Imatges de pÓgina

ism, the House of Lords put an end or everything; and the fact that they to, and even our gracious Sovereign were immediately understood in the reduced to a tenure of good behaviour, latter sense in Paris, seems to imply or what might appear so in the eyes that this was the view adopted by of Mr Bright. Notwithstanding all those who were partially admitted to this, however, it was not Reform-it the secret thoughts of the Imperial was not the pacific work of domestic mind. Days passed, and the panic improvement, that excited most at- continued, and every journal in tention in the Royal Address, or gave Europe was commenting on this unthe tone to the debates which fol- expected portent of troubles ; yet the lowed. It was the rumours of war Moniteur was silent. Had the Emcoming thick and fast from the Con- peror not been known to have been tinent, and the note of defensive pre- revolving in his mind the expediparation contained in the royal state- ency of a quarrel with Austria, no ment that it had become necessary “to such warlike meaning would have reconstruct the British fleet.” When been attached to his words by those had such an announcement been who were present and spread the made before? What did it point to ? report ; or if the Emperor had felt What were the urgent circumstances himself misunderstood, and had dewhich called it forth now?

sired to remove the warlike impresThe year had opened ominously. sion, the Moniteur would have spoken For some weeks before the old year out immediately. But it kept silence. expired, rumours of unusual disaffec- The Imperial ear wished to hear distion and incipient revolt had reached tinctly the echoes which his words us from the Italian possessions of awakened. And when at length a Austria--rumours, it was remarked, “note" did appear in the official which were always magnified as they journal, its language was not very passed through Turin, and which reassuring : it seemed little else than were reproduced in their gravest form the voice of one who, whatever his in the Parisian journals. At the designs, wished to preserve the coursame time Sardinia had been keeping tesies of imperial intercommunication. up a larger army than needful, and The facts, too, now began to corroat a review the King had brusquely borate the warlike meaning attached exhorted the troops to maintain their to the Emperor's words. The din of etticiency, as they would be needed preparation became loud in every in spring. Sardinia seemed bent on arsenal of France. The cannonexciting troubles; yet her power was foundries were actively at work ; so incommensurate with her obvious whole regiments of soldiers were wish, that littleuneasiness was created drafted from their ordinary duties in the public mind, as it was felt to assist in the manufacture of carthat peace could not be broken so tridges; stores of biscuit, wine, and long as the great Powers were re- other commissariat supplies, began solved to maintain it. And that daily to arrive at Toulon and Marview was a true one. But on New seilles ; some batteries of the EmpeYear's Day a report suddenly flashed ror's new cannon, of which such marabroad that the French Emperor, vels are reported, were placed ready while greeting cordially the repre- for the field in the same arsenals ; sentatives of all the other Powers, floating batteries on a new model had addressed angry words to the were ordered to be constructed ; ambassador of Austria, - a report transports were largely contracted which at once embodied itself at for ; the spare troops were ordered Paris in a panic; and the sight of home from Algeria, and the men-ofthe French Funds dropping down five war were summoned to return from per cent was, like the sudden fall of all quarters of the sea. Sardinia had mercury in a barometer, received by been long engaged in similar preparathe European public as indicative of tions. And, to add to the fast-incoming storms. The words actually creasing disquietude, it was suddenly spoken by the Emperor (and doubt- announced that a matrimonial alliless used by him with most perfect ance between the French and Sarpremeditation) might mean nothing dinian Courts was about to be formed,


by the marriage of Prince Napoleon Sardinia was known to be about to to the eldest daughter of King Victor adopt a similar course with a view Emmanuel. Hardly was the union to providing herself with the sinews announced ere it was consummated. of war. The contracting parties were quite Such was the aspect of affairs when unknown to each other ; yet so hur- the British Parliament opened on the riedly was the affair carried through, 3d of February. A crisis so serithat the Prince, who arrived in Turin ous was too delicate a matter to be on one Sunday, left it on the Sunday handled by the movers and seconders following with the young Princess of the Address in either House ; but as his wife. And on embarking at no sooner was this comparatively Genoa, Prince Napoleon assured the routine portion of the proceedings authorities who waited to pay their gone through, than the chiefs of the homage, that, “in evil fortune or in Opposition rose to require from the good, the two nations were now Government information as to the allied as well as the dynasties.” exact position of affairs, and as to the Meanwhile General Niel, the first line of policy which they were pursumilitary engineer of France, and who ing in regard to it. The subject is a had accompanied Prince Napoleon, momentous one-the question is only paid visits of inspection to Alessan- at its beginning, and it is important dria and other Sardinian strong to note the views expressed on this places, manifestly with a view to occasion by the parliamentary leaders. help with his advice the Sardinian Earl Granville, who introduced the generals, as well as be able to report subject, began by describing the state precisely to his Imperial master as to of Italy.

of Italy. *Your lordships," he said, the military resources of the Court of are all aware of the kind of governTurin. Very express rumours at the ment that exists in Naples. But same time began to circulate, to the with regard to that kingdom the case effect that a treaty had been con- presents no complication ; because it cluded' between France and Sardinia, depends solely on a change of opinion the contents of which had, by these in the ruler, who may yet call to his Powers, been communicated to, and counsels some wise and influential approved of by Russia. “On the minister, or may, in the natural course next day but one to that on which of events, be succeeded by his son, Prince Napoleon had his first in- when it is quite possible that that terview with the Princess Clotilde,' which is now a bad government may says the Independance Belge (a be converted into a good one. With journal especially well informed in respect to Central Italy the question Russian diplomacy),“ a secret treaty is very different. I have lately come was signed by M. de Cavour, Minister from the capital of the Papal States, for Foreign Affairs in Sardinia, on and ... it is undoubtedly the fact that the one hand, and by General Niel, the entire lay population of these on behalf of the Emperor Napoleon, States are, almost to a man, hostile to on the other.” A statement which, the polity under which they now live." we believe, will be found to be cor- Coming to Lombardio-Venetian prorect. Austria, of course, by this time vinces of Austria, he said that the had taken the alarm. She also was evils of a rigorous rule which they now busy with warlike preparations, experienced were “common to the hurrying fresh troops into Italy, majority of the Continental nations ;" reinforcing the garrisons of Ancona that some of the evils complained of and other menaced points-erecting by the Lombards were, “he would defences for the seaward front of not say sentimental, but hardly of a Venice-placing troops in all her very practical nature; and that seaports of Istria-and summoning "their internal government is certainher few ships of war to return imme- ly better cared forthan that of any part diately to the Adriatic, in evident of Southern Italy. But,” he continued, anticipation of being attacked in that “it is not for us to discuss whether quarter by the French fleet. She Lombardy might or might not be also came into the money market better governed ;” for “these proto raise a loan of £6,000,000, while vinces belong to Austria under treaties


which have by long continuance be- 1852, and which he reiterated on his come a portion of the public law of return to office a year ago, he had Europe. Coming next to Sardinia, now been called to act upon in cir, he said—“It appears that, partly cumstances of unusual gravity and from motives of sympathy with the delicacy. Nor had he been found Italian cause, and partly-it is vain wanting in the crisis. He commenced to deny it—from an ambition for his statement by saying that he corterritorial aggrandisement, Sardinia dially subscribed to the doctrine of

now arming herself far beyond her his noble friend, "that with the inresources, and language is held by ternal government of Lombardy, be her which leads to a well-founded it wise or unwise, be it mild or severe, apprehension that she is about to we have nothing to do. By inheritengage in war. At this moment ance, by long-continued possession, rumours of such a war are rife; and, by the faith of treaties which, if once as far as can be ascertained, these broken through, must cause incalrumours are rendered possible by the culable mischief to the tranquillity of attitude taken by Sardinia, and a Europe, by all these ties Austria has report of certain words said to have acquired a hold over her Italian probeen addressed by the Emperor of the vinces, of which neither we, nor any French to the Ambassador of Aus- nation, under any plea or upon any tria.” On so momentous a question, pretext, has a right to deprive her." the Earl said, he felt justified in de He likewise concurred with Lord manding of the Government, if not an Granville that it is not in Lombardy opinion on the future course of events, nor in Naples that the main danger at least a clear statement of their past exists, but in the Papal States, which policy. And he added :

he styled “ the plague-spot of Italy.”

“It is notorious to all the world," If they can say that during the course said the Premier, “that if public of these events they have spoken equally feeling there were not kept down by to Austria, to Sardinia, and to France, in the presence of two foreign armies, the firm, candid, and friendly manner in all the respect and veneration which which they were entitled to speak,avoiding any unnecessary or irritating menace

are paid to the Sovereign Pontiff in on the one hand, but on the other de his spiritual capacity, would not preclaring their steady conviction that the

vent the overthrow of his tottering maintenance of existing treaties is neces

throne.” “It is from the presence of sary to the peace and tranquillity of the these two armies--not placed there future; and if, in addition, they have in either case to uphold the liberties entered into no engagements whatever, of Italy, but only to maintain by their binding this country to take any course, joint efforts an incompetent govern, at any time, other than the honour of ment, ... it is from the mutual England and the welfare of Europe may jealousy of these two Powers . demand,—in that case, I am sure that that the real danger of serious disHer Majesty's Government will receive the hearty support of the people, a sup- ed. ... Now, upon both of those

turbance in Italy is to be apprehendport that will enable them to speak with greater force and influence in any diffi

Powers her Majesty's Government cult circumstances that may hereafter have pressed, with all the earnestness arise."

of friendship, the necessity of coming

to some understanding with regard Nothing could be more clear and to the advice they shall tender to the masterly than the reply which this Papal Government for diminishing appeal drew forth from the Premier. the grounds of dangerous discontent Lord Derby, when at the helm of which, under the present system, canaffairs, has always shown a remark- not but exist there It would be ably keen perception and sound judg- idle for any Protestant country to ment in foreign affairs; and in his proffer advice, but we have assured speech on this occasion the statesman both Austria and France, that if they was visible in every sentence. The will combine to give salutary counsel, principles of foreign policy which he our best endeavours will not be wantso eloquently enunciated in his me- ing to second their efforts for the morable speech on taking office in amelioration of the internal adminis




[ocr errors]

tration of the Papal States.” Turn- which he was prepared to meet the ing next to Sardinia, “that small but future course of events. He said :heroic State, which has hitherto been a bright spot among the surrounding of the French will still persist in that

"I do earnestly trust that the Emperor gloom," he said, that “the policy wise and prudent and loyal course which which ought clearly to have been pur- he has bitherto pursued.". . . But if, unsued by such a State, was to busy fortunately, the Emperor should depart itself with internal improvements,– from such a course, and should induce not to maintain an army dispropor- the people of Europe to believe that tionate to its finances and ruinous to those sentiments were altered, and that its credit,--not to trust to the efforts the new Empire is again returning to the of its army, however valiant, but to lust of universal dominion—if Europe rely on the sympathies of the world he has any design of placing on different

should have any reason to suspect that at large, and on the faith of the treaties thrones in Italy subordinate sovereigns which secure its dominions-treaties

connected with bimself by alliance, and precisely the same as those under of thereby reproducing that dangerous which Austria holds her Italian pro- system, the introduction of which ultivinces. . . . It is therefore in a spirit mately led to the fall of the great Naof the sincerest friendship for Sardinia, poleon, he will shake the confidence of that we look with anxiety upon the Europe in the intentions and dispositions attitude which of late she appears dis- of France, and, by awakening suspicion posed to take,-an attitude inconsist- from without, he will destroy credit at

home. .. ent alike with her interests, with her

And if, notwithstanding the duty to society at large, and with the friendly efforts of this Government made maintenance of that sympathy and dinia, war should ultimately be the re

in respect to France, Austria, and Sarregard which her previous conduct sult, it would be a satisfaction to the Gohas obtained for her throughout the vernment, though a melancholy one, that civilised world. This advice and they had done all in their power by those opinions, not once, but over and friendly remonstrances to prevent so over again, have we pressed on Sar- formidable a calamity ; and such is their dinia.” Finally, coming to that most position, that they are bound by no secret delicate and most momentous part obligations, treaties, or understandings, of his subject-the policy of France, but are perfectly ready to take in any -- he said there was “a great dan contingency the course which their duty

and the honour of this country might ger,” for Sardinia evidently looked to France for support in her aggres

appear to require." sive policy. To meet this danger, We do not wonder that so admirsaid Lord Derhy, “we have repre- able an exposition of policy-a policy sented to the Emperor of the French, at once steady, untrammelled, and in friendly and earnest terms, the most conducive to peace should importance of exercising the utmost have met with nothing but approval forbearance in any differences he may and support. Earl Grey, captious as have with Austria,--and, above all, he is apt at times to be, expressed his of abstaining from holding out the entire concurrence in the Ministeidea to Sardinia that any assistance rial policy ; and the veteran Lord would proceed from France in case of Brougham refused to keep silence an aggressive and unprovoked war lest his silence might possibly be with Austria ; and we have received misconstrued by his friends across assurances that, so long as Austria the Channel. Forty years have confines herself to her own limits, nearly passed since, in the prime of Sardinia must not expect from France manhood, he launched the thunders any assistance in an aggressive war. of his impassioned oratory against Having thus reviewed the field of the Holy Alliance, for interfering to troubles, the noble Premier concluded put down popular movements in his admirable speech by giving not Spain and other countries; and it only the “clear statement of their behoved him, he said, to come forpast policy,” which Lord Granville ward again now, when a similar unhad required from the Government, lawful

intervention, though on a difbut also by announcing with equal ferent pretext, seemed about to be Clearness and frankness the spirit in perpetrated. If any voice of reason VOL. LXXXV.-NO. DXXI.

2 B

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

could weigh with the Court of Turin, best for the Italians within the limits assuredly it would be the language of treaties, she was now asked to inof this veteran champion of liberty, terfere on their behalf in defiance of who, despite all his sympathies with treaties ! Because England would be freedom, felt bound to condemn the happy to see the Italians peacefully conduct of Sardinia in pretending to established as their own masters, it come forward as the disinterested was now demanded of her that she champion of Italian freedom, when should be equally satisfied by a her real motive was her own aggrand- course of events which would rupisement In the Lower House the ture the peace of Europe, and merely unanimity, and concurrence in the give Italy a new master instead of policy of Ministers, were equally the old one! On accepting the marked. “ Austria," said Lord Pal- crown, Napoleon III. proclaimed to merston,“ possesses her Italian pro- Europe (in his address to the French vinces by virtue of that general Senate and Legislative Corps)“ that treaty of 1815, which is the title- he did not make his reign date from deed of many other territories in 1815, and that he accepted all which Europe possessed by other Powers. history for the last fifty years transThat treaty was the great settlement mits to us with its intiexible authoof Europe; ... and I humbly submit rity.” Again, when taking arms that no Power could justly violate against Russia, it was to existing that treaty by attempting, without treaties that Napoleon III. appealed, reason or cause, to dispossess Austria and it was as illegal aggression that of that which the treaty gives her. he denounced the intervention of the Treaties ought to be respected. If Czar in Turkey. Again, in 1856, it any theoretical preference were to was as the upholder of treaties that set aside the stipulations in any he took so strong, indeed tyrannical, treaty, all the affairs of Europe would a part against the Swiss Government be at sea, and it would be impossible in the affair of Neufchatel — siding to tell the conclusion to which such with the King of Prussia in entire a principle would lead.” Lord John opposition to the liberties and desires Russell - we presume for the sake of of the Neufchatelese. Now, from making a distinction between him- motives which we shall by-and-by self and the rival leader of the Oppo- explain, the French Emperor wishes sition–did not enunciate his views to take a precisely opposite course. with the frank explicitness of the What he has repeatedly condemned ex-Premier ; but if he did not join in in others, he now wishes to be althe general express approval of the lowed to do himself. The illegal policy of the Government, he at least intervention which he refused to did not on any point take exception Russia with respect to Turkey, he to it.

longs to perpetrate himself with Never, on the eve of probable war, respect to Italy. In those circumdid greater unanimity pervade the stances it was surely well that the councils of the British Parliament. British Government refused to be And it is well it was so. The British cajoled into approval of any kind, Government had been pressing most and that the British Parliament, urgently upon France and Sardinia supporting the steady and honest the unjustifiable nature of the aggres- policy of Ministers, should have sive policy they appeared resolved to unanimously proclaimed through its engage in ; and these two Powers, in chiefs that “Treaties must be rereply, (as may be inferred from what spected." has since transpired), had tried every What was the reply from the other means to persuade the British Govern- side of the Channel ] The Emperor ment to countenance their designs, by of the French had long been apprised representing that, as England had al- of the deliberate disapproval with ways hitherto been foremost in sym- which the British Government would pathy for the Italians, she could not regard a French intervention in Italy; now draw back and object when a yet on the very day that Parliament blow was really about to be struck on thus opened in London, a pamphlet behalf of Italian independence. Be- was issued in Paris, partly from the cause England has always done her pen and expressly with the sanction

« AnteriorContinua »