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History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 by C. A. Fyffe

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which Gambetta required of them, an inroad into Baden, or even the
re-conquest of Alsace, would most seriously have affected the position of
the Germans before Paris. But Gambetta miscalculated the power of young,
untrained troops, imperfectly armed, badly fed, against a veteran enemy. In
a series of hard-fought struggles the army of the Loire under General
Chanzy was driven back at the beginning of January from Vendome to Le Mans.
On the 12th, Chanzy took post before this city and fought his last battle.
While he was making a vigorous resistance in the centre of the line, the
Breton regiments stationed on his right gave way; the Germans pressed round
him, and gained possession of the town. Chanzy retreated towards Laval,
leaving thousands of prisoners in the hands of the enemy, and saving only
the debris of an army. Bourbaki in the meantime, with a numerous but
miserably equipped force, had almost reached Belfort. The report of his
eastward movement was not at first believed at the German headquarters
before Paris, and the troops of General Werder, which had been engaged
about Dijon with a body of auxiliaries commanded by Garibaldi, were left to
bear the brunt of the attack without support. When the real state of
affairs became known Manteuffel was sent eastwards in hot haste towards the
threatened point. Werder had evacuated Dijon and fallen back upon Vesoul;
part of his army was still occupied in the siege of Belfort. As Bourbaki
approached he fell back with the greater part of his troops in order to
cover the besieging force, leaving one of his lieutenants to make a flank
attack upon Bourbaki at Villersexel. This attack, one of the fiercest in
the war, delayed the French for two days, and gave Werder time to occupy
the strong positions that he had chosen about Montbéliard. Here, on the
15th of January, began a struggle which lasted for three days. The French,
starving and perishing with cold, though far superior in number to their
enemy, were led with little effect against the German entrenchments. On the
18th Bourbaki began his retreat. Werder was unable to follow him;
Manteuffel with a weak force was still at some distance, and for a moment
it seemed possible that Bourbaki, by a rapid movement westwards, might
crush this isolated foe. Gambetta ordered Bourbaki to make the attempt: the
commander refused to court further disaster with troops who were not fit to
face an enemy, and retreated towards Pontarlier in the hope of making his
way to Lyons. But Manteuffel now descended in front of him; divisions of
Werder's army pressed down from the north; the retreat was cut off; and the
unfortunate French general, whom a telegram from Gambetta removed from his
command, attempted to take his own life. On the 1st of February, the wreck
of his army, still numbering eighty-five thousand men, but reduced to the
extremity of weakness and misery, sought refuge beyond the Swiss frontier.

[Capitulation of Paris and Armistice, Jan. 28.]

The war was now over. Two days after Bourbaki's repulse at Montbéliard the
last unsuccessful sortie was made from Paris. There now remained provisions
only for another fortnight; above forty thousand of the inhabitants had
succumbed to the privations of the siege; all hope of assistance from the
relieving armies before actual famine should begin disappeared. On the 23rd
of January Favre sought the German Chancellor at Versailles in order to
discuss the conditions of a general armistice and of the capitulation of
Paris. The negotiations lasted for several days; on the 28th an armistice
was signed with the declared object that elections might at once be freely
held for a National Assembly, which should decide whether the war should be
continued, or on what conditions peace should be made. The conditions of
the armistice were that the forts of Paris and all their material of war
should be handed over to the German army; that the artillery of the
enceinte should be dismounted; and that the regular troops in Paris should,
as prisoners of war, surrender their arms. The National Guard were
permitted to retain their weapons and their artillery. Immediately upon the
fulfilment of the first two conditions all facilities were to be given for
the entry of supplies of food into Paris. [545]

[National Assembly at Bordeaux, Feb. 12.]

[Preliminaries of Peace, Feb. 26.]

The articles of the armistice were duly executed, and on the 30th of
January the Prussian flag waved over the forts of the French capital.
Orders were sent into the provinces by the Government that elections should
at once be held. It had at one time been feared by Count Bismarck that
Gambetta would acknowledge no armistice that might be made by his
colleagues at Paris. But this apprehension was not realised, for, while
protesting against a measure adopted without consultation with himself and
his companions at Bordeaux, Gambetta did not actually reject the armistice.
He called upon the nation, however, to use the interval for the collection
of new forces; and in the hope of gaining from the election an Assembly in
favour of a continuation of the war, he published a decree incapacitating
for election all persons who had been connected with the Government of
Napoleon III. Against this decree Bismarck at once protested, and at his
instance it was cancelled by the Government of Paris. Gambetta thereupon
resigned. The elections were held on the 8th of February, and on the 12th
the National Assembly was opened at Bordeaux. The Government of Defence now
laid down its powers. Thiers--who had been the author of those
fortifications which had kept the Germans at bay for four months after the
overthrow of the Imperial armies; who, in the midst of the delirium of
July, 1870, had done all that man could do to dissuade the Imperial
Government and its Parliament from war; who, in spite of his seventy years,
had, after the fall of Napoleon, hurried to London, to St. Petersburg, to
Florence, to Vienna, in the hope of winning some support for France,--was
the man called by common assent to the helm of State. He appointed a
Ministry, called upon the Assembly to postpone all discussions as to the
future Government of France, and himself proceeded to Versailles in order
to negotiate conditions of peace. For several days the old man struggled
with Count Bismarck on point after point in the Prussian demands. Bismarck
required the cession of Alsace and Eastern Lorraine, the payment of six
milliards of francs, and the occupation of part of Paris by the German army
until the conditions of peace should be ratified by the Assembly. Thiers
strove hard to save Metz, but on this point the German staff was
inexorable; he succeeded at last in reducing the indemnity to five
milliards, and was given the option between retaining Belfort and sparing
Paris the entry of the German troops. On the last point his patriotism
decided without a moment's hesitation. He bade the Germans enter Paris, and
saved Belfort for France. On the 26th of February preliminaries of peace
were signed. Thirty thousand German soldiers marched into the Champs
Elysées on the 1st of March; but on that same day the treaty was ratified
by the Assembly at Bordeaux, and after forty-eight hours Paris was freed
from the sight of its conquerors. The Articles of Peace provided for the
gradual evacuation of France by the German army as the instalments of the
indemnity, which were allowed to extend over a period of three years,
should be paid. There remained for settlement only certain matters of
detail, chiefly connected with finance; these, however, proved the object
of long and bitter controversy, and it was not until the 10th of May that
the definitive Treaty of Peace was signed at Frankfort.

[German Unity.]

France had made war in order to undo the work of partial union effected by
Prussia in 1866: it achieved the opposite result, and Germany emerged from
the war with the Empire established. Immediately after the victory of Wörth
the Crown Prince had seen that the time had come for abolishing the line of
division which severed Southern Germany from the Federation of the North.
His own conception of the best form of national union was a German Empire
with its chief at Berlin. That Count Bismarck was without plans for uniting
North and South Germany it is impossible to believe; but the Minister and
the Crown Prince had always been at enmity; and when, after the battle of
Sedan, they spoke together of the future, it seemed to the Prince as if
Bismarck had scarcely thought of the federation of the Empire or of the
re-establishment of the Imperial dignity, and as if he was inclined to it
only under certain reserves. It was, however, part of Bismarck's system to
exclude the Crown Prince as far as possible from political affairs, under
the strange pretext that his relationship to Queen Victoria would be abused
by the French proclivities of the English Court; and it is possible that
had the Chancellor after the battle of Sedan chosen to admit the Prince to
his confidence instead of resenting his interference, the difference
between their views as to the future of Germany would have been seen to be
one rather of forms and means than of intention. But whatever the share of
these two dissimilar spirits in the initiation of the last steps towards
German union, the work, as ultimately achieved, was both in form and in
substance that which the Crown Prince had conceived. In the course of
September negotiations were opened with each of the Southern States for its
entry into the Northern Confederation. Bavaria alone raised serious
difficulties, and demanded terms to which the Prussian Government could not
consent. Bismarck refrained from exercising pressure at Munich, but invited
the several Governments to send representatives to Versailles for the
purpose of arriving at a settlement. For a moment the Court of Munich drew
the sovereign of Würtemberg to its side, and orders were sent to the envoys
of Würtemberg at Versailles to act with the Bavarians in refusing to sign
the treaty projected by Bismarck. The Würtemberg Ministers hereupon
tendered their resignation; Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt signed the treaty,
and the two dissentient kings saw themselves on the point of being excluded
from United Germany. They withdrew their opposition, and at the end of
November the treaties uniting all the Southern States with the existing
Confederation were executed, Bavaria retaining larger separate rights than
were accorded to any other member of the Union.

[Proclamation of the Empire, Jan. 18.]

In the acts which thus gave to Germany political cohesion there was nothing
that altered the title of its chief. Bismarck, however, had in the meantime
informed the recalcitrant sovereigns that if they did not themselves offer
the Imperial dignity to King William, the North German Parliament would do
so. At the end of November a letter was accordingly sent by the King of
Bavaria to all his fellow-sovereigns, proposing that the King of Prussia,
as President of the newly-formed Federation, should assume the title of
German Emperor. Shortly afterwards the same request was made by the same
sovereign to King William himself, in a letter dictated by Bismarck. A
deputation from the North German Reichstag, headed by its President, Dr.
Simson, who, as President of the Frankfort National Assembly, had in 1849
offered the Imperial Crown to King Frederick William, expressed the
concurrence of the nation in the act of the Princes. It was expected that
before the end of the year the new political arrangements would have been
sanctioned by the Parliaments of all the States concerned, and the 1st of
January had been fixed for the assumption of the Imperial title. So
vigorous, however, was the opposition made in the Bavarian Chamber, that
the ceremony was postponed till the 18th. Even then the final approving
vote had not been taken at Munich; but a second adjournment would have been
fatal to the dignity of the occasion; and on the 18th of January, in the
midst of the Princes of Germany and the representatives of its army
assembled in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, King William assumed the
title of German Emperor. The first Parliament of the Empire was opened at
Berlin two months later.

[The Commune of Paris.]

[Troops withdrawn to Versailles, March 18.]

[The Commune.]

The misfortunes of France did not end with the fall of its capital and the
loss of its border provinces; the terrible drama of 1870 closed with civil
war. It is part of the normal order of French history that when an
established Government is overthrown, and another is set in its place, this
second Government is in its turn attacked by insurrection in Paris, and an
effort is made to establish the rule of the democracy of the capital
itself, or of those who for the moment pass for its leaders. It was so in
1793, in 1831, in 1848, and it was so again in 1870. Favre, Trochu, and the
other members of the Government of Defence had assumed power on the
downfall of Napoleon III. because they considered themselves the
individuals best able to serve the State. There were hundreds of other
persons in Paris who had exactly the same opinion of themselves; and when,
with the progress of the siege, the Government of Defence lost its
popularity and credit, it was natural that ambitious and impatient men of a
lower political rank should consider it time to try whether Paris could not
make a better defence under their own auspices. Attempts were made before
the end of October to overthrow the Government. They were repeated at
intervals, but without success. The agitation, however, continued within
the ranks of the National Guard, which, unlike the National Guard in the
time of Louis Philippe, now included the mass of the working class, and was
the most dangerous enemy, instead of the support, of Government. The
capitulation brought things to a crisis. Favre had declared that it would
be impossible to disarm the National Guard without a battle in the streets;
at his instance Bismarck allowed the National Guard to retain their
weapons, and the fears of the Government itself thus prepared the way for
successful insurrection. When the Germans were about to occupy western
Paris, the National Guard drew off its artillery to Montmartre and there
erected entrenchments. During the next fortnight, while the Germans were
withdrawing from the western forts in accordance with the conditions of
peace, the Government and the National Guard stood facing one another in
inaction; on the 18th of March General Lecomte was ordered to seize the
artillery parked at Montmartre. His troops, surrounded and solicited by the
National Guard, abandoned their commander. Lecomte was seized, and, with
General Clément Thomas, was put to death. A revolutionary Central Committee
took possession of the Hôtel de Ville; the troops still remaining faithful
to the Government were withdrawn to Versailles, where Thiers had assembled
the Chamber. Not only Paris itself, but the western forts with the
exception of Mont Valérien, fell into the hands of the insurgents. On the
26th of March elections were held for the Commune. The majority of peaceful
citizens abstained from voting. A council was elected, which by the side of
certain harmless and well-meaning men contained a troop of revolutionists
by profession; and after the failure of all attempts at conciliation,
hostilities began between Paris and Versailles.

[Second Siege--April 2, May 21.]

There were in the ranks of those who fought for the Commune some who fought
in the sincere belief that their cause was that of municipal freedom; there
were others who believed, and with good reason, that the existence of the
Republic was threatened by a reactionary Assembly at Versailles; but the
movement was on the whole the work of fanatics who sought to subvert every
authority but their own; and the unfortunate mob who followed them, in so
far as they fought for anything beyond the daily pay which had been their
only means of sustenance since the siege began, fought for they knew not
what. As the conflict was prolonged, it took on both sides a character of
atrocious violence and cruelty. The murder of Generals Lecomte and Thomas
at the outset was avenged by the execution of some of the first prisoners
taken by the troops of Versailles. Then hostages were seized by the
Commune. The slaughter in cold blood of three hundred National Guards
surprised at Clamart by the besiegers gave to the Parisians the example of
massacre. When, after a siege of six weeks, in which Paris suffered far
more severely than it had suffered from the cannonade of the Germans, the
troops of Versailles at length made their way into the capital, humanity,
civilisation, seemed to have vanished in the orgies of devils. The
defenders, as they fell back, murdered their hostages, and left behind them
palaces, museums, the entire public inheritance of the nation in its
capital, in flames. The conquerors during several days shot down all whom
they took fighting, and in many cases put to death whole bands of prisoners
without distinction. The temper of the army was such that the Government,
even if it had desired, could probably not have mitigated the terrors of
this vengeance. But there was little sign anywhere of an inclination to
mercy. Courts-martial and executions continued long after the heat of
combat was over. A year passed, and the tribunals were still busy with
their work. Above ten thousand persons were sentenced to transportation or
imprisonment before public justice was satisfied.

[Entry of Italian Troops into Rome, Sept. 20, 1870.]

[The Papacy.]

The material losses which France sustained at the hands of the invader and
in civil war were soon repaired; but from the battle of Wörth down to the
overthrow of the Commune France had been effaced as a European Power, and
its effacement was turned to good account by two nations who were not its
enemies. Russia, with the sanction of Europe, threw off the trammels which
had been imposed upon it in the Black Sea by the Treaty of 1856. Italy
gained possession of Rome. Soon after the declaration of war the troops of
France, after an occupation of twenty-one years broken only by an interval
of some months in 1867, were withdrawn from the Papal territory. Whatever
may have been the understanding with Victor Emmanuel on which Napoleon
recalled his troops from Civita Vecchia, the battle of Sedan set Italy
free; and on the 20th of September the National Army, after overcoming a
brief show of resistance, entered Rome. The unity of Italy was at last
completed; Florence ceased to be the national capital. A body of laws
passed by the Italian Parliament, and known as the Guarantees, assured to
the Pope the honours and immunities of a sovereign, the possession of the
Vatican and the Lateran palaces, and a princely income; in the appointment
of Bishops and generally in the government of the Church a fulness of
authority was freely left to him such as he possessed in no other European
land. But Pius would accept no compromise for the loss of his temporal
power. He spurned the reconciliation with the Italian people, which had now
for the first time since 1849 become possible. He declared Rome to be in
the possession of brigands; and, with a fine affectation of disdain for
Victor Emmanuel and the Italian Government, he invented, and sustained down
to the end of his life, before a world too busy to pay much heed to his
performance, the reproachful part of the Prisoner of the Vatican.


France after 1871--Alliance of the Three Emperors--Revolt of
Herzegovina--The Andrássy Note--Murder of the Consuls at Salonika--The
Berlin Memorandum--Rejected by England--Abdul Aziz deposed--Massacres in
Bulgaria--Servia and Montenegro declare War--Opinion in England--
Disraeli--Meeting of Emperors at Reichstadt--Servian Campaign--Declaration
of the Czar--Conference at Constantinople--Its Failure--The London
Protocol--Russia declares War--Advance on the Balkans--Osman at
Plevna--Second Attack on Plevna--The Shipka Pass--Roumania--Third attack
on Plevna--Todleben--Fall of Plevna--Passage of the Balkans--Armistice--
England--The Fleet passes the Dardanelles--Treaty of San Stefano--England
and Russia--Secret Agreement--Convention with Turkey--Congress of
Berlin--Treaty of Berlin--Bulgaria.

[France after 1871.]

The storm of 1870 was followed by some years of European calm. France,
recovering with wonderful rapidity from the wounds inflicted by the war,
paid with ease the instalments of its debt to Germany, and saw its soil
liberated from the foreigner before the period fixed by the Treaty of
Frankfort. The efforts of a reactionary Assembly were kept in check by M.
Thiers; the Republic, as the form of government which divided Frenchmen the
least, was preferred by him to the monarchical restoration which might have
won France allies at some of the European Courts. For two years Thiers
baffled or controlled the royalist majority at Versailles which sought to
place the Comté de Chambord or the chief of the House of Orleans on the
throne, and thus saved his country from the greatest of all perils, the
renewal of civil war. In 1873 he fell before a combination of his
opponents, and McMahon succeeded to the Presidency, only to find that the
royalist cause was made hopeless by the refusal of the Comté de Chambord to
adopt the Tricolour flag, and that France, after several years of trial,
definitely preferred the Republic. Meanwhile, Prince Bismarck had known how
to frustrate all plans for raising a coalition against victorious Germany
among the Powers which had been injured by its successes, or whose
interests were threatened by its greatness. He saw that a Bourbon or a
Napoleon on the throne of France would find far more sympathy and
confidence at Vienna and St. Petersburg than the shifting chief of a
Republic, and ordered Count Arnim, the German Ambassador at Paris, who
wished to promote a Napoleonic restoration, to desist from all attempts to
weaken the Republican Government. At St. Petersburg, where after the
misfortunes of 1815 France had found its best friends, the German statesman
had as yet little to fear. Bismarck had supported Russia in undoing the
Treaty of Paris; in announcing the conclusion of peace with France, the
German Emperor had assured the Czar in the most solemn language that his
services in preventing the war of 1870 from becoming general should never
be forgotten; and, whatever might be the feeling of his subjects, Alexander
II. continued to believe that Russia could find no steadier friend than the
Government of Berlin.

[Alliance of the three Emperors.]

With Austria Prince Bismarck had a more difficult part to play. He could
hope for no real understanding so long as Beust remained at the head of
affairs. But the events of 1870, utterly frustrating Beust's plans for a
coalition against Prussia, and definitely closing for Austria all hope of
recovering its position within Germany, had shaken the Minister's position.
Bismarck was able to offer to the Emperor Francis Joseph the sincere and
cordial friendship of the powerful German Empire, on the condition that
Austria should frankly accept the work of 1866 and 1870. He had dissuaded
his master after the victory of Königgrätz from annexing any Austrian
territory; he had imposed no condition of peace that left behind it a
lasting exasperation; and he now reaped the reward of his foresight.
Francis Joseph accepted the friendship offered him from Berlin, and
dismissed Count Beust from office, calling to his place the Hungarian
Minister Andrássy, who, by conviction as well as profession, welcomed the
establishment of a German Empire, and the definite abandonment by Austria
of its interference in German affairs. In the summer of 1872 the three
Emperors, accompanied by their Ministers, met in Berlin. No formal alliance
was made, but a relation was established of sufficient intimacy to insure
Prince Bismarck against any efforts that might be made by France to gain an
ally. For five years this so-called League of the three Emperors continued
in more or less effective existence, and condemned France to isolation. In
the apprehension of the French people, Germany, gorged with the five
milliards but still lean and ravenous, sought only for some new occasion
for war. This was not the case. The German nation had entered unwillingly
into the war of 1870; that its ruler, when once his great aim had been
achieved, sought peace not only in word but in deed the history of
subsequent years has proved. The alarms which at intervals were raised at
Paris and elsewhere had little real foundation; and when next the peace of
Europe was broken, it was not by a renewal of the struggle on the Vosges,
but by a conflict in the East, which, terrible as it was in the sufferings
and the destruction of life which it involved, was yet no senseless duel
between two jealous nations, but one of the most fruitful in results of all
modern wars, rescuing whole provinces from Ottoman dominion, and leaving
behind it in place of a chaos of outworn barbarism at least the elements
for a future of national independence among the Balkan population.

[Revolt of Herzegovina, Aug., 1875.]

[Andrássy Note, Jan. 31, 1876.]

In the summer of 1875 Herzegovina rose against its Turkish masters, and in
Bosnia conflicts broke out between Christians and Mohammedans. The
insurrection was vigorously, though privately, supported by Servia and
Montenegro, and for some months baffled all the efforts made by the Porte
for its suppression. Many thousands of the Christians, flying from a
devastated land and a merciless enemy, sought refuge beyond the Austrian
frontier, and became a burden upon the Austrian Government. The agitation
among the Slavic neighbours and kinsmen of the insurgents threatened the
peace of Austria itself, where Slav and Magyar were almost as ready to fall
upon one another as Christian and Turk. Andrássy entered into
communications with the Governments of St. Petersburg and Berlin as to the
adoption of a common line of policy by the three Empires towards the Porte;
and a scheme of reforms, intended to effect the pacification of the
insurgent provinces, was drawn up by the three Ministers in concert with
one another. This project, which was known as the Andrássy Note, and which
received the approval of England and France, demanded from the Porte the
establishment of full and entire religious liberty, the abolition of the
farming of taxes, the application of the revenue produced by direct
taxation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to the needs of those provinces
themselves, the institution of a Commission composed equally of Christians
and Mohammedans to control the execution of these reforms and of those
promised by the Porte, and finally the improvement of the agrarian
condition of the population by the sale to them of waste lands belonging to
the State. The Note demanding these reforms was presented in Constantinople
on the 31st of January, 1876. The Porte, which had already been lavish of
promises to the insurgents, raised certain objections in detail, but
ultimately declared itself willing to grant in substance the concessions
which were specified by the Powers. [546]

[Murder of the Consuls at Salonika, May 6.]

Armed with this assurance, the representatives of Austria now endeavoured
to persuade the insurgents to lay down their arms and the refugees to
return to their homes. But the answer was made that promises enough had
already been given by the Sultan, and that the question was, not what more
was to be written on a piece of paper, but how the execution of these
promises was to be enforced. Without some guarantee from the Great Powers
of Europe the refugees refused to place themselves again at the mercy of
the Turk, and the leaders in Herzegovina refused to disband their troops.
The conflict broke out afresh with greater energy; the intervention of the
Powers, far from having produced peace, roused the fanatical passions of
the Mohammedans both against the Christian rayahs and against the foreigner
to whom they had appealed. A wave of religious, of patriotic agitation, of
political disquiet, of barbaric fury, passed over the Turkish Empire. On
the 6th of May the Prussian and the French Consuls at Salonika were
attacked and murdered by the mob. In Smyrna and Constantinople there were
threatening movements against the European inhabitants; in Bulgaria, the
Circassian settlers and the hordes of irregular troops whom the Government
had recently sent into that province waited only for the first sign of an
expected insurrection to fall upon their prey and deluge the land with

[The Berlin Memorandum, May 13.]

As soon as it became evident that peace was not to be produced by Count
Andrássy's Note, the Ministers of the three Empires determined to meet one
another with the view of arranging further diplomatic steps to be taken in
common. Berlin, which the Czar was about to visit, was chosen as the
meeting-place; the date of the meeting was fixed for the second week in
May. It was in the interval between the despatch of Prince Bismarck's
invitation and the arrival of the Czar, with Prince Gortschakoff and Count
Andrássy, that intelligence came of the murder of the Prussian and French
Consuls at Salonika. This event gave a deeper seriousness to the
deliberations now held. The Ministers declared that if the representatives
of two foreign Powers could be thus murdered in broad daylight in a
peaceful town under the eyes of the powerless authorities, the Christians
of the insurgent provinces might well decline to entrust themselves to an
exasperated enemy. An effective guarantee for the execution of the promises
made by the Porte had become absolutely necessary. The conclusions of the
Ministers were embodied in a Memorandum, which declared that an armistice
of two months must be imposed on the combatants; that the mixed Commission
mentioned in the Andrássy Note must be at once called into being, with a
Christian native of Herzegovina at its head; and that the reforms promised
by the Porte must be carried out under the superintendence of the
representatives of the European Powers. If before the end of the armistice
the Porte should not have given its assent to these terms, the Imperial
Courts declared that they must support these diplomatic efforts by measures
of a more effective character. [547]

[England alone rejects the Berlin Memorandum.]

On the same day that this Memorandum was signed, Prince Bismarck invited
the British, the French, and Italian Ambassadors to meet the Russian and
the Austrian Chancellors at his residence. They did so. The Memorandum was
read, and an urgent request was made that Great Britain France, and Italy
would combine with the Imperial Courts in support of the Berlin Memorandum
as they had in support of the Andrássy Note. As Prince Gortschakoff and
Andrássy were staying in Berlin only for two days longer, it was hoped that
answers might be received by telegraph within forty-eight hours. Within
that time answers arrived from the French and Italian Governments accepting
the Berlin Memorandum; the reply from London did not arrive till five days
later; it announced the refusal of the Government to join in the course
proposed. Pending further negotiations on this subject, French, German,
Austrian, Italian, and Russian ships of war were sent to Salonika to
enforce satisfaction for the murder of the Consuls. The Cabinet of London,
declining to associate itself with the concert of the Powers, and stating
that Great Britain, while intending nothing in the nature of a menace,
could not permit territorial changes to be made in the East without its own
consent, despatched the fleet to Besika Bay.

[Abdul Aziz deposed, May 29.]

[Massacres in Bulgaria.]

[Servia and Montenegro declare war, July 2.]

Up to this time little attention had been paid in England to the revolt of
the Christian subjects of the Porte or its effect on European politics.
Now, however, a series of events began which excited the interest and even
the passion of the English people in an extraordinary degree. The ferment
in Constantinople was deepening. On the 29th of May the Sultan Abdul Aziz
was deposed by Midhat Pasha and Hussein Avni, the former the chief of the
party of reform, the latter the representative of the older Turkish
military and patriotic spirit which Abdul Aziz had incensed by his
subserviency to Russia. A few days later the deposed Sultan was murdered.
Hussein Avni and another rival of Midhat were assassinated by a desperado
as they sat at the council; Murad V., who had been raised to the throne,
proved imbecile; and Midhat, the destined regenerator of the Ottoman Empire
as many outside Turkey believed, grasped all but the highest power in the
State. Towards the end of June reports reached western Europe of the
repression of an insurrection in Bulgaria with measures of atrocious
violence. Servia and Montenegro, long active in support of their kinsmen
who were in arms, declared war. The reports from Bulgaria, at first vague,
took more definite form; and at length the correspondents of German as well
as English newspapers, making their way to the district south of the
Balkans, found in villages still strewed with skeletons and human remains
the terrible evidence of what had passed. The British Ministry, relying
upon the statements of Sir H. Elliot, Ambassador at Constantinople, at
first denied the seriousness of the massacres: they directed, however, that
investigations should be made on the spot by a member of the Embassy; and
Mr. Baring, Secretary of Legation, was sent to Bulgaria with this duty.
Baring's report confirmed the accounts which his chief had refused to
believe, and placed the number of the victims, rightly or wrongly, at not
less than twelve thousand. [548]

[Opinion in England.]

The Bulgarian massacres acted on Europe in 1876 as the massacre of Chios
had acted on Europe in 1822. In England especially they excited the deepest
horror, and completely changed the tone of public opinion towards the Turk.
Hitherto the public mind had scarcely been conscious of the questions that
were at issue in the East. Herzegovina, Bosnia, Bulgaria, were not familiar
names like Greece; the English people hardly knew where these countries
were, or that they were not inhabited by Turks. The Crimean War had left
behind it the tradition of friendship with the Sultan; it needed some
lightning-flash, some shock penetrating all ranks of society, to dispel
once and for all the conventional idea of Turkey as a community resembling
a European State, and to bring home to the English people the true
condition of the Christian races of the Balkan under their Ottoman masters.
But this the Bulgarian massacres effectively did; and from this time the
great mass of the English people, who had sympathised so strongly with the
Italians and the Hungarians in their struggle for national independence,
were not disposed to allow the influence of Great Britain to be used for
the perpetuation of Turkish ascendency over the Slavic races. There is
little doubt that if in the autumn of 1876 the nation had had the
opportunity of expressing its views by a Parliamentary election, it would
have insisted on the adoption of active measures in concert with the Powers
which were prepared to force reform upon the Porte. But the Parliament of
1876 was but two years old; the majority which supported the Government was
still unbroken; and at the head of the Cabinet there was a man gifted with
extraordinary tenacity of purpose, with great powers of command over
others, and with a clear, cold, untroubled apprehension of the line of
conduct which he intended to pursue. It was one of the strangest features
of this epoch that a Minister who in a long career had never yet exercised
the slightest influence upon foreign affairs, and who was not himself
English by birth, should have impressed in such an extreme degree the stamp
of his own individuality upon the conduct of our foreign policy; that he
should have forced England to the very front in the crisis through which
Europe was passing; and that, for good or for evil, he should have reversed
the tendency which since the Italian war of 1859 had seemed ever to be
drawing England further and further away from Continental affairs.


Disraeli's conception of Parliamentary politics was an ironical one. It had
pleased the British nation that the leadership of one of its great
political parties should be won by a man of genius only on the condition of
accommodating himself to certain singular fancies of his contemporaries;
and for twenty years, from the time of his attacks upon Sir Robert Peel for
the abolition of the corn-laws down to the time when he educated his party
into the democratic Reform Bill of 1867, Disraeli with an excellent grace
suited himself to the somewhat strange parts which he was required to play.
But after 1874, when he was placed in office at the head of a powerful
majority in both Houses of Parliament and of a submissive Cabinet, the
antics ended; the epoch of statesmanship, and of statesmanship based on the
leader's own individual thought not on the commonplace of public creeds,
began. At a time when Cavour was rice-growing and Bismarck unknown outside
his own county, Disraeli had given to the world in Tancred his visions of
Eastern Empire. Mysterious chieftains planned the regeneration of Asia by a
new crusade of Arab and Syrian votaries of the one living faith, and
lightly touched on the transfer of Queen Victoria's Court from London to
Delhi. Nothing indeed is perfect; and Disraeli's eye was favoured with such
extraordinary perceptions of the remote that it proved a little uncertain
in its view of matters not quite without importance nearer home. He thought
the attempt to establish Italian independence a misdemeanour; he listened
to Bismarck's ideas on the future of Germany, and described them as the
vapourings of a German baron. For a quarter of a century Disraeli had
dazzled and amused the House of Commons without, as it seemed, drawing
inspiration from any one great cause or discerning any one of the political
goals towards which the nations of Europe were tending. At length, however,
the time came for the realisation of his own imperial policy; and before
the Eastern question had risen conspicuously above the horizon in Europe,
Disraeli, as Prime Minister of England, had begun to act in Asia and
Africa. He sent the Prince of Wales to hold Durbars and to hunt tigers
amongst the Hindoos; he proclaimed the Queen Empress of India; he purchased
the Khedive's shares in the Suez Canal. Thus far it had been uncertain
whether there was much in the Minister's policy beyond what was theatrical
and picturesque; but when a great part of the nation began to ask for
intervention on behalf of the Eastern Christians against the Turks, they
found out that Disraeli's purpose was solid enough. Animated by a deep
distrust and fear of Russia, he returned to what had been the policy of
Tory Governments in the days before Canning, the identification of British
interests with the maintenance of Ottoman power. If a generation of
sentimentalists were willing to sacrifice the grandeur of an Empire to
their sympathies with an oppressed people, it was not Disraeli who would be
their instrument. When the massacre of Batak was mentioned in the House of
Commons, he dwelt on the honourable qualities of the Circassians; when
instances of torture were alleged, he remarked that an oriental people
generally terminated its connection with culprits in a more expeditious
manner. [549] There were indeed Englishmen enough who loved their country
as well as Disraeli, and who had proved their love by sacrifices which
Disraeli had not had occasion to make, who thought it humiliating that the
greatness of England should be purchased by the servitude and oppression of
other races, and that the security of their Empire should be deemed to rest
on so miserable a thing as Turkish rule. These were considerations to which
Disraeli did not attach much importance. He believed the one thing needful
to be the curbing of Russia; and, unlike Canning, who held that Russia
would best be kept in check by England's own armed co-operation with it in
establishing the independence of Greece, he declined from the first to
entertain any project of imposing reform on the Sultan by force, doubting
only to what extent it would be possible for him to support the Sultan in
resistance to other Powers. According to his own later statement he would
himself, had he been left unfettered, have definitely informed the Czar
that if he should make war upon the Porte England would act as its ally.
Public opinion in England, however, rendered this course impossible. The
knife of Circassian and Bashi-Bazouk had severed the bond with Great
Britain which had saved Turkey in 1854. Disraeli--henceforward Earl of
Beaconsfield--could only utter grim anathemas against Servia for presuming
to draw the sword upon its rightful lord and master, and chide those
impatient English who, like the greater man whose name is associated with
Beaconsfield, considered that the world need not be too critical as to the
means of getting rid of such an evil as Ottoman rule. [550]

[Meeting and Treaty of Reichstadt, July 8.]

[The Servian Campaign, July-Oct.]

[Russian enforces an armistice, Oct. 30.]

The rejection by England of the Berlin Memorandum and the proclamation of
war by Servia and Montenegro were followed by the closer union of the
three Imperial Courts. The Czar and the Emperor Francis Joseph, with
their Ministers, met at Reichstadt in Bohemia on the 8th of July.
According to official statements the result of the meeting was that the
two sovereigns determined upon non-intervention for the present, and
proposed only to renew the attempt to unite all the Christian Powers in a
common policy when some definite occasion should arise. Rumours, however,
which proved to be correct, went abroad that something of the nature of
an eventual partition of European Turkey had been the object of
negotiation. A Treaty had in fact been signed providing that if Russia
should liberate Bulgaria by arms, Austria should enter into possession of
Bosnia and Herzegovina. The neutrality of Austria had virtually been
purchased at this price, and Russia had thus secured freedom of action in
the event of the necessary reforms not being forced upon Turkey by the
concert of Europe. Sooner perhaps than Prince Gortschakoff had expected,
the religious enthusiasm of the Russian people and their sympathy for
their kinsmen and fellow-believers beyond the Danube forced the Czar into
vigorous action. In spite of the assistance of several thousands of
Russian volunteers and of the leadership of the Russian General
Tchernaieff, the Servians were defeated in their struggle with the Turks.
The mediation of England was in vain tendered to the Porte on the only
terms on which even at London peace was seen to be possible, the
maintenance of the existing rights of Servia and the establishment of
provincial autonomy in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria. After a brief
suspension of hostilities in September war was renewed. The Servians were
driven from their positions; Alexinatz was captured, the road to Belgrade
lay open, and the doom of Bulgaria seemed likely to descend upon the
conquered Principality. The Turks offered indeed a five months' armistice,
which would have saved them the risks of a winter campaign and enabled
them to crush their enemy with accumulated forces in the following
spring. This, by the advice of Russia, the Servians refused to accept. On
the 30th of October a Russian ultimatum was handed in at Constantinople
by the Ambassador Ignatieff, requiring within forty-eight hours the grant
to Servia of an armistice for two months and the cessation of hostilities.
The Porte submitted; and wherever Slav and Ottoman stood facing one
another in arms, in Herzegovina and Bosnia as well as Servia and
Montenegro, there was a pause in the struggle.

[Declaration of the Czar, Nov. 2.]

[England proposes a Conference.]

The imminence of a war between Russia and Turkey in the last days of
October and the close connection between Russia and the Servian cause
justified the anxiety of the British Government. This anxiety the Czar
sought to dispel by a frank declaration of his own views. On the 2nd of
November he entered into conversation with the British Ambassador, Lord A.
Loftus, and assured him on his word of honour that he had no intention of
acquiring Constantinople; that if it should be necessary for him to occupy
part of Bulgaria his army would remain there only until peace was restored
and the security of the Christian population established; and, generally,
that he desired nothing more earnestly than a complete accord between
England and Russia in the maintenance of European peace and the improvement
of the condition of the Christian population in Turkey. He stated, however,
with perfect clearness that if the Porte should continue to refuse the
reforms demanded by Europe, and the Powers should put up with its continued
refusal, Russia would act alone. Disclaiming in words of great earnestness
all desire for territorial aggrandisement, he protested against the
suspicion with which his policy was regarded in England, and desired that
his words might be made public in England as a message of peace. [551] Lord
Derby, then Foreign Secretary, immediately expressed the satisfaction with
which the Government had received these assurances; and on the following
day an invitation was sent from London to all the European Powers proposing
a Conference at Constantinople, on the basis of a common recognition of the
integrity of the Ottoman Empire, accompanied by a disavowal on the part of
each of the Powers of all aims at aggrandisement or separate advantage. In
proposing this Conference the Government acted in conformity with the
expressed desire of the Czar. But there were two voices within the Cabinet.
Lord Beaconsfield, had it been in his power, would have informed Russia
categorically that England would support the Sultan if attacked. This the
country and the Cabinet forbade: but the Premier had his own opportunities
of utterance, and at the Guildhall Banquet on the 9th of November, six days
after the Foreign Secretary had acknowledged the Czar's message of
friendship, and before this message had been made known to the English
people, Lord Beaconsfield uttered words which, if they were not idle
bluster, could have been intended only as a menace to the Czar or as an
appeal to the war-party at home:--"Though the policy of England is peace,
there is no country so well prepared for war as our own. If England enters
into conflict in a righteous cause, her resources are inexhaustible. She is
not a country that when she enters into a campaign has to ask herself
whether she can support a second or a third campaign. She enters into a
campaign which she will not terminate till right is done."

[Project of Ottoman Constitution.]

The proposal made by the Earl of Derby for a Conference at Constantinople
was accepted by all the Powers, and accepted on the bases specified. Lord
Salisbury, then Secretary of State for India, was appointed to represent
Great Britain in conjunction with Sir H. Elliot, its Ambassador. The
Minister made his journey to Constantinople by way of the European
capitals, and learnt at Berlin that the good understanding between the
German Emperor and the Czar extended to Eastern affairs. Whether the
British Government had as yet gained any trustworthy information on the
Treaty of Reichstadt is doubtful; but so far as the public eye could judge,
there was now, in spite of the tone assumed by Lord Beaconsfield, a fairer
prospect of the solution of the Eastern question by the establishment of
some form of autonomy in the Christian provinces than there had been at any
previous time. The Porte itself recognised the serious intention of the
Powers, and, in order to forestall the work of the Conference, prepared a
scheme of constitutional reform that far surpassed the wildest claims of
Herzegovinian or of Serb. Nothing less than a complete system of
Parliamentary Government, with the very latest ingenuities from France and
Belgium, was to be granted to the entire Ottoman Empire. That Midhat Pasha,
who was the author of this scheme, may have had some serious end in view is
not impossible; but with the mass of Palace-functionaries at Constantinople
it was simply a device for embarrassing the West with its own inventions;
and the action of men in power, both great and small, continued after the
constitution had come into nominal existence to be exactly what it had been
before. The very terms of the constitution must have been unintelligible to
all but those who had been employed at foreign courts. The Government might
as well have announced its intention of clothing the Balkans with the flora
of the deep sea.

[Demands settled at the Preliminary Conference, Dec. 11-21.]

In the second week of December the representatives of the six Great Powers
assembled at Constantinople. In order that the demands of Europe should be
presented to the Porte with unanimity, they determined to hold a series of
preliminary meetings with one another before the formal opening of the
Conference and before communicating with the Turks. At these meetings,
after Ignatieff had withdrawn his proposal for a Russian occupation of
Bulgaria, complete accord was attained. It was resolved to demand the
cession of certain small districts by the Porte to Servia and Montenegro;
the grant of administrative autonomy to Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria;
the appointment in each of these provinces of Christian governors, whose
terms of office should be for five years, and whose nomination should be
subject to the approval of the Powers; the confinement of Turkish troops to
the fortresses; the removal of the bands of Circassians to Asia; and
finally the execution of these reforms under the superintendence of an
International Commission, which should have at its disposal a corps of six
thousand gendarmes to be enlisted in Switzerland or Belgium. By these
arrangements, while the Sultan retained his sovereignty and the integrity
of the Ottoman Empire remained unimpaired, it was conceived that the
Christian population would be effectively secured against Turkish violence
and caprice.

[The Turks refuse the demands of the Conference, Jan. 20, 1877.]

All differences between the representatives of the European Powers having
been removed, the formal Conference was opened on the 23rd of December
under the presidency of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Savfet Pasha. The
proceedings had not gone far when they were interrupted by the roar of
cannon. Savfet explained that the new Ottoman constitution was being
promulgated, and that the salvo which the members of the Conference heard
announced the birth of an era of universal happiness and prosperity in the
Sultan's dominions. It soon appeared that in the presence of this great
panacea there was no place for the reforming efforts of the Christian
Powers. Savfet declared from the first that, whatever concessions might be
made on other points, the Sultan's Government would never consent to the
establishment of a Foreign Commission to superintend the execution of its
reforms, nor to the joint action of the Powers in the appointment of the
governors of its provinces. It was in vain argued that without such
foreign control Europe possessed no guarantee that the promises and the
good intentions of the Porte, however gratifying these might be, would be
carried into effect. Savfet replied that by the Treaty of 1856 the Powers
had declared the Ottoman Empire to stand on exactly the same footing as
any other great State in Europe, and had expressly debarred themselves
from interfering, under whatever circumstances, with its internal
administration. The position of the Turkish representative at the
Conference was in fact the only logical one. In the Treaty of Paris the
Powers had elaborately pledged themselves to an absurdity; and this
Treaty the Turk was never weary of throwing in their faces. But the
situation was not one for lawyers and for the interpretation of
documents. The Conference, after hearing the arguments and the
counter-projects of the Turkish Ministers, after reconsidering its own
demands and modifying these in many important points in deference to
Ottoman wishes, adhered to the demand for a Foreign Commission and for a
European control over the appointment of governors. Midhat, who was now
Grand Vizier, summoned the Great Council of the Empire, and presented to
it the demands of the Conference. These demands the Great Council
unanimously rejected. Lord Salisbury had already warned the Sultan what
would be the results of continued obstinacy; and after receiving Midhat's
final reply the ambassadors of all the Powers, together with the envoys
who had been specially appointed for the Conference, quitted

[The London Protocol, Mar. 31.]

[The Porte rejects the Protocol.]

[Russia declares war, April 24.]

Russia, since the beginning of November, had been actively preparing for
war. The Czar had left the world in no doubt as to his own intentions in
case of the failure of the European Concert; it only remained for him to
ascertain whether, after the settlement of a definite scheme of reform by
the Conference and the rejection of this scheme by the Porte, the Powers
would or would not take steps to enforce their conclusion. England
suggested that the Sultan should be allowed a year to carry out his good
intentions: Gortschakoff inquired whether England would pledge itself to
action if, at the end of the year, reform was not effected; but no such
pledge was forthcoming. With the object either of discovering some
arrangement in which the Powers would combine, or of delaying the outbreak
of war until the Russian preparations were more advanced and the season
more favourable, Ignatieff was sent round to all the European Courts. He
visited England, and subsequently drew up, with the assistance of Count
Schouvaloff, Russian Ambassador at London, a document which gained the
approval of the British as well as the Continental Governments. This
document, known as the London Protocol, was signed on the 31st of March.
After a reference to the promises of reform made by the Porte, it stated
that the Powers intended to watch carefully by their representatives over
the manner in which these promises were carried into effect; that if their
hopes should be once more disappointed they should regard the condition of
affairs as incompatible with the interests of Europe; and that in such case
they would decide in common upon the means best fitted to secure the
well-being of the Christian population and the interests of general peace.
Declarations relative to the disarmament of Russia, which it was now the
principal object of the British Government to effect, were added. There was
indeed so little of a substantial engagement in this Protocol that it would
have been surprising had Russia disarmed without obtaining some further
guarantee for the execution of reform. But weak as the Protocol was, it was
rejected by the Porte. Once more the appeal was made to the Treaty of
Paris, once more the Sultan protested against the encroachment of the
Powers on his own inviolable rights. Lord Beaconsfield's Cabinet even now
denied that the last word had been spoken, and professed to entertain some
hope in the effect of subsequent diplomatic steps; but the rest of Europe
asked and expected no further forbearance on the part of Russia. The army
of operations already lay on the Pruth: the Grand Duke Nicholas, brother of
the Czar, was appointed to its command; and on the 24th of April the
Russian Government issued its declaration of war.

[Passage of the Danube, June 27.]

[Advance on the Balkans, July.]

[Gourko south of the Balkans, July 15.]

Between the Russian frontier and the Danube lay the Principality of
Roumania. A convention signed before the outbreak of hostilities gave to
the Russian army a free passage through this territory, and Roumania
subsequently entered the war as Russia's ally. It was not, however, until
the fourth week of June that the invaders were able to cross the Danube.
Seven army-corps were assembled in Roumania; of these one crossed the Lower
Danube into the Dobrudscha, two were retained in Roumania as a reserve, and
four crossed the river in the neighbourhood of Sistowa, in order to enter
upon the Bulgarian campaign. It was the desire of the Russians to throw
forward the central part of their army by the line of the river Jantra upon
the Balkans; with their left to move against Rustchuk and the Turkish
armies in the eastern fortresses of Bulgaria; with their right to capture
Nicopolis, and guard the central column against any flank attack from the
west. But both in Europe and in Asia the Russians had underrated the power
of their adversary, and entered upon the war with insufficient forces.
Advantages won by their generals on the Armenian frontier while the
European army was still marching through Roumania were lost in the course
of the next few weeks. Bayazid and other places that fell into the hands of
the Russians at the first onset were recovered by the Turks under Mukhtar
Pasha; and within a few days after the opening of the European campaign the
Russian divisions in Asia were everywhere retreating upon their own
frontier. The Bulgarian campaign was marked by the same rapid successes of
the invader at the outset, to be followed, owing to the same insufficiency
of force, by similar disasters. Encountering no effective opposition on the
Danube, the Russians pushed forward rapidly towards the Balkans by the line
of the Jantra. The Turkish army lay scattered in the Bulgarian fortresses,
from Widdin in the extreme west to Shumla at the foot of the Eastern
Balkans. It was considered by the Russian commanders that two army-corps
would be required to operate against the Turks in Eastern Bulgaria, while
one corps would be enough to cover the central line of invasion from the
west. There remained, excluding the two corps in reserve in Roumania and
the corps holding the Dobrudscha, but one corps for the march on the
Balkans and Adrianople. The command of the vanguard of this body was given
to General Gourko, who pressed on into the Balkans, seized the Shipka Pass,
and descended into Southern Bulgaria (July 15). The Turks were driven from
Kesanlik and Eski Sagra, and Gourko's cavalry, a few hundreds in number,
advanced to within two days' march of Adrianople.

[Osman occupies Plevna, July 19.]

[First engagement at Plevna, July 20.]

[Second battle at Plevna, July 30.]

[The Shipka Pass, Aug. 20-23.]

The headquarters of the whole Russian army were now at Tirnova, the ancient
Bulgarian capital, about half-way between the Danube and the Balkans. Two
army-corps, commanded by the Czarewitch, moved eastwards against Rustchuk
and the so-called Turkish army of the Danube, which was gathering behind
the lines of the Kara Lom; another division, under General Krudener, turned
westward and captured Nicopolis with its garrison. Lovatz and other points
lying westward of the Jantra were occupied by weak detachments; but so
badly were the reconnaissances of the Russians performed in this direction
that they were unaware of the approach of a Turkish army from Widdin,
thirty-five thousand strong, till this was close on their flank. Before the
Russians could prevent him, Osman Pasha, with the vanguard of this army,
had occupied the town and heights of Plevna, between Nicopolis and Lovatz.
On the 20th of July, still unaware of their enemy's strength, the Russians
attacked him at Plevna: they were defeated with considerable loss, and
after a few days one of Osman's divisions, pushing forward upon the
invader's central line, drove them out of Lovatz. The Grand Duke now sent
reinforcements to Krudener, and ordered him to take Plevna at all costs.
Krudener's strength was raised to thirty-five thousand; but in the meantime
new Turkish regiments had joined Osman, and his troops, now numbering about
fifty thousand, had been working day and night entrenching themselves in
the heights round Plevna which the Russians had to attack. The assault was
made on the 30th of July; it was beaten back with terrible slaughter, the
Russians leaving a fifth of their number on the field. Had Osman taken up
the offensive and the Turkish commander on the Lom pressed vigorously upon
the invader's line, it would probably have gone ill with the Russian army
in Bulgaria. Gourko was at once compelled to abandon the country south of
the Balkans. His troops, falling back upon the Shipka Pass, were there
attacked from the south by far superior forces under Suleiman Pasha. The
Ottoman commander, prodigal of the lives of his men and trusting to mere
blindfold violence, hurled his army day after day against the Russian
positions (Aug. 20-23). There was a moment when all seemed lost, and the
Russian soldiers sent to their Czar the last message of devotion from men
who were about to die at their post. But in the extremity of peril there
arrived a reinforcement, weak, but sufficient to turn the scale against the
ill-commanded Turks. Suleiman's army withdrew to the village of Shipka at
the southern end of the pass. The pass itself, with the entrance from
northern Bulgaria, remained in the hands of the Russians.


[Third battle of Plevna, Sept 11-12.]

After the second battle of Plevna it became clear that the Russians could
not carry on the campaign with their existing forces. Two army-corps were
called up which were guarding the coast of the Black Sea; several others
were mobilised in the interior of Russia, and began their journey towards
the Danube. So urgent, however, was the immediate need, that the Czar was
compelled to ask help from Roumania. This help was given. Roumanian troops,
excellent in quality, filled up the gap caused by Krudener's defeats, and
the whole army before Plevna was placed under the command of the Roumanian
Prince Charles. At the beginning of September the Russians were again ready
for action. Lovatz was wrested from the Turks, and the division which had
captured it moved on to Plevna to take part in a great combined attack.
This attack was made on the 11th of September under the eyes of the Czar.
On the north the Russians and Roumanians together, after a desperate
struggle, stormed the Grivitza redoubt. On the south Skobeleff carried the
first Turkish position, but could make no impression on their second line
of defence. Twelve thousand men fell on the Russian side before the day was
over, and the main defences of the Turks were still unbroken. On the morrow
the Turks took up the offensive. Skobeleff, exposed to the attack of a far
superior foe, prayed in vain for reinforcements. His men, standing in the
positions that they had won from the Turks, repelled one onslaught after
another, but were ultimately overwhelmed and driven from the field. At the
close of the second day's battle the Russians were everywhere beaten back
within their own lines, except at the Grivitza redoubt, which was itself
but an outwork of the Turkish defences, and faced by more formidable works
within. The assailants had sustained a loss approaching that of the Germans
at Gravelotte with an army one-third of the Germans' strength. Osman was
stronger than at the beginning of the campaign; with what sacrifices Russia
would have to purchase its ultimate victory no man could calculate.

[Todleben besieges Plevna.]

[Fall of Plevna, Dec. 10.]

The three defeats at Plevna cast a sinister light upon the Russian military
administration and the quality of its chiefs. The soldiers had fought
heroically; divisional generals like Skobeleff had done all that man could
do in such positions; the faults were those of the headquarters and the
officers by whom the Imperial Family were surrounded. After the third
catastrophe, public opinion called for the removal of the authors of these
disasters and the employment of abler men. Todleben, the defender of
Sebastopol, who for some unknown reason had been left without a command,
was now summoned to Bulgaria, and virtually placed at the head of the army
before Plevna. He saw that the stronghold of Osman could only be reduced by
a regular siege, and prepared to draw his lines right round it. For a time
Osman kept open his communications with the south-west, and heavy trains of
ammunition and supplies made their way into Plevna from this direction; but
the investment was at length completed, and the army of Plevna cut off from
the world. In the meantime new regiments were steadily pouring into
Bulgaria from the interior of Russia. East of the Jantra, after many
alternations of fortune, the Turks were finally driven back behind the
river Lom. The last efforts of Suleiman failed to wrest the Shipka Pass
from its defenders. From the narrow line which the invaders had with such
difficulty held during three anxious months their forces, accumulating day
by day, spread out south and west up to the slopes of the Balkans, ready to
burst over the mountain-barrier and sweep the enemy back to the walls of
Constantinople when once Plevna should have fallen and the army which
besieged it should be added to the invader's strength. At length, in the
second week of December, Osman's supply of food was exhausted. Victor in
three battles, he refused to surrender without one more struggle. On the
10th of December, after distributing among his men what there remained of
provisions, he made a desperate effort to break out towards the west. His
columns dashed in vain against the besieger's lines; behind him his enemies
pressed forward into the positions which he had abandoned; a ring of fire
like that of Sedan surrounded the Turkish army; and after thousands had
fallen in a hopeless conflict, the general and the troops who for five
months had held in check the collected forces of the Russian Empire
surrendered to their conqueror.

[Crossing of the Balkans, Dec. 25-Jan. 8.]

[Capitulation of Shipka, Jan. 9.]

[Russians enter Adrianople, Jan. 20, 1878.]

If in the first stages of the war there was little that did credit to
Russia's military capacity, the energy that marked its close made amends
for what had gone before. Winter was descending in extreme severity: the
Balkans were a mass of snow and ice; but no obstacle could now bar the
invader's march. Gourko, in command of an army that had gathered to the
south-west of Plevna, made his way through the mountains above Etropol in
the last days of December, and, driving the Turks from Sophia, pressed on
towards Philippopolis and Adrianople. Farther east two columns crossed the
Balkans by bye-paths right and left of the Shipka Pass, and then,
converging on Shipka itself, fell upon the rear of the Turkish army which
still blocked the southern outlet. Simultaneously a third corps marched
down the pass from the north and assailed the Turks in front. After a
fierce struggle the entire Turkish army, thirty-five thousand strong, laid
down its arms. There now remained only one considerable force between the
invaders and Constantinople. This body, which was commanded by Suleiman,
held the road which runs along the valley of the Maritza, at a point
somewhat to the east of Philippopolis. Against it Gourko advanced from the
west, while the victors of Shipka, descending due south through Kesanlik,
barred the line of retreat towards Adrianople. The last encounter of the
war took place on the 17th of January. Suleiman's army, routed and
demoralised, succeeded in making its escape to the Ægean coast. Pursuit was
unnecessary, for the war was now practically over. On the 20th of January
the Russians made their entry into Adrianople; in the next few days their
advanced guard touched the Sea of Marmora at Rodosto.

[Armistice, Jan. 31.]

Immediately after the fall of Plevna the Porte had applied to the European
Powers for their mediation. Disasters in Asia had already warned it not to
delay submission too long; for in the middle of October Mukhtar Pasha had
been driven from his positions, and a month later Kars had been taken by
storm. The Russians had subsequently penetrated into Armenia and had
captured the outworks of Erzeroum. Each day that now passed brought the
Ottoman Empire nearer to destruction. Servia again declared war; the
Montenegrins made themselves masters of the coast-towns and of
border-territory north and south; Greece seemed likely to enter into the
struggle. Baffled in his attempt to gain the common mediation of the
Powers, the Sultan appealed to the Queen of England personally for her good
offices in bringing the conflict to a close. In reply to a telegram from
London, the Czar declared himself willing to treat for peace as soon as
direct communications should be addressed to his representatives by the
Porte. On the 14th of January commissioners were sent to the headquarters
of the Grand Duke Nicholas at Kesanlik to treat for an armistice and for
preliminaries of peace. The Russians, now in the full tide of victory, were
in no hurry to agree with their adversary. Nicholas bade the Turkish envoys
accompany him to Adrianople, and it was not until the 31st of January that
the armistice was granted and the preliminaries of peace signed.


[Vote of Credit, Jan. 28-Feb. 8.]

[Fleet passes the Dardanelles, Feb. 6.]

While the Turkish envoys were on their journey to the Russian headquarters,
the session of Parliament opened at London. The Ministry had declared at
the outbreak of the war that Great Britain would remain neutral unless its
own interests should be imperilled, and it had defined these interests with
due clearness both in its communications with the Russian Ambassador and in
its statements in Parliament. It was laid down that Her Majesty's
Government could not permit the blockade of the Suez Canal, or the
extension of military operations to Egypt; that it could not witness with
indifference the passing of Constantinople into other hands than those of
its present possessors; and that it would entertain serious objections to
any material alterations in the rules made under European sanction for the
navigation of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. [552] In reply to Lord Derby's
note which formulated these conditions of neutrality Prince Gortschakoff
had repeated the Czar's assurance that the acquisition of Constantinople
was excluded from his views, and had promised to undertake no military
operation in Egypt; he had, however, let it be understood that, as an
incident of warfare, the reduction of Constantinople might be necessary
like that of any other capital. In the Queen's speech at the opening of
Parliament, Ministers stated that the conditions on which the neutrality of
England was founded had not hitherto been infringed by either belligerent,
but that, should hostilities be prolonged, some unexpected occurrence might
render it necessary to adopt measures of precaution, measures which could
not be adequately prepared without an appeal to the liberality of
Parliament. From language subsequently used by Lord Beaconsfield's
colleagues, it would appear that the Cabinet had some apprehension that the
Russian army, escaping from the Czar's control, might seize and attempt
permanently to hold Constantinople. On the 23rd of January orders were sent
to Admiral Hornby, commander of the fleet at Besika Bay, to pass the
Dardanelles, and proceed to Constantinople. Lord Derby, who saw no
necessity for measures of a warlike character until the result of the
negotiations at Adrianople should become known, now resigned office; but on
the reversal of the order to Admiral Hornby he rejoined the Cabinet. On the
28th of January, after the bases of peace had been communicated by Count
Schouvaloff to the British Government but before they had been actually
signed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved for a vote of £6,000,000 for
increasing the armaments of the country. This vote was at first vigorously
opposed on the ground that none of the stated conditions of England's
neutrality had been infringed, and that in the conditions of peace between
Russia and Turkey there was nothing that justified a departure from the
policy which England had hitherto pursued. In the course of the debates,
however, a telegram arrived from Mr. Layard, Elliot's successor at
Constantinople, stating that notwithstanding the armistice the Russians
were pushing on towards the capital; that the Turks had been compelled to
evacuate Silivria on the Sea of Marmora; that the Russian general was about
to occupy Tchataldja, an outpost of the last line of defence not thirty
miles from Constantinople; and that the Porte was in great alarm, and
unable to understand the Russian proceedings. The utmost excitement was
caused at Westminster by this telegram. The fleet was at once ordered to
Constantinople. Mr. Forster, who had led the opposition to the vote of
credit, sought to withdraw his amendment; and although on the following
day, with the arrival of the articles of the armistice, it appeared that
the Russians were simply moving up to the accepted line of demarcation, and
that the Porte could hardly have been ignorant of this when Layard's
telegram was despatched, the alarm raised in London did not subside, and
the vote of credit was carried by a majority of above two hundred. [553]

[Imminence of war with England.]

When a victorious army is, without the intervention of some external Power,
checked in its work of conquest by the negotiation of an armistice, it is
invariably made a condition that positions shall be handed over to it which
it does not at the moment occupy, but which it might reasonably expect to
have conquered within a certain date, had hostilities not been suspended.
The armistice granted to Austria by Napoleon after the battle of Marengo
involved the evacuation of the whole of Upper Italy; the armistice which
Bismarck offered to the French Government of Defence at the beginning of
the siege of Paris would have involved the surrender of Strasburg and of
Toul. In demanding that the line of demarcation should be carried almost up
to the walls of Constantinople the Russians were asking for no more than
would certainly have been within their hands had hostilities been prolonged
for a few weeks, or even days. Deeply as the conditions of the armistice
agitated the English people, it was not in these conditions, but in the
conditions of the peace which was to follow, that the true cause of
contention between England and Russia, if cause there was, had to be found.
Nevertheless, the approach of the Russians to Gallipoli and the lines of
Tchataldja, followed, as it was, by the despatch of the British fleet to
Constantinople, brought Russia and Great Britain within a hair's breadth of
war. It was in vain that Lord Derby described the fleet as sent only for
the protection of the lives and property of British subjects. Gortschakoff,
who was superior in amenities of this kind, replied that the Russian
Government had exactly the same end in view, with the distinction that its
protection would be extended to all Christians. Should the British fleet
appear at the Bosphorus, Russian troops would, in the fulfilment of a
common duty of humanity, enter Constantinople. Yielding to this threat,
Lord Beaconsfield bade the fleet halt at a convenient point in the Sea of
Marmora. On both sides preparations were made for immediate action. The
guns on our ships stood charged for battle; the Russians strewed the
shallows with torpedoes. Had a Russian soldier appeared on the heights of
Gallipoli, had an Englishman landed on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus,
war would at once have broken out. But after some weeks of extreme danger
the perils of mere contiguity passed away, and the decision between peace
and war was transferred from the accidents of tent and quarter deck to the
deliberations of statesmen assembled in Congress.

[Treaty of San Stefano, Mar. 3.]

The bases of Peace which were made the condition of the armistice granted
at Adrianople formed with little alteration the substance of the Treaty
signed by Russia and Turkey at San Stefano, a village on the Sea of
Marmora, on the 3rd of March. By this Treaty the Porte recognised the
independence of Servia, Montenegro, and Roumania, and made considerable
cessions of territory to the two former States. Bulgaria was constituted an
autonomous tributary Principality, with a Christian Government and a
national militia. Its frontier, which was made so extensive as to include
the greater part of European Turkey, was defined as beginning near Midia on
the Black Sea, not sixty miles from the Bosphorus; passing thence westwards
just to the north of Adrianople; descending to the Ægean Sea, and following
the coast as far as the Thracian Chersonese; then passing inland westwards,
so as barely to exclude Salonika; running on to the border of Albania
within fifty miles of the Adriatic, and from this point following the
Albanian border up to the new Servian frontier. The Prince of Bulgaria was
to be freely elected by the population, and confirmed by the Porte with the
assent of the Powers; a system of administration was to be drawn up by an
Assembly of Bulgarian notables; and the introduction of the new system into
Bulgaria with the superintendence of its working was to be entrusted for
two years to a Russian Commissioner. Until the native militia was
organised, Russian troops, not exceeding fifty thousand in number, were to
occupy the country; this occupation, however, was to be limited to a term
approximating to two years. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the proposals laid
before the Porte at the first sitting of the Conference of 1876 were to be
immediately introduced, subject to such modifications as might be agreed
upon between Turkey, Russia, and Austria. The Porte undertook to apply
scrupulously in Crete the Organic Law which had been drawn up in 1868,
taking into account the previously expressed wishes of the native
population. An analogous law, adapted to local requirements, was, after
being communicated to the Czar, to be introduced into Epirus, Thessaly, and
the other parts of Turkey in Europe for which a special constitution was
not provided by the Treaty. Commissions, in which the native population was
to be largely represented, were in each province to be entrusted with the
task of elaborating the details of the new organisation. In Armenia the
Sultan undertook to carry into effect without further delay the
improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements, and to guarantee
the security of the Armenians from Kurds and Circassians. As an indemnity
for the losses and expenses of the war the Porte admitted itself to be
indebted to Russia in the sum of fourteen hundred million roubles; but in
accordance with the wishes of the Sultan, and in consideration of the
financial embarrassments of Turkey, the Czar consented to accept in
substitution for the greater part of this sum the cession of the Dobrudscha
in Europe, and of the districts of Ardahan, Kars, Batoum, and Bayazid in
Asia. As to the balance of three hundred million roubles left due to
Russia, the mode of payment or guarantee was to be settled by an
understanding between the two Governments. The Dobrudscha was to be given
by the Czar to Roumania in exchange for Bessarabia, which this State was to
transfer to Russia. The complete evacuation of Turkey in Europe was to take
place within three months, that of Turkey in Asia within six months, from
the conclusion of peace. [554]

[Congress proposed.]

[Opposite purposes of Russia and England.]

It had from the first been admitted by the Russian Government that
questions affecting the interests of Europe at large could not be settled
by a Treaty between Russia and Turkey alone, but must form the subject of
European agreement. Early in February the Emperor of Austria had proposed
that a European Conference should assemble at his own capital. It was
subsequently agreed that Berlin, instead of Vienna, should be the place of
meeting, and instead of a Conference a Congress should be held, that is, an
international assembly of the most solemn form, in which each of the Powers
is represented not merely by an ambassador or an envoy, but by its leading
Ministers. But the question at once arose whether there existed in the mind
of the Russian Government a distinction between parts of the Treaty of San
Stefano bearing on the interests of Europe generally and parts which
affected no States but Russia and Turkey; and whether, in this case, Russia
was willing that Europe should be the judge of the distinction, or, on the
contrary, claimed for itself the right of withholding portions of the
Treaty from the cognisance of the European Court. In accepting the
principle of a Congress, Lord Derby on behalf of Great Britain made it a
condition that every article of the Treaty without exception should be laid
before the Congress, not necessarily as requiring the concurrence of the
Powers, but in order that the Powers themselves might in each case decide
whether their concurrence was necessary or not. To this demand Prince
Gortschakoff offered the most strenuous resistance, claiming for Russia the
liberty of accepting, or not accepting, the discussion of any question that
might be raised. It would clearly have been in the power of the Russian
Government, had this condition been granted, to exclude from the
consideration of Europe precisely those matters which in the opinion of
other States were most essentially of European import. Phrases of
conciliation were suggested; but no ingenuity of language could shade over
the difference of purpose which separated the rival Powers. Every day the
chances of the meeting of the Congress seemed to be diminishing, the
approach of war between Russia and Great Britain more unmistakable. Lord
Beaconsfield called out the Reserves and summoned troops from India; even
the project of seizing a port in Asia Minor in case the Sultan should fall
under Russian influence was discussed in the Cabinet. Unable to reconcile
himself to these vigorous measures, Lord Derby, who had long been at
variance with the Premier, now finally withdrew from the Cabinet (March
28). He was succeeded in his office by the Marquis of Salisbury, whose
comparison of his relative and predecessor to Titus Oates revived the
interest of the diplomatic world in a now forgotten period of English

[Circular of April 1.]

The new Foreign Secretary had not been many days in office when a Circular,
despatched to all the Foreign Courts, summed up the objections of Great
Britain to the Treaty of San Stefano. It was pointed out that a strong
Slavic State would be created under the control of Russia, possessing
important harbours upon the shores of the Black Sea and the Archipelago,
and giving to Russia a preponderating influence over political and
commercial relations on both those seas; that a large Greek population
would be merged in a dominant Slavic majority; that by the extension of
Bulgaria to the Archipelago the Albanian and Greek provinces left to the
Sultan would be severed from Constantinople; that the annexation of
Bessarabia and of Batoum would make the will of the Russian Government
dominant over all the vicinity of the Black Sea; that the acquisition of
the strongholds of Armenia would place the population of that province
under the immediate influence of the Power that held these strongholds,
while through the cession of Bayazid the European trade from Trebizond to
Persia would become liable to be arrested by the prohibitory barriers of
the Russian commercial system. Finally, by the stipulation for an indemnity
which it was beyond the power of Turkey to discharge, and by the reference
of the mode of payment or guarantee to a later settlement, Russia had
placed it in its power either to extort yet larger cessions of territory,
or to force Turkey into engagements subordinating its policy in all things
to that of St. Petersburg.

[Count Schouvaloff.]

[Secret agreement, May 30th.]

[Convention with Turkey, June 4.]


It was the object of Lord Salisbury to show that the effects of the Treaty
of San Stefano, taken in a mass, threatened the peace and the interests of
Europe, and therefore, whatever might be advanced for or against individual
stipulations of the Treaty, that the Treaty as a whole, and not clauses
selected by one Power, must be submitted to the Congress if the examination
was not to prove illusory. This was a just line of argument. Nevertheless
it was natural to suppose that some parts of the Treaty must be more
distasteful than others to Great Britain; and Count Schouvaloff, who was
sincerely desirous of peace, applied himself to the task of discovering
with what concessions Lord Beaconsfield's Cabinet would be satisfied. He
found that if Russia would consent to modifications of the Treaty in
Congress excluding Bulgaria from the Aegean Sea, reducing its area on the
south and west, dividing it into two provinces, and restoring the Balkans
to the Sultan as a military frontier, giving back Bayazid to the Turks, and
granting to other Powers besides Russia a voice in the organisation of
Epirus, Thessaly, and the other Christian provinces of the Porte, England
might be induced to accept without essential change the other provisions of
San Stefano. On the 7th of May Count Schouvaloff quitted London for St.
Petersburg, in order to lay before the Czar the results of his
communications with the Cabinet, and to acquaint him with the state of
public opinion in England. On his journey hung the issues of peace or war.
Backed by the counsels of the German Emperor, Schouvaloff succeeded in his
mission. The Czar determined not to risk the great results already secured
by insisting on the points contested, and Schouvaloff returned to London
authorised to conclude a pact with the British Government on the general
basis which had been laid down. On the 30th of May a secret agreement, in
which the above were the principal points, was signed, and the meeting of
the Congress for the examination of the entire Treaty of San Stefano was
now assured. But it was not without the deepest anxiety and regret that
Lord Beaconsfield consented to the annexation of Batoum and the Armenian
fortresses. He obtained indeed an assurance in the secret agreement with
Schouvaloff that the Russian frontier should be no more extended on the
side of Turkey in Asia; but his policy did not stop short here. By a
Convention made with the Sultan on the 4th of June, Great Britain engaged,
in the event of any further aggression by Russia upon the Asiatic
territories of the Sultan, to defend these territories by force of arms.
The Sultan in return promised to introduce the necessary reforms, to be
agreed upon by the two Powers, for the protection of the Christian and
other subjects of the Porte in these territories, and further assigned the
Island of Cyprus to be occupied and administered by England. It was
stipulated by a humorous after-clause that if Russia should restore to
Turkey its Armenian conquests, Cyprus would be evacuated by England, and
the Convention itself should be at an end. [555]

[Congress of Berlin, June 13-July 13.]

[Treaty of Berlin, July 13.]

The Congress of Berlin, at which the Premier himself and Lord Salisbury
represented Great Britain, opened on the 13th of June. Though the
compromise between England and Russia had been settled in general terms,
the arrangement of details opened such a series of difficulties that the
Congress seemed more than once on the point of breaking up. It was mainly
due to the perseverance and wisdom of Prince Bismarck, who transferred the
discussion of the most crucial points from the Congress to private meetings
of his guests, and who himself acted as conciliator when Gortschakoff
folded up his maps or Lord Beaconsfield ordered a special train, that the
work was at length achieved. The Treaty of Berlin, signed on the 13th of
July, confined Bulgaria, as an autonomous Principality, to the country
north of the Balkans, and diminished the authority which, pending the
establishment of its definitive system of government, would by the Treaty
of San Stefano have belonged to a Russian commissioner. The portion of
Bulgaria south of the Balkans, but extending no farther west than the
valley of the Maritza, and no farther south than Mount Rhodope, was formed
into a Province of East Roumelia, to remain subject to the direct political
and military authority of the Sultan, under conditions of administrative
autonomy. The Sultan was declared to possess the right of erecting
fortifications both on the coast and on the land-frontier of this province,
and of maintaining troops there. Alike in Bulgaria and in Eastern Roumelia
the period of occupation by Russian troops was limited to nine months.
Bosnia and Herzegovina were handed over to Austria, to be occupied and
administered by that Power. The cessions of territory made to Servia and
Montenegro in the Treaty of San Stefano were modified with the object of
interposing a broader strip between these two States; Bayazid was omitted
from the ceded districts in Asia, and the Czar declared it his intention to
erect Batoum into a free port, essentially commercial. At the instance of
France the provisions relating to the Greek Provinces of Turkey were
superseded by a vote in favour of the cession of part of these Provinces to
the Hellenic Kingdom. The Sultan was recommended to cede Thessaly and part
of Epirus to Greece, the Powers reserving to themselves the right of
offering their mediation to facilitate the negotiations. In other respects
the provisions of the Treaty of San Stefano were confirmed without
substantial change.

[Comparison of the two Treaties.]

Lord Beaconsfield returned to London, bringing, as he said, peace with
honour. It was claimed, in the despatch to our Ambassadors which
accompanied the publication of the Treaty of Berlin, that in this Treaty
the cardinal objections raised by the British Government to the Treaty of
San Stefano had found an entire remedy. "Bulgaria," wrote Lord Salisbury,
"is now confined to the river-barrier of the Danube, and consequently has
not only ceased to possess any harbour on the Archipelago, but is removed
by more than a hundred miles from the neighbourhood of that sea. On the
Euxine the important port of Bourgas has been restored to the Government of
Turkey; and Bulgaria retains less than half the sea-board originally
assigned to it, and possesses no other port except the roadstead of Varna,
which can hardly be used for any but commercial purposes. The replacement
under Turkish rule of Bourgas and the southern half of the sea-board on the
Euxine, and the strictly commercial character assigned to Batoum, have
largely obviated the menace to the liberty of the Black Sea. The political
outposts of Russian power have been pushed back to the region beyond the
Balkans; the Sultan's dominions have been provided with a defensible
frontier." It was in short the contention of the English Government that
while Russia, in the pretended emancipation of a great part of European
Turkey by the Treaty of San Stefano, had but acquired a new dependency,
England, by insisting on the division of Bulgaria, had baffled this plan
and restored to Turkey an effective military dominion over all the country
south of the Balkans. That Lord Beaconsfield did well in severing Macedonia
from the Slavic State of Bulgaria there is little reason to doubt; that,
having so severed it, he did ill in leaving it without a European guarantee
for good government, every successive year made more plain; the wisdom of
his treatment of Bulgaria itself must, in the light of subsequent events,
remain matter for controversy. It may fairly be said that in dealing with
Bulgaria English statesmen were, on the whole, dealing with the unknown.
Nevertheless, had guidance been accepted from the history of the other
Balkan States, analogies were not altogether wanting or altogether remote.
During the present century three Christian States had been formed out of
what had been Ottoman territory: Servia, Greece, and Roumania. Not one of
these had become a Russian Province, or had failed to develop and maintain
a distinct national existence. In Servia an attempt had been made to retain
for the Porte the right of keeping troops in garrison. This attempt had
proved a mistake. So long as the right was exercised it had simply been a
source of danger and disquiet, and it had finally been abandoned by the
Porte itself. In the case of Greece, Russia, with a view to its own
interests, had originally proposed that the country should be divided into
four autonomous provinces tributary to the Sultan: against this the Greeks
had protested, and Canning had successfully supported their protest. Even
the appointment of an ex-Minister of St. Petersburg, Capodistrias, as first
President of Greece in 1827 had failed to bring the liberated country under
Russian influence; and in the course of the half-century which had since
elapsed it had become one of the commonplaces of politics, accepted by
every school in every country of Western Europe, that the Powers had
committed a great error in 1833 in not extending to far larger dimensions
the Greek Kingdom which they then established. In the case of Roumania, the
British Government had, out of fear of Russia, insisted in 1856 that the
provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia should remain separate: the result was
that the inhabitants in defiance of England effected their union, and that
after a few years had passed there was not a single politician in England
who regarded their union otherwise than with satisfaction. If history
taught anything in the solution of the Eastern question, it taught that the
effort to reserve for the Sultan a military existence in countries which
had passed from under his general control was futile, and that the best
barrier against Russian influence was to be found not in the division but
in the strengthening and consolidation of the States rescued from Ottoman

It was of course open to English statesmen in 1878 to believe that all that
had hitherto passed in the Balkan Peninsula had no bearing upon the
problems of the hour, and that, whatever might have been the case with
Greece, Servia, and Roumania, Bulgaria stood on a completely different
footing, and called for the application of principles not based on the
experience of the past but on the divinations of superior minds. Should the
history of succeeding years bear out this view, should the Balkans become a
true military frontier for Turkey, should Northern Bulgaria sink to the
condition of a Russian dependency, and Eastern Roumelia, in severance from
its enslaved kin, abandon itself to a thriving ease behind the garrisons of
the reforming Ottoman, Lord Beaconsfield will have deserved the fame of a
statesman whose intuitions, undimmed by the mists of experience, penetrated
the secret of the future, and shaped, because they discerned, the destiny
of nations. It will be the task of later historians to measure the exact
period after the Congress of Berlin at which the process indicated by Lord
Beaconsfield came into visible operation; it is the misfortune of those
whose view is limited by a single decade to have to record that in every
particular, with the single exception of the severance of Macedonia from
the Slavonic Principality, Lord Beaconsfield's ideas, purposes and
anticipations, in so far as they related to Eastern Europe, have hitherto
been contradicted by events. What happened in Greece, Servia, and Roumania
has happened in Bulgaria. Experience, thrown to the winds by English
Ministers in 1878, has justified those who listened to its voice. There
exists no such thing as a Turkish fortress on the Balkans; Bourgas no more
belongs to the Sultan than Athens or Belgrade; no Turkish soldier has been
able to set foot within the territory whose very name, Eastern Roumelia,
was to stamp it as Turkish dominion. National independence, a living force
in Greece, in Servia, in Roumania, has proved its power in Bulgaria too.
The efforts of Russia to establish its influence over a people liberated by
its arms have been repelled with unexpected firmness. Like the divided
members of Roumania, the divided members of Bulgaria have effected their
union. In this union, in the growing material and moral force of the
Bulgarian State, Western Europe sees a power wholly favourable to its own
hopes for the future of the East, wholly adverse to the extension of
Russian rule: and it has been reserved for Lord Beaconsfield's colleague at
the Congress of Berlin, regardless of the fact that Bulgaria north of the
Balkans, not the southern Province, created that vigorous military and
political organisation which was the precursor of national union, to
explain that in dividing Bulgaria into two portions the English Ministers
of 1878 intended to promote its ultimate unity, and that in subjecting the
southern half to the Sultan's rule they laid the foundation for its
ultimate independence.

[1] Chapters I. to XI. of this Edition.

[2] Chapters XII. to XVIII. of this Edition.

[3] Page 362 of this Edition.

[4] Ranke, Ursprung und Beginn der Revolutionskriege, p. 90, Vivenot,
Quellen zur Geschichte der Kaiserpolitik Oesterreichs, i. 185, 208.

[5] Von Sybel, Geschichte der Revolutionszeit, i. 289.

[6] Vivenot, Quellen, i. 372. Buchez et Roux, xiii. 340, xiv. 24.

[7] Häusser, Deutsche Geschichte, i. 88. Vivenot, Herzog Albrecht, i. 78.

[8] Springer, Geschichte Oesterreichs, i. 46.

[9] Pertz, Leben Stein, ii. 402. Paget, Travels in Hungary, i. 131.

[10] Ranke, Ursprung und Beginn, p. 256. Vivenot, Quellen, i. 133, 165. The
acquisition of Bavaria was declared by the Austrian Cabinet to be the
_summum bonum_ of the monarchy.

[11] Biedermann, Deutschland im Achtzehnten Jahrhundert, iv. 1144.

[12] Carlyle, Friedrich, vi. 667.

[13] Häusser, i. 197. Hardenberg (Ranke), i. 139. Von Sybel, i. 272.

[14] "The connection with the House of Austria and the present undertaking
continue to be very unpopular. It is openly said that one half of the
treasure was uselessly spent at Reichenbach, and that the other half will
be spent on the present occasion, and that the sovereign will be reduced to
his former level of Margrave of Brandenburg." Eden, from Berlin; June 19,
1792. Records: Prussia, vol. 151. "He (Möllendorf) reprobated the alliance
with Austria, condemning the present interference in the affairs of France
as ruinous, and censuring as undignified and contrary to the most important
interests of this country the leaving Russia sole arbitress of the fate of
Poland. He, however, said, what every Prussian without any exception of
party will say, that this country can never acquiesce in the establishment
of a good government in Poland, since in a short time it would rise to a
very decided superiority," _Id._, July 17. Mr. Cobden's theory that
the partition of Poland was effected in the interest of good government
must have caused some surprise at Berlin.

[15] The condition of Mecklenburg is thus described in a letter written by
Stein during a journey in 1802:--"I found the aspect of the country as
cheerless as its misty northern sky; great estates, much of them in pasture
or fallow; an extremely thin population; the entire labouring class under
the yoke of serfage; stretches of land attached to solitary ill-built
farmhouses; in short, a monotony, a dead stillness, spreading over the
whole country, an absence of life and activity that quite overcame my
spirits. The home of the Mecklenburg noble, who weighs like a load on his
peasants instead of improving their condition, gives me the idea of the den
of some wild beast, who devastates even thing about him, and surrounds
himself with the silence of the grave." Pertz, Leben Stein, i. 192. For a
more cheerful description of Münster, see _id._, i. 241.

[16] Perthes, Staatsleben, p. 116. Rigby, Letters from France, p. 215.

[17] Buchez et Roux, xvi. 279. One of the originals of this declaration,
handed to the British ambassador, is in the London Records: Prussia, vol.

[18] The accounts of the emigrants sent to England by Lord Elgin, envoy at
Brussels, and Sir J. Murray, our military attaché with Brunswick's army (in
Records: Flanders, vol. 221) are instructive: "The conduct of the army
under the Princes of France is universally reprobated. Their appearance in
dress, in attendants, in preparations, is ridiculous. As an instance,
however trivial, it may be mentioned that on one of the waggons was written
_Toilette de Monsieur_. The spirit of vengeance, however, which they
discover on every occasion is far more serious. Wherever they have passed,
they have exercised acts of cruelty, in banishing and severely punishing
those persons who, though probably culpable, had yet been left untouched by
the Prussian commanders. To such an extent has this been carried that the
commander at Verdun would not suffer any Frenchman (emigrant) to pass a
night in the town without a special permission." Sept. 21. After the
failure of the campaign, Elgin writes of the emigrants: "They every-where
added to the cruelties for some of which several hussars had been executed:
carried to its extent the vengeance threatened in the Duke of Brunswick's
Declaration, in burning whole villages where a shot was fired on them: and
on the other hand by their self-sufficiency, want of subordination and
personal disrespect, have drawn upon themselves the contempt of the
combined armies." Oct. 6. So late as 1796, the exile Louis XVIII. declared
his intention to restore the "property and rights" (i.e. tithes, feudal
dues, etc.) of the nobles and clergy, and to punish the men who had
"committed offences." See Letter to Pichegru, May 4, 1796, in Manuscrit
Inédit de Louis XVIII., p. 464.

[19] Wordsworth, Prelude, book ix.

[20] The correspondence is in Ranke, Ursprung und Beginn, p. 371. Such was
the famine in the Prussian camp that Dumouriez sent the King of Prussia
twelve loaves, twelve pounds of coffee, and twelve pounds of sugar. The
official account of the campaign is in the _Berlinische Zeitung_ of
Oct. 11, 1792.

[21] Forster, Werke, vi. 386.

[22] "The very night the news of the late Emperor's (Leopold's) death
arrived here (Brussels), inflammatory advertisements and invitations to arm
were distributed." One culprit "belonged to the Choir of St. Gudule: he
chose the middle of the day, and in the presence of many people posted up a
paper in the church, exhorting to a general insurrection. The remainder of
this strange production was the description of a vision he pretended to
have seen, representing the soul of the late emperor on its way to join
that of Joseph, already suffering in the other world." Col. Gardiner, March
20, 1792. Records: Flanders, vol. 220.

[23] Elgin, from Brussels, Nov. 6. "A brisk cannonade has been heard this
whole forenoon in the direction of Mons. It is at this moment somewhat
diminished, though not at an end" Nov. 7. "Several messengers have arrived
from camp in the course of the night, but all the Ministers (I have seen
them all) deny having received one word of detail.... Couriers have been
sent this night in every direction to call in all the detachments on the
frontiers.... The Government is making every arrangement for quitting
Brussels: their papers are already prepared, their carriages ready." ...
Then a PS. "A cannonade is distinctly heard again.... All the emigrants
now here are removing with the utmost haste." Nov. 9th. "The confusion
throughout the country is extreme. The roads are covered with emigrants,
and persons of these provinces flying from the French armies," Records:
Flanders, vol. 222.

[24] In Nov. 1792, Grenville ordered the English envoys at Vienna and
Berlin to discover, if possible, the real designs of aggrandisement held by
those Courts. Mr. Straton, at Vienna, got wind of the agreement against
Poland. "I requested Count Philip Cobenzl" (the Austrian Minister) "that he
would have the goodness to open himself confidentially to me on the precise
object which the two allied Courts might have in contemplation. This,
however, the Count was by no means disposed to do; on the contrary, he went
round the compass of evasion in order to avoid a direct answer. But
determined as I was to push the Austrian Minister, I heaped question on
question, until I forced him to say, blushing, and with evident signs of
embarrassment, 'Count Stadion' (Ambassador at London) 'will be able to
satisfy the curiosity of the British Minister, to whatever point it may be
directed.'" Jan. 20, 1793. Records: Austria, vol. 32. Stadion accordingly
informed Lord Grenville of the Polish and Bavarian plans. Grenville
expressed his concern and regret at the aggression on Poland, and gave
reasons against the Bavarian exchange. To our envoy with the King of
Prussia Grenville wrote: "It may possibly be the intention of the Courts to
adopt a plan of indemnifying themselves for the expense of the war by fresh
acquisitions in Poland, and carrying into execution a new partition of that
country. You will not fail to explain in the most distinct and pointed
manner his Majesty's entire disapprobation of such a plan, and his
determination on no account to concur in any measures which may tend to the
completion of a design so unjust in itself." Jan. 4, 1793. Records: Army in
Germany, vol. 437. At Vienna Cobenzl declared, Feb. 9, that Austria could
not now "even manifest a wish to oppose the projects of Prussia in Poland,
as in that case his Prussian Majesty would probably withdraw his assistance
from the French war; nay, perhaps even enter into an alliance with that
nation and invade Bohemia." Records: Austria, vol. 32.

[25] Auckland, ii. 464. Papers presented to Parliament, 1793. Mr. Oscar
Browning, in _Fortnightly Review_, Feb., 1883.

[26] Von Sybel, ii. 259. Thugut, Vertrauliche Briefe, i. 17. Letters from
Brussels, 23rd March in Records: Flanders, vol. 222. "The Huzars are in
motion all round, so that we hope to have them here to-morrow. Most of the
French troops who arrived last, and which are mostly peasants armed with
pikes, are returning home, besides a great number of their volunteers."
24th March. "At this moment we hear the cannon. The French have just had it
cry'd in the town that all the tailors who are making coats for the army
must bring them made or unmade, and be paid directly.... They beat the
drums to drown the report of the cannon.... You have not a conception of
the confusion in the town.... This moment passed four Austrians with their
heads cut to pieces, and one with his eye poked out. The French are
retiring by the Porte d'Anderlecht." Ostend, April 4th. "This day, before
two of the clock, twenty-five Austrian huzars enter'd the town while the
inhabitants were employed burning the tree of liberty."

[27] Mortimer-Ternaux, vii. 412.

[28] Berriat-St.-Prix, La Justice Révolutionnaire, introd.

[29] "The King of Prussia has been educated in the persuasion that the
execution of that exchange involves the ruin of his family, and he is the
more sore about it that by the qualified consent which he has given to its
taking place he has precluded himself from opposing it by arms.
Accordingly, every idle story which arrives from Munich which tends to
revive this apprehension makes an impression which I am unable, at the
first moment, to efface." Lord Yarmouth, from the Prussian camp, Aug. 12,
1793, Records: Army in Germany, 437. "Marquis Lucchesini, the effectual
director, is desirous of avoiding every expense and every exertion of the
troops; of leaving the whole burden of the war on Austria and the other
combined Powers; and of seeing difficulties multiply in the arrangements
which the Court of Vienna may wish to form I do not perceive any object
beyond this; no desire of diminishing the power of France; no system or
feeling for crushing the opinions, the doctrines, of that country." Elgin,
May 17. Records: Flanders, vol. 223.

[30] Auckland, iii. 24. Thugut, Vertrauliche Briefe, i. 13. Grenville to
Eden, Sept. 7th, 1793, Records: Austria, vol. 34: a most important
historical document, setting out the principles of alliance between England
and Austria. Austria, if it will abandon the Bavarian exchange, may claim
annexations on the border of the Netherlands, in Alsace and Lorraine, and
in the intermediate parts of the frontier of France. England's indemnity
"must be looked for in the foreign settlements and colonies of France....
His Majesty has an interest in seeing the House of Austria strengthen
itself by acquisitions on the French frontier. The Emperor must see with
pleasure the relative increase of the naval and commercial resources of
this country beyond those of France." In the face of this paper, it cannot
be maintained that the war of 1793 was, after the first few months, purely
defensive on England's part; though no doubt Pitt's notion of an indemnity
was fair and modest in comparison with the schemes and acts of his enemy.

[31] The first mention of Bonaparte's name in any British document
occurs in an account of the army of Toulon sent to London in Dec. 1793
by a spy. "Les capitaines d'artillérie, élévé dans cet état, connoissent
leur service et ont tous du talens. Ils préféroient l'employer pour une
meilleure cause.... Le sixtèrne, nommé Bonaparte, trés republicain, a
été tué sous les murs de Toulon." Records: France, vol. 599. Austria
undertook to send 5,000 troops from Lombardy to defend Toulon, but broke
its engagement. "You will wait on M. Thugut (the Austrian Minister) and
claim in the most peremptory terms the performance of this engagement.
It would be very offensive to his Majesty that a request made so
repeatedly on his part should be neglected; but it is infinitely more so
to see that, when this country is straining every nerve for the common
cause, a body of troops for the want of which Toulon may possibly at
this moment be lost, have remained inactive at Milan. You will admit of
no further excuses." Grenville to Eden, Nov. 24, 1793. Thugut's written
answer was, "The Emperor gave the order of march at a moment when the
town of Toulon had no garrison. Its preservation then seemed matter of
pressing necessity, but now all inquietude on this score has happily
disappeared. The troops of different nations already assembled at Toulon
put the place out of all danger." Records: Austria, vol. 35.

[32] Häusser, i. 482. "La Prusse," wrote Thugut at this time, "parviendra
au moyen de son alliance à nous faire plus de mal qu'elle ne nous a fait
par les guerres les plus sanglantes." Briefe, i. 12, 15. Thugut even
proposed that England should encourage the Poles to resist. Eden, April
15; Records: Austria, vol. 33.

[33] The English Government found that Thugut was from the first
indifferent to their own aim, the restoration of the Bourbons, or
establishment of some orderly government in France. In so far as he
concerned himself with the internal affairs of France, he hoped rather for
continued dissension, as facilitating the annexation of French territory by
Austria. "Qu'on profite de ce conflit des partis en France pour tâcher de
se rendre mâitre des forteresses, afin de faire la loi au parti qui aura
prévalu, et l'obliger d'acheter la paix et la protection de l'empereur, en
lui cedant telle partie de ses conquêtes que S.M. jugera de sa covenance."
Briefe, i. 13.

[34] The despatches of Lord Yarmouth from the Prussian and Austrian
headquarters, from July 17 to Nov. 22, 1793, give a lively picture both of
the military operations and of the political intrigues of this period. They
are accompanied by the MS. journal of the Austrian army from Sept. 15 to
Dec. 14, each copy apparently with Wurmser's autograph, and by the original
letter of the Prussian Minister, Lucchesini, to Lord Yarmouth, announcing
the withdrawal of Prussia from the war, "M. de Lucchesini read it to me
very hastily, and seemed almost ashamed of a part of its contents."
Records: Army in Germany, vols. 437, 438, 439.

[35] Hardenberg (Ranke), i. 181, Vivenot, Herzog Albrecht, i. 10.

[36] Elgin reports after this engagement, May 1st, 1794--"The French army
appears to continue much what it has hitherto been, vigorous and
persevering where (as in villages and woods) the local advantages are of a
nature to supply the defects of military science; weak and helpless beyond
belief where cavalry can act, and manoeuvres are possible.... The magazines
of the army are stored, and the provisions regularly given out to the
troops, and good in quality. Indeed, it is singular to observe in all the
villages where we have been forward forage, etc., in plenty, and all the
country cultivated as usual. The inhabitants, however, have retired with
the French army; and to that degree that the tract we have lately taken
possession of is absolutely deserted.... The execution of Danton has
produced no greater effect in the army than other executions, and we have
found many papers on those who fell in the late actions treating it with
ridicule, and as a source of joy." Records: Flanders, 226. "I am in hopes
to hear from you on the subject of the French prisoners, as to where I am
to apply for the money I advance for their subsistence. They are a great
number of them almost naked, some entirely so. It is absolutely shocking to
humanity to see them. I would purchase some coarse clothing for those that
are in the worst state, but know not how far I should be authorised. They
are mostly old men and boys." Consul Harward, at Ostend, March 4th,

[37] These events are the subject of controversy. See Hüffer, Oestreich und
Preussen, p. 62 Von Sybel, iii. 138. Vivenot, Clerfayt, p. 38. The old
belief, defended by Von Sybel, was that Thugut himself had determined upon
the evacuation of Belgium, and treacherously deprived Coburg of forces for
its defence. But, apart from other evidence, the tone of exasperation that
runs through Thugut's private letters is irreconcilable with this theory.
Lord Elgin, whose reports are used by Von Sybel, no doubt believed that
Thugut was playing false; but he was a bad judge, being in the hands of
Thugut's opponents, especially General Mack, whom he glorifies in the most
absurd way. The other English envoy in Belgium, Lord Yarmouth, reported in
favour of Thugut's good faith in this matter, and against military
intriguers. Records: Army in Germany, vol. 440. A letter of Prince
Waldeck's in Thugut, i. 387, and a conversation between Mack and Sir Morton
Eden, on Feb. 3rd, 1797, reported by the latter in Records: Austria, vol.
48, appear to fix the responsibility for the evacuation of Belgium on these
two generals, Waldeck and Mack, and on the Emperor's confidential military
adviser, Rollin.

[38] "Should the French come they will find this town perfectly empty.
Except my own, I do not think there are three houses in Ostend with a bed
in them. So general a panic I never witnessed." June 30th.--"To remain here
alone would be a wanton sacrifice. God knows 'tis an awful stroke to me to
leave a place just as I began to be comfortably settled." Consul Harward:
Records: Army in Germany, vol. 440. "All the English are arrested in
Ostend; the men are confined in the Capuchin convent, and the women in the
Convent des Soeurs Blancs. All the Flamands from the age of 17 to 32 are
forced to go for soldiers. At Bruges the French issued an order for 800 men
to present themselves. Thirty only came, in consequence of which they rang
a bell on the Grand Place, and the inhabitants thinking that it was some
ordinance, quitted their houses to hear it, when they were surrounded by
the French soldiers, and upwards of 1,000 men secured, gentle and simple,
who were all immediately set to work on the canals." Mr. W. Poppleton,
Flushing, Sept. 4. Records: Flanders, vol. 227.

[39] Malmesbury, ii. 125. Von Sybel, iii. 168. Grenville made Coburg's
dismissal a _sine qua non_ of the continuance of English co-operation.
Instructions to Lord Spencer, July 19, 1794. Records: Austria, 36. But for
the Austrian complaints against the English, see Vivenot, Clerfayt, p. 50.

[40] Schlosser, xv. 203: borne out by the Narrative of an Officer, printed
in Annual Register, 1795, p. 143.

[41] Vivenot, Herzog Albrecht, iii. 59, 512. Martens, Recueil des Traités,
vi. 45, 52. Hardenberg, i. 287. Vivenot, Clerfayt, p. 32. "Le Roi de
Prusse," wrote the Empress Catherine, "est une méchante bête et un grand
cochon." Prussia made no attempt to deliver the unhappy son of Louis XVI.
from his captivity.

[42] The British Government had formed the most sanguine estimate of the
strength of the Royalist movement in France. "I cannot let your servant
return without troubling you with these few lines to conjure you to use
every possible effort to give life and vigour to the Austrian Government at
this critical moment. Strongly as I have spoken in my despatch of the
present state of France, I have said much less than my information, drawn
from various quarters, and applying to almost every part of France, would
fairly warrant. We can never hope that the circumstances, as far as they
regard the state of France, can be more favourable than they now are. For
God's sake enforce these points with all the earnestness which I am sure
you will feel upon them." Grenville to Eden, April 17, 1795; Records:
Austria, vol. 41. After the failure of the expedition, the British
Government made the grave charge against Thugut that while he was
officially sending Clerfayt pressing orders to advance, he secretly told
him to do nothing. "It is in vain to reason with the Austrian Ministers on
the folly and ill faith of a system which they have been under the
necessity of concealing from you, and which they will probably endeavour to
disguise" Grenville to Eden, Oct., 1795; _id_., vol. 43. This charge,
repeated by historians, is disproved by Thugut's private letters. Briefe,
i. 221, _seq_. No one more bitterly resented Clerfayt's inaction.

[43] The documents relating to the expedition to Quiberon, with several
letters of D'Artois, Charette, and the Vendean leaders, are in Records:
France, vol. 600.

[44] Von Sybel, iii. 537. Buchez et Roux, xxxvi. 485.

[45] For the police interpretation of the _Zauberflöte_, see Springer,
Geschichte Oesterreichs, vol. i. p. 49.

[46] Zobi, Storia Civile della Toscana, i. 284.

[47] Galanti, Descrizione delle Sicilie, 1786, i. 279. He adds, "The
Samnites and the Lucanians could not have shown so horrible a spectacle,
because they had no feudal laws." Galanti's book gives perhaps the best idea
of the immense task faced by monarchy in the eighteenth century in its
struggle against what he justly calls "gli orrori del governo feudale."
Nothing but a study of these details of actual life described by
eye-witnesses can convey an adequate impression of the completeness and the
misery of the feudal order in the more backward countries of Europe till
far down in the eighteenth century. There is a good anonymous account of
Sicily in 1810 in Castlereagh, 8, 317.

[48] Correspondance de Napoleon, i. 260. Botta, lib. vi. Despatches of Col.
Graham, British attaché with the Austrian army, in Records: Italian States,
vol. 57. These most interesting letters, which begin on May 19, show the
discord and suspicion prevalent from the first in the Austrian army.
"Beaulieu has not met with cordial co-operation from his own generals,
still less from the Piedmontese. He accuses them of having chosen to be
beat in order to bring about a peace promised in January last." "Beaulieu
was more violent than ever against his generals who have occasioned the
failure of his plans. He said nine of them were cowards. I believe some of
them are ill-affected to the cause." June 15.--"Many of the officers
comfort themselves with thinking that defeat must force peace, and others
express themselves in terms of despair." July 25,--Beaulieu told Graham
that if Bonaparte had pushed on after the battle of Lodi, he might have
gone straight into Mantua. The preparations for defence were made later.

[49] Thugut, Briefe i. 107. A correspondence on this subject was carried on
in cypher between Thugut and Ludwig Cobenzl, Austrian Ambassador at St.
Petersburg in 1793-4. During Thugut's absence in Belgium, June, 1794,
Cobenzl sent a duplicate despatch, not in cypher, to Vienna. Old Prince
Kaunitz, the ex-minister, heard that a courier had arrived from St
Petersburg, and demanded the despatch at the Foreign Office "like a
dictator." It was given to him. "Ainsi," says Thugut, "adieu au secret qui
depuis un an a été conservé avec tant de soins!"

[50] Wurmser's reports are in Vivenot, Clerfayt, p. 477. Graham's daily
despatches from the Austrian head-quarters give a vivid picture of these
operations, and of the sudden change from exultation to despair. Aug.
1.--"I have the honour to inform your lordship that the siege of Mantua is
raised, the French having retreated last night with the utmost
precipitation." Aug. 2.--"The Austrians are in possession of all the French
mortars and cannon, amounting to about 140, with 190,000 shells and bombs;
the loss of the Imperial army is inconsiderable." Aug. 5.--"The rout of
this day has sadly changed the state of affairs. There are no accounts of
General Quosdanovich." Aug. 9.--"Our loss in men and cannon was much
greater than was imagined. I had no idea of the possibility of the extent
of such misfortunes as have overwhelmed us" Aug. 17.--"It is scarcely
possible to describe the state of disorder and discouragement that prevails
in the army. Were I free from apprehension, about the fate of my letter"
(he had lost his baggage and his cypher in it), "I should despair of
finding language adequate to convey a just idea of the discontent of the
officers with General Wurmser. From generals to subalterns the universal
language is 'qu'il faut faire la paix, car nous ne savons pas faire la
guerre.'" Aug. 18.--"Not only the commander-in-chief, but the greatest
number of the generals are objects of contempt and ridicule." Aug. 27.--"I
do not exaggerate when I say that I have met with instances of down-right
dotage." "It was in general orders that wine should be distributed to the
men previous to the attack of the 29th. There was some difficulty in
getting it up to Monte Baldo. General Bayolitzy observed that 'it did not
signify, for the men might get the value in money afterwards.' The men
marched at six in the evening without it, to attack at daybreak, and
received four kreutzers afterwards. This is a fact I can attest. In action
I saw officers sent on urgent messages going at a foot's pace: they say
that their horses are half starved, and that they cannot afford to kill

[51] Grundsätze (Archduke Charles), ii. 202. Bulletins in Wiener Zeitung,
June-Oct., 1796.

[52] Martens, vi. 59.

[53] This seems to me to be the probable truth about Austria's policy in
1796, of which opposite views will be found in Häusser, vol. ii. ch. 1-3,
and in Hüffer, Oestreich und Preussen, p. 142. Thugut professed in 1793 to
have given up the project of the Bavarian exchange in deference to England.
He admitted, however, soon afterwards, that he had again been pressing the
King of Prussia to consent to it, but said that this was a ruse, intended
to make Prussia consent to Austria's annexing a large piece of France
instead. Eden, Sept., 1793; Records: Austria, vol. 34. The incident shows
the difficulty of getting at the truth in diplomacy.

[54] Yet the Government had had warning of this in a series of striking
reports sent by one of Lord Elgin's spies during the Reign of Terror.
"Jamais la France ne fut cultivée comme elle l'est. Il n'y a pas un arpent
qui ne soit ensemencé, sauf dans les lieux où opèrent les armées
belligérantes. Cette culture universelle a été forcée par les Directrices là
où on ne la faisait pas volontairement." June 8, 1794; Records: Flanders,
vol. 226. Elgin had established a line of spies from Paris to the Belgian
frontier. Every one of these persons was arrested by the Revolutionary
authorities. Elgin then fell in with the writer of the above, whose name is
concealed, and placed him on the Swiss frontier. He was evidently a person
thoroughly familiar with both civil and military administration. He appears
to have talked to every Frenchman who entered Switzerland; and his reports
contain far the best information that readied England during the Reign of
Terror, contradicting the Royalists, who said that the war was only kept up
by terrorism. He warned the English Government that the French nation in a
mass was on the side of the Revolution, and declared that the downfall of
Robespierre and the terrorists would make no difference in the prosecution
of the war. The Government seems to have paid no attention to his reports,
if indeed they were ever read.

[55] Correspondance de Napoleon, ii. 28. Thugut, about this time, formed
the plan of annexing Bologna and Ferrara to Austria, and said that if this
result could be achieved, the French attack upon the Papal States would be
no bad matter. See the instructions to Allvintzy, in Vivenot, Clerfayt, p.
511, which also contain the first Austrian orders to imprison Italian
innovators, the beginning of Austria's later Italian policy.

[56] Wurmser had orders to break out southwards into the Papal States.
"These orders he (Thugut) knew had reached the Marshal, but they were also
known to the enemy, as a cadet of Strasoldo's regiment, who was carrying
the duplicate, had been taken prisoner, and having been seen to swallow a
ball of wax, in which the order was wrapped up, he was immediately put to
death and the paper taken out of his stomach." Eden, Jan., 1797; Records:
Austria, vol. 48. Colonel Graham, who had been shut up in Mantua since
Sept. 10, escaped on Dec 17, and restored communication between Wurmser and
Allvintzy. He was present at the battle of Rivoli, which is described in
his despatches.

[57] "We expect every hour to hear of the entry of the Neapolitan troops
and the declaration of a religious war. Every preparation has been made for
such an event." Graves to Lord Grenville, Oct. 1, 1796; Records; Rome, vol.

[58] "The clamours for peace have become loud and importunate. His Imperial
Majesty is constantly assailed by all his Ministers, M. de Thugut alone
excepted, and by all who approach his person. Attempts are even made to
alarm him with a dread of insurrection. In the midst of these calamities M.
de Thugut retains his firmness of mind, and continues to struggle against
the united voice of the nobility and the numerous and trying adversities
that press upon him." Eden, April 1. "The confusion at the army exceeds the
bounds of belief. Had Bonaparte continued his progress hither (Vienna), no
doubt is entertained that he might have entered the place without
opposition. That, instead of risking this enterprise, he should have
stopped and given the Austrians six days to recover from their alarm and to
prepare for defence, is a circumstance which it is impossible to account
for." April 12. "He" (Mack) "said that when this place was threatened by
the enemy, Her Imperial Majesty broke in upon the Emperor while in

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