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engagements at Magenta and Solferino had prostrated the Austrian power in Lombardy, but also greatly weakened and alarmed France. The untoward Peace of Villafranca had been patched up between the French and Austrian Emperors without the consent of Sardinia ; and the Continental prospect remained nearly as unsettled as ever. England remained firm in the attitude of neutrality, notwithstanding the difficulties arising both from political sympathy with Italian aspirations and the incessant ingenuity of French diplomacy. At length, in the process of consolidating the Italian kingdom, the secret compact as to the cession of Nice and Savoy became a secret no longer, and the tide of popular feeling in England, which had previously run strongly in favour of the French Emperor and his Italian projects, took a decided turn. Indignation was general at what appeared the grasping selfishness of France, in the face of her grandiloquent asseveration that she had made war “ for an idea," and with no selfish object in view. So stormy was this indignation that it retarded, and even endangered for a time, the completion of Mr. Cobden's famous Commercial Treaty, negotiated in the beginning of the year, and certainly served to colour the Prince's views as to the advantages of such a treaty. It prevented him from seeing in it all the good which it really possessed for binding the two countries together in interest as well as amity. It will be carried, he writes (March 15, 1860), but “not without a good deal of grumbling on the part of the public. ... Parliament has accepted it, but, while doing so, has rated the Emperor soundly, who is very indignant.'

This was the second year of the powerful ministry formed by Lord Palmerston on the retirement of the second Derby ministry, and the failure of the Reform Bill. A new Reform Bill was dragging its tedious length in the House of Commons, without exciting-the Prince writes on March 17—as much excitement as a Turnpike Trust Bill.' Its fate is matter of history. The Prince evidently looked upon the Reform projects of both the Conservative and Liberal Governments with no special favour, but mainly because he saw in them the play of political ambition between the two parties in the State, rather than any grave and intelligent political purpose. It is generally to be desired,' he says, that this ministry may carry through a Reform Bill, and what its tenor may be makes little difference, especially as the Conservative Bill of last year was as democratic as any Bill could well be.' In the same letter he says, with reference to Mr. Gladstone's famous Budget of that year, and the great speech by which he introduced it, Gladstone is now the real leader of the House of Commons, and works with an energy and vigour altogether incredible.'

It has been said that the present volume of the Prince Con t's Life tends to bring into relief the occasionally embarrassing relations between Mr. Gladstone and the Prince and the Court. But it is desire to set Italy free from the foreign thraldom which had so long debased it. He had been closely connected with the Italian revolutionists 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 po 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 • 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 Mar engagements at Magenta and Solferino had prostrated the Austrian power in Lombardy, but also greatly weakened and alarmed France. The untoward Peace of Villafranca had been patched up between the French and Austrian Emperors without the consent of Sardinia ; and the Continental prospect remained nearly as unsettled as ever. England remained firm in the attitude of neutrality, notwithstanding the difficulties arising both from political sympathy with Italian aspirations and the incessant ingenuity of French diplomacy. At length, in the process of consolidating the Italian kingdom, the secret compact as to the cession of Nice and Savoy became a secret no longer, and the tide of popular feeling in England, which had previously run strongly in favour of the French Emperor and his Italian projects, took a decided turn. Indignation was general at what appeared the grasping selfishness of France,3 “in the face of her grandiloquent asseveration that she had made war “for an idea," and with no selfish object in view. So stormy was this indignation that it retarded, and even endangered for a time, the completion of Mr. Cobden's famous Commercial Treaty, negotiated in the beginning of the year, and certainly served to colour the Prince's views as to the advantages of such a treaty. It prevented him from seeing in it all the good which it really possessed for binding the two countries together in interest as well as amity. It will be carried, he writes (March 15, 1860), but not without a good deal of grumbling on the part of the public. . . . Parliament has accepted it, but, while doing so, has rated the Emperor soundly, who is very indignant.'

This was the second year of the powerful ministry formed by Lord Palmerston on the retirement of the second Derby, ministry, and the failure of the Reform Bill. A new Reform Bill was dragging its tedious length in the House of Commons, without exciting—the Prince writes on March 17—“as much excitement as a Turnpike Trust Bill. Its fate is matter of history. The Prince evidently looked upon the Reform projects of both the Conservative and Liberal Governments with no special favour, but mainly because he saw in them the play of political ambition between the two parties in the State, rather than any grave and intelligent political purpose. It is generally to be desired,' he says, “ that this ministry may carry through a Reform Bill, and what its tenor may be makes little difference, especially as the Conservative Bill of last year was as democratic as any Bill could well be.' In the same letter he says, with reference to Mr. Gladstone's famous Budget of that year,

and the great speech by which he introduced it, Gladstone is now the real leader of the House of Commons, and works with an energy and vigour altogether incredible.'

It has been said that the present volume of the Prince Consort's Life tends to bring into relief the occasionally embarrassing relations between Mr. Gladstone and the Prince and the Court. But it is difficult to see how these relations could have been stated at all without presenting them in their true character, and with the same degree of frankness as the relations between Earl Russell or Lord Palmerston and the Court are described. There is no evidence of arrière pensée in the one case any more than in the other. The Prince had his own opinions, which he held firmly all the more that they were the result of his own deliberate thoughtfulness. He evidently disagreed with Mr. Gladstone strongly as to his attitude on the Fortification Bill, and the general question of what was necessary for the defence of the country. He had not the same faith in the efficacy of the Commercial Treaty for preserving peace as Mr. Gladstone and the Manchester School had. They were right upon the whole; and the Prince's apprehensions were in some degree exaggerated. But Mr. Gladstone's foresight could not have been appreciated without a perception of the difficulties of his policy such as they appeared to other minds, and even to the thoughtful mind of the Prince Consort. The moral earnestness of a man like Mr. Gladstone, no less than his amazing energy, were least of all likely to be underrated by a character like Prince Albert's, combining in itself such high enthusiasm with such serious and self-sacrificing devotion to work and duty. The only thing in the present volume really depreciatory of Mr. Gladstone, and the publication of which might have been spared by the biographer, is a remark not by the Prince, but by Lord Palmerston, the chief of the Cabinet upon which Mr. Gladstone's famous Budget speeches cast so much honour. Lord Palmerston in a letter to the Queen on July 23, 1860, while informing her Majesty as to the objections of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Fortification Bill, says that he reserved his freedom to take such course as he may see fit on that subject next year, to which Viscount Palmerston entirely assented. “That course,' he adds, will probably be the same which Mr. Gladstone has taken this year, namely, ineffectual opposition and ultimate acquiescence.'

The course of events in Italy, which had been interrupted by the Peace of Villafranca, resumed their march with redoubled vigour under the auspices of Garibaldi in Naples. The truth was that the time was ripe for the consolidation of the Italian peninsula into one kingdom; and as Garibaldi advanced with his conquering volunteers from the south, Cavour was compelled to throw his forces into Umbria and the Marches, in order to prevent anarchy in those states, and to extend the authority of a stable government throughout Italy. It was natural that the Prince should view with some distrust and alarm the arguments by which Cavour defended his ambitious designs for his country and sovereign. His position, as well as bis habits of mind, here, as always, compelled him to look with favour at the more cautious and slowly progressive side of public affairs, rather than at the violent daring which knew, as in the case of Cavour, how to seize the fitting opportunity which might never return. This accounts for consideration of expediency should ever override the claims of truth and fair-dealing. Cavour's pliancy in saying one thing and sometimes doing another 4 offended his sense of right. All his higher sympathies, however, were with the cause of Italian unity, and he therefore felt very bitterly the insinuation which appeared in the • Times' in the spring of 1861, to the effect that the Italian policy of the Government was thwarted by the influence of the Court. Even if the Prince had less fully recognised than he did, the necessity of a United Italy as the only adequate fulfilment of the long-stifled aspirations of a great people, he had too long learned and too long practised his constitutional duties as the adviser of the Queen on foreign policy, to have interposed any obstacles to a policy approved of by the English nation and promoted by the Government. His consciousness of freedom from blame did not prevent him feeling acutely such public accusations. It would have been better for his happiness, and possibly shown more strength of mind, had he not taken so much to heart articles in the “ Times' or anywhere else. But it is the penalty of a nature like his, in its very strife to do what is right' amidst the powerful influences of duty affecting it on the one side and the other, to feel bitterly the sting which harsher natures, untroubled by any considerations save those of the moment, may inflict upon a complex and sensitive conscience.

It is evident, moreover, in these last years, that the Prince's health was losing its elasticity and strength long before the end came. Apparently healthy and capable of much fatigue both of body and mind, his brilliant, youthful beauty of face and figure having settled into a dignified and noble manhood, he was never really what physicians call - strong.' In childhood he was called a delicate boy; '6 and having brought a weak stomach into the world, he was never likely, as he says in one of his letters to his daughter, the Princess Royal, to get the better of this constitutional weakness. It was constantly making itself felt; and especially in the autumn of 1857, the strain of long-continued work seems to have begun to tell upon him, and his sufferings from this unhappy organ come out continually in his confidential communications. After his address to the philosophers of the British Association, at Aberdeen, in that autumn, he had a severe 'gastric attack,' which evidently alarmed those who knew his constitution—none more so than his ever-watchful friend, Stockmar, at a distance, who wrote to him in evident distress, and in a note of warning, which it is now rather pitiful to read, he attributed his illness to the worries both of body and mind' to which the Prince was daily exposed, and the difficulties which beset him in taking due care of his health. “All around you,' he said, ominously, there is a

* Vol. v. p. 287.

5.We have gone through much, and tried hard after much that is good. So write both the Queen and Prince Albert to Stockmar in the present volume. We do not know how it affects others; but we have seldom read, in all the circumstances, a

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