On the 25th of February, 1856, the plenipotentiaries of the great Powers assembled in Paris, and on the 30th of March the Treaty of Paris was signed, by which the Black Sea was thrown open to the mercantile marine of all nations, but interdicted to ships of war. Russia ceded a portion of Bessarabia, which excluded her from the Danube; and all the Powers guaranteed the independence of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of fourteen years, the downfall of Louis Napoleon enabled Russia to declare that it would no longer recognize the provisions of a treaty which excluded its war-ships from the Black Sea. England alone was not able to resist the demands of Russia, and in consequence Sebastopol arose from its ruins as powerful as ever.
The object, therefore, for which England and France went to war—the destruction of Russian power on the Black Sea—was only temporarily gained. From three to four hundred thousand men had been sacrificed among the different combatants, and probably not less than a thousand million dollars in treasure had been wasted,—perhaps double that sum. France gained nothing of value, while England lost military prestige. Russia undoubtedly was weakened, and her encroachments toward the East were delayed; but to-day that warlike empire is in the same relative position that it was when the Czar sent forth his mandate for the invasion of the Danubian principalities. In fact, all parties were the losers, and none were the gainers, by this needless and wicked war,—except perhaps the wily Napoleon III., who was now firmly seated on his throne.
The Eastern question still remains unsettled, and will remain unsettled until new complications, which no genius can predict, shall re-enkindle the martial passions of Europe. These are not and never will be extinguished until Christian civilization shall beat swords into ploughshares. When shall be this consummation of the victories of peace?
A. W. Kinglake’s Invasion of the Crimea; C. de Bazancourt’s Crimean Expedition; G. B. McClellan’s Reports on the Art of War in Europe in 1855-1856; R. C. McCormick’s Visit to the Camp before Sebastopol; J. D. Morell’s Neighbors of Russia, and History of the War to the Siege of Sebastopol; Pictorial History of the Russian War; Russell’s British Expedition to the Crimea; General Todleben’s History of the Defence of Sebastopol; H. Tyrrell’s History of the War with Russia; Fyffe’s History of Modern Europe; Life of Lord Palmerston; Life of Louis Napoleon.
THE SECOND EMPIRE.
Prince Louis Napoleon, or, as he afterward became, Emperor Napoleon III., is too important a personage to be omitted in the sketch of European history during the nineteenth century. It is not yet time to form a true estimate of his character and deeds, since no impartial biographies of him have yet appeared, and since he died less than thirty years ago. The discrepancy of opinion respecting him is even greater than that concerning his illustrious uncle.