Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

instruction of the French people for 1 whole, was undoubtedly the most imthe future finally out of the hands of portant place on earth. But its imthe clergy; and the expulsion of the portance is now greatly diminished, Jesuits is a measure which they have and it can hardly be said to command always had at heart, and on which anything but the Black Sea, to which they may now think themselves strong commerce will always have free access enough to venture.

in time of peace, while no trader will

want to enter it in time of war. Froni In the East, the conclusion of the the occupation of Rome by the new definitive treaty between Russia and Italian monrchy, in the same manner, Turkey closes the diplomatic part of the consequences were expected to flow the drama, and consummates the august which might have flowed from her ocapplication of the principles of public cupation by a victorious power in her law by the “ Areopagus of Europe.' imperial day. Once the mistress and All the Areopagites will have carried centre of civilization, Rome is now a off those portions of the spoil upon city of antiquities, remote from naviwhich they had respectively set their gation and commerce, and encircled by hearts-Russia, the sections of Ar- malaria. Cyprus was a prize when the menia and Bessarabia ; Austria, the neighbouring coasts of the Mediterran

Herzegovina and Bosnia; England, ean, instead of being a desolate cemeCyprus ; while the other great powers, tery of the past, teemed with populaif they have not taken anything at tion and abounded with commercial present, have probably secured some life. Its harbours were good when interest in the future, and have at all the vessels to be sheltered were not events established, by general concur- the monster ironclads of our time, but rence, principles of occupation' and the comparatively diminutive barques ó rectification,' which cannot fail to be of the Phænicians, the Ptolemies or convenient to anyone who happens to the Venetians. All the circumstances have an eye on Holland, Denmark, are now changed, but tancy keeps her Belgium, Syria, Tunis or Trieste.

| eye fixed upon the past. England is in doubt as to the value The diplomatic embroglio may be of her acquisitions. Cyprus is a dis- at an end and the Treaty of Berlin appointment. It has no harbour, it is

may

have been formally carried into a perennial abode of fever, and the chief effect; but what England has undereffect of its annexation hitherto has taken is to reform the Ottoman Embeen to increase the number of deser. pire, and having reformed it, to estabtions from the army. Turkish Armenia lish it in its integrity and independit protects about as much us it protects ence,' as the perpetnal guardian of Terra del Fuego.

A coaling station is British interests in the Eastern Medithe only thing which its apologists terranean. Towards the fulfilment of now contend that it can be. A mis

this design, no progress seems to have leading glamour had been cast by the been yet made. Professions and goddess of beauty round her favourite covenants on the part of Turkey have island. Nor is this the only instance always abounded, but nothing is done. in which diplomacy and statecraft, The Turk himself is the abuse. The with all their shrewdness, have been evil is the domination of a conquering drawn by an historic illusion into the race with a religion which is the spirit pursuit of a shadow. The destinies of of conquest ; and this evil is not likely the world are supposed to turn upon to remove itself or to concur heartily the possession of Constantinople. That in measures for its own removal. Encity, when it was the link between the terprising correspondents of an Eng. Eastern and Western portions of the lish journal have been penetrating the Empire, as well as the capital of the interior of Asia Minor, which has

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

sunk from its ancient prosperity, not to each other. The struggle will only into a wilderness, but into an some day come, and it can hardly fail unknown land. They find desola- to be fatal to Austria, the motley ele. tion and misery ; in place of a ments of which are destitute of any government, only the plundering as- bond of union ; that once powerful tie, cendancy of a barbarous horde. Poli- the fear of the Turk, having been reticians deride the chimeras of Utopian moved; while the attempt to fuse speculations ; yet they can compla- Magyar, Slav and German into a cently undertake to regenerate a nation under a single Parliamentary country in which there is not only no government has entirely miscarried. political or social order but no source Assailed by Russia, the Austrian Emof national life, and to make this pire would hardly be able to rely on country a rampart of civilization. any support but that of the Magyar; They are going back to the old nos- the heart of the Slav would be with the trum. An attempt is being made, enemy, and the German would probaunder the rather suspicious auspices bly seek at once to get clear of the of Sir Austin Layard, to set cn foot wreck and enter the confederation of another Turkish loan. But the cre- the Fatherland. In this direction, produlity even of clergymon and widows bably, we shall have to look for the has probably by this time been ex: opening of the next great series of hausted.

those events, caused by movements of After war comes plague, of which race, which are apparently destined to Turkey in the integrity of its filth and break up old combinations, obliterate fatalism has always ren ained the home old landmarks, and cast Europe in a and source. These multiplied horrors

new mould. would seem to strengthen the case of those who wished to try at least to solve In Germany, Bismarck and the Enthe Eastern question without a war. peror are grappling with that which, Such, let it be remembered, was the pol. from its present aspect, threatens to icy of the Liberal party in England. be the new and more tremendous They did not want peace at any price. Revolution. But in their persecution They wanted to put forth the power of of Socialism they seem to encounter reEngland, if necessary, to compel the sistance not from the Socialists alone. Turk to cease from the oppression which No doubt the moderate Liberals are all Europe had denounced, and which keenly conscious of the fact that forced the oppressed communities to Socialism itself, as a seditious movecall for Russian aid. That the Turk, ment, is the immediate offspring of when approached with firmness, must the cruel military system which have complied, it is, as Lord Shaftes- Bismarck and the Court uphold ; bury says, childish to doubt. The virtual though the general loosening in the emancipation of Bulgaria, and proba- German mind of the religious beliefs bly that of Bosnia and the Herzegovina on which the old order of things funalso, would then have been obtained damentally rested, has no doubt heen without war, massacre, plague and de- followed in Germany, as it will be in solation ; and the emancipated people other countries, by a sympathetic diswould have looked to England instead turbance of the whole social frame. of Russia, as their deliverer and friend. Failing Parliamentary support, a reThey have been flung into the arms of sort to military force for the purpose Russia solely by despair.

of repression would be quite consistent

with Bismarck's character; but the Io a dispute arising out of the affairs military system in Germany is, to a of Rouznania, Russia and Austria have certain extent, its own political antiapparently been showing their teeth dote. A nation is not to be coerced

by Janissaries when every man of it has been trained to arms. Meantime the King of Bavaria, hy squandering the money of his people in building a more miraculous Versailles, and outvying in other ways the extravagance of Louis XIV., or rather that of an Eastern Sultan, shows that, if he is not mad, there must still be in Southern Germany, at least, a considerable fund of submissiveness in the charac. ter of the people.

will nor more gifted by nature than the Zulus, sowed the seeds of civilization together with those of religion, and laid the foundations of European Christendom.

The last sentence had been just penned when the calamitous news arrived of the destruction of a British column by the Zulus. The pang is great; the wound to a first-rate power is but a scratch, and the disaster, we may be sure, will soon be, if it has not already been, signally repaired. But the event is one which breeds reflection. Barbarians acquire with comparative ease the military part of civilization ; long range weapons have cancelled the ascendancy of drilled masses of troops, and the savage is a skirmisher by nature. If the races which have hitherto been trampled down by the foot of European conquest, learn the use of the rifle, they may some day turn with terrible effect on the conqueror, and in the East especially, the contest hitherto unvarying in its results, may become a much more chequered scene. The Chinamın, for instance, is reckless of life; his numbers are inexhaustible;

[ocr errors]

Afghanistan has evidently been reduced to an anarchy which will no doubt be bloody, but as bishops are satisfied that this has been done on grounds of distinct ethical validity' and for a 'spiritual' purpose, the national conscience may sleep in peace. People are beginning naturally to ask, if this is the true version of Christianity, why they should have left the Church of Thor and Woden. The wave of Jingoism has swept round the full circuit of the Empire, and led to an invasion of the country of Cettewayo, a savage who appears to have mounted some steps in the ascent at least of military civilization. For defending his wilds he is styled a

rebel,' a name which belongs to him no more than it did to Caractacus. Of course he will succumb, and his people will share the fate of other na tive races whose lands have been coveted by Europeans. As Mr. Roebuck said. “the first business of the settler is to clear the country of wild beasts, and the most noxious of all wild beasts is the wild man. In this war again, missionaries are mixed, and they appear not to recoil from the use of shot and shell as harbingers of the Gospel. Had their spiritual ancestors been of the samg mind, the nations of modern Europe, including England herself, might never have attained their civilized existence. Christian missionaries, throwing themselves without the Martini-Henry rifle or any other .ethical' apparatus, among tribes probably neither les

as organizers and commanders the mercenary soldiers, plenty of whom are now to be found, and the dreams of Chinese conquest which many English adventurers cherish may prove somewhat difficult of fulfilment.

In England, the Government has won the election for North Norfolk. The seat was theirs before, but they have held it by an increased majority. The constituency is inade up of two elements, a body of landowners with their tenant farmers, of an eminently agricultural type ; and the great seaport of Yarmouth, which as a separate centre of representation, has been dis. franchised for corruption and thrown into the county. This, say the de feated Liberals, is a bad index of national opinion on diplomatic and constitutional questions. It may be so,

but the strength of the Conservative party lies in this, that it is not merely a party of opinion, but a party of great interests, the landed aristocracy and gentry with their obedient phalanx of tenant farmers, backed by a great mass of commercial wealth, and supported on one flank by the Established Church, and on the other by the Licensed Victuallers. So long as the interests hold together, the power of the party will endure, unshaken by questions of foreign policy or by any questions which do not seem to the landowner and farmer more important than the land; to the clergymnan, than the Establishment; to the brewer and publican, than beer. The North Norfolk election is significant, let the Liberals say what they will. It indi. cates that, supposing the election to be held in the present frame of the public inind, though the Government will probably lose the cities which they won from the Liberals in 1874, they are not likely to lose more. English sentiment, however, from the increase of papular knowledge, intercourse, travelling and intellectual stimulants of all kinds, has become infinitely more mobile and variable than it was ; and a delay of six months may utterly falsify the forecast of today.

In the compact confederation of English Conservative interests, there is one point of possible weakness which the action of economical rather than political forces may some day, and perhaps at a not very distant day, disclose. Hitherto the political subordination of the tenant farmer to his landlord has been complete, and attempts to run farmers' candidates against the landlords' candidates in the counties have almost invariably come to nothing. So it has been while both interests were prosperous and the farmer wils satisfied with his condition as a tenant-at-will, But a time of adversity has now come; complaints are heard that agriculture is no longer a remunerative occupation; landlords are

compelled to lower their rents, and there is one applicant for å vacant farm where there were ten before. The English farmer may grow discontented, and, like the Irish farmer, strike for fixity of tenure. In that case the political situation in England would at once be greatly changed. Every day brings home to us the lesson that, frame political institutions as you will, their working is controlled by the social forces, without a knowledge of which the political observer is totally at fault. In the months, however, which are likely to elapse before the general election in England, there is reason to believe that the political alliance between the landlords and the tenant farmers will not only reinain unimpaired, but be strengthened by the antagonism of the farmer to the labourer, who is in a state of industrial insurrection, and to whom the Liberal party propose to extend the suffrage. This triple division of the agricultural interest forms a feature in English society and politics scarcely found in those of any other country.

The Conservative leaders seem to thin' it necessary to look out for new sources of strength, and we hear of negotiations going on, though at present unsuccessfully, between them and the Roman Catholics, for the foundation of a Roman Catholic University in Ireland. Politicians can hardly be accused of allowing their tactics to be embarrassed by prejudices, if they seek support at one time by passing an Act for the suppresion of Ritualism, and at another time by founding what, under the auspices of Cardinal Man. ning and his Irish lieutenants, would certainly be an Ultramontane University. But in an alliance between Conservatism and Ultramontanism, there is nothing unnatural. The Church of Rome is the great Conservative Church of Europe, and the great organ of reactionary sentiment of all kinds; and the numerous secessions to it among the English nobility are produced by influences at least as

much political as religious. Its Hil. ting the different associations to act debrandic antagonism to emperors together. It is said that this sysand kings belongs to the remote past. tem is opposed to the independence It has long subsisted by an alliance of mind which is the Liberal's cardiwith monarchy and aristocracy, the nal doctrine and his boast. There is atteinpt of the more speculative and force in the objection, and it may be adventurous spirits among its priest- added that artificial organization, if hood, such as Lamennais, to heave not managed with great delicacy and anchor and go afloat on the tide of the tact, is apt to breed jealousy among democratic future, having always come the rank and file, to which expression, to nothing. In virtue of her political fatal to the cause, might be given unposition, the Church of Rome has re. der the cover of the ballot. But ceived, and perhaps in increasing party discipline in the case of the Eng. measure receives, the support of men lish Liberals may plead a justification who have no sympathy with her reli- which it cannot plead in the case of gious system, such as M. Guizot, who the United States. The English Libwas distinctly inclined to uphold the erals are fighting against an organizatemporal power of the Papacy as a tion which, though spontaneous, and Conservative rallying point, though that of a class not of a caucus, is more in religion he was a Protestant and tremendously compact and coercive something more. So long as the Ro- than any caucus which the tyranny of man Catholics of Ireland and England party ever deviserl. Nothing can exwere suffering under political disabili ceed the force of the social pressure ties, they were glad to ally themselves exercised by Conservatism in England, with the Liberals for the purpose of both on the wealthy and on all who breaking that yoke ; but having now, are dependent on wealth. In the ruby Liberal aid, achieved political ral districts especially, a Liberal, equality, they naturally, and irres- whether he belongs to the upper class pectively of any special negotiations or the lower, has socially to take his or intrigues, gravitate towards the life in his hand. In the House of party of social and political reaction. Commons disobedience to the parts Before long, there will probably be a whip on the Conservative side is alcomplete and declared union of the most unknown. It was matter of Irish priesthood with the English Tor- perfect notoriety that many Conservaies. On the other hand, the Irish Pro- tives voted agai::st their declared contestants who have hitherto been victions both for the Suffrage Bill of Tories, may be expected to come over 1867 and for the title of Empress of to the Liberal side. Not only so, but India, In the case of the Suffrage that growing element among the Irish Bill, in fact the very men who, at Catholics which is more political than Lord Derby's command, went with ecclesiastical, and cares more for Home downcast looks into the lobby for Rule than for the Papacy, is likely household suffrage, had a few months also to separate from the Bishops, and before been vociferously cheering the to connect itself with the democratic strong anti-extension speeches of Mr. wing of the Liberal party in England. Lowe. Organization has its evils ;

On their side the Liberals, in view but English Liberalism is compelled of the coming contest, are exerting to choose between organizing and theniselves to improve their organiza- being a rope of sand opposed to a band tion. Mr. Chamberlain, M. P. for of iron. Birmingham, who is the master spirit The approaching contest between in this sphere, seems to have succeed- the parties will be one of unusual intered in inducing most of the cities to est, because the issues will be remarkform Liberal Associations, and in get- ably clear and broad. They will vitally

« НазадПродовжити »