The Four Points (and plenty more to follow). John Leech. Wood engraving from Punch 28 (1855): 25. This cartoon shows Tzar Nicholas surrounded bayonets on rifles held by figures representing Britain and its allies, France at the right front, and Turkey rear left and Sardinia right rear. This is one of the few times Punch treated the Turks as equal. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

In fact, the Russians were hardly in as perilous a situation as Leech suggests: The political background in the late autumn and early winter of 1855 shows the fallout from the Charge of the Light Brigade debacle. In the Commons, the Tories demanded accurate figures regarding the number of casualties sustained by all British armed forces in the Crimea; they were especially concerned with the losses at Balaclava. When Parliament passed a bill to investigate by the vote of 305 to 148, Aberdeen, having lost the confidence of the House, resigned as prime minister on 30 January 1855. The veteran former Foreign Secretary Viscount Lord Palmerston ("Pam") formed a Whig government with backing from the Irish MPs.

Under the terms of the Congress of Paris, Russia was compelled to return all Ottoman lands it had acquired. Russia had to defortify the Black Sea coast, but in return Britain, France, Sardinia, and Turkey restored to Russia "the towns and ports of Sevastopol, Balaklava, Kamish, Eupatoria, Kerch, Jenikale, Kinburn, as well as all other territories occupied by the allied troops.

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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. Formatting by George P. Landow. Image courtesy of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and the University of British Columbia and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Last modified 13 May 2014