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ferred inestimable blessings on the mercan- /promotion, talk nonsense about the “opintile and shipping interests of Great Britain. ion of honest men” being the best guide to To say that our Government will listen to the law, and tell their readers at once that none of these topics of reclamation, or that England will not complain, and that her it will disregard, without confuting, any rea- complaints will be wholly bravado. If we sonable arguments or suggestions that may are to go to war with the North because her be founded on them, would be to impute to journals are vulgar, we shall never need lawit a levity and recklessness which none of the yers to discuss the causes of quarrel, and eminent men composing it would willingly never be at a loss for a wholly unanswerable confess. We conclude as we began, by ex- case. But under all this parade of bad taste, pressing our conviction that the answer to there is this time a very obvious dread, a disour question will not be lightly given, and position to condemn Captain Wilkes for by repeating our earnest desire that neither recklessness, even while he is exalted for it nor our rejoinder, whatever that may be, pluck. The worst papers admit that the should be other than dispassionate and noble. Cabinet may have to make an apology.
Even the New York Herald, which obviously wishes for war, advises that Captain Wilkes
should not be made an admiral till he is From The Spectator, 7 Dec.
first dismissed. The organ of the commerWAR OR PEACE.
cial classes, as strong at Washington as the
country gentlemen are at Westminster, un. The chances of peace, though they still equivocally condemns the act; and the paexist, cannot be said to improve. So many
do because and so various are the intiuences which di- they believe England will pass over the outrectly affect the settlement of this American
rage. The people in America are always quarrel, so manifold seem the conditions es
more moderate than their journals, and sential to sound opinion, that society, is could this temper last, the Government slightly bewildered, and half inclined to be- would be left free to do us substantial juslieve in that modern version of Providence, tice. The politicians, too, do not, as we half the “ something” which is to “ turn up,” feared they would, assert any right to Messrs. and to keep the world in its groove. It is not Mason and Slidell, simply as rebels, or dean unnatural impression, but the more grave nounce the right of asylum when invoked and careful the survey, the fainter, we fear, against Americans instead of in their behalf. will it become. Though the sense of insult They do, certainly, talk odd nonsense about diminishes as the time of the outrage re- the iwo Southerners being “ambassadors,' cedes, and the national temper has become more cheerful, it is not on the tone of the France into the war as earnestly and hotly
an argument which, were it true, would bring British public that the alternatives of peace as England. But though they do deny the and war can now be said to depend. Nu- right of asylum to Nicaragua, and in so domerous and conflicting as the elements of ing betray the ultimate tendency of their decision appear to be, they may be really reduced to two: the temper in which Earl land, ventured to raise the one point on
own minds, they have not as yet, with EngRussell's despatch finds the American people, which discussion is not permissible. The and the nature of the demand in the de- case is argued throughout as one of contraspatch itself.
band of war, and, although the Americans The latest accounts from New York would quote only the precedents they approve, and appear at first sight to afford some faint seem not to understand the difference begrounds of hope. There is a hesitation ap-tween their rights on their own soil and parent in all the journais, a doubt of the their rights on a British ship, still, the man English mode of receiving the news, which who appeals to the law, eren when he misaugurs favorably for the chances of concilia- understands it, is not supposed to be anxtion. There is the usual amount of lunatic ious to send an immediate challenge. Morewriting with which the friends of America over, it seems almost certain that the act of have long since learned to put up, as they the San Jacinto was not ordered direct from put up with a friend addict ci to whistling or home. Captain Wilkes may have had genhumming bars in bad tui.?, bag is an in- eral instructions to search every vessel for stinct, as well as a policy, with all uneducated despatches, but there appears no proof that men, and a cabman is to be truited fairly, 'the seizure of men was contemplated, far less though he begins a dispute by p): rsonal criti- distinctly ordered. If this is the case, the cism, and considers that blasphemy strength- Government is, at all events, not bound to ens his defence of his rights. Of course the support its agent in the specific act, however half-taught compositors who own most of the much it may deem itself right in exempting city journals recommend Captain Wilkes' him from all penalties. A solution other
than war would appear, therefore, when the | The secrets of the Foreign Office are well last mail left New York, to be at least one kept, but unless the public are greatly deof the possibilities.
ceived, the restoration of Messrs. Slidell and Unfortunately, there is no chance of per- Mason has been made the condition, not of manence in this approximation to reason. continued peace, but of continued negotiaHad the evil genius of America arranged the tion. The American Government, whether sequence of events in the single hope of a convinced of right or insolent in wrong, war, it could not have been more unlucky. must yield at once, and without discussion, On the 2nd instant, just as excitement began to the power whom it is almost certain they to cool, the Americans would receive the will, six days before, have defied with all the news of the burning of the Harvey Birch, national grandiloquence. Is it reasonable and the shelter afforded to the Nashville in to expect such a humiliation from a people, the port of Southampton,-news which, un- penetrated with the feeling of national pride, less civil war has developed a new self-re- as vindictive as the race they have supstraint, will be received with a scream of planted, and whatever the ruin entailed by rage. The British Government, in allowing the war, sure at least of their independence ? the Nashville to remain unmolested, was of We do not know that in itself the surrender course blameless, for it is bound to act by of Messrs. Mason and Slidell would 'seem so the advice of its own law officers, and they very obnoxious. The mob yells over their held that prisoners not being prize, the Nash- capture, of course, and hates them individville had not infringed the Queen's procla- ually, just as the English soldiery in India mation. But we can scarcely expect Amer- hated the half-dozen leading mutineers it icans-filled as they are with a notion of the was their fortune to seize. But statesmen, absolute power of the British Government- even in America, must be beyond all this, to perceive such a fetter as that, or to un- and a convenient contempt for the prisoners derstand why a Foreign Secretary cannot would delight the mass almost as much as compel local magistrates to grant a search their execution. But their cession as an act warrant, which they have pronounced illegal. of obedience to an external power, without They will argue, and not illogically, that the discussion or delay, is an act which only a
a right of burning their ships is as hurtful to very self-restrained or an intensely lawthem as the right of seizing them; that the fearing nation could do, which the British Nashville was never searched to see if she people alone, perhaps, among nations could had' prize on board or not, and probably be trusted to stand and see. There is, it is that she was never asked to produce her pa- true, a form of pride which has once or twice pers. The last argument will be a blunder, been seen in history, which calmly sup
a every belligerent having, by international presses all pride rather than yield its end, law, a right without papers to attack the na- but it has been confined hitherto to the tional enemy; the letter of marque being his Romam patricians and Papal ecclesiastics. justification, not for that, but for putting his We do not give the American people credit prize up to sale ; but the mistake is one for any such quality, and without it there which half England is always making, and remains, we fear, but one poor hope of into which Americans are certain to fall. peace. Then, as if to make extrication hopeless, be- It is just barely possible that the American fore the despatch on the San Jacinto affair Government, aware of the terrible consecan reach him, but afler he has heard of the quences of war, and dreading the dismemburning of the Harvey Birch, the President berment of the country even more than a must send in his annual message to Con- popular outcry, may discover in their exgress. He must allude to the Harvey Birch ; tremity some device which, in spite of deand it would tax the self-restraint of a man spatches, may yet compel us to consider born to the etiquettes of a throne not to what is due to the right, as well as what is make such an allusion as will touch the essential to our own honor. If, unmoved North to the quick, and arouse a fever of by the menace of immediate war, and unafnational pride. He may even commit him- fected by fear of their own people, they offer self personally too deeply to recede; and, at as their ultimatum to abide by a decision of all events, he will indefinitely increase the dif- the British Conrt of Admiralty, England, ficulty of the task which Mr. Webster called would be compelled to pause. War, to almost impossible—that of conducting ne- avoid a decision of our own courts, oi gotiations in the presence of twenty millions. whose rigid impartiality Englishmen at least
The despatch on the San Jacinto will have no kind of doubt, would shock the therefore be read to a people already furious moral sense of the people, and send us into with anger against Great Britain, and the the contiict uncertain of the justice of our demand it contains is, we fear, not one cause. We could not submit to a neutral which will allow time for sober reflection. Icourt, or even to neutral arbitration, for the
dispute involves morally, though not, we ing liberty-liberty that loves and respects frankly admit, legally, that right of asylum, law. He takes pains, indeed, eren in his on which we can listen to the award of no preliminary review of the last ten years, to Areopagus on earth. If we allow such a mark the confusion which pervades his precedent, the next passenger we defend thought between liberty and license. He may be Kossuth, with Russia to decide reiterates his conviction that the Russian whether he is a political fugitive or an envoy war was a blunder of which the English nafrom Hungary, and the right of asylum tion are now heartily ashamed. The victory would be reduced to nothing. But we could gained in that war was simply a victory of listen to our own court, or perhaps to the law over lawless aggression, and, therefore, one court of the United States which is be- he despises it. England and France refused yond the menaces of the mob and the pres- to let Russia plead the right of mere might sure of official remonstrance. In some such for her invasion of Turkey, and Europe suggestion, bold enough to excite the in- learned a lesson without which European stinctive English respect for an appeal to civilization would speedily retrograde. Belaw, lies, we fear, the solitary chance of a cause the gain was only one of invisible law, continued peace. But if the Americans -not a material acquisition,-because the make it, their genius and their organization sacrifice by which it was obtained was maare of a different temper from anything terial as well as mighty, Mr. Bright holds up which Europe has been yet allowed to per- the whole struggle to derision, and falls back ceive.
on even a less manly authority than his own —Sir James Graham's for support. Again, in his reference to the Indian mutiny, he
shows the same undiscriminating mind. From The Spectator, 7 Dec. THE NANCHESTER SCHOOL ON THE AMER- and liberty, but between law and license, and
That contest was not one between oppression ICAN QUESTION.
yet his sympathy seems to have been with Mr. Bright has made another of those the native soldiers, who, except in the Northmagnificent orations which puzzle England West, could find no trace of popular feeling whether to wonder most at the discriminat- in their support. ing force of his language, or at the undis- With ich a bias it is not strange that his criminating turbidness of his thought. Much discussion of the American question is little as there is in this speech wbich we heartily likely to win new friends to the North. He recognize as expressing principles with which feels' no repugnancemnay, he seems to feel all true Englishmen ought to sympathize, we sincere admiration-for that vile tyranny of believe that like most of Mr. Bright's other ignorant popular' opinion which has so long efforts it will injure rather than serve the driven and still drives the statesmen of the cause he has at heart. The truth is, that Union into a foreign policy that is simply liwhile there is a deep hatred of despotism at centious, and that necessarily forces English the bottom of his heart, there is no spark of opinion into hostile attitudes. It is quite that reverence for law which is the only safe- true and had he insisted more strongly on guard against despotism; and hence his that point we should have gone with him really masterly defence of the Northern cause entirely—that hitherto it has been Southern as against the South is totally unrelieved by politicians chiefly who have flattered and any of that true insight into the short-com- pampered the licentious democracy of the ings of its boastful and licentious democ- Union. But if we admit this, we are bound racy, without which Englishmen feel that the to admit also that Northern politicians are American question can never be impartially tainted, if less deeply, with the same inherjudged. In short, Mr. Bright speaks- we ent vice; that they, too, speak as if the mere do not mean in language, which would be appetite of a hungry mob for dominion could unjust, indeed, to his noble and vigorous never be too much pampered ; that they too Saxon eloquence, but in thought-like a rant about the Monroe principle, threaten Yankee defending Yankees, rather than like Canada and the Isthmus, and do their best an Englishman choosing between two rivals to give the impression that so great a people -neither of them commanding our full sym- as the Americans may guiltlessly trample all pathy--the one who is fighting in the nobler law beneath their feet. cause. And feeling as he does in this re- Let us not be mistaken : we hold, as we spect, we do not expect or hope that he will have always done, that the Northern cause make many converts. Earnestly as we sym- in this war with the secessionists is sound to 'pathize with all that he says on the great the core ; we hold, as we have always done, slavery issue between North and South, we that English sympathy should be given hearcannot view his speech, as a whole, as show- tily to that policy which holds out “ hope to ing any true sympathy with the only endur- the bondsmen of the South ;” but we also
hold, as we have always done, that the North- ought to restrain us from vindicating a right ern statesmen can only prove themselves which has so long made England the home worthy of the great task of vindicating the of exiles, even though the exiles now in quesviolated law of the Union by themselves tion can expect neither sympathy nor pity at respecting public law wherever they find it, our hands. and holding in the ungovernable license of a people who seem to claim all the moral exemptions of Omnipotence while exercising
From The Spectator, 7 Dec. none of its powers.
THE ATTITUDE OF FRANCE ON THE SAN When, therefore, Mr. Bright comes to dis
JACINTO AFFAIR. cuss the question now at issue between If the French press were free, its tone on America and England, we find it already the San Jacinto affair might be accepted as prejudged in his mind. He argues for for- eminently satisfactory, for its arguments, bearance, not only as if the North had a great compliments, and invectives, all lead to the and noble cause on its hands—which we ad- same conclusion: the public law of Europe mit and maintain—but as if it had never must be maintained, whatever the exigencies evinced any sign of that licentious and in- under cover of which a new state may ensolent spirit which might render forbearance deavor to set it aside. Indeed, the French on our part equivalent to weakness. The journalists, in their anxiety lest we should truth is, that England is really unwilling to permit our honor to suffer, are actually just enter upon this war. If the Government to England, and allow, with a natural sigh launches us into it with needless haste, and of regret, that magnanimous self-restraint is peremptorily rejects any sincerely peaceful compatible with a free and vigorous national and apologetic overtures from the American life. Unfortunately, every journal in France Government, couched in such a spirit as is either “official,” or demi-official," or General Scott's letter, without considering "officious," or “inspired,” or “quasi-inthem, there will be a very large party in the spired,” or deserves some other one of the English nation to deplore and condemn its hundred epithets by which Frenchmen strive policy. But no one can deny that there is to conceal from themselves that in France danger—we fear far greater danger-of a dif- free thought is an imperial prerogative. ferent result; of an arrogant and irritating Englishmen are therefore compelled to ask reply from the United States, in accordance what this sudden amity may mean. Louis with the indecent display of popular exultation Napoleon is not a man to be moved by the at the violation of the English flag which we spectacle of popular self-restraint, nor is he have already seen there. And if this should in any marked degree a fanatic for internabe the case, we do not see that we have any tional law, yet with a great loan still to raise, choice in the matter. A war for a great and a great deficit yet to fill up, he seems to principle may be, and often is, a war for a be eager for a war, which, for a time, at slight material gain. Not the less are we least, will shake every Bourse in Europe. bound to vindicate that principle, even in Sovereigns think of their own states first, the face of the terrible consequences to the and for the hour the first need of France anti-slavery cause. The war will then not would seem to be a high price for Rentes. be of our seeking. It will be as much forced Yet the Emperor obviously urges war, and upon us in the direct discharge of national the “inspired” papers shrewdly enough call duty, as the war with the South has been on England to resist an outrage which France forced on the Northern States. There is no would ere this have avenged. liberty-in spite of Mr. Bright's worship of We believe that a war between England democratic will-without law. And those and the North would delight the Emperor who would crush the unscrupulous absolu- for the same reason that it would please tism of the Southern slave-owners must learn some of the cotton-spinners-it would make that they can only do so by first curbing the cotton cheap. The failure of the cotton supalmost equally unscrupulous aggressiveness ply presses on France even more heavily than of an inflated national self-esteem. Had we on England, so heavily, indeed, that the been the aggressor and America the sufferer, French Embassy has been suspected at the voice of the North would have cried out Washington of an actual wish to produce a for instant war. We hope our statesmen war, or such a suspension of intercourse as may prove themselves as inclined to meet should excuse them in breaking the blockany honest profession of willingness to abide ade. The discontent of the workmen affects by the strict law as the English nation itself, the Cabinet even more than the deficit, which has never shown more moderation. for the latter only menaces France, wbile Bnt if no such disposition is evinced, we the former threatens the throne. At the have no choice. Nor will Mr. Bright's elo same time the Emperor, unwilling to engage quence prove to us that any consideration in maritime war, until secure of British sup
port, is only too glad to see us engage in a tion for the extension of slavery, no wish to correspondence which may solve his difficulty see President Davis ruling from the White and set cotton free, yet throw on him none House. France though we believe her of the odium of breaking the general peace. sentiment is strong against slavery-makes There may be a side glance, too, at the di- every principle_bow to the passion for miliminished part which England, hampered by tary success. Then England has frontiers war in the West, must play in the politics to guard on the American continent, and of Europe, a thought that, the financial dif- France, when tired of the war, would scarcely ficulty once removed, the spring might be fight on in order that British boundaries the hour for the Rhine. Nor do we deny might not be exposed to a menace. It that the wrath of France against America is might be difficult, too, in joint operations, in part a genuine feeling. France unless absolutely to forbid the landing of French misled by her own interests, seldom approves brigades within our colonial borders ; and of high-handed breaches of law, and is by the French army is not precisely the body no means inclined to violate those rules which Lord Monck desires or expects in which conduce to the self-respect of neutrals. Lower Canada. Above all, our commercial But beneath and beyond all these motives interests are not identical, and it is when there exists a delighted conviction that Eng- the terms of peace come to be settled that land must take on herself the responsibility alliances are so onerous. The North is cerwhich the Emperor knows neither how to tain in such a contingency to look to France accept or avoid.
as the mediator, and the Emperor-as the We believe, therefore, all the assurances Crimean war showed—can placably play reiterated by the French press, so far as that part. “ Codlin's your friend, not Short, they indicate that the Emperor approves said the showman to Little Nell, and we our action.
If Louis Napoleon be, as he know no speech in fiction more irresistibly professes, the armed protector of civiliza- moving to laughter. But the part, when tion, the cause is one which, as it stands, played by an emperor to a State just thinkmay well enlist him on our side. If, on the ing of making peace, would cease, we fear, other hand, he is simply a despot, a little to be comic. We are strong enough to do abler than most of his class, he has selfish our own work, and bear our own burden ; reasons enough to engage his strongest sup- and we must, in this instance, do and enport. But while willing to recognize any dure alone. To unite with France is to amount of approval, and grateful for any weaken our right to make war in our own cessation of groundless attacks, we depre- way, to destroy our right to make peace at cate attempts to carry good feeling further our own time, and to place our interests at than the expressions of friendly concern. the mercy of an ally who looks to ends other We protest in limine against any attempt to than the tranquil and regulated friendliness, devise a plan of joint action against Amer- which is the only relation to America this ica. England cannot, with any due regard country desires to bear. We cannot protest, to her interests, consent to a joint interpre- or even complain, at any action of France tation of her right to the freedom of the on her own behalf. If she breaks the block
Still less can she suffer France to de- ade, or follows our steps in breaking it, or cide on the limit or mode of the reparation makes alliances with the South, or presses to be exacted from the United States. her own complaints, it is no part of our There are questions on which joint action is duty to interfere ; but any alliance to help possible, and some few, as for example the us to maintain our rights might be as injuMexican one, on which it is beneficial. But rious to our interests as it would certainly no American quarrel can ever be reckoned be derogatory to our honor. among them. The American traditions of the two powers are too widely distinct to adınit of coherent action. The French still
From The Economist, 7 Dec. believe, with a pardonable national pride,
WILL THERE BE AN AMERICAN WAR? that the people who over half Canada still retain their language, long for the country
LEAVING to others the discussion as to they have lost for a century, and contrast the precise limits of belligerent rights, the freedom and Cæsarism to the praise of the degree to which they have been overstepped modern Cæsar. Canada may yet be invaded, by the Federal commander in this instance, and the efforts England would make to de- and the instances, real or supposed, in which fend her dependency would not be those our own proceedings in former days may have most highly appreciated in France. Then afforded precedents somewhat embarrassing
--though if the war once begins, England to our demand for reparation,—we will ads may break the blockade-she has no genu- dress a few words to the practical question ine sympathy with slaveholders, no tolera- ' which more immediately interests us all.