaughter of the 'Men of Order' in the Rue
de la Paix on March 22, had left the Red Republicans the masters of the
day, and that the communal elections on March 26, had given a semblance
of regular authority to the revolutionaries. Thiers, who had taken the
whole management of the affair into his own hands, and was still
unwilling to use force, now endeavoured to conciliate the Communists by
a proclamation conceding complete recognition of the municipal
franchise, the right to elect all officers of the National Guard,
including the Commander-in-Chief; a modification of the law on the
maturity of bills of exchange, and a prohibition to house owners and
lodging-house keepers to give their lodgers notice to quit. These
concessions to blackmail were, however, considered insufficient by the
implacable revolutionary leaders, and negotiations broke down when it
was demanded that the Communal Council should supersede the Assembly
whenever the two bodies might come into collision, and that the control
of finance should be vested in the former. It was evident that civil war
could no longer be avoided, and in view of the doubts which existed
respecting the reliability of the army at Versailles, the gravest
apprehensions were felt as to the result of the struggle. Lord Granville
was convinced that the Prussians would re-enter Paris and restore the
Empire, although the Emperor, while praising the Prussians in the course
of a conversation with the Duke of Cambridge, had recently stated that
no one could remain in France who was brought there by the enemy.

On March 28, the Commune was proclaimed with much pomp and emblematic
ceremony in which Phrygian caps were conspicuous, and a series of
decrees appeared shortly in the _Journal Officiel_, which announced the
abolition of conscription, but the compulsory enrolment of all
able-bodied men in the National Guard; a remission of lodger's rents;
the suspension of the sale of all articles deposited in pawn; and the
supersession of the Government at Versailles. A vast number of persons
quitted the city before the end of the month, and of those who remained,
there were probably many, who, apart from their political sentiments,
heartily welcomed so convenient a release from embarrassing liabilities.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Versailles, March 30, 1871.

    The Commune are going ahead in Paris. The great comfort the
    Government and the Assembly here have, is that the similar movements
    in other great towns have failed, and that thus it is plainly Paris
    against all France. Their great hope appears to be that the members
    of the Commune will quarrel among themselves, and that their social
    measures may be so thoroughly socialist, as to rouse resistance
    among the Parisians. In the meantime however the delay seems
    dangerous; the working classes are said to be going over more and
    more completely to the Commune, and the effect of a completely
    successful revolution in Paris on the other towns may yet be
    serious. Bismarck is said to have given Thiers a limited time (a
    fortnight or three weeks) to set things straight, and to have
    declared that, when that time is up, the Germans must step in.

As a matter of fact, the conduct of the Germans does not seem to have
left anything to be desired. They allowed the numbers of the French
troops, which had been fixed under the armistice at 40,000, to be
indefinitely increased: they gave facilities for the return of the
prisoners in Germany, and even gave the French Government to understand
that the assistance of German troops might be counted upon if necessary.
Tact is not generally supposed to be a marked German characteristic, but
Thiers admitted to Lord Lyons that the 'offer had been made with so much
tact and delicacy, that, while of course it could not be accepted, the
Government had been able to pass it by, without appearing to understand
it.'

In the meanwhile, in spite of much dissatisfaction, Thiers was determined
not to be hurried, and both he and Jules Favre declined to believe
either that there was any danger of excesses being committed at Paris,
or that the Commune was gaining strength in consequence of the delay.
These opinions were not in the least shared by the public at large; the
general impression being that each day's delay added to the strength of
the Commune, discouraged the party of order and increased the
exasperation of that party against the Government and the National
Assembly; it was believed too that if excesses were committed they would
inspire the well-disposed citizens with terror rather than with a spirit
of resistance.

Fortunately for the cause of order, the Communists soon afforded an
opportunity for testing the temper of the Versailles troops. On April 2,
the National Guards came into collision with the regulars at Courbevoic,
were heavily worsted, and such prisoners as were taken were summarily
shot. The engagement showed that the army could be depended upon, and
that there need be no further fears with regard to a policy of resolute
repression; nevertheless there was little sign on the part of Thiers of
following up the success that had been gained, and he made the
remarkable excuse that the military ignorance of the insurgents and the
eccentricity of their movements rendered military operations against
them correspondingly difficult. Little progress had been made towards
the end of April, although righteous retribution had overtaken Thiers in
the invasion of his house in the Place St. Georges, and in the violation
by National Guards of the sanctity of the apartment of his
mother-in-law.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Versailles, April 21, 1871.

    I suppose we shall get back to Paris, or to the ruins of it, some
    day; and certainly the affairs of the Commune are looking more
    gloomy than they did, but I must leave to Thiers the responsibility
    of the perpetually renewed declaration that we shall be there in a
    few days. The sooner it comes the better, for the delay is very
    dangerous for Thiers himself and for the country. The great towns in
    the south will hardly be kept under if Paris remains in rebellion
    much longer, and Thiers will find it very difficult to hold back the
    monarchical majority in the Assembly.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Versailles, April 25, 1871.

    I don't hear any guns, but I suppose after what Thiers said to me
    last night, that the grand attack upon Fort Issy is going on. I
    shall go or send to some safe point of view, as soon as I get the
    Messenger off.

    It was high time to begin, for the apparent weakness of the
    Government is producing lamentable effects. Colonel Playfair's
    reports of the spread of a very serious insurrection in Algeria are
    confirmed by recent telegrams, and there is said to be rather an
    alarming movement in Savoy, not with a view to reunion with Italy,
    but rather to a junction with Switzerland.

    I do not trouble you with any of the programmes for the attack on
    Paris which are in everybody's mouth here. The favourite notion is
    that, with or without getting their half milliard, the Germans are
    to give up the forts, or all of them except St. Denis, to the
    French; who are then either to attack Paris on the north, or to
    complete the investment of it. Military big-wigs say that Thiers has
    not men enough to carry out such a plan. Financial authorities say
    that he has no chance of obtaining the money till he is already
    master of Paris; and Jules Favre says positively that Paris will not
    be bombarded or blockaded. The value to be given to this affirmation
    of Jules Favre cannot go beyond there being no _present_ intentions
    to make a regular general bombardment or to reduce the place by
    famine. I urge him and Thiers to give warning in time to enable
    foreigners to withdraw, but I doubt the foreigners getting any
    warning beyond that which Malet has given already, and I doubt the
    English being persuaded to go; but I shall do all I can about it.

The bombardment, in spite of Jules Favre's assurance, took place
shortly, and did infinitely more harm than that of the Germans. Amongst
other buildings which suffered was the Embassy, but until the closing
days of the struggle in May, those members of the staff who had been
left there, appear to have suffered no inconvenience; and the relations
of Malet with the self-constituted officials of the Commune were
perfectly amicable, as far as can be judged. Malet, whose management of
a trying situation was marked by much good sense and tact, found no
difficulty in getting on with Paschal Grousset, the Délègué aux Affaires
Etrangères (also described by his adversaries as _Etranger aux
Affaires_), and his relations with this important personage were no
doubt greatly facilitated by a brother who acted as private secretary:
'a very pleasant little fellow, willing to put his brother's signature
to anything.' Paschal Grousset had good reason to congratulate himself
subsequently upon the pains which he had taken to ensure the safety of
foreigners in Paris and for the friendly disposition which he had shown.
When the Versailles troops obtained possession of the city, he was
captured and would in all probability have been shot in company with
other Communist leaders if unofficial representations in his favour had
not been made by Lord Lyons. He was transported, but subsequently
returned to Paris under an amnesty, and, years after, was the cause of a
comic incident at the house of a lady formerly connected with the
British Embassy. This lady, hearing a terrific uproar in her anteroom,
came out to see what was the matter and found Paschal Grousset engaged
in a violent altercation with her _maître d'hôtel_. It turned out that
the latter, who was an ex-gendarme, had been in charge of Paschal
Grousset when the latter was seized by the Versailles Government, and
that he now strongly resented his former prisoner appearing in the
character of an ordinary visitor.

One of the most abominable acts of the Commune had been the seizure of
the Archbishop of Paris, together with a number of priests, and the
holding of them as hostages for the good treatment of Communist
prisoners. No secret was made of the fact that under certain
circumstances they would be shot, and efforts were set on foot by
various parties--the American Minister, the British Government, and the
German authorities--to prevent so horrible a catastrophe. The
intervention of the American Minister, Mr. Washburne, only caused
irritation. 'They are very angry here with Mr. Washburne,' wrote Lord
Lyons on April 28, 'for interfering about the Archbishop, and they are
still more displeased with him for being so much in Paris. In fact,
although he has a room here he is much more in Paris than at Versailles.
Thiers observed to me last night that my American colleague had a
_conduite très singulière_. They would not stand this in a European
representative, but they allow a great latitude to the American, partly
because he and his Government have nothing to say to European politics,
and partly because they cannot well help it.' An attempt made by
direction of Lord Granville met with no better success, for the
Versailles Government firmly refused to make the exchange of the
revolutionary leader Blanqui, asked for by the Commune, and would only
go so far as to promise in private, that the latter's life should be
spared under certain circumstances.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Versailles, May 16, 1871.

    The poor Archbishop has been constantly in my thoughts, both before
    I received your letter of the 13th and since. The state of the case
    is simply this. The Commune will not release him on any other terms
    than the release of Blanqui; and the Government positively refuses
    to give up Blanqui. Every one agrees that intervention with the
    Commune is worse than useless; in fact does harm. You will see from
    my Confidential Despatch of to-day, that I have gone as far as
    possible with Thiers on the subject, but without success. I cannot
    hope that I have done any good, but I have certainly done no harm.
    Thiers spoke to me freely and confidentially, but absolutely refused
    (or rather said positively that it was impossible) to give up
    Blanqui. I perhaps went rather far in speaking to M. Thiers even in
    the way I did, but I think it will be a comfort to remember that we
    did all that could be done.

    I understand that the Archbishop does not suffer any positive
    hardship or privation beyond being kept a close prisoner, but I fear
    his health is giving way in some degree under the pressure of
    anxiety and confinement.

    Perhaps the most painful feature in the whole matter has been the
    conduct of the Vicar General, the Abbé Lagarde, who was sent to
    Versailles on parole to negociate the release of the Archbishop.
    Notwithstanding the entreaties of the Archbishop himself, and the
    exhortations of everyone here, he declined to redeem his promise and
    has thereby materially injured the Archbishop's position, and given
    force to the Communist pretext that no trust can be put in priests.
    I am afraid he is still out of Paris.

Jules Favre was also approached on the subject, but nothing could be got
out of him, and the only chance of success seemed to depend upon a
peremptory demand of the Germans for his release, the Commune being
completely at their mercy. This action the German authorities found
themselves unable to take, and in spite of the frequently expressed
opinions of Thiers and others that the lives of the hostages were in no
real danger, they were all massacred in cold blood during the final days
of the street fighting.

By the middle of May, most people were of opinion that there was nothing
to prevent the troops entering Paris whenever they pleased, and that the
sooner they did so, the less resistance they would encounter. Thiers,
however, still refused to run any risks, and it was not until nearly the
close of the month that the insurrection was completely suppressed,
amidst scenes almost unprecedented in modern times.

       *       *       *       *       *

    _Lord Lyons to Lord Granville._

    Versailles, May 26, 1871.

    The state of Paris is heart-breaking. The night I spent there (24th)
    was calculated to give one an idea of the infernal regions. Fires in
    all directions, the air oppressive with smoke and unpleasant odours,
    the incessant roar of cannon and musketry and all kinds of strange
    sounds. For the 48 hours before my arrival, the members of the
    Embassy and all in the house were in imminent danger; a fire raging
    in the next street but one, shells falling on the roof which might
    set fire to the house at any moment, and shot flying so fast on both
    sides that escape in case of fire would have been hardly possible.
    It is a great satisfaction to me that every one in the house behaved
    well. Of the members of the Embassy I was quite sure, and all the
    men servants appeared to have shown pluck and alacrity in rushing to
    the places where the shells fell, in order to extinguish the fire in
    case of need. Malet has a first-rate head, and directed everything
    with his usual coolness and self-possession.

    One bit of a shell is said to have fallen in the garden yesterday
    morning, but it certainly did no mischief, and there was no
    appearance of danger while I was there. I cannot, however, feel
    quite comfortable so long as the insurgents hold the Buttes de
    Chaumont. They must, I should hope, be on the point of being driven
    out at the moment I write. Little or no intelligence of what was
    going on in the town could be obtained. The least inconvenience on
    leaving one's own house was to be seized upon to form a chain to
    hand buckets. Sentries stopped our progress in almost every
    direction: arrests were frequent and summary executions the order of
    the day. I hope it will really all be over by to-night. Sad as it
    all is, I felt a satisfaction in finding myself in the old house
    again, and am impatient to return to it for good. I hope to do so
    directly I can without cutting myself off from uninterrupted
    communication with you.

    The fate of the hostages is what makes me the most anxious now. All
    the accounts we do receive are hopeful, but we have no positive
    assurance of their being safe. The Nuncio came back from his
    expedition to the Crown Prince of Saxony much pleased with himself
    for having undertaken it, and very grateful to me for having
    suggested it. He was referred by the Crown Prince to General
    Fabrice, who told him, that by order of Prince Bismarck, he was
    doing all that could be done to save the Archbishop. He even hinted
    that he had tried offers of money.

    Thiers is trying the patience of the Assembly by keeping in office
    Jules Favre, Picard and Jules Simon, who were members of the
    Government of National Defence and of the violent Republican
    opposition under the Empire. The contempt and disgust of the
    Parisians of every shade of opinion for the Government of National
    Defence appears unbounded. They consider it to have been a
    Government which had neither courage nor capacity, and was equally
    inefficient in defending the city against the enemy, and maintaining
    order and authority inside. By the country at large, and still more,
    by the monarchical representatives in the Assembly, the members of
    that Government, by their conduct before and after the 4th September
    are held to have been the cause of all the present horrors.

    Notwithstanding all this, Thiers seems to rule the Assembly
    completely, however much the members may grumble in private. His
    troubles with them will begin when Paris is at last subdued.

    I went to Favre with the offer of the firemen directly the telegram
    was decyphered. He took it up to Thiers who immediately accepted it.

The Commune, which terminated in an orgy of blood, flame, and insensate
fury, had lasted for rather more than two months. Amongst those who
originated the movement were some who honestly believed that they were
merely advocating municipal freedom, and others who thought that the
existence of the Republic was threatened by a reactionary Assembly; but
the control eventually fell into the hands of revolutionaries whose aim
it was to destroy the foundations of society. It showed human nature at
its worst, and the ferocity of the reprisals on the part of the
Government created almost as much repulsion as the outrages which had
provoked them. Now, however, with the restoration of order, a new era
was about to dawn; the ceaseless disasters which had overwhelmed the
country since the end of July, 1870, had come to an end, and within an
almost incredibly short period, France recovered that place amongst the
great nations of the world, which seemed at one time to have been
irretrievably lost.


FOOTNOTES:

  [23] Representative at Tours of the French Foreign Office.

  [24] 'Memoirs of Sir Robert Morier.'

  [25] Minister at Madrid; subsequently Ambassador at Constantinople.

  [26] Col. the Honble. Percy Fielding.

  [27] Now Sir Frank Lascelles, G.C.B.

  [28] Now Lord de Saumarez.


END OF VOL. I.

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES

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Mr. Edward Arnold's

AUTUMN ANNOUNCEMENTS, 1913.

       *       *       *       *       *

LORD LYONS.

A Record of British Diplomacy.

By the Right Hon. LORD NEWTON.

_With Portraits. In Two Volumes._ =30s. net.=


The late Lord Lyons was not only the most prominent but the most trusted
English diplomatist of his day, and so great was the confidence felt in
his ability that he was paid the unique compliment of being offered the
post of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Lord Newton, who has now undertaken the task of preparing a memoir of
him, enjoys the advantage of having served under him for five years at
the Paris Embassy. The interest of this work lies, however, less in the
personality of the Ambassador than in the highly important events in
which he played so prominent a part.

Lord Lyons was the British representative at Washington during the
period of the Civil War; subsequently he was Ambassador at
Constantinople for two years; and finally he spent twenty years--from
1867 to 1887--as Ambassador at Paris. During the whole of this eventful
period his advice was constantly sought by the Home Government upon
every foreign question of importance, and his correspondence throws
fresh light upon obscure passages in diplomatic history.

In this book will be found hitherto unpublished information relating to
such matters as the critical relations between England and the United
States during the course of the Civil War; the political situation in
France during the closing years of the Second Empire; the secret attempt
made by the British Foreign Secretary to avert the Franco-German War,
and the explanation of its failure; the internal and external policy of
France during the early years of the Third Republic; the War Scare of
1875; the Congress of Berlin; the Egyptian Expedition; Anglo-French
political relations, and many other matters of interest.

The method selected by the writer has been to reproduce all important
correspondence verbatim, and it may be confidently asserted that the
student of foreign politics will find in this work a valuable record of
modern diplomatic history.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD. 41 & 43 MADDOX STREET W.



THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF GEORGE WILLIAM FREDERICK, FOURTH EARL OF
CLARENDON.

By the Right Hon. Sir HERBERT MAXWELL, Bart.

_In Two Volumes, With Portraits. Demy 8vo._ =30s. net.=


Born in the year 1800 and dying in 1870, Lord Clarendon lived through a
period of social, political, and economic change more rapid probably
than had been witnessed in any similar space of time in the previous
history of mankind. It was his lot, moreover, to wield considerable
influence over the course of affairs, inasmuch as his public service,
extending over fifty years, caused him to be employed in a succession of
highly responsible, and even critical, situations. British Minister at
Madrid at the outbreak and during the course of the Carlist Civil War
from 1833 to 1839, he was admitted into Lord Melbourne's Cabinet
immediately upon returning to England in the latter year. He was Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland throughout the memorable famine years, 1847-1852.
Relieved of that arduous post, Lord Clarendon entered Lord Aberdeen's
government in 1852 as Foreign Secretary, which office he retained
through the Crimean War, and became responsible for the terms of the
Treaty of Paris in 1856. On Lord Palmerston's death in 1865, he returned
to the Foreign Office, and had to deal with the settlement of the
"Alabama" claims.

The annals of the first half of Queen Victoria's reign having been
pretty thoroughly explored and dealt with by many competent writers, the
chief interest in these pages will be found in Lord Clarendon's private
correspondence, which has been well preserved, and has been entrusted to
Sir Herbert Maxwell for the purpose of this memoir. Lord Clarendon was
a fluent and diligent correspondent; Charles Greville and others among
his contemporaries frequently expressed a hope that his letters should
some day find their way into literature. Sir Arthur Helps, for instance,
wrote as follows in _Macmillan's Magazine_: "Lord Clarendon was a man
who indulged, notwithstanding his public labours, in an immense private
correspondence. There were some persons to whom, I believe, he wrote
daily, and perhaps in after years we shall be favoured--those of us who
live to see it--with a correspondence which will enlighten us as to many
of the principal topics of our own period." It is upon this
correspondence that Sir Herbert Maxwell has chiefly relied in tracing
the motives, principles, and conduct of one of the last Whig statesmen.
Among the letters dealt with, and now published for the first time, are
those from Lord Melbourne, Lord Palmerston, Lord Aberdeen, Lord Derby,
M. Thiers, M. Guizot, the Emperor Louis Napoleon, etc., and many ladies.



WILLIAM AUGUSTUS, DUKE OF CUMBERLAND, HIS EARLY LIFE AND TIMES, 1721-1748.

By the Hon. EVAN CHARTERIS,

AUTHOR OF "AFFAIRS OF SCOTLAND, 1744-1746."

_With Plans and Illustrations._ =12s. 6d. net.= [_In preparation._


Mr. Charteris has a good subject in "Butcher" Cumberland, not only on
account of the historical and romantic interest of his background, but
also by reason of the Duke's baneful reputation.

In the present volume the author has carried the career of the Duke of
Cumberland down to the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. The period includes the
Duke's campaigns in Flanders against Marshal Saxe, the Battle of
Culloden, and the measures taken for the suppression of the Jacobites in
Scotland. Mr. Charteris has had the exceptional advantage of studying
the Cumberland Papers at Windsor Castle, and it is largely by the aid of
hitherto unpublished documents that he is now able to throw fresh light
on a character which has been the subject of so much malevolent
criticism. At the same time the volume deals with the social and
political conditions among which Cumberland was called on to play so
important a part in the life of the nation. These have been treated by
the author with some fulness of detail. Cumberland, in spite of his
foreign origin, was remarkably typical of the characteristics of the
earlier Georgian period, and an endeavour has been made in the present
volume to establish the link between the Duke and the politics, the
morals, the aims, and the pursuits of the age in which he lived.



MY ART AND MY FRIENDS.

THE REMINISCENCES OF SIR F. H. COWEN.

_With Portrait. Demy 8vo._ =10s. 6d. net.=


In the course of a long and distinguished musical career, Sir Frederic
Cowen has had opportunities of visiting many parts of the world, of
meeting all the most eminent artists of the last half-century, and of
amassing material for an extremely diverting volume of personal
recollections. As a child he enjoyed the privilege of being embraced by
the great Piccolomini; as a young man he toured with Trebelli, and
became acquainted with the famous Rubinstein, with Bülow, and with
Joachim. In later life he numbered such well-known musicians as
Pachmann, Paderewski, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and the de Reszkes, among his
friends. Nor was the circle of his intimates entirely confined to the
world of music; he was on terms of the closest friendship with Corney
Grain, with George Grossmith and Arthur Cecil; he capped the puns of
Henry J. Byron and Sir Francis Burnand; he laughed at the practical
jokes of Toole, at the caricatures which Phil May drew for him of his
friends. To the public Sir Frederick Cowen is well known as the
conductor of Covent Garden Promenade and Philharmonic Concerts, as the
composer of such celebrated songs as "The Better Land" and "The Promise
of Life," of "The Corsair" and "The Butterfly's Ball." In these pages he
shows himself to be a keen but kindly student of human nature, who can
describe the various experiences of his past life with a genial but
humorous pen. The inexhaustible fund of anecdote from which he draws
tends still further to enliven an amusing and lively volume.



A CIVIL SERVANT IN BURMA.

By Sir HERBERT THIRKELL WHITE, K.C.I.E.

_With 16 Pages of Illustrations. Demy 8vo._ =12s. 6d. net.=


Sir Herbert Thirkell White, who has but recently retired from the post
of Lieutenant-Governor of Burma, which he filled with ability and
distinction, has now written what he modestly calls a "plain story" of
more than thirty years of official life in India. In this volume are
narrated the experiences of an Indian Civilian who has devoted the best
part of his existence to the service of the Empire, and is in a position
to speak with assurance of the many complicated problems with which the
white man in India is continually faced. Sir Herbert's acquaintance with
Burma began in 1878; since then he has had every opportunity of judging
the peculiar habits, customs, and characteristics of the native Burmese,
and has been able to compile a valuable record of the impressions they
have made upon his mind. It was his fate to hold official positions of
increasing importance during the Viceroyalties of Lord Ripon, Lord
Dufferin, and Lord Curzon; he was privileged to serve such distinguished
chiefs as Sir Charles Bernard and Sir Charles Crosthwaite, and witnessed
that pacification of Burma which the last-named Chief Commissioner has
described so eloquently in his well-known book on the subject. Sir
Herbert writes clearly and with knowledge of every aspect of Burmese
life and character, and this volume of his recollections should prove
extremely popular among English readers who are interested in the
government of our Indian Empire and the daily routine of the Indian
Civil Servant.



THIRTY YEARS IN KASHMIR.

By ARTHUR NEVE, F.R.C.S.E.

_With Illustrations and a Map. Demy 8vo._ =12s. 6d. net.=


The stupendous natural surroundings amidst which they dwell have
inspired sojourners in Kashmir and other Himalayan countries to produce
some of the finest books of travel to be found. Among them will have to
be included in future this book of Dr. Arthur Neve's, so effectively
does the author reveal the wonders of the land of towering peaks and
huge glaciers where he has made his home for the last thirty years.

Going out to Kashmir in 1882 under the auspices of the Church Missionary
Society, Dr. Neve took over the charge of the Kashmir Mission Hospital
at Srinagur from Dr. Edmund Downes, who was retiring, and has stayed
there ever since. In his earlier chapters he gives some account of the
Punjab and Kashmir in the eighties, and also of the work of the mission.
He then gets to the principal motif of the book--the exploring tours and
mountaineering expeditions to which he has devoted his spare time. Nanga
Parbat, Nun Kun, and many other Himalayan giants, are within hail of
Srinagur, and before he has finished with the book the reader will find
he has acquired the next best thing to a first-hand knowledge of this
magnificent country. Dr. Neve has also a great deal that is interesting
to tell about the people of various races and religions who inhabit the
valleys, and from whom his medical help gained him a warm welcome at all
times.

A series of rare photographs gives a pictorial support to the
letter-press.



SPORT AND FOLK-LORE IN THE HIMALAYA.

By Captain H. L. HAUGHTON.

(36TH SIKHS.)

_With Illustrations from the Author's Photographs. One Volume._

_Demy 8vo._ =12s. 6d. net.=


Captain Haughton has written a book which should prove a welcome
addition to the library of every sportsman, as well as being of supreme
interest to the naturalist and the student of folk-lore. On the subject
of sport the author writes with that thorough insight and sympathy which
are the fruits of many years' practical experience with rod and rifle,
in the jungle, on river-bank or mountain-side. In his agreeable society
the reader may stalk the markhor or the ibex, lightly throw his "Sir
Richard" across some Kashmiri trout-stream, or lie in wait for the
Himalayan black bear on its way to feed; and if the author's description
of his many amusing and exciting adventures and experiences is eminently
readable, the value of his work is still further enhanced by his
intimate knowledge of natural history, and by the introduction of many
of those old Indian legendary tales that he has culled from the lips of
native Shikaris round the camp-fire at night. The book is illustrated
throughout with a series of remarkably interesting photographs taken by
the author in the course of his many sporting expeditions.



RECOLLECTIONS OF A PENINSULAR VETERAN.

By the late Lieut.-Colonel JOSEPH ANDERSON, C.B., K.H.

_With Photogravure Portrait. Demy 8vo._ =10s. 6d. net.=


The late Lieut.-Colonel Joseph Anderson was born in 1790, and from the
age of fifteen, when he received a commission as Ensign in the 78th
Regiment, to within a few years of his death in 1877, his career was
almost continuously as adventurous as it was distinguished. In 1806 he
saw active service for the first time, when he took part in the
expedition to Calabria; in the following year he served in the Egyptian
Campaign of that date; and during the Peninsular War he fought at the
battles of Maida, Busaco, Fuentes d'Onoro, was wounded at Talavera, and
accompanied Wellington on the retreat to the lines of Torres Vedras. A
few years later Captain Anderson, now a Captain in the York Chasseurs,
was sent with his regiment to Barbadoes, and was present at the capture
of Guadeloupe in 1815. He was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Penal
Settlement at Norfolk Island in 1834, where his humane endeavours to
reform the prevailing penal system, and his efforts to quell mutinous
convicts, met with marked success. Nine years later Colonel Anderson
went to India to take part in the Mahratta Campaign, and at the Battle
of Punniar (where he commanded a Brigade) was severely wounded when
charging the enemy's guns. After retiring from the Service, Colonel
Anderson settled down in Australia, and it was at his home near
Melbourne that these memories were compiled, during the later years of a
strenuous and active life, for the edification of his family. They are
written in a simple, unaffected style, which renders them peculiarly
readable, and form a most instructive record of the manners and customs,
of the mode of warfare, and the military and social life of a past age,
and a bygone generation.



MEMORIES OF A SOLDIER'S LIFE.

By Major-General Sir H. M. BENGOUGH, K.C.B.

_With Portrait. Demy 8vo._ =8s. 6d. net.=


Major-General Sir H. M. Bengough joined the army in 1855, and retired in
1898, after more than forty years of distinguished service in all
quarters of the Empire. His first experience of active warfare dates
from the Crimea; later on he took the field in the Zulu War and the
Burma Expedition of 1885. In days of peace he held various high commands
in India, South Africa, and Jamaica, and finally commanded a brigade of
infantry at Aldershot. In this volume of personal recollections the
author narrates the many varied incidents and experiences of a long
military career and vividly describes the campaigns in which he took
part. He also gives an interesting account of his adventures in the
realm of sport--pig-sticking, tiger-shooting, and pursuing other forms
of game in India and elsewhere; subjects upon which a long experience
enables him to write with expert knowledge. It will be strange indeed if
so interesting an autobiographical volume from the pen of a deservedly
popular soldier and sportsman fails to appeal to a wide public.



ZACHARY STOYANOFF.

Pages from the Autobiography of a Bulgarian Insurgent.

Translated by M. POTTER.

_One Volume. Demy 8vo._ =10s. 6d. net.=


In this volume Zachary Stoyanoff gives us the narrative of his personal
experiences during the Bulgarian outbreaks of 1875 and 1876. Almost by
accident he became an "apostle" of rebellion, and was sent out forthwith
to range the country, stirring up the villagers and forming local
committees. It is an amazing story. With unsurpassable candour he
portrays for us the leaders, their enthusiasm, their incredible
shortsightedness, and the pitiful inadequacy of their preparations. The
bubble burst, and after a miserable attempt at flight, Stoyanoff was
taken prisoner and sent to Philippopolis for trial. There is no attempt
at heroics. With the same Boswellian simplicity he reveals his fears,
his cringing, his mendacity, and incidentally gives us a graphic
picture, not wholly black, of the conquering Turk. The narrative ends
abruptly while he is still in peril of his life. One is glad to know
that, somehow, he escaped. A very human document, and a remarkable
contrast to the startling exhibition of efficiency given to the world by
the Bulgarians in their latest struggle with the Turks.



SPLENDID FAILURES.

By HARRY GRAHAM,

AUTHOR OF "A GROUP OF SCOTTISH WOMEN," "THE MOTHER OF PARLIAMENTS," ETC.

_With Portraits. Demy 8vo._ =10s. 6d. net.=


It is perhaps unlikely that any two individuals will agree as to the
proper definition of the term "A Splendid Failure"--a phrase of which
the origin would appear to be obscure. It may, however, be roughly
stated that the "Splendid Failures" of the past divide themselves
naturally into three classes: those whom their contemporaries invested
with a fictitious or exaggerated splendour which posterity is quite
unable to comprehend or appreciate; those whom the modern world regards
with admiration--but who signally failed in impressing the men of their
own generation; and those who, gifted with genius and inspired with
lofty ideals, never justified the world's high opinion of their talents
or fulfilled the promise of their early days. In this volume of
biographical essays, the author of "A Group of Scottish Women" and other
popular works has dealt with a selection of "splendid failures" of whose
personal history the public knows but little, though well acquainted
with their names. Wolfe Tone, "the first of the Fenians"; Benjamin
Haydon, the "Cockney Raphael"; Toussaint L'Ouverture, the "Napoleon of
San Domingo"; William Betty, the "Infant Roscius"; and "Champagne"
Townshend, the politician of Pitt's day, may be included under this
category. The reader cannot fail to be interested in that account which
the author gives of the ill-fated Archduke Maximilian's attempt to found
a Mexican monarchy; in his careful review of the work and character of
Hartley Coleridge; and in his biographical study of George Smythe, that
friend of Disraeli whom the statesman-novelist took as his model for the
hero of "Coningsby." This book, which should appeal strongly to all
readers of literary essays, is illustrated with eight excellent
portraits.



THE CORINTHIAN YACHTSMAN'S HANDBOOK.

By FRANCIS B. COOKE.

_With 20 Folding Plates of Designs for Yachts, and numerous black and
white Illustrations. Demy 8vo._ =10s. 6d. net.=


This new handbook covers the sport of yachting in all its branches. The
writer, who has had many years' experience of cruising and racing in
yachts and boats of all types, has treated the subject in a thoroughly
practical manner. The book is divided into six parts.

In Part I., which deals with the selection of a yacht, the various types
and rigs suitable for Corinthian yachting are discussed. The designing
and building of new craft are also dealt with at some length, and
designs and descriptions of a number of up-to-date small cruisers are
given.

In Part II. some hints are given as to where to station the yacht. All
available headquarters within easy reach of London are described, and
the advantages and disadvantages of each pointed out.

Part III. is devoted to the equipment of yachts, and contains a wealth
of information as to the internal arrangement, rigging, and fittings of
small cruisers.

Part IV. treats of the maintenance of small cruising vessels, with notes
on the cost of upkeep, fitting out and laying up. Other matters dealt
with in this section are the preservation of sails and gear, and
insurance.

Part V., on seamanship, covers the handling of fore-and-aft vessels
under all conditions of weather, and upon every point of sailing.

Part VI. covers the racing side of the sport in a comprehensive manner.
An exhaustive exposition of the International Sailing Rules is followed
by hints on racing tactics. The appendix contains, _inter alia_, an
illustrated description of the British Buoyage System.

Mr. Cooke's well-known handbooks have come to be regarded by yachtsmen
as standard works, and a new and more ambitious work from his pen can
hardly fail to interest them.



THE FALL OF PROTECTION.

By BERNARD HOLLAND, C.B.,

AUTHOR OF "IMPERIUM ET LIBERTAS."

_One Volume. Demy 8vo._ =12s. 6d. net.=


This volume is a political-historical study of the great change which
took place in British commercial and financial policy mainly between the
years 1840 and 1850. The writer examines the state of things in these
respects which existed before this revolution, and describes the
previous protective system, navigation system, and colonial system. He
then narrates the process by which those systems were overthrown,
devoting special attention to the character, career, and changes in
opinion of Sir Robert Peel, and to the attitude and action of the Tory,
Whig, and Radical parties, and of their leading men, especially Mr.
Disraeli, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Cobden. He analyses with care the
arguments used on all sides in these controversies, especially with
regard to the Repeal of the Corn Laws, and he shows the extent to which
questions of imperial preference and the relations between the United
Kingdom and the Colonies entered into the issues. One chapter is devoted
to the Bank Act of 1844, and to the consideration of its causes and
results. The author concludes by tracing very briefly the chain of
events which connect the period in question with our own day, in respect
of commercial and fiscal policy, and expresses his own views as to
existing tendencies and future developments.

Mr. Bernard Holland is known as the author of the Life of the Duke of
Devonshire, and of "Imperium et Libertas." In a sense the present volume
is a continuation of the latter book, or rather is an attempt to deal
more expansively and in detail with certain history and questions
connected with the same theme, for the full treatment of which there was
insufficient space in that book. Mr. Holland having acted for a number
of years as Private Secretary to two successive Secretaries of State for
the Colonies, has been brought into close touch in a practical way with
colonial questions. This book, it is hoped, will be of some service both
to students of economic history and to politicians in active life.



PAINTING IN THE FAR EAST.

By LAURENCE BINYON.


_A New Edition, thoroughly Revised, with many new and additional
Illustrations. Crown 4to._ =21s. net.=

Since the first edition of this book was published in 1907, much has
happened, and a quantity of new material has been brought to light.

Interest in the subject has been immensely widened and strengthened. The
museums of Europe and America are vying with each other to procure fine
specimens of Chinese and Japanese art. The opening this autumn of a new
museum at Cologne, exclusively devoted to the arts of Eastern Asia, is a
symptom of the times. Collections, public and private, both European and
American, have been greatly enriched; and the exhibition in 1910 at
Shepherd's Bush, of treasured masterpieces lent from Japanese
collections, has provided a standard for the student.

Six years ago, again, scarcely any of the voluminous literature of art
existing in Chinese and Japanese had been translated. On this side, too,
an added store of information has been made accessible, though still in
great part scattered in the pages of learned periodicals. Above all, the
marvellous discoveries made of recent years in China and Chinese
Turkestan have substituted a mass of authentic material for groping
conjectures in the study of the art of the early periods.

In preparing a new edition of this book and bringing it up to date, Mr.
Binyon has therefore been able to utilize a variety of new sources of
information. The estimates given of the art of some of the most famous
of the older masters have been reconsidered. The sections dealing with
the early art have been in great measure rewritten; and the book has
been revised throughout. In the matter of illustrations it has been
possible to draw on a wider range and make a fuller and more
representative selection.



PAINTING IN EAST AND WEST.

By ROBERT DOUGLAS NORTON,

AUTHOR OF "THE CHOICE."

_Crown 8vo._ =5s. net.=


The art of painting, which in the days of Gothic church-building
contributed so much both to the education and the pleasure of the
community at large, has admittedly come to appeal to ever-narrowing
circles, until to-day it cannot be said to play any part in popular life
at all. This book seeks to discover the causes of its decline in
influence. A brief review of the chief contemporary movements in painting
gives point to a suggestion made by more than one thoughtful critic that
the chief need of Western painting is spirituality. Since this is a
quality which those competent to judge are at one in attributing to
Eastern art, the author, in a chapter on Far Eastern Painting, sets
forth the ideals underlying the great painting of China and Japan, and
contrasts these ideals with those which have inspired painters and
public in the West. This leads to an inquiry into the uses of
imagination and suggestion in art, and to an attempt to find a broad
enough definition for "spirituality" not to exclude many widely
divergent achievements of Western painting. Finally, the possibility of
training the sense of beauty is discussed in the light of successful
instances.

Incidentally the book touches on many questions which, though of
interest to picture-lovers, often remain unasked; such, for instance, as
what we look for in a picture; how far subject is important; why it may
happen that the interest of one picture, which pleases at first, soon
wanes, while that of another grows steadily stronger; the value of
technique, of different media of expression, of mere resemblance, etc.

Without going into the technicalities of æsthetics, the author aims at
investigating certain first principles which are overlooked at times by
possessors of even the widest knowledge of individual schools.



SHAKESPEARE'S STORIES.

By CONSTANCE MAUD and MARY MAUD.

AS YOU LIKE IT--THE TEMPEST--KING LEAR--TWELFTH NIGHT--THE MERCHANT
OF VENICE--A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM--MACBETH--HAMLET--ROMEO AND JULIET.

_With Illustrations from the famous Boydell prints. Crown 8vo._

=5s. net.=


Miss Constance Maud is the author of "Wagner's Heroes" and "Wagner's
Heroines," two books on similar lines to these tales which have had a
great vogue among young people of all ages. In the present volume she
tells the charming stories of nine of the most famous of Shakespeare's
Tragedies and Comedies in prose of delightful and unstudied simplicity.
On occasion the actual text has been used for familiar passages and
phrases. These great world-tales, regarded merely as tales, with the
elemental motives and passions displayed in them, appeal strongly to the
imagination, and when narrated by a competent pen there cannot be finer
or more absorbing reading. In addition to this, he must be a dull reader
in whom they do not awaken a desire to make a closer acquaintance with
the plays themselves.

The book forms a companion volume to Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch's
well-known "Historical Tales from Shakespeare."



THE MUSE IN MOTLEY.

By HARRY GRAHAM.

AUTHOR OF "RUTHLESS RHYMES FOR HEARTLESS HOMES," ETC., ETC.

_With 24 Illustrations by_

LEWIS BAUMER.

_Fcap. 4vo._ =3s. 6d. net.=


All lovers of humorous verse will welcome a fresh volume of lyrics by
the author of "Deportmental Ditties," "Canned Classics," and other
deservedly popular products of the Minor Muse. Readers of Captain
Graham's new collection of light verse will agree with the _Daily
Chronicle_ in describing its author as "a godsend, a treasure trove, a
messenger from Olympus; a man who really does see the ludicrous side of
life, a man who is a genuine humorist." Once again the author of these
amusing poems attempts to "shoot Folly as she flies," and genially
satirizes the foibles of the age in a fashion that will certainly add to
his reputation as a humorist; and his work is rendered still more
delightful by the drawings of Mr. Lewis Baumer, the well-known _Punch_
artist, with which it is lavishly illustrated. "It is a great and good
thing," as the _Pall Mall Gazette_ remarked with reference to another of
Captain Graham's books, "to have a man among us who is witty all the
time and lets himself go. We ought to be duly thankful. And we are!"



HANNIBAL ONCE MORE.

By DOUGLAS W. FRESHFIELD, M.A.,

VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY; TREASURER OF THE
HELLENIC AND ROMAN SOCIETIES; FORMERLY PRESIDENT OF THE ALPINE CLUB.

_8vo._ =5s. net.=


In this little volume Mr. Freshfield has put into final shape the
results of his study of the famous and still-debated question: "By which
Pass did Hannibal cross the Alps?" The literature which has grown up
round this intricate subject is surprisingly extensive, and various
solutions have been propounded and upheld, with remarkable warmth and
tenacity, by a host of scholars, historians, geographers, military men,
and mountaineers. Mr. Freshfield has a solution of his own, which,
however, he puts forward in no dogmatic spirit, but in such a fashion
that his book is practically a lucid review of the whole matter in each
of its many aspects. To an extensive acquaintance with ancient and
modern geographical literature he unites a wide and varied experience as
an alpine climber and a traveller, and a minute topographical knowledge
of the regions under discussion; and these qualifications--in which many
of his predecessors in the same field of inquiry have been conspicuously
lacking--enable him to throw much new light on a perennially fascinating
problem.



THE PASTORAL TEACHING OF ST. PAUL.

By the Rev. Canon H. L. GOUDGE,

PRINCIPAL OF THE THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, ELY; AUTHOR OF "THE MIND OF ST.
PAUL," ETC.

_Crown 8vo. Cloth._ =2s. 6d. net.=


These lectures were delivered at the end of May, 1913, at the Palace,
Gloucester, to the clergy of the diocese, and are now published in
response to the request of those who heard them. They do not constitute
a detailed commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, though a good deal of
detailed exegesis necessarily finds a place in them. The writer's aim
has been to collect and arrange St. Paul's teaching as to the work of
the Christian pastor, and to point out its applicability to modern
conditions and modern difficulties. The writer has often found, through
his experience in conducting Retreats, that the Pastoral Teaching of St.
Paul is of the greatest value to the clergy to-day, but that this
teaching is often obscured by the unsystematic character of St. Paul's
writing and by the passing controversies with which he has to deal. In
these lectures the First Epistle to Timothy is used as the basis, but
continually illustrated by passages from the other Pastoral Epistles,
and from St. Paul's earlier writings. The first lecture deals with the
pastor's aim, the second with the pastor's character, the third with the
pastor's work, and the fourth with the adaptation of his message to men
and to women, to old and to young, to rich and to poor. The ground
already covered by the writer's earlier book, "The Mind of St. Paul,"
has been carefully avoided, but it is hoped that the one book may throw
light upon the other. An index of texts has been added for those who may
wish to use this second book, as far as that is possible, as a
commentary.



_NEW NOVELS_



SOMETHING AFAR.

By MAXWELL GRAY,

AUTHOR OF "THE SILENCE OF DEAN MAITLAND," "THE GREAT REFUSAL," ETC.

_Crown 8vo. Cloth._ =6s.=


The scene of Maxwell Gray's new story is laid in London and in Italy,
where the gradual unfolding of an elaborate but absorbing plot holds the
reader's attention until the very last page of the book. This is a tale
of heroism, of self-sacrifice, of romance, full of incident and
adventure, illumined by those tender and imaginative touches, that vivid
portrayal of character, which the public has learnt to expect from the
author of "The Silence of Dean Maitland." From these pages we may learn
that there is "something afar from the sphere of our sorrow," the
highest aspiration of the lover, the artist, the poet and the saint,
which, beautiful beyond all that man's heart can divine, is yet within
the reach of every one of us.



THE GENTLE LOVER.

A COMEDY OF MIDDLE AGE.

By FORREST REID,

AUTHOR OF "THE BRACKNELLS," "FOLLOWING DARKNESS," ETC.

_Crown 8vo._ =6s.=


This extremely interesting story, of which the title gives a most apt
description, is written in a lighter vein than the author's previous
work. It is a love story, and while the tale itself is enthralling, it
depends in great measure for its charm on the attractiveness of the
characters who figure in the drama and who are all very pleasant
company. The book is essentially human, the note is never forced, yet
the interest goes on increasing right up to the end. It is actual life
with its comedy and tragedy so closely intermingled that it is not
always easy to distinguish one from the other. The scene is laid abroad,
partly in Bruges, and partly in Italy, but the characters are, with one
or two exceptions, natives of that part of Ireland with which the author
is most familiar, and they lose none of their individuality by being
transplanted to those beautiful old-world cities where we follow their
varied fortunes. Mr. Reid's previous novels have already secured for his
work the warm appreciation of some of the best judges of literary
values, and the present novel may be confidently stated to exhibit his
undoubted power as a writer of fiction in an advanced and progressive
stage.



_NEW SCIENTIFIC WORKS_



INDUSTRIAL POISONING

From Fumes, Gases, and Poisons of Manufacturing Processes.

By Dr. J. RAMBOUSEK,


PROFESSOR OF FACTORY HYGIENE, AND CHIEF STATE HEALTH OFFICER, PRAGUE

Translated and Edited by Dr. T. M. LEGGE,

H.M. MEDICAL INSPECTOR OF FACTORIES.

_Fully Illustrated. Demy 8vo._ =12s. 6d. net.=



MALINGERING

And Feigned Sickness.

By Sir JOHN COLLIE, M.D., J.P.,


MEDICAL EXAMINER, LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL; CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER,
METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD; CONSULTING MEDICAL EXAMINER TO THE SHIPPING
FEDERATION; MEDICAL EXAMINER TO THE SUN INSURANCE OFFICE, CENTRAL
INSURANCE COMPANY, LONDON, LIVERPOOL, AND GLOBE INSURANCE COMPANY, AND
OTHER ACCIDENT OFFICES; LATE HOME OFFICE MED. REF. WORKMEN'S
COMPENSATION ACT.

Assisted by ARTHUR H. SPICER, M.B., B.S. (Lond.), D.P.H.

_Illustrated, xii + 340 pp. Demy 8vo._ =10s. 6d. net.=

In this work Sir John Collie, whose wide experience has eminently fitted
him for the task, has given an interesting and lucid description of the
methods and peculiarities of the malingerer. He describes fully and in
detail the methods of examination for the detection of malingering and
the diseases usually simulated, and discusses the attitude required by
the medical attendant towards unduly prolonged illness.



OLD AGE:

Its Care and Treatment in Health and Disease.

By ROBERT SAUNDBY, M.D., F.R.C.P., L.L.D., J.P.,


MEMBER GENERAL MEDICAL COUNCIL: EX-PRESIDENT BRITISH MEDICAL
ASSOCIATION; PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM; PHYSICIAN
TO THE BIRMINGHAM GENERAL HOSPITAL.

_320 pp._ =7s. 6d. net.=

No English writer having recently dealt with this subject, it has been
felt that there is room for a book which should bring together the
various contributions made to it in modern times, including the results
of the author's extensive experience during forty years of medical
practice. The author discusses the principles of health, by due
attention to which healthy old age may be attained. The diseases to
which the aged are especially liable are fully described, their causes
are clearly indicated, and the author shows in a practical way by what
means they may be avoided and how they may be appropriately treated.
Special attention is given to such important subjects as diet, exercise,
etc. Suggestive dietary tables are given, both for use in health and in
particular diseases, while the chapters devoted to methods of exercise
most suitable in advanced age will also prove of value.

       *       *       *       *       *

LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD, 41 & 43 MADDOX STREET, W.


       +----------------------------------------------------------+
       |                                                          |
       |            Transcriber's notes:                          |
       |                                                          |
       | P.ix. 'inpressions' changed to 'impressions'.            |
       | P.27. 'proferred' changed to 'proffered'.                |
       | P.58. 'on or' changed to 'or on'.                        |
       | P.120. 'inclned' changed to 'inclined'.                  |
       | P.192. 'Russia' changed to 'Prussia'.                    |
       | P.256. 'ne' changed to 'me'.                             |
       | Various punctuation fixed.                               |
       | Italics are displayed as _Illustrated_.                  |
       | Small caps have been replaced with all caps.             |
       |                                                          |
       +----------------------------------------------------------+





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