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marck issued his invitation to the Congress. It was a memorandum determining the points on which an understanding had been come to between Russia and Great Britain, and a mutual engagement for the English and Russian plenipotentiaries at the Congress. It bound England to put up with the handing back of Bessarabia and the cession of the port of Batoum. It conceded all the points in advance which the English people believed that their plenipotentiaries had been making brave struggle for at Berlin. Lord Beaconsfield had not then frightened Russia into accepting the Congress on his terms. The call of the Indian troops to Malta had not done the business ; nor the reserves, nor the vote of the six millions. Russia had gone into the Congress because Lord Salisbury had made a secret engagement with her that she should have what she specially wanted. The Congress was only a piece of pompous and empty ceremonial.
Another secret engagement was that entered into with Turkey. The English Government undertook to guarantee to Turkey her Asiatic possessions against all invasion on condition that Turkey handed over to England the island of Cyprus for her occupation. Lord Beaconsfield afterward explained that Cyprus was to be used as "a place of arms;" in other words, England had now forinally pledged herself to defend and secure Turkey against all invasion or aggression, and occupied Cyprus in order to have a more effectual vantage-ground from which to carry on this project. The difference, therefore, between the policy of the Conservative Government and the policy of the Liberals was now thrown into the strongest possible relief. Mr. Gladstone, and those who thought with him, had always made it a principle of their policy that England had no special and separate in. terest in maintaining the independence of Turkey. Lord Beaconsfield now declared it to be the cardinal principle of his policy that England specially, England above all, was
concerned to maintain the integrity and the independence of the Turkish Empire; that, in fact, the security of Turkey was as much part of the duty of English statesmanship as the security of the Channel Islands or of Malta.
For the moment the policy of Lord Beaconsfield seemed to be entirely in the ascendant. His return home was celebrated with pomp and circumstance befitting the temperament of the statesman, if not indeed quite becoming of such an occasion. The Prime Minister got a great public reception in London. Crowds awaited him at the railway station, which was gaudily decorated and bedizened for the occasion. He made a conquering hero's progress through the streets. Arrived at the Foreign Office, he addressed from the windows an excited and tumultuous crowd, and he proclaimed, in words which became memorable, that he had brought back “ Peace with Honor.” This, so far as human eye can yet see, was the climax of that strange career. From the day when Mr. Disraeli first addressed the electors of Wycombe, from the day when his first speech was hooted and laughed at in the House of Commons, up to this triumphal reception in the streets of London, and this oration from the windows of the Foreign Office, what a distance he had traversed! Years of struggle against what seemed almost insurmountable difficulties; years of steady faith in himself undisturbed by almost universal ridicule ; years of rise and fall, of action and reaction, of success and disaster, had conducted him appropriately to this climax. At this moment he was probably the most conspicuous public man in the world, unless we make one single exception in favor of Prince Bismarck. He had attained to a position of almost univalled popularity in England. Not even in his most successful days was Lord Palmerston ever pursued by such a clamor of noisy public acclamation. The head of the English Prime Minis ter might well have been turned as he stood at the window
of the Foreign Office and addressed his few oracular words to the crowd, and heard the wild cheering which followed, and knew that all the world had its eyes then fixed on that single figure. He ought to have followed classic advice, and have sacrificed at that moment his dearest possession to the gods. No man without sacrifice could buy the lease of such a position and the endurance of such a success.
Meanwhile, so far as could be judged by external symptoms, and in the metropolis, Mr Gladstone and his followers were down to their lowest depth, their very zero of unpopularity. The London morning newspapers, with the one conspicuous exception of the Daily News, were entirely on the side of Lord Beaconsfield. Indeed, with the exception of the Daily News the Spectator, and the Echo, there were no metropolitan papers of any literary name, no papers lying on club tables, which had not declared themselves emphatically in support of Lord Beaconsfield against Mr. Gladstone. The cheap weekly papers, which were read by hundreds of thousands of the working population, were not known to the calculations of society. Nor did society concern itself much about the public opinion of the provinces. In the Midland counties, and still more especially in the north of England, the condition of public feeling was somewhat different from that of London. In the provinces men examined more coolly the political conditions. They were not carried away by the gossip of the House of Commons and the clubs, and the influence of that which in London is called society. In the provinces, on the whole, Liberalism still remained popular. Mr. Gladstone would still have been sure of the cheers of a great provincial meeting. But there came a day in London when, passing with his wife through one of the streets, he was compelled to seek the shelter of a friendly hall-door in order to escape from the threatening demonstrations of a little mob of patriots boisterously returning from a lingo carnival.
URING the excitement caused by the preparations for
the Congress of Berlin a long career came quietly to a close. On May 28th, 1878, Lord Russell died at his residence, Pembroke Lodge, Richmond. He may be said to have faded out of life, to have ceased to live, rather than to have died, so quiet, gradual, almost imperceptible was the passing way. Not many days before his death, on May gth, a deputation of representative and distinguished Non conformists had waited upon him to present him with an address on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, a reform of which he was the great promoter. Lord Russell was not able to receive the deputation; his wife and son spoke for him. He had not for some time taken any active part in public affairs. We have already in this book spoken of his political career as closed. Now and then some public event aroused his attention, and he addressed a letter to one of the news. papers. He wrote as a man speaks, who, sinking quietly and gradually into death, is suddenly roused to interest in he affairs of the living by catching some words of a halfwhispered conversation around him, and who murmurs some sentences of faint remonstrance or advice.
There was something strangely pathetic in these utterances, with their imperfect application to the actual condition of things
around, and the testimony they bore to the fading man's inextinguishable interest in the progress of living history. To the last moments of his life Lord Russell refused to surrender wholly his concern in the affairs of men. The world listened respectfully to these few occasional words from one who had borne a leader's part in some of the greatest political struggles of the century, and who still, from the very edge of the grave, was anxious to offer his whisper of coun. sel or of warning. No one felt bonind to weigh too carefully the substantial and practical value of the advice, under the altered conditions of that actual time to which Lord Russell could hardly be said to belong any more. His had been on the whole a great career.
He had not only lived through great changes; he had helped to accomplish some of the greatest changes his time had known. His life was singularly unselfish. He was often eager and pushing where he believed that he saw his way to do something needful, and men confounded the zeal of a cause with the eagerness of personal ambition. He never cared for money, and his original rank raised him above any possible consideration for enhanced social distinction. He had made many mistakes; but those who knew him best prized most highly both his political capacity and his personai character. His later years were made happy and smooth by all that the love of a household could do. He had lost a son, a young man of much political promise, Lord Amberley, who died in 1876; but, on the whole, he had suffered less in his later time than is commonly the lot of those who live to extreme old age. The time of his death was in a certain sense appropriate. His public career had just begun at the time of the Congress of Vienna; it closed with the preparations for the Congress of Berlin.
Why did not Lord Beaconsfield sacrifice to the gods nis dearest possession, his political majority, immediately after the triumphal return from Berlin? The opinion of nearly