Imatges de pÓgina
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whole force and train, military and civil, had evacuated the territory of Poland. This, it is true, was achieved in the first onset, without protracted war. But still, when a power claiming dominion has been forced to abandon the territory in dispute, without retaining one foot of land, or one adherent within its boundaries, there is the strongest presumptive reason to acknowledge de jure an authority constituted de facto. Is not the case thus far that of Poland ?

Again, the rights of Poland, as a kingdom independent of Russia, and connected with that empire only by having the Russian Emperor for its king, were guaranteed by the Congress. The Emperor of Russia carried things with so high a hand at the time, that so far as the Congress was concerned, he might have made the Poles complete serfs of Russia. But he did not,because he knew the Poles would have sooner died. He accepted Poland as an independent constitutional kingdom, under the adjudication, and consequently under the guarantee of the Congress of Vienna. Therefore, the powers which acted by their representatives at that Congress, or any one of them having sufficient honesty and force, had a clear right to interfere and adjudicate in the melancholy contest between the Poles and Russians. Lord Grey might have called, and ought to have called upon the Emperor of Russia, not merely to discharge obligations which his predecessor had contracted for him and his heirs, but to renounce a dominion which he had grossly abused, and which he could not recover, if at all, without those excesses of war and carnage, against which the community of civilized governments have a right to raise their voices and their hands in the name of humanity.

There is a recent and clear case in point—that of the Greeks and Turks. It is even a case à fortiori ; for the Turks had violated no pledges; they had not granted constitutions, and abrogated them; promised security, and practised pillage; pretended to invoke the blessings of Heaven, and dispensed the curses of hell. There was something commendably honest in the barbarity of their oppressions ; and without the support which the Greeks received from the other nations of Europe, in men, money, and equipments, direct and indirect, there was every probability of their ultimate, perhaps speedy

But in spite of all this, the combined governments of Europe conceived that they had the right to interpose, and the right was exercised by the only effectual mode in the Bay of Navarino. Here was a precedent to which Russia was a party, and which she had established against herself.

We will tell Lord Grey what would have happened if the same spirit had recently presided over the councils of England. The united voices of England and France would have been heard at St. Petersburgh as they were heard at Constantinople—the combined fleets of England and France would have appeared in the Baltic and Black Sea, and Russia must have yielded, or met with the chastisement which opened the eyes and convinced the barbarism of Turkey. Russia has great naval pretensions and ambition; and we will allude to this more particularly, by and by: but it will not be said that her naval power could present as bold a front as that of Turkey did at Navarino. What could Russia do by the display or exercise of military means ? There are two recent and decisive

success.

proofs of the weakness of Russia as a military power. No doubt can be entertained that the Emperor Nicholas contemplated a crusade against the last year's Revolution of France. He disclosed, not only his sentiments, but his designs. But the Polish insurrection was sufficient to divert his whole attention, and the whole military resources of his empire, and to balance for a time the opinion of Europe as to the issue. The Emperor of Russia could not march a regiment beyond his frontier against England and France united. As to his finding German allies, it is most unlikely. The court of Austria has a clear and strongly felt interest in the weakness of Russia and the independence of Poland : and the King of Prussia, mean and rapacious as he is, could hardly stir without a subsidy, which the Russians cannot afford him. A great opportunity, then, of reducing the ambitious barbarism of Russia within its proper limits has presented itself, and has been thrown away.

We will suppose—for unhappily there is every reason to supposethat the Russians have regained their grasp of the Poles ;—the barrier which was felt to be of so much importance at the settlement of Europe, is lost. Russia presses with her numerous hordes, and her pretensions to aggrandizement, upon south-western Europe. It may be useful to cite the opinion expressed on this subject by Napoleon, at St. Helena. “ Napoleon,” says he, speaking in the third person, “ intended to re-establish the kingdom of Poland, as the only means of opposing a bulwark against that formidable empire which threatened, sooner or later, to overrun Europe. If Alexander does not, after the example of Paul, turn his eyes towards India, in order to acquire riches, and to give employment to his hordes of Cossacks, Calmucks, and other barbarians, who have acquired a taste for luxuries in Germany and France, he can avoid a revolution in Russia only by an irruption into the south of Europe. If he succeeds in completely amalgamating Poland and Russia, all must bend under his yoke. Europe, and especially England, will regret having made Poland a Russian province instead of an independent kingdom. But in 1815 the British Ministry was blinded by its hatred of Napoleon.” In another part of the dictated fragments called his “ Memoirs,” he says, that to prevent the power of the Russian empire from pressing upon Europe after his death, he invaded Russia in 1812, with the view of confining its ambition and its hordes beyond the Borysthenes.

But how can the pressure of Russia continental Europe particularly affect England ? Why should England especially regret the cession of Poland to Russia in 1815; and it may be added, the loss of the opportunity of repairing in 1831 the error of 1815 ?

For two reasons: Russia would employ her European ascendant with all the inveteracy of Napoleon against not only the naval supremacy of England, but against the principles of maritime law, or right, upon which

that supremacy is so dependent. The war-cry of Russia against England would be, and now most probably will be, “ the freedom of neutral commerce and of the seas.' It has been the Russian policy, from the days of that half-sage, half-savage, called Peter the Great, down to the present time, to possess naval strength and station in the Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean. This object has been

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sought by Russia in every contest, whether of war or diplomacy, with Sweden, Turkey, and France. That insane or eccentric savage, the Emperor Paul, was not quite so absurd as he was supposed in his pretensions upon Malta; and he was the chief author of the armed neutrality of the northern powers in 1801, which, for a moment. threatened the maritime commerce and superiority of England. That formidable league was broken up only by his death, which happened so opportunely for England, that her enemies, and especially Napoleon, did not scruple to throw upon the English Government the odious and slanderous imputation of being accessary to his assassination. The obnoxious maritime right exercised under the English flag, was perpetually harped upon at the Congress of Vienna. It was the ready retort of the Austrian, Prussian, and Russian Ministers to those of England-to Lord Castlereagh, the Duke of Wellington, and Lord Clancarty–when any observation was made by them on the seizures of Italy, Saxony, or Poland.

Since 1815 the course of events in Europe has been such as to keep this delicate question out of view; but calculating upon the future from the average experience of the past, the existing state of peace and of European relations cannot last much longer. From what quarter but Russia, with her despotism, her ambition, and her barbarism, is danger or aggression to be apprehended? The establishment of Polish independence would have thrown back this danger. Poland erected into an independent state would have served against her as a barrier and bulwark of European defence and security. That barrier in her possession, she has the key of Europe ; she looks from a commanding position over not only Austria and Prussia, but over Italy and France. What stronger temptation than this for attacking England in the great source of her European power-her naval ascendancy. It should never be forgotten that the English maritime code, as affecting neutral commerce, is unpopular and obnoxious all over the world. The Emperor of Russia has, moreover, all the naval powers of the north of Europe, Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia, so far as she is a naval power, at his beck. His relations with Holland, our ancient, and it may be said, natural ally, are also more intimate. Such is the position in which the Emperor of Russia has been permitted by the pusillanimity of English councils to secure himself.

Thus has peace or war in Europe been made dependent upon his discretion and moderation—a most frail security.

There are persons in this country who use mischievous and despicable endeavours to embroil the Government with that of France. Their motives are various, and all more or less malignant. Some would still cherish the uncharitable and exploded absurdity that France is our natural enemy. France may be the natural rival of England—and this not in a hostile sense, but in arts, science, and ingenuity. The two countries have much more of common than conflicting interests, especially since the recent revolution has created the mu tual respect and sympathy of a common freedom. Others would seek a grovelling popularity by flattering popular prejudices which have ceased to exist. An anti-Gallican claptrap would now be hooted by the populace in the galleries of our minor theatres. Some few more would plunge the country into a quarrel with the French from the

same hatred of their recent as of their former Revolution, forgetting or disregarding the streams of British blood and the hundreds of millions of British treasure which have been expended in that memorable contest. There are not in the whole world such rancorous enemies of public liberty as may be found in England. Not only individuals, but political coteries, are affected with this servile and malignant instinct. The present Ministry will not gratify them. Their disposition to cultivate friendly relations and commercial intercourse with the French, proves the wisdom of their policy, as well as the liberality of their sentiments. Parodying the Spanish proverb, we would say

“ Peace with France and war with the rest of the world.” We believe every person who is really acquainted with the French people will believe this to be possible. They have what may be called a predisposition. It is their general wish to esteem and be esteemed by the English. They assuredly have their full share both of enlightened sense and generous emotion.

Russia, we have observed, and we believe shown, is the quarter which most nearly threatens the peace of Europe and the power of England. It would require only a very brief examination of the subject to satisfy any reasonable mind, that the subjugation of the Poles supplies to Russia means of offence incalculably beyond any that France would acquire by the annexation of Belgium. Yet have the British Ministers given days and weeks to diplomatic communications and conferences for the prevention of the latter, whilst they have scarcely put in motion their tongues, their pens, or their diplomatists for the prevention of the former.

They have doubtless been actuated by two leading and obvious motives: the first is their study to prolong the state of peace. vernment, or an individual giving but a hint of the appeal to arms, should be ready to take the field, or meet the world's derision. We believe, however, that the threat of war might have been held out to the Emperor of Russia in the shape of a vigorous remonstrance with the fair chances of a pacific result.

But supposing it should have proved otherwise; is it reasonable to conclude that the sacrifice of the Poles will materially prolong the duration of peace? What a bitter comment upon the conduct of Ministers if they should find themselves embroiled with Russian ambition three or six months hence! A war with Russia commanding the military resources of Poland, and the high-way of irruption into civilized Europe, would be serious ; but what was there formidable in a war undertaken for the independence of the Poles? It would be on the part of England wholly naval-maintained with her right arm, with that force which constitutes her pride and safety, her permanent, popular, and “ cheap defence”—a force which may be increased to any extent without a murmur from the people against the burthens which might be imposed on them, without creating danger or alarm for the constitutional rights and liberties of the country-a force which protects and extends our maritime commerce, from which, as from a vast seminary, it is, in its turn, recruited with practised and complete seamen. Had the same spirit which presided over the British Government and the pacification of Greece when his present Majesty was Lord High Admiral of England, still presided over the

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cabinet, the admiralty, and the pacification of Poland, we venture to assert that the Russians would have been brought to reason either by vigorous remonstrance, or if that failed, by a vigorous exercise of naval power-like the Turks. But the foreign policy of the administration has, we repeat, been pusillanimous.

The paramount business of Reform is the second cause which has distracted and enfeebled the administration of foreign affairs. It had the double effect of absorbing the attention of the government and of the people. The successful progress of Reform might be compromised by a war, and the success of the war compromised by the distraction or the monopoly of the public mind in the pursuit of Reform. This is much the more creditable excuse for the foreign policy of Lord Grey. Even this, however, is insufficient.

But the question now is that the great work of repairing the fabric or fortress of the constitution should be completed rapidly. Whilst Reform is pending, England cannot exert all her resources, moral and material, with undivided energy to maintain her place as a European power. Expedition depends upon the people themselves. There is no reason to reproach them with the want of patriotism or activity. At no period indeed have the English people proved more nobly, that noblest quality of national character for which the English are renowned among nations-public spirit. The aristocracy, too, of wealth and rank have given splendid proofs of disinterested and devoted patriotism. Voluntary patriotism has rarely made more generous sacrifices. Pecuniary considerations are, it may be said, the most sordid of any; but are they not also the most powerful? What is more easy than to disguise the pride of riches and the most sordid love of pelf in the envelope of sage counsel, or of honest stupidity? Examples will readily suggest themselves in that class of the aristocracy which dares to dispute with the people their right to be taxed only by a real representation. The usurpation, it is true, has been gradual and long endured, and there is no wrong so palpable, but habit and prescription will turn it into a right in the imagination of the habituated, hardened, profiting wrong-doer. A faction may persist in the system of clogging the advance of Reform, but let them beware of being crushed or trampled.

BLACK WORK.
A CERTAIN Colonel, old, and poor, and lame,

And therefore somewhat choleric and fervent,

Had advertised for a man-servant,
And was employ'd in writing, when there came

Into his room a spruce and dandy footman,

Who scorn'd to be a shoe and boot-man,
And therefore ask'd, as he drew near,

Pray, Sir, who does the black-work here?"-
“ That, Sir, I do myself,” the Colonel said,
And threw his inkstand at the fellow's head !

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