Page images

They are still distinguished by identically the same qualities and aspirations, and notably by. these—the faithful love of law, the energetic impulse to make opportunity profitable, and the ceaseless desire to do as much good as possible. Terminate the differences that have ever separated England and America, and enable them to understand each other up to the very top of society, and how much may they not hereafter do by their united force, under those three sacred impulses! Ever since the close of last century, the Americans have been in the habit of confounding the action and motives of the English crown with repudiation of law, forcible encroachment, antagonism, and jealousy, political and commercial. During the reign of Queen Victoria, every one of these transatlantic prejudices has been softened to such an extent, that each one is now ready for removal, and we see the whole republic eagerly preparing a welcome for Queen Victoria's successor. On the other hand, English society,—which means persons of great •wealth and influence living in the upper regions of the West-end, remote from the vulgar commonwealth,—have supposed that the American republicans are rough, unlettered, eager to show their independence by repelling all gracious influences, and anxious to retaliate any of the affronts which royalty may have put upon them. Nor are these insults entirely ancient; even British colonies unscvered, have had within very few years to complain that they suffered from neglect and disparagement. If a leading colonist visited England, liis local honors •were unrecognized; the statesmanship which ruled in the Downing Street of Australia, or the 'West Indies, found itself simply in lodgings in the political suburbs of the imperial metropolis; and many who come full of loyal fervor returned soured by official coldness and repudiation. Nothing has contributed more to remove that untoward feeling, than the genial graciousness with which Queen Victoria has received representatives of the British colonies unsevered, ay, or severed. And now the first gentleman in England is about to learn by personal experience the vigorous cordiality, and the tasteful courtesy, with which the Republic of America can welcome the renewed alliance.

Nor is it simply a matter of state ceremony; by this visit an influence will be created, at the very centre of the United Kingdom, most favorable to every good •work for which the Americans can ask our co-operation j and while recognizing the most absolute equality in the great Anglo-Saxon State on the other side, we may say an influence will be left, in the very centre of the republic, most favorable to all that we Eng

lishmcn can wish. The joint action of these influences cannot but have a most powerful effect in enlarging the opportunities of both countries, in adding to their wealth, in increasing their united pursuit of knowledge, in widening and elevating every form of social happiness.

From The Examiner, 23 June.

The most upright of men in private life will sometimes have the misfortune of being in bad odor with his neighbors; liis conscience is as clear as a saint's, he knows himself innocent of all the ugly designs imputed to him, he feels that with a few words of frank explanation ho has it in his power to refute all the charges against him; a good opportunity for setting himself right is all he wants, and he is miserable until he finds one. Suddenly he hears that his foremost maligners are collected at a family party, and being of a genial nature, the happy thought strikes him to drop in and regain his good name over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Precisely and literally, according to the Moniteur, this was the course which the muchinjured emperor of the French took with the German princes assembled at Baden. The honestest of men in public life did exactly what the honestest of men in private life would have done in like circumstances; the parallel is perfect even to the blameless beverage which will henceforward be as famous for the recovery of character as hitherto it has been for the loss of it. The Princess Marie of Baden had the honor not only of assisting to restore the emperor his reputation, but to set up that of the tea-table itself. The quiet five o clock dinner at the grand duke's no doubt did a great deal, but the duchess' tea crowned all. It would be curious if it was "gunpowder," since we are carefully assured that among its other wonderful effects," it has consolidated the peace of Europe."

The grand result, however, was this: "An end was put to the unanimous concert of malevolent reports and false appreciations." And the Monileur adds:—

"In fact, the emperor, by going to explain frankly to tho sovereigns who met at Baden how his policy would never swerve from right and justice, must have impressed such distinguished itnd unprejudiced minds with tho conviction which a true, sentiment honestly expressed always conveys."

A pleasant moral fiction this, such as we are accustomed to in the same imaginative columns, but the truth of the matter, we believe, is that the emperor sought an interview with the prince of Prussia only, and the prince evaded the Ute-h-Ute by the clever j device of asking all the small potentates. The emperor went to Baden much more in the character of a tempter than of an injured innocent. M. About's pamphlet tallies perfectly with the plan of a private interview with Prussia, but not quite so well with the general card to the little Crowns, unless, with deliberate cruelty, the emperor invited them as Mrs. Bond invited the ducks to "come and be killed." The pamphlet is an elaborate and fervid appeal to Prussia to head a German union, but the union meant is of the kind that takes place between a shoal of minnows and the shark who devours | them. It is to be a union on the Italian model, voted by universal suffrage, and the petty sovereigns are again to disappear like the "stellarum vulgus" at sunrise. The pamphlet describes them in language very different from the oily phrases of the journal.

"Ancient feudalism and modern diplomacy, and the selfishness mid blindness of a swarm of petty princes, who buy and sell their subjects as they would their flocks, has divided this great nation into a deplorable multitude of governments. It is in vain that the German princes,

leagued together against the people, have formed a compact for tho maintenance of their privileges. The German people have learned that it is useless, and almost ridiculous, to support thirtyseven different governments, when one alone would be sufficient."

In the Moniteur these same personages are the "distinguished and unprejudiced minds" on which the emperor's enchanting frankness left such an agreeable impression. We could pardon these doomed states a tiuge of prejudice in favor of their own existence, but M. About, at all events, supposes them free even from that most venial weakness. He even expects them to enter with enthusiasm into the scheme for their own annihilation. The ducks will fly to be eaten; the fry will jump into great fish's jaws, with an appetite equal to his own.

"We are happy to discover that German unity has found its centre, its rallying point, and nothing could be more ngrccublc to us than to behold the nation grouping itself around a firm and upright mind. If nothing occurs to put :i stop to the progress of this pacific revolution it may be hoped that the princes themselves, carried along by the movement of their people, will bow to the protecting spirit of Prussia, and that tho unity of Germany will bo effected without the shedding of a single drop of blood."

Observe the covered menace here, as usual with French cajolery. There is an unbloody road to German unity, if the parties are wise enough to follow it; if not, there is a road colored gules indicated with sufficient dis

tinctness. Is Prussia to take it, or ia France? Both together, we presume, as in the previous passage we find Prussia exhorted "to play the part of Piedmont." The Moniteur may well call this "a significant step."

"Prussia personifies German nationality, religious reform, commercial progress, constitutional liberalism; she is the greatest of really Germanic monarchies; consciences are there more free and enlightenment more widely spread, political rights less exclusive than in most other German states. It is she who, by founding the Zollverein, paved tho way for freo trade; therefore the people of Germany love Prussia. They behold her progress with sympathizing admiration and filial interest; it is to Prussia they would appeal for succor if any peril were impending. It is to her they would entrust, ia preference, tho glorious task of national unity. VVero she to make up her mind to play the part of Piedmont, the whole of Germany, with the exception of the princes and the squirearchy, would hasten to remove tho obstacle in her way."

"All these things will I give thee," said the tempter, "if thou wilt fall down and worship me!" The meaning of "playing the part of Piedmont" is so lucid that it would have been tautology to have expressly mentioned the Rhenish provinces. It might also have been more difficult to dwell on "the disinterested love of France." "Let Germany be reunited," cries M. About, "France has no more ardent or dearer wish, for she loves the German nation with a disinterested love!" So she loves Sardinia, witness, ye Alpine slopes and Mediterranean shores! It was unnecessary to prove what was so notorious, but the demonstration was too beautiful to be lost.

"If wo were possessed with that vulgar ambition of which its princes accuse us, we should not induce the Germans to enter ou the path of unity. States divided among themselves are more easy to invado than when united, and <//:•iser pour regner will always remain the maxim of conquerors. May Germany be united; may she form a body so compact that tho idea of encroaching upon it will never present itself. Franco, which sees without apprehension an Italy of 26,000,000 constituted in the south, would not fear to sec 32,000,000 of Germans form a great nation on her eastern frontier."

Gently, M. About! France did not see the Italian spectacle you allude to " without apprehension." In asserting it you give your master the lie, for we nave it on his own word that the sight dismayed him, it frighted him out of his honesty, if not out of his wits. The emperor, it is true, doe* not " divide to conquer j" he knows a better trick; be conquers by uniting, exacting a commission on every such transaction in the shape of a handsome clipping for France. The emperor's unions are like a double cherry, affording two bites, of which he must always have oue. Will any German, however " much bemused with beer," be duped by M. About's raptures on the theme of 'union; or not see the well-known slice of •his fatherland at the bottom of every paragraph of this ominous and audacious pamphlet?

Here is something wonderfully daring. So disinterestedly docs France yearn for a united Germany, that history warns her in Tain of its ruinous consequences to herself. It was fatal to France before, and might be "fatal to her again; but away with all selfish considerations!

"Never was this noble nation greater than from 1813 to 1815, for she was never more united. When a Frenchman speaks with admiration of campaigns so terrible to France, his testimony is icorthy of credit. The feeling of Germanic honor and independence, revolting at the idea of subjection, effected miracles. Germany had but one passion, but one heart; she rose as one man, and the defeat of our incomparable armies showed of what united Germany was .capable."

But what of the Rhenish provinces? We • need hardly state what the pamphleteer was instructed to declare upon that delicate point, or how implicitly we believe his protestations. M. About's disclaimer, however, is one of the most curious passages in his work.

"This ill-founded apprehension is so noisily manifested and so obstinately repeated that it might have suggested evil thoughts to us, if wo •were less equitable. It is certain that if you addressed iu the public street the meekest and •most harmless individual in the world and say •to him, 'Sir, you wish to give me a slap in the face; don't attempt to deny it. Don't swear, I wouldn't believe your oath. You want to give me u ship in tho fnee, but I nm stronger than you ore; I would crush you like a worm, and I dare you to give .me that slap in tho face.' The meekest and most inoffensive man in the world would in these words find excellent reasons for giving what he is asked for, his hand would spontaneously fall on the check of tho fellow trho hnd provoked him."

This is not the parallel, M. About! Robbery is the question, not insult. Accuse an 'honest man of intending to pick your pocket, the charge may make him knock you down, but will it " suggest the evil thoughts" imputed to himH Would such a man retort t)y snatching your watch, and assign your anronting suspicion as " an excellent reason for justifying it?" This is exactly Glo'ster's apology, when charged with a murder.

"I was provoked by her slanderous tongue, That laid their guilt upon my guiltless shoulders."

However, Germany is no sooner cautioned than she is again assured. "No amount of provocation can turn France from the path she has chosen." Abuse me as much as you like, says the magnanimous emperor, I will not revenge myself by robbing you; and Europe will believe him as the cock in the fable believed the fox.

"Nay, then, quod he, I shrewe us botlio t^o, And first 1 shrewe myself, botbo blood and

bones, If thou bcgile me oftener than ones."

"We trust Prussia, on her part, will not be abused, or even lectured out of her firmness and independence, for there is an insolent tone of lecturing, mingled with the- "soft sawder" of this pamphlet. Prussia has not shown " proper consideration for a government founded on universal suffrage!" Then the Prussian press is often violent, but Louis Napoleon " will never nsk the prince to gag his subjects." Nor will he insist upon putting down freedom of speech in the Prussian chambers, though he observes that Prussian politicians had better keep civil tongues in their heads when they talk of France. The gracious emperor would not even make M. Vincke's speech a casus belli with Prussia. Then the police get a rap over thc^knucklcs, but they have been "rather unskilful than sruilty," go they are let off easily this time; but "the Prussian government will do wisely to direct their functionaries not to continue in such tortuous paths, which are not without danger!" It appears there has been a newedition of the Orsini plot in Prussia. "If Orsini had prospered," says M. About, "he would have assassinated the future liberator of Italy," and, in like manner, his German imitators would have destroyed the redeemer of Germany. The emperor is too modest to use these exact words. He only says that "Prussia would have been deprived of a very useful ally, who is, perhaps, called on to render her very great services, provided she lends herself to it," which, if her rulers are not the most infatuated princes that ever perished of their own blindness and credulity, they will certainly not do.

We need hardly add that we arc no admirers of the mob of little kingdoms into which so much of Germany is cut up; but great as the evil is, we trust not to see it reformed by French dictation and universal suffrage. And the speech made by the prince of Prussia to the other sovereigns after the emperor's departure indicated no disposition to become either the tool or the proselyte of France.

From The Saturday Review, 1 July. TH1-: MORALITY OF RAPINE. We have never pretended to fathom the precise plans of the emperor of the French. Probably they are not Bo fixed as it is the fashion to assume, but rather shift as circumstances change and openings present themselves — as this or that door m the European house appeare to be on the latch, as this or that window seems imperfectly fastened. In answer to those who demand the reasons of ounapprehensions, we have pointed simply to patent facts — to a life passed in conspiracy; to a throne won by treason, perjury, and massacre; to Europe kept in perpetual alarm, and twice plunged into war; to the crowd of "unofficial" pamphlets which breathe the spirit of restless aggrandizement; to Savoy, solemnly renounced, and then violently appropriated; and, above all, to those vast and costly armaments which are in a perpetual course of augmentation, and which can have no conceivable object but that of aggressive war. These are the "data" whereon we ground conclusions which we shall not abandon because somebody, on paying his bill at a French inn, has not found the landlady avowedly disposed for an immediate invasion of England — much less on that still more slender security, the pacific protestations of Napoleon III. Practically, indeed, we come to the same conclusion as our censors; for they, after scoffing at our irrational fears, and denouncing our lack of diplomatic politeness, end by advising us, merely "by way of precaution," to "grasp our arms." The French emperor is the most respectable of mankind; but if you have to travel alone with him, carry loaded pistols with you " by way of precaution." Allaire in Europe, we have been informed, " look more pacific at this moment than they " have lor a long time past." We should hope they did. This was the reward we expected for spending our money in ship and fortifications, and our time and labor in getting up volunteer corps.

However, an article which appeared a few days ago in the "unofficial" Opinion Nationale, seems really to afford a glimpse of the scheme which at present occupies the French emperor's mind. The ostensible object of the article was to allay the fears of Germany; but the German mind must be singularly constituted if its fears can be allayed by such chloroform as the article contained. The day of " recendication par la force," it seems, has passed. It would not do at the present time, without pretence or excuse, to pour an army of invasion into the Rhine provinces. The emperor is endowed with "a tact too nice, a sentiment of the tendency of opinion too just," to propose that sort of thing to France — " tact" and "sentiment of the tendency

of" opinion," being, we presume, the imperial substitutes for the more commonplace restraints on burglarious desires. To speak plainly, Louis Napoleon is acute enough to sec that a repetition of the unmasked rapine of his uncle would bring the world about his ears. The epoch of Dick Turpinc is gone— that of Sadleir and Pullinger has arrived. France, " not to mince matters," as the honest lago of the Opinion Nalionale says, "does not renounce the frontier of the Rhine," but she must have a moral pretext for seizing on it. A moral pretext there is likely to be. Europe is " undergoing a process of decomposition and recomrKJsition," for which, of course, French intrigue is not at all responsible. Nobody knows what may happen in the course of a few years. "The future is open; it is a history which it belongs to nobody to write beforehand." "Nearly the whole of the map of Europe is in question." It certainly is in question in the effusions of French pamphleteers. "Is Prussia bound by oath never to think of German unit)- V Can she answer that she will never cast a longing eye on Hanover, Saxony, Brunswick, Hesse, Oldenburg, and Mecklenberg? To-day sovereigns embrace each other, and certainly do so in good faith. But who can know what their people will demand of them a few years hence? And if, under the irresistible pressure of public opinion, all Germany should come to form one powerful state, would it 1 >o just, would it be reasonable, that France alone should preserve her frontier of 1815, when everybody in Germany would find it expedient to extend or suppress his own?" Of course, it would be most unjust and unreasonable that the Germans should bo allowed to alter their own internal arrangements without extending their territory, and that France should not Ixj allowed at the same time to extend her territory at the expense of her neighbors. Again wo arc told, "If the Germans should think proper to modify their ancient political constitution, and substitute for the impotent confederation a single, strong, centralized government, we would not answer that France would not think it reasonable to demand of Germany compensations and securities."

The "impotence" of Germany, then, is a part of the established rights and vested interests of France; and if Germany ceases to be "impotent," France is to be entitled to seize a certain number of German provinces, by way of " compensation." No nation con! tiguous to France shall have tho audacity to be united, well-organized, and powerful, like Franco herself, without forfeiting to her a por'tion of its territory by way of security for her continued preponderance. No country shall presume, without being fined for its presumptknij to put itself in such a condition as not to be at the common tyrant's feet. To induce Prussia to take the step on which, according to this modest and beneficent doctrine, the Rhine provinces would escheat to France, was plainly the object of the earnestly desired interview with the prince regent, and is the object of the pamphlets in which II. About and the rest of the emperor's literary voltigeurs impress the advantages of " unity" on the German nation. Sardinia has been incited to go to war with Austria and extend her own dominions in Italy, in order to furnish the pretext which the emperor's "tact" perceives to be required by the "tendency of opinion " in the present day, for the revendication (not by force) of Savoy and-Nice. Prussia is urged to extend her dominions in Germany that she may furnish a similar pretext for a like process in regard to the Irontier of the Rhine. There is yet another quarter in which the same game may be played. If Spain, in the process of " decomposition and rccomposition," should happen, "under the irresistible pressure of public opinion," to "cast an eye" upon Portugal, and thus substitute a single strong monarchy for the "impotent" duality of the Peninsula, •would it not be "reasonable," would it not be "just," that France, as a " compensation" and a "security," should rcvendicate (but not by force) Spain up to the Ebro? Could this obvious moral necessity escape the "tact" of the emperor? Has he not already shown that it is present to his mind?

French publicists naturally measure the morality of other states by that of their own. They fancy Prussia must be longing to thrust her hand into her neighbors' pockets, just as they are themselves. They take it for granted that German sovereigns must come to a congress with hearts as insincere and designs as perfidious as those which a French diplomatist brings to a conference of nations. But, besides this, they import their own political tastes and aspirations into the minds of people totally ditfcrcnt in character from themselves. The "unity" which they fancy so irresistibly tempting to all the world, is, in fact, tempting to themselves alone. It is a peculiarity of their own character and temperament to see the height of greatness in a nation organized like a single huge barrack under one vast and uniform oppression. The Germans belong to the nobler race—the race which inclines not to the "unity" of an enormous herd of men obeying a single driver, but to freedom of self-development and masculine independence. Germany has multiplied centres of political and intellectual life, great in their collective energy, and usefully qualifying each other by their various tendencies. What would she gain by relinquishing all these, and reducing herself to a vast

expanse of soulless and lifeless provinces, forming a mere pedestal for the vanity of one overweening metropolis? It is not everybody that thinks it the summit of all happiness and grandeur to be absorbed and annihilated in the glory of Paris, as a Buddhist hopes to be absorbed and annihilated in the Divine Essence. Thoroughly French, too, is the habit of regarding confederacies as necessarily " impotent." They are comparatively "impotent" for the purposes of internal tyranny and of external aggression, which, to a Frenchman, seem the grand objects of national existence. But they arc not "impotent" for their proper object, which is that of maintaining peace among a group of states without extinguishing their independence, and securing them all against the attacks of external enemies. Nothing could be looser, in a political point of view, or less respectable in the eyes of a French worshipper of unity, than the federal organization of the states of Holland; yet, that confederacy overthrew, in defensive war, the two greatest and most centralized monarchies of Europe. The Swiss Federation can hardly be said even to possess a federal executive, so loose is the tie between the different cantons; yet it has held its own, and bids fair still to hold its own, against the most powerful aggressor. Any one who meddled with the territories of the United States of America would probably, in like manner, be speedily convinced that local selfgovernment is not necessarily the source of military weakness. Prussia has no need to seek greatness by grandiose immorality. True moral greatness is within her reach. She may be the honored chief, without being the grasping and oppressive mistress, of tho great German League. She may take the load, on behalf of Germany and humanity, in keeping the French nation within its natural boundaries, which are those of the French language and the French race. She may save a portion of a noble, moral, and free people from being absorbed into a military despotism, confounded in character with its subjects, and reduced to the same level of morality with those who inspire tho Opinion Nationals.

From The Saturday Review, 7 July.


The foreign policy of France has lately appeared so dangerous, and the emperor has created such profound distrust of tho use to which ho will put the power he has obtained, that Englishmen have very naturally begun to regret having contributed to place Europe at the mercy of an adventurer. No doubt the Crimean war gave a great lift to Louis j Napoleon. It enabled him to reap all the benefits of associating with England and all

« PreviousContinue »