Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

Marshals Niel and Macmahon, think the tion to Holland, but only of the insolence of Army prepared for a great war ? If they do Prussia in garrisoning a fortress which does pot, war is pretty certain to be postponed, not belong to her, and which menaces but it is excessively improbable that any France. It is the point of honour on which one except the Emperor and one or two Frenchmen are now insisting, and when a men in their own close confidence know Frenchman, growing grave and white, talks their real opinion. Paris thinks it does, and seriously of the point of honour, he is usually the Bourse thinks it does, and many news- very near action. Our own belief is, that paper correspondents think they do, but the French Army, and great masses of the French Marshals and their Staffs are not French people, have made up their minds given greatly to chatter about the highest that their honour is concerned in the Prusmilitary secrets, and the Emperor has a fac-sian evacuation of Luxemburg ; that not to ulty for silence. Nobody really knows insist on this, and yet give up the province, this point, and the only hint by which for- is to yield to a distinct menace, which they eigners may guide their judgment is this. do not think it honourable to do. If that If the Emperor cannot go to war, it is his view is correct, questions about the number interest, by saying that he will not, to make of rifles in hand will have about as much commercial France a present of many mil- weight as the question of his skill with the lions, and he does not do that, 'shows no in- sabre would have on a French gentleman tention of doing that. Then are the people who had been struck. of France, and by people we mean all who We see but two distinctly conservative vote under a universal suffrage, inclined for elements in the situation — the desperate war ? On this point, again, probably no one magnitude of the stake for which the Embut the Emperor and M. de Lavalette know peror must play, and his own growing irresthe precise truth. All reporters decide ac-olution on great questions. Apart altogethcording to the class among which they hap- er from changes of frontier, of possible terripen to live, the papers are not good guides, torial losses by treaty after war, all of which being either official or influenced by Paris- would fall on France, as well as her Soverian opinion alone, and the masses have no eign, Napoleon if he goes to war must, by means of expressing their thoughts. But it the conditions of his position, stake his is notable that the freer a paper is, or a throne. The Empire would not survive demember, or a person, the more bitter it is feat by Germany six days. The Emperor against Prussia. M. Emile de Girardin is is not, like his uncle, necessarily Comat present among journalists the freest, and mander-in-Chief of the Army of Defence, and La Liberte openly says the alternatives are would either be compelled to give place to the evacuation of Luxemburg as an amende the man who was, or by appealing to the to France or war. M. Ollivier is a Liberal representatives of the people for aid and who supports the Empire, and is therefore counsel, to terminate his own regime. Franco for the hour a Free Lance, and he declares will not lose rank and liberty too, of that we that France is humiliated by Prussia. The may be sure. The Emperor would have workmen are the freest men in Paris, and feared this tremendous risk at any time, did they have attacked the Prussians the fear it in the Mexican affair, and now all acExhibition for crowning their King's statue counts represent his irresolution as increaswith laurel. Reasoning from these slight ing. He intervenes less and less in business, but continually recurring indications, from transfers his power more and more to M. the known jealousy of the French for their Rouher, allows his will to be turned by his position in Europe, and the known soreness Cabinet much more frequently than of old. of the Army at the unavoidable humiliation He may in the end prefer to meet the series involved in the retreat from Mexico, it is of minor difficulties to which retreat would reasonable to believe that the balance of expose him, rather than risk for a final triopinion in France is in favour of war. It is umph, which would seat his dynasty for a the more reasonable, from the sudden and century, its final overthrow, and this is, we very remarkable change in the mode of des- honestly believe, the strongest obstacle recribing the probable cause of war. Nobody maining in the way of war. talks of the value of Luxemburg, or its rela

From the Saturday Review, 13th April. The Emperor NAPOLEON, bent on sat-
FRANCE AND GERMANY.

isfying his countrymen that the union of The French negotiation for the purchase Germany was compatible with the aggrandof Luxemburg was a grave mistake. Dy- izement of France, cast his eye on the halfnastically the province had no sovereign, vacant territory of Luxemburg, without except an alien Grand Duke, who was reflecting that the fortress was occupied. willing to sell for a reasonable sum rights As M. DE MOUstier has lately informed which were not unlikely to be confiscated the Legislative Body, the acquisition was without compensation. The Dutch subjects to be effected in the most peaceable and of the King of the NETHERLANDS had regular manner. It was intended to pronothing to do with the matter, except that cure the consent of the GRAND DUKE, to they probably regarded the German domin- consult the parties to the Treaty of 1839, ion of the House of ORANGE as English- and, finally, to procure a vote of annexation men formerly regarded Hanover. The gol- by universal suffrage. The King of the den link of a Crown uniting two recipro- NETHERLANDS willingly named his price, cally independent States generally involves and England and other Powers declared an inconvenient strain on the more power that the treaty which secured the federal ful and independent Government. In the privileges of the province had been practieighteenth century England was always en-cally abrogated by the dissolution of the gaged in wars on behalf of Hanover, and German Confederacy, and that the GRAND the Dutch probably feared that the connex- DUKE could not be compelled to assert his ion with Luxemburg might at some time dynastic rights. Universal suffrage, as pracinvolve a quarrel with Prussia or with tised by France, strongly resembles the France. It was not quite certain that the WAARNCLIFFE meetings which are called to province would break off at the proper line sanction Railway Bills after they have passed of severance, for within recent experience the House of Commons. The shareholders Schleswig had come away from Denmark can withdraw the Bill if they think fit, but with the purely German province of Hol- they feel that they are in the hands of the stein. Untroubled by domestic opposition, Directors, and that it will probably be unthe King of the NETHERLANDS thought wise to reverse a deliberate decision. If bimself as free to sell Luxemburg as if he there had been no Prussia to consult, the had been an Emperor of Russia dealing Luxemburgers would not have ventured to with a frozen territory on the other side of offend a Government which had bought the globe., The difference was that, in the them before it asked their consent to the old language of diplomacy, there were souls sale. A clever French prefect would have in Luxemburg, whereas the souls of the few soon contrived to secure an overwhelming hundred Russian, settlers on the North majority to approve of an accomplished American coast are of little account. At fact. At present, however, it seems doubtthe Congress of Vienna, as for many previ- ful whether Luxemburg will ever be reous generations, it was customary to award quired to hold its WAARNCLIFFE meetthousands or millions of souls to princes ing. who were supposed to have established a Every rational Frenchman would allo:v title to compensation ; but modern opinion that Luxemburg is in itself not worth a sindisapproves of the diplomatic trade in hu- gle day of war. It was one of the early man beings, and the Luxemburg souls hap. conquests of the Republic, and with many pened to be Germans, as well as inhabitants other acquisitions it was reclaimed from of the Grand Duchy. On the dissolution Frane in 1815. Almost any border disof the Confederation they were left outside trict would be equally useful in rounding of all political organizations in an obviously the frontier, and the national honour provisional condition. Count BISMARK was in no ddegree concerned in the quarrel had the less reason for preferring an imme- before the interference of Prussia with the diate claim to the Grand Duchy, b-cause a proposed purchase. But the interruption Prussian garrison held the fortress, which which has occurred has converted a trivial is also the capital. It was thought expedi- arrangement into a question of etiquette or ent not to notice the hostile measures of of temper. French politicians declare that, the Grand Duke, as they had not been although France is not called upon to refollowed by military preparations. Sooner quire additions to her territory, she can or later, Luxemburg, if it was not absorbed tolerate no interference with her reasonable by a foreign Power, was nearly certain to demands. It can only be said in answer, form a part of the inheritance of the old that it is better to retract a blunder than to Confederation.

persist in maintaining it by force. The

а

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

Emperor NAPOLEON, who may almost when it was attacked by a foreign enemy. claim to have invented the doctrine of The minor princes who were once the tools nationality, ought to have remembered that of French ambition know that their thrones the Luxemburgers share the descent and would be instantly forfeited if they refused language of their powerful neighbours. to join in the struggle against an invader; Before the war of 1866 Luxemburg was a and Austria herself would probably forfeit Federal fortress with a Prussian garrison, her German provinces by an alliance with and no French interest is compromised by France in the present quarrel. It is a disthe continuance of the former arrangement. credit to civilization that war should still The Germans, even in their divided state, be possible on an arbitrary pique or point were never thoroughly reconciled to the of honour ; but in the present instance the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, although both French Government has created the difficulty provinces have been united to France for for itself, while Prussia has only objected to a century and a half. Since the fall of a measure which necessarily seemed an afthe first French Empire, not a German vil- front to Germany lage has been alienated, and the policy of If the pending quarrel were to be decithe present Government of Prussia has ded by war, the inconvenience to neutral been accepted by the entire nation because States would be measured by the interrupthe creation of a great German monarchy tion of commerce ; but a contest between

; furnished a security against future spolia- two Powers of the first order has always a tion. It seemed tolerable to allow the tendency to spread. France will not conKing of the NETHERLANDS to retain the quer Germany, nor will Germany dismem· Grand Duchy for a time; but the projected ber France; but the independence of Holannexation of a German province to France land or of Belgium might be sacrificed in was at once regarded as a challenge. the gigantic conflict. The delicate and unWhen the subject was first mentioned in developed liberties of Germany would be the North German Parliament, Count Bis- temporarily crushed by the necessities of MARK prudently used ambiguous language; war, and it is not the interest of France to but it was fully understood that he sanc- injure a rival Power by converting a partioned the protests against the alienation of tially constitutional Government into a miliLuxemburg, and he is believed to have tary monarchy. The consequences which added largely to the garrison of the fort- might result from a great European war

If there is a sacrifice of French pride are too complicated and uncertain to be in the withdrawal of an injudicious claim, distinctly foreseen. It is enough to know the completion of the bargain would have that the belligerents could by no possibility involved an unprovoked slight to Prussia. do good to themselves or to others, except If war should unhappily ensue, the Em- in the accelerated consolidation of German peror NAPOLEON and the French people unity. The incipient panic in the Exwill probably be acting against their incli- changes of London and Paris represents nation, as well as against their interest. the effect of even a threatened quarrel on It is impossible to believe that either the peaceful industry. The Governments which dynasty or the nation can profit by an un- are most immediately concerned must by necessary war with an equal Power. There anxious to avoid a collision ; and it is easier is perhaps some security for peace in the for France to withdraw an unnecessary practical difficulty which must attend the claim than for Prussia to evacuate the fortopening of a campaign. The Grand ress of Luxemburg, or to abdicate the Duchy is, for military purposes, fully occu- championship of Germany. If attempts pied by the Prussian army; nor is it de- are made to settle the dispute by diplomatsirable to commence offensive operations ic arrangements, friendly States might by the siege of a great fortress. It would easily raise convenient difficulties by de be impossible to take Luxemburg without clining to approve the cession of Luxema pitched battle against an enemy, who burg. If the King of HOLLAND is propriewould enjoy every advantage of position. tor of the territory, he is also trustee for EuA French army is always formidable, and rope, and the parties to the conveyance osten victorious, but the chances of war may plausibly insist on the performance of would, in the first collision, be scarcely all attendant conditions and duties. If equal. M. Tuers himself must compre- France is bent on war, remonstrance would hend the imprudence of taking issue with be useless, but it would be expedient to Germany on the question of the national | encourage a meditated retreat by building integrity; for good or bad fortune wonld a golden bridge. equally tend to cement German unity

ress.

а

a

a

From The Economist, 13 April. inquired of the Prussian envoy at the

Hague whether he was in a position to tell THE SITUATION IN EUROPE.

him what the Prussian Government would

think of his parting with the sovereign WITHOUT wishing to criticise the wise rights he owned as Grand Duke of Luxemcheerfulness which the Chancellor of the bourg,” and further, that after this question Exchequer told us last week that he thinks had been answered, “ the Dutch Governit wise to cherish concerning the attitude ment charged their representative at this of foreign affairs, we cannot avoid express- capital (Berlin) to offer us their good ofiiing our own opinion that there is at all ces in the event of our needing them in events plenty of reason for grave anxiety those negotiations with France, which they in the situation of Europe. Whenever thought would be shortly opened.”

Of men of the world hear of a shrewd attorney course it may be true, as it is now stated, buying up the little debts and obligations that those negotiations have been suspenddue to any one of his acquaintances, they ed, as a consequence of that conversation in usually infer— and generally, we think, the German Parliament. But whether the newith justice — that that attorney is intend- gotiation is cut short or not, the same lesson ing to press for a discharge in full of those is to be read from the obvious eagerness of iabilities, and that be supposes that he has France to buy up a weak power's political a better chance than his acquaintance of claims on Prussia. It is clear that France obtaining a satisfactory discharge of those wishes to get these political claims on liabilities. And when, in like manuer, we Prussia. She might not enforce them at hear of a shrewd emperor buying up the once: she may even be unwilling to accept little political debts due from a great pow-them just yet, because she may think it preer to a small one, we may usually infer mature to enforce them.

But anyhow, that that emperor is intending to press for France is avowedly inclined to pounce upa discharge in full of the liabilities incurred on such claims. She could not have felt by the great power to the small, and thinks disposed to do so without a distinct intenthat he shall, probably, succeed better in tion of pressing for payment.

And that compelling that discharge in full than his distinct intention of pressing for payment weaker acquaintance who has transferred, must have meant either war with Prussia, or wishes to transfer, the right. Now this or, — perhaps more formidable still, is, as we understand it, precisely the pres- “ transaction” with Prussia, of which the ent situation between France, Holland, and object would be to satisy both parties. And Prussia. The King of Hólland obtained, we fancy that of this last possibility, there by the treaty of 1839, one third of the old is some trace in Count Bismarck's lanDuchy of Luxembourg, including the impor-guage. It was obvious not only that he tant fortress of that name the other was very anxious, while stimulating the two-thirds, Belgian-Luxembourg that is, national pride of Germany, to say nothing in baving been, at the same time, incorpor- any way disagreeable to the pride of France, ated in Belgium. But Prussia had, and but that there was even a doubt lingerstill assumes to have, the right to garrison ing in his mind, not certainly as to the cesLuxembourg, and the right to demand the sion of Luxembourg, but as to the proper evacuation of Luxembourg by Prussia is ohject of retribution in case that cession the real obligation which Holland is now should be attempted. The King of Holwilling to transfer to France, and which land, he said, in a very marked manner, France is anxious to enforce. It is cer- would be left to the responsibility of his tain that Holland has been encouraged by own acts. Was there not here a sort of France to transfer to her, for a consider- hint as to a possible door out of the difficulation, all her sovereign rights to the fortress ty? We may be quite sure that the Emand territory which belonged to her, and peror of the French will never rush into a which is now garrisoned by Prussia, and European war for so small a corner of' teralso certain that the cession of Luxembourg ritory as the Dutch portion of Luxemhas at least been offered by Holland to bourg. All the teaching of our recent hisFrance, and not rejected by the Empóror. tory shows that wars are now waged for In the important conversation between great objects, and no man would feel more Count Bismarck and Herr von Benniysen, keenly than the Emperor that a great risk which took place on Monday week in the and a great war for so small an object as German Parliament, Count Bismarck ad- the possession of one fortress, and the anmitted as much as this, that " a few days nexation of a territory containing much ago, the King of the Netherlands orally fewer than the population of Marseilles,

a

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

would be an act of folly. We may be sure which would be popular enough in France that if the Emperor intends moving for to render a great war worth the while of Luxembourg, the move is only the first the dynasty. In case such a war is really move of a much larger game, and we should imminent, — and that, or something on that be disposed to think that, if he really means scale, is what we really have to fear, -- the war at all, he means a war in which he complication for England would be very hopes to gain Belgium. And to gain Bel- great and unpleasant. Our most cautious gium, he must either fight a very form- statesmen admit that we are deeply pledged idable European alliance, even Lord to defend Belgium from such an invasion of Stanley has said that our engagements to her in-lependence; and we are now apdefend Belgium are explicit and not to be parently on the very verge of a war with evaded, — or he must detach Prussia by Spain, should Spain be foolish enough to some sort of territorial bribe, of which none resist Lord Stanley's obviously just deis so easy as giving up Holland to her will. mands. If the threatening aspect of affairs We do not suppose that when the Emperor in Europe continues, there can be no doubt made a step towards buying up the claims that it would be a very great encourageof Holland on Prussia, he had already de- ment to Spain to resist our demands. A termined on this dangerous policy. The trumpery war with Spain, just on the eve Emperor's mind is essentially tentative, of a great struggle, which our engagements and he would reflect long on any very foolish engagements, we think - pregreat scheme before he took the last and vent us from escaping, with honour, would irretrievable step. It seems that he is even be so obviously undesirable, that Spain is now pausing, as he always pauses at inter- very likely to take her tone from her estivals, in the policy he had half adopted. He mate of the chance of some other and may still abandon it, as all who heartily more heavy draught upon our strength. desire the peace and prosperity of Europe We do not write thus in an alarmist would pray that he may. But there is no spirit. The Emperor of the French, though doubt that the disappointment of the Em- bold in conception, is very cautious in ex: peror's plans in Mexico, and his great fail- ecution, and at present he has so far saved ure in the negotiation for a rectification appearances that France appears in a rathof frontier after the Geman campaign of er passive attitude in this Luxembourg matlast year, have greatly irritated the national ter, and is only discussing the treaty of vanity of France; and that a fresh failure, 1839 with the various signataries of that

a more open snub administered by treaty in a_calm and conciliatory spirit. Prussia, and accepted meekly by France, But when France begins to discuss the

would excite real uneasiness in the Ein- means of gaining accessions of territory, peror for the safety of his dynasty. And even in a calm anıl conciliatory spirit, a taking all these things into consideration, pacific solution depends rather on the willand the proverbial caution with which the ingness of other Powers to concede her conEmperor of the French always picks his cessions of territory. And such a willing. way to a new and perilous move — moving ness certainly does not at present exist. on, hesitating, moving on again, there We can scarcely suppose that France will seems real danger before us in this Luxem- endure to be absolutely thwarted. The bourg question. It may be quite true, as true anxiety of the situation is that France we are now told, that Holland will not pro- has lost greatly in relative strength, that ceed without the consent of Prussia. But is the Emperor's policy has twice failed in it equally certain that Prussia may not the attempt to retrieve his position, and proceed further without the consent of Hol- that he will be very anxious now not to admit land ? Belgium, or a large slice of Bcl- even the appearance of yielding to German gium, is certainly the only territorial object dictation.

« ElőzőTovább »