Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

possess, until Russia has conquered and garrisoned | ficos ; and the promise of God,“ that seed time, and harvest the Bosphorus, and not even then; for they would should not cease” appeared to me more anxiously fulfilled in still be liable to attacks by the Danube. The

the agreeable plain where it was spoken than elsewhere, as

I had not seen such fertility in any part of the Shah's Caspian, moreover, commands the Euxine, and this dominions. quality of the inland sea has never been fully observed, or publicly stated, by our politicians.

He had, however, found many fertile tracts; and It is dependent, iudeed, upon the strength of the accomplished and enthusiastic missionary was

an observant man. Persia and Turkey, and their feelings towards

A vast portion of the land is Russia. If the Turks are capable of defending desolate, and without inhabitants desolate betheir territories in Asia from any army that Russia

cause it is destitute of population ; yet Persia can accumulate on the Caspian, the latter is not a

comprises many delightful districts---cach of them key to the Euxine ; but if the Sultan is unable to equal in breadth and length to a German princiresist the Muscovite strength in Asia, we scarcely land were not remarkable for its native fertility ;

pality. It would be very curious indeed if the need to say that the Bosphorus may be turned and since the great district of Eden is comprised prowon from the East. If the Sultan's Government were capable and energetic, they would fortify the bably within its frontiers, and the land known by position remaining to them of the Caspian shores, that name to the ancients forms part of its pro

vinces. and have their own ships upon its waters. Many years will, however, pass before they have recovered

The late Sir John Malcolm, in a diplomatic letter from their lethargy sufficiently to offer an effective to Count Woronzoff, whom he had met in Persia, resistance upon the Caspian itself, or farther from assigus the want of fertility in the Persian land as the Euxine ihan Erzeroum and Kars.

a reason why the Russians could not conveniently The purposes of Russia for a time would be invade India from that quarter ; but the writer repromoted by the annexation of Persia, and by every

ferred doubtless to the districts affording the step taken towards this success.

nearest road to India from the Russian frontiers,

The Persian Government has been long subjected to the suc

as the crow flies ; but the Cossacks are not abso. cessful diplomacy of Russia.

The danger The Shah is

lutely required to follow the crows. apparently very like the representatives of effete arisez not only from an influx of armed men over families everywhere. A vigorous monarch in

the north-western frontiers, which has occurred Teheran would check Rassia. A Dost Mohammed repeatedly, but also from the possession of the would have been a barrier for many years. time pretences, and at the present date, if we are

Persian Gulf by a hostile power with some mari. Runjeet Singh, probably, could have interposed an effective resistance to the Muscovites. Mehemet correctly informed, with a naval station in the

Chinese seas. Ali Fould have done better than either of his

Our Government, in endeavouring to promote Asiatic contemporaries; and he might have raised Persia from being the footstool of the Romanoff's the Euphratean valley railway of eighty miles, into the rival of Russia. The magnitude of the volving an outlay of not quite £650,000, in the Persian land is overlooked by many of our

first instance, desire to have routes from and to authorities on political combinations.

India. They doubt whether Egypt may be always

It touches the Caspian on the north, and the Indian Ocean on

open upon friendly terms; and if its rulers never the south. The land is said to be barren by some, in trade is useful.

be out of alliance with us, still, a little competition and fertile by others. The surface, probably, presents abundant evidence of both statements.

Those politicians who look a little before them The Persians have long been sunk under the consider that our danger from future military anarchy of despotism.” Christianity was trampled moveients is to be found in Persia, and on the out by violence; and the land lost its hope of Persian Gulf. They cannot doubt the existence

of Russian influence at Teheran. It is visible in progress with its faith. We have no reason to suppose that the arts and sciences of the Persians the attack upon Herat, as it has been visible in

the Persian policy for many years.

We are at are equal now to those of their ancestry. We even know that they have degenerated rapidly. Still,

war with Persia, and like fire, hostilities once Persia contains many fertile regions. The late

commenced may spread. Russia promises to Henry Martyn wrote when upon his missionary

assist meaning, to devour Persia, and thereby to

reach India. Neither Austria, nor France, care tour in that country :

for Russian progress to the eastward of Heddekel, On descending into the plain of Nackshau, my attention or Tigris, for a time. They see not that conquest Was seized by the appearance of a hoary mountain in front, there would soon be supremacy on the Mediterat the other end, rising so high above the rest that they sank into nothing. It was truly sublime, and the interest ranean ; would soon be victory at Constantinople. it excited was not less, when, on inquiring its name, I was

They could not help Stamboul if it were assailed told it was Agir, or Ararat. At four in the afternoon we from the East; and it would be of little importset out for Shurror. The evening was pleasant; the ground ance whether they could, or could not then help over which we passed was full of rich cultivation and verdare, watered by many a stream, and containing forty villages, Austria in an agony of disappointment might ac

the Turk when he had nothing left to be helped in. ibost of them with the csual appendage of gardens. . I fancied many a spot where Noah perhaps offered his sacri- cept both banks of the Danube and Thessaly in

[blocks in formation]

order to preserve the balance of power for three world into existence, when he acknowledged the years. France in the crisis of Asiatic danger, independence of the Spanish and Portuguese might seek a compensation in Africa; and stake colonies in South America. That world is one of against the waters of the Euphrates, those of the growth so slow that George Canning as yet has

A British diplomatist of a determined cha little credit, except for intention, by the proceeding. racter would seek the developement of the Euphra- The statesmen who may call Mesopotamia into retean Valley route, to prevent all this mischief. It existence will achieve a greater triumph, or one brings us nearer our enemy by four weeks, or five, that will be more directly and immediately felt. than even Egypt; and although some difficulties The commercial advantages likely to spring from may arise for a time in passing through a neutral the plains of Mesopotamia under tillage, might country, yet Turkey cannot long be neutral in this induce the Government to favour the direction of contest.

our existing business into the old and long dry We have also upon our hands a battle against channels ; for they like, Hindostan itself, require African slavery in America. It is daily waged the means of cheap conveyance before they can upon the Exchanges and in our ports. If we exhibit the results of good cultivation. Although could replace with free grown cotton, that of slave wars had ceased for ever, roads would be requisite production, this foe would be nearly beaten. A through the deserts, before they could bloom for railway from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean any good, social purpose; and over the wildernesses, would increase the production of cotton in the ere they could rejoice in temporal matters—and region of that river. This process would impart the vast region having its name, like the Punjuab, prosperity to Turkey, which we want to be strong, from its rivers, in its present state is a loss to or stronger than at present.

civilisation, and a reproach to the world, that all George Canning had credit for calling a new prudent men may desire to have once more removed.

POLITICAL NARRATIVE.

DOMESTIC.

Russell would rather not yet ascend out of the DECEMBER in Europe began with weather hard as turmoil of the Commons. He is not quite old iron, or as the mill stones. In the east of Scotland enough. Lord Granville dislikes the labour. The the snow of November was deeper, and in the Duke of Argyle likes it rather too well. The west its frosts severer, than the oldest inhabi- Earl of Carlisle will be withdrawn from Ireland to lant” had ever experienced in that month of early strengthen the position, according to some parties; winter. In the east several persons perished in but according to the Irish again, this Sassenach the snow. In the west curlers and skaters began Earl is just the man for Ireland ; and nobody else operations with the prospect of a long run. In can kill his place, which must not be considered a England several fatalities occurred by beginning hospital for the sick. too soon. Suddenly in the present month, the The premier bas strengthened his friends on the wind swept round in hurricanes by night, and Episcopal Bench by judicious appointments; and gales by day; coming hot along the gulf stream at the same time disappointed the hopes of the from the American tropics, and the fret-work, the mediæval party. They imagined that their old crystals, and the pearls of the frost, along with ceremonials, incense, tapers, and other material the mantle of the snow, melted away. The change devices had got into favour with such men as the has not been so complete on the continent, where premier, who, we suppose, had privately intimated unusually severe weather prevails. An early and to them that floral ecclesiasticalism was very pretty a hard winter distinguished the season in North in a little place upon a small scale ; but when work America.

had to be done, and evil to be met among a large Public intelligence of a domestic character is population, it was simply useless—that is to say, meagre. The parliamentary recess has nearly in his opinion, and with a profusion of civil words reached its termination, and speculation regarding he keeps to his own opinion. the future course of the ministry supplies the place A statue of Sir Charles Napier of Scinde has of actual events. The Cabinet meet frequently, been unveiled in Trafalgar-square, during this and are assiduously drilled on some subject. The month. The spare space around the Nelson plague of gout prevails in the Peers, and the want monument is, we presume, to be occupied with a of a healthy leader for the upper house threatens crowd of minor heroes, yet we regret that Sir inconvenience. Lord Panmure wants, like Cin- Charles Napier should anywhere be overlooked. cinnatus, to return to the plough; and few persons He was not a minor man. with the same principality of good land to be Christmas week is not one of work, and the ploughed, could resist the temptation. Lord John month closed dully, therefore, in business ; and more

[blocks in formation]

the wavy.

CRIMES.

name,

satisfactorily in lighter matters. The price of into an efficient state, that the government will be wheat bas considerably fallen, and bread is more unable to resist the force of example, but be abundant than at the close of last year with the obliged to give some power to practical men over poorest families.

We have a high opinion of the sugar The Scottish Rights question has afforded scope trade, and we do not think they would form the for articles and speeches-almost equal in number best managers of a silk business. Bad habits to those regarding the Heratese and Persia, in a have drawn such politicians as Sir James Graham month when topics were wanted. The subject and Sir Robert Peel into the condemnation ex. had no immediate interest except to those who pressed in the Latin proverb of the shoemaker and enjoy the war of words. Professor Blackie, of his last. In old Saxon something of the same Edinburgh, made a "spirited speech” at a Wallace kind is said in regard to the beggar and his horse. Monument meeting, which induced a rejoinder Yet the beggar of this year may have been a groom from the Times, and a multitudinous correspondence or a dragoon in youth, while there is no chance arose, without making any particular difference to whatever that a lay lord of the Admiralty ever the rights of Scotland, but perhaps leading to an served before the mast. increased number of subscriptions to the Wallace Monument.

Crimes have brought their punishments, and The conference at Paris is to meet soon to thus Calcraft, the executioner-in-chief of the settle Bolgrad and the Isle of Serpents, and may metropolis, has been busied to a terrible extent. probably take Neufchatel under its care. For One person was executed at Newgate on the 15th some time active measures will not be adopted. December, for the murder of a watchmaker's

A striking agitation has arisen upon the income shopman, at 9 o'clock of an October evening, in tax. It has become the subject of an earnest Parliament-street, London ; done as he said, not movement, beginning in London, comprehending a with the view of killing, but of stupifying the multitude of towns, and extending to a number shopkeeper, that he might rob the shop. This more. The people demand, first, the performance person had more than one name in use. Occasionally of the promise that the extra tax should cease he was Jenkins; sometimes, Marley

He was in twelve months after the stoppage of the war; executed, as he had been tried, under the latter and in the second that some distinction should

He had been a soldier in a mounted reoccur in the incidence of the tax hereafter. At giment, and was distinguished during the Caffre present, precarious and secured incomes are equally war. He held a ticket-of-leave, and had been a levied. That is an inequality. Earnings are felon. He confessed ultimately that the robbery never so secure as property, and they die with was planned, and that two confederates kept the the earner. They are not, therefore, so valuable, door while he carried out the project. Marley aad they should not bear the same tax.

complained that he could not obtain employment,

and was driven into vice by want. Some means The other Sir Charles Napier has been busy with to support tickets-of-leave by work is essentially the present Sir Robert Peel, in spite of the prerequisite. We should be always able to say that mier, who after bestowing the highest certificate of no man needs to steal bread who is willing to character upon his Baltic campaign, says materially work for it. Villainy should have no excuse. that he should not “mind Peel," who attacked A father was hung at Chester on the 20th, for him “only at public meetings." Sir Charles the murder of his two children. The case is very Napier, of Southwark, however, thinks that the sad ; yet no grounds had been afforded for sup. young gentleman, for speaking evil of an Admiral posing that the man was insane. double his age, should be turned ont of the Three Italian, seamen

were executed at Admiralty. By an unaccountable perversion of a Winchester on the 22nd, for murder on the Globe, man's talents, Sir Robert was placed in the a transport ship, in the Euxine, during the war. Admiralty. The only qualification that he possessed The evidence was fall and unimpeachable. Finally, was the very common one of having been they confessed the crime, and so much more guilt shipwrecked in the Mediterranean. By the way that even Italy might rejoice in the termination of of keeping to his object, Sir Charles has written to their wickedness. Crimes vary in shading, and as the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, who assassination is more common in Italy than in asserts of the Staffordshire Baronet that he had some other parts of the world, the guilt, equal no opportunity of speaking to him except during everywhere, becomes less in criminal opinion ; an official introduction. As to the quarrel itself

, yet these Italian sailors were very unfavourable the Admiral displayed more sagacity in the Baltic specimens of a race who trust more to the knife than wisdom out of it.

than consists with morality. The Admiralty requires a change of manage- The reign of roguery is not yet closed, and the ment. It wants head, and has too many skulls. public have become accustomed to its progress. What use can non-professional persons of any ca. Redpath, the gigantic appropriator of Great Northlibre, however small, ever be to the navy ? The ern Railway dividends, and their generous disburser Duke of Cambridge works hard at the Horse among poorer persons than the proprietary, is a Guards, and is so determined to bring the army I clerk of the same company, who merely stole a

THE ADMIRALTY.

[blocks in formation]

THE COLONIES AND UNITED STATES.

thousand pounds by a very common felony, is willing to restore Herat. Perhaps the restoration already in penal servitude. Robson, the famous is too late for good. The defenders of the place may fast man of the Crystal Palace Company, has ere be killed. Their fortifications may be rendered new become accustomed to the doings of the useless. We know not that these dismal possibipenitentiary. They are only large operators in a lities may represent occurrences ; but it is absurd business now too common, namely, that of swind. to suppose that the British Government rush ling. A number of remarkable cases for limited needlessly into a war with Persia ; that may soon sums have occurred at Liverpool. In London the become a war with Russia. A British Ministry collectors of poor rates for the City union, have before a general election would naturally court contrived to pocket fifty thousand pounds by peace. Let us admit no higher motive on their keeping one cheque book for the auditors and part; at least they have the motive of majorities, another for themselves. Other cases of equal unless we are all ambitious and belligerent; turpitude, but of less amount, hare occurred enamoured of the income tax and of war, which there.

we are not. Our Government proved their

expectancy of peace by disbanding the foreign Judge Haliburton, the author of the most legions, dismissing the militia, and reducing the amusing delineations of North American life, north army. They would have found pretences for the and south of the frontier, has pleaded the cause of maintenance of these forces if they had planned the Colonial Union before the Manchester people, in restoration of hostilities in 1857 ; yet they have an address that partly by its inherent power, been virtually restored in 1856, and the year closes, partly from the want of matter in the press, has as it commenced, in war. The expedition to the made a noise out of Manchester, and shown that Persian Gulf is said to have seized a number of the extension of the British Union has many places on the Persian coast, which in the meantime friends.

will exist as material guarantees, in retentis, until The last message of the United States President the mischief done at Herat by Persia be so far as Pierce is unusually long; and re-asserts in official possible undone. language the views of the successful democrats.

THE PRUSSIANS AND SWISS. Its allusions to foreign affairs are not, however, 80 The Prussians and the Swiss have ceased to aspiring as in the circumstances mankind expected. hold diplomatic intercourse, and the Swiss have

A sad calamity has occurred at Canton. The replied to the threatenings from Berlin and Paris, by city has been bombarded on three days, aad twenty. ordering ten thousand men to each of the threatthree war junks have been sunk by our fleets, in ened frontiers. Viscount Palmerston is charged as consequence of violent measures against our flag usual, with invigorating the resistance of the Swiss by the Viceroy. We have only telegraphic authorities to the counsels of France and the accounts, without details.

designs of Prussia. This is the ordinary opinion An insurrection of negroes, in the United States, on all such cases on the continent. Viscount Pal. has been suspected, and thereupon many persons merston wishes the whole business at the dogs. have beeu hung.

It spoils the festive recess of cabinets and law PERSIA AND RUSSIA.

courts. What has he to do with the German Foreign affairs find their centre again in Russia Count and his followers who endeavoured to reThat country is blamed for invoking the Persian volutionise Neufchatel —a canton belonging de war, to be revenged of Britain, by one party. By facto to Switzerland; who were defeated, who another the Russian ensign for the time is described were taken, who are about to be tried, and whose as a lambkin. The credulity of these good people trial the Prussian King hopes to prevent by the is equal to anything in its line, ancient or modern. argument of a hundred thousand bayonets. With Many of them would consider the encampment of all these discordances onr Premier can have no a Russian army at Dalkeith as rather an advantage interest unless he really wishes a rod in pickle for than otherwise, being calculated to increase trade, the despotic Powers of the continent; and if that until they discovered that their customers were idea possess his mind, with present prospects io born to consume the fruits but not to pay for the Orient, he could not be altogether blamed at them; and they might make the discovery too home. late for consols.

Russia wields Persia-Persia attacks Herat; Herat is a key to Affghanistan; Affghanistan is a key to India. These are so many facts. Persia During the last month, the death of Dr. Harris, is coveted by Russia, and can be conquered easier the author of “Mammon,” and the President of by protection than by any other means. It must, the Independent Theological College ; and of Mr. however, be placed in danger before it can use Hugh Miller, the editor of the “Witness," protection. Therefore the Persian Government is Edinburgh--the first lecturer and writer on geology persuaded to break a treaty with the British Go. in Scotland—have left places in literature that will vernment, which the former does, vi et armis, with not be occupied soon. Dr. Harris died on the 13th, out reason or rhyme. These are all plain facts. Now, and Mr. Miller apparently on the 24th. The indeed, we are told that Persia is particularly intellect of the latter gentleman had evidently

[blocks in formation]

failed for a short time before his death. He able men of Scotland, standing highest in his own was found dead by a pistol shot, in his bed science; and the author of works that will long room, on the morning of the day named, and exercise great influence in his particular walk. no doubt can be entertained that he committed Hereafter, we may introduce a sketch of a life suicide while insane. He was one of the remark. thus lamentably terminated.

LITERARY REGISTER. . Lays and Legends of Ancient Greece. By Pro promote the feelings on the land question in the FESSOR BLACKIE. Edinburgh : Sutherland

Sutherland Highlands, which Professor Blackie has adopted; and Knox, 1 Vol., pp. 350.

with the hope of stemming the depopulation of This volume, is in poetry, the book of the month; the Highlands. From a work, of which one part and we notice it in this column, with the intention has been written rapidly, with a present purpose, of reverting to it hereafter, to quote one of the and another is the fruit of matured thought, it political poems which Professor Blackie bas ap. might be unfair, even in this incidental notice, to pended to the " Lays and Legends of Ancient quote from any one portion, without referring Greece.” The subject is Braemar. We bear testi- to the other-and the following verses, from mody to the verses being o'er true:

Pandora, show that the “ Lays and Legends of O, fair is the land, my own monntain land,

Ancient Greece" may rank with those of Ancient Fit nurse for the brave and the free,

Rome :-
Where the fresh breezes blow o'er the heath's purple glow,

O, she is fair beyond compare !
And the clear torrent gushes with glee !

Her the Thouderer high
But woe's me, woe! what dole and sorrow

With all beauty's bravery prauked
From this lovely land I borrow,

To trick the Titan's eye.
When I roam, where the stump of a stricken ash tree

Her thy forging wit, Hephæstus,
Shows the spot where the home of the cottar should be,

Cunningly did frame;
And the cold rain drips, and the cold wind moans

Every god his victim gave
O'er the tumbled heaps of old grey stones,

To make a perfect dame.
Where once a fire blazed free.

With soft-swelling smoothness Venus
For a blight has come down on the land of the mountain,

Rounded every limb, The storm-nurtured pine, and the clear gushing fountain,

And her full deep eye cerulean And the chieftains are gone, the kind lords of the glen,

Dashed with wanton whim. In the land that once swarmed with the brave Highlandmen!

Rouud her chiselled mouth the Graces O, fair is the land, my own mountain land,

Wove their wreathings rare, Fit nurse for the brave and the free,

All bis sunny radiance Phoebus Where the strong waterfall scoops the grey granite wall,

Showered upon her hair. Neath the roots of the old pine tree !

Juno gave the losty stature
But woe's me, woe! what dole and sorrow

That beseems the queen,
From this lovely 'land I borrow,

Dian the light-footed grace
When the long and houscless glen I

That trips the springy green.
Where only the deer to range is free

Tuned her throat the grace of Muses
And I think on the pride of the dwindled clan,

To the perfect bird ;
And the home-sick heart of the brave Highlandman

Hermes from her tongue sweet-sausire
Far-tost on the billowy sea.

Winged the witching word.
For a blight lias come down on the land of the mountain,

With a various-pictured vesturr, The storm-nortured pine, and the clear-gushing fountain,

Woven thin and fine, And the stalkers of deer keep their scouts in the g!en,

From her loom celestial Pallas That once svarmed with the high hearted brave Highlandmen!

Clad the shape divines. 0, fair is the land, my own mountain land,

All the trcop of careless evils Fit nurse for the brave and the free

Rushing reinless forth Where the young river leaps down the sheer ledge, and sweeps

From thy damned box, Pandora, With a full-flooded force to the sea !

Seize the tainted Earth;
Bat woe is me! what dole and sorrow

And to lay the marshelled legions
From this lovely land I borrow .

Of our fiendish paius,
When I think on the men that should rather the clan,

Hope alone, a sorry charmer,
But who bartered the rights of the brave Highlandman

Io the box remains.
To the lordlings, that live for the pleasure to kill

Epimetheus knew the dolours,
The stag that roams frec o'er the tenantless hill :

But he knew too late;
What care they for the brave Highlandman ?

Jealous Jove himself now rainly
For a blight has come down on the land of the mountain,

Would revoke the fate. The storm-nurtured pine, and the clear-gushing fountain,

And he cursed the fair Pandora, And vendors of game are the lords of the gleu,

But he cursed in vain ! Who rule o'er the fair mountain land without men !

Still to fools the fleeting pleasure The volume contains a number of verses, written

Buys the lasting pain. in the same off-hand style, doubtless intended to The verses tell their own story to every reader,

see,

« PreviousContinue »