London Times, 9 October 1858, p. 8: RUSSIA.
The Invalide Russe contains the following article on the subject of the apprehension manifested by some English journals at the Russian establishment in the port of Villafranca: --
"Everybody has heard of the strange comments of the English and Austrian journals with regard to the renting, by the Russian Steam Navigation Company, of some buildings in the port of Villafranca, for the purpose of forming there a depôt for stores and coal. We at first refrained from noticing the affair, in which the truth has been so strangely misrepresented by those journals, thinking it only one of secondary interest, but, as it has since been generally been taken up by the foreign press, we consider it our duty to say a few words on the manner in which certain persons have magnified a molehill into a mountain. Villafranca, which forms part of the general intendance of Nice, is only at a short distance from that town. As the port of Nice is not practicable for vessels drawing much water, ships of war come to anchor in the roadstead of Villafranca. The town is surrounded by crenelated walls and defended by a fort, flanked by three bastions constructed on a height. Another fortification, called Fort St. Alban, built on the hill which separates Nice from Villafranca, is intended for the defence of both towns. The Russian Steam Navigation Company, whose vessels now run direct from Odessa to the Mediterranean, has rented for 24 years from the Sardinian Government, not the port of Villafranca, but a spot of ground on the eastern shore of the bay, in order to establish there storehouses and workshops. An article in the regulations of the company recognizes the right of Russian vessels of war to enter the ports where the company now have, or may hereafter have, establishments of the kind, in order to effect any needful repairs. This is the whole affair, and it is this simple event which some persons have endeavoured to transform into a political question of the highest importance. It is impossible to refrain from a smile on reading the fears expressed by an English paper, which already pictures to itself the Russian fleet leaving Cronstadt, taking shelter in the roadstead of Villafranca, and thence threatening England. The English paper has doubtless forgotten the distance which the Russian fleet would have to accomplish to reach of Mediterranean from the Gulf of Finland. The English periodical prints, which doubtless, from the dearth of other political news, have conjured up this strange improbability, would have acted more frankly in at once avowing that it was disagreeable to them to see other nations extending their commerce and increasing their fleet. As to the clamour raised on this subject by some Austrian journals, it only need be mentioned, in order to appreciate the object of their remarks, that the steamers of the Austrian Lloyd's run to the Mediterranean ports. To the honour of the sensible part of the English public, it must be said that the cry of alarm raised by these few journals has not produced any impression on them"
Provided by Stephen McLaughlin