MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF HENRY REEVE - C.B. - D.C.L.
MEMOIRS OF THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF HENRY REEVE - C.B. - D.C.L.
JOHN KNOX LAUGHTON
HONORARY FELLOW OF GONVILLE AND CAIUS COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE PROFESSOR OF
MODERN HISTORY IN KING'S COLLEGE LONDON
IN TWO VOLUMES
CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME
PORTRAIT OF HENRY REEVE AET. 68.
_From a Photograph taken by_ RUPERT POTTER Esq.
XIII. THE WAR IN ITALY (1859-60)
XIV. LITERATURE AND POLITICS (1860-3)
XV. LAW AND LITERATURE (1863-7)
XVI. CHURCH POLITICS (1868-9)
XVII. THE FRANCO-GERMAN WAR (1869-71)
XVIII. THE GREVILLE MEMOIRS (1871-4)
XIX. FOXHOLES (1874-9)
XX. OUTRAGE AND DISLOYALTY (1880-2)
XXI. THE FRENCH ROYALISTS (1883-5)
XXII. RETIREMENT (1886-9)
XXIII. THE ONE MORE CHANGE (1890-5)
LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF HENRY REEVE
THE WAR IN ITALY
How far the murderous attempt of Orsini on January 14th 1858 was
connected with the political relations of France and Italy it is as yet
impossible to say. It was and still is very commonly believed that in
his youth Louis Napoleon had been affiliated to one or other of the secret
societies of Italy that he was still pledged to this was bound to obey
its orders and that Orsini was an agent to remind him that the attainment
of high rank far from releasing him from the bond rendered it more
stringent as giving him greater power and facility for carrying out the
orders he received. The independence of Italy was aimed at; and it had
been intimated to the Emperor that Orsini's was only the first of similar
messages which if action was not taken would be followed by a second
with greater care to ensure its delivery.
All this may or may not have been mere gossip. What is certain is that
during the latter months of 1858 secret negotiations had been going on
between the Emperor and Victor Emanuel the King of Sardinia or rather his
minister Cavour; and that an agreement had been come to that Austria was
to be attacked and driven out of Italy. Accordingly on January 1st 1859
at his New Year's reception of the foreign ministers Louis Napoleon took
the opportunity of addressing some remarks to the Austrian Ambassador
which to France and to all Europe appeared threatening.
Similarly at Turin it was allowed to appear that war was intended; and on
both sides preparations were hurried on. In France as in Austria these
were on a very extensive scale. A large fleet of transports was collected
at Marseilles; troops were massed on the frontier of Savoy; and on the
part of the Austrians 200000 men were assembled in readiness for action.
On April 23rd Francis Joseph without--it was said--the knowledge of his
responsible ministers sent an ultimatum to Turin requiring an answer
within three days: at the expiration of that time the Austrians would cross
the frontier. The allies utilised the delay to complete their preparations;
and before the three days had ended the advance of the Franco-Sardinian
army had begun.
The campaign proved disastrous to the Austrians whose half-drilled and
badly-fed troops and obsolete artillery were commanded by an utterly
incompetent general. They were defeated at Palestro on May 31st; at Magenta
on June 4th; and again at Solferino on June 24th. Nothing it appeared to
the Italians and the lookers-on could prevent the successful and decisive
issue; the Austrians would be compelled to quit Italy. Suddenly Louis
Napoleon announced that he had come to an agreement with the Emperor of
Austria and that peace was agreed on. The disappointment and rage of the
Italians were very great; but as Louis Napoleon was resolved and as
Victor Emanuel could not continue the war without his assistance he was
obliged to consent and peace was concluded at Villafranca on July 11th.
For the next eighteen months much of the correspondence refers to the
inception and result of this short war mixed of course with more
personal matters and at the beginning with news as to the state of
Tocqueville's health which was giving his friends the liveliest anxiety.
The Journal for the year opens with:--
_January 6th_.--We went to Bowood. It was the first time Christine went
there. The party consisted of the Flahaults Cheneys Strzelecki the
Clarendons Twisletons[Footnote: The Hon. Edward Twisleton chief
commissioner of the poor laws in Ireland. He married in 1852 Ellen
daughter of the Hon. Edward Dwight of Massachusetts U.S.A.; and died at
the age of sixty-five in 1874.] and Leslies. What agreeable people! For a
wonder we shot there on the 10th and killed 140 head.
_January 12th_.--We had a dinner at home--Trevelyan just appointed
governor of Madras Phinn Baron Martin Huddleston W. Harcourt Merivale
and Henry Brougham.
_From Lord Brougham_
_Cannes January 3rd_.--I grieve to say Tocqueville has been worse. His
doctor dined here t'other day and T.'s brother came for him at ten o'clock.
I have as bad an opinion of the case as possible.
_Cannes January 9th_. The Italian affair is very naturally cause of
anxiety but I feel assured this for the present will pass away. I find
there is a strong feeling getting up of the Austrian army being as good as
the finances are bad but the French finances are not likely to be very
much better. However though the present alarm will pass away what a sad
thing for the peace of the world to depend not on the general opinion
and feeling but on the caprice or the jobbing or the blunders of a
few individuals! Who can be quite sure that Morny's stockjobbing has had
nothing to do with the late most silly conversation? [Footnote: Presumably
the sinister remark addressed to the Austrian Ambassador on New Year's
Day.] L. N. himself is quite clear of all such blame. He tries all he can
to prevent M. and others from their pillaging but he never can succeed.
However it is to the risk of more blunders that I look as placing peace in
greatest jeopardy. I don't believe L. N. or any one of them would _if they
knew it_ run the risk of a general war (and the least war means a general
war); but they may any day get into a scrape without intending it for they
have not the security of free discussion to warn them.
_From Lord Hatherton_
_Teddesley January 12th_.--Do me the kindness to write me one line to tell
me what you know of the state of M. de Tocqueville. Is it dangerous? There
is no man out of this kingdom who possesses so much of my admiration and
This general lull after the late Reform agitation is very natural. There
are four parties waiting each other's moves; three at least exclusive of
Bright's which is the least. There are the present Government the late
Government and the country--which as I read it has little in common with
any of them but is at present without a leader. Any very powerful man who
had been living by would now have had a great field before him.
I attended the day before yesterday a very remarkable meeting of the
Birmingham and Midland Institute at Birmingham. Lord Ward [Footnote:
Created Earl of Dudley in 1860.] in the chair. The report and all the
officials and speakers especially those from the town complained of the
indifference of the artisans mechanics and labourers of that town to
instruction and education generally. It seems on the showing of Bright's
friends that these fellows the noisiest of their class about Reform are
the most ignorant and the least desirous of improving themselves. Such is
the report of Bright's own friends. Mr. Ryland the vice-president and
real manager of the institution who is also Bright's friend there is the
loudest in his complaints of this body. Ryland further told me that
he believed there was not a workman in the town who if consulted
individually would express his approval of all Bright's principles. Mr.
Ryland is a solicitor.
I am all anxiety to see your January number.
_To the Marquis of Lansdowne_
62 Rutland Gate January 25th.
My dear Lord Lansdowne--I have omitted but not from forgetfulness to
express to you the very high gratification Mrs. Reeve and myself derived
from your most kind reception of us at Bowood and I am sure we shall
always retain the liveliest recollection of this most agreeable visit. But
in truth I waited till something should occur which might have the good
fortune to interest you and I think the accounts I continue to receive
from France on the present threatening aspect of affairs may be of that
nature. M. Guizot says to me in a letter of the 23rd inst.:--
'Jusqu'a ces jours derniers je n'y voulais pas croire. J'essaye encore d'en
douter; mais c'est difficile. Ce sera un exemple de plus des guerres faites
par embarras de ne pas les faire bien plus que par volonte de les faire.
Je suis porte a croire que l'Empereur Napoleon serait charme de ne plus
entendre parler de l'Italie; mais pour cela il faudrait qu'il n'y eut plus
d'assassins italiens plus de Roi de Sardaigne plus de cousins a marier
plus de brouillons revolutionnaires a contenter. Aujourd'hui et malgre
toutes les paroles contraires il me parait probable que ces causes de
guerre prevaudront sur la moderation naturelle sur le gout du repos
voluptueux sur l'avis des conseillers officiels et sur le sentiment
evident du public. Que fera l'Allemagne? Le tiendra-t-elle unie? La est la
question. L'Angleterre y peut certainement beaucoup. Je ne vois plus que la
une chance pour le maintien de la paix.'
These words are so remarkable coming from a man whose disposition is ever
so much more sanguine than desponding that I have quoted them at length.
We have all been greatly touched by the close of Mr. Hallam's most
honourable useful and I may say illustrious life. [Footnote: He died on
January 21st 1859.] It so chanced that my sister-in-law Helen Richardson
who has been to him a second daughter for the last few years came up from
Scotland on Thursday [January 20th]. On Friday she went down with Mrs.
Cator to see him. He perfectly knew her and seemed charmed to see her
again; but before she left his bed-side the light flickered in the socket
and he expired a short time afterwards in their presence conscious and
without pain to the last. I thought the notice of him in the 'Times' of
Monday very pleasing and was inclined to attribute it to David Dundas but
I know not whether I am right....
I remain always
Your obliged and faithful
_From Lord Clarendon_
_The Grove January 26th_.--I am much obliged to you for M. Guizot's
letter [Footnote: Apparently that of January 23rd quoted in the previous
letter to Lord Lansdowne.] which Miladi and I have read with interest as
one always does everything he writes. I showed it to G. Lewis and C. C. G.
feeling sure you would have no objection. It is impossible not to agree in
his gloomy view of things. It must be owned that the position the Emperor
has made for himself is one of extreme difficulty. His _idee dominante_
has been how to pacify Italian conspirators by bringing away his army
from Rome without having the Pope's throat cut or letting in an Austrian
garrison there; and he determined that driving the Austrians out of Italy
was the indispensable preliminary step. He was urged to do this and to
think it easy both by Russia and Sardinia; and we may be sure that the
Sardinians would not have committed themselves as they have done and
incurred such inconvenient expense if they had not received promises of
active support. How would it be possible then for L. N. to recede? Cavour
would show him up and fresh daggers and grenades would be prepared for
him. I look upon war therefore as certain. We have only to hope that
Austria may continue to act prudently and not furnish the cause of quarrel
which her enemies are looking for and which might turn against her those
who for decency's sake wish to remain neutral; and next that Germany may
be united by a sense of common danger. This may tend to limit the area of
the war; but altogether it is a deplorable _gachis_ out of which L. N. can
no more see his way than anyone else.
_From Lord Brougham_
_Cannes January 26th_.--I must throw myself and the cause of law amendment
on your kindness under a great evil which has befallen us. The 'Quarterly
Review' under Mr. Elwin was so favourably disposed to law reform as to
resolve upon inserting a full discussion of the subject on the occasion
of Sir E. Wilmot's volume on my 'Acts and Bills;' and Bellenden Ker had
undertaken it and was as a law reformer and as under Cranworth in
office as consolidation commissioner certainly well qualified to do
the article. But he made such a mess of it; in fact treating Eldon
Ellenborough &c. and other obstacles to law reform not introductory but
as I understand making a whole article upon that. The consequence has been
that the whole has failed and this most valuable opportunity been lost of
having the Tory journal's adhesion to law reform now. It is barely possible
they may take it up hereafter. But surely the natural place for this
statement is the 'Edinburgh Review' and I should feel great comfort for
the good cause if I thought you would thus help us. The matter in Sir E.'s
book renders it very easy to show what has been done of late years.
Poor Tocqueville is one day a little better another a little worse; but I
have little or no hope of his getting through it.
Shortly after this Lord Brougham made a flying visit to London. A note in
the Journal is:--
_February 26th_.--I dined at Lord Brougham's and met Dr. Lushington Lord
Glenelg Lord Broughton; all--with our host--over 80.
But the state of Tocqueville's health continued for Reeve the most
engrossing personal consideration and just at this time the deadly malady
took a favourable though delusive turn. Tocqueville--says M. de Beaumont
[Footnote: Gustave de Beaumont: _Oeuvres et Correspondance inedites
d'Alexis de Tocqueville_ (1861) tome i. p. 116.]--hoped for the best.
'How could he do otherwise when all around him was bursting into life? and
so he kept on his regular habits his schemes his work. He read and
was read to; he wrote a great many letters and devoured those which he
received in great numbers. There was not one of his friends who did not
receive at least one letter from him during the last month of his life.'
The following is his last letter to Reeve. The writing is painfully bad
the letters often half formed or crowded one on top of another; even the
orthography is imperfect; but the words and ideas flow in full volume.
Cannes. le 25 fevrier.
Cher Reeve--Il y a un siecle que je ne vous ai ecrit. Je n'etais pas libre
de le faire. Le mois de janvier tout entier s'est passe au milieu de la
crise la plus douloureuse. Je ne crois pas qu'il y ait aucun mois de ma
vie qui merite mieux que celui-la d'etre marque d'une croix noire dans
l'histoire de mon existence privee. Jetons dans l'oubli s'il est possible
des jours et surtout des nuits si cruels et bornons-nous a demander a Dieu
de n'envoyer rien de semblable desormais soit a moi soit a mes amis.
Depuis trois semaines j'occupe fevrier a reparer les mefaits de janvier. Je
vais aussi bien que possible: mes forces sont en grande partie revenues.
Les bronches semblent en voie de guerison rapide. Ainsi n'en parlons plus.
I have just been reading an excellent article on the Catacombs in the
'Edinburgh Review.' It is a subject which has always interested me but
very likely I should not have begun with this particular article if I had
not known it was by you. Circourt wrote to me about it and so deprived me
of the pleasure of finding it out for myself which I think I could have
done. But in any case the article is exceedingly interesting ... Though I
have been enjoying myself in following you underground what is now going
on on the earth's surface calls for close attention. I am here hard by one
of the old military roads which have led into Italy from time immemorial
as at this day. I hear that great preparations are being made all along
the valley of the Rhone and the neighbouring country. What I am sure of
because it is taking place under my very eyes is that the railway from
Marseilles to Toulon is being pushed forward at an unheard of rate. It is
the only link wanting to complete the chain of communication between Brest
Cherbourg Paris and Toulon. There was no expectation of this railway
being finished before the middle of summer; but now it is understood that
it will be ready within a few days--an instance of doing the impossible.
Such efforts presuppose some great object which it is desired to accomplish
I am told perhaps incorrectly that Prussia has decided to remain
neutral--at first at any rate; and by the same authority that Russia
will be neutral but in a spirit friendly to France. This would be very
serious; for Russia gives nothing for nothing. If it is so the Emperor's
project would appear less silly. It would explain how an ambitious prince
whose throne is tottering who is bound to excite the admiration of France
and to gratify the national vanity [Footnote: Fleury one of the most
faithful and attached of the Emperor's followers wrote in words almost
identical (_Souvenirs_ tom. i. p. 330): 'C'etait par une serie de faits
grandioses par des spectacles flattant l'orgueil et les instincts du pays
que Napoleon III allait pendant de longues annees non seulement occuper
rejouir la France mais encore fixer l'attention l'etonnement et bien
souvent l'admiration du monde.'] who is stopped by no scruples might find
it an excellent opportunity for bringing on a personal war--if I may say
so; for driving the Germans across the Alps and naming himself the Dictator
of Italy. It is true that no great material advantage can result from it;
but L. N. is sufficiently well acquainted with France to know that the
glitter of such a course would probably content her. All this would be easy
to understand if Maria Theresa reigned at Vienna Frederic at Berlin and
Mme. de Pompadour at Versailles; in a word if we were in the eighteenth
instead of the nineteenth century. But being as we are in the nineteenth
century the designs which are ascribed to the Emperor are to be condemned
as in the highest degree treasonable to humanity and to France. Kings can
no longer claim to be guided only by their personal interests and passions;
and now--when it is agreed that England cannot remain neutral in a war
between France and a great Continental Power; when it is admitted that
a Continental war however short would surely awaken the hatred of all
princes and all neighbouring people and would end in a coalition against
France--now I say to plunge into such an adventure would be not only the
most silly but the most wicked thing which a Frenchman could do.
La longueur un peu desordonnee de cette lettre mon cher ami vous prouvera
mieux que tout ce que je pourrais dire les progres de ma sante. Je vais
ecrire a Mme Grote. Rappelez-nous je vous prie tout particulierement au
souvenir de Lady Theresa et de Sir C. Lewis. J'espere que Lord Hatherton
ne m'a pas oublie. Mille et mille amities a tous les Senior. Je n'ai pas
besoin d'en dire autant pour Mme et Mile Reeve. Tout a vous de coeur A. T.
Reeve replied immediately:--
_62 Rutland Gate 1 mars_.--Votre lettre me fait le plus sensible plaisir.
Les nouvelles indirectes de votre sante qui me sont parvenues de temps en
temps m'avaient excessivement preoccupe. J'ai su que le mois de janvier
avait ete mauvais et quoique j'eusse bien des fois l'envie de prendre la
plume elle m'est tombee des mains lorsque j'ai reflechi que j'ignorais
malheureusement dans quel etat de corps et d'esprit ma lettre pourrait
vous trouver. Pendant tout l'hiver j'ai recu par lettre et de bouche une
infinite de demandes sur votre etat. Vous ne sauriez croire a quel point
tous vos amis d'Angleterre qui sont encore plus nombreux que ceux dont
vous avez une connaissance personnelle m'ont temoigne pour vous d'interet
de consideration et d'affection. Aussi votre convalescence est une bonne
nouvelle pour nous tous--les Lewis les Hatherton les Grote Knight-Bruce
et tant d'autres. Je me permets cependant de dire que le sentiment que j'ai
eu toutes les fois que je me suis transporte par la pensee a votre chambre
de malade est bien autrement profond. Mon amitie pour vous est une des
affections les plus vives qu'il m'ait ete donne de conserver. Je n'ai rien
de plus cher. Et l'idee que vous souffriez tant de mal sans qu'il me
fut possible de vous offrir le moindre soulagement m'a ete extremement
penible. Pour un malade la lecture de mes 'Catacombes' ne me parait pas
excessivement gai mais je reconnais la votre aimable souvenir de l'auteur.
Bref vous etes en convalescence. Le soleil printanier meme dans nos
climats luit d'un eclat extraordinaire. Deja au mois de fevrier les
arbustes poussaient des feuilles. Dieu veuille que cette douce chaleur de
l'annee vous rende bientot a la sante et a la Normandie.
There is no doubt that the state of public affairs is more serious than it
has been since 1851. [Footnote: _Sc._ in France before the _Coup d'etat_.]
The meaning of what has lately been going on in public and of the secret
plots which have been hatching for a long time is very clear. As to
France I say nothing; for after all she has the chances of success
which will smooth away many apparent difficulties. But the peace of Europe
depends on Germany and on England. Shall we succeed in maintaining it? The
attitude of England is I think good. Without any hostile demonstration
she has shown very clearly that she will be no party to any breach of the
treaties. Lord Cowley's mission to Vienna has been arranged between him
and the Emperor but I have no faith in it. It is merely a device to make
people think he is acting in agreement with the English Cabinet and so
conceal a scheme to which the English Cabinet is totally opposed. Opinion
here is unanimous against French intervention in Italy. Unfortunately we
are in a very bad position at home. The Cabinet is deplorably weak and it
has just lost two of its principal members. The Reform Bill brought in
yesterday raises more questions than it answers; but it will probably
serve to give prominence to the dissensions in the Liberal party. 'Tis
a real misfortune; for a disunited party cannot assert any influence in
Lord Brougham is returning to Cannes though with little inclination to
stay among such grave causes of anxiety. So long as France is free to act
by sea the road to Italy does not lie through Var but in the ports of
Toulon and Marseilles. Shall you soon be hearing the guns of the second
The action of England at this important crisis was curious but
characteristic. The destinies of Europe were shaking in the balance; the
fortunes of France of Italy of Austria probably also of Prussia and
very possibly of Russia were at stake; so the English Government thought
it a suitable opportunity to tinker the constitution and introduce a Reform
Bill--which nobody seems to have wanted--mainly it would seem to 'dish'
the Whigs. It was however they themselves who were dished. Mr. Henley
the President of the Board of Trade resigned on January 27th. So also did
Mr. S. H. Walpole [Footnote: Mr. Walpole died at the age of 92 on May
22nd 1898.] the Home Secretary who wrote to Lord Derby: 'I cannot help
saying that the measure which the Cabinet are prepared to recommend is one
which we should all of us have stoutly opposed if either Lord Palmerston
or Lord John Russell had ventured to bring it forward.' None the less
the Bill was introduced on February 28th. On the second reading it was
negatived; a dissolution and a general election followed; and on the
meeting of Parliament in June the Ministry were defeated on an amendment
to the Address and resigned.
But though the want of confidence appeared to be based on the question of
the Reform Bill there is no doubt that there was a widespread mistrust of
the foreign policy of the Government. For some years past perhaps ever
since Mr. Gladstone's celebrated Neapolitan letters in 1851 successive
waves of sentiment in favour of Italian independence and unity had passed
over the country; and Lord Derby or Lord Malmesbury had perhaps fancied
that this sentiment might be invoked in their defence. They had not
indeed taken any overt action but there was a general idea that they were
inclined to favour the designs of Italy and of France. Now to favour the
cause of Italian independence was one thing; to favour the ambitious and
grasping schemes of France was another; and the leaders of the Liberal