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czar had indeed for some time manifested symptoms of declining health, which were observable enough to those about his person, though the fact was not allowed to transpire. A slight cold, by reckless exposure, had been aggravated into an influenza, which probably would speedily have been cured by ordinary precautions; but the emperor continued to pass his troops in review in the open air, and to visit the hospitals and barracks containing the sick and wounded soldiers. He was not altogether unaware of the risk he was running; and though he would not desist from the discharge of duties which he thought he ought not to neglect, he was in other respects careful of his health, and readily followed the directions of his medical advisers. But with regard to the exposure of his person, he was inexorable. To the remonstrances of his friends and family he replied by saying that he had something else to do besides taking care of his health; and when his physician implored him not to expose himself to the cold on parade at a time when the thermometer stood at 12° below zero, he replied, “My dear doctor, you have done your duty; now I will go and do mine.' He called for his cloak, and proceeded to the parade, at which he remained above an hour. This occurred on the 27th of February: on the 2nd of March he expired. As often happens in such cases, stories of foul play were rife, and it was asserted that poison had been administered to him; but the circumstances just mentioned show how little need there was to resort to such suppositions in order to account for the death of the emperor.

It was hoped that this event would have a very favourable effect on the negotiations which had just commenced at the time when it occurred; for it was generally believed that the eldest son of the late emperor, by whom, of course, he was succeeded, was a man of liberal and enlightened views, pacific intentions, and anxious to commence his reign under peaceful auspices. It was asserted too, and probably with truth, that his father before his death had admitted that he had been guilty of a great error in entering into the war, and had advised that peace should be made with the Western powers as speedily as possible. However, the tone of the new czar's first manifesto was not calculated to strengthen these pleasing anticipations. It announced that he intended to carry out the traditional





policy of the family to which he belonged, and it breathed throughout a warlike spirit. It was hoped, however, that

a these expressions were dictated by respect for the memory of his father, and by the necessity of employing firm and resolute language in view of the conferences which were being held at Vienna.

Another event which improved the prospect of peace was the adhesion of Sardinia to the offensive and defensive alliance between England and France. Its declaration of war against Russia was published two days after the death of Nicholas. The knowledge that it was about to take place violently enraged him, and probably the feeling it excited in him accelerated his death.

Amid the hopes and fears, the triumphs and the sufferings of the war, the English people were beginning to feel its effects in the shape of scarcity of food. Complaints among the labouring classes waxed louder and louder, especially in the manufacturing districts. The opponents of the war naturally pointed to this as one of its necessary consequences, and as affording a strong argument for bringing it to a speedy conclusion. On the other hand, the advocates of the war, though forced to admit that there was a scarcity, denied that it was nearly as great as was alleged, and imputed it not so much to the war as to deficient harvests, particularly that of 1853. And it was not easy to disprove their assertions, because, though the quantity of various kinds of goods, including corn, imported into England, was very accurately ascertained, no serious attempt had ever been made to calculate the quantity of agricultural produce grown in our own island. One fact was indisputable, and that was, that the country against which we were engaged in waging war was the one from which our largest supplies would have been drawn.

The system of promotion in the army by purchase attracted at this time so much attention and condemnation, that in all probability, if the war had lasted much longer, the reform arried out in 1871 would have been effected in 1856. But if public opinion, shocked by instances of incapacity and misconduct on the part of men holding high commands, was strongly opposed to the continuance of the system, the feeling of those who were in authority in the army was no less hostile to any change in this respect, and

the government had their bands too full to be able at the moment to take up an improvement, which was sure to give rise to long discussion and to encounter vigorous opposition. The consequence was, that the demand for these changes was gradually transferred into a more general demand for administrative reform, culminating in a bill for the opening of the civil service to competitive examination, which was resisted by Lord Palmerston, rejected by a large majority, and so got rid of for the present.

Mr. Roebuck's committee, in spite of all the predictions that had been uttered to the contrary, continued its sittings, always attended by a large number of its members. The sustained interest taken by the public in the inquiry was shown by the fact that the room in which it sat was beset, long before the commencement of the proceedings, by a crowd seeking admission, of whom only a small fraction could be accommodated in the space allotted to the public. Numerous witnesses were examined, among whom were the Duke of Cambridge, the Earl of Cardigan, Mr. Macdonald the almoner of the Times newspaper, and Mr. Stafford. All told the same tale of incapacity, carelessness, and maladministration; all confirmed to the fullest extent the statements which, published in the Times at the close of the preceding year, had produced so profound a sensation, and caused the dissolution of the Aberdeen ministry. The Duke of Cambridge stated in his evidence, that while a cabinet minister was assuring the House of Commons that the number of men fit for duty amounted to thirty thousand, the real number was only twelve thousand; that the army was short of medical attendance, short of food, short of clothing, ill supplied with everything that it needed. On the 16th of June the committee presented its report, which, after giving an account of the state of the army and of the departments by which it was controlled, concluded with these words:

‘Your committee report that the suffering of the army resulted mainly from the circumstances under which the expedition to the Crimea was undertaken and executed. The administration which ordered that expedition had no adequate information as to the amount of forces in the Crimea. They were not acquainted with the strength of



the fortresses to be attacked, or with the resources of the country to be invaded. They hoped and expected the expedition to be immediately successful, and as they did not foresee the probability of a protracted struggle, they made no provision for a winter campaign. The patience and fortitude of the army demand the admiration and gratitude of the nation on whose behalf they have fought, bled, and suffered. Their heroic valour and equally heroic patience under sufferings and privations have given them claims on the country which will doubtless be gratefully acknowledged. Your committee will now close their report with a hope that every British army may in future display the valour which this noble army has displayed, and that none may hereafter be exposed to such sufferings as have been recorded in these pages.'

On the 22nd of the month in which the report was made, Mr. Roebuck gave notice of the following motion : ‘That this House, deeply lamenting the sufferings of our army during the late winter campaign in the Crimea, and coinciding with the resolution of their committee, that the conduct of the administration was the first and chief cause of those misfortunes, hereby visits with its severe reprehension every member of the cabinet whose counsels led to such disastrous results.' This resolution was discussed on the 17th and 18th of July, and was got rid of by the usual expedient of moving and carrying the previous question. This extinguished an inquiry, which if it did not justify the forebodings which led Sir J. Graham and Mr. Glad stone to retire from the government, effected little more than to confirm the accuracy of the statements of the Times and the other principal journals, which had sent correspondents to the seat of war.

On the 16th of April the emperor and empress of the French paid a visit to the Queen, to which the events that were now going on imparted a more than ordinary significance and importance. They were received throughout their progress from the pier at Dover to the castle of Windsor with the most enthusiastic applauses, but especially in the streets of the metropolis through which they passed. We will leave to the imagination of the reader the presentation of addresses, the review in the great park, the investiture of the order of the Garter, the visit to the Guildhall, the city addresses and the replies given to them, the visit to the Italian Opera and the Crystal Palace, the grand state-banquet and grand ball at Windsor Castle, the glory of the illuminations which were exhibited in honour of the illustrious visitors : suffice it to say, that everywhere they received the most cordial greeting, and were welcomed with the wildest enthusiasm. The visit had the effect it was intended to have, of cementing the alliance and good feeling which existed between two nations, whose union is of the utmost advantage, not only to themselves, but to the whole world. It likewise afforded a guarantee that the war would be vigorously prosecuted, and gave to the people of each country a gage and security that the other would carry it forward to the best of its ability. It also afforded an additional evidence of the desire of the emperor to cultivate and consolidate the English alliance. His popularity in this country was increased by the news of an attempt that been made to assassinate him soon after his return into France.

The annual financial statement of the new chancellor of the exchequer, Sir Cornewall Lewis, showed the enormous cost of the struggle in which this country was now engaged. The income of the country reached what was then regarded as the enormous amount of 63,339,0001., but the war had caused an excess of expenditure above that sum of no less than 20,000,0001. Under these circumstances, it became impossible to adhere to Mr. Gladstone's plan of raising within each year the amount required to meet the expenditure of that year; and it was proposed by the chancellor of the exchequer, and readily agreed to by the house, that the deficiency should be supplied by additional taxation and by a loan of 16,000,0001., which Sir C. Lewis proposed to pay off at the rate of a million per annum; a part of his plan which many financial authorities denounced as delusive and impracticable. His proposals were, nevertheless, adopted with unprecedented readiness. Never did any House of Commons show greater alacrity in imposing fresh burdens on the people. The legislature and the nation were ready to make any sacrifice of money in order to bring the war to a speedy and successful termination. The whole of the loan was at once taken up by the Rothschilds. Meanwhile Lord J. Russell had returned from the Vienna

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