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NOTES OF THE MONTH.
The Spanish marriage is over, and a courage which no difficulties have the Duke of Montpensier, for the pre- hitherto impeded, may have nerved sent at least, is a happy bridegroom. him to encounter the worst. But there The realization of this daring scheme were the feelings of a politician also to of alliance bas struck the public mind be gratified. He might accomplish with astonishment, as from the amount that union between France and Spain of obstacles in its way, it was boldly in which the armies of Napoleon so pronounced an impossibility. The miserably failed, and exclaim, when treaty of Utrecht had to be surmounted, the deed was done, “ Alone I did it !" the reclamation of England had to be And then, too, this union has been for silenced, and the jealousy of French centuries the fondest wish of Franceaggrandizement on the part of foreign the young bridegroom is the tie hy powers appeased. But more than all which that union is to be accomplished. these, there were the hatred and hosti. Let changes then come as they may, lity of Spain to be encountered. The what Frenchman would consent to the patriotic members who repaired to the dethronement of the Orleans dynasty? Cortes had not only resolved to speak But the present is a strange age in and vote, but also to die upon the floor politics, and master-powers are silently of their senate-house, if need were, be- at work upon which modern politicans fore the obnoxious measure should are unable to calculate. They can sum pass; while among the people, many up the physical force contained in the à carabine was scoured, and knife thews and sinews of France ; but can sharpened, with the resolution that the they tell or guess in what direction prince should never reach the matri- these will move a few years hence ? A monial altar alive. But the vote has spirit is at work, and opinions are passed harmoniously, and“mine honest floating upon the winds, under which neighbours shouted.” Spain has suc- France will yet change her character cumbed, and bears the insult meekly; and history, and when the mighty ties of while France glories in a proceeding, to-day, which seem to be of such “penthe unmanliness, the meanness, and the durable toughness,” will be snapped treachery of wbich history will em- asunder, like threads of flax when the blazon to her lasting shame.
flame has touched them. The time is While the singular talent and un- approaching, when not the Pyrennees expected success of Louis Philippe are or the Alps, but opinions higher and recognized in this astute movement, it more'impassible still, will constitute the is worth while to ascertain, if possible, barriers of separation, and the subjects the full amount of benefit he expected of conflict; and to this period we can to reap by a measure so obnoxious, and consign, with other subjects of even attended with such danger. It was greater political import, the Montfor no trifle that he thus perilled the pensier marriage and all its premised life of his son, and what is of far higher advantages. importance, the peace of Europe. Another earnest desire of France Might it not be, that in the event of is, the possession of fleets and colonies, the restoration of the elder Bourbons, and to acquire these she has laboured he wished to secure permanent foot- earnestly since the period of the general ing for one member more of his family peace. But, unfortunately, she has seamong European princes? He knows lected those soils that seem productive from personal experience, that in the of nothing but harvests of armed men. event of the dethronement of his fa. Acting upon the principle that Might is mily, it would be no pleasant thing for Right, she clutched the island of Tahiti; the young Duc de Montpensier to be- but still, as from the first, she is daily come a teacher of mathematics ; and the experiencing that the might is not love of a fond old father, combined with wholly upon one side. In fact, the resistance of the brave half-civilized and grub up the tree of his clearing Tahitians, has made the French pay ground; and, if he leaves France and more than tenfold for the barren stripe its gaieties, it is only in the prospect of sand of which they can hardly re- of finding still greater gaieties in the tain possession, while it appears pro- new country of his adoption. Like the blematical whether they will be able to grasshopper in the fable, he will pipe retain their hold even of that. As for and sing all summer, and let the winter the successes of the French army in shift for itself, while his plodding Algeria, they figure pompously upon rivals, the English colonists, like the paper ; but when narrowly scrutinised, ants in the same fable, are contentedly they strangely vanish, without leaving toiling during the season of sunshine a single impress. The land has been to provide for future wants. But more overrun, and yet the invaders are than even his giddiness, is his proflicooped up in Algiers; the tribes have gacy in the character of a colonist. It been annihilated, but they still muster would be well if he confined his foolas numerously as ever; and as for Abd- eries to the theatre, which is the first el-Kader, that prophet, priest, warrior of his colonial erections, or to the --that Hannibal of the nineteenth dance, in which he fritters away his century, who seems to possess a trick energies, while he should be wielding or two of which even Hannibal was axe and spade. But his notorious ignorant-although he has repeatedly profligacy is a still greater obstacle to had his zama of rout and ruin, yet here- his success in colonial enterprise ; and turns to the onset more formidable than the injuries which he inflicts upon the before, and threatens soon to fall upon universal feeling of chastity, wherever the Nazarenes with an empire at his he attempts to settle, has armed, and back. Nay, he has been repeatedlyskilled will continue to arm, the hand of every outright by shot, by the sabre, by the savage and semi-barbarian against him. fall of his horse, and yet obstinately And thus, the mother country-what lives on; and on one occasion, when the profit or power can she derive from French enveloped his tent, and pounced these her absent children? From their upon its inmate, they found that they industry she receives no sustenance, had caught, not the prophet, but his while her armaments must be continupet poodle. We fear that this cap- ally afloat, and her wealth expended, ture will be but too emblematical of to maintain them in their iniquitous the results of French doings and quarrels, or protect them from a just winnings in Algeria. Dearly, indeed, revenge. has France paid, and still continues to A parallel history of the disasters of pay for the possession of a sea-hoard on the French in Algeria, is to be found the Mediterranean, and a petty island in the hardships and defeats of the or two in Polynesia.
Russian legions in the Caucasus. The Imagine even the best however brave mountaineers of that interesting that Algeria is conquered, and its un- region, who, under the names of Janireasonable hero not only dead in good zaries and Mamelukes, were the conearnest, but held fast under a tomb- querors and masters of so large a porstone; and that the French have se- tion of the world, have not degenecured a tranquil lodgement in the Pa- rated from their ancient military repucific to their hearts' contentinent- tation, and the resistance they have ofwhat would still be the gain to France fered for years has formed an impregof such acquisitions ? Of all mankind the nable barrier to Russian ambition and Frenchman is the worst of colonists. aggrandizement. Wherever the inHe has neither the patience, the per- vaders have advanced upon the plains, severance, nor the industry, which are or among the mountain passes of the so necessary to conquer the barren Circassians. it was only to be driven wilderness, and enrich it with har- back; wherever a fort was erected to vests. Sooner a thousand times would bridle a revolting district, it was only he set his life upon a cast, and grapple built to be captured and destroyed. with a living foeman, than hew down Thus stands the state of the war at present, and thus it may continue for pire, and she quietly looks on-and years. As if to draw, too, the parallel although Russia, already become too more closely still between Circassia great, is seeking to become greater and Algeria, the former as well as the still, and thus to destroy that balance latter country has a prophet for its pa- of Europe, which has been established triot hero, and the dashing exploits of by such fearful sacrifices, our muskets Schamyl produce the same great re- still slumber and rust in the armsults as the Fabius-like caution and chests of our arsenals. And what is cunning of Abd-el-Kader. In the the cause of this unprecedented phemeantime, the Czar perseveres in nomenon? Is it that we have become throwing army after army into the too moral for the attrocities, too wise hopeless struggle; and as the “ sinews for the hazards, or too timid for the of war” are largely needed for such dangers of a war with France or Ruscostly experiments, some of his late sia? Alas! a mightier cause than modes of raising money are likely to each or all compels us to be still. The involve him in a contest with the heavy hand of heaven is upon us, and clergy-a species of warfare which even under it we cower and tremble. A Russian despots cannot wage with im- root, which constitutes an important punity. The following piece of Peters article of food, has been struck with a burg court gossip, which was tremb- mysterious blight, and a thing so vullingly whispered in corners when no
gar as a
potato disease” is becomthird person was nigh, will show how ing the deadliest of political calamities. rashly Nicholas has offended his clergy And while, with other countries, the even in the “nicest point.” Requiring evil will simply constitute a diminucash for his late trip through Italy, he tion of subsistence, exhibited in an borrowed a large sum from the priest- occasional short allowance, the case is hood. As time wore on without any very different with us at home, where symptom of restitution, the reverend the potato is not the partial, but the lenders were naturally anxious to con- entire food of a large part of our povey a gentle hint upon the subject to pulation. In losing this, Ireland and the imperial ear, and for this purpose the Highlands have lost their all. a deputation of their number was sent, And how is the calamity to be enwho propounded the delicate ques- countered ? How are the Irish and the tion in the following gentle fashion : Highlanders to be kept in existence "At what rate of interest is it the during a long season of utter faminepleasure of your Majesty to hold our maintained, too, be it observed, by money ?!
“ Interest !” exclaimed the their fellow subjects, whose own remonarch in wrath and astonishment- sources have been diminished by the "what man pays interest to himself ? same disaster ? This is the great poI am the head of the church, and there- litical difficulty of the day, in which fore its money is my own.” The every other question is absorbed, and ghostly deputies were so confounded the solving of which has made our and stultified with this regal syllogism, statesmen nervous and pale. The that they backed out of the august pre- discontent that must be soothed, the sence like men moving in a dream. tendency to riot that must be sup
Considering the history of the past, pressed, the millions of solid cash that we might well wonder that, amidst all must be wrung from the half-starving these changes and aggressions, Britain portion of the community to support remains so tranquil. The least of these, the wholly-starving, and the expediin former days, would have provoked her ents to be adopted for the prevention of to throw down the gauntlet and rush into such calamities from the same specific the field, be the consequences what they cause in any future season—all this might. But now France and Spain are involves an amount of perplexity sufwedded in defiance of her remonstrances, ficient to distract the highest reach of and she is silent—our hereditary enemy statesmanship. is planting her hostile garrisons in Assuredly it was in an evil hour the midst of our Australasian em- that Sir Walter Raleigh brought the potato to our shores-a' root which through this murky horizon, the irrabids fair to retard the progress of civi- diations of a benevolent Providence. lization, or even to lead the civilized May it not be that that support which back into the savage state of existence.
has been struck from under us might What aims, what aspirations beyond have become the drag, and finally, the the day, can those men have, who con- paralysis of European industry and tentedly subsist on roots ? What to enterprise ? Let us think of this, and them are arts and industry, manufac- struggle onward. If our Irish and our ture and commerce ? All will appear Highland population would but read supererogatory to the man who thrusts in their privations the uncertainty and a potato into the earth, and then, his insufficiency of such a source of subhands into his pockets, in reliance up
sistence--if they would turn to others, on the future crop.
involving the exercise of greater All has been moving around our Irish thought and more active industry, and and Highland countrymen, but they thus, with a diet of flesh and grain, achave remained unmoved. The Eng- quire at the same time those wants and lishman and the lowland Scot have habits which distinguish the citizen started upon a career of improvement from the savage-if such were to bewhich has multiplied an hundred-fold come the happy effects of a disaster at the means of enjoyment and the sources present so trying, we would not then of subsistence, while his potato-fed murmur at a parliamentary grant howfellow-citizen is not a whit better off ever large, or any personal services than he was when Sir Walter Raleigh however self-denying. lived. Nay, he is worse--because he Amidst the sufferings of our Celtic is tantalized with the sight of an ele- brethren, it is grievous to think how vation of society which he does not little aid can be expected from those share; and when his precarious root whose duty it should have been to fails, he must become the bearer of his stand in the breach between their more industrious brother's burdens, or people and the plague. What can be the dependant upon his charity. We hoped from the political quack who have heard much of late of Gentonic blocks up the highway with the begpre-eminence and Celtic inferiority, ging hat in one hand, and the nostrum and many profound reasons have been of brick-dust in the other, promising a adduced to support this too popular very millenium of Irish liberty, if the theory. But postponing this critical starving people will but pay for it? part of the subject to a future and more What from the mad absentee, who ample investigation, we may merely rushes blindfold through the world, observe for the present that the article knocking his head against Pompey's of diet alone, without any more latent pillar, or the walls of the Vatican cause, is almost sufficient to account Or what from the Highland chieftian, for the manifest inferiority, both phy- whose money is squandered at the club sical and intellectual, of the Irish and or the gaming-table, and whose tail has Highland peasantry. He who fares swept a whole district clear of its indaily and yearly from infancy upon an
habitants ? The commotion is at hand innutritious diet of potatoes, must grow in which such bubbles evaporate. To up stunted in stature, and feeble of the measures of the Government alone, bone and muscle ; he who is contented corroborated by the sympathy of the with such fare will laugh to scorn all people at large, we look for the remedy. improvement and invention.
We trust, also, that the remedy will The calamity, indeed, for the pre
not be confined to a mere temporary sent, is a grievous one, and the famine expedient. What is to be done with of winter will be fearful and critical; the helpless Celt, when the first presit will be a scramble for existence, in sure of the emergency has passed which he who has bread must share away? Is he to be allowed to relapse to his last loaf with him who has none. into his former sloth and starvation ? And yet the end may be well. We If so, we shall have more potato think we can discern, though faintly, blights, and many such strangling
emergenies as the present. As well it must go-and better therefore that might we turn Ireland into one huge its exit should be in peace. This is workhouse, the inmates of which are not the day and the hour for men to to be maintained from the public purse. hold land which they cannot occupy, The only remedy that occurs to us, and a peasantry whom they cannot which has the character of perma- employ. For an impoverished nonency attached to it, is the complete bility groaning under a load of acres and immediate annihilation of Entails. which for all the purposes of enjoyThe present crisis demands it, and the ment, as well might be their graves, law of entail, already crumbling with and for lands luxuriant in nettles and the parchments for the behoof of which thistle-tops, we desiderate moneyed it was created, is even now trying to es- and enterprising land-holders, a fair cape after the herd of superannuated footing upon the soil for the employfeudalities with which it should have ment of capital ard industry. walked off abreast. It is going, and
NEW PUBLICATIONS OF THE MONTH.
Switzerland and the Swiss Churches ; be- Four Letters to the Rev. E. B. Elliott, on
ing Notes of a Short Tour, and Notices some Passages in his Horce Apocalypof the Principal Religious Bodies in that ticce. By the Rev. Dr CANDLISH, Country. By WILLIAM LINDSAY Edinburgh. 8vo, Pp. 128. London, ALEXANDER, D.D., F.S.A.S. 8vo, P.p 1846. 336. Glasgow. 1846.
in the Horde Apocalypticce This is the record of a six weeks' tour which have produced these Letters are in the autumn of 1845. The author's strikingly illustrative of the extreme route was by Strasburg, Basle, Neufcha, prejudice with which even the best and tel, Lausanne, Geneva, Chamonix, the ablest of the Evangelical Ministers of the Glaciers, Berne, and the Oberland'; and Church of England are apt to regard tho the return home by Freyberg, Heidelberg, Free Church, and the cause of Dissent in and Belgium. The narrative of the journey general. Mr Elliot, amongst other things, occupies the first six and the last chapter charges the Free Church with urging of the book. The scenery is sketched claim to inspiration, and therefore to infalwith a lively and effective pen-the way. libility in the interpretation of Scripture,". side anecdotes are pleasantly told—and and with entertaining the sentiment the personal sketches are fresh and racy. “ that Christ's Headship consists in the The remainder of the work is occupied ecclesiastical ruler's supremacy over the with the Swiss Churches. Chapter vii. is civil power in all things in any way ecdevoted to a review of the religious con
clesiastical." He likewise conceives dition of Switzerland generally. Roman. “the reed like unto a rod” given to John ism-Comparative View of the Protes- to measure the temple of God and the tant and Catholic Cantons-Influence and altar, and them that worship therein," to efforts of the Jesuits—the Catholic League have symbolized the rod of authority'' --Infidelity —Communism-Scepticism, given to Henry the Eighth and the ElecNeologianism—are the principal topics. tor of Saxony, to constitute the Reformed Chapter viii. is occupied with the Protes- Churches at the era of the Reformation, tant Cantonal Churches; and chapter ix. and thence rebukes the Protestant Diswith the Dissenting Churches in Geneva; senting body for their “feeling of bitter. while chapters x. and xi. are devoted to against “our Anglican Church,” the Swiss Independent Churches. There the “establishment of which seems ex. is likewise an appendix giving some ac- pressly noted in the apocalyptic figura. count of Jean Baptiste Morelli, whom the tions, as the Lord's own doing ;" and author claims as one of the earliest advo- puts it to the authors of that unhappy cates of Congregationalism. There is secession by which the sister Protestant much that is valuable and interesting in Church of Scotland has been reft of these chapters ; but they are throughout many of its most eminent and excellent a good deal tinctured with the peculiar members,” whether there is not “ground ecclesiastical views of the author. for pause, reflection, and self-suspecting,"