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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Made his peace with the Comte de Chambord


New English Ministry]

The Earl of Aberdeen formed a new Ministry including Lord John Russell as Foreign Secretary; Lord Palmerston, Home Secretary; Earl Granville, President of the Council; Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, while Sir W. Molesworth, the historian, was Commissioner of Public Works. The Marquis of Lansdowne occupied a seat in the Cabinet without holding any office. It was another Ministry of all the talents. Recent events in France demanded instant attention, the more so since the municipal council of London had taken upon itself to send an address of congratulation to Louis Napoleon upon his assumption of the empire. In the end the British Government took the same course.

[Sidenote: End of French Republic]

[Sidenote: Second Empire]

In Paris, the Senate had been reconvened to consider the reinstitution of the empire. Within three days a _senatus consultum_ was ready recommending the desired change to another plebiscite. Every one of the Senators, so the Parisians suggested, had 30,000 francs' worth of reasons for advocating the change. The formality of a plebiscite was accomplished by November 21. The government functionaries reported 7,854,189 yeas against 253,145 nays. On the anniversary of his _coup d'etat_ of the previous year, Louis Napoleon took the title of Napoleon III., by the grace of God and the will of the nation,

Emperor of the French. The title was made hereditary. In vain did the Count of Chambord voice the protest of the Royalists, and Victor Hugo, in his exile on the Island of Jersey, that of the Republicans. France was once more under imperial rule, and seemed content to remain so. About this time the great Credit Mobilier was established as a joint-stock company by Isaac and Emile Pereire.

[Sidenote: Holy Sepulchre controversy]

Outside of France, Louis Napoleon's second _coup d'etat_ created little stir. Only Emperor Nicholas of Russia refused to recognize Louis Napoleon as a full-fledged monarch. An ecclesiastical dispute concerning the guardianship of the holy places in Palestine threatened to make trouble between France and Russia. In the end the Sultan was prevailed upon to sign a treaty confirming the sole custody of the Holy Sepulchre to the French.


[Sidenote: Empress Eugenie]

[Sidenote: French Royalists reconciled]

On January 30, Louis Napoleon married Eugenie Marie de Montijo de Guzman, a Spanish beauty. Raised to the rank of Empress, this ambitious lady at once became a leader of fashion. The Czar of Russia, acting in conformity with the sovereigns of Austria and Prussia, finally consented to acknowledge Napoleon III. as Emperor of the French, and Great Britain followed. Strengthened by this outward recognition, Louis Napoleon deemed it safe to extend an amnesty to some 4,500 political prisoners and Republican exiles. On February 5, however, General Saint-Priest, with many other Royalists, was secretly arrested on charges of communicating with the Comte de Chambord and of sending false news to foreign newspapers. Not long afterward a bill was passed restoring capital punishment for attempts to subvert the imperial government and for plots against the life of the Emperor. On the recognition of the Empire by Great Britain, application was made to the English Government for a surrender of the Great Napoleon's last testament. The request was granted. Louis Napoleon thereupon undertook to carry out his famous uncle's bequests. Under the stress of adversity, the two branches of the Bourbon family became reconciled to each other. The Duke de Nemours, on behalf of the House of Orleans, made his peace with the Comte de Chambord. Henceforth, the Count of Paris was recognized by the Royalists of France as the rightful pretender to the crown.

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