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taking place on the Continent of Europe had, as was natural, their effect on England and the English Gov. ernnment. The Emperor Napoleon having taken to him. self a Liberal Minister, M. Emile Ollivier, one of the famous Five who for years had represented Opposition in the French Legislative Chamber, had sought to get a renewed charter for himself and his dynasty by means of a plebiscite. Representing the question at issue as one of revolution or social order, the Emperor obtained a very large majority of ayes in favor of his policy and his house, seven and a quarter million ayes against one and a half million noes. But the minority was considerable, and one peculiarity made it specially ominous. There were more than 52,000 noes among the votes of the army and navy. The Mexican ex. pedition and its ghastly failure had much injured the prestige of the Emperor with the two services. The truth could not be concealed that he had been peremptorily ordered out of Mexico by the United States Government and that he had
eyed the command, leaving Maximilian to his fate. Louis Napoleon saw that he must do something to recover his military popularity. The overthrow of Austria by Prussia had roused a strong feeling of jealously in France. M Thiers in particular had endeavored to keep up an angry mood against the Imperial Government. He constantlv res
proached the Emperor for not interposing in some way to protect Austria and restrict the ambition of Prussia. Louis Napoleon therefore found himself driven to try the gamester's last and desperate throw. He seized the first excuse for forcing a war on Prussia.
It is probably that war would have come in any case. M. Prevost-Paradol had compared France and Prussia to two express trains started from opposite points along the same line of rails. The collision must come; it was merely a question of time. The comparison was happy. Prussia knew very well that her success over Austria had aroused the jealously and the fears of France. France began to revive the old talk of the frontier on the Rhine. Bismark had probably made up his mind that the quarrel would have to be fought out one day. Still it was a fatal mistake of the Emperor Napoleon to force the quarrel on such a pretext as the fact that the Spanish people had invited a distant relation of the King of Prussia to become sovereign of Spain. Louis Napoleon managed to put himself completely in the wrong. The King of Prussia at once induced his relative to withdraw from the candidature in order not to disturb the susceptibilities of France; and then the French Government pressed for a general pledge that the King of Prussia would never on any future occasion allow of any similar canditature. When it came to this there was an end to negotiation. It was clear then that the Emperor was resolved to have a quarrel. Count Bismarck must have smiled a grim smile. His
enemy had delivered himself into Bismarck's hands. The Emperor had been for some time in failing health. He had not been paying much attention to the details oi his administration. False security and self-conceit had operated among his generals and his War Department to the utter detriment of the army. Nothing was ready. The whole system was falling to pieces. Long atter France had reciated war, the army that was to go to Berlin was only
dragging heavily toward the frontier. The experience of what had happened to Austria might have told any one that the moment Prussia saw her opportunity she would move with the direct swiftness of an eagle's flight. But the French army stuck as if it was in mud. What every one expected came to pass. The Prussians came down on the Fiench like the rush of torrent. The fortunes of the war were virtually decided in a day. Then the French lost battle after battle. The Emperor dared not not return to Paris. The defence-for the Prussians had long since become the invaders-was carried on with regard to the Emperor's politi. cal fortunes rather than to the military necessities of the hour. There was nothing but French defeats until there came at last the crowning disaster of Sedan. The Emperor surrendered his sword, and was a captive in the hands of his enemies. The Second Empire was gone in a moment. Paris proclaimed the Republic; the Empress Eugenie fled to England; the Second Empire was all in the dust; the conqueror at Versailles was hailed as German Emperor.
We need not follow the fortunes of the war. France made many a brave and brilliant attempt to rally ; but it was too late. Official neglect and mismanagement had done their work. No courage, no patriotism, could now retrive the fortunes of the field. Marshal Bazaine, the ill. omened soldier of the Mexican campaign, surrendered at Metz with a vast army; Paris was invested, was besieged ; had to give up, or famine would have done the work for her. The conquering enemy had to be spoken with at the gate. France had nothing for it but to accept the terms imposed on her. She lost two provinces and had to pay an enormous fine; and the war was over.
The sympathies of the English people generally were at first almost altogether with Prussia. The policy of the Emperor Napoleon had seemed so gross and outrageous that the public voice here applauded the resistance of Ger
many to his attempted dictation. But when the Empire fell the feeling suddenly changed. It was the common idea that the Prussians ought to have been content with Sedan and the complete destruction of the Bonapartist Empire and have made generous terms with the Republic. Great popular meetings were held in Trafalgar Square, London, and in various provincial cities, to express sympathy with the hardly-entreated French. The sympathy of the Irish populations had been with France all through. The old bonds of comradeship dating from the Irish Brigade and from long before it had still their hold upon the emotional and impassioned Irish nature. Many persons everywhere thought the Government ought to do something to assist the French Republic. Some were of opinion that the glory of England would suffer if she did not get into a fight with some Power of other. It came out in the course of the eager diplomatic discussions which were going on that there had been some secret talk at different times of a private engagement between France and Prussia which would have allowed France on certain conditions to annex Belgium. This astounding revelation excited alarm and anger in England. The Gov. ernment met that possible danger by at once pressing upon France and Prussia a new treaty by which these Powers bound themselves jointly with England to maintain the independence of Belgium and to take up arms against any state invading it. The Government might fairly claim to have thus provided satisfactorily against any menace to the integrity and independence of Belgium, and they prepared against the more general dangers of the hour by asking for a large vote to enable them to strengthen the military de. fences of the country. But they were seriously embarrased by the manner in which Russia suddenly proposed to deal with the Treaty of Paris. One article of that treaty declared that “the Black Sea is neutralized; its waters and its ports, thrown open to the mercantile marine of every na
tion, are formally and in perpetuity interdicted to the flag of war, either of the Powers possessing its costs or of any other Power, and the Sultan of Turkey and the Emperor of Russia engaged to establish or maintain no military or maritime arsenals on the shores of that sea. Russia now took advantage of the war between France and Prussia to say that she would not submit to be bound by that article of the treaty any longer. The Russian statesmen pleaded as a justification of this blunt and sudden proceeding that the Treaty of Paris had been ignored by other Powers and in a variety of ways since the time of its signature, and that Russia could not be expected to endure forever an article which bore heavily, directly, and specially upon her.
The manner of making the announcement was startling, ominous, and offensive. But there really was not much that any English statesman could do to interfere with Russia's declared intentions. Two of the great Powers concerned in the Treaty of Paris were occupied too gravely with cor.cerns of their own to have much interest in the neutralization of the Black Sea. It was not likely that France or Prussia would stop just then from the deathgrapple in which they were engaged to join in coercing Russia to keep to the disputed article in the treaty. Austria of course would not under such circumstances undertake to interfere. It would have been a piece of preposterous quixotry on the part of England to take on herself alone the responsibility of maintaining the sanctity of the treaty. Besides, it had long been clear to every practical politician that sooner or later, by one process or another, Russia would shake herself free from the obligation imposed on her by the clause which she now challenged. Literally it affected all the great Powers alike, but in fact it only concerned Russia, and it was devised as a means of restraining her alone. The Black Sea is virtually a Russian lake. At least it may be thus described if we think of military and political