Beacon Lights of History, Volume X
John Lord

Part 2 out of 4

wherever you choose to lead," was the feeling of all classes. "We don't
care who rules us, or what form government may take, provided we are
personally free."

In addition to this passion for personal liberty was also the desire for
a united Italy,--a patriotic sentiment confined however to men of great
intelligence, who scarcely expected such a boon, so great were the
difficulties and obstacles which stared them in the face. It was
impossible for the liberators of Italy to have effected so marvellous a
movement if the material on which they worked had not been so impulsive
and inflammable.

It required an uncommon degree of patriotic ardor on the part of the
mass of the people to follow leaders like Garibaldi and Mazzini,--one of
whom was rash to audacity, and the other visionary; and neither of whom
had the confidence of the government at Turin, which, however, was not
disposed to throw cold water on their enterprises or seriously to
interfere with them. One thing is clear,--that had not the Italians, on
the whole, been ripe for revolution it could not have succeeded; as in
France the _coup d'etat_ of 1851, which enabled Louis Napoleon to mount
the throne, could not have succeeded twenty years earlier when he made
his rash attempt at Strasburg. All successful revolutions require the
ready assent--nay, even the enthusiasm--of the people. The Italian
revolution was based on popular discontent in all parts of the country
where the people were oppressed, and on their enthusiastic aspirations
for a change of rulers. What could any man of genius, however great his
abilities, have done without this support of the people? What could the
leaders of the American Revolution have done unless the thirteen
colonies had rallied around them? Certainly no liberated people ever
supported their leaders with greater enthusiasm and more self-sacrifices
than the Italians. Had they been as degraded as has sometimes been
represented, they would not have fought so bravely.

The Italian revolution in its origin dates back as early as 1820, when
the secret societies were formed--especially that of the Carbonari--with
a view to shake the existing despotisms. The Carbonari ("charcoal
burners"), as they called themselves, were organized first at Naples.
This uprising (at first successful) in Naples and Piedmont was put down
by Austrian bayonets, and the old order of things was restored. A
constitutional government had been promised to various Italian States by
the first Napoleon in 1796. when he invited the Italians to rally to
his standard and overthrow the Bourbon and Austrian despotisms; but his
promises had not been kept. "Never," said that great liar to Prince
Metternich, "will I give the Italians a liberal system: I have granted
to them only the semblance of it." Equally false were the promises made
by Austrian generals in 1813, when the Italians were urged to join in
the dethronement of the great conqueror who had drafted them into his
armies without compensation.

Though Italian liberty was suppressed by the strong arm of despotism,
its spirit was kept alive by the secret societies, among whom were
enrolled men of all classes; but these societies had no definite ends to
accomplish. Among them were men of every shade of political belief. In
general, they aimed at the overthrow of existing governments rather than
at any plan as to what would take their place. When, through their
cabals, they had dethroned Ferdinand I. at Naples, he too, like
Napoleon, promised a constitution, and swore to observe it; but he also
broke both his promises and oaths, and when reinstated by irresistible
forces, he reigned more tyrannically than before.

When the revolution in the Sardinian province of Piedmont was suppressed
(1821), King Victor Emmanuel I. refused to grant further liberty to his
subjects, or to make promises which he could not fulfil. In this state
of mind the honest old king abdicated in favor of his brother Charles
Felix, who ruled despotically as Austria dictated, but did not belong to
that class of despicable monarchs who promise everything and
grant nothing.

In 1831, on the death of Charles Felix, the throne of Piedmont--or,
rather, Sardinia, as it was called when in 1720 the large island of that
name was combined with the principality of Piedmont and other
territories to form a kingdom--was ascended by Charles Albert, of the
younger branch of the House of Savoy. Charles Albert was an honest
sovereign, but perpetually vacillating between the liberal and clerical
parties. He hated Austria, but was averse to revolutionary measures. He
ruled wisely, however, effecting many useful reforms, and adding to the
prosperity of the country, which was the best governed of all the
Italian States. It was to him that Mazzini appealed to put himself at
the head of the national movement for liberty.

Joseph Mazzini, one of the earliest of the prominent men who aided in
the deliverance of Italy, was a native of Genoa, belonging to a good but
not illustrious family. He was a boy of twelve years of age when the
revolution of 1821 broke out in Piedmont, which was so summarily crushed
by Austria. At that early age he had indefinite ideas, but thought that
Italians should boldly struggle for the liberty of their country. In
1826, while a student at the university, he published an article on
Dante, whose lofty sentiments and independent spirit made a deep
impression on his soul. His love for his native land became like a "fire
in his bones;" it was a passion which nothing could repress. He was an
enthusiast of immense physical and moral courage, pure-minded, lofty in
his aspirations, imbued with the spirit of sacrifice. As his mind
developed, he became an intense republican. He had no faith in
monarchies, even if liberal. Heart and soul he devoted himself to the
spread of republican ideas. He early joined the Carbonari, who numbered
nearly a million in Italy, and edited a literary paper in Genoa, in
which he dared to rebuke the historian Botta for his aristocratic
tendencies. He became so bold in the advocacy of extreme liberal
opinions that his journal was suppressed by government. When the French
insurrection broke out in 1830, he and other young men betook themselves
to the casting of bullets. He was arrested, and confined in the fortress
of Savona, on the western Riviera. It was while in prison that he
conceived the plan of establishing a society, which he called "Young
Italy," for the propagation of republican ideas. When liberated he
proceeded to Geneva, where he made the acquaintance of Sismondi, the
Swiss historian, who treated him with great kindness and urbanity, and
introduced him to Pellegrino Rossi, the exiled publicist, at that time
professor of law at Geneva. From Geneva Mazzini went to Lyons, and there
collected a band of Italian exiles, mostly military men, who
contemplated the invasion of Savoy. Hunted as a refugee, he secretly
escaped to Marseilles, and thence to Corsica, where the Carbonari had
great influence. Returning to Marseilles, he resumed his design of
founding the Association of Young Italy, and became acquainted with the
best of the exiles who had flocked to that city. It was then he wrote to
Charles Albert, who had lately ascended the Sardinian throne, inviting
him to place himself at the head of the liberal movement; but the king
at once gave orders to arrest the visionary enthusiast if found in his

The Association of Young Italy which Mazzini founded, and which soon
numbered thousands of enthusiastic young men, proclaimed as the basis of
its political belief Liberty, Equality, Humanity, Independence, Unity.
It was republican, as favoring the only form of government which it was
supposed would insure the triumph of these principles. It was unitary,
because without unity there was no true nationality or real strength.
The means to reach these ends, Mazzini maintained, were not
assassination, as represented by the dagger of the Carbonari, but
education and insurrection,--and insurrection by guerrilla bands, as
the only way for the people to emancipate themselves from a foreign
yoke. It was a foreign yoke under which Italy groaned, since all the
different states and governments were equally supported by
foreign armies.

So far as these principles harmonized with those proclaimed by the
French revolutionists, they met very little opposition from the Italian
liberals; but national unity, however desirable, was pronounced
chimerical. How could Naples, Rome, Venice, Florence, Sardinia, and the
numerous other States, be joined together under one government? And
then, under what form of government should this union be effected? To
the patriots of 1831 this seemed an insoluble problem. Mazzini, from
first to last, maintained that the new government should be republican.
Yet what more visionary than a united Italy as a republic? The sword, or
fortunate circumstances, might effect unity, but under the rule only of
one man, whether he were bound by a constitution or not. Such a union
Mazzini would not entertain for a moment, and persistently disseminated
his principles.

In consequence, a decree of banishment from France was proclaimed
against him. He hid himself in Marseilles, and the police could not find
him. From his secret retreat his writings continued to be issued, and
were scattered over France, Switzerland, and Italy, and found readers
and advocates.

At length, in 1833, Mazzini ventured to put his principles into
practice, and meditated the invasion of Savoy, to produce an
insurrection at Genoa and Alessandra. With amazing perseverance under
difficulties, he succeeded in collecting money and men, and, without
military education or genius, made his attempt. Defeated by the royal
troops, the expedition failed, as might have been expected. Such a man
should have fought with the pen and not the sword. The enterprise was a
failure from the start. Mazzini was sentenced to death; but again he
escaped, and fled to Berne, whence he continued to issue his
publications. Thus two or three years were passed, when, through the
efforts of sundry Italian governments, the authorities of Berne resolved
to disperse the Association of Young Italy.

Mazzini again became a fugitive, and in 1837 found his way to England,
without money, without friends, without influence,--a forlorn exile
fraternizing with doubt, sorrow, and privation; struggling for more than
a year in silence; so poor at one time as to be compelled to pawn his
coat and boots to keep himself from absolute starvation, for he was too
proud to beg. Thus did he preserve his dignity, and uncomplainingly
endure his trials. At last he found means to support himself modestly
by literature, and gradually made friends,--among them Thomas Carlyle.
He gained social position as a man of genius, of unsullied moral
character and of elevated patriotism, although his political opinions
found but few admirers. Around his humble quarters the Italian exiles
gathered, and received kind words of encouragement and hope; some of
them he was able to assist in their struggles with bitter poverty.

Finally, in 1848, Mazzini returned to Italy, no longer molested, to take
part in the revolution which was to free his country. He found power in
the hands of the moderate progressive party.

The leader of this party was the Marquis Massimo d'Azeglio, belonging to
an ancient and aristocratic Piedmontese family. He was a man of great
weight of character and intellectual expansion. In 1846 he was ordered
to leave Tuscany, for having printed a book of liberal views, which gave
offence to the government. He was opposed to the republican opinions of
Mazzini, and was a firm advocate of a constitutional monarchy. He
desired reforms to be carried on moderately and wisely. Probably he was
the most enlightened man in Italy at this time, and of incorruptible
integrity. He was well acquainted with the condition of the cities of
Italy, having visited most of them, and had great influence with Charles
Albert, who was doubtless patriotic in his intentions, but disposed to
move cautiously.

It was the aim of D'Azeglio to bring to bear an enlightened public
opinion on the evils which were generally admitted, without provoking
revolutionary risings, in which he had no faith. Like other Italian
patriots, he desired to see his country freed from foreign domination,
and was as much disliked by Metternich as by Mazzini. The Austrian
statesman ridiculed the idea of Italian unity, and called Italy a
"geographical expression." What he considered an impossibility is now
realized as a fact. His judgment of the papacy however was wiser. A
"liberal Pope," he declared, "is not a possible being." To all the
reforms advocated by Italian statesmen the Pope, whatever his name, has
remained consistently inflexible. The words ascribed to the Jesuits
would apply to all the Popes,--"Let us remain as we are, or let us exist
no longer." To every proposition for reform the cry has been, _Non
possumus_. The minutest concession has been obstinately refused,--a fact
so well known that even in Rome itself no other course has been possible
among its discontented people than absolute rebellion. Something was
hoped from Pius IX.; but all hopes of reforms at his hand vanished soon
after his elevation in 1846. He did, indeed, soon after his accession,
publish an amnesty for political offences; but this was a matter of
grace, to show his kindness of heart, not to indicate any essential
change in the papal policy.

Benevolence and charity are two different things from sympathy with
reform and liberality of mind. The first marked Metternich and Alexander
I. of Russia, as well as Pius IX. The most urbane and graceful of
princes may be inflexible tyrants so far as government is concerned,
like Augustus and Louis XIV. You may be charmed with the manners and
genial disposition and unaffected piety of a dignitary of the Church,
but there can be no cordial agreement with him respecting the rights of
the people any more than as to Church dogmas, even if you yield up
ninety-nine points out of a hundred. The intensest bigotry and
narrowness are compatible with the most charming manners and the noblest
acts of personal kindness. This truth is illustrated by the characters
drawn by Sir Walter Scott in his novels, and by Hume in his histories.
It explains the inconsistencies of hospitable English Tories, of
old-fashioned Southern planters, of the haughty nobles of Austria who
gathered around the table of the most accomplished gentleman in
Europe,--equally famous for his graceful urbanities and infamous for his
uncompromising hostility to the leaders of liberal movements. On the
other hand, those who have given the greatest boons to humanity have
often been rough in manners, intolerant of infirmities, bitter in their
social prejudices, hard in their dealings, and acrid in their tempers;
and if they were occasionally jocular, their jokes were too practical to
be in high favor with what is called good society.

Now D'Azeglio was a high-born gentleman, aristocratic in all his ideas,
and, what was unusual with Italian nobles, a man of enlarged and liberal
views, who favored reforms if they could be carried out in a
constitutional way,--like Lord John Russell and the great English Whig
noblemen who passed the Reform Bill, or like the French statesmen of the
type of Thiers and Guizot.

In the general outbreak of revolutionary ideas which convulsed all
Europe in 1848, when even Metternich was driven from power, Charles
Albert was forced to promise a constitution to his North Italian
subjects,--and kept his word, which other Italian potentates did not,
when they were restored by Austrian bayonets. He had always been
vacillating, but at last he saw the necessities of Italy and recognized
the spirit of the times. He was thus naturally drawn into a war with
Austria, whose army in Italy was commanded by the celebrated Marshal
Radetzky. Though an old man of eighty, the Austrian general defeated the
King of Piedmont in several engagements. At Novara, on the 23d of March,
1849, he gained a decisive victory, which led to the abdication of the
king; and amidst gloom, disaster, and difficulty, the deposed monarch
was succeeded by his son, the Duke of Savoy, under the name of Victor
Emmanuel II.

The young king rallied around him the ablest and most patriotic men he
could find, including D'Azeglio, who soon became his prime minister; and
it was from this nobleman's high character, varied abilities, unshaken
loyalty to his sovereign, and ardent devotion to the Italian cause, that
Victor Emmanuel was enabled to preserve order and law on the one hand
and Italian liberties on the other. All Italy, as well as Piedmont, had
confidence in the integrity and patriotism of the king, and in the
wisdom of his prime minister, who upheld the liberties they had sworn to
defend. D'Azeglio succeeded in making peace with Austria, while, at the
same time, he clung to constitutional liberty. Under his administration
the finances were improved and national resources were developed.
Sardinia became the most flourishing of all the States of Italy, in
which both freedom and religious toleration were enjoyed,--for Naples
and Rome had relapsed into despotisms, and the iron hand of Austria was
still felt throughout the peninsula. Among other reforms, ecclesiastics
were placed on the same footing with other citizens in respect to the
laws,--a great movement in a Catholic State. This measure was of course
bitterly opposed by the clerical and conservative party, but was ably
supported in the legislature by the member from Turin,--Count Camillo
Cavour; and this great man now became one of the most prominent figures
in the drama played by Italian patriots, since it was to his sagacious
statesmanship and devoted labors that their efforts were crowned with
final success.

Cavour was a man of business, of practical intellect, and of
inexhaustible energies. His labors, when he had once entered upon public
life, were prodigious. His wisdom and tact were equal to his industry
and administrative abilities. Above all, his patriotism blazed with a
steady light, like a beacon in a storm, as intense as that of Mazzini,
but more wisely directed.

Cavour was a younger son of a noble Piedmontese family, and entered the
army in 1826, serving in the engineers. His liberal sentiments made him
distrusted by the government of Charles Felix as a dangerous man, and he
was doomed to an inactive life in an unimportant post. He soon quitted
the army, and embarked in business operations as manager of one of the
estates of his family. For twelve years he confined himself to
agricultural labors, making himself acquainted with all the details of
business and with the science of agriculture, introducing such
improvements as the use of guano, and promoting agricultural
associations; but he was not indifferent at the same time to public
affairs, being one of the most zealous advocates of constitutional
liberty. A residence in England gave him much valuable knowledge as to
the working of representative institutions. He established in 1847 a
political newspaper, and went into parliament as a member of the Chamber
of Deputies. In 1848 he used all his influence to induce the government
to make war with Austria; and when Charles Albert abdicated, and Victor
Emmanuel became king, Cavour's great talents were rewarded. In 1850 he
became minister of commerce; in 1852, prime minister. After that, his
history is the history of Italy itself.

The Sardinian government took the lead of all the States of Italy for
its vigor and its wisdom. To drive the Austrians out of the country now
became the first principle of Cavour's administration. For this end he
raised the military and naval forces of Sardinia to the utmost
practicable point of efficiency; and the people from patriotic
enthusiasm, cheerfully submitted to the increase of taxation. He built
railways, made commercial treaties with foreign nations, suppressed
monasteries, protected fugitives from Austrian and Papal tyranny, gave
liberty to the Press, and even meditated the construction of a tunnel
under Mont Cenis. His most difficult task was the reform of
ecclesiastical abuses, since this was bitterly opposed by the clergy and
the conservatives; but he succeeded in establishing civil marriages, in
suppressing the Mendicant order of friars, and in making priests
amenable to the civil courts. He also repressed all premature and unwise
movements on the part of patriotic leaders to secure national
deliverance, and hence incurred the hostility of Mazzini.

The master-stroke in the policy of Cavour as a statesman was to make a
firm alliance with France and England, to be used as a lever against
Austria. He saw the improbability of securing liberty to Italy unless
the Austrians were expelled by force of arms. The Sardinian kingdom,
with only five millions of people, was inadequate to cope singly with
one of the most powerful military monarchies of Europe. Cavour looked
for deliverance only by the aid of friendly Powers, and he secured the
friendship of both France and England by offering five thousand troops
for the Crimean war. On the 10th of January, 1855, a treaty was signed
which admitted Sardinia on equal terms as the ally of the Western
Powers; and the Sardinian army, under the command of General La Marmora,
rendered very substantial aid, and fought with great gallantry in the
Crimea. When, in 1856, an armistice took place between the contending
Powers, followed by the Congress of Paris, Cavour took his place with
the envoys of the great Powers. Furthermore, he availed himself of his
opportunities to have private conferences with the Emperor Napoleon
III. in reference to Italian matters; and his influence with the foreign
statesmen he met in Paris was equally beneficial to the great end to
which his life was devoted. His diplomacy was unrivalled for tact, and
the ministers of France and England saw and acknowledged it. By his
diplomatic abilities he enlisted the Emperor of the French in behalf of
Italian independence, and, perhaps more than any other man, induced him
to make war on Austria.

Cavour's lucid exposition of the internal affairs of Italy brought out
the condemnation of the Russian and Prussian envoys as well as that of
the English ministry, and led to their expostulation with the Austrian
government. But all in vain. Austria would listen to no advice, and
blindly pursued her oppressive policy, to the exasperation of the
different leaders whatever may have been their peculiar views of
government. All this prepared the way for the acknowledgment of Sardinia
as the leader in the matter of Italian emancipation, whom the other
Italian States were willing to follow. The hopes of the Italians were
now turned to the House of Savoy, to its patriotic chief, and to its
able minister, whose counsels Victor Emmanuel in most cases followed.
From this time the republican societies which Mazzini had established
lost ground before the ascendency which Cavour had acquired in Italian
politics. Of the Western Powers, he would have preferred an alliance
with Great Britain; but when he found he could expect from the English
government no assistance by arms against Austria, he drew closer to the
French emperor as the one power alone from whom efficient aid was to be
obtained, and set his sharp wits at work to make such a course both easy
and profitable to France.

There is reason to believe that Louis Napoleon was sincere in his desire
to assist the Italians in shaking off the yoke of Austria, to the extent
that circumstances should warrant. Whatever were his political crimes,
his personal sympathies were with Italy. His youthful alliance with the
Carbonari, his early political theories, the antecedents of his family,
and his natural wish for the close union of the Latin races seem to
confirm this view. Moreover, he was now tempted by Cavour with the
cession of Savoy and Nice to France to strengthen his southern
boundaries; and for the possession of these provinces he was willing to
put Victor Emmanuel in the way to obtain as a compensation Venetia and
Lombardy, then held by the iron hand of Austria. This would double the
number of Victor Emmanuel's subjects, and give him the supremacy over
the north of Italy. Cavour easily convinced his master that the
sacrifice of Savoy, the home of his ancestors, though hard to accept,
would make him more powerful than all the other sovereigns of Italy
combined, and would pave the way for the sovereignty of Italy
itself,--the one object which Cavour had most at heart, and to which all
his diplomatic talents were directed.

In the summer of 1858 Napoleon III. invited Cavour to a conference at
Plombieres, and thither the Italian statesman repaired; but the results
of the conference were not revealed to the public, or even to the
ministers of Louis Napoleon. Although there were no written engagements,
it was arranged that Sardinia should make war on Austria and that France
should come to her assistance, as the only practicable way for Italy to
shake off the Austrian domination and secure her independence.
Ultimately, not only independence but unity was the supreme aim of
Cavour. For this great end the Italian statesman labored night and day,
under great difficulties, and constant apprehension that something might
happen which would compel the French emperor to break his promises, for
his situation was also critical. But in reality Louis Napoleon desired
war with Austria as much as Cavour, in order to find employment for his
armies, to gain the coveted increase of territory, and to increase his
military prestige.

Cavour, having completed arrangements with Napoleon III., at once sought
the aid of all the Italian patriots. He secretly sent for Garibaldi,
and unfolded to him his designs on Austria; and also he privately
encouraged those societies which had for their end the deliverance of
Italy. All this he did without the knowledge of the French emperor, who
equally disliked Garibaldi and Mazzini.

At this time Garibaldi was one of the foremost figures in the field of
Italian politics, and, to introduce him, we must go back to an earlier
day. Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in 1807, at Nice, of humble parents,
who were seafaring people. Although he was a wild youth, full of deeds
of adventure and daring, he was destined by his priest-ridden father for
the Church; but the boy's desire for a sailor's life could not be
resisted. At the age of twenty-one he was second in command of a brig
bound for the Black Sea, which was plundered three times during the
voyage by Greek pirates. This misfortune left the young Garibaldi
utterly destitute; but his wants being relieved by a generous
Englishman, he was enabled to continue his voyage to Constantinople,
where he was taken sick.

In 1834 he was induced to take part in the revolutionary movement which
was going on under Mazzini, who had instituted his Society of Young
Italy. On the failure of Mazzini in the rash affair of St. Julien,--an
ill-timed insurrection in which Garibaldi took part,--the young sailor
fled in disguise to Nice, and thence to Marseilles. Charles Albert was
then on the throne of Sardinia, and though the most liberal sovereign in
Italy, was tyrannical in his measures. Ferdinand II. ruled at Naples
with a rod of iron; the Pontifical States and the Duchies of Modena and
Parma were equally under despotic governments, while Venice and Lombardy
were ground down by Austria.

In those days of discouragement, when all Italy was enslaved, Garibaldi
left his country with a heavy heart, and sailing for South America,
entered the service of the Republic of Rio Grande, which had set itself
up against the authority of the Emperor of Brazil. In this struggle of a
little State against a larger one, Garibaldi distinguished himself not
only for his bravery but for his military talent of leadership. He took
several prizes as a privateer, but was wounded in some engagement, and
fled to Gualeguay, where he was thrown into prison, from which he made
his escape, and soon after renewed his seafaring adventures, some of
which were marvellous. After six years of faithful service to the
Republic of Rio Grande, he bought a drove of nine hundred cattle, and
set out for Montevideo with his Brazilian wife and child, to try a
mercantile career. This was unsuccessful. He then became a schoolmaster
at Montevideo, but soon tired of so monotonous a calling. Craving war
and adventure, he buckled on his sword once more in the struggle
between Montevideo and Buenos Ayres; and for his gallantry and successes
he was made a general, but refused all compensation for his services,
and remained in poverty, which he seemed to love as much as some love
riches. The reputation which he gained drew a number of Italians to his
standard, resolved to follow his fortunes.

In the meantime great things were doing in Piedmont towards reform by
the Marquis D'Azeglio,--prime minister of Charles Albert,--who was then
irretrievably devoted to the liberal cause. Every mail brought to
Montevideo news which made Garibaldi's blood boil, and he resolved to
return to Italy and take part in the movements of the patriots. This was
in 1848, when not only Italy but all Europe was shaken by revolutionary
ideas. He landed in Nice on the 24th of June, and at once went to the
camp of Charles Albert, sought an interview, and offered his services,
which, however, were not accepted,--the king having not forgotten that
Garibaldi was once a rebel against him, and was still an outlaw.

Nothing remained for the adventurous patriot but to continue an inactive
spectator or throw in his lot with the republican party. He did not wait
long to settle that question, but flew to Milan and organized a force of
thirty thousand volunteers for the defence of that city from the
Austrians. On the conclusion of an armistice, which filled him with
detestation of Charles Albert, he and Mazzini, who had joined the corps,
undertook to harass the Austrians among the mountains above Lake
Maggiore. Finding it impossible to make head against the Austrians in
the midst of their successes, Garibaldi retired to Switzerland, where he
lay ill for some time with a dangerous fever. On his recovery he started
for Venice with two hundred and fifty volunteers, to join Daniele Manin
in his memorable resistance to the Austrians; but hearing at Ravenna
that a rebellion had broken out in Rome, he bent his course to the
"Eternal City," to swell with fifteen hundred men the ranks of the
rebellious subjects of the Pope,--for Pius IX. had repudiated the
liberal principles which he had professed at the beginning of his reign.

When the rebellion broke out in Rome the Pope fled to Gaeta, and put
himself under the protection of the King of Naples. A Constituent
Assembly was called, in which both Mazzini and Garibaldi sat as members.
Garibaldi was intrusted with the defence of the city; a triumvirate was
formed--of which Mazzini was the inspiring leader--to administer
affairs, and the temporal government of the Pope was decreed by the
Assembly to be at an end.

Meanwhile, Louis Napoleon, then President of the French Republic,
against all his antecedents, sided against the Liberals, and sent
General Oudinot with a large army to restore the papal power at Rome.
This general was at first defeated, but, on the arrival of
reinforcements, he gradually gained possession of the city. The
resistance was valiant but useless. In vain Mazzini promised assistance;
in vain Garibaldi, in his red shirt and cap, defended the ramparts. On
the 21st of June the French effected a breach in the city wall and
planted their batteries, and on the 30th of June they made their final
assault. Further resistance became hopeless; and Garibaldi, at the head
of four thousand fugitives, leaving the city as the French entered it,
again became a wanderer.

He first made his way to Tuscany, but at Arezzo found the gates closed
against him. Hotly pursued by Austrian troops he crossed the Apennines,
and sought the shelter of the little republic of San Marino, the
authorities of which, in fear of the Austrians, refused him the refuge
he sought, but in full sympathy with his cause connived at his escape.
As Venice still held out under Manin, Garibaldi made his way to the
Adriatic,--accompanied by his wife, the faithful Anita, about to become
a mother,--where he and some of his followers embarked in some
fishing-boats and reached the mouth of the Po, still hounded by the
Austrians. He and his sick wife and a few followers were obliged to
hide in cornfields, among rocks, and in caverns. On the shores of the
Adriatic Anita expired in the arms of her husband, who, still hunted,
contrived to reach Ravenna, where for a while he was hidden by friends.

It was now useless to proceed to Venice, at this time in the last gasp
of her struggle; so Garibaldi made his way to Spezzia, on the Gulf of
Genoa, with a single companion-in-arms, but learned that Florence was
not prepared for rebellion. The government of Turin, fearing to allow so
troublesome a guest to remain at Genoa, held him for a while in
honorable captivity, but permitted him to visit his aged mother and his
three children at Nice. On his return to Genoa, the government politely
requested him to leave Italy. He passed over to the island of Sardinia,
still hunted and half a bandit, wandering over the mountains, and, when
hard pressed, retiring to the small island-rock of Caprera.

Eventually, finding no hopes of further rising in Italy, Garibaldi found
his way to Liverpool, and embarked for New York. Arriving in that city
he refused to be lionized, and also declined all contributions of money
from admirers, but supported himself for eighteen months by making
tallow candles on Staten Island. At the same time French exiles were
seeking to gain a living in New York,--Ledru Rollin as a store porter,
Louis Blanc as a dancing-master, and Felix Pyat as a scene-shifter. Not
succeeding very well in making candles, Garibaldi went again to South
America, and became captain of a trading-vessel plying between China and
Peru, and then again of a vessel between New York and England. In 1854
he was once more in Genoa, and after cruising about the Mediterranean,
he had amassed money enough to buy a portion of the island of Caprera,
where he found a resting-place.

Sardinia was then under the guidance of Cavour, who was meditating the
gaining of friendship from France by furnishing troops for the Crimean
war. The moderate Liberal party had the ascendency in Italy, convinced
that all hopes for the regeneration of their country rested on
constitutional measures. Venice and Lombardy had settled down once more
in subjection to Austria; the Pope reigned as a temporal prince with the
assistance of French troops; and at Naples a Bourbon despot had
re-established his tyrannical rule.

For ten years Garibaldi led a quiet life at Caprera, the whole island,
fifteen miles in circumference, near the coast of Sardinia, having
fallen into his possession. Here he cultivated a small garden redeemed
from the rocks, and milked a few cows. He had also some fine horses
given to him by friends, and his house was furnished in the most simple
manner. On this island, monarch of all he surveyed, he diffused an
unostentatious but generous hospitality; for many distinguished persons
came to visit him, and he amused himself by writing letters and
attempting some literary work.

In 1859, under the manipulation of Cavour, French and Italian politics
became more and more intertwined,--the war with Austria, the formation
of an Italian kingdom from the Alps to the Adriatic, the cession of Nice
and Savoy and the marriage of Princess Clotilde to Prince Napoleon being
the main objects which occupied the mind of Cavour. Early in the year
Victor Emmanuel made public his intention of aiding Venice and Lombardy
to throw off the Austrian yoke. It was then that the all-powerful
Italian statesman sent for Garibaldi, who at once obeyed the summons,
appearing in his red blouse and with his big stick, and was commissioned
to fight against the Austrians. Volunteers from all parts of Italy
flocked to his standard,--some four thousand disorderly troops, but
devoted to him and to the cause of Italian independence. He held a
regular commission in the allied armies of France and Sardinia, but was
so hampered by jealous generals that Victor Emmanuel--dictator as well
as king--gave him permission to quit the regular army, go where he
liked, and fight as he pleased. With his volunteers Garibaldi performed
many acts of bravery which won for him great _eclat_; but he made many
military mistakes. Once he came near being captured with all his men;
but fortune favored, and he almost miraculously escaped from the hands
of the Austrians. The scene of his exploits was in the mountainous
country around Lake Como.

Meanwhile the allied armies had defeated the Austrians at Magenta and
Solferino, and Louis Napoleon had effected the celebrated treaty with
Austria at Villa-Franca, arranging for a confederation of all the
Italian States under the Papal Protectorate, and the cession of Lombardy
to Sardinia. This inconclusive result greatly disgusted all the Italian
patriots. Cavour resigned at once, but soon after was induced to resume
his post at the head of affairs. Venice and Verona were still in
Austrian hands. As the Prussians showed signs of uneasiness, it is
probable that Louis Napoleon did not feel justified in continuing the
war, in which he had nothing further to gain; at all events, he now
withdrew. Garibaldi was exceedingly indignant at the desertion of
France, and opposed bitterly the cession of Nice and Savoy,--by which he
was brought in conflict with Cavour, who felt that Italy could well
afford to part with a single town and a barren strip of mountain
territory for the substantial advantages it had already gained by the
defeat of the Austrian armies.

The people of the Italian States, however, repudiated the French
emperor's arrangements for them, and one by one Modena, Tuscany, Parma,
and the Romagna,--the upper tier of the Papal States,--formally voted
for annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia; and the king, nothing loath,
received them into his fold in March, 1860. This result was in great
measure due to the Baron Ricasoli of Tuscany, an independent
country-gentleman and wine-grower, who had taken active interest in
politics, and had been made Dictator of Tuscany when her grand duke fled
at the outbreak of the war. Ricasoli obstinately refused either to
recall the grand duke or to submit to the Napoleonic programme, but
insisted on annexation to Sardinia; and the other duchies followed.

Garibaldi now turned his attention to the liberation of Naples and
Sicily from the yoke of Ferdinand, which had become intolerable. As
early as 1851, Mr. Gladstone, on a visit to Naples, wrote to Lord
Aberdeen that the government of Ferdinand was "an outrage on religion,
civilization, humanity, and decency." He had found the prisons full of
state prisoners in the vilest condition, and other iniquities which were
a disgrace to any government. The people had attempted by revolution
again and again to shake off the accursed yoke, and had failed. Their
only hope was from without.

It was the combined efforts of three men that freed Southern Italy from
the yoke,--Mazzini, who opened the drama by recognizing in Sicily a
fitting field of action; Cavour, by his diplomatic intrigues; and
Garibaldi, by his bold and even rash enterprises. The patriotism of
these three men is universally conceded; but they held one another in
distrust and dislike, although in different ways they worked for the
same end. Mazzini wanted to see a republican form of government
established throughout Italy, which Cavour regarded as chimerical.
Garibaldi did not care what government was established, provided Italy
was free and united. Cavour, though he disapproved the rashness of
Garibaldi, was willing to make use of him provided he was not intrusted
with too high a command. Moreover, there were mutual jealousies, each
party wishing to get the supreme direction of affairs.

The first step was taken in 1860 by Garibaldi, in his usual fashion.
Having gathered about a thousand men, he set sail from Genoa to take
part in the Sicilian revolution. Cavour, when he heard of the
expedition, or rather raid, led by Garibaldi upon Sicily in aid of the
insurrectionists, ostensibly opposed it, and sent an admiral to capture
him and bring him back to Turin; but secretly he favored it. The
government of Turin held aloof from the expedition out of regard to
foreign Powers, who were indignant that the peace of Europe should be
disturbed by a military adventurer,--in their eyes, half-bandit and
half-sailor. Lord John Russell, however, in England, gave his
encouragement and assistance by the directions given to Admiral Mundy,
who interposed his ships between the Neapolitan cruisers and the
soldiers of Garibaldi, then marching on the coast. France remained
neutral; Austria had been crippled; and Prussia and Russia were too
distant to care much about a matter which did not affect them.

So, with his troop of well-selected men, Garibaldi succeeded in landing
on the Sicilian shores. He at once issued his manifesto to the people,
and soon had the satisfaction to see his forces increased. He first came
in contact with the Neapolitan troops among the mountains at Calatafimi,
and defeated them, so that they retired to Palermo. The capital of
Sicily could have been easily defended; but, aided by a popular
uprising, Garibaldi was soon master of the city, and took up his
quarters in the royal palace as Dictator of Sicily, where he lived very
quietly, astonishing the viceroy's servants by his plain dinners of soup
and vegetables without wine. His wardrobe was then composed "of two
pairs of gray trousers, an old felt hat, two red shirts, and a few

On the 17th of July, 1860, Garibaldi left Palermo, and embarked for
Milazzo, on the northwest coast of Sicily, where he gained another
victory, which opened to him the city of Messina. The Neapolitan
government deemed all further resistance on the island of Sicily
useless, and recalled its troops for the defence of Naples. At Messina,
Garibaldi was joined by Father Gavazzi, the finest orator of Italy, who
had seceded from the Romish Church, and who threw his whole soul into
the cause of Italian independence. Garibaldi now had a force of
twenty-five thousand men under his orders, and prepared to invade the

On the 17th of August he landed at Taormina with a part of his army, and
marched on Reggio, a strong castle, which he took by assault. This
success gave him a basis of operations on the main land. The residue of
his troops were brought over from Messina, and his triumphal march to
Naples immediately followed, not a hand being raised against him. The
young king Francis II. fled as the conqueror approached,--or rather I
should say, deliverer; for Garibaldi had no hard battles to fight when
once he had landed on the shores of Italy. His popularity was so great,
and the enthusiasm of the people was so unbounded, that armies melted
away or retired as he approached with his Calabrian sugar-loaf hat; and,
instead of fighting, he was obliged to go through the ordeal of kissing
all the children and being hugged by all the women.

Naples was now without a government, and Garibaldi had no talent for
organization. The consequence was that the city was torn by factions,
and yet Garibaldi refused to adopt vigorous measures. "I am grieved," he
said, "at the waywardness of my children," yet he took no means to
repress disorders. He even reaped nothing but ingratitude from those he
came to deliver. Not a single Garibaldian was received into a private
house, while three thousand of his men were lying sick and wounded on
the stones of the Jesuit College. How was it to be expected that
anything else could happen among a people so degraded as the
Neapolitans, one hundred years behind the people of North Italy in
civilization, in intelligence, in wealth, and in morals,--in everything
that qualifies a people for liberty or self-government?

In the midst of the embarrassments which perplexed and surrounded the
dictator, Mazzini made his appearance at Naples. Garibaldi, however,
would have nothing to do with the zealous republican, and held his lot
with the royalists, as he was now the acknowledged representative of the
Sardinian government. Mazzini was even requested to leave Italy, which
he refused to do. Whether it was from jealousy that Garibaldi held aloof
from Mazzini,--vastly his intellectual superior,--or from the conviction
that his republican ideas were utterly impracticable, cannot be known.
We only know that he sought to unite the north and the south of Italy
under one government, as a preparation for the conquest of central
Italy, which he was impatient to undertake at all hazards.

At last the King of Naples prepared to make one decisive struggle for
his throne. From his retreat at Gaeta he rallied his forces, which were
equal to those of Garibaldi,--about forty thousand men. On the 1st of
October was fought the battle of Volturno, as to which Garibaldi, after
fierce fighting, was enabled to send his exultant dispatch, "Complete
victory along the whole line!" Francis II. retired to his strong
fortress of Gaeta to await events.

Meanwhile, on the news of Garibaldi's successes, King Victor Emmanuel
set out from Turin with a large army to take possession of the throne of
Naples, which Garibaldi was ready to surrender. But the king must needs
pass through the States of the Church,--a hazardous undertaking, since
Rome was under the protection of the French troops. Louis Napoleon had
given an ambiguous assent to this movement, which, however, he declined
to assist; and, defeating the papal troops under General Lamoriciere,
Victor Emmanuel pushed on to Naples. As the King of Piedmont advanced
from the north, he had pretty much the same experience that Garibaldi
had in his march from the south. He met with no serious resistance. On
passing the Neapolitan frontier he was met by Garibaldi with his staff,
who laid down his dictatorship at his sovereign's feet,--the most heroic
and magnanimous act of his life. This was also his proudest hour, since
he had accomplished his purpose. He had freed Naples, and had united the
South with the North. On the 10th of October the people of the Two
Sicilies voted to accept the government of Victor Emmanuel; and the king
entered Naples, November 7, in all the pomp of sovereignty.

Garibaldi's task was ended on surrendering his dictatorship; but he had
one request to make of Victor Emmanuel, to whom he had given a throne.
He besought him to dismiss Cavour, and to be himself allowed to march on
Rome,--for he hated the Pope with terrible hatred, and called him
Antichrist, both because he oppressed his subjects and was hostile to
the independence of Italy. But Victor Emmanuel could not grant such an
absurd request,--he was even angry; and the Liberator of Naples retired
to his island-home with only fifteen shillings in his pocket!

This conduct on the part of the king may seem like ingratitude; but what
else could he do? He doubtless desired that Rome should be the capital
of his dominions as much as Garibaldi himself, but the time had not
come. Victor Emmanuel could not advance on Rome and Venice with an "army
of red shirts;" he could not overcome the armed veterans of Austria and
France as Garibaldi had prevailed over the discontented troops of
Francis II.,--he must await his opportunity. Besides, he had his hands
full to manage the affairs of Naples, where every element of anarchy had

To add to the embarrassments of Victor Emmanuel, he was compelled to
witness the failing strength and fatal illness of his prime minister.
The great statesman was dying from overwork. Although no man in Europe
was capable of such gigantic tasks as Cavour assumed, yet even he had to
succumb to the laws of nature. He took no rest and indulged in no
pleasures, but devoted himself body and soul to the details of his
office and the calls of patriotism. He had to solve the most difficult
problems, both political and commercial. He was busy with the finances
of the kingdom, then in great disorder; and especially had he to deal
with the blended ignorance, tyranny, and corruption that the Bourbon
kings of Naples had bequeathed to the miserable country which for more
than a century they had so disgracefully misgoverned. All this was too
much for the overworked statesman, who was always at his post in the
legislative chamber, in his office with his secretaries, and in the
council chamber of the cabinet. He died in June, 1861, and was buried,
not in a magnificent mausoleum, but among his family relations
at Santena.

Cavour did not, however, pass away until he saw the union of all
Italy--except Venice and Rome--under the sceptre of Victor Emmanuel.
Lombardy had united with Piedmont soon after the victory at Solferino,
by the suffrages of its inhabitants. At Turin, deputies from the States
of Italy,--except Venice and Rome,--chosen by the people, assembled, and
formally proclaimed Italy to be free. The population of four millions,
which comprised the subjects of Victor Emmanuel on his accession to the
throne, had in about thirteen years increased to twenty-two millions;
and in February, 1861, Victor Emmanuel was by his Senate and Chamber of
Deputies proclaimed King of Italy, although he wisely forbore any
attempt actually to annex the Venetian and Papal States.

Rome and Venice were still outside. The Pope remained inflexible to any
reforms, any changes, any improvements. _Non possumus_ was all that he
deigned to say to the ambassadors who advised concessions. On the 7th of
September, 1860, Victor Emmanuel sent an envoy to Rome to demand from
his Holiness the dismissal of his foreign troops; which demand was
refused. Upon this, the king ordered an army to enter the papal
provinces of Umbria and the Marches. In less than three weeks the
campaign was over, and General Lamoriciere, who commanded the papal
troops, was compelled to surrender. Austria, Prussia, and Russia
protested; but Victor Emmanuel paid little heed to the protest, or to
the excommunications which were hurled against him. The Emperor of the
French found it politic to withdraw his ambassador from Turin, but
adhered to his policy of non-intervention, and remained a quiet
spectator. The English government, on the other hand, justified the
government of Turin in thus freeing Italian territory from
foreign troops.

Garibaldi was not long contented with his retirement at Caprera. In
July, 1862, he rallied around him a number of followers, determined to
force the king's hand, and to complete the work of unity by advancing on
Rome as he had on Naples. His rashness was opposed by the Italian
government,--wisely awaiting riper opportunity,--who sent against him
the greatest general of Italy (La Marmora), and Garibaldi was taken
prisoner at Aspromonte. The king determined to do nothing further
without the support of the representatives of the nation, but found it
necessary to maintain a large army, which involved increased
taxation,--to which, however, the Italians generously submitted.

In 1866, while Austria was embroiled with Prussia, Victor Emmanuel,
having formed an alliance with the Northern Powers, invaded Venetia; and
in the settlement between the two German Powers the Venetian province
fell to the King of Italy.

In 1867 Garibaldi made another attempt on Rome, but was arrested near
Lake Thrasimene and sent back to Caprera. Again he left his island,
landed on the Tuscan coast, and advanced to Rome with his body of
volunteers, and was again defeated and sent back to Caprera. The
government dealt mildly with this prince of filibusters, in view of his
past services and his unquestioned patriotism. His errors were those of
the head and not of the heart. He was too impulsive, too impatient, and
too rash in his schemes for Italian liberty.

It was not until Louis Napoleon was defeated at Sedan that the French
troops were withdrawn from Rome, and the way was finally opened for the
occupation of the city by the troops of Victor Emmanuel in 1870. A Roman
plebiscite had voted for the union of all Italy under the constitutional
rule of the House of Savoy. From 1859 to 1865 the capital of the kingdom
had been Turin, the principal city of Piedmont; with the enlargement of
the realm the latter year saw the court removed to Florence, in Tuscany;
but now that all the States were united under one rule, Rome once again,
after long centuries had passed, became the capital of Italy, and the
temporal power of the Pope passed away forever.

On the fall of Napoleon III. in 1870 Italian nationality was
consummated, and Victor Emmanuel reigned as a constitutional monarch
over united Italy. To his prudence, honesty, and good sense, the
liberation of Italy was in no small degree indebted. He was the main
figure in the drama of Italian independence, if we except Cavour, whose
transcendent abilities were devoted to the same cause for which Mazzini
and Garibaldi less discreetly labored. It is remarkable that such great
political changes were made with so little bloodshed. Italian unity was
effected by constitutional measures, by the voice of the people, and by
fortunate circumstances more than by the sword. The revolutions which
seated the King of Piedmont on the throne of United Italy were
comparatively bloodless. Battles indeed were fought during the whole
career of Victor Emmanuel, and in every part of Italy; but those of much
importance were against the Austrians,--against foreign domination. The
civil wars were slight and unimportant compared with those which ended
in the expulsion of Austrian soldiers from the soil of Italy. The civil
wars were mainly popular insurrections, being marked by neither cruelty
nor fanaticism; indeed, they were the uprising of the people against
oppression and misrule. The iron heel which had for so many years
crushed the aspirations of the citizens of Venice, of Milan, and Rome,
was finally removed only by the successive defeats of Austrian armies
by Prussia and France.

Although the political unity and independence of Italy have been
effected, it is not yet a country to be envied. The weight of taxation
to support the government is an almost intolerable burden. No country in
the world is so heavily taxed in proportion to its resources and
population. Great ignorance is still the misfortune of Italy, especially
in the central and southern provinces. Education is at a low ebb, and
only a small part of the population can even read and write, except in
Piedmont. The spiritual despotism of the Pope still enslaves the bulk of
the people, who are either Roman Catholics with mediaeval superstitions,
or infidels with hostility to all religion based on the Holy Scriptures.
Nothing there as yet flourishes like the civilization of France,
Germany, and England.

And yet it is to be hoped that a better day has dawned on a country
endeared to Christendom for its glorious past and its classic
associations. It is a great thing that a liberal and enlightened
government now unites all sections of the country, and that a
constitutional monarch, with noble impulses, reigns in the "Eternal
City," rather than a bigoted ecclesiastical pontiff averse to all
changes and improvements, having nothing in common with European
sovereigns but patronage of art, which may be Pagan in spirit rather
than Christian. The great drawback to Italian civilization at present is
the foolish race of the nation with great military monarchies in armies
and navies, which occupies the energies of the country, rather than a
development of national resources in commerce, agriculture, and the
useful arts.


Alison's History of Europe; Lives of Cavour, Mazzini, Garibaldi; Fyffe's
Modern Europe; Mackenzie's History of the Nineteenth Century; Biography
of Marshal Radetsky; Annual Register; Biography of Charles Albert;
Ellesmere, as quoted by Alison; Memoirs of Prince Metternich; Carlo
Botta's History of Italy.




For centuries before the Russian empire was consolidated by the wisdom,
the enterprise, and the conquests of Peter the Great, the Russians cast
longing eyes on Constantinople as the prize most precious and most
coveted in their sight.

From Constantinople, the capital of the Greek empire when the Turks were
a wandering and unknown Tartar tribe in the northern part of Asia, had
come the religion that was embraced by the ancient czars and the
Slavonic races which they ruled. To this Greek form of Christianity the
Russians were devotedly attached. They were semi-barbarians, and yet
bigoted Christians. In the course of centuries their priests came to
possess immense power,--social and political, as well as ecclesiastical.
The Patriarch of Moscow was the second personage of the empire, and the
third dignitary in the Greek Church. Religious forms and dogmas bound
the Russians with the Greek population of the Turkish empire in the
strongest ties of sympathy and interest, even when that empire was in
the height of its power. To get possession of those principalities under
Turkish dominion in which the Greek faith was the prevailing religion
had been the ambition of all the czars who reigned either at Moscow or
at St. Petersburg. They aimed at a protectorate over the Christian
subjects of the Porte in Eastern Europe; and the city where reigned the
first Christian emperor of the old Roman world was not only sacred in
their eyes, and had a religious prestige next to that of Jerusalem, but
was looked upon as their future and certain possession,--to be obtained,
however, only by bitter and sanguinary wars.

Turkey, in a religious point of view, was the certain and inflexible
enemy of Russia,--so handed down in all the traditions and teachings of
centuries. To erect again on the lofty dome of St. Sophia the cross,
which had been torn down by Mohammedan infidels, was probably one of the
strongest desires of the Russian nation; and this desire was shared in a
still stronger degree by all the Russian monarchs from the time of Peter
the Great, most of whom were zealous defenders of what they called the
Orthodox faith. They remind us of the kings of the Middle Ages in the
interest they took in ecclesiastical affairs, in their gorgeous
religious ceremonials, and in their magnificent churches, which it was
their pride to build. Alexander I. was, in his way, one of the most
religious monarchs who ever swayed a sceptre,--more like an ancient
Jewish king than a modern political sovereign.

But there was another powerful reason why the Russian czars cast their
wistful glance on the old capital of the Greek emperors, and resolved
sooner or later to add it to their dominions, already stretching far
into the east,--and this was to get possession of the countries which
bordered on the Black Sea, in order to have access to the Mediterranean.
They wanted a port for the southern provinces of their empire,--St.
Petersburg was not sufficient, since the Neva was frozen in the
winter,--but Poland (a powerful kingdom in the seventeenth century)
stood in their way; and beyond Poland were the Ukraine Cossacks and the
Tartars of the Crimea. These nations it was necessary to conquer before
the Muscovite banners could float on the strongholds which controlled
the Euxine. It was not until after a long succession of wars that Peter
the Great succeeded, by the capture of Azof, in gaining a temporary
footing on the Euxine,--lost by the battle of Pruth, when the Russians
were surrounded by the Turks. The reconquest of Azof was left to Peter's
successors; but the Cossacks and Tartars barred the way to the Euxine
and to Constantinople. It was not until the time of Catherine II. that
the Russian armies succeeded in gaining a firm footing on the Euxine by
the conquest of the Crimea, which then belonged to Turkey, and was
called Crim Tartary. The treaties of 1774 and 1792 gave to the Russians
the privilege of navigating the Black Sea, and indirectly placed under
the protectorate of Russia the territories of Moldavia and
Wallachia,--provinces of Turkey, called the Danubian principalities,
whose inhabitants were chiefly of the Greek faith.

Thus was Russia aggrandized during the reign of Catherine II., who not
only added the Crimea to her dominions,--an achievement to which Peter
the Great aspired in vain,--but dismembered Poland, and invaded Persia
with her armies. "Greece, Roumelia, Thessaly, Macedonia, Montenegro, and
the islands of the Archipelago swarmed with her emissaries, who preached
rebellion against the hateful Crescent, and promised Russian support,
Russian money, and Russian arms." These promises however were not
realized, being opposed by Austria,--then virtually ruled by Prince
Kaunitz, who would not consent to the partition of Poland without the
abandonment of the ambitious projects of Catherine, incited by Prince
Potemkin, the most influential of her advisers and favorites. She had to
renounce all idea of driving the Turks out of Turkey and founding a
Greek empire ruled over by a Russian grand duke. She was forced also to
abandon her Greek and Slavonic allies, and pledge herself to maintain
the independence of Wallachia and Moldavia. Eight years later, in 1783,
the Tartars lost their last foothold in the Crimea by means of a
friendly alliance between Catherine and the Austrian emperor Joseph II.,
the effect of which was to make the Russians the masters of the
Black Sea.

Catherine II., of German extraction, is generally regarded as the ablest
female sovereign who has reigned since Semiramis, with the exception
perhaps of Maria Theresa of Germany and Elizabeth of England; but she
was infinitely below these princesses in moral worth,--indeed, she was
stained by the grossest immoralities that can degrade a woman. She died
in 1796, and her son Paul succeeded her,--a prince whom his imperial
mother had excluded from all active participation in the government of
the empire because of his mental imbecility, or partial insanity. A
conspiracy naturally was formed against him in such unsettled times,--it
was at the height of Napoleon's victorious career,--resulting in his
assassination, and his son Alexander I. reigned in his stead.

Alexander was twenty-four when, in 1801, he became the autocrat of all
the Russias. His reign is familiar to all the readers of the wars of
Napoleon, during which Russia settled down as one of the great Powers.
At the Congress of Vienna in 1814 the duchy of Warsaw, comprising
four-fifths of the ancient kingdom of Poland, was assigned to Russia.
During fifty years Russia had been gaining possession of new
territory,--of the Crimea in 1783, of Georgia in 1785, of Bessarabia and
a part of Moldavia in 1812. Alexander added to the empire several of the
tribes of the Caucasus, Finland, and large territories ceded by Persia.
After the fall of Napoleon, Alexander did little to increase the
boundaries of his empire, confining himself, with Austria and Prussia,
to the suppression of revolutionary principles in Europe, the weakening
of Turkey, and the extension of Russian influence in Persia. In the
internal government of his empire he introduced many salutary changes,
especially in the early part of his reign; but after Napoleon's final
defeat, his views gradually changed. The burdens of absolute government,
disappointments, the alienation of friends, and the bitter experiences
which all sovereigns must learn soured his temper, which was naturally
amiable, and made him a prey to terror and despondency. No longer was he
the frank, generous, chivalrous, and magnanimous prince who had called
out general admiration, but a disappointed, suspicious, terrified, and
prematurely old man, flying from one part of his dominions to another,
as if to avoid the assassin's dagger. He died in 1825, and was
succeeded by his brother,--the Grand Duke Nicholas.

The throne, on the principles of legitimacy, properly belonged to his
elder brother,--the Grand Duke Constantine. Whether this prince shrank
from the burdens of governing a vast empire, or felt an incapacity for
its duties, or preferred the post he occupied as Viceroy of Poland or
the pleasures of domestic life with a wife to whom he was devoted, it is
not clear; it is only certain that he had in the lifetime of the late
emperor voluntarily renounced his claim to the throne, and Alexander had
left a will appointing Nicholas as his successor.

Nicholas had scarcely been crowned (1826) when war broke out between
Russia and Persia; and this was followed by war with Turkey, consequent
upon the Greek revolution. Silistria, a great fortress in Bulgaria, fell
into the hands of the Russians, who pushed their way across the Balkan
mountains and occupied Adrianople. In the meantime General Paskievitch
followed up his brilliant successes in the Asiatic provinces of the
Sultan's dominions by the capture of Erzeroum, and advanced to
Trebizond. The peace of Adrianople, in September, 1829, checked his
farther advances. This famous treaty secured to the Russians extensive
territories on the Black Sea, together with its navigation by Russian
vessels, and the free passage of Russian ships through the Dardanelles
and Bosphorus to the Mediterranean. In addition, a large war indemnity
was granted by Turkey, and the occupancy of Moldavia, Wallachia, and
Silistria until the indemnity should be paid. Moreover, it was agreed
that the hospodars of the principalities should be elected for life, to
rule without molestation from the Porte upon paying a trilling tribute.
A still greater advantage was gained by Russia in the surrender by
Turkey of everything on the left bank of the Danube,--cities,
fortresses, and lands, all with the view to their future annexation
to Russia.

The territory ceded to Russia by the peace of Adrianople included the
Caucasus,--a mountainous region inhabited by several independent races,
among which were the Circassians, who acknowledged allegiance neither to
Turkey nor Russia. Nicholas at first attempted to gain over the
chieftains of these different nations or tribes by bribes, pensions,
decorations, and military appointments. He finally was obliged to resort
to arms, but without complete success.

Such, in brief, were the acquisitions of Russia during the reign of
Nicholas down to the time of the Crimean war, which made him perhaps the
most powerful sovereign in the world. As Czar of all the Russias there
were no restraints on his will in his own dominions, and it was only as
he was held in check by the different governments of Europe, jealous of
his encroachments, that he was reminded that he was not omnipotent.

For fifteen years after his accession to the throne Nicholas had the
respect of Europe. He was moral in his domestic relations, fond of his
family, religious in his turn of mind, bordering on superstition, a
zealot in his defence of the Greek Church, scrupulous in the performance
of his duties, and a man of his word. The Duke of Wellington was his
admiration,--a model for a sovereign to imitate. Nicholas was not so
generous and impulsive as his brother Alexander, but more reliable. In
his personal appearance he made a fine impression,--over six feet in
height, with a frank and open countenance, but not expressive of
intellectual acumen. His will, however, was inflexible, and his anger
was terrible. His passionate temper, which gave way to bursts of wrath,
was not improved by his experiences. As time advanced he withdrew more
and more within himself, and grew fitful and jealous, disinclined to
seek advice, and distrustful of his counsellors; and we can scarcely
wonder at this result when we consider his absolute power and
unfettered will.

Few have been the kings and emperors who resembled Marcus Aurelius, who
was not only master of the world, but master of himself. Few indeed have
been the despots who have refrained from acts of cruelty, or who have
uniformly been governed by reason. Even in private life, very successful
men have an imperious air, as if they were accustomed to submission and
deference; but a monarch of Russia, how can he be otherwise than
despotic and self-conscious? Everybody he sees, every influence to which
he is subjected, tends to swell his egotism. What changes of character
marked Saul, David, and Solomon! So of Nicholas, as of the ancient
Caesars. With the advance of years and experience, his impatience grew
under opposition and his rage under defeat. No man yet has lived,
however favored, that could always have his way. He has to yield to
circumstances,--not only to those great ones which he may own to have
been determined by Divine Providence, but also to those unforeseen
impediments which come from his humblest instruments. He cannot prevent
deceit, hypocrisy, and treachery on the part of officials, any easier
than one can keep servants from lying and cheating. Who is not in the
power, more or less, of those who are compelled to serve; and when an
absolute monarch discovers that he has been led into mistakes by
treacherous or weak advisers, how natural that his temper should
be spoiled!

Thus was Nicholas in the latter years of his reign. He was thwarted by
foreign Powers, and deceived by his own instruments of despotic rule.
He found himself only a man, and like other men. He became suspicious,
bitter, and cruel. His pride was wounded by defeat and opposition from
least expected quarters. He found his burdens intolerable to bear. His
cares interfered with what were once his pleasures. The dreadful load of
public affairs, which he could not shake off, weighed down his soul with
anxiety and sorrow. He realized, more than most monarchs, the truth of
one of Shakespeare's incomparable utterances,--

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

The mistakes and disappointments of the Crimean war finally broke his
heart; and he, armed with more power than any one man in the world, died
with the consciousness of a great defeat.

It would be interesting to show how seldom the great rulers of this
world have had an unchecked career to the close of their lives. Most of
them have had to ruminate on unexpected falls,--like Napoleon, Louis
Philippe, Metternich, Gladstone, Bismarck,--or on unattained objects of
ambition, like the great statesmen who have aspired to be presidents of
the United States. Nicholas thought that the capital of the "sick man"
was, like ripe fruit, ready to fall into his hands. After one hundred
years of war, Russia discovered that this prize was no nearer her
grasp. Nicholas, at the head of a million of disciplined troops, was
defeated; while his antagonist, the "sick man," could scarcely muster a
fifth part of the number, and yet survived to plague his thwarted will.

The obstacles to the conquest of Constantinople by Russia are, after
all, very great. There are only three ways by which a Russian general
can gain this coveted object of desire. The one which seems the easiest
is to advance by sea from Sebastopol, through the Black Sea, to the
Bosphorus, with a powerful fleet. But Turkey has or had a fleet of equal
size, while her allies, England and France, can sweep with ease from the
Black Sea any fleet which Russia can possibly collect.

The ordinary course of Russian troops has been to cross the Pruth, which
separates Russia from Moldavia, and advance through the Danubian
provinces to the Balkans, dividing Bulgaria from Turkey in Europe. Once
the Russian armies succeeded, amid innumerable difficulties, in
conquering all the fortresses in the way, like Silistria, Varna, and
Shumla; in penetrating the mountain passes of the Balkans, and making
their way to Adrianople. But they were so demoralized, or weakened and
broken, by disasters and privations, that they could get no farther than
Adrianople with safety, and their retreat was a necessity. And had the
Balkan passes been properly defended, as they easily could have been,
even a Napoleon could not have penetrated them with two hundred thousand
men, or any army which the Russians could possibly have brought there.

The third way open to the Russians in their advance to Constantinople is
to march the whole extent of the northern shores of the Black Sea, and
then cross the Caucasian range to the south, and advance around through
Turkey in Asia, its entire width from east to west, amidst a hostile and
fanatical population ready to die for their faith and country,--a way so
beset with difficulties and attended with such vast expense that success
would be almost impossible, even with no other foes than Turks.

The Emperor Nicholas was by nature stern and unrelenting. He had been
merciless in his treatment of the Poles. When he was friendly, his
frankness had an irresistible charm. During his twenty-seven years on
the throne he had both "reigned and governed." However, he was military,
without being warlike. With no talents for generalship, he bestowed
almost incredible attention upon the discipline of his armies. He
oppressively drilled his soldiers, without knowledge of tactics and
still less of strategy. Half his time was spent in inspecting his
armies. When, in 1828, he invaded Turkey, his organizations broke down
under an extended line of operations. For a long time thereafter he
suffered the Porte to live in repose, not being ready to destroy it,
waiting for his opportunity.

When the Pasha of Egypt revolted from the Sultan, and his son Ibrahim
seriously threatened the dismemberment of Turkey, England and France
interfered in behalf of Turkey; and in 1840 a convention in London
placed Turkey under the common safeguard of the five great
Powers,--England, France, Prussia, Austria, and Russia,--instead of the
protectorate exercised by Russia alone. After the fall of Hungary, a
number of civil and military leaders took refuge in Turkey, and Russia
and Austria demanded the expulsion of the refugees, which was
peremptorily refused by the Sultan. In consequence, Russia suspended all
diplomatic intercourse with Turkey, and sought a pretext for war. In
1844 the Czar visited England, doubtless with the purpose of winning
over Lord Aberdeen, then foreign secretary, and the Duke of Wellington,
on the ground that Turkey was in a state of hopeless decrepitude, and
must ultimately fall into his hands. In this event he was willing that
England, as a reward for her neutrality, should take possession
of Egypt.

It is thus probable that the Emperor Nicholas, after the failure of his
armies to reach Constantinople through the Danubian provinces and across
the Balkans, meditated, after twenty years of rest and recuperation,
the invasion of Constantinople by his fleet, which then controlled the
Black Sea.

But he reckoned without his host. He was deceived by the pacific
attitude of England, then ruled by the cabinet of Lord Aberdeen, who
absolutely detested war. The premier was almost a fanatic in his peace
principles, and was on the most friendly terms with Nicholas and his
ministers. The Czar could not be made to believe that England, under the
administration of Lord Aberdeen, would interfere with his favorite and
deeply meditated schemes of conquest. He saw no obstacles except from
the Turks themselves, timid and stricken with fears; so he strongly
fortified Sebastopol and made it impregnable by the sea, and quietly
gathered in its harbor an immense fleet, with which the Turkish
armaments could not compare. The Turkish naval power had never recovered
from the disaster which followed the battle of Navarino, when their
fleet was annihilated. With a crippled naval power and decline in
military strength, with defeated armies and an empty purse, it seemed to
the Czar that Turkey was crushed in spirit and Constantinople
defenceless; and that impression was strengthened by the representation
of his ambassador at the Porte,--Prince Mentchikof, who almost openly
insulted the Sultan by his arrogance, assumptions, and threats.

But a very remarkable man happened at that time to reside at
Constantinople as the ambassador of England, one in whom the Turkish
government had great confidence, and who exercised great influence over
it. This man was Sir Stratford Canning (a cousin of the great Canning),
who in 1852 was made viscount, with the title Lord Stratford de
Redcliffe. He was one of the ablest diplomatists then living, or that
England had ever produced, and all his sympathies were on the side of
Turkey. Mentchikof was no match for the astute Englishman, who for some
time controlled the Turkish government, and who baffled all the schemes
of Nicholas.

England--much as she desired the peace of Europe, and much as Lord
Aberdeen detested war--had no intention of allowing the "sick man" to
fall into the hands of Russia, and through her ambassador at
Constantinople gave encouragement to Turkey to resist the all-powerful
Russia with the secret promise of English protection; and as Lord
Stratford distrusted and disliked Russia, having since 1824 been
personally engaged in Eastern diplomacy and familiar with Russian
designs, he very zealously and with great ability fought the diplomatic
battles of Turkey, and inspired the Porte with confidence in the event
of war. It was by his dexterous negotiations that England was gradually
drawn into a warlike attitude against Russia, in spite of the
resolutions of the English premier to maintain peace at any cost.

In the meantime the English people, after their long peace of nearly
forty years, were becoming restless in view of the encroachments of
Russia, and were in favor of vigorous measures, even if they should lead
to war. The generation had passed away that remembered Waterloo, so that
public opinion was decidedly warlike, and goaded on the ministry to
measures which materially conflicted with Lord Aberdeen's peace
principles. The idea of war with Russia became popular,--partly from
jealousy of a warlike empire that aspired to the possession of
Constantinople, and partly from the English love of war itself, with its
excitements, after the dulness and inaction of a long period of peace
and prosperity. In 1853 England found herself drifting into war, to the
alarm and disgust of Aberdeen and Gladstone, to the joy of the people
and the satisfaction of Palmerston and a majority of the cabinet.

The third party to this Crimean contest was France, then ruled by Louis
Napoleon, who had lately become head of the State by a series of
political usurpations and crimes that must ever be a stain on his fame.
Yet he did not feel secure on his throne; the ancient nobles, the
intellect of the country, and the parliamentary leaders were against
him. They stood aloof from his government, regarding him as a traitor
and a robber, who by cunning and slaughter had stolen the crown. He was
supposed to be a man of inferior intellect, whose chief merit was the
ability to conceal his thoughts and hold his tongue, and whose power
rested on the army, the allegiance of which he had seduced by bribes and
promises. Feeling the precariousness of his situation, and the
instability of the people he had deceived with the usual Napoleonic
lies, which he called "ideas," he looked about for something to divert
their minds,--some scheme by which he could gain _eclat_; and the
difficulties between Russia and Turkey furnished him the occasion he
desired. He determined to employ his army in aid of Turkey. It would be
difficult to show what gain would result to France, for France did not
want additional territory in the East. But a war would be popular, and
Napoleon wanted popularity. Moreover, an alliance with England,
offensive and defensive, to check Russian encroachments, would
strengthen his own position, social as well as political. He needed
friends. It was his aim to enter the family of European monarchs, to be
on a good footing with them, to be one of them, as a legitimate
sovereign. The English alliance might bring Victoria herself to Paris as
his guest. The former prisoner of Ham, whom everybody laughed at as a
visionary or despised as an adventurer, would, by an alliance with
England, become the equal of Queen Victoria, and with infinitely greater
power. She was a mere figure-head in her government, to act as her
ministers directed; he, on the other hand, had France at his feet, and
dictated to his ministers what they should do.

The parties, then, in the Crimean war were Russia, seeking to crush
Turkey, with France and England coming to the rescue,--ostensibly to
preserve the "balance of power" in Europe.

But before considering the war itself, we must glance at the
preliminaries,--the movements which took place making war inevitable,
and which furnished the pretext for disturbing the peace of Europe.

First must be mentioned the contest for the possession of the sacred
shrines in the Holy Land. Pilgrimages to these shrines took place long
before Palestine fell into the hands of the Mohammedans. It was one of
the passions of the Middle Ages, and it was respected even by the Turks,
who willingly entered into the feelings of the Christians coming to
kneel at Jerusalem. Many sacred objects of reverence, if not idolatry,
were guarded by Christian monks, who were permitted by the government to
cherish them in their convents. But the Greek and the Latin convents,
allowed at Jerusalem by the Turkish government, equally aspired to the
guardianship of the Holy Sepulchre and other sacred shrines in
Jerusalem. It rested with the Turkish government to determine which of
the rival churches, Greek or Latin, should have the control of the
shrines, and it was a subject of perpetual controversy,--Russia, of
course, defending the claims of the Greek convents, who at this time had
long been the appointed guardians, and France now taking up those of the
Latin; although Russia was the more earnest in the matter, as holding a
right already allowed.

The new President of the French republic, in 1851, on the lookout for
subjects of controversy with Russia, had directed his ambassador at
Constantinople to demand from the Porte some almost forgotten grants
made to the Latin Church two or three hundred years before. This demand,
which the Sultan dared not refuse, was followed by the Turks' annulling
certain privileges which had long been enjoyed by the Greek convents;
and thus the ancient dispute was reopened. The Greek Church throughout
Russia was driven almost to frenzy by this act of the Turkish
government. The Czar Nicholas, himself a zealot in religion, was
indignant and furious; but the situation gave him a pretext for insults
and threats that would necessarily lead to war, which he desired as
eagerly as Louis Napoleon. The Porte, embarrassed and wishing for peace,
leaned for advice on the English ambassador, who, as has been said,
promised the mediation of England.

Then followed a series of angry negotiations and pressure made by Russia
and France alternately on the Sultan in reference to the guardianship of
the shrines,--as to who should possess the key of the chief door of the
Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem and of the church at Bethlehem, Greek or
Latin monks.

As the pressure made by France was the most potent, the Czar in his rage
ordered one of his _corps d'armee_ to advance to the frontiers of the
Danubian provinces, and another corps to hold itself in
readiness,--altogether a force of one hundred and forty-four thousand
men. The world saw two great nations quarrelling about a key to the door
of a church in Palestine; statesmen saw, on the one hand, the haughty
ambition of Nicholas seeking pretence for a war which might open to him
the gates of Constantinople, and, on the other hand, the schemes of the
French emperor--for the ten-year president elected in 1851 had in just
one year got himself "elected" emperor--to disturb the peace of Europe,
which might end in establishing more securely his own usurpation.

The warlike attitude of Russia in 1853 alarmed England, who was not
prepared to go to war. As has been said, Mentchikof was no match in the
arts of diplomacy for Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, and an angry and
lively war of diplomatic notes passed between them. The Czar discovered
that the English ambassador had more influence with the Porte than
Mentchikof, and became intensely angry. Lord Stratford ferreted out the
schemes of the Czar in regard to the Russian protectorate of the Greek
Church, which was one of his most cherished plans, and bent every energy
to defeat it. He did not care about the quarrels of the Greek and Latin
monks for the guardianship of the sacred shrines; but he did object to
the meditated protectorate of the Czar over the Greek subjects of
Turkey, which, if successful, would endanger the independence of the
Sultan, so necessary for the peace of Europe. All the despatches from.
St. Petersburg breathed impatience and wrath, and Mentchikof found
himself in great difficulties. The Russian ambassador even found means
to have the advantage of a private audience with the Sultan, without the
knowledge of the grand vizier; but the Sultan, though courteous,
remained firm. This ended the mission of the Russian ambassador, foiled
and baffled at every turn; while his imperial master, towering into
passion, lost all the reputation he had gained during his reign for
justice and moderation.

Within three days of the departure of Prince Mentchikof from
Constantinople, England and France began to concert measures together
for armed resistance to Russia, should war actually break out, which
seemed inevitable, for the Czar was filled with rage; and this in spite
of the fact that within two weeks the Sultan yielded the point as to the
privileges of Greek subjects in his empire,--but beyond that he stood
firm, and appealed to England and France.

The Czar now meditated the occupation of the Danubian principalities, in
order to enable his armies to march to Constantinople. But Austria and
Prussia would not consent to this, and the Czar found himself opposed
virtually by all Europe. He still labored under the delusion that
England would hold aloof, knowing the peace policy of the English
government under the leadership of Lord Aberdeen. Under this delusion,
and boiling over with anger, he suddenly, without taking counsel of his
ministers or of any living soul, touched a bell in his palace. The
officer in attendance received an order for the army to cross the Pruth.
On the 2d of July, 1853, Russia invaded the principalities. On the
following day a manifesto was read in her churches that the Czar made
war on Turkey in defence of the Greek religion; and all the fanatical
zeal of the Russians was at once excited to go where the Czar might send
them in behalf of their faith. Nothing could be more popular than such
a war.

But the hostile attitude taken by all Europe on the invasion of the
principalities, and by Austria in particular, was too great an obstacle
for even the Czar of all the Russias to disregard, especially when he
learned that the fleets of France and England were ordered to the
Dardanelles, and that his fleet would be pent up in an inland basin of
the Black Sea. It became necessary for Russia to renew negotiations. At
Vienna a note had been framed between four of the great Powers, by which
it was clear that they would all unite in resisting the Czar, if he did
not withdraw his armies from the principalities. The Porte promptly
determined on war, supported by the advice of a great Council, attended
by one hundred and seventy-two of the foremost men of the empire, and
fifteen days were given to Russia to withdraw her troops from the
principalities. At the expiration of that term, the troops not being
withdrawn, on October 5 war was declared by Turkey.

The war on the part of Turkey was defensive, necessary, and popular. The
religious sentiment of the whole nation was appealed to, and not in
vain. It is difficult for any nation to carry on a great war unless it
is supported by the people. In Turkey and throughout the scattered
dominions of the Sultan, religion and patriotism and warlike ardor
combined to make men arise by their own free-will, and endure fatigue,
danger, hunger, and privation for their country and their faith. The
public dangers were great; for Russia was at the height of her power and
prestige, and the Czar was known to have a determined will, not to be
bent by difficulties which were not insurmountable.

Meanwhile the preachers of the Orthodox Greek faith were not behind the
Mohammedans in rousing the martial and religious spirit of nearly one
hundred millions of the subjects of the Russian autocrat. In his
proclamation the Czar urged inviolable guaranties in favor of the sacred
rights of the Orthodox Church, and pretended (as is usual with all
parties in going to war) that he was challenged to the fight, and that
his cause was just. He then invoked the aid of Almighty Power. It was
rather a queer thing for a warlike sovereign, entering upon an
aggressive war to gratify ambition, to quote the words of David: "In
thee, O Lord, have I trusted: let me not be confounded forever."

Urged on and goaded by the French emperor, impatient of delay, and
obtuse to all further negotiations for peace, which Lord Aberdeen still
hoped to secure, the British government at last gave orders for its
fleet to proceed to Constantinople. The Czar, so long the ally of
England, was grieved and indignant at what appeared to him to be a
breach of treaties and an affront to him personally, and determined on
vengeance. He ordered his fleet at Sebastopol to attack a Turkish fleet
anchored near Sinope, which was done Nov. 30, 1853. Except a single
steamer, every one of the Turkish vessels was destroyed, and four
thousand Turks were killed.

The anger of both the French and English people was now fairly roused by
this disaster, and Lord Aberdeen found himself powerless to resist the
public clamor for war. Lord Palmerston, the most popular and powerful
minister that England had, resigned his seat in the cabinet, and openly
sided with the favorite cause. Lord Aberdeen was compelled now to let
matters take their course, and the English fleet was ordered to the
Black Sea; but war was not yet declared by the Western Powers, since
there still remained some hopes of a peaceful settlement.

Meanwhile Prussia and Austria united in a league, offensive and
defensive, to expel the Russians from the Danubian provinces, which
filled the mind of Nicholas with more grief than anger; for he had
counted on the neutrality of Austria and Prussia, as he had on the
neutrality of England. It was his misfortune to believe what he wished,
rather than face facts.

On the 27th of March, 1854, however, after a winter of diplomacy and
military threatenings and movements, which effected nothing like a
settlement, France and England declared war against Russia; on the 11th
of April the Czar issued his warlike manifesto, and Europe blazed with
preparations for one of the most needless and wicked contests in modern
times. All parties were to blame; but on Russia the greatest odium rests
for disturbing the peace of Europe, although the Czar at the outset had
no idea of fighting the Western Powers. In a technical point of view the
blame of beginning the dispute which led to the Crimean war rests with
France, for she opened and renewed the question of the guardianship of
the sacred shrines, which had long been under the protection of the
Greek Church; and it was the intrigues of Louis Napoleon which entangled
England. The latter country was also to blame for her jealousy of
Russian encroachments, fearing that they would gradually extend to
English possessions in the East. Had Nicholas known the true state of
English public opinion he might have refrained from actual hostilities;
but he was misled by the fact that Lord Aberdeen had given assurances of
a peace policy.

Although France and England entered upon the war only with the intention
at first of protecting Turkey, and were mere allies for that purpose,
yet these two Powers soon bore the brunt of the contest, which really
became a strife between Russia on the one side and England and France on
the other. Moreover, instead of merely defending Turkey against Russia,
the allied Powers assumed the offensive, and thus took the
responsibility for all the disastrous consequences of the war.

The command of the English army had been intrusted to Lord Raglan, once
known as Lord Fitzroy Somerset, who lost an arm at the battle of
Waterloo while on the staff of Wellington; a wise and experienced
commander, but too old for such service as was now expected of him in an
untried field of warfare. Besides, it was a long time since he had seen
active service. When appointed to the command he was sixty-six years
old. From 1827 to 1852 he was military secretary at the Horse
Guards,--the English War Office,--where he was made master-general of
the Ordnance, and soon after became a full general. He was taciturn but
accessible, and had the power of attracting everybody to him; averse to
all show and parade; with an uncommon power for writing both good
English and French,--an accomplished man, from whom much was expected.

The command of the French forces was given to Marshal Saint-Arnaud, a
bold, gay, reckless, enterprising man, who had distinguished himself in
Algeria as much for his indifference to human life as for his
administrative talents,--ruthless, but not bloodthirsty. He was only
colonel when Fleury, the arch-conspirator and friend of Louis Napoleon,
was sent to Algeria to find some officer of ability who could be bribed
to join in the meditated _coup d'etat_. Saint-Arnaud listened to his
proposals, and was promised the post of minister of war, which would
place the army under his control, for all commanders would receive
orders from him. He was brought to Paris and made minister of war, with
a view to the great plot of the 2d of December, and later was created a
Marshal of France. His poor health (the result of his excesses) made him
unfit to be intrusted with the forces for the invasion of the Crimea;
but his military reputation was better than his moral, and in spite of
his unfitness the emperor--desirous still further to reward his partisan
services--put him in command of the French Crimean forces.

The first military operations took place on the Danube. The Russians
then occupied the Danubian principalities, and had undertaken the siege
of Silistria, which was gallantly defended by the Turks, before the
allied French and English armies could advance to its relief; but it was
not till the middle of May that the allied armies were in full force,
and took up their position at Varna.

Nicholas was now obliged to yield. He could not afford to go to war with
Prussia, Austria, France, England, and Turkey together. It had become
impossible for him to invade European Turkey by the accustomed route.
So, under pressure of their assembling forces, he withdrew his troops
from the Danubian provinces, which removed all cause of hostilities from
Prussia and Austria. These two great Powers now left France and England
to support all the burdens of the war. If Prussia and Austria had not
withdrawn from the alliance, the Crimean war would not have taken place,
for Russia would have made peace with Turkey. It was on the 2d of
August, 1854, that the Russians recrossed the Pruth, and the Austrians
took possession of the principalities.

England might now have withdrawn from the contest but for her alliance
with France,--an entangling alliance, indeed; but Lord Palmerston,
seeing that war was inevitable, withdrew his resignation, and the
British cabinet became a unit, supported by the nation. Lord Aberdeen
still continued to be premier; but Palmerston was now the leading
spirit, and all eyes turned to him. The English people, who had
forgotten what war was, upheld the government, and indeed goaded it on
to war. The one man who did not drift was the secretary for foreign
affairs, Lord Palmerston, who went steadily ahead, and gained his
object,--a check upon Russia's power in the East.

This statesman was a man of great abilities, with a strong desire for
power under the guise of levity and good-nature. He was far-reaching,
bold, and of concentrated energy; but his real character was not fully
comprehended until the Crimean war, although he was conspicuous in
politics for forty years. His frank utterances, his off-hand manner, his
ready banter, and his joyous eyes captivated everybody, and veiled his
stern purposes. He was distrusted at St. Petersburg because of his
alliance with Louis Napoleon, his hatred of the Bourbons, and his
masking the warlike tendency of the government which he was soon to
lead, for Lord Aberdeen was not the man to conduct a war with Russia.

At this point, as stated above, the war might have terminated, for the
Russians had abandoned the principalities; but at home the English had
been roused by Louis Napoleon's friends and by the course of events to a
fighting temper, and the French emperor's interests would not let him
withdraw; while in the field neither the Turkish nor French nor English
troops were to be contented with less than the invasion of the Russian
territories. Turkey was now in no danger of invasion by the Russians,
for they had been recalled from the principalities, and the fleets of
England and France controlled the Black Sea. From defensive measures
they turned to offensive.

The months of July and August were calamitous to the allied armies at
Varna; not from battles, but from pestilence, which was fearful. On the
26th of August it was determined to re-embark the decimated troops,
sail for the Crimea, and land at some place near Sebastopol. The capture
of this fortress was now the objective point of the war. On the 13th of
September the fleets anchored in Eupatoria Bay, on the west coast of the
Crimean peninsula, and the disembarkation of the troops took place
without hindrance from the Russians, who had taken up a strong position
on the banks of the Alma, which was apparently impregnable. There the
Russians, on their own soil and in their intrenched camp, wisely awaited
the advance of their foes on the way to Sebastopol, the splendid
seaport, fortress, and arsenal at the extreme southwestern point of
the Crimea.

There were now upon the coasts of the Crimea some thirty-seven thousand
French and Turks with sixty-eight pieces of artillery (all under the
orders of Marshal Saint-Arnaud), and some twenty-seven thousand English
with sixty guns,--altogether about sixty-four thousand men and one
hundred and twenty-eight guns. It was intended that the fleets should
follow the march of the armies, in order to furnish the necessary
supplies. The march was perilous, without a base of supplies on the
coast itself, and without a definite knowledge of the number or
resources of the enemy. It required a high order of military genius to
surmount the difficulties and keep up the spirits of the troops. The
French advanced in a line on the coast nearest the sea; the English
took up their line of march towards the south, on the left, farther in
the interior. The French were protected by the fleets on the one hand
and by the English on the other. The English therefore were exposed to
the greater danger, having their entire left flank open to the enemy's
fire. The ground over which the Western armies marched was an undulating
steppe. They marched in closely massed columns, and they marched in
weariness and silence, for they had not recovered from the fatal
pestilence at Varna. The men were weak, and suffered greatly from
thirst. At length they came to the Alma River, where the Russians were
intrenched on the left bank. The allies were of course compelled to
cross the river under the fire of the enemies' batteries, and then
attack their fortified positions, and drive the Russians from
their post.

All this was done successfully. The battle of the Alma was gained by the
invaders, but only with great losses. Prince Mentchikof, who commanded
the Russians, beheld with astonishment the defeat of the troops he had
posted in positions believed to be secure from capture by assault. The
genius of Lord Raglan, of Saint-Arnaud, of General Bosquet, of Sir Colin
Campbell, of Canrobert, of Sir de Lacy Evans, of Sir George Brown, had
carried the day. Both sides fought with equal bravery, but science was
on the side of the allies. In the battle, Sir Colin Campbell greatly
distinguished himself leading a Highland brigade; also General
Codrington, who stormed the great redoubt, which was supposed to be
impregnable. This probably decided the battle, the details of which it
is not my object to present. Its great peculiarity was that the Russians
fought in solid column, and the allies in extended lines.

After the day was won, Lord Raglan pressed Saint-Arnaud to the pursuit
of the enemy; but the French general was weakened by illness, and his
energies failed. Had Lord Raglan's counsels been followed, the future
disasters of the allied armies might have been averted. The battle was
fought on the 20th of September; but the allied armies halted on the
Alma until the 23d, instead of pushing on directly to Sebastopol,
twenty-five miles to the south. This long halt was owing to
Saint-Arnaud, who felt it was necessary to embark the wounded on the
ships before encountering new dangers. This refusal of the French
commander to advance directly to the attack of the forts on the north of
Sebastopol was unfortunate, for there would have been but slight
resistance, the main body of the Russians having withdrawn to the south
of the city. All this necessitated a flank movement of the allies, which
was long and tedious, eastward, across the north side of Sebastopol to
the south of it, where the Russians were intrenched. They crossed the
Belbec (a small river) without serious obstruction, and arrived in sight
of Sebastopol, which they were not to enter that autumn as they had
confidently expected. The Russian to whom the stubborn defence of
Sebastopol was indebted more than to any other man,--Lieut.-Colonel
Todleben,--had thoroughly and rapidly fortified the city on the north
after the battle of the Alma.

It was the opinion of Todleben himself, afterward expressed,--which was
that of Lord Raglan, and also of Sir Edmund Lyons, commanding the
fleet,--that the Star Fort which defended Sebastopol on the north,
however strong, was indefensible before the forces that the allies could
have brought to bear against it. Had the Star Fort been taken, the whole
harbor of Sebastopol would have been open to the fire of the allies, and
the city--needed for refuge as well as for glory--would have fallen into
their hands.

The condition of the allied armies was now critical, since they had no
accurate knowledge of the country over which they were to march on the
east of Sebastopol, nor of the strength of the enemy, who controlled the
sea-shore. On the morning of the 25th of September the flank march
began, through tangled forests, by the aid of the compass. It was a
laborious task for the troops, especially since they had not regained
their health from the ravages of the cholera in Bulgaria. Two days'
march, however, brought the English army to the little port of
Balaklava, on the south of Sebastopol, where the land and sea
forces met.

Soon after the allied armies had arrived at Balaklava, Saint-Arnaud was
obliged by his fatal illness to yield up his command to Marshal
Canrobert, and a few days later he died,--an unprincipled, but a brave
and able man.

The Russian forces meanwhile, after the battle of the Alma, had
retreated to Sebastopol in order to defend the city, which the allies
were preparing to attack. Prince Mentchikof then resolved upon a bold
measure for the defence of the city, and this was to sink his ships at
the mouth of the harbor, by which he prevented the English and French
fleets from entering it, and gained an additional force of eighteen
thousand seamen to his army. Loath was the Russian admiral to make this
sacrifice, and he expostulated with the general-in-chief, but was
obliged to obey. This sinking of their fleet by the Russians reminds one
of the conflagration of Moscow,--both desperate and sacrificial acts.

The French and English forces were now on the south side of Sebastopol,
in communication with their fleet at Balaklava, and were flushed with
victory, while the forces opposed to them were probably inferior in
number. Why did not the allies at once begin the assault of the city?
It was thought to be prudent to wait for the arrival of their siege
guns. While these heavy guns were being brought from the ships,
Todleben--the ablest engineer then living--was strengthening the
defences on the south side. Every day's delay added to the difficulties
of attack. Three weeks of precious time were thus lost, and when on the
17th of October the allies began the bombardment of Sebastopol, which
was to precede the attack, their artillery was overpowered by that of
the defenders. The fleets in vain thundered against the solid sea-front
of the fortress. After a terrible bombardment of eight days the defences
of the city were unbroken.

Mentchikof, meanwhile, had received large reinforcements, and prepared
to attack the allies from the east. His point of attack was Balaklava,
the defence of which had been intrusted to Sir Colin Campbell. The
battle was undecisive, but made memorable by the sacrifice of the "Light
Brigade,"--about six hundred cavalry troops under the command of the
Earl of Cardigan. This arose from a misunderstanding on the part of the
Earl of Lucan, commander of the cavalry division, of an order from Lord
Raglan to attack the enemy. Lord Cardigan was then directed by Lucan to
rescue certain guns which the enemy had captured. He obeyed, in the face
of batteries in front and on both flanks. The slaughter was
terrible,--in fact, the brigade was nearly annihilated. The news of this
disaster made a deep impression on the English nation, and caused grave
apprehensions as to the capacity of the cavalry commanders, neither of
whom had seen much military service, although both were over fifty years
of age and men of ability and bravery. The "Heavy Brigade" of cavalry,
commanded by General Scarlett, who also was more than fifty years old
and had never seen service in the field, almost redeemed the error by
which that commanded by Lord Cardigan was so nearly destroyed. With six
hundred men he charged up a long slope, and plunged fearlessly into a
body of three thousand Russian cavalry, separated it into segments,
disorganized it, and drove it back,--one of the most brilliant cavalry
operations in modern times.

The battle of Balaklava, on the 25th of October, was followed, November
5, by the battle of Inkerman, when the English were unexpectedly
assaulted, under cover of a deep mist, by an overwhelming body of
Russians. The Britons bravely stood their ground against the massive
columns which Mentchikof had sent to crush them, and repelled the enemy
with immense slaughter; but this battle made the capture of Sebastopol,
as planned by the allies, impossible. The forces of the Russians were
double in number to those of the allies, and held possession of a
fortress against which a tremendous cannonade had been in vain. The
prompt sagacity and tremendous energy of Todleben repaired every breach
as fast as it was made; and by his concentration of great numbers of
laborers at the needed points, huge earthworks arose like magic before
the astonished allies. They made no headway; their efforts were in vain;
the enterprise had failed. It became necessary to evacuate the Crimea,
or undertake a slow winter siege in the presence of superior forces,
amid difficulties which had not been anticipated, and for which no
adequate provision had been made.

The allies chose the latter alternative; and then began a series of
calamities and sufferings unparalleled in the history of war since the
retreat of Napoleon from Moscow. First came a terrible storm on the 14th
of November, which swept away the tents of the soldiers encamped on a
plateau near Balaklava, and destroyed twenty-one vessels bringing
ammunition and stores to the hungry and discouraged army. There was a
want of everything to meet the hardships of a winter campaign on the
stormy shores of the Black Sea,--suitable clothing, fuel, provisions,
medicines, and camp equipage. It never occurred to the minds of those
who ordered and directed this disastrous expedition that Sebastopol
would make so stubborn a defence; but the whole force of the Russian
empire which could be spared was put forth by the Emperor Nicholas, thus
rendering necessary continual reinforcements from France and England to
meet armies superior in numbers, and to supply the losses occasioned by
disease and hardship greater than those on the battlefield. The horrors
of that dreadful winter on the Crimean peninsula, which stared in the
face not only the French and English armies but also the Russians
themselves, a thousand miles from their homes, have never been fully
told. They form one of the most sickening chapters in the annals of war.

Not the least of the misfortunes which the allies suffered was the loss
of the causeway, or main road, from Balaklava to the high grounds where
they were encamped. It had been taken by the Russians three weeks
before, and never regained. The only communication from the camp to
Balaklava, from which the stores and ammunition had to be brought, was a
hillside track, soon rendered almost impassable by the rains. The wagons
could not be dragged through the mud, which reached to their axles, and
the supplies had to be carried on the backs of mules and horses, of
which there was an insufficient number. Even the horses rapidly perished
from fatigue and hunger.

Thus were the French and English troops pent up on a bleak promontory,
sick and disheartened, with uncooked provisions, in the middle of
winter. Of course they melted away even in the hospitals to which they
were sent on the Levant. In those hospitals there was a terrible
mortality. At Scutari alone nine thousand perished before the end of
February, 1855.

The reports of these disasters, so unexpected and humiliating, soon
reached England through the war correspondents and private letters, and
produced great exasperation. The Press was unsparing in its
denunciations of the generals, and of the ministry itself, in not
providing against the contingencies of the war, which had pent up two
large armies on a narrow peninsula, from which retreat was almost
impossible in view of the superior forces of the enemy and the dreadful
state of the roads. The armies of the allies had nothing to do but fight
the elements of Nature, endure their unparalleled hardships the best way
they could, and patiently await results.

The troops of both the allied nations fought bravely and behaved
gallantly; but they fought against Nature, against disease, against
forces vastly superior to themselves in number. One is reminded, in
reading the history of the Crimean war, of the ancient crusaders rather
than of modern armies with their vast scientific machinery, so numerous
were the mistakes, and so unexpected were the difficulties of the
attacking armies. One is amazed that such powerful and enlightened
nations as the English and French could have made so many blunders. The
warning voices of Aberdeen, of Gladstone, of Cobden, of Bright, against
the war had been in vain amid the tumult of military preparations; but
it was seen at last that they had been thy true prophets of their day.

Nothing excited more commiseration than the dreadful state of the
hospitals in the Levant, to which the sick and wounded were sent; and
this terrible exigency brought women to the rescue. Their volunteered
services were accepted by Mr. Sidney Herbert, the secretary-at-war, and
through him by the State. On the 4th of November Florence Nightingale,
called the "Lady-in-Chief," disembarked at Scutari and began her useful
and benevolent mission,--organizing the nurses, and doing work for which
men were incapable,--in those hospitals infected with deadly poisons.

The calamities of a questionable war, made known by the Press, at last
roused public indignation, and so great was the popular clamor that Lord
Aberdeen was compelled to resign a post for which he was plainly
incapable,--at least in war times. He was succeeded by Lord
Palmerston,--the only man who had the confidence of the nation. In the
new ministry Lord Panmure (Fox Maule) succeeded the Duke of Newcastle
as minister of war.

After midwinter the allied armies began to recover their health and
strength, through careful nursing, better sanitary measures, and
constant reinforcements, especially from France. At last a railway was
made between Balaklava and the camps, and a land-transport corps was
organized. By March, 1855, cattle in large quantities were brought from
Spain on the west and Armenia on the east, from Wallachia on the north
and the Persian Gulf on the south. Seventeen thousand men now provided
the allied armies with provisions and other supplies, with the aid of
thirty thousand beasts of burden.

It was then that Sardinia joined the Western Alliance with fifteen
thousand men,--an act of supreme wisdom on the part of Cavour, since it
secured the friendship of France in his scheme for the unity of Italy. A
new plan of operations was now adopted by the allies, which was for the
French to attack Sebastopol at the Malakoff, protecting the city on the
east, while the English concentrated their efforts on the Redan, another
salient point of the fortifications. In the meantime Canrobert was
succeeded in the command of the French army by Pelissier,--a resolute
soldier who did not owe his promotion to complicity in the
_coup d'etat_.

On the 18th of June a general assault was made by the combined
armies--now largely reinforced--on the Redan and the Malakoff, but they
were driven back by the Russians with great loss; and three months more
were added to the siege. Fatigue, anxiety, and chagrin now carried off
Lord Raglan, who died on the 28th of June, leaving the command to
General Simpson. By incessant labors the lines of the besiegers were
gradually brought nearer the Russian fortifications. On the 16th of
August the French and Sardinians gained a decisive victory over the
Russians, which prevented Sebastopol from receiving further assistance
from without. On September 9 the French succeeded in storming the
Malakoff, which remained in their hands, although the English were
unsuccessful in their attack upon the Redan. On the fall of the Malakoff
the Russian commander blew up his magazines, while the French and
English demolished the great docks of solid masonry, the forts, and
defences of the place. Thus Sebastopol, after a siege of three hundred
and fifty days, became the prize of the invaders, at a loss, on their
part, of a hundred thousand men, and a still greater loss on the part of
the defenders, since provisions, stores, and guns had to be transported
at immense expense from the interior of Russia. In Russia there was no
free Press to tell the people of the fearful sacrifices to which they
had been doomed; but the Czar knew the greatness of his losses, both in
men and military stores; and these calamities broke his heart, for he
died before the fall of the fortress which he had resolved to defend
with all the forces of his empire. Probably three hundred thousand
Russians had perished in the conflict, and the resources of Russia were

France had now become weary of a war which brought so little glory and
entailed such vast expense. England, however, would have continued the
war at any expense and sacrifice if Louis Napoleon had not secretly
negotiated with the new Czar, Alexander II.; for England was bent on
such a crippling of Russia as would henceforth prevent that colossal
power from interfering with the English possessions in the East, which
the fall of Kars seemed to threaten. The Czar, too, would have held out
longer but for the expostulation of Austria and the advice of his
ministers, who pointed out his inability to continue the contest with
the hostility of all Europe.

On the 25th of February, 1856, the plenipotentiaries of the great Powers
assembled in Paris, and on the 30th of March the Treaty of Paris was
signed, by which the Black Sea was thrown open to the mercantile marine
of all nations, but interdicted to ships of war. Russia ceded a portion
of Bessarabia, which excluded her from the Danube; and all the Powers
guaranteed the independence of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of
fourteen years, the downfall of Louis Napoleon enabled Russia to declare
that it would no longer recognize the provisions of a treaty which
excluded its war-ships from the Black Sea. England alone was not able to
resist the demands of Russia, and in consequence Sebastopol arose from
its ruins as powerful as ever.

The object, therefore, for which England and France went to war--the
destruction of Russian power on the Black Sea--was only temporarily
gained. From three to four hundred thousand men had been sacrificed
among the different combatants, and probably not less than a thousand
million dollars in treasure had been wasted,--perhaps double that sum.
France gained nothing of value, while England lost military prestige.
Russia undoubtedly was weakened, and her encroachments toward the East
were delayed; but to-day that warlike empire is in the same relative
position that it was when the Czar sent forth his mandate for the
invasion of the Danubian principalities. In fact, all parties were the
losers, and none were the gainers, by this needless and wicked
war,--except perhaps the wily Napoleon III., who was now firmly seated
on his throne.

The Eastern question still remains unsettled, and will remain unsettled
until new complications, which no genius can predict, shall re-enkindle
the martial passions of Europe. These are not and never will be
extinguished until Christian civilization shall beat swords into
ploughshares. When shall be this consummation of the victories of peace?


A. W. Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea; C. de Bazancourt's Crimean
Expedition; G. B. McClellan's Reports on the Art of War in Europe in
1855-1856; R. C. McCormick's Visit to the Camp before Sebastopol; J. D.
Morell's Neighbors of Russia, and History of the War to the Siege of
Sebastopol; Pictorial History of the Russian War; Russell's British
Expedition to the Crimea; General Todleben's History of the Defence of
Sebastopol; H. Tyrrell's History of the War with Russia; Fyffe's History
of Modern Europe; Life of Lord Palmerston; Life of Louis Napoleon.




Prince Louis Napoleon, or, as he afterward became, Emperor Napoleon
III., is too important a personage to be omitted in the sketch of
European history during the nineteenth century. It is not yet time to
form a true estimate of his character and deeds, since no impartial
biographies of him have yet appeared, and since he died less than thirty
years ago. The discrepancy of opinion respecting him is even greater
than that concerning his illustrious uncle.

No one doubts that the first Napoleon was the greatest figure of his
age, and the greatest general that the world has produced, with the
exception alone of Alexander and Caesar. No one questions his
transcendent abilities, his unrivalled fame, and his potent influence on
the affairs of Europe for a quarter of a century, leaving a name so
august that its mighty prestige enabled his nephew to steal his sceptre;
and his character has been so searchingly and critically sifted that
there is unanimity among most historians as to his leading traits,--a
boundless ambition and unscruplous adaptation of means to an end: that
end his self-exaltation at any cost. His enlarged and enlightened
intellect was sullied by hypocrisy, dissimulation, and treachery,
accompanied by minor faults with which every one is familiar, but which
are often overlooked in the immense services he rendered to his country
and to civilization.

Napoleon III., aspiring to imitate his uncle, also contributed important
services, but was not equal to the task he assumed, and made so many
mistakes that he can hardly be called a great man, although he performed
a great _role_ in the drama of European politics, and at one time
occupied a superb position. With him are associated the three great
international wars which took place in the interval between the
banishment of Napoleon I. to St. Helena and the establishment of the
French Republic on its present basis,--a period of more than fifty
years,--namely, the Crimean war; the war between Austria, France, and
Italy; and the Franco-Prussian war, which resulted in the humiliation of
France and the exaltation of Prussia.

When Louis Napoleon came into power in 1848, on the fall of Louis
Philippe, it was generally supposed that European nations had sheathed
the sword against one another, and that all future contests would be
confined to enslaved peoples seeking independence, with which contests
other nations would have nothing to do; but Louis Napoleon, as soon as
he had established his throne on the ruins of French liberties, knew no
other way to perpetuate his dominion than by embroiling the nations of
Europe in contests with one another, in order to divert the minds of the
French people from the humiliation which the loss of their liberties had
caused, and to direct their energies in new channels,--in other words,
to inflate them with visions of military glory as his uncle had done, by
taking advantage of the besetting and hereditary weakness of the
national character. In the meantime the usurper bestowed so many
benefits on the middle and lower classes, gave such a stimulus to trade,
adorned his capital with such magnificent works of art, and increased so
manifestly the material prosperity of France, that his reign was
regarded as benignant and fortunate by most people, until the whole
edifice which he had built to dazzle the world tumbled down in a single
day after his disastrous defeat at Sedan,--the most humiliating fall
which any French dynasty ever experienced.

Louis Napoleon offers in his own person an example of those extremes of
fortune which constitute the essence of romantic conditions and appeal
to the imagination. The third son of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland
(brother of Napoleon), and Hortense Beauharnais, daughter of the Empress
Josephine by her first marriage, he was born in Paris, in the palace of


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