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some advantage in Poland, in Italy, and on the left bank of the Rhine. In November the French Ministry France and took a much more extreme course, and concerted Austria conwith Austria terms of peace without the knowledge peace, of England. It is true that Palmerston addressed a vigorous remonstrance to the French Ambassador in London, and declared that England would rather continue the war alone than accept unsatisfactory conditions of peace. It is true, too, that the French Emperor wrote personally to the queen to explain his desire to act in accord with the British.4 Neither remonstrance nor assurance could conceal the facts that it was impossible any longer to depend on the co-operation of France, and that it was folly to continue the struggle without her assistance. The protocol which Austria had drawn up, and to which France had assented, was, with some modifications, adopted by Britain and presented, as an ultimatum, to Russia by Austria.5 In the middle of January 1856 the ultimatum was accepted by Russia; a Congress at which Clarendon, as Foreign Minister, personally represented his country, was assembled at Paris. accepted by
England. The plenipotentiaries, meeting on the 25th of February, at once agreed on a suspension of hostilities. Universally disposed towards peace, they found no difficulty in accommodating differences which had proved irreconcilable in the previous year, and on the 30th of March 1856 peace was signed.
The peace which was thus concluded admitted the right of the Porte to participate in the advantages of the public law of Europe ; it pledged all the contracting parties, in the case of any fresh misunderstanding with the Turk, to resort to mediation before using force, quired the Sultan to issue and to communicate to the Powers
2 Ibid., p. 392 1 Martin's Prince Consort, vol. iii. p. 385.
Ashley's Palmerston, vol. ii. p. 322. 4 Martin's Prince Consort, vol. iii. p. 393. 5 Ibid., p. 407. o Parliamentary Papers, 1856, “Protocols of Conference," &c., p. 4. 7 Ibid., p. 83.
a firman ameliorating the condition of his Christian subjects; it declared that the communication of the firman gave the Powers no right, either colectively or separately, to interfere between the Sultan and his subjects; it neutra isei the Back Sea, opening its waters to the mercantile marine of every nation, but, with the exception of a few vessels of light draught necessary for the service of the ccast, closing them to every vessel of war; it forbade the estab.ishment or maintenance of arsenals on the shores of the Euxine; it established the free navigation of the Danube; it set back the frontier of Russia from the Danube ; it guaranteed the privileges and immunities of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia ; it similarly guaranteed the privileges of Servia, though it gave the Sultan the right of garrison in that province; and it undertook that Russia and Turkey should restore the conquests which they had made in Asia one from another during the war.1
Such were the terms on which the war was terminated. Before the plenipotentiaries separated they were invited by Walewski, the Foreign Minister and first representative of France, to discuss the condition of Greece, of the Roman States, and of the two Sicilies; to condemn the licence to which a free press was lending itself in Belgium; and to concert measures for the mitigation of some of the worst evils of maritime war.
On this invitation the plenipotentiaries adopted the following solemn declaration
“1. Privateering is, and remains, abolished.
“2. The neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with
the exception of contraband of war. “3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy's flags.
“4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective; that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.” ?
The Declaration of Paris.
i Parl. Papers, 1856, General Treaty, &c. 2 Ibid.,
Protocols of Conference," &c., p. 110. I have traced shortly the history of this question in a little book on Foreign Relations, p. 146.
This famous declaration is still in force among all the Powers which took part in the Congress, and among those who subsequently adopted it. It is the only monument which remains of all the blood spilt in the Crimea, and of all the ink wasted at Paris. The neutrality of the Black Sea, for the sake of which war was renewed in 1855, was abruptly terminated in 1870. The frontier of the Danube, from which Russia was forced back in 1856, was restored to her in 1878. The stipulation that mediation should replace arms The results proved an empty artifice ; and the promise that the of the war. lot of Christians should be ameliorated did not stop the Bulgarian massacres. The sick man of 1853 still, indeed, lives; he has shown his capacity for living by surviving injuries which might have destroyed stronger frames. But he is still very sick, very weak, very like to die.
If Turkey still survives, her powerful opponent has recovered from his losses and resumed his threatening posture. He has regained his old frontier in Europe. He has added large acquisitions to his Asian territory. He is master of Kars; he is encamped on Ararat; he frowns on the sources of the great river which some men have thought might supply a link between the Eastern and Western worlds. Like the glacier which through long centuries advances foot by foot through the Alpine valley, with a patience that never tires, with an impetus that never fails, he is slowly but gradually advancing the frontiers of his vast dominions. He will advance then till he reaches the outlet for which all nations strive-the sea.
What, then, did the Crimean war do? It did not galvanise the dying body of the Turkish Empire into fresh vitality; it did not permanently arrest the irresistible advance of Russia ; it merely set back the clock for some fourteen years. That was the solitary result of the Crimean war. To secure that result whole rivers of blood were shed, whole mountains of treasure were expended. In blood this country paid the smallest portion of the bill. She buried some 28,000 brave men, and her statisticians say that Russia lost twenty times as
In treasure, she added only some £30,000,000
to her debt. But the increase of debt represents imperfectly the financial sacrifice of the war. Before the war her expenditure had not for thirty years and upwards reached £56,000,000. Since the war it has never fallen below £64,000,ooo.
Was the result worth the bill? It was perhaps worth some sacrifice to prove that England was still ready to strike a blow for a weak neighbour whom she believed to be oppressed, and to withstand, with blood and treasure, the Power whom she believed to be the oppressor. On any other reasoning it is difficult to show that substantial grounds existed for the war. Let it be recollected that British statesmen considered Russia right in the original quarrel with France; that the sole ground for war in 1854 was the claim of Russia to protect the Christian subjects of the Porte; that the arrangement which neutral Europe proposed for settling this claim was accepted by Russia and rejected by Turkey ; that the only pretext for continuing the war in 1855 was the determination of British statesmen to refuse Russia a privilege which some of the same statesmen restored to her fifteen years afterwards; and it seems difficult to determine whether the motives for the war or the duration of the results which ensued from it be the less commensurate with the greatness of the struggle.
But perhaps it may be thought that Nicholas outraged public feeling in Europe by his cold-blooded proposition for the partition of the Turkish spoils. England, so her Foreign Minister declared in 1853, "desires no territorial aggrandisement;" and the British people applauded the sentiment and contrasted it with the proposal of the Czar. Yet, if Nicholas could return to the scene of his former labours, and see, on the one hand, the frontier of Russia in Europe still bounded by the Pruth, and learn, on the other hand, that Britain had made Cyprus a place d'armes, that she was adopting his own policy of converting the European provinces of the Porte into autonomous principalities; that British armies were moving up the valley of the Nile, and that British politicians were advocating the permanent occupation of Egypt, he might possibly think that time and events had vindicated his character, and that the bloodshed and sorrows of the great war were hardly justified by its solitary result-it had set back the clock.
1 Written in 1885-6.
Yet, while the moralist would find it difficult to encounter this reasoning, the patriot would still find an excuse for the struggle in the page which it added to England's story. Never before in history had British soldiers suffered more cruelly, or endured more patiently, or fought more gallantly. Never before had the blunders of statesmen and the errors of commanders been redressed more nobly by the courage of officers and men; and the true Englishman who reads these things, and feels his pulse stirred by the reading of them, will perhaps find himself unconsciously repeating the old toast of 1816:
“Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong."