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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Biela also discovered two other comets


Biela's comet]

On February 18, Wilhelm von Biela, the great German astronomer, died at Venice. Born in 1782 at Rossla in the Hartz Mountains, he entered the Austrian military service in 1805, and was made colonel in 1826, and commandant of Rovigo in 1832. On February 27, 1826, he discovered the famous comet named after him. According to Biela's prediction, the comet returned every six years and thirty-eight weeks until 1852. Thereafter it was not seen as a comet during the century. Biela also discovered two other comets.

[Sidenote: Crimean peace conference]

[Sidenote: Black Sea and Danube opened]

[Sidenote: Status Quo in Balkans]

After the fall of Sebastopol, Austria made another attempt to secure peace. Two of the Powers, France and Russia, were heartily weary of the war. Louis Napoleon had entered the struggle merely to gain military glory and political prestige. He had succeeded in attaining his ends. Alexander II., who had continued the war largely as a matter of filial piety, was ready to seize the first opportunity to conclude peace with honor. A Congress was therefore assembled in Paris to draw up terms satisfactory to all concerned. On March 30, a treaty was signed which gave Kars back to the Sultan and restored Sebastopol to the Czar. The Porte was admitted to the Concert of Powers. Most important

was the regulation of the navigation of the Black Sea. It was decreed in the treaty that "the Black Sea is neutralized; its waters and its ports, thrown open to the mercantile marine of every nation, are formally and in perpetuity interdicted to the flag of war of the Powers possessing its coasts or of any other Power." Patrolling of the sea by small armed vessels was permitted. The Danube was thrown open to the commerce of the world. In order more fully to secure free navigation of the river, the Czar's frontier in Bessarabia was somewhat changed by the cession of certain territory to Moldavia under the suzerainty of the Porte. Both Wallachia and Moldavia continued under the protection of Turkey, and were permitted to enjoy their former privileges. The _status quo_ of Servia was assured. It was further stipulated that, following the ancient rule of the Sultans, no foreign war vessels were to pass through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus while Turkey was at peace. To insure the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, England, France and Austria signed a treaty, on April 15, guaranteeing the independence of the Sultan's dominions and declaring that any violation of this would call for war.

[Sidenote: The Paris convention]

Besides drawing up the treaty of peace, the Congress of Paris settled various moot points in international law. The plenipotentiaries all agreed to the doctrines: "First, privateering is and remains abolished. Second, the neutral flag covers enemy's goods, with the exception of contraband of war. Third, neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under an enemy's flag. Fourth, blockades in order to be binding must be effective; that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the enemy's coast." The United States of America did not subscribe to this convention.

[Sidenote: Results of Crimean war]

Russia came out of the conflict defeated but respected. She had received a check in the Black Sea and her frontier line had been readjusted. Still her political losses were trivial. The war most deeply affected Austria. She had played a false game and had lost. The sceptre of European leadership slipped from her. The situation afforded to Bismarck and Cavour the opportunity each was anxiously awaiting.

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