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from either of these things. The surroundings of a life like Prince Albert's were, to a large extent, conventional. Even a mind so powerful and fresh and penetrating as his was, could not break through the superficial decorums, the well-drilled proprieties of mode, that bound all the expression of his inner as of his outer life; and so there comes to any such life a certain monotony. It stands before us, truly vital as it was, in something of full dress. The veil of dignity seldom drops from it ; and we long in vain to get thoroughly behind the scenes, and see uncovered all the workings of the drama. It is needless to say that, whether this detract from the interest and freshness of the story or not, it is an element from which no biography of a royal personage can be free. Nay, all biography, even of the most unconventional type, is necessarily more or less veiled. It is not good for man, or woman, to wear their life uncovered before the world. Yet it may be said that there have been few lives— either high or low—which, in some respects, have been more bared to public view than that of Prince Albert; as there have been few, if any, which have ever stood its near searching with a happier result. If an element of monotony clings to the picture, and the breathing presence of nature is not always there, giving variety and movement and unexpected development to it, this is partly owing to the subject, and partly an inevitable accompaniment of all biographies of the kind.

If the Life of the Prince Consort' has any special fault, we are inclined to look for it not in any degree in the spirit and manner in which the work is executed. These appear to us throughout admirable, and to show, as we have said, in Sir Theodore Martin, the possession of qualities of a high order far beyond any mere skill of the littérateur. But in the Life of the Prince Consort,' as in all modern biography with hardly any exception, there is a tendency to enlarge the picture unnecessarily, and so to extend the background that in the width and confusion of surface the central figure, which is after all the real interest, is sometimes dwarfed, if not hidden from the view. We know how hard, if not impossible, it must have been to avoid this in such a biography as the present, where the figure is one of the most prominent in Europe, and the centre of endless human, particularly endless political, interests. The life became merged in these interests; they everywhere start to the front with the personality moving within them. Still we think they receive undue prominence when, as in the present and concluding volume of the · Life,' the political affairs of two years of which Prince Albert was after all only one factor, almost entirely fill up the volume-the more personal aspects of the subject hardly filling up a hundred pages out of the four hundred and fifty. The author is well aware in the last three volumes that his canvas had a tendency to expand itself, and that his function of biographer ran the risk of being turned into that of historian of Her Majesty's reign. He has pleaded in excuse the ample materials placed at his command, and the value

Question from 1853 to 1857. We do not deny the necessity of the plea, and it is impossible for anyone who fairly appreciates the character either of the Prince or of his biographer to suppose that there was any other motive in the extended treatment of this question than to exhibit truly opinions which had at least the merit of being faithfully excogitated and deeply weighed, apart from partisanship. Nothing but the blindness of political zeal could have ever conjectured or hinted at anything else. But admitting all this, character rather than controversy, personality more than politics, even of the most exciting and important kind, is the true motif of biography, and we cannot help thinking that during the last ten years of the Prince's career public events are treated at too great a length, with the result, not indeed of obscuring his life-rather perhaps of making it more fully intelligible to any attentive reader—but of making it by itself less vivid and distinct. The figure is there, and all the accessories contribute to illustrate it, but nevertheless they often fill the eye of the reader till the central figure itself grows comparatively dim and unillumined.

In the following brief notice we shall endeavour to keep before us the figure of the Prince himself in his last years, and the most characteristic traits of a career so brilliant' and animated with noble energy' as his truly was.

The main political interest of Sir Theodore's concluding volume is the gradual alienation of the English and French courts, the ties between which had become peculiarly intimate during the preceding years, and the great events in Italy, which were at once the glory and the snare of the French Emperor. The Italian question, after many years of slumbering disquiet, had come to the front as the great European question whose settlement could no longer be delayed. Two years before, in July, 1858, an interview had taken place at Plombières between the French Emperor and Count Cavour, then at the head of the Sardinian Government, at which a secret understanding had been arrived at as to the liberation of Northern Italy from the domination of Austria, and the cession of Savoy and Nice had been virtually made by the Italian statesman as the price of Napoleon's assistance. This compact remained unknown even to the diplomatic world; but it became henceforth the key to all the Imperial policy in France. There were many reasons for the restlessness of the French Emperor, and the new turn which his ambition took from this date, till it led him onwards from stage to stage, and finally plunged him into the madness of war with Germany, in which his dynasty perished. So far he was animated by the truly noble

? It is a remarkable instance of the Queen's political foresight that she distinctly recognised the connection between the Emperor's Italian projects and his further projects in the Rhenish provinces, which ten years later precipitated his downfall. Writing to King Leopold in Feb. 1859, she says that if Austria and Germany do their duty, · France will not be so eager to attempt what I fully believe would end in the

from either of these things. The surroundings of a life like Prince Albert's were, to a large extent, conventional. Even a mind so powerful and fresh and penetrating as his was, could not break through the superficial decorums, the well-drilled proprieties of mode, that bound all the expression of his inner as of his outer life; and so there comes to any such life a certain monotony. It stands before us, truly vital as it was, in something of full dress. The veil of dignity seldom drops from it; and we long in vain to get thoroughly behind the scenes, and see uncovered all the workings of the drama. It is needless to say that, whether this detract from the interest and freshness of the story or not, it is an element from which no biography of a royal personage can be free. Nay, all biography, even of the most unconventional type, is necessarily more or less veiled. It is not good for man, or woman, to wear their life uncovered before the world. Yet it may be said that there have been few lives, either high or low—which, in some respects, have been more bared to public view than that of Prince Albert; as there have been few, if any, which have ever stood its near searching with a happier result. If an element of monotony clings to the picture, and the breathing presence of nature is not always there, giving variety and movement and unexpected development to it, this is partly owing to the subject, and partly an inevitable accompaniment of all biographies of the kind.

If the Life of the Prince Consort'has any special fault, we are inclined to look for it not in any degree in the spirit and manner in which the work is executed. These appear to us throughout admirable, and to show, as we have said, in Sir Theodore Martin, the possession of qualities of a high order far beyond any mere skill of the littérateur. But in the Life of the Prince Consort, as in all modern biography with hardly any exception, there is a tendency to enlarge the picture unnecessarily, and so to extend the background that in the width and confusion of surface the central figure, which is after all the real interest, is sometimes dwarfed, if not hidden from the view. We know how hard, if not impossible, it must have been to avoid this in such a biography as the present, where the figure is one of the most prominent in Europe, and the centre of endless human, particularly endless political, interests. The life became merged in these interests; they everywhere start to the front with the personality moving within them. Still we think they receive undue prominence when, as in the present and concluding volume of the · Life,' the political affairs of two years of which Prince Albert was after all only one factor, almost entirely fill up the volume-the more personal aspects of the subject hardly filling up a hundred pages out of the four hundred and fifty. The author is well aware in the last three volumes that his canvas had a tendency to expand itself, and that his function of biographer ran the risk of being turned into that of historian of Her Majesty's reign. He has pleadel in excuse the ample materials placed at his command, and the value Question from 1853 to 1857. We do not deny the necessity of the plea, and it is impossible for anyone who fairly appreciates the character either of the Prince or of his biographer to suppose that there was any other motive in the extended treatment of this question than to exhibit truly opinions which had at least the merit of being faithfully excogitated and deeply weighed, apart from partisanship. Nothing but the blindness of political zeal could have ever conjectured or hinted at anything else. But admitting all this, character rather than controversy, personality more than politics, even of the most exciting and important kind, is the true motif of biography, and we cannot help thinking that during the last ten years of the Prince's career public events are treated at too great a length, with the result, not indeed of obscuring his life-rather perhaps of making it more fully intelligible to any attentive reader—but of making it by itself less vivid and distinct. The figure is there, and all the accessories contribute to illustrate it, but nevertheless they often fill the eye of the reader till the central figure itself grows comparatively dim and unillumined.

In the following brief notice we shall endeavour to keep before us the figure of the Prince himself in his last years, and the most characteristic traits of a career so brilliant' and animated with noble energy' as his truly was.

The main political interest of Sir Theodore's concluding volume is the gradual alienation of the English and French courts, the ties between which had become peculiarly intimate during the preceding years, and the great events in Italy, which were at once the glory and the snare of the French Emperor. The Italian question, after many years of slumbering disquiet, had come to the front as the great European question whose settlement could no longer be delayed. Two years before, in July, 1858, an interview had taken place at Plombières between the French Emperor and Count Cavour, then at the head of the Sardinian Government, at which a secret understanding had been arrived at as to the liberation of Northern Italy from the domination of Austria, and the cession of Savoy and Nice had been virtually made by the Italian statesman as the price of Napoleon's assistance. This compact remained unknown even to the diplomatic world ; but it became henceforth the key to all the Imperial policy in France. There were many reasons for the restlessness of the French Emperor, and the new turn which his ambition took from this date, till it led him onwards from stage to stage, and finally plunged him into the madness of war with Germany, in which his dynasty perished. So far he was animated by the truly noble desire to set Italy free from the foreign thraldom which had so long debased it. He had been closely connected with the Italian rerolutionists before he ascended the throne, and shared in their enthusiasm. They were determined not to allow him to forget his old connections; and when they found that he took no steps to help them, they conspired to take vengeance on him, and the Orsini conspiracy to destroy him and the Empress on their way to the Opera House startled the world on January 25, 1858. The effect of this attempt' was powerful. It kindled the imagination of the Emperor once more with dreams of Italian liberation in which he was destined to play a part. It became known that other Italian revolutionists had banded themselves together, to succeed where Orsini had failed, unless he took some steps in the direction of their hopes. This was a goad applied to the fear no less than to the pride of the Emperor. Then Orsini's' plans had been concocted in London; and although the Emperor himself knew the English people too well to attach any blame to them on that account, the strong feeling excited in France on the subject, and the tall talk of his own

* It is a remarkable instance of the Queen's political foresight that she distinctly recognised the connection between the Emperor's Italian projects and his further projects in the Rhenish provinces, which ten years later precipitated his downfall. Writing to King Leopold in Feb. 1859, she says that if Austria and Germany do their duty, France will not be so eager to attempt what I fully believe would end in the

colonels 'tended to strain, if not break, the entente cordiale which had prevailed with England, both court and people, for some time. How far this alienation extended, soon became manifest in the vote by which Lord Palmerston's Conspiracy Bill was rejected on February 19.

These various influences combined to start the Emperor on his new career, without any of the moderating influence which would have come from a continuance of his frank intercourse with the English Court. The change in his manner was not at first apparent; and the friendly personal relations between him and the Prince remained unbroken for some time. But already in the beginning of 1859, from the famous New Year's speech to M. Hübner, the Austrian Ambassador, grave suspicions had been created in the mind of Prince Albert. He felt no longer sure of the Emperor's sincerity,and wrote to King Leopold that it is not well to correspond with him. These suspicions were not allayed by an elaborate letter to the Queen from the Palace of the Tuileries' on the 14th of the ensuing February, in which the Emperor endeavoured to justify his warlike attitude, while still making professions of peace. By this time the Prince knew too much of the arrangements secretly concluded with Sardinia, as well as of what was being done in France to prepare for war, to accept without reservation the colouring given to both in the letter. He had, moreover, read the Emperor's character too thoroughly in the unreserved discussions which passed between, not to see that he was entirely dominated by his dream of a readjustment of the distribution of the European States, and that he was concealing his plans from one by whom, he knew, they were regarded as no less dangerous to himself and his dynasty than to the peace of Europe.?

Events moved rapidly forward. War was proclaimed in May

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