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for the ostensible grounds of quarrel between the two
Eastern Powers were not such as necessarily to draw

How England was drawn into War. 1 1

her from her attitude of mediator. What had impelled
her on her course was the knowledge that below these
grounds lurked the true design of the Czar. This had
been made clear by his own words to the British
Ambassador, already adverted to, and in various con-
versations in January and February 1853. "We have
on our hands a sick man, a very sick man. ... If your
Government has been led to believe that Turkey retains
any elements of existence, your Government must have
received incorrect information. I repeat to you that the
sick man is dying, and we can never allow such an event
to take us by surprise. We must come to some under-
standing." But this view was not left to stand alone ; it
was enforced by an inducement. " I can only say, that
if, in the event of a distribution of the Ottoman succession,
upon the fall of the Empire, you should take possession
of Egypt, I shall have no objection to offer. I would
say the same thing of Candia : that island might suit you
and I do not know why it should not become an English
possession." The voice which uttered this was the voice
of the one potentate who had an interest in precipi-
tating the catastrophe, and who was then taking such
a course as might immediately lead to it. Vain in-
deed the effort to spread his net in the sight of those
whom he had thus himself enlightened. But it seems
likely indeed there is no other explanation that he
had forgotten, or dropped out of sight, this complete
showing of his hand. As was natural in an autocrat
whose faculty for rule lay in the strength of his will,
not of his judgment, he had accustomed himself to

1 2 How the Czar was misled into War.

confound what he desired with what he believed in ;
and absorbed for the moment in his parade of sym-
pathy with the Christians in Turkey, he had come to
consider this as his true motive, and expected others
to adopt that view also. So complete was this illusion,
that it was long before he had begun to realise the possi-
bility of being opposed by England. At first he had
assumed her toleration, if not her concurrence, to be
certain. And even when he was at war with Turkey,
and the fleets had been despatched to the Bosphorus, he
sent an autograph letter to the Queen, expressing sur-
prise that there should be any misunderstanding between
the Queen's Government and his own as to the affairs of
Turkey, and appealing to Her Majesty's " good faith "
and " wisdom " to decide between them. Thus it is evi-
dent that it was Russia that had been the first Power to
" drift " into war, and this was owing to the false view
taken by the Czar. Starting with the belief that Turkey
would be left unsupported, he had gone on to assume that
he would, by the display of his forces, coerce her into com-
pliance with the measure which would give him the means
of, at any time, quarrelling with and crushing her, that
England would acquiesce, and that, if she did, he might
disregard the other Powers ; and thus he had been led
into a position from which he could not recede without
war. And the delusion under which he took these
steps contains one of the important lessons that render
history of value as a guide and a warning. There is a
general concurrence that he confided in the belief that
England was entirely absorbed in the pursuit of wealth,

His False Views of the English Spirit. 1 3

through manufactures and commerce, and could no
longer be induced to fight for a principle, a sentiment,
or an ally. Even after Lord Aberdeen had been im-
pelled to take action directly tending to war, the Czar
still believed that a community which made the exalta-
tion and worship of trade the mainspring of its policy,
and which listened complacently to the denunciation of
war as an unmixed evil, would never be roused into
armed resistance to his projects. How far a more deter-
mined tone on the part of our Ministry, at an early stage
of his course of aggression, would have effectually checked
it, may be matter of speculation. But there can be no
doubt, judging from his own language and his own acts,
that his not unreasonable persuasion of the degeneracy
of our national character was a main element in producing
the state of mind which rendered him so fatally domineer-
ing and precipitate in the pursuit of his ends, and so
regardless of the decencies of public law.

At the time of MenschikofFs mission, Lord Stratford,
having resigned his post, was in England. But the diffi-
culties which that mission was creating seemed again
to demand his commanding influence on the spot, and he
had been desired to resume his functions. The instruc-
tions given to him, conceived in a spirit of conciliation
to Russia, in a matter which, on the surface, did not
vitally concern us, were to admonish the Porte to show
increased consideration for its Christian'subjects. But,
at the same time, remembering what lay under the sur-
face, the Government empowered him, in case of imminent
danger to Turkey, to request the Commander of our

14 England supports Turkey.

Mediterranean Squadron, then lying at Malta, to hold it
in readiness to move, though he was not to call it up
without orders from the Home Government. But when
Menschikoff, on the removal of his first grievance, put
forth his other and more dangerous claim, the British
Government perceived that it could no longer rest in any
degree on the good faith of the Czar. At the end of
May 1853, when Menschikoff departed from Constan-
tinople, breathing war, Lord Clarendon instructed Lord
Stratford that it was indispensable to take measures for
the protection of the Sultan, and to aid him by force, if
necessary, in repelling an attack upon his territory, and
in defence of the independence of Turkey, which England,
he declared, " was bound to maintain." At the same time,
in a despatch to St Petersburgh, he required to be in-
formed what object the Czar had in view, " and in what
manner, and to what extent, the dominions of the Sultan,
and the tranquillity of Europe were threatened ? " A few
days afterwards the Allied squadrons moved up the
Mediterranean, and anchored in the neighbourhood of
the Dardanelles, which the Sultan was bound by treaty
to keep closed to the fleets of other Powers so long as
Turkey was at peace. On the 22d October, the day
before Turkey declared war, the fleets entered the
Dardanelles. The Ambassadors had been instructed to
call them up to Constantinople, " for the security of

British and French interests, and, if necessary, for the
protection of t "

by the appreh
Turkish capital.

protection of the Sultan." The step was precipitated
by the apprehension of fanatical disturbances in the

Why Louis Napoleon joined with England. 15

It has been generally assumed that the circumstances
under which the French Empire had recently come into
existence demanded that its chief should make war on
somebody, in order to divert attention from the origin of
his power, and to give employment to an army which
might otherwise become dangerous. It may be readily
granted that it was most expedient, both for him and his
people, to make his influence immediately felt. But
that, in allying himself with England on the Eastern
question, he was seizing on an opportunity for war is
only a surmise for which it would be difficult to adduce
proof. It was inevitable that he should throw his
weight into the question, and he could hardly hesitate
in his choice of a side. It was scarcely possible for the
champion of the Latin Church in the East, who had
just stood forth in defence of its claim, to abet the
Czar in his demand for the protectorate of the Christian
subjects of the Porte. Moreover, Nicholas, in his arrogant
way, had given just offence both to Louis Napoleon
and the French people by refusing to address him, as
all other reigning potentates did, as " Mon Frere ; " as
if he, the choice of the French people, were not entitled
to be admitted to the brotherhood of sovereigns ; which
was one of those gratuitous and unprofitable affronts
which wise men are careful not to offer. On the other
hand, the advantage was obvious of arraying himself by
the side of, instead of against, the great Sea-Power his
neighbour ; while as for individual predilections he had
acquired, in his long residence in England, a hearty
esteem for our institutions and our people, and the

1 6 Result of sending Allied Fleets to the Bosp horns.

kindnesses which he had received as an exile were
always cordially acknowledged by him as a sovereign.
But the evidence points altogether to the view that at
first his design in associating himself with England was,
while gaining the benefit of the alliance, to make use of
it for peace, and not for war. Martin, in his Life of the
Prince Consort, says, " Amity with England, and a close
political alliance, had been uniformly declared to be the
Emperor's dearest wish." On ascending the throne he
had said, " Certain persons say the Empire is only war.
But I say the Empire is peace, for France desires it."
At the time of the Vienna Note, the Prince Consort,
discussing the parties to it, said, " Louis Napoleon wishes
for peace, enjoyment, and cheap corn." On the 8th
August 1853 the Queen's speech said, "The Emperor
of the French has united with Her Majesty in earnest
endeavours to reconcile differences the continuation of
which would involve Europe in war." And after the
fleets were in the Bosphorus, the Prince Consort wrote :
" Louis Napoleon shows by far the greatest statesman-
ship, which is easier for the individual than the many;
he is moderate, but firm ; gives way to us even when his
plan is better than ours, and revels in the advantages he
derives from the alliance with us." No conjectures can
hold their ground against this testimony, and it may be
taken for certain that the Emperor faithfully co-operated
with our Government throughout in its endeavours to
settle the quarrel by diplomatic pressure, backed by the
display of force.

When, however, they took the last step of sending their

Russia chafes the Western Nations. 1 7

fleets to the Bosphorus, the control of events passed
out of their hands. If Russia should choose to disregard
the moral pressure of their presence, and, resenting their
entry into the Bosphorus, to avenge it on the Turks,
the Allies could no longer preserve a mediatory attitude.
They must become principals. This was foreseen by
the Queen when she wrote thus to Lord Clarendon :
"It appears to the Queen that we have taken on our-
selves, in conjunction with France, all the risks of a
European war, without having bound Turkey to any
conditions with respect to provoking it." The justice
of this view of the matter was presently made evident.
The Turks, while keeping most of their fleet in the
Bosphorus, had left a squadron of light war-vessels in
the Black Sea. On the 3oth November it was at
anchor in the port of Sinope, when Admiral Nakimoff
attacked it with six ships of the line, and absolutely
destroyed it, with its crews to the number of 4000 men.
It is not necessary to argue that the Russians were
exceeding their rights as belligerents in order to show
the impolicy of this stroke. While the disparity of
force deprived it of all glory, it roused public feeling,
hitherto not too favourable to the Czar, to a pitch which,
certainly in England, could only be appeased by arms.
For long the English people had been chafing at the
wrongs inflicted on the Turks, aggravated by the
patience with which they were endured. Each succes-
sive step of the Czar had aroused 'deeper indignation.
In the original difficulty, the position of the Sultan,
pressed by such powerful rivals for an award which

1 8 France and England declare War.

could bring him only unmitigated trouble, seemed to
entitle him to special indulgence. But MenschikofPs
bearing throughout his mission was arrogant and pro-
vocative. The setting up of the second pretext, on the
failure of the first, revealed the real intention of grind-
ing Turkey to dust. The seizure of the Principalities
showed a contempt for public law and common justice
so gross that the popular mind could easily appreciate
it. His manifestoes, outrageous in tone and matter,
had been fuel to the flame ; and now the crash at
Sinope, under the very shadow of our ships, was of
a character thoroughly to exasperate a people whose
element was the sea. The French could probably in
no case have endured to see their fleet return without
some substantial triumph, but a reckless utterance of
the Czar effectually roused them from what had hitherto
been a somewhat supine view of the situation. The
French Emperor had addressed to him, as a final
attempt, a letter suggesting a scheme of pacification,
and assuring him that if it were rejected the Western
Powers must declare war. In his reply, among other
taunts, Nicholas said, "Russia will prove herself in 1854
what she was in 1812." This allusion to the disasters
in Russia, so ruinous to the first Napoleon's power, and
so humiliating to France, effectually dispelled the
apathy of the French people.

When Louis Napoleon proposed to our Govern-
ment that the fleets should enter the Black Sea, and if
necessary compel all Russian ships met with there to
return to Sebastopol, the measure hardly kept pace

T/ie War at first on the Danube. 19

with the feelings aroused in both countries. On the
27th February 1854 France and England demanded
the evacuation of the Principalities by the 3Oth April
as their ultimatum. No answer was vouchsafed, and on
that date they declared war. If any further stimulus
had been needed for the British people, it was now
supplied in the publication of the Czar's conversations
with Sir Hamilton Seymour, hitherto held in official
secrecy. His parable of the sick man then proved much
more striking and suggestive than he could have desired.
It caught the popular fancy it was seen to have indi-
cated a foregone conclusion and he who could foretell
the sick man's dissolution, and arrange for the distribu-
tion of his possessions, was judged to have been intent
ever since on fulfilling his own prophecy.

At this time everything pointed to a campaign on
the Danube. When the Turks declared war, the
Russians in the Principalities, not yet ready to advance,
remained on the defensive along the river. Omar
Pasha, facing them, crossed and seized Kalafat, and
desultory combats, much more calculated to exalt the
military repute of the Turks than of the Russians, had
gone on there during the autumn and winter. But it
was obvious that it could serve no purpose to the Czar,
that it must rather destroy his military along with his
diplomatic repute, to let the war drag on in this way.
Accordingly, by May 1854 Russian troops had been
concentrated in the Principalities in sufficient force to
begin an offensive movement. The preliminaries to the
passage of the Balkans, in the march on Constantinople,

2O Austria's Summons to the Czar.

were to be the sieges of the Turkish fortresses of
Silistria and Shumla ; and the invasion of Turkey be-
gan with the passage of the Danube by the Russians,
who opened their first parallel before Silistria on the iQth
May. Thus it happened that the troops of England
and France, as they arrived in Turkish waters, were at
first conveyed to Varna, and were now encamped
between that place and Shumla, in the expectation of
defending the fortresses by fighting the army in the
field. But now another influence intervened, which
entirely changed the aspect of the war.

On the 1 3th January 1854 the Four Powers, none of
them at that time at war with Russia, had obtained the
agreement of Turkey to fresh terms to be submitted to
the Czar, and were sending back his envoys with an
avowal of their intention to oppose his acts of aggres-
sion. Kinglake says that Nicholas had been so slow to
believe that the young Kaiser could harbour the thought
of opposing him in arms, that on receiving the assurance
of their alienation he was wrung with grief. This is a
fresh proof that his autocratic temper had been so
fostered by long exercise of irresponsible power that he
could no longer read facts truly where his wishes were
strongly concerned ; that he believed only what he
desired to believe ; and that his faith in the friendship
of the Kaiser, and the pacific temper of England, had
been of paramount effect in blinding him to the diffi-
culties in his path. Well might the Prince Consort
write, just after Sinope, "the Emperor of Russia is
manifestly mad."

The Russians leave the Danube. 2 1

On the 36 of June, Austria, with the support now
finally secured of Prussia, summoned the Czar to evacu-
ate the Principalities. In February she had moved
50,000 men up to the frontier of the territory seized^by
the Czar. Her territorial position on the north bank
of the Danube is such as to enable her effectually to
check a Russian invasion of Turkey in that direction.
The operation can only be persisted in by first repelling
the Austrian advance. For this the Czar was not pre-
pared. He continued his operations on the river just
long enough to give a victorious aspect to the valiant
defence of Silistria, and to a subsequent passage of the
Danube at ( Giurgevo by the Turks, led by English
officers. Austria was on the point of war, and had sent
an officer to the English headquarters to form a joint
plan of operations, when the Czar at last perceived
that the pressure on him could not be resisted.
The siege of Silistria was raised ; the Russians im-
mediately began to withdraw from the Principalities,
and on the 2d August they recrossed the frontier. The
Austrian troops thereupon occupied, in the interests of
Turkey, the territories thus abandoned.

Now Austria did not then, or afterwards, declare
war against Russia. But, as has been related, France
and England had done so in March. It may be, and
has been, said that had the Western Powers gone step
by step with Austria, leaving it to her, who had most
concern in a war on the Danube, to give the word for
the commencement of hostilities, the Czar would, as
the event proved, have been forced to abandon his prey,

22 The Allies turn their Designs to the Crimea.

and the final settlement of the quarrel between him
and Turkey might still have been effected by negotia-
tion. It is impossible to deny this, but at the same
time it is impossible absolutely to affirm it. For no
negotiations could have been satisfactory which did
not provide some compensation for Turkey ; and it is
very unlikely that the Czar would have conceded this
without the compulsion of arms. But the determining
cause may well have been the savage blow delivered
at Sinope, which roused the impatience of the Western
peoples to a pitch beyond control.

But now, with the abandonment of the Principalities,
that which had hitherto been the ground of contention
had suddenly vanished, and with it had vanished also
the immediate concern in the quarrel of Austria and
Prussia, whose alliance for the coercion of the Czar had
been formed expressly " in defence of the interests of
Germany." But English views had for long gone against
the acceptance of a drawn game. To withdraw the
Allied fleets from the Euxine without having fired a
shot, while its waters were still strewed with the
wrecks of the Turkish ships ; to leave the shores of
Turkey unprotected, while opposite to them stood the
embodied menace of Sebastopol, with its forts and
arsenal, from whence had just issued the destroying
squadron ; and to abandon the Ottoman Empire to
the impulses of so grasping, so unscrupulous, and so
vindictive a personality as that of Nicholas, had not
in this latter period been included within the range
of possibilities. On the first declaration of war the

Feeling excited in England. 23

French Emperor had sketched, and our Ministry had
approved, a plan for the attack of Sebastopol. "In
no event," said Lord Lyndhurst in June, "except
that of extreme necessity, ought we to make peace
without previously destroying the Russian fleet in the
Black Sea, and laying prostrate the fortifications by
which it is defended." On the 24th July the Times
wrote, " the broad policy of the war consists in striking
at the very heart of the Russian power in the East, and
that heart is at Sebastopol." And its editor, Mr John
Delane, who had gone to Constantinople to observe
events, told Lord Stratford that if our army were to
perish before Sebastopol, the first thought of the nation
at home would be to raise another, and go on. And
this state of feeling had been aroused by the sense
entertained in this country of the dangerous nature of
the Czar's designs, and of the dishonesty which had
marked his pursuit of them. " It is," wrote the Queen,
in discussing the causes of the war, " the selfishness, and
ambition, and want of honesty of one man and his
servants which has done it." Such were the circum-
stances in which France and England prepared to
transfer their armaments from Turkey to the Crimea.



Prospects of the Invasion Instructions to the British Commander A Siege
contemplated Preparations for Invasion The Cholera The Fleets
and Flotillas Composition of the English Army Its Commanders
The French Generals Description of the Crimea Its Products
and Population The Coast reconnoitered The Landing Place
The Troops landed Transport obtained.

THE land which the armies were about to invade was
that known to the ancients as the Tauric Chersonese.
It was quite beyond the range of the ordinary tourist,
it led to nowhere, and had little to tempt curiosity.
Thusjt_was__as_j:ompletely an unknown country to the
chiefs of the Allied armies as it had been to Jason and
his Argonauts when they voyaged thither in search of
the Golden Fleece. It was known to contain a great
harbour, and a city with docks, fortifications, and
arsenal ; but the strength and resources of the enemy
vyho would oppose us, the nature of the fortifications,
and even the topography, except what the map could
imperfectly show, lay much in the regions of specula-
tion. It was believed, however, that any Russian force
there must be inferior to that of the Allies, that the
country would offer no serious impediments to the

Prospects of the Invasion. 25

march, and that, with the defeat of the defensive army,
the place would not long resist the means of attack
which would be brought to bear on it. There was no
thought of a protracted siege; a IqudJngi a march ,
a battle, and, after some delay for a preliminary bom-
bardment, an assault, were all that made part of the

These anticipations were by no means so ill-founded
as, after the many contradictions by the event, they
were judged to have been. It was unlikely that a large
Russian army should be permanently kept in a spot
not easy of approach by land, and where its supply
would be difficult, at a time when Sebastopol was
not imminently threatened ; and, since the sudden ces-
sation of operations on the Danube, there had been
little time for preparation against so formidable an
attack as was now impending. The command of the
sea conferred on the assailants inestimable advantages,
and there was very fair reason to expect that, long
before Russia could bring her huge numbers to bear,
the conflict would be decided in closed lists by the
armies which should at first enter them. In any
case, it would have been very difficult to point to any
more vulnerable spot on Russian territory.

It must not, however, be thought that no siege of
Sebastopol was contemplated. Immediately after the
Russians had retreated from the Danube, the Duke
of Newcastle, Secretary for War, wrote thus to the
Commander of the British Forces, on the 29th June

26 Instructions to the British Commander.

" I have to instruct your Lordship to concert measures
for the siege of Sebastopol, unless, with the informa-
tion in your possession, but at present unknown in this
country, you should be decidedly of opinion that it
could not be undertaken with a reasonable prospect of
success. The confidence with which Her Majesty placed
under your command the gallant army now in Turkey
is unabated, and if, upon mature reflection, you should
consider that the united strength of the two armies is
insufficient for this undertaking, you are not to be pre-
cluded from the exercise of the discretion originally
vested in you, though Her Majesty's Government will

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