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keep alive these fears, and thus to maintain a salutary check upon the legislature, who are aware of his influence, his hopes and his views, which though they do not approve, they dare not openly resist, lest his power should be thereby strengthened, and his ambitious purposes furthered. There are, however, other counteractions to the President's aspirations to imperial power and rank. These are parties which respectively support the claims of the two branches of the Bourbons. So far as checking the republican spirit is concerned, both those parties go handin-hand with Louis Napoleon. But whenever they think there is the shadow of a chance for a monarch of the “legitimate race,” they will be as much opposed to the increase of the power of the president as are the republicans themselves. But for these counteractions, it is likely that Louis Napoleon would ere this have tried the strength of his advantages, and made more unequivocal demonstration of his purposes. Affairs, however, seem not likely to go on much longer in their present train; and financial difficulties at home, or foreign wars, may calm the fever that is now secretly gathering strength to manifest itself, and to give impulse and direction to a new revolution.
Republicanism in Italy and Germany, thus deprived of the countenance and support of France, was shorn of more than half its strength. The supporters of monarchical power in these countries, being in possession of office and authority, familiar with the exercise of power, and supported by the military who had not been, as in France, inoculated with sympathy for the cause of the people, profited by the change they so rejoiced to see, and were soon able to regain all they had lost. The union of all the German States that plan of confederation which was to combine civil freedom with national grandeur, has fled like a vision. The sovereigns of Austria and Prussia seem to be reinstated in despotic power. Hungary, frustrated in her heroic efforts, first to regain her ancient rights, and failing in that, to obtain national independence, is about to be reduced lower than ever in the scale of political existence.
Italy, that seemed for awhile to have achieved emancipation from the iron rule of her sovereigns, foreign and domestic, is again subjected to arbitrary power; and the people of Sardinia, Lombardy, the Papal States, Naples and Sicily, as well as in the minor States of that beautiful peninsula, are again reduced to a seemingly hopeless servitude.
But, after all, the present may be but the second act of the great drama now going on between those who exercise political power and those who feel its pressure; and in the chain of causes and effects now in operation, we may see several other great changes before the same drama is concluded.
Prussia having a more intelligent population than any other part of Germany, the measures of the court party there are likely to be more moderate and guarded—to wear the semblance of the public good, which mankind now generally regard as the first duty of every government, whatever may be its form. Perhaps, too, it is intended that the sentiment of German nationality as well as the love of civil freedom should find safe vent in perfecting the federal constitution which the principal German States have submitted to the rest, and the provisions of which are soon to be under deliberation.
In Austria, as the army is larger, more uniformly submissive to the government, and the people are less enlightened, the Euperor is likely to be reinstated in his former power in every part of his dominions. In Hangary, indeed, the government will seek' to extend its power; but there its purposes will be constantly encountering difficulty so long as the Hungarians retain the memory of their ancient rights, the heroic self-devotion by which those rights have been defended, and the cruelties with which the victors have marked their triumph. When in Poland a period of seventy-five years has not been able to efface the remembrance of her independence and her wrongs, who can suppose that the Hungarians, a people superior in intelligence, can be soon oblivious of theirs? Her oppressors show their fears upon this subject, by their anxiety that Kossuth and his brave compatriots should be delivered up.
Let us now turn our attention to the separate European States.
GREAT BRITAIN. The discontents excited in Canada by the bill to indemnify the sufferers in the late insurrection, though much mitigated, have not yet passed away, and the project to which they gave rise of annexation to the United States, still has its advocates and supporters. But the petition or memorial which the friends of annexation put forth, gave rise to a counter memorial which was signed by a yet greater number of names, and the disaffection seems likely to pass away for the time, without any lasting or visible effects. The removal of the seat of government for the Canadas from Montreal to Toronto, has doubtless contributed to increase the disaffection at the former place.
It is known that the speculative politicians of Great Britain have been, for some time, divided on the question whether colonial possessions were really profitable to a nation or not: many, of late years, insisting that they do not repay to the mother country the cost of protecting and governing them; that in some of them the expense of the military force there maintained exceeds the gross amount of their trade, and, consequently, must be equal to many times the profits of that trade. Even where they are less burdensome, the cost of defending them is considerable; and this cost, and that of the precautionary measures taken to secure their dependence and obedience, so largely deducts from the profits afforded by the monopoly of their trade, as to make the difference comparatively insignificant. They, moreover, multiply the chances of rivalship, of conflicting interests, and, finally, of war with other nations; and they distract the attention of statesmen which should be concentrated on the home interests.
A large portion, probably much the largest portion of the British nation, are not converts to this new doctrine. Multitudes are directly benefited by the colonial import or export trade; and a yet greater number regard the colonies as monuments of the nation's present power, as well as of its past prowess, and none of these are willing to surrender certain profit or glory for the chance of lower taxes. But the present ministry belong to the party who favour these economical views, and it is probably the influence of those views, as much as a prudent acquiescence in what could not be permanently prevented, which has induced the ministers to intimate to the colonial authorities in Canada that if the people of that country really desired annexation to the United States, the government would not oppose it.
The course which the British government has pursued towards the little republic of Nicaragua has been already noticed. If its purpose is merely to share in the proposed communication between the Atlantic and Pacific, and not to get the monopoly of the commerce that will there find a channel, the late measures of their Consul General, Mr. Chatfield, will be disavowed. It will make no further opposition to the grant made by Nicaragua to citizens of the United States, by which the projected canal will be open to all nations upon equal terms; and it will aid in bringing about the same great result by treaty engagements with the United States.
If the British government has not seemed to show as much moderation and forbearance towards the petty states of Nicaragua and Honduras as became a great and powerful nation, it has acted a truly noble part in supporting Turkey against the threatened hostility of Russia; and if we complain that she has not fulfilled one half of the Roman maxim of magnanimity-parcere subjectis-we should be prompt to give her credit for having well discharged the other-debellare superbos. The British ministry as well as the British people have manifested the liveliest sympathy for the Hungarians in their late glorious struggle for independence, and in the sad consequences of their defeat; and when it was known that the Emperor of Russia by his Envoy, Prince Radzivil, required of the Turkish Sultan that the Hungarians who had sought an asylum in his dominions should be given up, Sir Stratford Canning, the British Minister at Constantinople, who had been unwearied in his efforts to serve the Hungarian cause, induced the Sultan to resist the arrogant demand, by the assurance that he would probably have the support of Great Britain, even if it should lead to war. France was induced to take the same generous course, but in taking it, her President, wishing, perhaps, not to make an ungracious return for the personal civilities of the Czar, seemed rather to follow than to lead.
While this matter, of so threatening an aspect to Turkey, was pending, the Sultan's Minister of Foreign Affairs put the following queries to the British and French Plenipotentiaries then at Constantinople, to which their answers are respectively annexed:
1. Do the treaties of Kutchuck and Passarovitch authorize Russia and Austria to demand the Hungarian refugees?
Answer. No. 2. Would the refusal by Turkey be an infraction of those treaties? Ans. It would not.
3. Would those powers, in consequence of such refusal, be justified in declaring war against Turkey?
Ans. The treaties do not admit of such a construction, and, consequently, a declaration of war would be unjustifiable.
4. In the event of such a declaration of war, would England and France assist Turkey with an armed force?
Ans. The envoys cannot guaranty such assistance without the instructions of their respective governments.
5. Are the refugees claimed by Russia, the subjects of Russia ? Ans. Some of them may be, but the generality of them are not.
6. In case the refusal by Turkey should interrupt the peaceful relations between her and the other powers, would France and England interpose to re-establish harmony between them?
The subject being taken into consideration by the grand council of Turkey, they were unanimous in refusing to deliver up the Hungarian refugees; but as Russia seemed disposed to insist on their delivery, the English fleet, under Admiral Parker, of seven ships of the line, one frigate and three steam ships, which had been in the Levant awaiting the result of the pending negotiations, were forthwith ordered to the Dardanelles. Sir Stratford Canning was, moreover, instructed to inform the Emperor of Russia that, in case of his rupture with Turkey, England would make a common cause with her.
In the great number and vast extent of the colonial possessions of Great Britain, it can scarcely ever happen that all of them should be at once prosperous and quiet. The discontents and disturbances in Canada have been already mentioned. In Jamaica, and some of her other colonies in the West Indies and Guyana, the planters still feel the effects of struggling, under the disadvantages of dearer and insufficient labour, against the cheaper sugar of Cuba and Brazil. The exports of those colonies to Great Britain continue to decline, and their estates proportionally fall in value.
A very different cause of complaint lately arose at the Cape of Good Hope. The government, by way of lessening the expense of their convict system, decided on sending some of these outcasts of society to that settlement. But on the arrival of the ship Neptune, with several hundreds of them, in the month of September last, the liveliest commotion was excited among the inhabitants, and they determined with one voice on opposing their admission into the colony at all hazards. At a general meeting, the colonists entered into “a mutual pledge” that they would have no connexion with any one who “would assist in supporting convict felons,” and would furnish no supplies to the public ships of war so long as the Neptune remained in the bay. They insisted that the Governor, Sir Harry Smith, should send back the convicts without suffering them to land. They declared in their public address that the convicts “must not, cannot, shall not be landed in the colony.” During the excitement, the mob attacked the house of a public officer, and committed other excesses, whereupon the Governor issued a proclamation in which he stated that such outrages should be put down by the police, and, if necessary, by the military. The excitement among the colonists continued as late as the 27th of October, and it is said that the convicts are to be transported to Van Diemen's Land, but that, in consideration of the extraordinary privations and sufferings to which they have been exposed, most of them will be liberated when they arrive at the place of their final destination. Perhaps, however, when the first ebullitions of popular feeling have passed away, the colonists may acquiesce in the purposes of the government. The colony at the Cape contains somewhat more than 100,000 whites, half English and half Dutch, and 50,000 blacks.
The insurrection in Cephalonia has been entirely suppressed, and some twenty or thirty of the insurgents have been executed by Commissioner Ward under the authority of martial law, put in force after the insurrection. The British government consents to give a popular form to the Ionian legislatures
Among the questions which now engage the public attention in England, the most prominent seems to be that of protection to the agricultural interests. The policy of a free trade in grain seems to have lost some of the popularity which procured the repeal of the corn laws. While the agricultural class very sensibly feel the injurious consequences of the competition of cheaper corn from abroad to which that repeal subjects them, the consuming classes appear not to have equally felt the correspondent benefit. There has, hence, been some reaction in public opinion, and public meetings are now held throughout the kingdom in favour of protection. It is even said that the members of the cabinet are divided on this question, and that a part of them are now the advocates of a moderate duty. It remains to be seen whether this change is one of those oscillations of public sentiment which great reforms in national policy often experience before their final success, or whether the policy of protecting domestic corn growers, which has been assailed and defended ever since the days of Adam Smith, will continue to be an unsettled question.
The provisions of the new navigation act have been reciprocated by most commercial nations; and British ships will be admitted, after the 1st of February, into the ports of the United States, Sweden, Prussia, Hanover, the Hanse Towns, Denmark, Russia, the Italian States, Greece, the Ottoman Empire, and the States of Central and South America, on the same terms as their own vessels.
Parliainent is expected to meet early in February.