Part 12 out of 13
THE REPUBLIC BECOMES AGGRESSIVE.--A few weeks after the defence of the
Convention by Napoleon, that body declaring its labors ended, closed its
sessions, and immediately afterwards the Councils and the Board of
Directors provided for by the new constitution [Footnote: There were to be
two legislative bodies,--the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of
the Ancients, the latter embracing two hundred and fifty persons, of whom
no one could be under fifty years of age. The executive power was vested
in a board of five persons, which was called the Directory.] that had been
framed by the Convention, assumed control of affairs.
Under the Directory the republic, which up to this time had been acting
mainly on the defensive, entered upon an aggressive policy. The
Revolution, having accomplished its work in France, having there destroyed
royal despotism and abolished class privilege, now set itself about
fulfilling its early promise of giving liberty to all peoples (see p.
658). In a word, the revolutionists became propagandists. France now
exhibits what her historians call her social, her communicative genius.
"Easily seduced herself," as Lamartine says, "she easily seduces others."
She would make all Europe like unto herself. Herself a republic, she would
make all nations republics.
Had not the minds of the people in all the neighboring countries been
prepared to welcome the new order of things, the Revolution could never
have spread itself as widely as it did. But everywhere irrepressible
longings for social and political equality and freedom, born of long
oppression, were stirring the souls of men. The French armies were
everywhere welcomed as deliverers. Thus was France enabled to surround
herself with a girdle of commonwealths. She conquered Europe not by her
armies, but by her ideas. "An invasion of armies," says Victor Hugo, "can
be resisted: an invasion of ideas cannot be resisted."
The republics established were, indeed, short-lived; for the times were
not yet ripe for the complete triumph of democratic ideas. But a great
gain for freedom was made. The reestablished monarchies never dared to
make themselves as despotic as those which the Revolution had overturned.
THE PLANS OF THE DIRECTORY.--Austria and England were the only formidable
powers that still persisted in their hostility to the republic. The
Directors resolved to strike a decisive blow at the first of these
implacable foes. To carry out their designs, two large armies, numbering
about 70,000 each, were mustered upon the middle Rhine, and intrusted to
the command of the two young and energetic generals Moreau and Jourdan,
who were to make a direct invasion of Germany. A third army, numbering
about 36,000 men, was assembled in the neighborhood of Nice, in South-
eastern France, and placed in the hands of Napoleon, to whom was assigned
the work of driving the Austrians out of Italy.
NAPOLEON'S ITALIAN CAMPAIGN (1796-1797).--Straightway upon receiving his
command, Napoleon, now in his twenty-seventh year, animated by visions of
military glory to be gathered on the fields of Italy, hastened to join his
army at Nice. He found the discontented soldiers almost without food or
clothes. He at once aroused all their latent enthusiasm by one of those
short, stirring addresses for which he afterwards became so famous. Then
before the mountain roads were yet free from snow, he set his army in
motion, and forced the passage of the low Genoese, or Maritime Alps. The
Carthaginian had been surpassed. "Hannibal," exclaimed Napoleon, "crossed
the Alps; as for us, we have turned them." Now followed a most astonishing
series of French victories over the Austrians and their allies. As a
result of the campaign a considerable part of Northern Italy was formed
into a commonwealth under the name of the Cisalpine Republic. Genoa was
also transformed into the Ligurian Republic.
TREATY OF COMPO FORMIO (1797).--While Napoleon had been gaining his
surprising victories in Italy, Moreau and Jourdan had been meeting with
severe reverses in Germany, their invading columns having been forced back
upon the Rhine by the Archduke Charles. Napoleon, having effected the work
assigned to the army of Italy, now climbed the Eastern Alps, and led his
soldiers down upon the plains of Austria. The near approach of the French
to Vienna induced the emperor, Francis II., to listen to proposals of
peace. An armistice was agreed upon, and a few months afterwards the
important treaty of Campo Formio was arranged. By the terms of this treaty
Austria ceded her Belgian provinces to the French Republic, surrendered
important provinces on the west side of the Rhine, and acknowledged the
With the treaty arranged, Napoleon set out for Paris, where a triumph and
ovation such as Europe had not seen since the days of the old Roman
conquerors, awaited him.
NAPOLEON'S CAMPAIGN IN EGYPT (1798-1799).--The Directors had received
Napoleon with apparent enthusiasm and affection; but at this very moment
they were disquieted by fears lest the conqueror's ambition might lead him
to play the part of a second C�sar. They resolved to engage the young
commander in an enterprise which would take him out of France. This
undertaking was an attack upon England, which they were then meditating.
Bonaparte opposed the plan of a direct descent upon the island as
impracticable, declaring that England should be attacked through her
Eastern possessions. He presented a scheme very characteristic of his
bold, imaginative genius. This was nothing less than the conquest and
colonization of Egypt, by which means France would be able to control the
trade of the East, and cut England off from her East India possessions.
The Directors assented to the plan, and with feelings of relief saw
Napoleon embark from the port of Toulon to carry out the enterprise.
Escaping the vigilance of the British fleet that was patrolling the
Mediterranean, Napoleon landed in Egypt July 1, 1798. Within sight of the
Pyramids, the French army was checked in its march upon Cairo by a
determined stand of the renowned Mameluke cavalry. Napoleon animated the
spirits of his men for the inevitable fight by one of his happiest
speeches. One of the sentences is memorable: "Soldiers," he exclaimed,
pointing to the Pyramids, "forty centuries are looking down upon you." The
terrific struggle that followed is known in history as the "Battle of the
Pyramids." Napoleon gained a victory that opened the way for his advance.
The French now entered Cairo in triumph, and all Lower Egypt fell into
Napoleon had barely made his entrance into Cairo, before the startling
intelligence was borne to him that his fleet had been destroyed in the bay
of Aboukir, at the mouth of the Nile, by the English admiral Nelson (Aug.
In the spring of 1799, Napoleon led his army into Syria, the Porte having
joined a new coalition against France. He captured Gaza and Jaffa, and
finally invested Acre. The Turks were assisted in the defence of this
place by the distinguished English admiral, Sir Sidney Smith. [Footnote:
The besieged were further assisted by a Turkish army outside. With these
the French fought the noted Battle of Mount Tabor, in which they gained a
complete victory.] All of Napoleon's attempts to carry the place by storm
were defeated by the skill and bravery of the English commander. "That man
Sidney," said Napoleon afterwards, "made me miss my destiny." Doubtless
Napoleon's vision of conquests in the East embraced Persia and India. With
the ports of Syria secured, he would have imitated Alexander, and led his
soldiers to the foot of the Himalayas.
Bitterly disappointed, Napoleon abandoned the siege of Acre, and led his
army back into Egypt. There his worn and thinned ranks were attacked near
Aboukir by a fresh Turkish army, but the genius of Napoleon turned
threatened defeat into a brilliant victory. The enthusiastic Kleber, one
of Napoleon's lieutenants, clasping his general in his arms, exclaimed,
"Sire, your greatness is like that of the universe."
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE TIBERINE, HELVETIC, AND PARTHENOP�AN REPUBLICS.--We
must turn now to view affairs in Europe. The year 1798 was a favorable one
for the republican cause represented by the Revolution. During that year
and the opening month of the following one, the French set up three new
republics. First, they incited an insurrection at Rome, made a prisoner of
the Pope, and proclaimed the Roman, or Tiberine, Republic. Then they
invaded the Swiss cantons and united them into a commonwealth under the
name of the Helvetic Republic. A little later the French troops drove the
king of Naples out of his kingdom, and transformed that state into the
Parthenop�an Republic. Thus were three new republics added to the
commonwealths which the Revolution had already created.
THE REACTION: NAPOLEON OVERTHROWS THE DIRECTORY (18th and 19th Brumaire).
--Most of this work was quickly undone. Encouraged by the victory of
Nelson over the French fleet in the battle of the Nile, the leading states
of Europe had formed a new coalition against the French Republic. Early in
1779 the war began, and was waged in almost every part of Europe at the
same time. The campaign was on the whole extremely disastrous to the
French. They were driven out of Italy, and were barely able to keep the
allies off the soil of France. The Tiberine and the Parthenop�an Republics
The reverses suffered by the French armies caused the Directory to fall
into great disfavor. They were charged with having through jealousy exiled
Napoleon, the only man who could save the Republic. Confusion and division
prevailed everywhere. The royalists had become so strong and bold that
there was danger lest they should gain control of the government. On the
other hand, the threats of the Jacobins began to create apprehensions of
another Reign of Terror.
News of the desperate state of affairs at home reached Napoleon just after
his victory in Egypt, following his return from Syria. He instantly formed
a bold resolve. Confiding the command of the army in Egypt to Kleber, he
set sail for France, disclosing his designs in the significant words, "The
reign of the lawyers is over."
Napoleon was welcomed in France with the wildest enthusiasm. A great
majority of the people felt instinctively that the emergency demanded a
dictator. Some of the Directors joined with Napoleon in a plot to
overthrow the government. Meeting with opposition in the Council of Five
Hundred, Napoleon with a body of grenadiers drove the deputies from their
chamber (Nov. 9, 1799).
The French Revolution had at last brought forth its Cromwell. Napoleon was
master of France. The first French Republic was at an end, and what is
distinctively called the French Revolution was over. Now commences the
history of the Consulate and the First Empire,--the story of that
surprising career, the sun of which rose so brightly at Austerlitz and set
forever at Waterloo.
THE CONSULATE AND THE FIRST EMPIRE: FRANCE SINCE THE SECOND RESTORATION.
1. THE CONSULATE AND THE EMPIRE (1799-1815).
THE VEILED MILITARY DESPOTISM.--After the overthrow of the Directorial
government, a new constitution--the fourth since the year 1789--was
prepared, and having been submitted to the approval of the people, was
heartily indorsed. This new instrument vested the executive power in three
consuls, elected for a term of ten years, the first of whom really
exercised all the authority of the Board. Napoleon, of course, became the
The other functions of the government were carried on by a Council of
State, a Tribunate, a Legislature, and a Senate. But the members of all
these bodies were appointed either directly or indirectly by the consuls,
so that the entire government was actually in their hands, or, rather, in
the hands of the First Consul. France was still called a republic, but it
was such a republic as Rome was under Julius C�sar or Augustus. The
republican names and forms merely veiled a government as absolute and
personal as that of Louis XIV.,--in a word, a military despotism.
WARS OF THE FIRST CONSUL.--Neither Austria nor England would acknowledge
the government of the First Consul as legitimate. In their view he was
simply an upstart, a fortunate usurper. The throne of France belonged, by
virtue of divine right, to the House of Bourbon.
Napoleon mustered his soldiers. His plan was to deal Austria, his worst
continental enemy, a double blow. A large army was collected on the Rhine,
for an invasion of Germany. This was intrusted to Moreau. Another,
intended to operate against the Austrians in Italy, was gathered at the
foot of the Alps. Napoleon himself assumed command of this latter force.
In the spring of the year 1800 Napoleon made his memorable passage of the
Alps, and astonished the Austrian generals by suddenly appearing, with an
army of 40,000 men, on the plains of Italy. Upon the renowned field of
Marengo the Austrian army, which outnumbered that of the French three to
one, was completely overwhelmed, and Italy lay for a second time at the
feet of Napoleon (June 14, 1800).
But at the moment Italy was regained, Egypt was lost. On the very day of
the battle of Marengo, Kleber, whom Napoleon had left in charge of the
army in Egypt, was assassinated by a Turkish fanatic, and shortly
afterwards the entire French force was obliged to surrender to the
The French reverses in Egypt, however, were soon made up by fresh
victories in Europe. A few months after the battle of Marengo, Moreau
gained a decisive victory over the Austrians at Hohenlinden, which opened
the way to Vienna. The Emperor Francis II. was now constrained to sign a
treaty of peace at Luneville, in which he allowed the Rhine to be made the
eastern frontier of France (February, 1801). The emperor also recognized
the Cisalpine, Ligurian, Helvetian, and Batavian republics. The following
year England was also glad to sign a peace at Amiens (March, 1802).
HIS WORKS OF PEACE: THE CODE NAPOLEON.--Having wrung from both England and
Austria an acknowledgment of his government, Napoleon was now free to
devote his amazing energies to the reform and improvement of the internal
affairs of France. So at this time were begun by him those great works of
various character which were continued through all the fifteen years of
his supremacy. His great military road over the Alps by the Simplon Pass,
surpasses in bold engineering the most difficult of the Roman roads, while
many of his architectural works are the pride of France at the present
[Illustration: CENTRAL EUROPE 1801]
Taking up the work of the Revolution, he caused the laws of France to be
revised and harmonized, producing the celebrated _Code Napoleon_, a
work that is not unworthy of comparison with the _Corpus Juris Civilis_ of
the Emperor Justinian. The influence of this Code upon the development of
Liberalism in Western Europe is simply incalculable. It secured the work
of the Revolution. It swept away the unequal, iniquitous, oppressive
customs, regulations, decrees, and laws that were an inheritance from the
feudal ages. It recognized the equality in the eye of the law of noble and
peasant. "It is to-day the frame-work of law in France, Holland, Belgium,
Western Germany, Switzerland, and Italy." Had Napoleon done nothing else
save to give this Code to Europe, he would have conferred an inestimable
benefit upon mankind.
NAPOLEON MADE CONSUL FOR LIFE (1802).--As a reward for his vast services
to France, and also in order that his magnificent schemes of reform and
improvement might be pursued without fear of interruption, Napoleon was
now, by a vote of the people, made Consul for Life, with the right to name
his successor (August, 1802). Thus he moved a step nearer the coveted
dignity of the Imperial title.
NAPOLEON PROCLAIMED EMPEROR (1804).--A conspiracy against the life of the
First Consul, and the increased activity of his enemies, caused the French
people to resolve to increase his power, and secure his safety and the
stability of his government, by placing him upon a throne. A decree
conferring upon him the title of Emperor having been submitted to the
people for approval was ratified by an almost unanimous vote, less than
three thousand persons opposing the measure.
SURROUNDING REPUBLICS CHANGED INTO KINGDOMS.--Thus was the First French
Republic metamorphosed into an unveiled empire. We may be sure that the
cluster of republics which during the Revolution sprang up around the
great original, will speedily undergo a like transformation; for Napoleon
was right when he said that a revolution in France is sure to be followed
by a revolution throughout Europe. As France, a republic, would make all
states republics, so France, a monarchy, would make all nations
monarchies. Within five years from the time that the government of France
assumed an imperial form, all the surrounding republics raised up by the
revolutionary ideas and armies of France, had been transformed into
monarchies dependent upon France, or had become a component part of the
French Empire. [Footnote: The Cisalpine, or Italian Republic, was changed
into a kingdom, and Napoleon, crowning himself at Milan with the iron
crown of the Lombards, assumed the government of the state with the title
of King of Italy (May 26, 1805). The Ligurian Republic, embracing Genoa
and a portion of Sardinia, was made a part of France, while the Batavian
Republic was changed into the Kingdom of Holland, and given by Napoleon to
his brother Louis (June, 1806).] Thus was the political work of the
Revolution undone. Political _liberty_ was taken away; the people
were not yet ready for self-government. Social _Equality_ was left.
THE WARS OF NAPOLEON.--It will not be supposed that the powers of Europe
were looking quietly on while France was thus metamorphosing herself and
all the neighboring countries. The colossal power which the soldier of
fortune was building up, was a menace to all Europe. The empire was more
dreaded than the republic, because it was a military despotism, and as
such, an instrument of irresistible power in the hands of a man of such
genius and resources as Napoleon. Coalition after coalition, always headed
by England,--who had sworn a Punic hatred to the Napoleonic empire,--was
formed by the monarchies of Europe against the "usurper," with the object
of pressing France back within her original boundaries and setting up
again the subverted throne of the Bourbons.
From the coronation of Napoleon in 1804 until his final downfall in 1815,
the tremendous struggle went on almost without intermission. It was the
war of the giants. Europe was shaken from end to end by such armies as the
world had not seen since the days of Xerxes. Napoleon, whose hands were
upheld by a score of distinguished marshals, performed the miracles of
genius. His brilliant achievements still dazzle, while they amaze, the
To relate in detail the campaigns of Napoleon from Austerlitz to Waterloo
would require the space of volumes. We shall simply indicate in a few
brief paragraphs the successive steps by which he mounted to the highest
pitch of power and fame, and then trace rapidly the decline and fall of
his astonishing fortunes.
AUSTERLITZ (1805): END OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE (1806).--The year
following his coronation, Napoleon made a gigantic effort to break the
coalition which England, Russia, Austria, and Sweden had formed against
him. He massed an immense army at Boulogne, on the Channel, preparatory to
an invasion of England; but the failure of his fleet to carry out its part
of the plan, and intelligence of the approach of the Austrians and
Russians towards the Rhenish frontier, caused him suddenly to transfer his
troops to the opposite side of France.
Without waiting for the attack of the allies, Napoleon flung his Grand
Army, as it was called, across the Rhine, defeated the Austrians in the
battle of Ulm, and marched in triumph through Vienna to the field of
Austerlitz beyond, where he gained one of his most memorable victories
over the combined armies of Austria and Russia, numbering more than
100,000 men (Dec. 2, 1805).
This battle completely changed the map of Europe. Austria was forced to
give up Venetia and other provinces about the head of the Adriatic, this
territory being now added to the kingdom of Italy. Sixteen of the German
states, declaring themselves independent of the empire, were formed into a
league, called the _Confederation of the Rhine_, with Napoleon as
Protector. Furthermore, the Emperor Francis II. was obliged to surrender
the crown of the _Holy Roman Empire_, and thereafter to content himself
with the title of _Emperor of Austria_.
Thus did the Holy Roman Empire come to an end (1806), after having
maintained an existence, since its revival by Otto the Great, of more than
eight hundred years. The _Kingdom of Germany_, which was created by the
partition of the empire of Charlemagne (see p. 408), now also passed out
of existence, even in name.
TRAFALGAR (Oct. 21, 1805).--Napoleon's brilliant victories in Germany were
clouded by an irretrievable disaster to his fleet, which occurred only two
days after the engagement at Ulm. Lord Nelson having met, near Cape
Trafalgar on the coast of Spain, the combined French and Spanish fleets,--
Spain had become the ally of Napoleon,--almost completely destroyed the
combined armaments. The gallant English admiral fell at the moment of
victory. "Thank God, I have done my duty," were his last words.
This decisive battle give England the control of the sea, and relieved her
from all danger of a French invasion. Even the "wet ditch," as Napoleon
was wont contemptuously to call the English Channel, was henceforth an
impassable gulf to his ambition. He might rule the continent, but the
sovereignty of the ocean and its islands was denied him.
JENA AND AUERSTADT (1806).--Prussia was the state next after Austria to
feel the weight of Napoleon's power. Goaded by insult, the Prussian king,
Frederick William III., very imprudently threw down the gauntlet to the
French emperor. Moving with his usual swiftness, Napoleon overwhelmed the
armies of Frederick in the battles of Jena and Auerstadt, which were both
fought upon the same day (Oct. 14, 1806). Thus the great military power
consolidated by the genius of Frederick the Great, was crushed and almost
annihilated. What had proved too great an undertaking for the combined
powers of Europe during the Seven Years' War, Napoleon had effected in
less than a month.
EYLAU AND FRIEDLAND (1807).--The year following his victories over the
Prussians, Napoleon led his Grand Army against the forces of the Czar,
Alexander I., who had entered Prussia with aid for King Frederick. A
fierce but indecisive battle at Eylau was followed, a little later in the
same season, by the battle of Friedland, in which the Russians were
completely overwhelmed (June 14, 1807). The Czar was forced to sue for
By the terms of the Treaty of Tilsit Prussia was stripped of more than
half of her former dominions, a part of which was made into a new state,
called the Kingdom of Westphalia, with Napoleon's brother, Jerome, as its
king, and added to the Confederation of the Rhine; while Prussian Poland,
reorganized and clumsily christened the "Grand Duchy of Warsaw," was given
to Saxony. What was left of Prussia became virtually a dependency of the
THE CONTINENTAL SYSTEM: THE BERLIN AND MILAN DECREES.--While Napoleon was
carrying on his campaigns against Prussia and Russia, he was all the time
meditating vengeance upon England, his most uncompromising foe, and the
leader or the instigator of the coalitions which were constantly being
formed for the overthrow of his power. We have seen how the destruction of
his fleet at Trafalgar dashed all his hopes of ever making a descent upon
the British shores. Unable to reach his enemy directly with his arms, he
resolved to strike her through her commerce. By two celebrated imperial
edicts, called from the cities whence they were issued the Berlin and the
Milan decree, he closed all the ports of the continent against English
ships, and forbade any of the European nations from holding any
intercourse with Great Britain, all of whose ports he declared in a state
So completely was Europe under the domination of Napoleon, that England's
trade was by these measures very seriously crippled, and great loss and
suffering were inflicted upon her industrial classes. We shall have
occasion a little later to speak of the disastrous effects of the system
upon the French empire itself.
BEGINNING OF THE PENINSULAR WARS (1808).--One of the first consequences of
Napoleon's "continental policy" was to bring him into conflict with
Portugal. The prince regent of that country presuming to open its ports to
English ships, Napoleon at once deposed him, and sent one of his marshals
to take possession of the kingdom. The entire royal family, accompanied by
many of the nobility, fled to Brazil, and made that country the seat of an
empire which has endured to the present day.
Having thus gained a foothold in the Peninsula, Napoleon now resolved to
possess himself of the whole of it. Insolently interfering in the affairs
of Spain, he forced the weak-minded Bourbon king to resign to him, as his
"dearly beloved friend and ally," his crown, which he bestowed at once
upon his brother, Joseph Bonaparte (1808). The throne of Naples, which
Joseph had been occupying, [Footnote: Napoleon dethroned the Bourbons in
Naples in 1805.] was transferred to Murat, Napoleon's brother-in-law. Thus
did this audacious man make and unmake kings, and give away thrones and
But the high-spirited Spaniards were not the people to submit tamely to
such an indignity. The entire nation, from the Pyrenees to the Straits of
Gibraltar, flew to arms. Portugal also arose, and England sent to her aid
a force under Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards Duke of Wellington, and the
hero of Waterloo. The French were soon driven out of Portugal, and pushed
beyond the Ebro in Spain. Joseph fled in dismay from his throne, and
Napoleon found it necessary to take the field himself, in order to restore
the prestige of the French arms. He entered the Peninsula at the head of
an army of 80,000 men, and scattering the Spaniards wherever he met them,
entered Madrid in triumph, and reseated his brother upon the Spanish
Threatening tidings from another quarter of Europe now caused Napoleon to
hasten back to Paris.
SECOND CAMPAIGN AGAINST AUSTRIA (1809).--Taking advantage of Napoleon's
troubles in the Peninsula, Francis I. of Austria, who had been watching
for an opportunity to retrieve the disaster of Austerlitz, gathered an
army of half a million of men, and declared war against the French
emperor. But Austria was fated to suffer even a deeper humiliation than
she had already endured. Napoleon swept across the Danube, and at the end
of a short campaign, the most noted battles of which were those of Eckmuhl
and Wagram, Austria was again at his feet, and a second time he entered
Vienna in triumph. Austria was now still farther dismembered, large tracts
of her possessions being ceded directly to Napoleon or given to the
various neighboring states (1809).
[Illustration: CENTRAL EUROPE, 1810]
THE PAPAL STATES AND HOLLAND JOINED TO THE FRENCH EMPIRE.--That Napoleon
cared but little for the thunders of the Church is shown by his treatment
of the Pope. Pius VII. opposing his continental system, the emperor
incorporated the Papal States with the French empire (1809). The Pope
thereupon excommunicated Napoleon, who straightway arrested the Pontiff,
dragged him over the Alps into France, and held him in captivity for four
The year following the annexation of the Papal States to the French
empire, Louis Bonaparte, king of Holland, who disapproved of his brother's
continental system, which was ruining the trade of the Dutch, abdicated
the crown. Thereupon Napoleon incorporated Holland with France, on the
ground that it was simply "the sediment of the French rivers."
NAPOLEON'S SECOND MARRIAGE (1810).--The year following his triumph over
Francis I. of Austria, Napoleon divorced his wife Josephine, in order to
form a new alliance, with Maria Louisa, Archduchess of Austria. The fond
and faithful Josephine bowed meekly to the will of her lord, and went into
sorrowful exile from his palace. Napoleon's object in this matter was to
cover the reproach of his own plebeian birth, by an alliance with one of
the ancient royal families of Europe, and to secure the perpetuity of his
government by leaving an heir who might be the inheritor of his throne and
fortunes. His hope seemed realized when, the year following his marriage
with the Archduchess, a son was born to them, who was given the title of
"King of Rome."
NAPOLEON AT THE SUMMIT OF HIS POWER (1811).--Napoleon was now at the
height of his marvellous fortunes. Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland,
and Wagram were the successive steps by which he had mounted to the most
dizzy heights of military power and glory. The empire which he had built
up stretched from the Baltic to Southern Italy, embracing France proper,
Belgium, Holland, Northwestern Germany, Italy west of the Apennines as far
south as Naples, besides large possessions about the head of the Adriatic.
On all sides were allied, vassal, or dependent states. Several of the
ancient thrones of Europe were occupied by Napoleon's relatives or
favorite marshals. He himself was head of the kingdom of Italy, and
Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine. Austria and Prussia were
completely subject to his will. Russia and Denmark were his allies.
[Illustration: NAPOLEON BONAPARTE]
ELEMENTS OF WEAKNESS IN THE EMPIRE.--But splendid and imposing as at this
moment appeared the external affairs of Napoleon, the sun of his fortunes,
which had risen so brightly at Austerlitz, had already passed its
meridian. There were many things just now contributing to the weakness of
the French empire and foreboding its speedy dissolution. Founded and
upheld by the genius of Napoleon, it depended solely upon the life and
fortunes of this single man. The diverse elements it embraced were as yet
so loosely joined that there could be no hope or possibility of its
surviving either the misfortune or the death of its founder.
Again, Napoleon's continental system, through the suffering and loss it
inflicted upon all the maritime countries of Europe, had caused murmurs of
discontent all around the circumference of the continent. This ruinous
policy had also involved the French emperor in a terribly wasteful war
with Spain, which country was destined--more truly than Italy, of which
the expression was first used--to become "the grave of the French."
Napoleon after his downfall himself admitted that his passage of the
Pyrenees was the fatal misstep in his career.
Furthermore, the conscriptions of the emperor had drained France of men,
and her armies were now recruited by mere boys, who were utterly unfit to
bear the burden and fatigue of Napoleon's rapid campaigns. The heavy
taxes, also, which were necessary to meet the expenses of Napoleon's wars,
and to carry on the splendid public works upon which he was constantly
engaged, produced great suffering and discontent throughout the empire.
And the crowd of deposed princes and dispossessed aristocrats in those
states where Napoleon had promulgated his new code of equal rights (see p.
675), were naturally restless and resentful, and watchful for an
opportunity to recover their ancient power and privileges. Even the large
class in the surrounding countries that at first welcomed Napoleon as the
representative of the French ideas of equality and liberty, and applauded
while he overturned ancient thrones and aristocracies, which, like the
monarchy and the feudal nobility in France swept away by the Revolution,
had become unbearably proud, corrupt, and oppressive,--even these early
adherents had been turned into bitter enemies through Napoleon's adoption
of imperial manners, and especially by his setting aside his first wife,
Josephine, in order that he might ally himself to one of the old royal
houses of Europe, which act was looked upon as a betrayal of the cause of
Nothing save the prestige of Napoleon's name and the dread of his
vengeance keeps his enemies at bay. Let the lion be wounded and a hundred
enemies will spring upon him from every side.
THE INVASION OF RUSSIA (1812-1813).--The signal for the uprising of Europe
was the terrible misfortune which befell Napoleon in his invasion of
Russia. The Czar having cast aside the old ties of alliance and
friendship, and entered a coalition against France, Napoleon crossed the
frontiers of Russia, at the head of what was proudly called the Grand
Army, numbering more than half a million of men.
The Russians threw themselves across the path of the invaders at Borodino,
but their lines were swept back by the strong columns of the Grand Army,
although the victory cost the French dear. Following closely the
retreating enemy, the French pushed on towards the ancient Russian
capital, Moscow. This city Napoleon had thought would supply food for his
army, and shelter from the severity of the northern winter, which was now
approaching. But to his astonishment he found the city deserted by its
inhabitants; and scarcely had he established himself in the empty palace
of the Czar (the Kremlin), before the city, probably fired by persons whom
the Russians had left behind for this purpose, burst into flames. After,
waiting about the ruins until the middle of October, in hopes that the
Czar would accept proposals of peace, Napoleon was forced to give the
command for the return of the army to France.
The retreat was attended with incredible sufferings and horrors. The
Russian winter setting in earlier than usual and with terrible severity,
thousands of the French soldiers were frozen to death, and falling upon
the snow traced with a long black line the trail of the retreating army.
The spot of each bivouac was marked by the circles of dead around the
watch-fires. Thousands more were slain by the wild Cossacks, who
surrounded the retreating columns and harassed them day and night. The
passage of the river Beresina was attended with appalling losses.
Soon after the passage of this stream, Napoleon, conscious that the fate
of his empire depended upon his presence in Paris, left the remnant of the
army in charge of his marshals, and hurried by post to his capital.
Marshal Ney, "the bravest of the brave," performed miracles in covering
the retreat of the broken and dispirited columns. He was the last man, it
is said, to cross the Niemen. His face was so haggard from care and so
begrimed with powder, that no one recognized him. Being asked who he was,
he replied, "I am the rear guard of the Grand Army."
The loss by death of the French and their allies in this disastrous
campaign is reckoned at about 300,000 men, [Footnote: The Russians took
100,000 prisoners, and about 100,000 recrossed the Niemen.] while that of
the Russians is estimated to have been almost as large.
"THE BATTLE OF THE NATIONS" (Leipsic, 1813).--Napoleon's fortunes were
buried with his Grand Army in the snows of Russia. His woeful losses
emboldened the surrounding powers to think that now they could crush him.
A sixth coalition was formed, embracing Russia, Prussia, England, and
Sweden. Napoleon made gigantic efforts to prepare France for the struggle.
By the spring of 1813 he was at the head of a new army, numbering over
[Illustration: MAP OF CENTRAL EUROPE, 1815]
Falling upon the allied armies of the Russians and Prussians, first at
Lutzen and then at Bautzen, he gained a decisive victory upon both fields.
Austria now appeared in the lists, and at Leipsic the French were met by
the leagued armies of Europe. So many were the powers represented upon the
renowned field, that it is known in history as the "Battle of the
Nations." The combat lasted three days. Napoleon was defeated, and forced
to retreat into France.
THE ABDICATION OF NAPOLEON (1814).--The armies of the allies now poured
over all the French frontiers. Napoleon's tremendous efforts to roll back
the tide of invasion were all in vain. As the struggle became manifestly
hopeless, his most trusted officers deserted and betrayed him. Paris
surrendered to the allies. Napoleon was forced to abdicate, and the
ancient House of the Bourbons was reestablished in the person of a brother
of Louis XVI., who took the title of Louis XVIII. Napoleon was banished to
the little island of Elba in the Mediterranean, being permitted to retain
his title of Emperor, and to keep about him a few hundred of his old
guards. But Elba was a very diminutive empire for one to whom the half of
Europe seemed too small, and we shall not be surprised to learn that
Napoleon was not content with it.
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA (Sept., 1814-June, 1815).--After the overthrow of
Napoleon, commissioners of the different European states met at Vienna to
readjust the map of Europe. It was a great task to harmonize the
conflicting claims that came before the convention, and to effect a
settlement of the continent that should satisfy all parties. But after
nearly a year of negotiations and debate, an agreement respecting the
boundaries and relations of the various states was reached. As we shall
hereafter, in connection with the history of the separate countries, have
occasion to say something respecting the relations of each to the
Congress, we shall here say but a word regarding the temper of the
assembly and the general character of its work.
The Vienna commissioners seemed to have had but one thought and aim--to
put everything back as near as possible in the shape that it was in before
the Revolution. They had no care for the people; the princes were their
only concern. The crowd of thrones that Napoleon had overturned were
righted, and the old despots were invited to remount them. Italy and
Germany were divided among a horde of petty tyrants. In Spain and Naples
the old Bourbon families were re-instated, and the former despotisms
renewed. In short, the clock was set back to the hour when the Bastile was
attacked. Everything that had happened since was utterly ignored.
But the Revolution had destroyed privilege as expressed in the effete
feudal aristocracies of Europe, and impaired beyond restoration the
monstrous doctrine of the divine right of kings. An attempt to bring these
things back again was an attempt to restore life to the dead,--to set up
again the fallen Dagon in his place.
Notwithstanding, the commissioners at Vienna, blind to the spirit and
tendencies of the times, did set up once more the broken idol,--only,
however, to see it flung down again by the memorable social upheavals of
the next half century. The kings had had their Congress: the people were
to have theirs,--in 1820 and '30 and '48.
THE HUNDRED DAYS (March 20-June 29, 1815).--The allies who placed Louis
XVIII. upon the French throne set back the boundaries of France as nearly
as possible to the lines they occupied in 1792. In like manner the king
himself, seemingly utterly oblivious to the spirit and tendencies of the
times, as soon as he was in possession of the ancient inheritance of his
family, began to put back everything just as it was before the reforms of
the Revolution. He always alluded to the year he began to rule as the
nineteenth of his reign, thus affecting to ignore entirely the government
of the republic and of the empire.
The result of this reactionary policy was widespread dissatisfaction
throughout France. Many began to desire the return of Napoleon, and the
wish was perhaps what gave rise to the report which was spread about that
he would come back with the spring violets.
In the month of March, 1815, as the commissioners of the various powers
were sitting at Vienna rearranging the landmarks and boundaries
obliterated by the French inundation, news was brought to them that
Napoleon had escaped from Elba and was in France. At first the members of
the Congress were incredulous, regarding the thing as a jest, and were
with difficulty convinced of the truth of the report.
Taking advantage of the general dissatisfaction with the rule of the
restored Bourbons, Napoleon had resolved upon a bold push for the recovery
of his crown. Landing with a few followers at one of the southern ports of
France, he aroused all the country with one of his stirring addresses, and
then immediately pushed on towards Paris. Never was the changeable,
impulsive character of the French people better illustrated than now; and
never was better exhibited the wonderful personal magnetism of Napoleon.
His journey to the capital was one continuous ovation. One regiment after
another, forgetting their recent oath of loyalty to the Bourbons, hastened
to join his train. His old generals and soldiers embraced him with
transports of joy. Louis XVIII., deserted by his army, was left helpless,
and, as Napoleon approached the gates of Paris, fled from his throne.
Napoleon desired peace with the sovereigns of Europe; but they did not
think the peace of the continent could be maintained so long as he sat
upon the French throne. For the seventh and last time the allies leagued
their armies to crush the man of destiny. A million of men poured over the
frontiers of France.
Hoping to overwhelm the armies of the allies by striking them one after
another before they had time to unite, Napoleon moved swiftly into Belgium
with an army of 130,000, in order to crush there the English and
Prussians. He first fell in with and defeated the Prussian army under
Bluecher, and then faced the English at Waterloo (June 18, 1815).
The story of Waterloo need not be told,--how all day the French broke
their columns in vain on the English squares; how, at the critical moment
at the close of the day, Bluecher with a fresh force of 30,000 Prussians
turned the tide of battle; and how the famous Old Guard, that knew how to
die but not how to surrender, made its last charge, and left its hitherto
invincible squares upon the lost field.
A second time Napoleon was forced to abdicate, and a second time Louis
XVIII. was lifted by the allies upon his unstable throne. Bonaparte
desired to be allowed to retire to America, but his enemies believed that
his presence there would not be consistent with the safety of Europe.
Consequently he was banished to the island of St. Helena, in the South
Atlantic, and there closely guarded by the British until his death, in
2. FRANCE SINCE THE SECOND RESTORATION (1815-).
CHARACTER OF THE PERIOD.--The history of France since the second
restoration of the Bourbons may be characterized briefly. It has been
simply a continuation of the Revolution, of the struggle between
democratic and monarchical tendencies. The aim of the Revolution was to
abolish privileges and establish rights,--to give every man lot and part
in shaping the government under which he lives. These republican ideas and
principles have, on the whole, notwithstanding repeated reverses, gained
ground; for revolutions never move backward. There may be eddies and
counter-currents in a river, but the steady and powerful sweep of the
stream is ever onward towards the sea. Not otherwise is it with the great
political and intellectual movements of history.
THE REVOLUTION OF 1830.--Profiting by the lessons of The Hundred Days,
Louis XVIII. ruled after the second restoration with reasonable heed to
the results and changes effected by the Revolution. But upon the death of
Louis in 1824 and the accession of Charles X., a reactionary policy was
adopted. The new king seemed utterly incapable of profiting by the
teachings of the Revolution. His blind, stubborn course gave rise to the
saying, "A Bourbon learns nothing and forgets nothing." The result might
have been foreseen. The people rose in revolt, and by one of those sudden
movements for which Paris is so noted, the despot was driven into exile,
and Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, was placed on the throne (1830).
A new constitution was now given to France, and as Louis Philippe had
travelled about the world considerably, and had experienced various
vicissitudes of fortune,--having at one time been obliged to support
himself by teaching mathematics,--the people regarded him as one of
themselves, and anticipated much from their "Citizen King" and their
The French "July Revolution," as it is called, lighted the signal fires of
liberty throughout Europe. In almost every country there were uprisings of
the Liberals. Existing constitutions were so changed as to give the people
a larger share in the government; and where there were no constitutions,
original charters were granted. In some instances, indeed, the uprisings
had no other result than that of rendering the despotic governments
against which they were directed more cruel and tyrannical than they were
before; yet, on the whole, a decided impulse was given to the cause of
constitutional, republican government. [Footnote: It was at this time that
Belgium became an independent state; for upon the downfall of Napoleon
Bonaparte in 1815, the Congress of Vienna had made the Low Countries into
a single kingdom, and given, the crown to a prince of the House of Orange.
The Belgians now arose and declared themselves independent of Holland,
adopted a liberal constitution, and elected Leopold I., of Saxe-Coburg, as
their king (1831).]
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC (1848).--The reign of Louis Philippe
up to 1848 was very unquiet, yet was not marked by any disturbance of
great importance. But during all this time the ideas of the Revolution
were working among the people, and the republican party was constantly
gaining strength. Finally, in 1848, some unpopular measures of the
government caused an uprising similar to that of 1830. Louis Philippe,
under the assumed name of Mr. Smith, fled into England. The Second
Republic was now established. An election being ordered, Louis Napoleon
Bonaparte, nephew of the great Napoleon, was chosen president of the new
republic (Dec. 20, 1848).
The truth of the first Napoleon's declaration, which we have before
quoted, that a revolution in France is sure to be followed by a revolution
throughout Europe, was now illustrated anew. Almost every throne upon the
continent felt the shock of the French Revolution of 1848. The
constitutions of many of the surrounding states again underwent great
changes in the interest of the people and of liberty. "It is scarcely an
exaggeration to say that during the month of March, 1848, not a single day
passed without a constitution being granted somewhere." France had made
another of her irresistible invasions of the states of Europe--"an
invasion of ideas."
THE SECOND EMPIRE (1852-1870).--The life of the Second Republic spanned
only three years. By almost exactly the same steps as those by which his
uncle had mounted the French throne, Louis Napoleon now also ascended to
the imperial dignity, crushing the republic as he rose.
Dissensions having arisen between the President and the Legislative
Assembly, he suddenly dissolved that body, placed its leaders under
arrest, and then appealed to the country to indorse what he had done. By a
most extraordinary vote of 7,437,216 to 640,737 the nation approved of the
President's _coup d'�tat_, and rewarded him for it by electing him
President for ten years, which was virtually making him dictator. The next
year he was made emperor, and took the title of Napoleon III. (1852).
The important political events of the reign of Napoleon III. were the
Crimean War (1853-1856), the Austro-Sardinian War (1859), and the Franco-
Prussian War (1870-1871). The first and second of these wars need not
detain us at this time, as we shall speak of them hereafter in connection
with Russian and Italian affairs.
The third war was with Prussia. The real causes of this war were French
jealousy of the growing power of Prussia, and the Emperor's anxiety to
strengthen his government in the affections of the French people by
reviving the military glory of the reign of his great-uncle. The pretext
upon which the war was actually declared was that Prussia was scheming to
augment her influence by allowing a Prussian prince (Leopold of
Hohenzollern) to become a candidate for the vacant throne of Spain (see p.
The French armies invaded Germany, but were pushed back by the Prussians
and their allies, who followed the retreating enemy across the frontier,
defeated one large French army at Gravelotte (Aug. 18, 1870) and
imprisoned it in Metz, captured the strong fortress of Sedan,--making a
prisoner here of the emperor himself, [Footnote: After the war Louis
Napoleon found an asylum in England (at Chiselhurst), where he died
January 9, 1873.]--and then advancing upon Paris, forced that city, after
an investment of a few months, to capitulate (Jan. 28, 1871).
The terms of the treaty that followed were that France should surrender to
Germany the greater portion of the Rhenish provinces of Alsace and
Lorraine, pay an indemnity of 5,000,000,000 francs (about $1,000,000,000),
and consent to the occupation of certain portions of French territory
until the fine was paid.
The Red Republicans, or Communists, of Paris, indignant at the terms of
the treaty, shut the gates of the city, and called the population to arms,
declaring that the capital would never submit to see France thus
dismembered and humiliated. A second reign of terror was now set up. The
Tuileries, the Hotel de Ville, and many other public buildings were
burned. The government at length succeeded in suppressing the Anarchists,
and restoring order.
THE THIRD REPUBLIC (1871).--The organization of the Third Republic was now
completed. M. Thiers, the historian, was made its first president
[Footnote: The successors of M. Thiers have been Marshal MacMahon (1873-
1879), M. Gr�vy (1879-1887), and M. Carnot (1887).] (Aug. 31, 1871). Since
the establishment of the republic, its enemies have been busy and
vigilant, hoping to see democratic institutions discredited and the
monarchy revived. But it is believed that each succeeding year of
republican government in France strengthens the faith of the French people
in their ability to govern themselves, and that the history of France as a
monarchy is ended.
RUSSIA SINCE THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA.
ALEXANDER I. AND THE HOLY ALLIANCE.--Upon the downfall of Napoleon,
Alexander I. (1801-1825) of Russia organized the celebrated union known as
the _Holy Alliance_. This was a league embracing as its chief members
Russia, Austria, and Prussia, the ostensible object of which was the
maintenance of religion, peace, and order in Europe, and the reduction to
practice in politics of the maxims of Christ. The several sovereigns
entering into the union promised to be fathers to their people, to rule in
love and with reference solely to the promotion of the welfare of their
subjects, and to help one another as brothers to maintain just government
and prevent wrong.
All this had a very millennial look. But the "Holy Alliance" very soon
became practically a league for the maintenance of absolute principles of
government, in opposition to the liberal tendencies of the age. Under the
pretext of maintaining religion, justice, and order, the sovereigns of the
union acted in concert to suppress every aspiration among their subjects
for political liberty. Yet, when Alexander founded the alliance, he meant
all that he said. But conspiracies among his own subjects, and popular
uprisings throughout Europe, all tended to create in him a revulsion of
feeling. From an ardent apostle of liberal ideas, such as he was during
all the earlier part of his reign, he was transformed into a violent
absolutist, and spent all his later years in aiding the despotic rulers of
Spain, Italy, and Germany to crush every uprising among their subjects for
This reactionary policy of Alexander caused bitter disappointment among
the Liberals in Russia, the number of whom was large, for the Russian
armies that helped to crush Napoleon came back from the West with many new
and liberal ideas awakened by what they had seen and heard and
THE RUSSO-TURKISH WAR OF 1828-1829.--In 1825 Alexander I. was succeeded by
his brother Nicholas I. (1825-1855), "a terrible incarnation of
autocracy." He carried out the later policy of his predecessor, and strove
to shut out from his empire all the liberalizing influences of Western
In 1828, taking advantage of the embarrassment of the Sultan through a
stubborn insurrection in Greece, [Footnote: This was the struggle known as
the "War of Grecian Independence." It was characterized by the most
frightful barbarities on the part of the Turks. Lord Byron enlisted on the
side of the Greeks. The result of the war was the freeing of Greece from
Turkish rule. England, France, and Russia became the guardians of the
little state, the crown of which was given to Prince Otto of Bavaria (Otto
I., 1832-1862).] Nicholas declared war against the Ottoman Porte. The
Balkans were quickly passed, and the victorious armies of the Czar were in
full march upon Constantinople, when their advance was checked by the
jealous interference of England and Austria, through whose mediation the
war was brought to a close by the Peace of Adrianople (1829). Nicholas
restored all his conquests in Europe, but held some provinces in Asia
which gave him control of the eastern shore of the Euxine. Greece was
liberated, and Servia became virtually independent of the Sultan. Thus the
result of the contest was greatly to diminish the strength and influence
of Turkey, and correspondingly to increase the power and prestige of
REVOLUTION IN POLAND (1830-1832).--The Congress of Vienna (1815) re-
established Poland as a constitutional kingdom dependent upon Russia. But
the rule of the Czar over the Poles was tyrannical, and they were
impatient of an opportunity to throw off the Russian yoke. The
revolutionary movements of the year 1830 sent a wave of hope through
Poland; the people arose and drove out the Russian garrisons. But the
armies of the Czar quickly poured over the frontiers of the revolted
state, and before the close of the year 1831 the Polish patriots were once
more under the foot of their Russian master.
It was a hard fate that awaited the unhappy nation. Their constitution was
taken away, and Poland was made a province of the Russian empire (1832).
Multitudes were banished to Siberia, while thousands more expatriated
themselves, seeking an asylum in England, America, and other countries. Of
all the peoples that rose for freedom in 1830 none suffered so cruel and
complete an extinguishment of their hopes as did the patriot
Poles.[Footnote: For Russia's part in the affairs of the revolutionary
years 1848-49, see p. 702.]
THE CRIMEAN WAR (1853-1856).--A celebrated phrase applied to the Ottoman
Porte by the Czar Nicholas casts a good deal of light upon the
circumstances that led to the Crimean War. "We have on our hands," said
the Czar, "a sick man--a very sick man; I tell you frankly it would be a
great misfortune if he should give us the slip some of these days,
especially if it happened before all the necessary arrangements were
Nicholas had cultivated friendly relations with the English government,
and he now proposed that England and Russia, as the parties most directly
interested, should divide the estate of the "sick man." England was to be
allowed to take Egypt and Crete, while the Turkish provinces in Europe
were to be taken under the protection of the Czar, which meant of course
the complete absorption, in due time, of all Southeastern Europe into the
A pretence for hastening the dissolution of the sick man was not long
wanting. A quarrel between the Greek and Latin Christians at Jerusalem
about the holy places was made the ground by Nicholas for demanding of the
Sultan the admission and recognition of a Russian protectorate over all
Greek Christians in the Ottoman dominions. The demand was rejected, and
Nicholas prepared for war.
The Sultan appealed to the Western powers for help. England and France
responded to the appeal, and later Sardinia joined her forces to theirs.
England, rejecting the Czar's proposal of a division of the dying man's
estate, fought to prevent Russia from getting through the Bosporus to the
Mediterranean, and thus endangering her route to her Eastern possessions.
The French emperor fought to avenge Moscow, and to render his new imperial
throne attractive to his people by surrounding it with the glamour of
successful war. Sardinia was led to join England and France through the
policy of the far-sighted Cavour, who would thus have the Sardinians win
the gratitude of these powers, so that in the next conflict with Austria
the Italian patriots might have some strong friends to help them.
The main interest of the struggle centred about Sebastopol, in the Crimea,
Russia's great naval and military depot, and the key to the Euxine. Around
this strongly fortified place were finally gathered 175,000 soldiers of
the allies. The siege, which lasted eleven months, was one of the most
memorable and destructive in history. The Russian engineer Todleben earned
a great fame through his masterly defence of the works. The English "Light
Brigade" earned immortality in their memorable charge at Balaklava. The
French troops, through their dashing bravery, brought great fame to the
emperor who had sent them to gather glory for his throne.
The Russians were at length forced to evacuate the place. They left it,
however, a "second Moscow." The war was now soon brought to an end by the
Treaty of Paris (1856). Every provision of the treaty had in view the
maintenance of the integrity of the empire of the Sultan, and the
restraining of the ambition of the Czar. Russia was given back Sebastopol,
but was required to give up some territory at the mouth of the Danube,
whereby her frontier was pushed back from that river; to abandon all
claims to a protectorate over any of the subjects of the Porte; to agree
not to raise any more fortresses on the Euxine nor keep upon that sea any
armed ships, save what might be needed for police service. The Christian
population of the Turkish dominions were placed under the guardianship of
the great powers, who were to see that the Sublime Porte fulfilled its
promise of granting perfect civil and religious equality and protection to
all its subjects.
EMANCIPATION OF THE SERFS (1858-1863).--Alexander II. (1855-1881), who
came to the Russian throne in the midst of the Crimean War, abandoned the
narrow and intolerant system of his predecessor Nicholas, and reverting as
it were to the policy of Peter the Great, labored for popular reform, and
for the introduction into his dominions of the ideas and civilization of
Western Europe. The reform which will ever give his name a place in the
list of those rulers who have conferred singular benefits upon their
subjects, was the emancipation, by a series of imperial edicts, of the
Russian serfs, who made up more than 45,000,000 of the population of the
empire. More than half of these serfs belonged to the Crown, and were
known as Crown peasants.
The Crown serfs were only _nominal_ bondsmen, their servitude consisting
in scarcely more than the payment of a light rent. The serfs of individual
proprietors, however, might be designated as semi-slaves. Thus, their
owners could flog them in case of disobedience, but could not sell them
individually as slaves are sold; yet when a proprietor sold his estate,
the whole community of serfs living upon it passed with it to the
Besides the emancipation measure, Alexander's name is associated with
other reforms, the earlier part of his reign especially being
characterized by a very liberal spirit. This liberal policy was followed
until the revolt of the Poles in 1863, when Alexander was led to adopt a
more reactionary policy, a policy which persistently pursued has yielded
bitter fruit in Nihilism.
THE RUSSO-TURKISH WAR OF 1877-1878.--Anxiously as the Treaty of Paris had
provided for the permanent settlement of the Eastern Question, barely
twenty-two years had passed before it was again up before Europe, and
Russia and Turkey were again in arms. The Sultan could not or would not
give to his Christian subjects that equal protection of the laws which he
had solemnly promised should be given. The Moslem hatred of the Christians
was constantly leading to disturbance and outrage. In 1860 there was a
great massacre of Syrian Christians by the Druses and Turks, and in 1876
occurred in Bulgaria the so-called "Bulgarian atrocities," massacres of
Christian men, women, and children, more revolting perhaps than any others
of which history tells. The greatest indignation was kindled throughout
Europe. The Russian armies were set in motion (1877). Kars in Asia Minor
and Plevna in European Turkey fell into the hands of the Russians, and the
armies of the Czar were once more in full march upon Constantinople, with
the prospect of soon ending forever Turkish rule on European soil, when
England, as in 1829, interfered, and by the movements of her iron-clads in
the Bosporus again arrested the triumphant march of the Russians.
[Illustration: SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE According to the Treaty of Berlin,
[Illustration: THE CONGRESS OF BERLIN. (By Anton von Werner, Prussian
The Treaty of Berlin (1878) adjusted once more the disorganized affairs of
the Sublime Porte, and bolstered as well as was possible the "sick man."
But he lost a good part of his estate. Out of those provinces of his
dominions in Europe in which the Christian population was most numerous,
there was created a group of wholly independent or half-independent
states. The absolute independence of Roumania, Servia, and Montenegro was
formally acknowledged; Bulgaria, north of the Balkans, was to enjoy self-
government, but was to pay a tribute to the Porte; East Roumelia was to
have a Christian governor, but was to remain under the dominion of the
Sultan. The Balkans were thus made the northern boundary of the Turkish
empire in Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina were given to the Austro-
Hungarian monarchy. Russia acquired some places in Armenia, and also
received Bessarabia on the Lower Danube.
In a word, Russia regained everything she had lost in the Crimean
struggle, while Turkey was shorn of half her European possessions. There
were left in Europe under the direct authority of the Sultan barely
5,000,000 subjects, of which number about one-half are Christians. England
alone is responsible for the work of emancipation not having been made
NIHILISM AND THE EXILE SYSTEM.--Russian Nihilism is a smothered French
Revolution. It is the form which Liberalism has taken under the
repressions of a despotic autocracy; for the government of Russia is a
perfect absolutism, the Czar alone being legislator, judge, and executive
for the Russian nation of 85,000,000 souls. He makes laws, levies taxes,
expends the revenue, and condemns his subjects to exile or death,
according to his own will, without let or hindrance. The terrible
character of the repressive measures of the government is revealed by the
fact that during the years 1879 and 1880 sixty thousand persons were,
_without trial_, sent into exile in Siberia. [Footnote: On the Exile
System of Russia read the excellent series of articles by George Kennan in
_The Century Magazine_ for 1888-9.]
It is a principle of the extreme Nihilists, that assassination is a
righteous means of reform. Within the last few years many attempts have
been made upon the life of the reigning Czar. On March 13, 1881, Alexander
II. was killed by means of a bomb filled with dynamite.
The son of the murdered Czar who now came to the throne as Alexander III.,
immediately instituted a still more sternly repressive system than that
pursued by his father, whom he seemed to regard as the victim of the over-
liberal policy of the earlier years of his reign. It appears to be his
determination to close his empire against the entrance of all liberal or
progressive ideas, political, religious, and scientific, of Western
Europe. A rigid censorship of the press is being maintained (1889), and
the writings of such authors as Huxley, Spencer, Agassiz, Lyell, and Adam
Smith, are forbidden circulation.
There can be but one outcome to this contest between the "Autocrat of all
the Russias" and his subjects. Either through wise concessions on the part
of its rulers, or through the throes of a terrible revolution, like that
of 1789 in France, the Russian empire will sooner or later come to possess
a constitutional representative government. The Czar of Russia is simply
fighting the hopeless battle that has been fought and lost by the despotic
sovereigns of every other European country--a battle which has the same
invariable issue, the triumph of liberal principles and the admission of
the people to a participation in the government.
GERMAN FREEDOM AND UNITY.
FORMATION OF THE GERMAN CONFEDERATION (1815).--The German states, thirty-
nine in number, were reorganized by the Congress of Vienna as a
Confederation, with the emperor of Austria President of the league. A Diet
formed of representatives, of the several states was to settle all
questions of dispute between the members of the Confederation, and
determine matters of general concern, In all affairs concerning itself
alone, each state was to retain its independence. It might carry on war
with foreign states, or enter into alliance with them, but it must do
nothing to harm any member of the Confederation. The articles of union, in
a spirit of concession to the growing sentiment of the times, provided
that all sects of Christians should enjoy equal toleration, and that every
state should establish a constitutional form of government.
Under this scheme of union Germany was to rest half a century--until 1866.
Though Austria was nominally head of the Confederation, Prussia was
actually the most powerful member of the league.
THE UPRISINGS OF 1830: FIRST STEP TOWARDS FREEDOM.--For a long time
previous to the French Revolution there had been gradually forming among
the German people a double sentiment--a longing for freedom and for unity.
It was the influence of the rising patriotic party that had secured the
provision in the act of confederation which required that all the princes
of the union should give their states a representative form of government.
But the faces of these rulers, like those of the restored Bourbons in
France, were turned towards the past. They opposed all changes that should
give the people any part in the government, and clung to the old order of
We have seen what was the consequence of the reactionary policy of the
Bourbons in France,--how in 1830 the people arose, drove out Charles X.,
and set upon the throne the "Citizen King," Louis Philippe. Events ran
exactly the same course in Germany. The princes refused or neglected to
carry out in good faith that article of the act of confederation which
provided for representative governments in all the German states. The
natural result was widespread discontent among the people. Consequently,
when the French Revolution of 1830 occurred, a sympathetic thrill shot
through Germany, and in places the popular party made threatening
demonstrations against their tyrannical rulers. The princes of several of
the smaller states were forced to give to their peoples the liberal
constitutions that were demanded. Thus a little was gained for freedom,
though after the flutter of the revolutionary year the princes again took
up their retrograde policy, and did all in their power to check the
popular movement and keep governmental matters out of the hands of the
THE CUSTOMS UNION: FIRST STEP TOWARDS UNITY.--Just about this time the
first step was taken towards the real union of the German states through
the formation of what is known as the _Customs Union_. This was a sort of
commercial treaty binding those states that became parties to it, and
eventually all the states save Austria acceded to the arrangement, to
adopt among themselves the policy of free trade; that is, there were to be
no duties levied on goods passing from one state of the Union to another
belonging to it. The greatest good resulting from the Union was, that it
taught the people to think of a more perfect national union. And as
Prussia was a prominent promoter and the centre of the trade
confederation, it accustomed the Germans to look to her as their head and
UPRISING OF 1848: A SECOND STEP TOWARDS FREEDOM.--The history of Germany
from the uprising of 1830 to that of 1848 may be summarized by saying that
during all these years the people were steadily growing more and more
earnest in their demands for liberal forms of government, while the
princes, strangely blind to the spirit and tendency of the times, were
stubbornly refusing all concessions that should take from themselves any
of their power as absolute rulers. In some instances the constitutions
already granted were annulled, or their articles were disregarded.
Finally, in 1848, news flew across the Rhine of the uprising in France
against the reactionary government of Louis Philippe, and the
establishment by the French people of a new republic. The intelligence
kindled a flame of excitement throughout Germany. The liberal party
everywhere arose and demanded constitutional government.
Almost all of the princes of the minor states yielded to the popular
clamor, and straightway adopted the liberal measures and instituted the
reforms demanded. In Austria and Prussia, however, the popular party
carried their point only after demonstrations that issued in bloodshed.
Prince Metternich, the celebrated prime minister of the Emperor of
Austria, was forced to flee the country, because he had opposed so
obstinately all the demands of the Liberals.
The Revolution of 1848 thus effected much for the cause of liberal
government in Germany. The movements of that revolutionary year brought
into the hands of the people much more power than they had ever before
HUNGARY: KOSSUTH.--Meanwhile the Austrian emperor was having serious
trouble with his Hungarian subjects. Led by the distinguished orator Louis
Kossuth, they had revolted, and declared their independence. A memorable
struggle now followed (1848-1849), in which the patriotic Hungarians made
a noble fight for freedom, but were at last overpowered and crushed by the
combined Austrian and Russian armies. Hungary was made a second Poland.
RIVALRY BETWEEN AUSTRIA AND PRUSSIA.--While the attention of Austria was
directed to the suppression of the Hungarian rebels, Prussia proposed a
plan for the unification of Germany, with herself as the head of the body,
Austria being excluded from the confederation. Several of the states
joined Prussia in this move, and an alliance called the "German Union" was
formed. Austria watched with the greatest concern this bold move of her
rival for leadership in German affairs, a move whereby she was to be
pushed aside entirely, and just as soon as the Hungarian trouble was
composed, she made a counter-move to that of Prussia, by forming a
confederation of all those states which she could persuade to accept her
The state of Germany at this moment, divided between the allies of Austria
and those of Prussia, may be likened to the condition of Greece at the
outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, when the Hellenic states had grouped
themselves, according to their sympathies, about Athens and Sparta. It
does not require a second Pericles to see war lowering in the horizon.
THE SEVEN WEEKS' WAR BETWEEN AUSTRIA AND PRUSSIA (1866).--The inevitable
war which was to decide whether Austria or Prussia should be leader in
German affairs came on apace. In the year 1861, Frederick William IV. of
Prussia died, and his brother, already an old man of sixty, yet destined
to be for more than a score of years the central figure in the movement
for German unity, came to the Prussian throne as William I. (1861-1888).
He soon called to his side the now distinguished Otto von Bismarck as his
prime minister, a man of wonderful energy and decision, whose policies
have shaped German affairs for a quarter of a century. He saw clearly
enough how the vexed question between Austria and Prussia was to be
settled--"by blood and iron." His appearance at the head of Prussian
affairs marks an epoch in history. He was in disposition a conservative
and despot, and the liberal party distrusted and hated him.
Early in 1866 the war opened, the occasion of it being a dispute in regard
to some petty Danish provinces (Schleswig and Holstein). Almost all of the
lesser states grouped themselves about Austria. Prussia, however, found a
ready ally in Italy (see p. 713), which served to divert a part of the
Austrian forces. Yet it seemed an unequal contest, the population of
Prussia at this time not being more than one-third (19,000,000) that of
the states arrayed against her. But Bismarck had been preparing Prussia
for the struggle which he had long foreseen, and now the little kingdom,
with the best disciplined army in the world, headed by the great commander
Von Moltke, was to astonish the world by a repetition of her achievements
under the inspiration of Frederick the Great.
The Prussian armies, numbering more than a quarter of a million of men,
began to move about the middle of June. Battle followed battle in rapid
succession. Almost every encounter proved a victory for the Prussians. On
the third of July was fought the great battle of Sadowa, in Bohemia. It
was Austria's Waterloo. The emperor was forced to sue for peace, and on
the twenty-third day of August the Peace of Prague was signed.
The long debate between Austria and Prussia was over. By the terms of the
treaty Austria was shut out from participation in German affairs. Prussia
was now without a rival in Germany.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NORTH-GERMAN UNION (1867).--Now quickly followed the
reorganization of the northern states of Germany into what was called the
North-German Union, under the leadership of Prussia. Prussia was to have
command of the entire military force of the several states composing the
league, the Prussian king being President of the Union. A constitution was
adopted which provided that the affairs of the confederation should be
managed by a Diet, the members of which were to be chosen by the different
Thus was a long step taken towards German unity. Bismarck's policy of
"blood and iron," though seemingly rough and brutal, now promised to prove
a cure indeed for all of Germany's troubles. Though so much had been
effected, there was still remaining much to be desired. The states to the
south of the Main--Baden, Bavaria, and W�rtemberg--were yet wanting to
complete the unification of the Fatherland. Many patriots both north and
south of the dividing line earnestly desired the perfect union of North
and South. But the Catholics of the southern states were bitterly opposed
to Prussia's being exalted to the chief place in Germany, because she was
Protestant, while many of the democratic party were loth to see Germany
reconstructed under the supremacy of Prussia on account of the repressive
and despotic character of her government. But the fervid enthusiasm
awakened by another successful war serves to weld the states of both North
and South into a firm and close union, and complete the work of Germany's
[Illustration: EUROPE 1880]
THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR (1870-1871).--It will be recalled with what
jealousy France viewed the rise to power of the House of Hohenzollern. All
of her old bitter hostility to the House of Austria seems to have been
transferred to her successful rival in the North. So when in 1870 the
vacant throne of Spain was offered to Leopold, a member of the
Hohenzollern family, the Emperor Napoleon III. affected to see in this a
scheme on the part of the House of Hohenzollern to unite the interests of
Prussia and of Spain, just as Austria and Spain were united, with such
disastrous consequences to the peace of Europe, under the princes of the
House of Hapsburg. Even after Leopold, to avoid displeasing France, had
declined the proffered crown, the Emperor Napoleon demanded of King
William assurance that no member of the House of Hohenzollern should ever
become a candidate for the Spanish throne. The demand was rudely made, was
refused, and the two nations rushed together in a struggle which was
destined to prove terribly disastrous to France, and memorable to Germany
for the glory and unity it won for her.
The important thing for us to notice here is the enthusiasm that the war
awakened not only throughout the states of the North-German Confederation,
but among the states of the South as well, which placed their armies at
the disposal of King William. The cause was looked upon as a national one,
and a patriotic fervor stirred the hearts of all Germans alike.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW GERMAN EMPIRE (1871).--The astonishing successes
of the German armies on French soil created among Germans everywhere such
patriotic pride in the Fatherland, that all the obstacles which had
hitherto prevented anything more than a partial union of the members of
the Germanic body were now swept out of the way by an irresistible tide of
national sentiment. While the siege of Paris was progressing,
commissioners were sent by the southern states to Versailles, the
headquarters of King William, to represent to him that they were ready and
anxious to enter the North-German Union. Thus in rapid succession Baden,
Bavaria, and W�rtemberg were received into the Confederation, the name of
which was now changed to that of the German Confederation.
[Illustration: PROCLAMATION OF KING WILLIAM AS EMPEROR OF GERMANY, AT
VERSAILLES, JANUARY, 1871. (By Anton von Werner, Prussian Court Painter.)]
Scarcely was this accomplished, when, upon the suggestion of the king of
Bavaria, King William, who now bore the title of _President_ of the
Confederation, was given the title of _German Emperor_, which honor
was to be hereditary in his family. On the 18th of January, 1871, within
the Palace of Versailles,--the siege of Paris being still in progress,--
amidst indescribable enthusiasm, the Imperial dignity was formally
conferred upon King William, and Germany became a constitutional Empire.
Thus amidst the throes of war the free German _nation_ was born. The
German people, after long centuries of division and servitude, had at last
found Freedom and Unity.
LIBERATION AND UNIFICATION OF ITALY.
ITALY AT THE DOWNFALL OF NAPOLEON.--The Italian people, as being the most
dangerously infected with the ideas of the Revolution, were, by the
reactionary Congress of Vienna, condemned to the most strict and
ignominious slavery. The former commonwealths were forbidden to restore
their ancient institutions, while the petty principalities were handed
over in almost every case to the tyrants or the heirs of the tyrants who
had ruled them before the Revolution. Austria appropriated Venetia and
Lombardy, and from Northern Italy assumed to direct the affairs of the
whole peninsula. Tuscany, Modena, Parma, and Piacenza were given to
princes of the House of Hapsburg. Naples was restored to its old Bourbon
rulers. The Pope and Victor Emmanuel I., king of Sardinia, were the only
"Italy was divided on the map, but she had made up her mind to be one."
The Revolution had sown the seeds of Liberty, and time only was needed for
their maturing. The Cisalpine, the Ligurian, the Parthenop�an, the
Tiberine republics (see pp. 668, 670), short-lived though they were, had
awakened in the people an aspiration for self-government; while Napoleon's
kingdom of Italy (see p. 676, n.), though equally delusive, had
nevertheless inspired thousands of Italian patriots with the sentiment of
national unity. Thus the French Revolution, disappointing as seemed its
issue, really imparted to Italy her first impulse in the direction of
freedom and of national organization.
Arbitrary Rule of the Restored Princes.--The setting up of the overturned
thrones meant, of course, the re-instating of the old tyrannies. The
restored despots came back with an implacable hatred of everything French.
They swept away all French institutions that were supposed to tend in the
least to Liberalism. At Rome even vaccination and street-lamps, French
innovations, were abolished. In Sardinia, nothing that bore the French
stamp, nothing that had been set up by French hands, was allowed to
remain. Even the French furniture in the royal palace at Turin was thrown
out of the windows, and the French plants in the royal gardens were pulled
up root and branch.
THE CARBONARI: UPRISING OF 1820-1821.--The natural results of the
arbitrary rule and retrogressive policy of the restored princes was deep
and widespread discontent. The French Revolution, as we have said, had
sown broadcast in Italy the seeds of liberty, and their growth could not
be checked by the repressions of tyranny. An old secret organization, the
members of which were known as, the Carbonari (charcoal-burners), formed
the nucleus about which gathered the elements of disaffection.
In 1820, incited by a revolution in Spain, the Carbonari raised an
insurrection in Naples, and forced King Ferdinand, who was ruler of both
Naples and Sicily, now united under the name of the Kingdom of the Two
Sicilies, to grant his Neapolitan subjects what was known as the Spanish
Constitution of 1812. But Prince Metternich (see p. 702), who had been
watching the doings of the Liberal party in Naples, interfered to mar
their plans. He reasoned that Lombardy and Venetia could be kept free from
the contagion of Liberalism only by the stamping out of the infection
wherever else in Italy it might show itself. Hence 60,000 Austrian troops
were sent to crush the revolutionists. Ferdinand was re-instated in his
former absolute authority, and everything was put back on the old footing.
Meanwhile a similar revolution was running its course in Piedmont. King
Victor Emmanuel I., rather than yield to the demands of his people for a
constitutional government, gave up his crown, and was succeeded by his
brother Charles Felix, who, by threatening to call to his aid the Austrian
army, compelled his subjects to cease their clamor about kings ruling, not
by the grace of God, but by the will of the people.
THE REVOLUTION OF 1830-1831.--For just ten years all Italy lay in sullen
vassalage to Austria. Then the revolutionary years of 1830-31 witnessed a
repetition of the scenes of 1820-21. The revolution in France which placed
Louis Philippe upon the French throne (see p. 688) sent a tremor of
excitement and hope through all Italy. The centre of the revolution was
the Papal States. But the presence of Austrian troops, who, "true to their
old principle of hurrying with their extinguishers to any spot in Italy
where a crater opened," had poured into Central Italy, resulted in the
speedy quenching of the flames of the insurrection.
THE THREE PARTIES: PLANS FOR NATIONAL ORGANIZATION.--Twice now had
Austrian armies crushed the aspirations of the Italians after national
unity and freedom. Italian hatred of these foreign intermeddlers who were
causing them to miss their destiny, grew ever more intense, and "death to
the Germans" became the watch-cry that united all the peoples of the
But while united in their deadly hatred of the Austrians, the Italians
were divided in their views respecting the best plan for national
organization. One party, known as "Young Italy," founded and inspired by
the patriot Joseph Mazzini, wanted a republic; another party wanted a
confederation of the various states, with the Pope as chief; while still a
third wished to see Italy a constitutional monarchy, with the king of
Sardinia at its head.
THE REVOLUTION OF 1848-1849.--After the suppression of the uprising of
1830, until the approach of the momentous year of 1848, Italy lay restless
under the heel of her oppressor. The republican movements throughout the
continent of Europe which characterized that year of revolutions, inspired
the Italian patriots to make another attempt to achieve independence and
nationality. Everywhere throughout the peninsula they rose against their
despotic rulers, and forced them to grant constitutions and institute
reforms. But through the intervention of the Austrians and the French
[Footnote: This interference by the French in Italian affairs was
instigated by their jealousy of Austria, and by the anxious desire of
Louis Napoleon to win the good-will of the Catholic clergy in France.] the
third Italian revolution was thwarted. By the autumn of the year 1849 the
Liberals were everywhere crushed, their leaders executed, imprisoned, or
driven into exile, and the dream of Italy's unity and freedom dispelled by
the hard present fact of renewed tyranny and foreign domination.
Much, however, had been gained. The patriotic party had had revealed to
itself its strength, and at the same time the necessity of united action,
--of the adoption of a single policy. Henceforth the Republicans and
Federalists were more inclined to give up as impracticable their plans of
national organization, and with the Constitutionalists to look upon the
kingdom of Sardinia as the only possible basis and nucleus of a free and
VICTOR EMMANUEL II., COUNT CAVOUR, AND GARIBALDI.--Sardinia was a state
which had gradually grown into power in the northwest corner of the
peninsula. The throne was at this time held by Victor Emmanuel II. (1849-
1878). To him it was that the hopes of the Italian patriots now turned.
Nor were these hopes to be disappointed. Victor Emmanuel was the destined
liberator of Italy, or perhaps it would be more correct to say that his
was the name in which the achievement was to be effected by the wise
policy of his great minister Count Cavour, and the reckless daring of the
Count Cavour was a man of large hopes and large plans. His single aim and
purpose was the independence and unification of Italy. He was the genius
of Italian liberty. Garibaldi, "the hero of the red shirt," was the
knight-errant of Italian independence. Though yet barely past middle life,
he had led a career singularly crowded with varied experiences and
romantic adventures. Because of his violent republicanism, he had already
been twice exiled from Italy.
THE AUSTRO-SARDINIAN WAR (1859-1860).--The hour for striking another blow
for the freedom of Italy had now arrived. In 1859 Count Cavour, in the
pursuance of his national policy for Italy, having first made a secret
arrangement with the French emperor, gave Austria to understand that
unless she granted Lombardy and Venetia free government and ceased to
interfere in the affairs of the rest of Italy, Sardinia would declare war
against her. Of course the Austrian government refused to accede to the
demand, and almost immediately war followed. The French emperor, actuated
probably less by gratitude for the aid of the Sardinian contingent in the
Crimean struggle (see p.726) than by jealousy of Austria and the promise
of Savoy and Nice in case of a successful issue of the war, supported the
Sardinians with the armies of France. The two great victories of Magenta
and Solferino seemed to promise to the allies a triumphant march to the
Adriatic. But just now the threatening attitude of Prussia and other
German states, in connection with other considerations, led Napoleon to
enter upon negotiations of peace with the Austrian emperor at Villafranca.
The outcome was that Austria retained Venice, but gave up to Sardinia the
larger part of Lombardy. The Sardinians were bitterly disappointed that
they did not get Venetia, and loudly accused the French emperor of having
betrayed their cause, since at the outset he had promised them that he
would free Italy from the mountains to the sea. But Sardinia found
compensation for Venice in the accession of Tuscany, Modena, Parma, and
Romagna, the peoples of which states, having discarded their old rulers,
besought Victor Emmanuel to permit them to unite themselves to his
kingdom. Thus, as the result of the war, the king of Sardinia had added to
his subjects a population of 9,000,000. One long step was taken in the way
of Italian unity and freedom.
SICILY AND NAPLES ADDED TO VICTOR EMMANUEL'S KINGDOM (1860).--The romantic
and adventurous daring of the hero Garibaldi now added Sicily and Naples
to the possessions of Victor Emmanuel, and changed the kingdom of Sardinia
into the kingdom of Italy.
The king of Naples and Sicily, Francis II., was a typical despot. In 1860
his subjects rose in revolt. Victor Emmanuel and his minister Cavour were
in sympathy with the movement, yet dared not send the insurgents aid
through fear of arousing the jealousy of Austria and of France. But
Garibaldi, untrammelled by any such considerations, having gathered a band
of a thousand or more volunteers, set sail from Genoa for Sicily, where
upon landing he assumed the title of Dictator of Sicily for Victor
Emmanuel, King of Italy, and quickly drove the troops of King Francis out
of the island. Then crossing to the mainland, he marched triumphantly to
Naples, whose inhabitants hailed him tumultuously as their Deliverer.
The Neapolitans and Sicilians now voted almost unanimously for annexation
to the Sardinian kingdom. The hero Garibaldi, having first met and hailed
his Sovereign "King of Italy," surrendered his dictatorship, and retired
to the island of Capri, in the bay of Naples. He had earned the lasting
gratitude of his country.
Thus was another great step taken in the unification of Italy. Nine
millions more of Italians had become the subjects of Victor Emmanuel.
There was now wanting to the complete union of Italy only Venetia and the
VENETIA ADDED TO THE KINGDOM (1866).--The Seven Weeks' War which broke out
between Prussia and Austria in 1866 afforded the Italian patriots the
opportunity for which they were watching to make Venetia a part of the
kingdom of Italy. Victor Emmanuel formed an alliance with the king of
Prussia, one of the conditions of which was that no peace should be made
with Austria until she had surrendered Venetia to Italy. The speedy issue
of the war added the coveted territory to the dominions of Victor
Emmanuel. Rome alone was now lacking to the complete unification of Italy.
ROME BECOMES THE CAPITAL (1870).--After the liberation of Naples and
Sicily the city of Turin, the old capital of the Sardinian kingdom, was
made the capital of the new kingdom of Italy. In 1865 the seat of
government was transferred to Florence. But the Italians looked forward to
the time when Rome, the ancient mistress of the peninsula and of the
world, should be their capital. The power of the Pope, however, was upheld
by the French, and this made it impossible for the Italians to have their
will in this matter without a conflict with France.
But events soon gave the coveted capital to the Italian government. In
1870 came the sharp, quick war between France and Prussia, and the French
troops at Rome were hastily summoned home. Upon the overthrow of the
French Monarchy and the establishment of the Republic, Victor Emmanuel was
informed that France would no longer sustain the Papal power. The Italian
government at once gave notice to the Pope that Rome would henceforth be
considered a portion of the kingdom of Italy, and forthwith an Italian
army entered the city, which by a vote of 133,681 to 1,507 joined itself
to the Italian nation. The family was now complete. Rome was the capital
of a free and united Italy. July 2, 1871, Victor Emmanuel [Footnote: In
the early part of the year 1878 Victor Emmanuel died, and his son came to
the throne, with the title of Humbert 1., the second king of Italy.]
himself entered the city and took up his residence there.
END OF THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE POPE.--Through the extension of the
authority of the Italian government over the Papal states, the Pope was
despoiled of the last vestige of that temporal power wherewith Pepin and
Charlemagne had invested the Bishops of Rome more than a thousand years
before (see p. 404). The Papal troops were disbanded, but the Pope, Pius
IX., still retained all his spiritual authority, the Vatican with its
11,000 chambers being reserved to him as a place of residence. Just a few
months before the loss of his temporal sovereignty a great Ecumenical
Council of the Roman Catholic Church had proclaimed the doctrine of Papal
Infallibility, which declares decrees of the Pope "on questions of faith
and morals" to be infallible.
CONCLUSION.--Although there has been much antagonism between the Vatican
and the Quirinal, that is, between the Pope and the Italian government,
still reform and progress have marked Italian affairs since the events of
1870. A public system of education has been established; brigandage has
been suppressed; agriculture has been encouraged; while the naval and
military resources of the peninsula have been developed to such an extent
that Italy, so recently the prey of foreign sovereigns, of petty native
tyrants, and of adventurers, is now justly regarded as one of the great
powers of Europe.
[Illustration: QUEEN VICTORIA ON THE DAY OF HER CORONATION.]
ENGLAND SINCE THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA.
THE THREE CHIEF MATTERS.--English history since the close of the
Napoleonic wars embraces a multitude of events. A short chapter covering
the entire period will possess no instructive value unless it reduces the
heterogeneous mass of facts to some sort of unity by placing events in
relation with their causes, and thus showing how they are connected with a
few broad national movements or tendencies.
Studying the period in this way, we shall find that very many of its
leading events may be summed up under the three following heads: 1.
Progress towards democracy; 2. Expansion of the principle of religious
equality; 3. Growth of the British Empire in the East.
1. PROGRESS TOWARDS DEMOCRACY.
EFFECTS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION UPON LIBERALISM IN ENGLAND.--The French
Revolution at first gave a fresh impulse to liberal tendencies in England.
The English Liberals watched the course of the French Republicans with the
deepest interest and sympathy. It will be recalled how the statesman Fox
rejoiced at the fall of the Bastile, and what auguries of hope he saw in
the event (see p. 652). The young writers Coleridge, Wordsworth, and
Southey were all in sympathy with democratic sentiments, and inspired with
a generous enthusiasm for political liberty and equality. But the wild
excesses of the French Levellers terrified the English Liberals. There was
a sudden revulsion of feeling. Liberal sentiments were denounced as
dangerous and revolutionary.
But in a few years after the downfall of Napoleon, the terrors of the
French Revolution were forgotten. Liberal sentiments began to spread among
the masses. The people very justly complained that, while the English
government claimed to be a government of the people, they had no part in
it. [Footnote: The English Revolution of 1688 transferred authority from
the king to the Parliament. The elective branch of that body, however,
rested upon a very narrow electoral basis. Out of 5,000,000 Englishmen who
should have had a voice in the government, not more than 160,000 were
voters, and these were chiefly of the rich upper classes. At the opening
of the nineteenth century the number of electors in Scotland did not
Now, it is instructive to note the different ways in which Liberalism was
dealt with by the English government and by the rulers on the continent.
In the continental countries the rising spirit of democracy was met by
cruel and despotic repressions. The people were denied by their rulers all
participation in the affairs of government. We have seen the result.
Liberalism triumphed indeed at last, but triumphed only through
In England, the government did not resist the popular demands to the point
of Revolution. It made timely concessions to the growing spirit of
democracy. Hence here, instead of a series of revolutions, we have a
series of reform measures, which, gradually popularizing the House of
Commons, at last renders the English nation not alone in name, but in
reality, a self-governing people.
THE REFORM BILL OF 1832.--The first Parliamentary step in reform was taken
in 1832. To understand this important act, a retrospective glance becomes
When, in 1265, the Commons were first admitted to Parliament (see p. 480),
members were called only from those cities and boroughs whose wealth and
population fairly entitled them to representation. In the course of time
some of these places dwindled in population, and new towns sprang up: yet
the decayed boroughs retained their ancient privilege of sending members
to Parliament, while the new towns were left entirely without
representation. Thus Old Sarum, an ancient town now utterly decayed and
without a single inhabitant, was represented in the Commons by two
members. Furthermore, the sovereign, for the purpose of gaining influence
in the Commons, had, from time to time, given unimportant places the right
of returning members to the Lower House. In 1793 less than 200 electors,
or voters, sent to the Commons 197 members. Of course, elections in these
small or "pocket boroughs," as they were called, were almost always
determined by the corrupt influence of the crown or of the resident lords.
The Lower House of Parliament was thus filled with the nominees of the
king, or of some great lord, or with persons who had bought the office,
often with little effort at concealment. At the same time, such large,
recently grown manufacturing towns as Birmingham and Manchester had no
representation at all in the Commons.
Agitation was begun for the reform of this corrupt and farcical system of
representation. The contest between the Whigs and the Tories, or Liberals
and Conservatives, was long and bitter. The Conservatives of course
opposed all reform. Bill after bill was introduced into Parliament to
correct the evil, but most of these, after having passed the Commons, were
lost in the House of Lords. At last the public feeling became so strong
and violent that the lords were forced to yield, and the Reform Bill of
1832 became a law. [Footnote: The popularizing of the House of Commons led
to a series of acts of a popular character. Among them was an act (in
1833) for the abolition of slavery throughout the British colonies.
780,993 slaves in the British West Indies were freed at a cost to the
English nation of L20,000,000.]
By this act the electoral system of the kingdom was radically changed.
Fifty-six of the "rotten boroughs" were disfranchised, and the 143 seats
in the Lower House which they had filled were given to different counties
and large towns. The bill also greatly increased the number of electors by
extending the right of voting to all persons owning or leasing property of
a certain value. We can scarcely exaggerate the importance of this Reform
CHARTISM: THE REVOLUTIONARY YEAR OF 1848.--But while the Reform bill of
1832 was almost revolutionary in the principle it established, it went
only a little way in the application of the principle. It admitted to the
franchise the middle classes only. The great laboring class were given no
part in the government. They now began an agitation,--characterized by
much bitterness,--known as Chartism, from a document called the "People's
Charter," which embodied the reforms they desired. These were "universal
suffrage, vote by ballot, annual parliaments, the division of the country
into equal electoral districts, the abolition of the property
qualifications of members, and payment for their services."
The agitation for these changes in the constitution went on with more or
less violence until 1848. That year the Chartists, encouraged by the
revolutions then shaking almost every throne on the European continent,
indulged in riotous demonstrations which frightened the law-abiding
citizens, and brought discredit upon themselves. Their organization now
fell to pieces. The reforms, however, which they had labored to secure,
were, in the main, desirable and just, and the most important of them have
since been adopted and made a part of the English Constitution.
THE REFORM BILL OF 1867.--The Reform Bill of 1867 was simply another step
taken by the English government in the direction of the Reform Bill of
1832. Like that measure, it was passed only after long and violent
agitation and discussion both without and within the walls of Parliament.
Its main effect was the extension of the right of voting,--the
enfranchisement of the great "fourth estate, or the masses." By it also a
few small boroughs in England--for the bill did not concern either Ireland
or Scotland, separate bills of somewhat similar provisions being framed
for them--were disfranchised, and several new ones created.
THE REFORM BILL OF 1884.--One of the conservative leaders, the Earl of
Derby, in the discussions upon the Reform Bill of 1867, said, "No doubt we
are making a great experiment, and taking a leap in the dark." Just
seventeen years after the passage of that bill, the English people were
ready to take another leap. But they were not now leaping in the dark. The
wisdom and safety of admitting the lower classes to a participation in the
government had been demonstrated.
In 1884 Mr. Gladstone, then prime minister, introduced and pushed to a
successful vote a new reform bill, more radical and sweeping in its
provisions than any preceding one. It increased the number of voters from
about 3,000,000 to about 5,000,000. The qualification of voters in the
counties was made the same as that required of voters in the boroughs.
Hence its effect was to enfranchise the great agricultural classes.
ONLY THE FORMS OF MONARCHY REMAIN.--The English government is now in
reality as democratic as our own. Only the forms of monarchy remain. It
does not seem probable, that these can long withstand the encroachments of
democracy. Hereditary privilege, as represented by the House of Lords and
the Crown, is likely soon to be abolished.
HOME RULE FOR IRELAND.--In connection with the above outline of the
democratic movement in England, a word must be said about the so-called
Home Rule movement in Ireland.
The legislative independence secured by Ireland in 1782 (see p. 632), was
maintained only a short time. In 1798, England being then engaged in war
with the revolutionists of France, the Irish rose in revolt, with the
purpose of setting up an Irish republic. The uprising was quelled, and
then as a measure of security the Irish Parliament was abolished (1801)
and Ireland given representation in the English Parliament, just as had
been done in the case of Scotland at the time of the legislative union of
England and Scotland (see p. 629).
The Irish patriots bitterly resented this extinction of the legislative
independence of Ireland, and denounced as traitors those members of the
last Irish Parliament who, corrupted by the English minister, William Pitt
(the younger), had voted away Irish liberties. Consequently from the day
of the Union to the present, there has been more or less agitation for its
repeal and the re-establishment of the old Irish Parliament. In 1841,
under the inspiration of the eloquent Daniel O'Connell, Ireland was
brought to the verge of insurrection, but the movement was suppressed. In
1886 Mr. Gladstone, then prime minister, introduced a bill in Parliament,
granting a separate legislation to Ireland. This led to bitter debate both
within and without the walls of Parliament, and at the present time
(1889), the question of Home Rule for Ireland is the leading issue in
English politics.[Footnote: Closely connected with this political question
of Home Rule for Ireland, is the agrarian, or land trouble. At bottom,
this is a matter that involves the right of private property in land, and
touches questions that belong to the Industrial Age (see p. 729) rather
than to that of the Political Revolution.]
2. EXPANSION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF RELIGIOUS EQUALITY.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND RELIGIOUS EQUALITY.--Alongside the political
movement traced in the preceding section has run a similar one in the
religious realm. This is a growing recognition by the English people of
the true principle of religious toleration.
At the opening of the nineteenth century there was in England religious
freedom, but no religious equality. That is to say, one might be a
Catholic or a dissenter, if he chose to be, without fear of persecution.
Dissent from the Established Church was not unlawful. But one's being a
dissenter disqualified him from holding certain public offices. Where
there exists such discrimination against any religious sect, or where any
one sect is favored or sustained by the government, there of course is no
religious equality, although there may be religious freedom. Progress in
this direction, then, has consisted in the growth of a really tolerant
spirit, which has led to the removal from Catholics, Protestant
dissenters, and Jews all civil disabilities, and the placing of all sects
on an absolute equality before the law. This is but a completion of the
work of the Protestant Reformation.
METHODISM AND ITS EFFECTS UPON TOLERATION.--One thing that helped to bring
prominently forward the question of emancipating non-conformists from the
civil disabilities under which they were placed, was the great religious
movement known as Methodism, which during the latter part of the
eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century revolutionized the
religious life of England. [Footnote: The leaders of the movement were
George Whitefield (1714-1770) and John Wesley (1703-1791). Whitefield
became the leader of the _Calvinistic_ Methodists, and Wesley the founder
of the sect known as _Wesleyans_. The Methodists at first had no thought
of establishing a church distinct from the Anglican, but simply aimed to
form within the Established Church a society of earnest, devout laymen,
somewhat like that of the Young Men's Christian Association in our present
churches. Petty persecution, however, eventually constrained them to go
out from the established organization and form a Church of their own. This
of course constituted them dissenters.] By vastly increasing the body of
Protestant dissenters, Methodism gave new strength to the agitation for
the repeal of the laws which bore so heavily upon them.
DISABILITIES REMOVED FROM PROTESTANT DISSENTERS (1828).--One of the
earliest and most important of the acts of Parliament in this century in
recognition of the principle of religious equality, was the repeal of the
Corporation and Test Acts, in so far as they bore upon Protestant
dissenters. These were acts passed in the reign of Charles II., which
required every officer of a corporation, and all persons holding civil and
military positions, to take certain oaths, and partake of the communion
according to the rites of the Anglican Church. It is true that these laws
were not now strictly enforced; nevertheless, the laws were invidious and
vexatious, and the Protestant dissenters demanded their repeal. The result
of the debate in Parliament was the repeal of such parts of the ancient
acts as it was necessary to rescind in order to relieve Protestant
dissenters,--that is, the provision requiring persons holding office to be
communicants of the Anglican Church.
DISABILITIES REMOVED FROM THE CATHOLICS (1829).--The bill of 1828 gave no
relief to Catholics. They were still excluded from Parliament and various
civil offices by the declarations of belief and the oaths required of
office-holders,--declarations and oaths which no good Catholic could
conscientiously make. They now demanded that the same concessions be made
them that had been granted Protestant dissenters. The ablest champion of
Catholic emancipation was the eloquent Daniel O'Connell, an Irish patriot.
A threatened revolt on the part of the Irish Catholics hurried the
progress of what was known as the _Catholic Emancipation Act_ through
Parliament. This law opened all the offices of the kingdom, below the
crown,--save that of Lord Chancellor of England and Ireland, the
Viceroyalty of Ireland, and a few others,--to the Catholic subjects of the
DISABILITIES REMOVED FROM THE JEWS.--The Jews were still laboring under
all the disabilities which had now been removed from Protestant dissenters
and Catholics. In 1845 an act was passed by Parliament which so changed
the oath required for admission to corporate offices--the oath contained
the words "on the faith of a Christian"--as to open them to Jews.
In 1858, after a long and unseemly struggle, the House of Commons was
opened to the long-proscribed race; and about a quarter of a century
later, the House of Lords admitted to a seat Baron Rothschild, the first
peer of Hebrew faith that had ever sat in that body.
DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE IRISH CHURCH (1869).--Forty years after the
Catholic Emancipation Act, the English government took another great step
in the direction of religious equality, by the disestablishment of the
State Church in Ireland.
The Irish have always and steadily refused to accept the religion which
their English conquerors have somehow felt constrained to force upon them.
The vast majority of the people are to-day and ever have been Catholics;
yet up to the time where we have now arrived these Irish Catholics had
been compelled to pay tithes and fees for the maintenance among them of
the Anglican Church worship. Meanwhile their own churches, in which the
great masses were instructed and cared for spiritually, had to be kept up
by voluntary contributions. The proposition to do away with this grievance
by the disestablishment of the State Church in Ireland was bitterly
opposed by the Conservatives; but at length, after a memorable debate, the
Liberals, under the lead of Bright and Gladstone, the latter then prime
minister, carried the measure. This was in 1869, but the actual
disestablishment was not to take place until the year 1871, at which time
the Irish State Church, ceasing to exist as a state institution, became a
free Episcopal Church. The historian May pronounces this "the most
important ecclesiastical matter since the Reformation."
PROPOSED DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE CHURCH IN ENGLAND AND IN SCOTLAND.
--The perfect application of the principle of religious equality demands,
in the opinion of many English Liberals, the disestablishment of the State
Church in England and in Scotland. [Footnote: The Established Church in
Scotland is the Presbyterian.] They feel that for the government to
maintain any particular sect, is to give the State a monopoly in religion.
They would have the churches of all denominations placed on an absolute
equality. Especially in Scotland is the sentiment in favor of
disestablishment very strong.
3. GROWTH OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN THE EAST.
THE CLEW TO ENGLAND'S FOREIGN POLICY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.--Seeking
the main fact of modern English history, Professor Seeley [Footnote: J. R.
Seeley, in his work entitled _The Expansion of England_.] finds it in
the expansion of England. He says, in substance, that the expansion of
England in the New World and in Asia is the formula which sums up for
England the history of the last three centuries. As the outgrowth of this
extension into remote lands of English population or influence, England
has come successively into sharp rivalry with three of the leading powers
of Europe, her competitors in the field of colonization or in the race for
empire. The seventeenth century stands out as an age of intense rivalry
between England and Spain; the eighteenth was a period of gigantic
competition between England and France; while the nineteenth has been an
age of jealous rivalry between England and Russia.
England triumphed over Spain and France; it remains to be seen whether she
will in like manner triumph over Russia.
We have space simply to indicate how England's foreign policies and wars
during the present century have grown out of her Eastern connections, and
her fear of the overshadowing influence of the Colossus of the North.
RISE OF THE ENGLISH POWER IN INDIA.--And first, we must say a word
respecting the establishment of English authority in India. By the close
of the seventeenth century the East India Company (see p. 603) had founded
establishments at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, the three most important
centres of English population and influence in India at the present time.
The company's efforts to extend its authority in India were favored by the
decayed state into which the Great Mogul Empire--founded in Northern India
by the Tartar conquerors (see p. 461)--had fallen, and by the contentions
of the independent native princes among themselves.
For a long time it was a matter of doubt whether the empire to be erected
upon the ruins of the Great Mogul Empire and of the contending native
states should be French or English. About the middle of the eighteenth
century the former had the stronger foothold in the peninsula, just as
previous to the French and Indian War in the New World they had the
stronger hold upon the North American continent.
A terrible crime committed by the Nabob Surajah Dowlah of Bengal, a
province lying along the lower courses of the Ganges, determined the fate
not only of that native state, but of all India. Moved by jealousy of the
growing power of the English, and encouraged by the French, the Nabob
attacked and captured the English post at Calcutta. His one hundred and
forty-six prisoners he crowded into a close dungeon, called the Black
Hole. In the course of a sultry night the larger part of the unfortunate
prisoners were suffocated.
The crime was avenged by Robert Clive, the English commander at Madras.
With only 100 English soldiers and 2000 sepoys (native soldiers in
European employ), he sailed for Calcutta, recaptured that place, and on
the memorable field of Plassey, scattered to the winds the Nabob's army of
The victory of Plassey established upon a firm basis the growing power of
the Company. During the next one hundred years it extended its authority
throughout almost every part of the peninsula. Many of the native princes
were, and still are, allowed to retain their thrones, only they must now
acknowledge the suzerainty or paramount authority of the English
We will now speak briefly of the most important wars and troubles in which
England has been involved through her interests in India.
THE AFGHAN WAR OF 1838-1842.--One of the first serious wars into which
England was drawn through her jealousy of Russia was what was known as the
Afghan War. It was England's policy to maintain the Afghan state as a
barrier between her East India possessions and Russia. Persuaded that the
ruler of the Afghans, a usurper named Dost Mahommed, was inclined to a
Russian alliance, the English determined to dethrone him, and put in his
place the legitimate prince. This was done. The Afghans, however, resented
this interference in their affairs. They arose in revolt, and forced the
English army to retreat from the country. In the wild mountain passes
leading from Afghanistan into India, the fleeing army, 16,000 in number,
counting camp-followers, was cut off almost to a man. The English took
signal vengeance. They again invaded the country, defeated the Afghans,
punished some of their leaders, burned the chief bazaar of Cabul, and then
withdrawing from the country, left the Afghans to themselves.
OPIUM WAR WITH CHINA (1840-1842).--The next war incited by British
interest in India was the so-called Opium War with China.
During the first half of the present century the opium traffic between
India and China grew into gigantic proportions, and became an important
source of wealth to the British merchants, and of revenue to the Indian
government. The Chinese government, however, awake to the enormous evils
of the growing use of the narcotic, forbade the importation of the drug;
but the British merchants, notwithstanding the imperial prohibition,
persisted in the trade, and succeeded in smuggling large quantities of the
article into the Chinese market. Finally, the government seized and
destroyed all the opium stored in the warehouses of the British traders at
Canton. This act, together with other "outrages," led to a declaration of
war on the part of England. British troops now took possession of Canton,
and the Chinese government, whose troops were as helpless as children
before European soldiers, was soon forced to agree to the treaty of
Nanking, by which the island of Hong-Kong was ceded to the English,
several important ports were opened to British traders, and the
perpetuation of the nefarious traffic in opium was secured.
THE CRIMEAN WAR (1854-1856).--Scarcely was the Opium War ended before
England was involved in a gigantic struggle with Russia,--the Crimean War,
already spoken of in connection with Russian history. From our present
standpoint we can better understand why England threw herself into the
conflict on the side of Turkey. She fought to maintain the integrity of
the Ottoman Empire, in order that her own great rival, Russia, might be