Louis Napoleon : The Second Empire – Beacon Lights of History, Volume X : European Leaders by John Lord

Beacon Lights of History, Volume X European Leaders by john Lord

Beacon Lights of History, Volume X : European Leaders

William IV : English Reforms
Sir Robert Peel : Political Economy
Cavour : United Italy
Czar Nicholas : The Crimean War
Louis Napoleon : The Second Empire
Prince Bismarck : The German Empire
William Ewart Gladstone : The Enfranchisement of the People

Beacon Lights of History, Volume X : European Leaders
John Lord

Topics Covered
Fortunes and adventures of Louis Napoleon.
The political agitations of 1848.
Louis Napoleon, President of the French Republic.
His Ministers.
The Coup d’État.
Usurpation of Louis Napoleon.
His tools.
His enemies.
Hostility of the leading statesmen of France.
Character of Louis Napoleon.
The Crimean War.
Alliance of France and England.
Lord Palmerston.
Stability of the Empire.
Prosperity of France.
Public Works.
Splendid successes of Napoleon III.
War with Austria.
Peace of Villa-Franca.
Improvements of Paris.
Mexican War.
Archduke Maxmilian.
Humiliations and shifts of Louis Napoleon.
War with Germany.
Indecision and incapacity of Louis Napoleon.
Battle of Worth.
Marshal Bazaine.
Battle of Sedan.
Fall of Napoleon III.
Calamities of France.

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.

No one doubts that the first Napoleon was the greatest figure of his age, and the greatest general that the world has produced, with the exception alone of Alexander and Caesar. No one questions his transcendent abilities, his unrivalled fame, and his potent influence on the affairs of Europe for a quarter of a century, leaving a name so august that its mighty prestige enabled his nephew to steal his sceptre; and his character has been so searchingly and critically sifted that there is unanimity among most historians as to his leading traits,–a boundless ambition and unscruplous adaptation of means to an end: that end his self-exaltation at any cost. His enlarged and enlightened intellect was sullied by hypocrisy, dissimulation, and treachery, accompanied by minor faults with which every one is familiar, but which are often overlooked in the immense services he rendered to his country and to civilization.

Napoleon III., aspiring to imitate his uncle, also contributed important services, but was not equal to the task he assumed, and made so many mistakes that he can hardly be called a great man, although he performed a great rôle in the drama of European politics, and at one time occupied a superb position. With him are associated the three great international wars which took place in the interval between the banishment of Napoleon I. to St. Helena and the establishment of the French Republic on its present basis,–a period of more than fifty years,–namely, the Crimean war; the war between Austria, France, and Italy; and the Franco-Prussian war, which resulted in the humiliation of France and the exaltation of Prussia.

When Louis Napoleon came into power in 1848, on the fall of Louis Philippe, it was generally supposed that European nations had sheathed the sword against one another, and that all future contests would be confined to enslaved peoples seeking independence, with which contests other nations would have nothing to do; but Louis Napoleon, as soon as he had established his throne on the ruins of French liberties, knew no other way to perpetuate his dominion than by embroiling the nations of Europe in contests with one another, in order to divert the minds of the French people from the humiliation which the loss of their liberties had caused, and to direct their energies in new channels,–in other words, to inflate them with visions of military glory as his uncle had done, by taking advantage of the besetting and hereditary weakness of the national character. In the meantime the usurper bestowed so many benefits on the middle and lower classes, gave such a stimulus to trade, adorned his capital with such magnificent works of art, and increased so manifestly the material prosperity of France, that his reign was regarded as benignant and fortunate by most people, until the whole edifice which he had built to dazzle the world tumbled down in a single day after his disastrous defeat at Sedan,–the most humiliating fall which any French dynasty ever experienced.

Capture of Napoleon III. at Boulogne After the painting by R. Gutschmidt

Louis Napoleon offers in his own person an example of those extremes of fortune which constitute the essence of romantic conditions and appeal to the imagination. The third son of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland (brother of Napoleon), and Hortense Beauharnais, daughter of the Empress Josephine by her first marriage, he was born in Paris, in the palace of the Tuileries, April 20, 1808. Living in Switzerland, with his mother and brother (Napoleon Louis), he was well-educated, expert in all athletic sports,–especially in riding and fencing,–and trained to the study and practice of artillery and military engineering. The two brothers engaged in an Italian revolt in 1830; both fell ill, and while one died the other was saved by the mother’s devotion. In 1831 the Poles made an insurrection, and offered Louis Napoleon their chief command and the crown of Poland; but the death, in 1832, of the only son of his uncle aroused Louis’s ambition for a larger place, and the sovereignty of France became his “fixed idea.” He studied hard, wrote and published several political and military works, and in 1836 made a foolish attempt at a Napoleonic revolt against Louis Philippe. It ended in humiliating failure, and he was exiled to America, where he lived in obscurity for about a year; but he returned to Switzerland to see his dying mother, and then was obliged to flee to England. In 1838 he published his “Napoleonic Ideas;” in 1840 he made, at Boulogne, another weak demonstration upon the French throne, and was imprisoned in the fortress of Ham. Here he did much literary work, but escaped in 1848 to Belgium, whence he hurried back to Paris when the revolution broke out. Getting himself elected a deputy in the National Assembly, he took his seat.

The year 1848, when Louis Napoleon appeared on the stage of history, was marked by extraordinary political and social agitations, not merely in France but throughout Europe. It saw the unexpected fall of the constitutional monarchy in France, which had been during eighteen years firmly upheld by Louis Philippe, with the assistance of the ablest and wisest ministers the country had known for a century,–the policy of which was pacific, and the leading political idea of which was an alliance with Great Britain. The king fled before the storm of revolutionary ideas,–as Metternich was obliged to do in Vienna, and Ferdinand in Naples,–and a provisional government succeeded, of which Lamartine was the central figure. A new legislative assembly was chosen to support a republic, in which the most distinguished men of France, of all opinions, were represented. Among the deputies was Louis Napoleon, who had hastened from England to take part in the revolution. He sat on the back benches of the Chamber neglected, silent, and despised by the leading men in France, but not yet hated nor feared.

When a President of the Republic had to be chosen by the suffrages of the people, Louis Napoleon unexpectedly received a great majority of the votes. He had been quietly carrying on his “presidential campaign” through his agents, who appealed to the popular love for the name of Napoleon.

The old political leaders, amazed and confounded, submitted to the national choice, yet stood aloof from a man without political experience, who had always been an exile when he had not been a prisoner. Most of them had supposed that Bonapartism was dead; but the peasantry in the provinces still were enthralled by the majesty and mighty prestige of that conqueror who had been too exalted for envy and too powerful to be resisted. To the provincial votes chiefly Louis Napoleon owed his election as President,–and the election was fair. He came into power by the will of the nation if any man ever did,–by the spontaneous enthusiasm of the people for the name he bore, not for his own abilities and services; and as he proclaimed, on his accession, a policy of peace (which the people believed) and loyalty to the Constitution,–Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, the watchwords of the Revolution,–even more, as he seemed to represent the party of order, he was regarded by such statesmen as Thiers and Montalembert as the least dangerous of the candidates; and they gave their moral support to his government, while they declined to take office under him.

The new President appointed the famous De Tocqueville as his first prime minister, who after serving a few months resigned, because he would not be the pliant tool of his master. Louis Napoleon then had to select inferior men for his ministers, who also soon discovered that they were expected to be his clerks, not his advisers. At first he was regarded by the leading classes with derision rather than fear,–so mean was his personal appearance, so spiritless his address, so cold and dull was his eye, and so ridiculous were his antecedents. “The French,” said Thiers, long afterward, “made two mistakes about Louis Napoleon,–the first, when they took him for a fool; the second, when they took him for a man of genius.” It was not until he began to show a will of his own, a determination to be his own prime minister, that those around him saw his dangerous ambition, his concealed abilities, and his unscrupulous character.

Nothing of importance marked the administration of the President, except hostility to the Assembly, and their endless debates on the constitution. Both the President and the Assembly feared the influence of the ultra-democrats and Red Republicans,–socialists and anarchists, who fomented their wild schemes among the common people of the large cities. By curtailing the right of suffrage the Assembly became unpopular, and Louis Napoleon gained credit as the friend of order and law.

As the time approached when, by the Constitution, he would be obliged to lay down his office and return to private life, the President became restless, and began to plot for the continuance of his power. He had tasted its sweets, and had no intention to surrender it. If he could have been constitutionally re-elected, he probably would not have meditated a coup d’état, for it was in accordance with his indolent character to procrastinate. With all his ambition, he was patient, waiting for opportunities to arise; and yet he never relinquished an idea or an intention,–it was ever in his mind: he would simply wait, and quietly pursue the means of success. He had been trained to meditation in his prison at Ham; and he had learned to disguise his thoughts and his wishes. The power which had been developed in him in the days of his obscurity and adversity was cunning. As a master of cunning he saw the necessity of reserve, mistrust, and silence.

The first move of the President to gain his end was to secure a revision of the Constitution. The Assembly, by a vote of three-fourths, could by the statutes of 1848 order a revision; a revision could remove the clause which prohibited his re-election, and a re-election was all he then pretended to want. But the Assembly, jealous of its liberties, already suspicious and even hostile, showed no disposition to smooth his way. He clearly saw that some other means must be adopted. He naturally turned to the army; but the leading generals distrusted him, and were in the ranks of his enemies. They were all Orléanists or Republicans.

The ablest general in France was probably Changarnier, who had greatly distinguished himself in Algeria. He had been called, on the change of government, to the high post of commander of the National Guards and general of the first military division, which was stationed at Paris. He had been heard to say that if Louis Napoleon should undertake a coup d’état, he would conduct him as a prisoner to Vincennes. This was reported to the President, who at once resolved to remove him, both from hostility and fear. On Changarnier’s removal the ministry resigned. Their places were taken by tools still more subservient.

Nothing now remained but to prepare for the meditated usurpation. The first thing to be done was to secure an able and unscrupulous minister of war, who could be depended upon. As all the generals received their orders from the minister of war, he was the most powerful man in France, next to the President. Such was military discipline that no subordinate dared to disobey him.

There were then no generals of ability in France whom Louis Napoleon could trust, and he turned his eyes to Algeria, where some one might be found. He accordingly sent his most intimate friend and confidant, Major Fleury, able but unscrupulous, to Algeria to discover the right kind of man, who could be bribed. He found a commander of a brigade, by name Saint-Arnaud, extravagant, greatly in debt, who had done some brave and wicked things. It was not difficult to seduce a reckless man who wanted money and preferment. Fleury promised him the high office of minister of war, when he should have done something to distinguish himself in the eyes of the Parisians. Saint-Arnaud, who proved that he could keep a secret, was at once promoted, and a campaign was arranged for him in the summer of 1851, in which he won some distinction by wanton waste of life. His exploits were exaggerated, the venal Press sounded his praises, and he was recalled to Paris and made minister of war; for the President by the Constitution could nominate his ministers and appoint the high officers of State. Other officers were brought from Algeria and made his subordinates. The command of the army of Paris was given to General Magnan, who was in the secret. The command of the National Guards was given to a general who promised not to act, for this body was devoted to the Assembly. M. Maupas, another conspirator, of great administrative ability, was made prefect of police.

Thus in September, 1851, everything was arranged; but Saint-Arnaud persuaded the President to defer the coup d’état until winter, when all the deputies would be in Paris, and therefore could be easily seized. If scattered over France, they might rally and create a civil war; for, as we have already said, the Assembly contained the leading men of the country,–statesmen, generals, editors, and great lawyers, all hostile to the ruler of the Republic.

So the President waited patiently till winter. Suddenly, without warning, in the night of the 2d of December, all the most distinguished members of the Assembly were arrested by the police controlled by Maupas, and sent to the various prisons,–including Changarnier, Cavaignac, Thiers, Bedeau, Lamoricière, Barrot, Berryer, De Tocqueville, De Broglie, and Saint-Hilaire. On the following morning strong bodies of the military were posted at the Palais Bourbon (where the Assembly held its sessions), around all the printing-presses, around the public buildings, and in the principal streets. In the meantime, Morny was made minister of the interior. Manifestoes were issued which announced the dissolution of the Assembly and the Council of State, the restoration of universal suffrage, and a convocation of the electoral college to elect the Executive. A proclamation was also made to the army, containing those high-sounding watchwords which no one was more capable of using than the literary President,–eloquent, since they appealed to everything dear to the soldiers’ hearts, and therefore effective. Louis Napoleon’s short speeches convinced those for whom they were intended. He was not so fortunate with his books.

The military and the police had now the supreme control of Paris, while the minister of the interior controlled the municipalities of the various departments. All resistance was absurd; and yet so tremendous an outrage on the liberties of the nation provoked an indignation, especially among the Republicans, which it was hard to suppress. The people rallied and erected barricades, which of course were swept away by the cannon of General Magnan, accompanied by needless cruelties and waste of blood, probably with the view to inspire fear and show that resistance was hopeless.

Paris and its vicinity were now in the hands of the usurper, supported by the army and police, and his enemies were in prison. The Assembly was closed, as well as the higher Courts of Justice, and the Press was muzzled. Constitutional liberty was at an end; a despot reigned unopposed. Yet Louis Napoleon did not feel entirely at his ease. Would the nation at the elections sustain the usurpation? It was necessary to control the elections; and it is maintained by some historians that every effort to that end was made through the officials and the police. Whether the elections were free or not, one thing astonished the civilized world,–seven millions of votes were cast in favor of Louis Napoleon; and the cunning and patient usurper took possession of the Tuileries, re-elected President to serve for ten years. Before the year closed, in December, 1852, he was proclaimed Emperor of the French by the vote and the will of the people. The silent, dull, and heavy man had outwitted everybody; and he showed that he understood the French people better than all the collected statesmen and generals who had served under Louis Philippe with so much ability and distinction.

What shall we say of a nation that so ignominiously surrendered its liberties? All we can say in extenuation is that it was powerless. Such men as Guizot, Thiers, Cousin, Changarnier, Cavaignac, Molé, Broglie, Hugo, Villemain, Lamartine, Montalembert, would have prevented the fall of constitutional government if their hands had not been tied. They were in prison or exiled. Some twenty-five thousand people had been killed or transported within a few weeks after the coup d’état, and fear seized the minds of those who were active in opposition, or suspected even of being hostile to the new government. France, surprised, perplexed, affrighted, must needs carry on a war of despair, or succumb to the usurpation. The army and the people alike were governed by terror.

But although France had lost her freedom, it was only for a time; and although Louis Napoleon ruled as an absolute monarch, his despotism, sadly humiliating to people of intelligence and patriotism, was not like that of Russia, or even like that of Prussia and Austria. The great men of all parties were too numerous and powerful to be degraded or exiled. They did not resist his government, and they held their tongues in the cafés and other assemblies where they were watched by spies; but they talked freely with one another in their homes, and simply kept aloof from him, refusing to hold office under him or to attend his court, waiting for their time. They knew that his government was not permanent, and that the principles of the Revolution had not been disseminated and planted in vain, but would burst out in some place or other like a volcano, and blaze to heaven. Men pass away, but principles are indestructible.

Louis Napoleon was too thoughtful and observant a man not to know all this. His residence in England and intercourse with so many distinguished politicians and philosophers had taught him something. He feared that with all his successes his throne would be overturned unless he could amuse the people and find work for turbulent spirits. Consequently he concluded on the one hand to make a change in the foreign policy of France, and on the other to embellish his capital and undertake great public works, at any expense, both to find work for artisans and to develop the resources of the country.

When Louis Napoleon made his first attack on the strong government of Louis Philippe, at Strasburg, he was regarded as a madman; when he escaped from Ham, after his failure at Boulogne, he was looked upon by all Europe as a mere adventurer; and when he finally left England, which had sheltered him, to claim his seat in the National Assembly of republican France, and even when made President of the republic by the suffrages of the nation, he was regarded as an enigma. Some thought him dull though bold, and others looked upon him as astute and long-headed. His heavy look, his leaden eye, his reserved and taciturn ways, with no marked power but that of silence and secrecy, disarmed fear. Neither from his conversations nor his writings had anybody drawn the inference that he was anything remarkable in genius or character. His executive abilities were entirely unknown. He was generally regarded as simply fortunate from the name he bore and the power he usurped, but with no striking intellectual gifts,–nothing that would warrant his supreme audacity. He had never distinguished himself in anything; but was admitted to be a thoughtful man, who had written treatises of respectable literary merit. His social position as the heir and nephew of the great Napoleon of course secured him many friends and followers, who were attracted to him by the prestige of his name, and who saw in him the means of making their own fortune; but he was always, except in a select and chosen circle, silent, non-committal, heavy, reserved, and uninteresting.

But the President–the Emperor–had been a profound student of the history of the first Napoleon and his government. He understood the French people, too, and had learned to make short speeches with great effect, in which adroitness in selecting watchwords–especially such as captivated the common people–was quite remarkable. He professed liberal sentiments, sympathy with the people in their privations and labors, and affected beyond everything a love of peace. In his manifestoes of a policy of universal peace, few saw that love of war by which he intended to rivet the chains of despotism. He was courteous and urbane in his manners, probably kind in disposition, not bloodthirsty nor cruel, supremely politic and conciliating in his intercourse with statesmen and diplomatists, and generally simple and unstilted in his manners. He was also capable of friendship, and never forgot those who had rendered him services or kindness in his wanderings. Nor was he greedy of money like Louis Philippe, but freely lavished it on his generals. Like his uncle, he had an antipathy to literary men when they would not condescend to flatter him, which was repaid by uncompromising hostility on their part. How savage and unrelenting was the hatred of Victor Hugo! How unsparing his ridicule and abuse! He called the usurper “Napoleon the Little,” notwithstanding he had outwitted the leading men of the nation and succeeded in establishing himself on an absolute throne. A small man could not have shown so much patience, wisdom, and prudence as Louis Napoleon showed when President, or fought so successfully the legislative body when it was arrayed against him. If the poet had called him “Napoleon the Wicked” it would have been more to the point, for only a supremely unscrupulous and dishonest man could have meditated and executed the coup d’état. His usurpation and treachery were gigantic crimes, accompanied with violence and murder. Even his crimes, however, were condoned in view of the good government which he enforced and the services he rendered; showing that, if he was dishonest and treacherous, he was also able and enlightened.

But it is not his usurpation of supreme power for which Louis Napoleon will be most severely judged by his country and by posterity. Cromwell was a usurper, and yet he is regarded as a great benefactor. It was the policy which Napoleon III. pursued as a supreme ruler for which he will be condemned, and which was totally unlike that of Cromwell or Augustus. It was his policy to embroil nations in war and play the rôle of a conqueror. The policy of the restored Bourbons and of Louis Philippe was undeniably that of peace with other nations, and the relinquishment of that aggrandizement which is gained by successful war. It was this policy,–upheld by such great statesmen as Guizot and Thiers,–conflicting with the warlike instincts of the French people, which made those monarchs unpopular more than their attempts to suppress the liberty of the Press and the license of popular leaders; and it was the appeal to the military vanity of the people which made Napoleon III. popular, and secured his political ascendency.

The quarrel which was then going on between the Greek and Latin monks for the possession of the sacred shrines at Jerusalem furnished both the occasion and the pretence for interrupting the peace of Europe, as has been already stated in the Lecture on the Crimean war. The French usurper determined to take the side of the Latin monks, which would necessarily embroil him with the great protector of the Greek faith, even the Emperor Nicholas, who was a bigot in all matters pertaining to his religion. He would rally the French nation in a crusade, not merely to get possession of a sacred key and a silver star, but to come to the assistance of a power no longer dangerous,–the “sick man,” whom Nicholas had resolved to crush. Louis Napoleon cared but little for Turkey; but he did not want Constantinople to fall into the hands of the Russians, and thus make them the masters of the Black Sea. France, it is true, had but little to gain whoever possessed Constantinople; she had no possessions or colonies in the East to protect. But in the eye of her emperor it was necessary to amuse her by a war; and what war would be more popular than this,–to head off Russia and avenge the march to Moscow?

Russia, moreover, was the one power which all western Europe had cause to dread. Ever since the Empress Catherine II., the encroachments and territorial aggrandizement of this great military empire had been going on. The Emperor Nicholas was the most powerful sovereign of the world, having a million of men under arms, ready to obey his nod, with no check whatever on his imperial will. He had many fine qualities, which commanded esteem; but he was fitful, uncertain, ambitious, and warlike. If an aggressive war to secure the “balance of power” could ever be justified, it would seem to have been necessary in this case. It was an aggressive war on the part of France, since the four great Powers–Austria, Prussia, France, and England–were already united to keep the Czar in check, and demanded his evacuation of the Danubian provinces which he had invaded. Nicholas, seeing this powerful combination against him, was ready to yield, and peace might have been easily secured, and thus the Crimean war been avoided; but Louis Napoleon did not want peace, and intrigued against it.

Resolved then on war, the real disturber of the peace of Europe, and goaded on by his councillors,–the conspirators of the 2d of December, Morny, Fleury, Maupas, etc.,–Louis Napoleon turned around to seek an ally; for France alone was not strong enough to cope with Russia. Austria having so much to lose, did not want war, and was afraid of Nicholas. So was Prussia. It was the policy of both these Powers to keep on good terms with Nicholas. It always will be the policy of Germany to avoid a war with Russia, unless supported by England and France. The great military organization which Bismarck and Moltke effected, the immense standing army which Germany groans under, arises not from anticipated dangers on the part of France so much as from fear of Russia, although it is not the policy of German statesmen to confess it openly. If France should unite with Russia in a relentless war, Germany would probably be crushed, unless England came to the rescue. Germany, placed between two powerful military monarchies, is obliged to keep up its immense standing army, against its will, as a dire necessity. It is Russia she is most anxious to conciliate. All the speeches of Bismarck show this.

In view of this policy, Louis Napoleon turned his eyes to England as his ally in the meditated war with Russia, notwithstanding the secret hostilities and jealousies between these nations for five hundred years. Moreover, the countries were entirely dissimilar: England was governed by Parliament, based on free institutions; France was a military despotism, and all who sought to establish parliamentary liberties and government were banished when their efforts became dangerous or revolutionary. Louis Napoleon showed great ability for intrigue in forcing the English cabinet to adopt his warlike policy, when its own policy was pacific. It was a great triumph to the usurper to see England drifting into war against the combined influence of the premier, of Gladstone, of the Quakers, and of the whole Manchester school of political economists; and, as stated in the Lecture on the Crimean war, it was an astounding surprise to Nicholas.

But this misfortune would not have happened had it not been for the genius and intrigues of a statesman who exercised a commanding influence over English politics; and this was Lord Palmerston, who had spent his life in the foreign office, although at that time home secretary. But he was the ruling spirit of the cabinet,–a man versatile, practical, amiable, witty, and intensely English in all his prejudices. Whatever office he held, he was always in harmony with public opinion. He was not a man of great ideas or original genius, but was a ready debater, understood the temper of the English people, and led them by adopting their cause, whatever it was. Hence he was the most popular statesman of the day, but according to Cobden the worst prime minister that England ever had, since he was always keeping England in hot water and stirring up strife on the Continent. His supreme policy, with an eye to English interests on the Mediterranean and in Asia, was to cripple Russia.

Such a man, warlike, restless, and interfering in his foreign policy, having in view the military aggrandizement of his country, eagerly adopted the schemes of the French emperor; and little by little these two men brought the English cabinet into a warlike attitude with Russia, in spite of all that Lord Aberdeen could do. Slight concessions would have led to peace; but neither Louis Napoleon nor Palmerston would allow concessions, since both were resolved on war. Never was a war more popular in England than that which Louis Napoleon and Palmerston resolved to have. This explains the leniency of public opinion in England toward a man who had stolen a sceptre. He was united with Great Britain in a popular war.

The French emperor, however, had other reasons for seeking the alliance of England in his war with Russia. It would give him a social prestige; he would enter more easily into the family of European sovereigns; he would be called mon frère by the Queen of England, which royal name Nicholas in his disdain refused to give him. If the Queen of England was his friend and ally, all other sovereigns must welcome him into their royal fraternity in spite of his political crimes, which were universally detested. It is singular that England, after exhausting her resources by a war of twenty years to dethrone Napoleon I., should become the firmest ally and friend of Napoleon III., who trampled on all constitutional liberty. But mutual interests brought them together; for when has England turned her back on her interests, or what she supposed to be her interests?

So war became inevitable. Napoleon III. triumphed. His co-operation with England was sincere and hearty. Yea, so gratified and elated was he at this stroke of good fortune, that he was ready to promise anything to his ally, even to the taking a subordinate part in the war. He would follow the dictation of the English ministers and the English generals.

It was the general opinion that the war would be short and glorious. At first it was contemplated only to fight the Russians in Bulgaria, and prevent their march across the Balkans, and thence to Constantinople. The war was undertaken to assist the Turks in the defence of their capital and territories. For this a large army was not indispensable; hence the forces which were sent to Bulgaria were comparatively small.

When Nicholas discovered that he could not force his way to Constantinople over the Balkans, and had withdrawn his forces from the Danubian principalities, peace then might have been honorably declared by all parties. France perhaps might have withdrawn from the contest, which had effected the end at first proposed. But England not only had been entangled in the war by the French alliance, but now was resolved on taking Sebastopol, to destroy the power of Russia on the Euxine; and France was compelled to complete what she had undertaken, although she had nothing to gain beyond what she had already secured. To the credit of Louis Napoleon, he proved a chivalrous and faithful ally, in continuing a disastrous and expensive war for the glory of France and the interests of England alone, although he made a separate peace as soon as he could do so with honor.

It is not my purpose to repeat what I have already written on the Crimean war, although the more I read and think about it the stronger is my disapproval, on both moral and political grounds, of that needless and unfortunate conflict,–unfortunate alike to all parties concerned. It is a marvel that it did not in the end weaken the power and prestige of both Palmerston and Napoleon III. It strengthened the hands of both, as was foreseen by these astute statesmen. Napoleon III. after the war was regarded as a far-seeing statesman, as well as an able administrator. People no longer regarded him as a fool, or even a knave. Success had shut the mouths of his enemies, except of a few obdurate ones like Thiers and Victor Hugo,–the latter of whom in his voluntary exile in Guernsey and Jersey still persisted in calling him “Napoleon the Little.” Thiers generally called him Celui-ci,–“That fellow.” This illustrious statesman, in his restless ambition and desire of power, probably would have taken office under the man whom he both despised and hated; but he dared not go against his antecedents, and was unwilling to be a mere clerk, as all Louis Napoleon’s ministers were, whatever their abilities. He was supported by the army and the people, and therefore was master of the situation. This was a fact which everybody was compelled to acknowledge. It was easy to call him usurper, tyrant, and fool,–anything; but he both “reigned and governed.”

“When peace was finally restored, the empire presented the aspect of a stable government, resting solidly upon the approval of a contented and thriving people.” This was the general opinion of those who were well acquainted with French affairs, and of those who visited Paris, which was then exceedingly prosperous. The city was filled with travellers, who came to see the glory of success. Great architectural improvements were then in progress, which gave employment to a vast number of men theretofore leading a precarious life. The chief of these were the new boulevards, constructed with immense expense,–those magnificent but gloomy streets, which, lined with palaces and hotels, excited universal admiration,–a wise expenditure on the whole, which promoted both beauty and convenience, although to construct them a quarter of the city was demolished. The Grand Opera-House arose over the débris of the demolished houses,–the most magnificent theatre erected in modern times. Paris presented a spectacle of perpetual fêtes, reviews of troops, and illuminations, which both amused and distracted the people. The Louvre was joined to the Tuileries by a grand gallery devoted chiefly to works of art. The Champs Elysées and the Bois de Boulogne were ornamented with new avenues, fountains, gardens, flowers, and trees, where the people could pursue their pleasure unobstructed. The number of beautiful equipages was vastly increased, and everything indicated wealth and prosperity. The military was wisely kept out of sight, except on great occasions, so that the people should not be reminded of their loss of liberties; the police were courteous and obliging, and interfered with no pleasures and no ordinary pursuits; the shops blazed with every conceivable attraction; the fashionable churches were crowded with worshippers and strangers to hear music which rivalled that of the opera; the priests, in their ecclesiastical uniform, were seen in every street with cheerful and beaming faces, for the government sought their support and influence; the papers were filled with the movements of the imperial court at races, in hunting-parties, and visits to the châteaux of the great. The whole city seemed to be absorbed in pleasure or gain, and crowds swarmed at all places of amusement with contented faces: there was no outward sign of despotism or unhappiness, since everybody found employment. Even the idlers who frequented the crowded cafés of the boulevards seemed to take unusual pleasure at their games of dominoes and at their tables of beer and wine. Visitors wondered at the apparent absence of all restraint from government and at the personal liberty which everybody seemed practically to enjoy. For ten years after the coup d’état it was the general impression that the government of Louis Napoleon was a success. In spite of the predictions and hostile criticisms of famous statesmen, it was, to all appearance at least, stable, and the nation was prosperous.

The enemies that the emperor had the most cause to dread were these famous statesmen themselves. Thiers, Guizot, Broglie, Odillon Barrot, had all been prime ministers, and most of the rest had won their laurels under Louis Philippe. They either declined to serve under Napoleon III. or had been neglected by him; their political power had passed away. They gave vent, whenever they could with personal safety, to their spleen, to their disappointment, to their secret hostility; they all alike prophesied evil; they all professed to believe that the emperor could not maintain his position two years,–that he would be carried off by assassination or revolution. And joined with them in bitter hatred was the whole literary class,–like Victor Hugo, Lamartine, and Cousin,–who hurled curses and defiance from their retreats, or from the fashionable salons and clubs which they frequented. The old noblesse stood aloof. St. Germain was like a foreign city rather than a part of Paris. All the traders among the Legitimists and Orléanists continued in a state of secret hostility, and threw all the impediments they could against the government.

The situation of Louis Napoleon was indeed extremely difficult and critical. He had to fight against the combined influences of rank, fashion, and intellect,–against an enlightened public opinion; for it could not be forgotten that his power was usurped, and sustained by brute force and the ignorant masses. He would have been nothing without the army. In some important respects he showed marvellous astuteness and political sagacity,–such, for instance, as in converting England from an enemy to a friend. But he won England by playing the card of common interests against Russia.

The emperor was afraid to banish the most eminent men in his empire; so he tolerated them and hated them,–suspending over their heads the sword of Damocles. This they understood, and kept quiet except among themselves. But France was a hotbed of sedition and discontent during the whole reign of Louis Napoleon, at least among the old government leaders,–Orléanists, Legitimists, and Republicans alike.

Considering the difficulties and hatreds with which Napoleon III. had to contend, I am surprised that his reign lasted as long as it did,–longer than those of Louis XVIII. and Charles X. combined; longer than that of Louis Philippe, with the aid of the middle classes and the ablest statesmen of France,–an impressive fact, which indicates great ability of some kind on the part of the despot. But he paid dearly for his passion for power in the enormous debts entailed by his first war of prestige, and in the death of more than a hundred thousand men in the camps, on the field of battle, and in the hospitals. If he had had any conscience he would have been appalled; but he had no conscience, any more than his uncle, when anything stood in his way. The gratification of his selfish ambition overmastered patriotism and real fame, and prepared the way for his fall and the ignominy which accompanied it.

Had either of the monarchs who ruled France since the Revolution of 1791 been animated with a sincere desire for the public good, and been contented to rule as a constitutional sovereign, as they all alike swore to rule, I do not see why they might not have transmitted their thrones to their heirs. Napoleon I. certainly could have perpetuated his empire in his family had he not made such awful blunders as the invasion of Spain and Russia, which made him unable to contend with external enemies. Charles X. might have continued to reign had he not destroyed all constitutional liberty. Louis Philippe might have transmitted his power to the House of Orléans had he not sacrificed public interests to his greediness for money and to his dynastic ambition. And Napoleon III. might have reigned until he died had he fulfilled his promises to the parties who elevated him; but he could have continued to reign in the violation of his oaths only so long as his army was faithful and successful. When at last hopelessly defeated and captured, his throne instantly crumbled away; he utterly collapsed, and was nothing but a fugitive. What a lesson this is to all ambitious monarchs who sacrifice the interest of their country to personal aggrandizement! So long as a nation sees the monarch laboring for the aggrandizement and welfare of the country rather than of himself, it will rally around him and venerate him, even if he leads his subjects to war and enrolls them in his gigantic armies,–as in the case of the monarchs of Prussia since Frederic II., and even those of Austria.

Napoleon III. was unlike all these, for with transcendent cunning and duplicity he stole his throne, and then sacrificed the interests of France to support his usurpation. That he was an adventurer–as his enemies called him–is scarcely true; for he was born in the Tuileries, was the son of a king, and nephew of the greatest sovereign of modern times. So far as his usurpation can be palliated,–for it never can be excused,–it must be by his deep-seated conviction that he was the heir of his uncle, that the government of the empire belonged to him as a right, and that he would ultimately acquire it by the will of the people. Had Thiers or Guizot or Changarnier seized the reins, they would have been adventurers. All men are apt to be called adventurers by their detractors when they reach a transcendent position. Even such men as Napoleon I., Cromwell, and Canning were stigmatized as adventurers by their enemies. A poor artist who succeeds in winning a rich heiress is often regarded as an adventurer, even though his ancestors have been respectable and influential for four generations. Most successful men owe their elevation to genius or patience or persistent industry rather than to accidents or tricks. Louis Napoleon plodded and studied and wrote for years with the ultimate aim of ruling France, even though he “waded through slaughter to a throne;” and he would have deserved his throne had he continued true to the principles he professed. What a name he might have left had he been contented only to be President of a great republic; for his elevation to the Presidency was legitimate, and even after he became a despot he continued to be a high-bred gentleman in the English sense, which is more than can be said of his uncle. No one has ever denied that from first to last Louis Napoleon was courteous, affable, gentle, patient, and kind, with a control over his feelings and thoughts absolutely marvellous and unprecedented in a public man,–if we except Disraeli. Nothing disturbed his serenity; very rarely was he seen in a rage; he stooped and coaxed and flattered, even when he sent his enemies to Cayenne.

The share taken by Napoleon III. in the affairs of Italy has already been treated of, yet a look from that point of view may find place here. The interference of Austria with the Italian States–not only her own subjects there, but the independent States as well–has been called “a standing menace to Europe.” It was finally brought to a crisis of conflict by the King of Sardinia, who had already provided himself with a friend and ally in the French emperor; and when, on the 29th of April, 1859, Austria crossed the river Ticino in hostile array, the combined French and Sardinian troops were ready to do battle. The campaign was short, and everywhere disastrous to the Austrians; so that on July 6 an armistice was concluded, and on July 12 the peace of Villa Franca ended the war, with Lombardy ceded to Sardinia, while Nice and Savoy were the reward of the French,–justifying by this addition to the territory and glory of France the emperor’s second war of prestige.

Louis Napoleon reached the culmination of his fame and of real or supposed greatness–I mean his external power and grandeur, for I see no evidence of real greatness except such as may be won by astuteness, tact, cunning, and dissimulation–when he returned to Paris as the conqueror of the Austrian armies. He was then generally supposed to be great both as a general and as an administrator, when he was neither a general nor an administrator, as subsequent events proved. But his court was splendid; distinguished foreigners came to do him homage; even monarchs sought his friendship, and a nod of his head was ominous. He had delivered Italy as he had humiliated Russia; he had made France a great political power; he had made Paris the most magnificent city of the world (though at boundless expense), and everybody extolled the genius of Hausmann, his engineer, who had created such material glories; his fêtes were beyond all precedent; his wife gave the law to fashions and dresses, and was universally extolled for her beauty and graces; the great industrial exhibition in 1855, which surpassed in attractiveness that of London in 1851, drew strangers to his capital, and gave a stimulus to art and industry. Certainly he seemed to be a most fortunate man,–for the murmurs and intrigues of that constellation of statesmen which grew up with the restoration of the Bourbons, and the antipathies of editors and literary men, were not generally known. The army especially gloried in the deeds of a man whose successes reminded them of his immortal uncle; while the lavish expenditures of government in every direction concealed from the eyes of the people the boundless corruption by which the services of his officials were secured.

But this splendid exterior was deceptive, and a turn came to the fortunes of Napoleon III.,–long predicted, yet unexpected. Constantly on the watch for opportunities to aggrandize his name and influence, the emperor allowed the disorders of civil war in Mexico–resulting in many acts of injustice to foreigners there–to lead him into a combination with England and Spain to interfere. This was in 1861, when the United States were entering upon the terrific struggles of their own civil war, and were not able to prevent this European interference, although regarding it as most unfriendly to republican institutions. Within a year England and Spain withdrew. France remained; sent more troops; declared war on the government of President Juarez; fought some battles; entered the City of Mexico; convened the “Assembly of Notables;” and, on their declaring for a limited hereditary monarchy, the French emperor proposed for their monarch the Archduke Maximilian,–younger brother of Francis Joseph the Austrian emperor. Maximilian accepted, and in June, 1864, arrived,–upheld, however, most feebly by the “Notables,” and relying chiefly on French bayonets, which had driven Juarez to the northern part of the country.

But against the expectation of Napoleon III, the great rebellion in the United States collapsed, and this country became a military power which Europe was compelled to respect: a nation that could keep in the field over a million of soldiers was not to be despised. While the civil war was in progress the United States government was compelled to ignore the attempt to establish a French monarchy on its southern borders; but no sooner was the war ended than it refused to acknowledge any government in Mexico except that of President Juarez, which Louis Napoleon had overthrown; so that although the French emperor had bound himself with solemn treaties to maintain twenty-five thousand French troops in Mexico, he was compelled to withdraw these forces and leave Maximilian to his fate. He advised the young Austrian to save himself by abdication, and to leave Mexico with the troops; but Maximilian felt constrained by his sense of honor to remain, and refused. In March, 1867, this unfortunate prince was made prisoner by the republicans, and was unscrupulously shot. His calamities and death excited the compassion of Europe; and with it was added a profound indignation for the man who had unwittingly lured him on to his ruin. Louis Napoleon’s military prestige received a serious blow, and his reputation as a statesman likewise; and although the splendor of his government and throne was as great as ever, his fall, in the eyes of the discerning, was near at hand.

Louis Napoleon III. From a photograph

By this time Louis Napoleon had become prematurely old; he suffered from acute diseases; his constitution was undermined; he was no longer capable of carrying the burdens he had assumed; his spirits began to fail; he lost interest in the pleasures which had at first amused him; he found delight in nothing, not even in his reviews and fêtes; he was completely ennuied; his failing health seemed to affect his mind; he became vacillating and irresolute; he lost his former energies. He saw the gulf opening which was to swallow him up; he knew that his situation was desperate, and that something must be done to retrieve his fortunes. His temporary popularity with his own people was breaking, too;–the Mexican fiasco humiliated them. The internal affairs of the empire were more and more interfered with and controlled by the Catholic Church, through the intrigues and influence of the empress, a bigoted Spanish Catholic,–and this was another source of unpopularity, for France was not a priest-ridden country, and the emperor was blamed for the growing ecclesiastical power in civil affairs. He had invoked war to interest the people, and war had saved him for a time; but the consequences of war pursued him. As he was still an overrated man, and known to be restless and unscrupulous, Germany feared him, and quietly armed, making preparations for an attack which seemed only too probable. His negotiation with the King of Holland for the cession of the Duchy of Luxemburg, by which acquisition he hoped to offset the disgrace which his Mexican enterprise had caused, excited the jealousy of Prussia; for by the treaties of 1815 Prussia obtained the right to garrison the fortress,–the strongest in Europe next to Gibraltar,–and had no idea of permitting it to fall into the hands of France.

Archduke Maximilian, From a photograph

The irresistible current which was then setting in for the union of the German States under the rule of Prussia, and for which Bismarck had long been laboring, as had Cavour for the unity of Italy, caused a great outcry among the noisy but shallow politicians of Paris, who deluded themselves with the idea that France was again invincible; and not only they, but the French people generally, fancied that France was strong enough to conquer half of Europe, The politicians saw in a war with Prussia the aggrandizement of French interests, and did all they could to hasten it on. It was popular with the nation at large, who saw only one side; and especially so with the generals of the army, who aspired to new laurels. Napoleon III. blustered and bullied and threatened, which pleased his people; but in his heart he had his doubts, and had no desire to attack Prussia so long as the independence of the southern States of Germany was maintained. But when the designs of Bismarck became more and more apparent to cement a united Germany, and thus to raise up a most formidable military power, Louis Napoleon sought alliances in anticipation of a conflict which could not be much longer delayed.

First, the French emperor turned to Austria, whom he had humiliated at Solferino and incensed by the aid which he had given to Victor Emmanuel to break the Austrian domination in Italy, as well as outraged its sympathies by his desertion of Maximilian in Mexico. No cordial alliance could be expected from this Power, unless he calculated on its hostility to Prussia for the victories she had lately won. Count Beust, the Austrian chancellor, was a bitter enemy to Prussia, and hoped to regain the ascendency which Austria had once enjoyed under Metternich. So promises were made to the French emperor; but they were never kept, and Austria really remained neutral in the approaching contest, to the great disappointment of Napoleon III. He also sought the aid of Italy, which he had reason to expect from the service he had rendered to Piedmont; but the Garibaldians had embroiled France with the Italian people in their attempt to overthrow the Papal government, which was protected by French troops; and Louis Napoleon by the reoccupation of Rome seemed to bar the union of the Italian people, passionately striving for national unity. Thus the Italians also stood aloof from France, although Victor Emmanuel personally was disposed to aid her.

In 1870 France found herself isolated, and compelled, in case of war with Prussia, to fight single-handed. If Napoleon III. had exercised the abilities he had shown at the beginning of his career, he would have found means to delay a conflict for which he was not prepared, or avoid it altogether; but in 1870 his intellect was shattered, and he felt himself powerless to resist the current which was bearing him away to his destruction. He showed the most singular incapacity as an administrator. He did not really know the condition of his army; he supposed he had four hundred and fifty thousand effective troops, but really possessed a little over three hundred thousand, while Prussia had over one-third more than this, completely equipped and disciplined, and with improved weapons. He was deceived by the reports of his own generals, to whom he had delegated everything, instead of looking into the actual state of affairs himself, as his uncle would have done, and as Thiers did under Louis Philippe. More than a third of his regiments were on paper alone, or dwindled in size; the monstrous corruptions of his reign had permeated every part of the country; the necessary arms, ammunition, and material of war in general were deplorably deficient; no official reports could be relied upon, and few of his generals could be implicitly trusted. If ever infatuation blinded a nation to its fate, it most signally marked France in 1870.

Nothing was now wanting but the spark to kindle the conflagration; and this was supplied by the interference of the French government with the nomination of a German prince to the vacant throne of Spain. The Prussian king gave way in the matter of Prince Leopold, but refused further concessions. Leopold was sufficiently magnanimous to withdraw his claims, and here French interference should have ended. But France demanded guarantees that no future candidate should be proposed without her consent. Of course the Prussian king,–seeing with the keen eyes of Bismarck, and armed to the teeth under the supervision of Moltke, the greatest general of the age, who could direct, with the precision of a steam-engine on a track, the movements of the Prussian army, itself a mechanism,–treated with disdain this imperious demand from a power which he knew to be inferior to his own. Count Bismarck craftily lured on his prey, who was already goaded forward by his home war-party, with the empress at their head; negotiations ceased, and Napoleon III. made his fatal declaration of hostilities, to the grief of the few statesmen who foresaw the end.

Even then the condition of France was not desperate if the government had shown capacity; but conceit, vanity, and ignorance blinded the nation. Louis Napoleon should have known, and probably did know, that the contending forces were uneven; that he had no generals equal to Moltke; that his enemies could crush him in the open field; that his only hope was in a well-organized defence. But his generals rushed madly on to destruction against irresistible forces, incapable of forming a combination, while the armies they led were smaller than anybody supposed. Napoleon III. hoped that by rapidity of movement he could enter southern Germany before the Prussian armies could be massed against him; but here he dreamed, for his forces were not ready at the time appointed, and the Prussians crossed the Rhine without obstruction. Then followed the battle of Worth, on the 6th of August, when Marshal McMahon, with only forty-five thousand men, ventured to resist the Prussian crown-prince with a hundred thousand, and lost consequently a large part of his army, and opened a passage through the northern Vosges to the German troops. On the same day Frossard’s corps was defeated by Prince Frederic Charles near Saarbrücken, while the French emperor remained at Metz irresolute, infatuated, and helpless. On the 12th of August he threw up the direction of his armies altogether, and appointed Marshal Bazaine commander-in-chief,–thus proclaiming his own incapacity as a general. Bazaine still had more than two hundred thousand men under his command, and might have taken up a strong position on the Moselle, or retreated in safety to Chalons; but he fell back on Gravelotte, when, being defeated on the 18th, he withdrew within the defences of Metz. He was now surrounded by two hundred and fifty thousand men, and he made no effort to escape. McMahon attempted to relieve him, but was ordered by the government at Paris to march to the defence of that city. On this line, however, he got no farther than Sedan, where all was lost on September 1,–the entire army and the emperor himself surrendering as prisoners of war. The French had fought gallantly, but were outnumbered at every point.

Nothing now remained to the conquerors but to advance to the siege of Paris. The throne of Napoleon III. was overturned, and few felt sympathy for his misfortunes, since he was responsible for the overwhelming calamities which overtook his country, and which his country never forgave. In less than a month he fell from what seemed to be the proudest position in Europe, and stood out to the eye of the world in all the hateful deformity of a defeated despot who deserved to fall. The suddenness and completeness of his destruction has been paralleled only by the defeat of the armies of Darius by Alexander the Great. All delusions as to Louis Napoleon’s abilities vanished forever. All his former grandeur, even his services, were at once forgotten. He paid even a sadder penalty than his uncle, who never lost the affections of his subjects, while the nephew destroyed all rational hopes of the future restoration of his family, and became accursed.

It is possible that the popular verdict in reference to Louis Napoleon, on his fall, may be too severe. This world sees only success or failure as the test of greatness. With the support of the army and the police–the heads of which were simply his creatures, whom he had bought, or who from selfish purposes had pushed him on in his hours of irresolution and guided him–the coup d’état was not a difficult thing, any more than any bold robbery; and with the control of the vast machinery of government,–that machinery which is one of the triumphs of civilization,–an irresistible power, it is not marvellous that he retained his position in spite of the sneers or hostilities of statesmen out of place, or of editors whose journals were muzzled or suppressed; especially when the people saw great public improvements going on, had both bread and occupation, read false accounts of military successes, and were bewildered by fêtes and outward grandeur. But when the army was a sham, and corruption had pervaded every office under government; when the expenses of living had nearly doubled from taxation, extravagance, bad example, and wrong ideas of life; when trusted servants were turned into secret enemies, incapable and false; when such absurd mistakes were made as the expedition to Mexico, and the crowning folly of the war with Prussia, proving the incapacity and folly of the master-hand,–the machinery which directed the armies and the bureaus and all affairs of State itself, broke down, and the catastrophe was inevitable.

Louis Napoleon certainly was not the same man in 1870 that he was in 1850. His burdens had proved too great for his intellect. He fell, and disappeared from history in a storm of wrath and shame, which also hid from the eyes of the people the undoubted services he had rendered to the cause of order and law, and to that of a material prosperity which was at one time the pride of his country and the admiration of the whole world.

But a nation is greater than any individual, even if he be a miracle of genius. When the imperial cause was lost, and the armies of France were dispersed or shut up in citadels, and the hosts of Germany were converging upon the capital, Paris resolved on sustaining a siege–apparently hopeless–rather than yield to a conqueror before the last necessity should open its gates. The self-sacrifices which its whole population, supposed to be frivolous and enervated, made to preserve their homes and their works of art; their unparalleled sufferings; their patience and self-reliance under the most humiliating circumstances; their fertility of resources; their cheerfulness under hunger and privation; and, above everything else, their submission to law with every temptation to break it,–proved that the spirit of the nation was unbroken; that their passive virtues rivalled their most glorious deeds of heroism; that, if light-headed in prosperity, they knew how to meet adversity; and that they had not lost faith in the greatness of their future.

Perhaps they would not have made so stubborn a resistance to destiny if they had realized their true situation, but would have opened their gates at once to overwhelming foes, as they did on the fall of the first Napoleon. They probably calculated that Bazaine would make his escape from Metz with his two hundred thousand men, find his way to the banks of the Loire, rally all the military forces of the south of France, and then march with his additional soldiers to relieve Paris, and drive back the Germans to the Rhine.

But this was not to be, and it is idle to speculate on what might have been done either to raise the siege of Paris–one of the most memorable in the whole history of the world–or to prevent the advance of the Germans upon the capital itself. It is remarkable that the Parisians were able to hold out so long,–thanks to the genius and precaution of Thiers, who had erected the formidable forts outside the walls of Paris in the reign of Louis Philippe; and still more remarkable was the rapid recovery of the French nation after such immense losses of men and treasure, after one of the most signal and humiliating overthrows which history records. Probably France was never stronger than she is to-day in her national resources, in her readiness for war, and in the apparent stability of her republican government,–which ensued after the collapse of the Second Empire. She has been steady, persevering, and even patient for a hundred years in her struggles for political freedom, whatever mistakes she has made and crimes she has committed to secure this highest boon which modern civilization confers. A great hero may fall, a great nation may be enslaved; but the cause of human freedom will in time triumph over all despots, over all national inertness, and all national mistakes.


Abbott, M. Baxter, S.P. Day, Victor Hugo, Macrae, S.M. Smucker, F.M. Whitehurst, have written more or less on Louis Napoleon. See Justin McCarthy’s Modern Leaders; Kinglake’s Crimean War; History of the Franco-German War; Lives of Bismarck, Moltke, Cavour; Life of Lord Palmerston; Life of Nicholas; Life of Thiers; Harriet Martineau’s Biographical Sketches; W.R. Greg’s Life of Todleben.

Prince Bismarck : The German Empire

Beacon Lights of History, Volume X : European Leaders