5 JUNE 1909, Page 1

M. Emile 011ivier's latest instalment of reminiscences in the Revue

des deux Mondes is of enthralling interest. They deal with the final stages of the negotiations over the Hohenzollern candidature which led to the war and the historic meetings of the Ministerial Council at St. Cloud and the Tuileries on July 12th, 13th, 1401, 1870. M. 011ivier admits that the Duo de Gramont, the Foreign Minister, instigated by the Empress aud the Court Party, was unduly provocative in his efforts to extract guarantees against a renewal of the Hohenzollern candidature, but he acquits King William of any desire to force a rupture. The immediate cause, as M. 011ivier shows from German sources, was the garbling of the Ems despatch by Bismarck. As regards the last Ministerial Council at St. Cloud, M. 011ivier states explicitly that the Empress was

present, though she did not speak or vote, and that the declaration was voted unanimously, though Napoleon wavered after the decision had been taken. By quoting from earlier passages of the speech in which it occurred, ho is able to extenuate, if not to justify, his use of the ill-starred phrase " nous l'acceptons de ecour leger," and he contends with considerable force that to have taken Bismarck's "slap in the face" without declaring war would have been ruinous, not only to the Napoleonic dynasty, but to France's position as a Great Power.