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tion of the issue and the responsibility of the consequences. If he had been originally sustained by them, Napoleon not only would, but must, have gone on in the progressive career upon which he had entered ; if now opposed or abandoned by them, hê must either ally himself with the darkest despotisms of the Continent, and aid in restoring all the abuses in church and state which the first French Revolution abolished, or he must place himself at the head of Red-Republicanism, and wage a sans-culotte war against every worthy and time-honored institution of Europe. We should look upon the latter alternative as the lesser evil, for we believe it would be easier to construct new political and ecclesiastical edifices out of chaos, than to repair and cleanse such rotten structures as the Austrian Empire and the Church of Rome. They are alike infected with the “ National-Hotel disease,” and the guest that lingers within their borders is infallibly smitten with palsy or with death.
The situation of Napoleon is one of exceeding delicacy and difficulty. The familiar dangers of a prætorian militia would alone suffice to render the tenure of his crown extremely uncertain ; but he is beset by no less formidable perils from without. He knows that the pyramid of his fortunes rests upon its apex, and, aware of the impossibility of long maintaining it inverted, and yet erect, in the midst of so many disturbing influences, he has been endeavoring to restore it to a normal position, and thereby to give it the stability which the interests of his dynasty require. By the aid of the British government and aristocracy, he usurped the throne of France, in defiance of the public sentiment of the Continent, and especially of the Legitimist party, which has numerous and powerful adherents in every European state, and of the Church, . which, both from sympathy and from principle, is indissolubly attached to the interests of the elder branch of the Bourbons, as the special representative and champion of all Obscurantist and retrograde ideas. Napoleon saw at once the necessity of fortifying himself in his insecure position by making terms with “ Catholicity.” Hence his flagitious crusade against the Roman Republic, the restoration of the perjured Pius IX. and his robber-guardian, Antonelli, and the severities against Protes
tantism in France. But this was but a temporary policy, to obtain the sanction of the Papacy to his invasion of the sacred rights of legitimate succession, which the influence of the Popish clergy with the partisans of Henry V. seemed to render important to the permanence of his reign. On the other hand, the demands of Romanism are so utterly irreconcilable with the interests of France and the pride of national independence, which is one of the most marked traits in the character of Frenchmen, that the Emperor felt obliged to relieve himself, and to some extent Catholic Europe, from so galling and so dangerous a burden. In short, he was tired of a position which must have, just now, suggested to his ingenious and ambitious countryman, Monsieur Blondin, the idea of crossing the Niagara on a tight rope, with a man on his back. Exchange the man for a monk, and the parallel would be complete.
In the attempt to free himself from the stifling embrace of that Old Man of the Sea, he asked the aid of Protestant England and Protestant Prussia. Though once refused, it is perhaps not yet too late to afford it. If this plain duty, for which nothing but moral influence is needed, is honestly performed, Europe may hope a respite, for a generation, - a peace, not, like that of 1815 – 1848, a condition of external truce between adjacent states, and of internal hostility and strife between nations demanding, and thrones refusing, the fulfilment of the solemn pledges of reform which in the hour of trial princes had given, but a peace founded upon the recognition of human, as well as divine right, and therefore as stable as the enlightened conscience of man. If the required aid is refused, and Napoleon is left to fight the battle alone, then comes the choice between the alternatives of which we have spoken, or rather the succession of those alternatives. First, new concessions from the Emperor to the malignant spirit of the Church, new persecutions of Protestant sects in France, the reconciliation of Sardinia and Rome with all its concomitants of intolerance and oppression, new concordats between the Papacy and Catholic and semiCatholic princes, new holy alliances against truth and freedom and manhood; and then, when oppression becomes no longer tolerable, a new uprising of the nations, led on, perhaps, by Napoleonites, and a new overthrow of thrones, dominations,
VOL. LXVII. — 5TH S. VOL. V. NO. II. 24
princedoms, powers. The latter evil, as we have already said, is the lesser, and though we do not desire to see a repetition of the career of Jacobin France, we believe it would be better for the interests of humanity that the Gallic eagle should again hover over Berlin, — we had almost said London, — than that another Wellington should lead another horde of Baschkirs and Kalmucks and German princelings to the conquest of Paris.
In case of a rupture with France, and of course with her allies, to which the Emperor's just resentment of the conduct of the British government may very naturally lead, we believe that England would be in a more critical position than she has. been since her kings were pensioners of Louis XIV. The prestige of her naval superiority is gone, and her land troops are confessedly as inferior to those of France in military efficiency as they are in numbers. But, with the security conferred by her insular position, the facilities of concentration of force afforded by her network of railways, her vast material and mechanical resources, and the characteristic courage and endurance of her people, she might well defy the utmost efforts of France, — her only dangerous single enemy. But the power of England stands in no such relation to that of the entire Continent as it did when she was arming for the Peninsular campaign. She was then the undisputed mistress of the sea, and the wealth of a lucrative commerce flowed into her coffers almost as abundantly as in the profoundest peace, while it was only under her flag, and by paying tribute to her merchants and seamen and national treasury, that the rest of Europe could participate in maritime traffic at all. Her superiority over all the world in the mechanical arts, upon which the efficiency of military enginery depends, was immense, and her native abundance of iron and coal, and other metallic and mineral products, furnished an inexhaustible stock of material for elaboration in all the branches of industry most conducive to the prosperity and power of a nation, in war or in peace. The numerous open and secret enemies of Napoleon I. looked upon England as the common friend and champion of the rights and national interests of all; and above all this, she had the consciousness of security, and strength, and moral power, to a
degree which, she well knew, existed in no other political community upon earth. · At this day, though England has advanced in all the productive arts, yet her progress has been relatively so much slower than that of the Continental nations, that, in very many branches of mechanical industry, her superiority, either in quality or in facility and cost of manufacture, is very seriously questioned. A war with France would cut off the largest channels of her commerce ; emigration and the attractions and advantages of city life have depopulated her rural districts, and she has no longer the material for the rank and file of military service ; her people have lost their confidence in their own prowess and invincibility; and she has disappointed the hopes and alienated the good-will of that portion of the European people who have looked forward to the general establishment of rational liberty and constitutional government by the moral force of the example, and the directly active influence, of the British nation. The mission of England was to preach and to promote the political emancipation of Christendom; but it is much to be feared that she has done more to obstruct than to advance an object of so much importance to the general interests of the human family. Her only serious efforts for that purpose are in the establishment of the puny kingdom of Greece, — a wild olive, that as yet has borne no fruit, — and in resisting the nefarious attempts of Russia to extend her own grasping and remorseless tyranny over the territory of the Ottoman Porte, which is much more likely to be effectually Christianized under the liberal policy of the Sultans, than under the iron bigotry of the Czars. In 1815, England was the first power in the world, and able to dictate terms to every European sovereign. For the political arrangements of that fatal year, which consigned to hopeless slavery, under relentless despotisms, many of the finest parts of Europe, England is answerable ; because, having the power to control the conditions of the general pacification, she neglected to exercise it, and stipulated nothing in behalf of any interest but those of dynasties. Since 1815, it has been her policy to sustain the princes restored by it, and though she has sometimes encouraged resistance to despotic sovereigns, she has always abandoned the insurgents to the wrath of their masters, when the revolts have been suppressed. She has thus gradually estranged from her the liberal politicians of the Continent, and is universally regarded as the ally, not of the people, but of their oppressors. The ill-will felt towards the British government has extended itself also to the nation. Englishmen are envied for their wealth and their social privileges, but detested for their airs of superiority, and their supercilious behavior towards the natives of the countries they visit, and consequently neither government nor people has any hold upon the confidence and sympathy of the commonalty of Europe.
On the other hand, the British government, by its protection of political refugees, and by its inability to restrain the freedom of the press, has drawn upon itself the bitterest hatred of all the advocates of arbitrary rule, whether princes or subjects, and nothing is more probable than a coalition between the despotisms of the Continent, with the view of compelling her to muzzle her press, to make the other branches of her public service as subservient as her post-office, and to employ her police, and the officers of her army and navy, in hunting out and surrendering for punishment the Mazzinis, the Kossuths, the Hugos, and other disturbers of the repose of crowned heads.
While, therefore, England has ceased to be a source of encouragement and hope to the people of the Continent, she has failed to secure the confidence of their rulers, and in any crisis of danger or of trial she will be sustained by the sympathies of neither. Under these circumstances, there can be no doubt that for her the path of duty is the only path of safety. Let her now become what she long since ought to have been, a champion of liberal institutions and popular rights abroad, as well as an example of them at home, and she will find in the gratitude, the attachment, and the alliance of the people of Europe, a stronger bulwark than in an entente cordiale with a score of despots.
We have barely alluded to the remaining party in the controversy,- the Papacy, and its present imbecile, obstinate, and vindictive incumbent; but this is precisely the party that has most to gain or to lose by the ultimate results of the policy of