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'I heard nothing,' I answered, 'except from Maclean. He told me that he thought that the Maritime Canal, if supplied from the sea, would become stagnant and unwholesome, and gradually fill. That that plan was formed when the levels of the two seas were supposed to differ, so that there would be a constant current.
““Now that the equality of their levels has been ascertained,” he said to me, "the only mode of obtaining a current is to employ the Nile instead of the sea.” “But can the Nile spare the water ?” I asked. “Certainly," he answered. “An hour a day of the water from the Nile, even when at its lowest, would be ample.” “And what do the other engineers say?" I asked. “Randall,” he replied, “agrees with me. The others are at present for the salt water. But we are to meet in time and discuss it thoroughly.”'
'It is not the opinion of the engineers,' answered Lafosse, “that I want, but that of the politicians.
We are told that Lord Palmerston threatens to prevent it as long as he is Minister. This makes us very angry. We think that we perceive in his opposition his old hatred of France and of everything that France supports or even favours—feelings which we hoped the Alliance had cured.
'The matter,' he continued, 'was to have been brought before the Congress. Buol had promised to Nigrelli to do so, and Cavour to Lesseps and Paleocapa. But after the occupation of Italy, and the Belgian press, and the rights of Neutrals had been introduced, the Congress got impatient, and it was thought inexpedient to ask them
Opposition to Suez Canal.
to attend to another episodical matter. The Emperor, however, did something. He asked Ali Pasha, the Turkish Minister, what were the Sultan's views. They will be governed,” said Ali Pasha, "in a great measure by those of his allies.” “As one of them,” said the Emperor, “I am most anxious for its success.” “ In that case," replied Ali Pasha, “the Sultan can have no objection to it in principle, though he may wish to annex to his firman some conditions for instance, as to the occupation of the forts at each end by a mixed garrison of Turks and Egyptians." The Emperor then turned to Lord Clarendon. “What are your views,” he asked, “as to the Suez Canal ?” “ It is a grave matter," answered Lord Clarendon, “and one on which I have no instructions. But I believe it to be impracticable.” “Well," replied the Emperor, "but supposing for the sake of the argument, that it is practicable, what are your intentions ?” “I cannot but think," answered Lord Clarendon, “that any new channel of commerce must be beneficial to England. The real difficulty is the influence which the Canal may have in the relations of Egypt and Turkey." “ If that be the only obstacle," replied the Emperor, “there is not much in it, for Ali Pasha has just told me that if we make no objection the Sultan makes none. We cannot be more Turkish than the Turk." ;
'I am most anxious,' added Lafosse, “that this stupid opposition of yours should come to an end. Trifling as the matter may seem, it endangers the cordiality of the Alliance. The people of England, who do not know how jealous and passionnés we are, cannot estimate the
mistrust and the irritation which it excites. That an enterprise on which the French, wisely or foolishly, have set their hearts, should be stopped by the caprice of a wrong-headed Englishman, hurts our vanity ; and everything that hurts our vanity offends us much more than what injures our serious interests.
If the engineers and the capitalists decide in favour of the scheme, you will have to yield at last. You had much better do so now, when you can do it with a good grace. Do not let your acquiescence be extorted.'
Paris, May 19.–After breakfast I spent a couple of hours with Cousin.
• You have been in England,' he said, "since you left Egypt. What is the news as to our Canal ? Will Palmerston let us have it? You must stay a few weeks in Paris to estimate the effect of your opposition to it. We consider Palmerston's conduct as a proof that his hatred of France is unabated, and the acquiescence of the rest of your Cabinet as a proof that, now we are no longer necessary to you, now that we have destroyed for you the maritime power of Russia, you are indifferent to our friendship
'I know nothing myself as to the merits of the Canal. I distrust Lesseps and everything that he undertakes. He has much talent and too much activity, but they only lead him and his friends into scrapes. I daresay that the Canal is one, and that it will ruin its shareholders ; but as I am anxious we should not quarrel with England, I am most anxious that this silly subject of dispute should be removed.'
Emperor encourages Expenditure.
‘Louis Napoleon,' he continued, professed to wish that you should allow the Sultan to give his consent; but I doubt whether he is sincere. I am not sure that he is not pleased at seeing the Parisians occupied by something besides his own doings, especially as it promotes the national dislike of England. Now that the war is over we want an object. He tries to give us one by launching us into enormous speculations. He is trying to make us English; to give us a taste for great and hazardous undertakings, leading to great gains, great losses, profuse expenditure, and sudden fortunes and failures. Such things suit you; they do not suit us. Our habits are economical and prudent, perhaps timid. We like the petty commerce of commission and detail, we prefer domestic manufactures to factories, we like to grow moderately rich by small profits, small expenditure, and constant accumulation. We hate the nouveaux riches, and scarcely wish to be among them. The progress for which we wish is political progress—not within, for there we are satisfied to oscillate, and shall be most happy if in 1860 we find ourselves where we were in 1820—but without. I believe that our master's sortie against Belgium was a pilot balloon. He wished to see what amount of opposition he had to fear from you, and from Belgium, and how far we should support him. He has found the two former greater than he expected. I am not sure that he is dissatisfied with the last.'
I spent the morning at H.'s. He too attacked me about the Canal.
Do entreat,' he said, your public men to overrule their ill-conditioned colleague. I told you a year ago, the mischief that you were doing, but I do not think that you believed me. You may find too late that I was right.'
I repeated to him Ellice's opinion that the commerce of England would not use the canal.
• I have heard that,' he said, “from Ellice himself, but I differ from him. I agree with him, indeed, that your sailing vessels will not use the canal, but I believe that a few years hence you will have no purely sailing vessels, except for the small coasting trade. Every large ship will have a propeller ; and with propellers, to be employed occasionally, and sails for ordinary use, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea are very manageable. I believe that the canal will be useful, and particularly
But whatever be the real merits of the scheme, for God's sake let it be tried. Do not treat us like children, and say, “We know better what is good for you than you do yourselves. You shall not make your canal because you would lose money by it." • What did you hear,' I said, “about the Congress ?'
I heard,' he answered, that Clarendon was very good, and was the best, and that Walewski was very bad, and was the worst.'
"Can you tell me,' I said, the real history of the Tripartite Treaty ?'
'I can,' he answered. “There was an old engagement between the three Powers, entered into last spring, that if they succeeded in the war, they would unite to force