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face. God has given me the victory in the war which bas been declared against me.”
“ “ It was not I,” interrupted the Emperor, “who desired war; public opinion in France has forced me to begin war."
• “I am convinced of it," answered the King. “ Your Majesty has declared war in order to give satisfaction to public opinion; but your ministers made this public opinion-artificially produced it.'
• The Emperor sighed.
• "The French army, Sire," said the King, “has fought, I must confess with admiration, with great bravery, and made the victory difficult for us."
6“Yes, they are brave soldiers," answered the Emperor sadly; " but their discipline was in a bad state. Your Majesty's troops are astonishing for discipline."
"“ The Prussian army has always made it a duty,” remarked the King, “ to adopt all the new and good ideas, and to make use of the experiences of other nations."
1"Your artillery, Sire,” said the Emperor, in a livelier tone than he had yet spoken, “is the best in the world--it won the battle.
I am personally defeated by your artillery.”
* The King made a bow.
•• The artillery especially has also devoted itself to learn of the experiences of other nations,” he replied.
• “And your cavalry, too, has moved me with much admiration. They surrounded your army as with a veil, which made it impossible to find out their movements."
““ Prince Frederick Carl,” he continued, " decided the fate of yesterday-his army broke through our most important positions."
• “ Prince Frederick Carl ? ”asked the King in astonishment. “Your Majesty deceives yourself; the army of my son was before Sedan, and contributed essentially to the gaining of the battle."
“And where is Prince Frederick Carl ?” asked the Emperor in surprise.
"" He stands with his corps d'armée before Metz," repeated the King.
• The almost grey face of the Emperor became still paler, his eyes closed themselves as he grasped spasmodically the arms of his chair.
““ I thought the army of the Prince had also followed our march," he said, as he recovered himself again with difficulty.'
After the King and the Crown Prince had taken leave of the Emperor, the latter gave orders for his journey to Wilhelmshöhe, the place which had been assigned to him for a residence, as though nothing unusual had happened.' The remainder of the political scenes pass in Paris.
The effects of the news of the terrible reverse at Sedan on the gove ernment and the people, the aspects of the streets, the plottings of the future leaders of the Commune-Delecluze, Varlin, Cluseret, Raoul Rigault, at the back of the Café de Madrid,
the disturbed counsels of the Empress, and her fight, form the leading incidents of the last pages. Here we are able to test the fidelity of the writer's narrative in some measure by personal experience, and the result has not been such as to lead us to prize very highly the author's accuracy in his descriptions, either of popular scenes or of the actions of individuals. Those who were present during this period in Paris can assert that the news of the disaster of Sedan was disseminated in the capital in quite a different way, and that its effect upon the population was very different from that which is here related.
In the first place, the popularity of Trochu, whom he here describes as all-powerful even before Sedan, did not commence till after that event. Palikao was then the leading figure in the political arena, and he certainly played his part in throwing dust in the eyes of the Parisians with the art of a consummate comic actor, now inventing wondrous tales of whole corps d'armée of the hostile forces being driven headlong into the Carrières de Jaumont; now informing the Legislative Assembly that if military reasons did not oblige him to maintain silence as to the facts he knew, all Paris would be illuminated; and now escaping from the inconvenient necessity of answering importunate questions by pleading incapacity of speech, on account of the ball which an old soldier had lodged in his breast depuis vingt-cinq ans.'
The news, too, of the defeat of Sedan reached the metropolis in quite a different shape. For days, it is true, there had been, in spite of the assurances of Palikao, vague suspicions that a great disaster was impending, and groups were formed in the streets in which the news of the day was discussed, but that in the quietest fashion; and it is by no means true that curses were pronounced on all sides against the Emperor; on the contrary, people had ceased to occupy themselves about the Imperial family at all. Their talk was of Bazaine and MacMahon, and the communications of the Comte Palikao. The Bonapartist faction was so invisible that it seemed to be utterly extinguished. The streets and the quays and the Champs Elysées could not, when the news of the defeat at Sedan was promulgated, have sounded with men crying, "Down
with the Empire: long live the Republic!' for the reason that the Government had taken care that the news of the greatest defeat the French nation ever suffered should only be proclaimed at midnight, when the working classes were asleep. It is true that a crowd of people congregated on the Place de la Concorde; but they were in a great part composed of persons in evening costume, who had come there at that late hour
and chiefly from evening parties and theatres to hear news which it was understood would be given out that evening at the Corps Législatif. Rumours of disaster rapidly spread through this large crowd; but they were discussed calmly among well-dressed groups, and not a cry or shout of any kind was to be heard. It was then reported that the Government despatch which had brought news of the defeat would be read out at the different mairies in the capital, and the assemblage separated. Many went to hear the despatch proclaimed at the mairies in their neighbourhood; we ourselves went to one of them ; we heard the despatch read out in solemn silence to the crowd. One man alone uttered a cry of exultation at the words, · The Emperor was taken prisoner ;' and he was reproved quietly by the bystanders ; not on account of any sympathy with the Emperor, but because it was thought such a manifestation was unseemly towards one who had been so recently the head of the French nation. The account, too, of the escape of the Empress from Paris is mixed up with a number of romantic details which we believe not to have the slightest foundation. It was reported at the time, and we believe the fact to be true, that she went off quietly and without any difficulty at all in the brougham of a well-known American dentist. The imperfect impression which the pages of Herr Meding convey of scenes of which we were eyewitnesses would lead us therefore not to give much historical value to his work, except in those parts in which he may have had exceptional opportunities for making acquaintance with the chief actors in the events with which he deals, as may, doubtless, have been the case with certain of the
whom he puts upon
It must, however, be allowed on all sides that he has made a very original and audacious attempt to present history under the guise of fiction, or, it may be, fiction under the guise of history. The extraordinary character of the events he relates and the portraits of living persons, well-known in the society of the present day, give a peculiar interest to these novels; and we do not doubt that to many readers they will seem to convey an accurate picture of the occurrences and the actor's whom they describe.
ART. IX.-1. Despatches, Correspondence, and Memoranda
of Field Marshal Arthur Duke of Wellington, K.G. Édited by his Son the Duke of WELLINGTON, K.G. (in continuation of the former series), Volume the Sixth
(July 1829 to April 1830). 8vo. London : 1877. 2. Depêches inédites du Chevalier de Gentz aur Hospodars de
Valachie, pour servir à l'histoire de la politique Européenne (1813–1828). Publiés par le Comte PROKESCH-Osten fils.
Trois tomes. 8vo. Paris : 1876. IN n the course of last autumn we had occasion to point out
the striking similarity which exists between the political and diplomatic transactions that preceded and led to the war between Russia and Turkey in 1828 and the occurrences of the present day. Since the publication of those remarks, much more copious and authentic information has been supplied to us, especially by the interesting publications that stand at the head of this article, on the relations of the Great Powers to the Ottoman Empire and to each other at the earlier period referred to. We are enabled to follow day by day every step in the negotiations of 1826 and 1827; and it is not without astonishment that we trace in these parallel passages of history, at an interval of half a century, a resemblance amounting to identity, the same efforts on the part of the Christian Powers to obtain from the Porte the recognition of the rights of its Christian subjects—the same claims to interference on their behalf-the same indignant remonstrances against acts of cruelty and oppression—the same attempt to combine the action of Russia and England on the basis of a common Protocol--and on the side of Turkey the same unbending resistance, expressed in the same language, and defended with the same diplomatic ingenuity and resolute indifference to the most formidable consequences. These volumes, therefore, afford us an excellent and instructive commentary on the present state of affairs, the more valuable as they place before us the views of statesmen of a very high order-Mr. Canning, Prince Metternich, Count Nesselrode, Lord Aberdeen, and above all the Duke of Wellington, whose correspondence is the bond connecting them together. The dangers which now threaten, or have recently threatened, the peace of Europe are the very same which they sought to avoid. Although the immediate cause of the disturbance is different, for then it was Greek and now it is Slavonic, yet the main features of the Eastern Question are unchanged, for they consist in the growing weakness
and misrule of Turkey and the invariable objects of Russian policy. We can only hope that the efforts of the present generation to avert the catastrophe of war will be more successful than they were under the reign of Nicholas. Even the Duke of Wellington exclaimed after the Treaty of Adrianople, that the Ottoman Empire was at an end ; and that it might become necessary to consider what was to be put in its place. Fifty years have elapsed, and the Sick Man is still alive—not indeed in vigorous health, but possibly not much nearer the term of his existence than he seemed to be half a century ago.
Eastern affairs, however, occupy but a small portion of his Grace's most interesting correspondence. It embraces all the subjects which came in rapid succession under the eye of the Prime Minister-the state of Ireland, at the period immediately succeeding the great measure of Catholic Emancipation—the cabal of the Duke of Cumberland and the intrigues of the Russian Embassy in London, openly allied to overthrow the King's Government—the captious and semi-hostile attitude of George IV. towards a Minister whom he feared and yet feared to part with—the portentous change effected by Charles X. in the government of France, and the signs of approaching revolution in that country—the unsettled state of Spain and Portugal—the distress prevailing in England and the growing weakness of the administration. All these topics are laid bare, in the vivid language of contemporary correspondence; we seem to live over again in the political life of a past generation. And through them all we mark the grand sagacity, courage, and common sense of the Duke of Wellington. There have been many statesmen more subtle, more accomplished, more eloquent, more liberal, more enlightened: but in honesty, patriotism, plain-dealing and plain-speaking he stands without a rival.
By way of contrast to this manly volume, we have placed beside it the curious collection of the Reports on the current affairs of Europe from 1813 to 1828, which were addressed to the Hospodars of Wallachia by Chevalier Gentz, during that period, with the knowledge and consent of the Austrian Government, in whose service he occupied a high and most confidential position. He was at the same time the paid agent of these Hospodars, and he appears to have communicated to them all he knew. We have on former occasions done justice to M. Gentz, as the man who during the domination of Napoleon I. did not despair of the independence of Europe. At the Congress of Vienna he took an active part. We now learn from