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seeks to put the country on a wrong tage in the expectation of the weaktrack, and to lull it into a most base- ened citadel being left in security. less dream of security. It bids us Very few persons indeed, in Janregard the overcasting of the politi- uary last
, would have anticipated cal horizon as a matter of no moment, the change that a twelvemonth has as a danger against which we need wrought on the political aspect of make no preparation, seeing that a Europe. A man would have found puff of diplomatic courtesy, a soft- only incredulous hearers had he then worded protocol, is capable of turning ventured to predict that ere January the gathering storm to sunshine. The 1857 Russia, despite her defeats, idea is absurd, superbly conceited, would have emerged so little dameminently dangerous. It may be aged from the struggle,-her su il very popular in the salons of the freed from the 200,000 soldiers that Tuileries, but it will find little accept- then encamped around the ruins of ance in this country. The French Sebastopol, or garrisoned the capEmperor, surrounded with embarrass- tured strong points of her Black ments, and bent on peace at any Sea coasts, -and herself, backed by price in order to avoid them, may some of her old foes, stronger than foster in others views which his own ever in the councils of Europe, and penetration knows to be false, and ready to re-enter the lists with us in by professing universal friendship, Asia. How this has come about we seek to postpone the evil day. And have explained in former articles: he does right-for he thereby attends we simply note the circumstance in to his own interests. But the very order that the country may not be eagerness with which he acts as å unprepared if changes as great or balance, leaning now to one side, now greater take place before the present to another—now supporting Russia, year reach its close. now acting as a friendly dragon England is prone to peace. The England-shows his sense of the trade-spirit is eminently pacific; it critical nature of the “ situation.” is slow to take offence, and never He knows the danger, and doubtless allows pride to interfere with gain. is preparing for it as well as he Commerce is an international comcan, but he wrestles against its munion of self-interest, and therecoming. He has shown himself fore the most potent antagonist of ready to abandon the terms of the all wars. England is the worktreaty rather than risk a new struggle shop and commercial centre of the with Russia. France has assumed, world. Hence her sympathies are since the Peace, the position which all in favour of a reign of peace, Austria held during the war. It without which her world-wide trade becomes this country to consider of buying and selling is cramped and these things. Already, since the rendered less profitable. Therefore Peace, there has been a wavering to it is that, alone of all the countries in and fro among the Governments of the world, England exhibits a Peace the Continent. The balance has Party--a class of politicians whose begun to incline again to the side of supreme and distinctive business it Russia. A popular rising, which is to oppose all war, and advocate may happen any day, would probably peace "at any price.” The error of range all the Absolutist Courts on these men consists in believing that her side. In these circumstances, all nations are as far advanced in, what does it become us to do and as peculiarly devoted to trade Clearly to stand well with the Con- and commerce as ourselves; wheretinental Governments as long as we as the refusal of other nations to can-as long as they will let us. adopt our principles of Free Trade, But do not let Britain delude herself and the fact that no other country with the belief that she can rely has a Peace Party but our own, upon any of them for aid, or that ought to apprise them of the peculimeekness on our part will suffice to arity of our position. Moreover, they disarm hostility. Our only security are so ignorant of human nature that for the future lies in our own strength; they pay no regard to moral differand it would be only madness to Commerce trades as freely surrender any outwork or post of van with oppressors as oppressed,-it
makes no difference between slave munication-ever tends to throw and free: and the Peace Party down local barriers, to draw the nacannot understand why slave and tions into friendlier bonds, and enfree should not be equally friendly gage all in a communion of selfwith one another. Hence they shut interest. Acting first upon indivitheir eyes to the fact that between duals and single communities, its Great Britain and many of the Con- tendency is ever to widen its sphere tinental States there is a great gulf of influence, and ultimately emfixed. They hold it to be our duty to brace all States belonging to the allow the despotic courts to extin- same platforin of national existence. guish, if they can, every spark of Look at the transition from England liberty on the Continent; and believe under the Heptarchy to the United that though the regime of absolutism Kingdom of the present day. Gradureigned supreme up to the shores of ally local prejudice and antagonism the Channel, free Britain would be have disappeared or become sublet alone. As if when two opposites ordinated to higher influences: the come together the greater will not lleptarchy has inerged into a united seek to destroy the less ! As if England-Scotland and England have. England, which the late Czar called coalesced into Great Britain and Ire“a foyer of revolutions,” can ever be land, at first welded in by force of arms, other than a thorn in the side of has at length voluntarily associated Continental absolutism, a sympathiser herself with the sister states, forming with the oppressed, a living example the United Kingdom. Other counof freedom whose very existence is a tries have experienced similar changes constant incentive for other nations from a similar cause. Burgundy, to throw off the yoke. Holding their Normandy, Provence, once separated peculiar opinions indeed the Peace states, have become merged in a party are consistent enough when united France; the crowns of Casthey clamour for disbandment of tile, Arragon, and Navarre, are now fleet and army, and urge England to united on one head in Spain; the go to sleep unarmed in presence of Germanic Confederacy and commerher foes; but their principles, we cial bounds of the Zollverein are the trust, are alike too sordid and too
commencement of a corresponding Ctopian, too utterly inconsistent with aggregation among the still unconthe great facts that surround us, to solidated Teutonic States. As this find acceptance with the practical work of internal consolidation and good sense of the community at large. national development goes on, the
The end of civilisation is Peace. civilized energies of the people project The goal of civilised progress is themselves beyond the seas of their peace among the nations, even own frontier, and seek to form compeace among individuals is its begin- mercial union, founded on self-intening. What history shows us accom- rest, with other countries. For long, plished in single communities, will English capital has sought and found ultimately, we trust, be established investment in every country of Euamong the States of Europe. Slowly rope, thereby increasing our interest but steadily the work of national in the preservation of tranquillity ; development is going on, elevating and other countries have of late bethe units of the masses from the gm to follow in our steps. France, automatic condition of carly society within the last few years, has made into thinking and self-acting beings; an extraordinary start in this direcso that nations are becoming more tion. Her gigantic Credit Mobilier and more conscious of their true Company has undertaken to make wants and interests, and more and railways for the whole Continent; and more powerful to enforce and secure the dread of interrupting and ruining them. Civilisation, that short phrase the over. venturous speculations of for many ideas—for increase of po- this enormous financial project, is pulation, improvement of agriculture, one of the most potent intiuences growth of commerce, rise of wealth, which now bind the French Guverndevelopment of law and justice, ment to peaco at any price. It is spread of knowledge, and increase of easy to see that as this intercomlocomotion and international com- munion of commerce and speculation
extends, -as the surplus capital of peace with her than she has in keepeach country becomes invested in the ing peace with them. others, and as the commercial firms Wars are often nothing but rapids throughout Europe come to depend or cataracts in the stream of civilisa
one another, or indeed tion, occurring when unyielding matamalgamate in “European” companies ters cross its course, and hastening, -the various States will approximate not hindering, its progress onward to a community of which the mem- to the goal. Morally considered, bers will be as closely related as pro- the kingdoms of Europe resemble a vinces of the same country were series of plateaus of different heights, at the beginning of this century. upon which agencies are at work
Among states so closely related, reducing them to a lower level; international war will gradually die and convulsions are inevitable as out. That is the tendency,—but the the various States, each for itself, end is afar off; and we must beware make the transition to a broader and the error of acting as if we were at safer basis of power. As the units the goal, while we are still upon the of the population develop into journey. The end may be seen afar, thinking, self-willed beings, they like a star guiding us homeward; naturally throw off those fetters and but they are fools who, the mo- leading-strings which suited them in ment they catch sight of that distant their state of pupilage, and grow star, throw off their harness, as if the into a self-acting community. The troubles of the night and the dangers British nation has run through this of the way are already over. Such, course not without civil war and it appears to us, is the conduct of political convulsions; but, happily that section of our politicians who secluded by the sea from foreign inare known by the name of the Peace tervention, and aided by the practical Party. They do not consider the spirit of compromise natural to the many obstacles to be overcome, the · Anglo-Saxon race, they have at many shocks to be encountered, ere length reached the broad level of Europe reach that almost millennial individual freedom and popular gohaven of peace. They do not con- vernment. The pyramid once poised sider the widely diverse circum- unstably on its apex, now rests on stances of its component States, – its base. In this respect we stand that while one end of Europe is ra- alone among the nations of Eupidly nearing the goal of civilisation, rope; but each and all of these the other has hardly yet started on are on the road and will reach the the journey; and consequently that goal in due time, and after their the pacific tendencies of the western own fashion. Even Russia, where nations, if unguardedly indulged, the masses are still serfs and autoonly place them inore at the mercy matons, has exhibited an evanescent of the semi-barbarous population of thrill and convulsion from the poputhe eastern half of the continent. lar passion (prematurely caught by Russia has not, and will not for gene- contagion from western Europe in rations, have any surplus capital to 1815-18), and not all the power of invest in other countries ; moreover, the Czars will suffice in the future to alone of European powers (owing to stop its onward progress, leavening her vast extent) she has a self-suffic- and descending deeper into the masses ing internal trade, which renders her of Russian society. Next to Great comparatively independent of foreign Britain, if we omit the small states of markets: and therefore it will be long Switzerland and Belgium, we unhesiindeed before she fairly enters into tatingly place our northern kindred, the commercial system of Europe, the Scandinavian powers, as possessand anything like a commercial equi- ing popular rights fully acknowlibrium be established over the Con- ledged, and a political constitution tinent. Indeed, the pacific tendencies which works without convulsions. of commerce will for long tell in France comes next: there the nafavour of Russia, by drawing into tional will is supreme after a fashion, her vast fields the surplus capital of but as yet it has only learned to make other States, and thereby giving them itself felt imperfectly or by revolua greater interest in maintaining tions. Spain has virtually no voice in its own government, and the tho- the less dear to us because the opporoughly reactionary and absolutist site of those prevalent on the Contitendencies of its dissolute Court are nent. Any keen watcher of events rapidly hastening on a convulsion. must have perceived that since the Italy, if we except Sardinia, has no suppression of the revolutionary voice at all in its own government; struggles in 1848–9, Popery and its natural homogeneity is destroyed Absolutism have alike shown new life by the maintenance of antiquated on the Continent. Despotism has territorial divisions; a large part of called to its aid the wiles and terrors it is under foreign domination; and on of the Romish Church, and both are the whole it is the most unstably con- slowly culminating towards a reditioned country in Europe. Germany action, shortlived it may prove, but has not arrived at its ultimate natural powerful. Once fairly dominant on state; it will never be in stable rest the Continent, that tide of reactiontill it obtain the constitutional form ary opinion cannot fail to burst like of government promised to it in a floodtide against our shores; and 1815, and simplify the organisation of woe to all that is most truly British the Fatherland at the expense of the if we are not ready to meet the assault. petty Courts which at present eat up The plain facts of the case are its revenues, divide its energies, and these. If a popular movement were furnish so favourable a field for the now to take place in Italy, it would influence of Russia's diplomacy. be followed by one in Spain ;-if it Prussia may part with its present take place in Spain, it will be inindividuality in return for the covet- stantly caught up in Italy. How ed leadership of Germany; but on the would these movements be regarded map of the future will there be any in this country? Any one who has abiding place for Austria ? She is but felt the popular pulse or attended a political fabric, with no basis to to the signs of the times, can give rest upon, either of nationality or but one reply— With the liveliest geographical configuration. No com- sympathy. Let our Government act munity of race or of feeling binds to- as it may, the popular voice and the gether the varied populations of that public journals will vociferate in faempire, and as these populations be- vour of the insurgents and the cause come more developed by the action of of liberty. Austrian intervention on civilisation, will they not draw asunder the one side would give us a right and range themselves along with the to intervene on the other. Italy is national groups to which they belong accessible at all points,-Sicily could -Germanic, Slavonic, and Italian? be effectually protected by our fleet:
We write these things in no idle will not, then, the popular demand spirit of conjecture, but to show the for intervention be almost, perhaps fallacy of the Peace-dreamers, and to wholly, irresistible? And in any indicate the insecurity of the basis case, if the movement (as is almost upon which rests the peace of the certain) be ultimately suppressed, Continent. Far be it from us to our shores will be a refuge for not set a day or a year for the accom- a few of the insurgent chiefs : and plishment of these changes; but come the vehemence with which our jourthey will, whether we like it or no; nals at one time assailed Louis Naand he who thinks that they can all poleon, and at another King Bombay pass off peaceably, alike contradicts will be renewed in one tremendous the past and very much misconceives volley against the general system of the future. England has nothing to imperial despotism, by which the gain in Europe, but she has much to popular cause has been crushed and defend. She has not only her out- its leaders immolated. What reply posts-Heligoland, Gibraltar, Malta, will the despotic courts make? Will the Ionian Islands—ly all round they remain quiet like a set of amiable the Continent, and upholding her Quakers, and let us rage our fill? maritime power and coinmunications No, truly. England will then indeed with India; but she has a commerce be a foyer of revolutions—a constant spreading over every sea; and prin- declaimer against absolutism, a living ciples and institutions at home not incentive to rebellion; and the ConVOL. LXXXI.
tinental Powers will put us down if will never surrender her freedom of they can. It is only natural that the press as long as she can keep her they should wish to do so; and it is flag flying on the seas. very certain that in such circum- Depend upon it, then, howsoever stances they will make the attempt. Mr. Cobden and his party may desire Will they not form a naval con- to spin their cotton or loan their federacy (as the Assemblée Nationale money in perpetual peace, there considerately hinted last month), are causes at work in the world in the hope of extinguishing our which will ruthlessly demolish their supremacy at sea, and with it every- dreams. We take no disconsolate thing? Need we remind our readers view of the future. We have a suffiof the hatred with which the free ciently lively faith in the wisdom of press of this country is regarded by the Divine government to believe the Continental Courts, and of the that Providence will order the ways probability that they will one day of the world a great deal better than give us the curt alternative of sup- the best ideal which Mr. Cobden or pressing its freedom or accepting war? any of us can suggest. We believe British statesmen will do well to Europe is travelling on a good though bear in mind that most suggestive rough road, and fancy we can discern episode of the Conferences in April, a happy goal to her journey. But where the President proposed that the what we assert again and again assembled Plenipotentiaries should is the perilous folly of those who unite, on behalf of their Governments, would have this country act as if a in putting an end to the licence of millennial peace already existed in the press in Belgium—the only State the world around us. Even as the on the Continent where the press is end of civilisation is Peace, so the end really free. Even Mr. Gladstone, with of religion is Love; and week after all bis penchant for peace, was start- week the heavenly doctrines of love, led by that proceeding, and whis- brotherly charity, and universal phipered a hint in the ear of Parliament lanthropy are expounded and enforcthat the same course might one day ed from our pulpits. But what sano be applied to ourselves. That,"
is divine would exhort his hearers to said he, “was the declaration of act in their daily life as if the reign France. The Prussian representative of universal love were already estabdeclared that he would willingly take lished? Who would exhort to love part in any inquiry into the measures and trust all men everywhere—from suitable to put an end to such prac- the showy adventurer who is ready to tices. Count Buol went further, and swindle whom he can, to the ticketadmitted the necessity of repressing of-leave reprobate who only waits till the excess of the press in every your back is turned to garotte you? country of the Continent-perhaps We have said that international peace every island too.". This coalition of is the goal of civilisation; but even Governments against the liberty of social peace, the first-fruit and beginthe press, be it remembered, was pro- ning of civilisation-alas! how frail posed in a Congress assembled for it is! Who would yet venture to entirely other purposes, and yet it dispense with bolts and bars and met with the above-mentioned coun- police, even in this most advanced tenance. What would the issue have country of all the earth?_who dare been if Great Britain, instead of being Jeavo å company's books unaudited, present as the pillar of the Alliance, or keep no check even upon the most had been absent, isolated, proscrib: pious of bankers ? Not one. Yet the ed? And yet if Mr. Cobden or any trust we would not put in one another, one else thinks that England would the Peace Party think we may safely submit to the extinction of her free place in alien powers! Surely the press at the dictation of the Conti- events of the last nine years ought to nental courts, he reckons without his teach us the visionary nature of such host. He has only to look at the delusions. The rude wars of peoples fire and fury excited amongst us by so against their Governments, and of small a matter as the recent minatory Governments against their peoples suggestions of the semi-official Con- and one another, may show us how stitutionnel, to be assured that Britain far off yet is that end of civilisat.op