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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Joint action was to be taken against Mehemet Ali


[Sidenote:

Hawaiian Islands recognized]

In the distant South Seas, the Hawaiian Islands were recognized as an independent kingdom by the Powers on the condition that free access be given to white missionaries and the teachings of Christianity.

[Sidenote: Oriental problems]

[Sidenote: Egypt's status defined]

In regard to the affairs of the Orient, the Powers found agreement more difficult. France gave continued support to the pretensions of Mehemet Ali of Egypt against Turkey. The French scheme to anticipate Russia's designs on Constantinople by a dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of Mehemet Ali at Constantinople found little favor with the Powers. The Russian statesmen understood the true weakness of Turkey, and were willing to bide their time. Metternich and Lord Palmerston clung to the belief that the Ottoman Empire could still be reconstructed. Thus Lord Palmerston said at this time: "All that we hear about the decay of the Turkish Empire, and its being a dead body, or a sapless trunk, and so forth, is pure and unadulterated nonsense." Metternich affected to look upon Mehemet Ali as a mere rebel. At last, on July 15, the negotiators of Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, without waiting for France, concluded a treaty at London. Egypt was offered to Mehemet Ali in perpetuity with southern Syria for his lifetime. If this

offer was not accepted within ten days, Egypt alone was to be ceded; if, after twenty days, this alternative were not accepted, joint action was to be taken against Mehemet Ali.

[Sidenote: France slighted]

[Sidenote: French pretensions on the Rhine]

[Sidenote: Becker's Rhine song]

[Sidenote: Musset's defiance]

The exclusion of France from the concert of Europe aroused a storm of anger at Paris. Guizot, the French Ambassador at London, expostulated with Lord Palmerston. Thiers, then at the head of affairs in France, issued orders for an increase of the strength of army and navy. The long-delayed fortifications at Paris were begun. Military spirit was so awakened in France that the familiar cry was raised to avenge Waterloo and recover the Rhine. The Germans fiercely resented this threat of invasion, prompted largely by French exasperation over the turn which Egyptian affairs had taken. Even the Rhenish provinces, which owed so much to France, shared in this national feeling. It was at this time that Becker, himself a man from the Rhine, wrote the lines which in later years became one of Germany's most famous war songs:

"Sie sollen ihn nicht haben Den freien deutschen Rhein."

Alfred de Musset answered this with his defiant verses:

"Nous avons eu votre Rhin Allemand,"

[Sidenote: Napoleonic memories]

[Sidenote: Louis Napoleon's second fiasco]

Under the stress of this new military ardor in France, agitation was revived for the return of Napoleon Bonaparte's remains from St. Helena to France. The consent of the British Government having been obtained, a decree to this effect was passed by the French Chambers. Other events helped to fan to fresh life the smouldering flames of Napoleonic imperialism. Thus the death of Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon's eldest brother, and of Marshal MacDonald, hero of Wagram, recalled a host of Napoleonic memories. On August 6, Prince Louis Napoleon deemed the time ripe for another Napoleonic rising. Crossing over from England with General Moltenon and fifty followers he attempted to incite an insurrection at Vimereux near Boulogne. He hoped to re-enact the events after Elba. Once more his plans ended in a fiasco. "Bonaparte or not, I see in you only a conspirator," exclaimed Colonel Puygelier. The conspirators fled back to their boat and capsized. Louis Napoleon was taken and sentenced to life imprisonment within the fortress of Ham. As a sop to popular feeling, King Louis Philippe permitted the bronze statue of the Great Napoleon to be replaced on the column of the Grande Armee in Paris.


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