A congress at Vienna. The Austrian Loan. Proclamations of Dulce and O'Donnell. The Ministerial Crisis in Britain

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Author(s) Karl Marx
Written 18 July 1854

First published in the New York Daily Tribune, No. 4147, August 3;
reprinted in the New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, No. 959, August 4, 1854
Reproduced from the New York Daily Tribune
Source: Marx-Engels Collected Works, Volume 13 (pp.301-308), Progress Publishers, Moscow 1980

This article is entered in the Notebook as "Dienstag 18. Juli. Österreich. Türkei. Spanien. Ministerkrisis. Peithman". The analysis of the sources used in the article allows us to assume that it was heavily edited by the Tribune editors who presumably arbitrarily combined the material of this article and of the subsequent one: "The Spanish Revolution. —Greece and Turkey". Both articles, dispatched to America by the steamships Alps and Canada on July 19 and 22 respectively, arrived in New York almost at the same time and were published on August 3 and 4, 1854. The article "A Congress at Vienna" was included by Eleanor Marx in The Eastern Question.

London, Tuesday, July 18, 1854

There was a Congress at Vienna on July 13, composed of rather different elements than the late famous Conferences[1]. Count Buol, the Austrian Premier, gave a dinner on that day, in honor of Prince Gorchakoff, the Russian Envoy, whose task it is to cover the position of Prince Gorchakoff, the General commanding in the Principalities. Besides the personnel of the Russian Legation, there were present Count Flemming, the representative of Prussia during the absence of Count Arnim; Gen. Mansbach, Embassador of Sweden; Count Bille-Brahe, Embassador of Denmark; M. de Heeckeren, Embassador of Holland; M. de Wendtland, the expelled Secretary of the King of Greece; lastly, Count O'Sullivan de Grass, Minister of Belgium and the senior of the corps diplomatique. Here you have the complete list of the persons openly sailing under the Russian flag. Bamberg[2], of course, was strongly represented, but the names of its great men have not been given.

The official English press cannot suppress the uneasiness felt at the Austrian order for the suspension of Count Coronini's advance into Wallachia, and about the dispatches forwarded to Paris and London, according to which Russia proposes to accede to the terms of the Protocol of 9th April, as a basis for negotiations of peace[3], but subject to conditions. The semi-official Austrian Correspondence[4] thinks that, although .the Russian propositions are not quite satisfactory, there is really something in them which deserves to be taken into consideration by the western powers[5]. The Times, Morning Chronicle, and Observer suggest as a sort of consolation, that it is all the fault of Prussia[6]. If anything were still wanting to reinforce the impression produced by the dinner, the altered position of the Russian troops would be sufficient to prove how much Russia relies on the intentions of Austria. We read in the Neue Preussische Zeitung, the Russian Moniteur at Berlin, with respect to the latest movements of the Russian troops in the Principalities:

"In consequence of an order of Prince Gorchakoff, all that had been ordered some days ago has been countermanded. The retreat of the garrison (of Bucharest), the evacuation of Bucharest had been ordered; General Dannenberg was to leave that town in a few days with the gendarmerie, and to establish the headquarters of the rear guard at Fokshani. Now, in conformity with the new orders, the line of Oltenitza, Bucharest, Buseo and Fokshani is to be maintained."[7]

From other sources we learn that the Russian cavalry are again pushing forward on Statira, to the left of the Aluta. How serious was the intention of evacuating Bucharest is evident from the severe measures taken for carrying off the archives in that town, which are said to contain some documents extremely compromising for the court of Peterhoff.[8]

All these apparently whimsical and contradictory movements of the Russians receive their explanation from the inopportune interference of the Turkish army with the diplomatic arrangements. As the successive settlements of the diplomatists at Vienna were blown up by the Turkish exploits at Oltenitza, Chetatea and Silistria, so also have their last shams been dispersed by the general advance of Omer Pasha's army.

"The policy of these crafty swearing rascals, that stale old mouse-eaten dry cheese, Nestor—and that same old dog-fox, Ulysses—is not proved worth a blackberry; ... whereupon the Grecians begin to proclaim barbarism, and policy grows into an ill opinion."[9]

If you had passed through the streets of London on Saturday[10], you would have heard all the newsvenders shouting their

"great Anglo-Turko-Gallo victory over the Russians at Giurgevo, and capture of Bucharest by the allied troops."

The reason of these pompous announcements you will learn by-and-by, when I come to speak of the new ministerial crisis. As to the cooperation of the Anglo-French forces in the battle of Giurgevo, we know by the regular post from Varna, with dates down to the 4th inst., that "no move" had taken place in the camps. According to the latest Vienna advices, on July 13[11], the auxiliary troops were in full march upon Rustchuk by way of Shumla, and on the 8th a division of French troops had arrived at Rustchuk, and on the 9th only a division of English troops arrived there, Now the battle of Giurgevo ended at 4 a.m. on the 8th, having commenced at an early hour on the 7th, and after an interruption of some hours at noon, being resumed and continued until the morning of the 8th. Thus it is impossible that any French or English troops can have participated in it. The Turks found eight Russian guns spiked, and immediately threw up intrenchments around Giurgevo. The town did not suffer, notwithstanding the shells thrown by the Turks from Rustchuk and the islands. After the retreat of the Russians, Omer Pasha issued a proclamation calling upon the inhabitants to remain tranquil, as no further danger menaced their towns[12]. Giurgevo was only occupied by a feeble detachment of regulars, the principal force of the Turks being encamped around the town and on the three islands of the Danube. Omer Pasha remains at Giurgevo, Said Pasha at Rustchuk. The Turks are masters of the road communicating between Giurgevo and Oltenitza on the left bank of the Danube.

With regard to a second battle, which is asserted to have been followed by the capture of Bucharest, the French Moniteur itself limits it to a small defeat inflicted by the Turks on the Russian rear at Frateshti, on the road from Giurgevo to Bucharest. The Moniteur adds that an Anglo-French corps of 25,000 men has joined the Turks, that the allied forces concentrated amount to about 60,000 men, that Prince Gorchakoff is at the head of a force nearly equal in numbers, and that a great battle might be expected, decisive of the fate of Bucharest. Frateshti is a small fortified place, about twelve miles from Giurgevo and thirty miles from Bucharest. According to the Moniteur, the battle at this place was fought on the 11th[13], but according to the Journal des Débats, on the 14th inst[14]. The Russians are said to have had 700 wounded in this affair, including two generals.[15]

The last Marseilles steamer from Constantinople reports the capture of the Sulina mouth of the Danube by the English steamer Terrible. It is said to have entered the Roads, to have destroyed the Russian fortifications, dispersed the garrison and captured its commander[16]. The news appears to me to require more positive confirmation.

A rumor circulated by English journals, which is, however, not repeated by any French paper, pretends that Admiral Lyons is cruising before Anapa with a view to support an expedition of Admiral Bruat, who is said to have on board 7,000 men for landing.

Letters from Constantinople state that the Porte shows a disposition, on the representations of the English and French Ministers[17], to resume immediately commercial relations with Greece on the following conditions: 1. That Greece engage herself to pay at convenient terms the expenses of the war and an indemnity for the pillage organized by the late insurrectionists; and 2. That she sign, within two months, the commercial treaty hitherto declined. This treaty acknowledges the actual limits of the Turkish and Greek territories.

No news from the Baltic. The Hamburger Correspondent describes the result of the English marauding expedition on the Finnish coast, in its effects on the mind of the Finlanders, as follows:

"It is confirmed that the Russian Government, assured since the burning of Brahestad and Uleaborg, upon the sentiments of the Finnish population along the two gulfs, has ordered arms to be distributed among the able-bodied men, with a view of enabling them to resist all fresh attempts of disembarkment of the English squadrons. The immediate creation of two battalions of Finnish riflemen, of 1,000 men each, has been sanctioned, and the recruitment is to take place in the districts of Abo, Vasa, and Uleaborg. A greater number of these battalions is successively to be formed in the other provinces."

The Austrian loan turns out to be a forced contribution, as I predicted[18]. The whole is now to be distributed on the different crown lands of the empire; for instance, Upper Austria has to take 115,000,000 florins, Lower Austria 15,000,000, Vienna 2,500,000, Hungary 70,000,000, etc., in proportion. If the Emperor of Russia has not obtained anything for himself, he has at least contrived to plunge all the other governments into a serious quarrel with their subjects about the question of cash. The Prussians will have to pay an increased income tax on the 1st of August. Bonaparte, too, is said to be projecting another loan of 500,000,000, the effect of which on France will not be diminished by the present prospects of the wine and corn harvest, and the stagnation of trade, especially at Lyons since the outbreak in Spain. An appeal to the English pockets is also contemplated by the Coalition Ministry, and expected for next week.

The Spanish insurrection appears to assume a new aspect, as is evident from the proclamations of Dulce and O'Donnell[19], the former of whom is a partisan of Espartero, and the latter was a stout adherent of Narvaez and perhaps secretly of Queen Cristina. O'Donnell having convinced himself that the Spanish towns are not to be set in motion this time by a mere palace-revolution, suddenly exhibits liberal principles. His proclamation is dated from Manzanares, a borough of the Mancha, not far from Ciudad Real. It says that his aim is to preserve the throne, but to remove the camarilla; the rigorous observation of the fundamental laws; the amelioration of the election and press laws; the diminution of taxes; advancement in the civil service according to merit; decentralization, and establishment of a national militia on a broad basis. It proposes provincial juntas and a general assembly of Cortes at Madrid, to be charged with the revision of the laws. The proclamation of General Dulce is even more energetic. He says:

"There are no longer Progresistas and Moderados; all of us are Spaniards, and imitators of the men of July 7th 1822. Return to the Constitution of 1837; maintenance of Isabella II; perpetual exile of the Queen Mother; destitution of the present Ministry; re-establishment of peace in our country; such is the end we pursue at every cost, as we shall show on the field of honor to the traitors whom we shall punish for their culpable folly."

According to the Journal des Débats, papers and correspondence have been seized at Madrid which are said to prove beyond doubt that it is the secret aim of the insurgents to declare the throne vacant, to reunite the Iberian Peninsula into one State, and to offer the crown to Don Pedro V, Prince of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha[20]. The tender interest taken by The Times in the Spanish insurrection, and the simultaneous presence of the said Don Pedro in England, appears indeed to indicate that some new Coburg dodge is afloat. The Court is evidently very uneasy, as all possible Ministerial combinations have been tried, Isturiz and Martinez de la Rosa having been applied to in vain. The Messager de Bayonne asserts that the Count de Montemolin left Naples as soon as he received news of the insurrection.

O'Donnell has entered Andalusia, having crossed the Sierra Morena in three columns, one marching by Carolina, the other by Pozo Blanco, and the third by Despeñaperros. The Gaceta confesses that Colonel Buceta succeeded in surprising Cuenca, by the possession of which place the insurgents have secured their communications with Valencia. In the latter province the rising now comprises about four or five towns, besides Alcira where the Government troops received a severe check.

"Aimes-tu le front, severe,
Du sa(i)ge Napoléon?
Aimes-tu que l'Angleterre,
T'oppose Lord Palmerston?"[21]

It is stated also that a movement had broken out at Reus in Catalonia, and the Messager de Bayonne adds that disturbances had taken place in Aragon.

With this apostrophic song, the embarkation of the French troops at Calais has been celebrated.

In order to really oppose Lord Palmerston to the Czar, immense movements have shaken the town from Saturday to Monday, with a view to put him in the place of the Duke of Newcastle. Great agitation has prevailed once more in the ministerial, as well as in the opposition camp. It was known that the estimates for the new ministry of war were to be laid before the House on Monday night[22], and this occasion was to be seized to make a murderous onslaught on the Coalition, and to place the invincible Palmerston in the War Ministry.

"On Saturday a Cabinet Council was summoned before two o'clock. Ministers did not assemble until three. They then met with the exception of the Foreign Secretary, who was detained by an audience with the Queen. Lord Clarendon joined his colleagues at four. Their deliberations then lasted until half past six, and immediately upon the breaking up of the Council Lord Aberdeen proceeded to the palace of Her Majesty."

"On Saturday a Cabinet Council was summoned before two o'clock. Ministers did not assemble until three. They then met with the exception of the Foreign Secretary, who was detained by an audience with the Queen. Lord Clarendon joined his colleagues at four. Their deliberations then lasted until half past six, and immediately upon the breaking up of the Council Lord Aberdeen proceeded to the palace of Her Majesty."[23]

You may see from this excited narrative of The Morning Herald how greatly the hopes of the Tories were raised by these "important" moves. Lord John Russell summoned his adherents to Whitehall for Monday, and Mr. Disraeli, in his turn, assembled the Opposition members. One hundred and seventy-nine gentle-men presented themselves at Whitehall, almost in hysterics with the anticipation of the great revelations intended for them by Russell. They were most deplorably deceived by the Parliamentary Squeers[24], who drily told them that the vote of the war-estimate being a matter of course, he expected them to be quiet and behave:

"The Cabinet would shortly want more money for carrying on the war, and so the question of confidence or no confidence in the Coalition would be taken next week, when such money vote would be presented to the House."


Not being initiated in the secrets of Lord Clarendon, he could not give them any information on the state of foreign affairs. Well, the result was that Russell saved the whole Coalition for the present session; for, if the vote of confidence had been taken on the estimates of the War Ministry, a defeat would have been a victory of Palmerston over Newcastle, while on the general war estimates a vote of non-confidence would be a victory of the Tories over the combined Whig Peelites an eventuality, of course, out of the question.

Accordingly, the votes for the War Ministry were taken last night in a very quiet House, nothing occurring but a delivery by Russell and Pakington of all the stale common-places on the present military administration.

It is to be regretted that the obstinate resistance of the Queen keeps Lord Palmerston out of the War Office, as by his installation in that office the last false pretense under which the Radicals yet defend the foreign policy of England would fall to the ground.

On the announcement of Mr. Otway in last Friday's sitting of the Commons, that he would bring the case of Dr. Peitman before them[26], Lord Palmerston rose and declared that he was ready to give every explanation, and that everything would be found to be "all right." Meanwhile, Dr. Peitman has published a letter in The Morning Advertiser, which proves that if he never was insane in other respects, he continues to believe in the generosity of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, whom he petitions to let him go back to Germany the very thing which they want.

The mean servility of the so-called Radical press is exemplified by its absolute silence on this unexampled case, where a lettre de cachet[27] buried a man for eighteen years, just because he had the misfortune to know something of the royal and aristocratic relations with German maid-servants.

  1. In 1853 and 1854 the Ambassadors of Britain, France and Prussia and the Austrian Foreign Minister Buol held a number of conferences in Vienna. The first, in July 1853, to which the Russian Ambassador was also invited but which he refused to attend, was officially aimed at mediation between Russia and Turkey in view of the worsening relations between them. The words "first Vienna Note" refer to the draft agreement between Russia and Turkey drawn up by Buol and concluded at the end of July 1853. It obliged the Sultan to abide by the Kuchuk-Kainardji (1774) (*) and the Adrianople (1829) (**) treaties on the rights and privileges of the Orthodox Church in the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish Sultan Abdul Mejid agreed to sign the Note but demanded a number of changes and reservations, which the Russian Government found unacceptable.

    (*) The treaty of Kuchuk-Kainardji was concluded between Russia and Turkey on July 21, 1774. Russia got territories on the northern shore of the Black Sea between the South Bug and the Dnieper with the fortress of Kinburn, and also Azov, Kerch and Yenikale and secured recognition of the Crimea's independence. Russian merchantmen were granted the right of free passage through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The treaty obliged the Sultan to grant a number of privileges to the Orthodox Church; Article 14 in particular provided for the building of an Orthodox Church in Constantinople.

    (**) The peace treaty of Adrianople was concluded by Turkey and Russia in September 1829, at the end of the war of 1828-29. Under it Russia obtained the islands in the mouth of the Danube and a considerable part of the eastern coast of the Black Sea south of the Kuban estuary. Turkey was obliged to recognise the autonomy of the Danubian Principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia and grant them the right to elect hospodars (rulers) independently. Russia was to guarantee this autonomy, which was tantamount to establishing a Russian protectorate over the Principalities. The Turkish Government also pledged to guarantee the autonomy of Greece and Serbia.
  2. Marx has in mind representatives of several German states (Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Württemberg, Baden, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Darmstadt and Nassau) which met at a conference at Bamberg in May-June 1854 and decided to adhere to the Austro-Prussian treaty of April 20, 1854 (see The Greek Insurrection. The Polish Emigration. The Austro-Prussian Treaty. Russian Documents).
  3. The reference is to one of the stages in the work of the Vienna conferences. The conferences dealt with in this article ended with the signing of a protocol between England, France, Austria and Prussia on April 9, 1854. It
  4. Oesterreichische Correspondenz.—Ed.
  5. Report from Vienna of July 17. The Times, No. 21799, July 21, 1854.—Ed.
  6. The Times, No. 21796, July 18, 1854, leader; The Morning Chronicle, No. 27321, July 18, 1854, leader.—Ed.
  7. Quoted according to a reprint in L'Indépendance beige, Nos. 197 and 198, July 16 and 17, 1854.—Ed.
  8. Peterhoff—summer residence of the Russian emperors.
  9. Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act V, Scene 4.—Ed.
  10. July 15, 1854.—Ed.
  11. Reprint from Der Lloyd of July 13, 1854 in the Journal des Débats, July 18, 1854.—Ed.
  12. Ibid.—Ed.
  13. Le Moniteur universel, No. 197, July 16, 1854.—Ed.
  14. Journal des Débats, July 17, 1854.—Ed.
  15. Stepan Khrulev and David Bebutov. These data are given according to the report of the Vienna correspondent. The Times, No. 21798, July 20, 1854.—Ed.
  16. Report of the Vienna correspondent. The Times, No. 21795, July 17, 1854.—Ed.
  17. Wyse and Rouen.—Ed.
  18. See The Details of The Insurrection at Madrid. The Austro-Prussian Summons. The New Austrian Loan. Wallachia.—Ed.
  19. The proclamations of Dulce and O'Donnell were published in the Journal des Débats on July 17, 1854.—Ed.
  20. S. de Sacy, Account of current events. Journal des Débats, July 16, 1854.—Ed.
  21. Are you fond of wise Napoleon's stern looks? Are you glad that England opposed Lord Palmerston to you?—Ed.
  22. July 17, 1854.—Ed.
  23. The Morning Herald, No. 22174, July 17, 1854.—Ed.
  24. Ch. Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.—Ed.
  25. Lord John Russell's speech on July 17, 1854 is cited from a report in The Leader, No. 226, July 22, 1854.—Ed.
  26. The Times, No. 21794, July 15, 1854. See Excitement in Italy. The Events in Spain. The Position of The German States. British Magistrates.—Ed.
  27. Royal warrant for arrest and imprisonment.—Ed.