LE GRAND PRIX DE PARIS.
T E Grand Prix de Paris of 1863 and Waterloo are avenged .1.J at one glorious blow. Vermout, the horse of destiny, had a defeat to avenge—he has beaten Blair Athol ; and a people to humiliate—he has spread gloom and desolation throughout thousands of once happy homes in perfidious Albion. Such, at least, seems to have been the earnest belief of the myriads of Frenchmen who greeted his victory on Sunday with shouts such as no racehorse in the world ever yet excited, and such appears to be the drift of the scarcely less inarticulate war-whoops which some score or so of Parisian editors uttered to an admiring public on the following day. The French and the English are both great peoples, but they have neither of them reached the pitch of great- ness requisite for understanding the other. No event of late years has been more significant of the utter inability of the French to comprehend English character, or of our own ignorance of the extent of that inability, than the race between four French horses and one English one which took place at Longchamps a few days ago. As a sport, in any sense whatever of the word, France -cares but little for racing, and even amongst the class from which the fortunate members of Le Jockey Club are selected not half so much interest attaches to the most brilliant race as to a well contested and heavily backed match at ecartg, or to the final trial of fortune between some renowned bank-breaker and that preux chevalier of gambling M. Benazet. But the international element had entered into the affair, and the thought that, notwith. standing lavish expenditure and munificent prizes, the islanders who had contemptuously sent over but one horse would bear off for the second time the "object of art" given by the Emperor himself rankled in every French breast. If Frenchmen in general did not care the least about winning the race, their false notions of Eng- lishmen led them to think that the triumph of Blair Athol would be regarded throughout England as a national degradation to France, that orators at the Discussion Forum would exult over the crowning mercy which had abased the Empire, and that the in.so- lent Milord who refused to join the Conference would be drinking champagne with Mr. I'Anson out of the Emperor's cup. We are convinced from what we saw during a few days' stay in Paris at the time of the race that the majority of Frenchmen look upon the love of is sport in England as a precise equivalent to that of la.gloire amongst themselves. Perhaps recent English policy may have led them, not unnaturally, to estimate rather low the value set upon the latter article in England, but their exaggerated notion of the importance attached in England to success on the turf is really, almost as absurd as Pleir scarcely exploded theories on the subject of bulldogs, beefsteaks, boating, spleen, and wife- auctions at Smithfield. They did not think so much either about success or defeat for themselves as about the feelings either would produce in England. They fancied that the one innate national sentiment of England was the wish to be first at the winning-post, that England, who would not go to war for an idea, would still feel the wild and joyous exultation at the hoisting of Blair Athol's number at Longchamps that Frenchmen did at the planting of the French flag at Puebla. That this, too, should be effected by an animal whose name no Frenchman could by anything short of a miracle pronounce was a minor, though bitter element in their trouble. Such was the frame of mind in. which Paris went to the races. We say Paris, but by Paris we mean only the upper fifty thousand Parisians. The thing was regarded as settled, and bourgeois Paris, not caring to witness his country's humiliation, tried to drive dull care away by the usual Sunday trip to Versailles for the fountains, or Vincennes, or in some of the numerous trains de plaisir which run on the day to greater distances. But the aristocracy of France, determined to face a triumphant enemy defiantly, drove down to Longchamps in all the glories of splendid equipages and magnificent dresses. It is difficult to imagine a scene more thoroughly contrasting with any English race, Ascot even included, than the road down to the course. It seems absurd to use the same word " road" for two such utterly different things. To go to see the Grand Prix de Paris it is not necessary for a Parisian to rise before midday, he can then breakfast up to the point actually short of apoplexy, dress with elaboration, and then drive quietly up the Champs Elysees, down the beautiful Avenue de l'Imperatrice into the shady avenues of the Bois de Boulogne. There is not a particle of dust—every inch of the road is watered by ingeniously contrived tubings and spouts. Foot passengers can walk along the still more shady centre allies reserved for them, and admire the passing equipages and their occupants without the risk of being knocked down and trampled on which forms so conspicuous an element in the pleasures of the Derby. Chaff of course there was none, beggars there were few, and we do not like to insult the musical taste of our neigh- bours by even implying that there might have been nigger vocalists. In short, it is waste of time to go through the thousand and one points of difference which might strike the spectator accustomed only to English racecourses. All was elegance and refinement, even carefully selected voitures de remise were in an infinitesimal minority in the incessant stream of carriages of all shapes and sizes, but all models of good taste. Drags were rare, and four-in- hands still rarer, for even Le Jockey Club prefers reclining luxuri- ously in a carriage with postilions to taking the ribands himself. Of course there were occasional eccentricities, nondescript traps with alarmingly lofty and fragile wheels, and a four-in-hand of very small and well matched ponies was one of the sights of the course. The course itself is most lovely. Of the thousands of English who annually drive round the lake or listen to the concert in the Pre Catalan comparatively few get as far as Longchamps, an extensive meadow, bounded on the Paris side by some of the finest trees in the Bois, and surrounded on other sides by a distant amphitheatre of the wooded and villa-dotted hills on the left bank of the Seine. The grand stand—a 'really tasteful building—pre-
sented on Sunday last one of the mostnielightful sights imagina- ble. The whole of the space on either side the Emperor's box corresponding to "the ring "at Epsom was appropriated to ladies.
The creme of Paris fashion was there, and it is needless to say dressed to simple perfection. The most bigoted Englishmen on the course were forced to admit that England could no more furnish such a spectacle than—as they thought at the time— France could have produced a Blair Athol.
The sporting element in the affair has a curious mixture. Of course English were there of all grades, from high-class racing men down to a cargo of simply unmitigated scoundrelism which had arrived by special steamer and trains on the previous night. If the Brighton Railway Company choose to make a small amount of very filthy lucre by the conveyance at cheap fares of these dregs of even turf rascality they ought to bring them back by them- selves, and not allow them to disgust decent people by returning in the ordinary trains. French betting men, even those whose solvency or integrity are most doubtful, affect at least outward decency of behaviour and restraint. As for the corresponding class of English, we can only hope that Frenchmen in general will, understand that the transportation of the whole lot to Cayenne for some infraction of French law would have been the subject of cordial rejoicing on the part of every:decent Englishman. A score of descriptions of the race have reached England, and people now are pretty well acquainted with the main features of the scene. But no description can give an idea of the wild, exultant
transferred from Fredericksburg to Port Royal. I confess that I am not entirely satisfied with the success of Grant's strategy. It seems somewhat strange that Lee should have been wormed out of such a strong position as that at Spotsylvania unless he were half-willing to abandon it. " Seeesh " says that Lee tempted Grant into his present position ; and that the former means, when he gets Grant "just where he wants him," to suddenly transfer the theatre of war to Pennsylvania and Ohio. But in spite of reasonable doubts as to the reality of Grant's apparently great success, I cannot believe that Lee would try that game the third time, with Grant and Meade both as his third opponents.
Butler still holds his own stoutly at City Point, and threatens, though feebly, the Confederate lines of communication southward of Richmond. He has not done what we expected ; but his pre- sence at City Point costs Lee 25,000 men at least, which he can ill spare. Lee's army, however, is said to be 175,000 strong, and the rebels say that Grant has lost 90,000 men. If so, then will Lee's victory be the easier. In any case, Lee's advantages are so great that to beat Grant he need only be a good general ; to beat Lee, Grant must be a great one. In the south-west Sherman moves irresistibly forward, exposing a line of communication however whose length is fearful to contemplate. Our last official reports from him say that he has flanked Johnston again at Alatoona, a small town, but a strong position, about thirty-five miles from Atlanta, his objective point. The coming week can hardly pass without serious engagements, both in Georgia and in Virginia ; although it is surmised by those who are following Johnston that be will now always refuse battle, and that he is sending every man he can thus spare to Lee.
From the war let me turn to a subject in which even the tremendous issue of the hour cannot diminish my interest. In the article upon "The Barimgs" in the Spectator of April 30 an old and, we thought, long exploded scandal is re-asserted as an established fact, with an air of such simple good faith that I am unwilling to think for a moment that the writer did not believe, not only all that he said, but all that he implied. Writing of the negotiations which resulted in the Ashburton Treaty, he says, "The American Cabinet showed a singular disposition not to insist on a more favourable solution of the difficulty than that suggested by the King of the Netherlands' proposition, which, taken with their continual declarations of the justice of their full claim to the whole of the disputed territory [upon the north eastern boundary] and their previous violence on the subject, might have roused suspicion on the part of a practised diplomatist." He adds, "Almost immediately after the signature of the treaty, however, it transpired that the American Cabinet had in their possession during the whole time of the negotiation a copy of the map made by Franklin at the time of the treaty of 1783, in which the boundary line was distinctly marked, and agreed entirely with the English claim ; so that by a piece of diplomatic chicanery England had been cheated out of 3,413,000 acres."
Here are very positive assertions, and a distinct charge made in a paper which I have reason to believe means always to be candid, and which has weight among those classes of the British people whose good opinion we most regard. Now hear the truth about this story ; remembering that I claim to speak by authority which no candid British reader will dispute.
When Lord Ashburton came here in 1842 our case was already plainly before the world ; for during the long discussion between the two Governments every passage in our archives upon the sub- ject had been published to the people of the United States, and therefore to those of Great Britain. On the other hand, the British Government had (properly enough, I suppose) published nothing. They came to the negotiation knowing all the cards which we held in our hand, we knowing, whatever we might guess, nothing of what they held in theirs. The question to be settled was one of unusual difficulty for us ; because, although our Govern- ment must settle it, the land in dispute belonged, not to the United States, but jointly to the States of Maine and Massachusetts ; and the people of Maine had insisted pertinaciously upon what was known as the American boundary. The British Government had been so far similarly inflexible ; but had finally concluded that it would be better to divide the disputed territory, and Lord Ashburton's instructions expressly indicated and authorized this arrangement. But so persistent were the people of Maine in their assertion of "the American boundary" (remember that without their consent no settlement of the question could have been made), that this pro- posed division, expected, if not invited, by the British Govern- ment, could not have been effected had it not been for the dis- covery which has been made the occasion of the charge against us of national bad faith. It happened thus :—A letter from Benja-
min Franklin had been discovered in the French Bureau of Foreign Affairs, in which he speaks of having sent to the Count de Ver. gennes a map on which he "had marked with strong red lines the limits of the United States as settled in the preliminaries." The letter bore date six days after the signature of those preliminaries. Pending the negotiations about the North-Eeastern boundary, Mr. Sparks, the historian, found in the same bureau a map on which a red line was drawn near the disputed territory, which, if taken as a boundary, would have given the British Govern- ment much more than it claimed, at the cost, however, of direct variance with the terms of the treaty. This map was imme- diately brought by Mr. Sparks to the notice of Mr. Webster, and copies of it were by him laid before the Senate of the United states and the Commissioners of Maine. There was no evidence at all that this was Franklin's map. The probabili- ties indeed were rather against that assumption, for the map,— D'Anville's, published in 1745,—showed the entire continent on a space eighteen inches square, on which the whole district of Maine did not cover it spot half an inch square. The map was useless for the indication of such a boundary as that in question ; and, as Mr. Disraeli said in the House of Commons, the red line, so far from discriminating the boundary, "absolutely obliterated no small part of the State of Maine." Nevertheless Mr. Webster used it to aid in a speedy and peaceful solution of the diffieulty. He brought whatever weight it had to bear upon the unwillingness of Maine and Massa- chusetts to abandon their claim for the extreme "American boun- dary," and thus actually used the instrument which has been made the occasion of blackening his fame and ours on your side of the water, to bring about the very division and compromise contemplated by the British Government in its instructions to Lord Ashburton, and which, according to the authority of the Spectator, gave a - boundary more favourable to Great Britain, "not only strategi- cally, but also by 700,000 acres," than that awarded by the King of the Netherlands.
This was the mode of procedure on one side ; and now has not the Spectator and its authority given any Yankee the right to tell what he knows and can establish with regard to the procedure on the other? There wasin the British archives a map which was nearly conclusive upon the question of this boundary. It was a copy of Mitchell's large map of America, published under tire sanction of the British Board of Trade in 1754, which map was used in the negotiations of 1783, Mr. Oswald being British Commissioner. Mr. Oswald—there is written evidence for it—sent the copy of this map used by him to George DI., and in that King's library was found a copy of this map, on which the boundary marked out is exactly that called the American boundary, which was claimed by Maine and Massachusetts, and insisted on BO long by the United States. Along this line, too, in a bold round hand, which Lord Brougham in the House of Lords said was, in his opinion, the hand of George III., is written, "The boundary as described by Mr. Oswald." Yet this map was suppressed by the British Government during the whole negotiation. Let me say, and
gladly, that Lord Ashburton knew nothing of it ; but Mr. Feather- stonhaugh did. It was first brought into public notice by Sir Robert Peel in the debates in the House of Commons, after the boundary was decided upon, to show that Lord Ashburton had not been over-reached. Whether this concealment met with official approval, and whether the official person who might have brought the map to Lord Ashburton's notice, but did not, was promoted or degraded, some of my readers probably know as well as I do. At all events, I am here willing to leave this question of international good faith to the judgment of candid men of both countries, gladly expressing my own belief that the Ashburton treaty in one of its incidents is not the measure of British candour, and adding my humble tribute to the high char- acter and spotless honour of the statesman whose name it bears.