The Greville Memoirs (Third Part) Volume II (of II)by Charles Greville
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France and Prussia—The Emperor's Speech—Faint Hopes of Peace—Favourable View of the Policy of Russia—Progress of the Negotiations—Russia accepts the Terms of Peace—The Acceptance explained—Popular Feeling in Favour of the War—Lord Stratford and General Williams—Mr. Disraeli's Prospects—Meeting of Parliament—Baron Parke's Life Peerage—The Debate on the Address—Debate on Life Peerages—Report on the Sufferings of the Army—Strained Relations with France—Lord Clarendon goes to the Congress at Paris—Opening of the Conference—Sabbatarianism—Progress of the Negotiations—Kars—Nicolaieff—The Life Peerage Question—Blunders and Weakness of the Government—A Visit to Paris—Count Orloff's View of the War—Lord Cowley on the Negotiations—Princess Lieven on the War—An Evening at the Tuileries—Opening of the Legislative Chamber—Lord Cowley's Desponding Views—The Austrian Proposals—Bitterness in French Society—Necessity of Peace to France—Conversation with M. Thiers—A Stag Hunt at St. Germains—The Emperor yields to the Russians—Birth of the Prince Imperial.
January 1st, 1856.—Intelligence arrived yesterday that Esterhazy had presented the Austrian proposal to Nesselrode on the 28th, who had received it in profound silence. Yesterday morning the 'Morning Post,' in communicating this fact, put forth an article indecently violent and menacing against Prussia; and as it contained a statement of what the Emperor Napoleon had said to Baron Seebach, which was exactly what[Pg 2] Persigny had told Clarendon, this alone would prove, if any proof were required, that the article was inserted either by Palmerston or by Persigny. The 'Morning Post' derives its only importance from being the Gazette of Palmerston and of the French Government, and it is not very easy to determine which of the two is guilty of this article. These are the sort of manifestos which make us so odious all over the world.
MISCHIEVOUS RESULTS OF THE WAR.
Hatchford, January 2nd.—The speech which Louis Napoleon addressed to the Imperial Guard the day before yesterday when they marched into Paris in triumph, gives reason for suspecting that the manifesto against Prussia in the 'Morning Post' was French, for there is no small correspondence between the speech and the article. In the article Prussia is openly threatened and told, if she will not join the allies in making war on Russia, the allies will make war upon her; in the speech the Guards are told to hold themselves in readiness and that a great French army will be wanted. Nothing is more within the bounds of probability than that the Emperor may determine, if he is obliged to make war, to make it for a French object, and on some enemy from whom a good spoil may be taken, a war which will gratify French vanity and cupidity, and which will therefore not be unpopular. He may think, and most probably not erroneously, that in the present temper of this country the people would be quite willing to let him do what he pleases with Prussia, Belgium, or any other part of the continent, if he will only concur with us in making fierce war against Russia. But though this I believe to be the feeling of the masses, and that their resentment against Prussia is so strong that they would rejoice at seeing another Jena followed by similar results, the minority who are elevated enough in life to reason and reflect will by no means like to see France beginning to run riot again, and while we have been making such an uproar about the temporary occupation of the Principalities and the crossing of the Pruth by Russia, that we should quietly consent to, nay, become accomplices in the passage of the Rhine and an aggression on Germany by France. The very possibility of this[Pg 3] shows the necessity of putting an end to a war which cannot continue without so many and such perilous contingencies. Nothing in fact can exceed the complications in which we can hardly help being plunged, and the various antagonistic interests which will be brought into collision, creating perplexities and difficulties which it would require the genius of a Richelieu to unravel and compose. The earth under our feet may be mined with plots; we know not what any of the Great Powers are really designing; the only certainty for us is that we are going on blindly and obstinately spending our wealth and our blood in a war in which we have no interest, and in keeping Europe in a state of ferment and uncertainty the ultimate consequences of which it is appalling to contemplate.
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