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cers, and determine the port which the vessel is to make. It is not easy to steer a steady and persistent course, or one which shall be intelligible to foreign powers, when despatches, full, it may be, of menace, of promise, of encouragement, or even of positive engagements, are written in the silence and secrecy of Downing street by Earl Russell, or Lord Palmerston, or Lord Derby, or Lord Malmesbury, and not till six months afterwards, perhaps, are laid before a House of Commons in which Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden and the metropolitan members and the representatives of Lancashire and Yorkshire have a weighty and sometimes a preponderating voice,—and before a public over which that school of politicians hold a still more indisputable sway. The Cabinet determines what shall be said: Parliament and the Press determines what shall be done; and not until the Nation has distinctly and finally resolved upon the foundations of its policy, will such a harmony be re-established between the several elements of our complex government, that the ministers, knowing precisely what the country will sanction, will know themselves precisely what it will be safe and wise to say. But, however clear and natural may be to ourselves the explanation of onr inconsistency and vacillations, the mischief done and the impression made abroad are equally unfortunate: all parties are perplexed; the strong are irritated; the weak are disappointed and disgusted. It may be too much to say that we are beginning to be despised; hut we were never much loved, and now we are assuredly less feared and less trusted than we were: we have lost much respect in the eyes of others, and some also in our own; and, though the result is explainable enough, we can scarcely complain of it as unjust. It is clear that we must come to an understanding with ourselves, and know in future what we are prepared to say and do.

Now, we well understand what it is to abdicate a high position, how much of noble and honorable pride, and how much of human weakness also, must be mortified thereby. For a long period we had paramount influence in Europe, and on the whole we used that influence conscientiously and beneficently: at least we

I intended so to use it. England was a i protector to be appealed to bv the weak, ! a power to be deprecated and dreaded by I the strong—a sworn foe to allhigh-hand| ed oppression and wrong-doing—except j such as she herself might perpetrate under some effectual disguise which hid its nature even from her own sight. She al1 most always threw her influence and somei times her sword into the scale of people 'who were struggling for political and civil freedom; by example, by representations, by advice, by remonstrance, she labored to multiply the number of conl stitutionally governed states in Europe; and partly owing to her aid and partly to the general progress of enlightenment and popular power, there is now not a single state in Europe (except Russia and Turkey) without a parliament exercising greater or less control over the government. In her proceedings in reference to this head, England may often have been pedantic and doctrinaire, and sometimes fur from judicious; but on the whole her mission was a great one; she believed in it, and she pursued it with zeal and disinterestedness. Sometimes, as in the case of Greece, we may some of us think she did too much; sometimes, as in the case of Italy and Hungary, we may some of us think she did too little. In the case of Denmark, we may perhaps be of opinion that she did both too little and too much. But in the main, so far as she did act, she was honest and consists ent. Unfortunately, however, this mission of encouraging and multiplying free states was not the only European one she deemed herself called upon to follow. She thought it incumbent upon her to look after the Balance of Power, to adjust the relative influence of other states, to provide for future contingencies and accidents of succession, and to enter into alliances and engagements with other European potentates for these indefinite and questionable purposes. And herein we now see, reading the past by our present light, that she was unwise ; her influence was by no means always good, and was sometimes ineffectual; the gain was rarely equal to the cost; the complications that ensued were often exceedingly embarrassing; and on the whole the game was one which required profounder statesmanship than here—probably more prophetic vision than is given to any statesman—to play with profit. In retiring from the post of especial or joint European arbi-' tress, therefore, we think she will do well j and wisely ; because one of her functions was an undesirable one, and the other is well nigh performed,—and for yet anoth-; er reason in the background.

First. Our special work in Europe— • that, as to the wisdom, the beneficence, I and the duty of which (whatever may be our private opinion) it is idle to argue with Englishmen—is nearly done,—quite,! perhaps, so far as we could act in it with efficacy. As we just now observed, nearly every nation in Europe has now a parliament and a constitution—and one of its own choosing;—not always like ours, j not always such as we should recommend, not always equally influential or efficient, —but still such as suits itself, such at least as itself accepts and endures, and such assuredly as we should never be guilty of the impertinence of presuming to attempt to change. Every nation has, in a manner, after our example, taken its affairs into its own hand?. Italy has a parliament as free, as omnipotent, and almost as sensible as our own. Switzerland has a constitution only too preposterously popular. Spain and Portugal, under decided constitutional forms, are gradually working their own way to really free and popular governments. Austria has at last a Reichsrath that appears likely, and fit, to reorganize the empire on an entirely new and substantially free system : at all events she has got her tools, and must now use them for herself. Prussia has Chambers, tur-: bulent enough in all conscience, and may be constitutionally free if she wishes and deserves it. Holland and Belgium are as popularly and legitimately governed as Great Britain. France has universal suffrage; and though she has used it in a fashion that rather startled us at first, we can not deny that she appears to know what she meant, and to have got what she wanted. Russia is still a des-' potism; and most assuredly it is not for us to make her otherwise. But there are some indications, just visible above the horizon, that even Russia will some day follow in the wake of other European states. And as lor Turkey, even England would be scarcely insane or doctrin

aire enough to give her a constitution such as that with which thirty years ago we cursed and saddled 'Greece.

As to our other understood, though rarely acknowledged mission in the Past —that of encouraging and assisting peoples to arise and conquer freedom from oppressive rulers—this we have long since abandoned and loudly disavowed. We still occasionally remonstrate with the stupider and feebler despots, as with the Pope now and with Bomba and others a few years ago, and warn them that their silly oppressions and barbarities must end in popular risings, and that then we shall afford them neither help nor sympathy. But beyond this we now never go. Noq-interventiou in the internal affairs of other nations is now our published and enshrined, and, we apprehend our irrevocable policy,— a policy to which we have more than once signalized our rigid adherence, in defiance of the strongest inducements that could be held out both to our higher and our meaner nature. Having seen Hungary crushed without aid and without remonstrance, and crushed not by her own but by a foreign despot; having done nothing but withdraw our ambassador from Naples; having protested against Garibaldi's Sicilian expedition, and only encouraged the interposition of Piedmont at the eleventh hour at Gaeta; having, as a government though not as a people, thrown cold water on the cherished popular scheme of Italian unity; and lastly, having distinctly refused to interfere on behalf of Poland, and discouraged, if we did not actually prevent the interference of France, and submitted with the best grace we could to the snub which the tone and language of our Foreign Seeretaiy drew upon us: having thus acted and thus abstained, we may be fairly said to have given hostages for our principle, and to have won our spurs in this new battle-field of masterly inaction.

Our third fancied mission—our mission of "long ago1'—the purpose for which according to Lord Russell in his recent publication, we ought still to coquette with intervention in the affairs of continental Europe—may still be under an obligation to interfere, at .all events with protocols and words—viz., the protection of the weak against the aggressions of the strong, we may be consid-1 ered to have finally surrendered in the j case of Denmark. It would be useless, j therefore, to discuss whether, as a rule | and as a principle, we ought still to adhere to this last and noblest fragment of i our European obligation. It is not like- j ly that a stronger call for protective inter- i ference will ever again arise. There was i no doubt some ground for the original action of the two great German Powers:; there was none for the ultimate invasion i and annexation. It was an instance of, as high-handed and vulgar a spoliation as! any of Napoleon's ; and as such our gov- I ernment regarded and represented it.! The pretext, though not wholly unjust, was utterly inadequate to the conclusions i it was made to cover. The State attack- j ed was small, feeble, and inoffensive. The attacking Powers were overwhelmingly superior in wealth, in numbers, and in force. The territory was greatly ( coveted by one of thePowers, andastrong pressure of national passion and ambition was brought to bear upon the other. The invasion and annexation were in direct and: insolent defiance of a recent treaty iuau- i gurated by Great Britain. We all but I promised material assistance to the Danes' in distinct terms. We certainly led them to believe that such assistance would be granted. At one period, there is not the slightest doubt that our Government in- \ tended and desired to afford it We by! no means wish to argue that we ought, to have gone to war in aid of Denmark. We think that on the whole the country was i ight in refusing to take an active part in a controversy of such singular com- j plication and such doubtful issue. But as- j suredly we ought to have taken an active part, or none at all. And assuredly, also, i having shrunk from armed intervention j in this case, it will be difficult, on the score of our alleged protectorate of weaker states, to intervene on any subsequent j occasion. The only grounds on which | we can be supposed to be under an obliya- \ tion to interfere in European quarrels and complications, where our own direct inte- J rests are not concerned, may then be held to be swept away, partly because our functions have been successfully com- { pleted and discharged, and partly because they have been deliberately abdicated, and can scarcely be resumed at our caprice.

We question, therefore, whether our interposition in Continental affaire is any longer needed. We question also whether, if needed, it could be rendered with effect. The Continental Powers may usually be trusted to keep each other in order. If not we can not do the work for them. There are four great European Military Powers; and Italy promises one day to be a fifth. The;- are not ill-matched; France no doubt predominates; but it may be assumed that any two united would be an overmatch for any single one. They are all jealous of each other, and have special and conflicting interests, or think they have. If one of them resolves to oppress and despoil any of the smaller states, and the others do not say her nay, she will do it, whether we object or not. If the others desire to prevent her, they will be able to do so without our aid. Denmark was a case in point. Military interference was necessary to save her, and we could not interfere militarily without the assistance of a Continental Power. If France would have joined us, Denmark would have been saved. But if France had been disposed to act, she might have saved Denmark herself. We did not interpose to create Italy; it may be assumed, we fear, that we should not interpose to save her, if Austria were to assail and overpower her. But France probably would throw her segis over, and that aegis would be effectual and ample. If France did not interpose, we could not. Take two other possible cases. Suppose Russia coveted and seized Sweden: probably France and Prussia would both forbid her. If they did, the prohibition would be decisive: if not, our prohibition would be of small avail and of infinite cost Suppose France were to attempt the annexation of Belgium or Holland: would not Russia and Prussia at once negative the spoliatory scheme'? If they stood by inactive, drugged by bribes or terrified by menaces, neither of which is very probable, what could we alone do? It is certain that we are almost powerless for direct European action without the aid of one, at least, of the great military Powers of the Continent—this may be considered a political axiom henceforward; and can not these military Powers do their own we without us!

These arguments appear to us of great,! even of preponderating, weight; but we imist not lose eight of two obvious considerations which may be urged on the other side. The first is that, though) single-handed we can do little or nothing to avert spoliation and wrong-doing on the Continent, or the undue and formida-' ble aggrandizement of any of the great Powers, yet in alliance with others we may do much; and that it may often happen that the question of resistance to, or • acquiesence in such wrongs and perils will be decided by the prospect of aid from England. Russia might allow France to absorb Belgium, and France allow Russia to take Sweden, because a costly and a doubtful war would be nee-! essary to prevent it if Great Britain were inactive, whereas, if Great Britain were known to be ready to interpose, the project would be abandoned as too dangerous and expensive. France—especially under another ruler—might be willing enough to do an ill-turn to Italy, or to let Austria do so, while both Powers would be restiained by the knowledge thit England was prepared to stand by the menaced kingdom with all her: strength. In a word, English intervention, or the prospect of it, might be a make-weight, and often a deciding one, on the side of right and independence; and the mere chance of it, though we believe it to be more and more unlikely every year, may check the perpetration of ranch wrong. The argument, we ad-' mit at once, deserves the gravest consideration: such cases as those hinted at may arise; but can they prove more than this—that though non-intervention be our strict rule, it may in rare and singular emergencies be liable to occasional exceptions f

The second plea to which reference has been made is this: "How shall we fare," it is asked, "in our day of trouble and of danger, if by our selfish isolation we have forfeited all claim to amity or aid? If we have refused to aid a just struggle, or to oppose the consummation of a heinous wrong, who will sympathize with us when injured, or come to our rescue when assailed'?" There are three answers to this, none of them, perhaps, couched in any strain of noble sentiment, but all of them' sensible and weighty. The first is: Have'

we not as a fact incurred far more enmity than gratitude by our interventions * and shall we not always do so as a certainty t With the exception, perhaps, of Portugal and Belgium, and possibly of Turkey, is there a single nation on the Continent that does not dislike us and resent our action, so far as they have any positive feeling in regard to us at all. The despotic Powers hate us for our known hostility to their high-handed and barbarous proceedings: oppressed nationalities are resentful against us, because while avowing sympathy we have withheld assistance. It is hard to say whether, after the war of the Duchies, we were in worse odor with Prussia or with Denmark. Hungary has never forgiven our inaction in the crisis of her patriotic struggle, and Austria has never forgiven us for wishing that Hungary and Venice could throw ofl' her yoke. The Eraporor of the French was deeply irritated because we crossed him in the matter of the Congress, and the Emperor of Russia, because, while we discouraged France from interfering to save Poland, we lectured him on his Polish atrocities. Assuredly, hitherto no isolation or inaction from European controversies could well have earned for us such general and such bitter animosity as our unlucky and unceasing, though wellintentioned, meddling.

But, again, are nations ever assisted in their dangers purely out of gratitude, or from recollections of bygone obligations * Are debts of that sort often repaid in kind1? In our hour of peril we shall have aid from neighbors and allies because, and only in as far as, it is not desirable for them that we should succumb or be too far enfeebled. They will help us, «'/' they help, because they need us, not because they love us. It may well happen, indeed —and the reflection is worth deep consideration—that it will be worth while for Europe to stand by Great Britain and preserve her independence and position, if she be an active and efficient member of their Areopagus, when it might not be so if she had becomu a mere indifferent and outside spectator, as insular in her sympathies as in her situation. In the one case they might be anxious to keep her as an auxiliary: in the other they might have no interest except to share her spoils. But are these calculalions that need enter into a practical consideration of our coming policy?

Thirdly, however, wise men will probably be of opinion that we shall better secure our safety, in case we should ever have to struggle for existence or for empire, by reserving our strength rather than by wasting it in anticipation in maintaining an influence whiclf is costly, embarrassing, and exhausting, and in securing allies who may fail us in the time of need. The millions and the men that we have squandered and may yet squander by meddling in purely Continental controversies, and what is called " asserting our position" as a first-class European Power, if properly hoarded and properly applied, would have gone fat to render us invulnerable. If we did not scent danger so far ahead, and take such elaborate and costly, and often clumsy, precautions to forestall it, we should often be far more strong and ready to meet it when it comes.

But after all, perhaps, the strongest plea in favor of withdrawing from our old habit of active and systematic" interference in European complications is to be found in the consideration that we are never sure of doing good. The only thing certain about these interventions is their cost and their bloodshed—their exhausting operations and their residual animosities: the success and the benefit are and have been nearly always problematic. If we look back with the tranquil sentiments and the reflected light which belong to history upon the earlier portion of the last seventy years, he must be a bold man who will pronounce with confidence that the world would have been worse oft' now had we let matters alone—that more wrong would have been done and more misery endured—that progress would have been more retarded or civilization further advanced. And if we could estimate recent events with the same knowledge and impartiality, our verdict as to the interventions of the last thirty years would probably be much the same. Our interference in the affairs of France in 1793, the commencement of twenty-two years of desolating warfare and accumulated debt, is now generally recognized to have been a mistake. We did not, aa we fancied we easily and speedily should do, put down the insurgent na

tion: we only developed and concenj trated its revolutionary energy. We i did not, as we hoped, protect England j by that war from the contagion of democratic theory and passion: the scenes and deeds of 1794 and 1795 would have done that for us had we left their example to operate alone; but by the line we j took we created in the heart of our own | Parliament and people a party, almost i anti-national, who, in their detestation j of the minister who had involved us in the war, were goaded to espouse the | cause, to endorse the doctrines, and to ! defend the excesses of the enemy. But i for that fatal error of Mr. Pitt, and the I passions it aroused, we might have had Parliamentary Reform and all its issues i forty years at least before we had. By i that war, then, we neither did good nor ; gained glory; but we shed much blood, ! we squandered much treasure, we laid j up many heavy burdens for the future. : How was it with regard to the Napo'Iconic ware? Latterly no doubt it became almost a struggle for existence, 1 when the Emperor had grown to hate us as his one irreconcilable and uuvanquishable enemy; but suppose that we had accepted him, as the French accepted him in 1799, as the legitimate, because the chosen sovereign of a great nation, i and had confined ourselves strictly and ! avowedly to a policy of self-defence. I Napoleon would seawsely Jthen have attacked us voluntarily; for we should not • have thwarted his military ambition, and he would have been too wise to bring i upon himself an unnecessary foe. Supposing then our opposition to have been withdrawn, would his career have been more triumphant, more iniquitous, more : desolating than it wast Is it at all cer] tain that it would even have been shorter r I In spite of us he subjugated nearly the I entire Continent. In spite of us he defeated Russia, conquered Italy, absorbed a great part of Germany, annexed Belgium, twice utterly routed and prostrated both Austria and Prussia, placed members of his own family on the thrones of Holland, Naples, Westphalia, and Spain, J —in a word, appropriated about half Europe, and made France incomparably more powerful and formidable than she had ever been before. Why did he fall at last? Not because English troops

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