« ElőzőTovább »
to be every inch a king in his own realm : 1 political infallibility. And he entertained how much more so over its dependencies !' no doubt that all • honest citizens,' as Cicero We cannot imagine any ground for the called people on his own side, were ready supposition that the King wanted to be to follow him, and that his opponents were more a King in America than in England. only a desperate faction, whom it was But, in plain truth, to suppose George the justifiable to oppose by all the means which Third a believer in his own divine right, or power placed in his hands. He was only a practical disciple of the high prerogative' the representative and champion of the school, is to mistake him altogether. H. beauty, excellence, and perfection of the was no stickler for the rights of kings in a British constitution as by law established, general way. Like a plain Englishman as on which he loved to dilate in stereotyped he was, he was quite content to govern un- phrase. der the Revolution settlement.'
Only men of imaginative and prejudiced minds. 'I will rather risk my crown than do what I like Horace Walpole’s, attributed to him in think personally disgraceful; and whilst I have earnest any Stuart-like notions. Nor bave no wish but for the good and prosperity of my we observed any expression of his reliance country, it is impossible that the nation shall on that quasi-divine right of English law- not stand by me; if they will not, they shall
have another king!' yers, Prerogative. We do not remember having noticed that he once uses the word which must reside in the heart of every man
'Common honesty, and that sense of honour in all this correspondence. In careless born of a noble family, would oblige you at conversation (if we may believe one of Mr. this hour to stand firmly to the aid of himn who Massey's MS. authorities) he said that the thinks he deserves the assistance of every honEnglish Constitution was the finest system est man.' in the world, but not fit for a king. He was the only slave.' And though he touch- He never seemed to invoke personal loyes on the subject of the Crown's legal pow- alty to his aid, but British patriotism, as he ers in one rather remarkable passage (with understood it. reference to the City Address and Petition against signing the Quebec Bill, June 29, “It is attachment to my country that alone 1774) be does so with, for him, unusual actuates my purposes, and Lord North shall see caution.
that at least there is one person willing to pre
serve unspoiled the most beautiful combination I am clear that, though I hope the Crown that ever was framed.' will ever be able to prevent (sic) a Bill it thinks detrimental to be thrown out in one or Such was his every-day language. Now, to other House of Parliament without making use of its right of refusing the assent, yet I shali misunderstand him in this particular is, in never consent to using any expression that fact, to misconceive the mainspring of his tends to establish that at no time the making power among his subjects, and the key to use of that power is necessary.'
all his success. A sovereign in this country
who were to use the Spanish style, *I, the His principal motive of action was of king,' would not have a chance. À soverquite a different character. He claimed eign who terms himself, . We, the people,' is obedience and assistance from all honest nearly irresistible. It was in that name people, not because he was every inch a honestly used by himself, and honestly acking,' but because he was, in his own esti- cepted by those for whom he spoke - that mation, thoroughly and always in the right. he maintained his predominant share in the He might have addressed his ministers in Government. And undoubtedly, during the Duchess de la Ferté's language to Mad- the greater part of bis reign — though with emoiselle Delaunay, " Tiens, mon enfant, je exceptions - he was the king of the peone vois que moi qui aie toujours raison.' ple ; not of the more far-sighted politicians, The story told by Mr. Jesse, how, at the whose following is always small ; not of the commencement of one of his fits of insanity, Whig families, nor of the City, nor the he startled the people at prayers in the populace; but of the great majority of his chapel by putting his head out of the Royal middle-class subjects, with their love of closet, and following the reader with pecu- honesty and domestic order, and morality, liar emphasis, Forty years long was I and bluntness, their fondness for respectagrieved with this generation, and said, it is ble platitudes, their few plain instincts à people which do err in their hearts, for and their few plain rules ; ' and with minds, they have not known my ways,' expresses on the whole, wonderfully analogous to his grotesquely his simple conviction of his own lown.
Such were the qualities which lost us | lar, if that secession threatens the prosperity America. So historical criticism contin- or the security of the whole community. ually repeats, and Mr. Donne only echoes George the Third believed that the prosthe ordinary sentence. And yet, strictly perity of his empire was bound up in the speaking, the reproach is not well-founded. maintenance of the American dominion, The measures which lost us America were just as Abraham Lincoln believed that the the Stamp Act, and the ungracious as well prosperity of his vast republic was bound up as short-sighted. policy which made us at in the maintenance of the Union. And each once show weakness by receding from our of them, Prince and President alike, was position, and show ill will by not frankly backed up in that belief by the zeal of his receding from it, but always brandishing in countrymen. And by that belief each stood the sight of her people the emblem of a absolved of blood-guiltiness: or neither. power of which we no longer possessed the Policy may be justified by events; the moreality. But all this series of mistakes was tives which dictate a policy can only be wrought by the Grenville ministry and their pronounced right or wrong in accordance succe-sors, before the King had assumed with a higher criterion. George the Third any decided share in the Government. It was wrong in his judgment, as time has is possible, no doubt, that a sound adherence shown: for the loss of America did not inon his part to the principles of the first jure England. Whether the champions of Rockingham administration might have re- the North ' were right or wrong in theirs, paired the breach ; but it is scarcely proba- time has not yet revealed, and perhaps ble. But his real and leading share in those never may reveal ; for the experiment of great transactions was this; that when the secession was not tried to its ultimate results. breach was once effected and recourse had Let us therefore take heed lest in repeating been had to arms, he absolutely refused to the ordinary formula of animadversion on give way; that he persisted in vain efforts George the Third's determination to subdue to reconquer America. When France had America, we are not adopting a moral rule turned against us, when Richmond, and which would condemn others — whether Burke, and Fox, were for treating with monarchs or majorities — whose policy difAmerica on terms of independence, and fered from his only in respect of success. saving only, if possible, the rag of our for- And, farther, we must take the good with mer connection in some project of a federal the evil. The very same qualities of head alliance, it was the king,' in Mr. Bancroft's and heart, in sovereign and people, which words, · who persuaded bis minister to fore- carried us through our American defeats, go the opportunity which never could recur.' fought out victoriously the struggle of later For four years more, by mere force of will, years with France. Our lot is cast in more he imposed on statesmen, who saw but too tranquil times, and far more indulgent clearly the impossibility of effecting the times; in which (as a noble lord remarked object, a perseverance in hopeless hostilities, in the late Fenian debate) High Treason and carried them on even to the bitter seems to be about the safest amusement end,' until the system absolutely broke down which a man can allow himself. And long under bim. All this is true; but let us may these times continue: for though stern fairly estimate the real amount of the charge. repression may again be more necessary We leave abstract "rights' to those who than we have lately found it, it is a coarse love shadowy argument: the right' of a and evil method, which raises more fiends dependency to secede, the right of a State than it lays. Nevertheless, whenever the to prevent such seccssion. But we are con-time arrives which shall rouse up the old tent to look only at the simplest and most national spirit of self-assertion — and, in practical issue. Let us assume that it is the variety of human events, such conjuncwrong for a government to force into sub- tures will assuredly recur - some touch of mission an unwilling community, federated the tenacious spirit of George the Third or dependent, from any pride of sovereignty may possibly meet our requirements better or conceit of national honour: but that it is, than the more refined qualities and deeper on the other hand, not only right, but a sagacity which have adorned other leaders bounden duty, for government to repress of men. and stamp out' a secession, bowever popu
From the Spectator, 20 April. principle of the liability of every male citi
zen to serve, which was the key-note of his THE CRISIS IN EUROPE.
project, and has consented to limit Army
and Reserve together to 800,000 men THE “ situation”in Europe, as it is called, four armies of the largest size with which is not one wbit less grave than it was last miltary science can yet deal. This leaves week. Very few incidents have occurred, the peasant one chance in four, instead of incidents, that is, about which there can be none at all. We say nothing of the rumourno question, but those few are all of one ed despatch of the new cannon, light breechkind, rather ominous than re assuring. Per- loaders throwing from eight to fifteen dishaps the most important of them all is that charges of grape per minute, to the North, the French Chambers have risen for the except that the Government, when chalEaster holidays without receiving any mes- lenged, did not deny it, but only threatened sage as to the negotiations“ opened” by the to prosecute the Avenir National for “pubEmperor, or any reassurances on the main- lishing false news; " that it has not protenance of peace. As it is certain that the secuted, and that the Courrier de Lyons Emperor would not have voluntarily left repeated the same story from a different commerce in doubt for three weeks if he source. The Bourse has not risen, and in could have avoided it, this fact alone suffices France Ministers are speculators, while in to prove that bis Majesty has not yet decid- French society the irritated annoyance at ed that there shall be no war. Then the Prussian pretensions seems ever to increase. " lithographic correspondence” forwarded On the German side, the signs of the from Paris to the Departments for insertion hour are even less pacific. The Austrian in local papers, which is completely con- semi-official papers keep repeating like partrolled by the Ministry of the Interior and rots that Austria will maintain her freedom revised in his office, is said to be full of of action, while the Bohemian Diet advises complaints of the insolence of Prussia, an alliance with France as the best chance couched in the language of the camp, and for an Empire which has no nationality. intelligible alike to the Army and the peas. In Bavaria, which would suffer first from ants. The Prussians are called “ Kaiser- war, the Palatinate lying across the Rhine, lichs" — Imperialists -- an old camp nick- 115 Deputies have signed an address declarname for Germans, which on the northern ing that South Germany ought to fight for frontier especially will be thoroughly in- Luxemburg. The Wurtemburgers enertelligible, and the Zouaves are said to be getically repudiate a separatist policy;
to be at their throats." The Em- while in Prussia itself, Count von Bismarck peror moreover, has taken the very serious and the King have suddenly thrown up step of raising the price of exemption from their hands accepted the Constitutional conscription nearly 50 per cent at a blow Amendment limiting the “inviolability" - from 84l. to 1201. — a measure which will of the Military Budget to 1st January, 1872, be felt as a cruelty in every department of and declared the Constitution as amended France, where families have toiled and pinch- law. The object of that strange demi-volte ed, often for twenty years, to raise the 841. is not, we imagine to conciliate the German necessary to keep a son at home, and now Parliament, but the Prussian, which will find their efforts frustrated by a stroke of now endorse the Constitution almost without the pen. No such change would have been debate. The nation and the King cannot made with the new Military Bill still on the quarrel just before a campaign. The King anvil, unless the Government wanted con- himself, in his final speech, tells Germany scripts, and also wanted means to tempt old that national “self-consciousness” is fully soldiers to re-enlistment. The price of ex- aroused, and that “the regained power of emption regulates the bounty, and to a the nation has, above all, to uphold its sigFrench private who has served his term nificance, by rendering secure the blessings 3,000 francs seems almost a fortune in itself. of peace,” that is, as we understand it, on The abolition of exemptions altogether the Roman plan si vis pacem, para bellum. would have been borne without annoyance, The project for neutralizing Luxemburg, the peasants complaining of an inequality which alone seems to offer a prospect of which favours the rich; but the Govern- peace, is rejected by the German Press, and ment wanted its old soldiers. More ominous there is little chance that King William, still is the report, should it be confirmed, before all things a soldier, will evacuate a that the Emperor, to secure the rapid pas. fortress which he garrisons under a treaty sage of his Military Bill, has given up the never cancelled, and which his engineers,
specially ordered to report, have declared whose interest we fear, it is to accomplish "essential" to the safety of the Rhine one of two things — to obtain from Prussia provinces.
an open confession that she is unwilling to The most ominous news of all, however, fight France, thus allaying at once all comes from Florence. Rattazzi has formed French susceptibilities, or to strike a blow a Ministry, with Count Campello, who mar- for the Rhine. The hope of peace lies in ried one of the Napoleonidæ, a daughter of the former alternative, which, it is rumoured the Canino branch, as Foreign Secretary, England, always anxious for peace, is pressand has formally refused to divulge the rea- ing at Berlin. The confession is to be made sons for the Ministerial change. Ricasoli as easy for Prussia as possible, she being was "struck by a thunderbolt from a clear asked only to accede to the neutralization sky," and it is difficult to doubt that it was lev- of Luxemburg, and the consequent evacuaelled by the Emperor, whose first object in any tion of the fortress, but even to this it is war upon the Rhine must be to neutralize improbable that Prussia will consent. All Italy, and who in this war hopes for the Germany is furious, so furious that German ultimate alliance of the Hapsburgs. He papers are seized on the French frontier, may not secure the aid of Italy, though the and is eagerly watching Prussia to see, not price he could offer is great, Rome and whether this or that fortress is to be made an Austrian guarantee; but he can secure useless, but whether Germany has really her neutrality, which was imperilled so been made a mighty nation, one which will long as Ricasoli, who ordered "Cialdini to henceforth never be menaced except as a invade Venetia after the French flag had preliminary to war. The young giant wants been hoisted, remained in power. If this to feel whether he is indeed giant or no, explanation is correct, Napoleon must have whether, above all, the world realizes his either used menaces or made offers of the stature itself. German opinion, — most serious character, and either would whether justly or unjustly matters nothing indicate that he not only expected, but in for the moment, but, as we should say, his secret heart meant war. It must be neither justly or unjustly, but only naturalremembered that Italy, though apparently ly,- is clearly in favour of war, the King, distant from the scene, is really very near though honestly desirous of peace, is not it. She would not attack France, and ready to evacuate anything, or take any could not attack Prussia, but she could and man's order even to do as he wishes, and would, without ingratitude or serious politi- Count von Bismarck believes that as war cal danger, draw off one-half the Austrian must come, better it should come now, beArmy to guard the southern frontier. As- fore Austria has regained her force. Unsured of Italian neutrality, Baron von less the Emperor retreats, or turns on Beust, as an ally of Napoleon, has only one Belgium, or finally decides, as he often does, danger to meet, the German sympathies of that he can come to no decision, there is, the German provinces of the Empire, and we fear, little hope that we shall long be may use all force save theirs to aid in spared the greatest of political calamities humiliating the foe who destroyed his a great European war, which once begun, policy, drove him from his own State, and can end only in one of two ways — a resoexpelled from Germany the power to which lution of Germany once more into many he has always looked for support. If the States, the destruction, that is, of a Eufall of Ricasoli means the neutrality of ropean guarantee for peace and civilization, Italy as against Austria, it is intelligible or a revolution in France. and most ominous, while that solution, and Meanwhile, M. de Calonge has most adthat alone, explains why Rattazzi cannot roitly extricated us and Spain out of our state the truth to Parliament, yet talks of mutual scrape. The Revenue Board, or military reductions and internal reorganiza- Court, or whatever it is, of Cadiz, has retion as his sole cares.
ceived orders to annul the seizure of the If any combination as vast as this is in Queen Victoria, and consequently Spain, in progress, and it is to this that the few known paying compensation and offering apology, facts point, the matter has passed in part“ upholds to the full the honour and the out of the hands of the Emperor Napoleon, independence of her tribunals."
From the Spectator 13th, April. articles, letters from special correspondents'
and all the rest of the bewildering stuff WAR OR PEACE ?
called foreign information, we may, we
tbink, rely on it that the garrison in LuxAt the end of last week there was a gen- emburg is going to remain. eral impression abroad that a great Conti- Prussia being thus quiescent, the matter nental war, a war between France and Ger- rests absolutely with Napoleon, who will demany, was immediately at hand. At the cide, we may be sure, as he think his interend of this week there is a general impres- est dictates. To ascertain absolutely what sion that war has either been averted or is he thinks until he reveals it is of course imindefinitely postponed. Nevertheless, the possible, and the duty of the observing poliprobabilities depend this week, as they did tician is limited to two things -- to watch the last, upon one unknown condition
carefully any action which may in any dethe view which the Emperor of the French gree indicate the Imperial will, and to recktakes of his interest in the matter. We may, on up as carefully as may be the influences we think, regard it as certain that Prussia and circumstances which Napoleon, judging will not, on the one hand, deliberately force from his known character, is sure to take war upon France, and will not, on the into account. Of actions there have been other surrender Luxemburg. It is ru- few, but still there have been some. One moured, and the rumour is very proba- has been to inform the Corps Législatif that ble, that Count von Bismarck, being con- France intends to open negotiations upon vinced that war must come, is anxious to the subject with the Great Powers, and begin at once, while Germany is flushed with trusts everything will be happily arranged victory, Austria powerless, Italy grateful, a clear proof that the affair is not yet and France not altogether prepared; but over. Another, as we judge, has been to the stake is a terrible one to play for, and interfere at Florence against Ricasoli and the Prussian King is not anxious to play it for Rattazzi, with the palpable object of sehurriedly. He has a conscience of his own, curing at least the neutrality of the Italian and is besides so elated with his enormous Peninsula. Another has been to prohibit gains in territory, power, and European interpellations on the subject in the French ra'k, that he feels as if a new adventure Chambers, avowedly for fear of “excitewould be, in some sort, to tempt Providence. ment,” really to exempt the Emperor from The result of the conflict between the two the necessity of giving premature explanasets of ideas will, in all probability, be that tions. He could calm the excitement”in Prussia, while actively preparing, will never- a moment by two lines in the Moniteur antheless wait, a policy quite in accordance with nouncing that the affair was at an end, and the national genius. On the other hand, if he were not at least contemplating the Luxemburg will be held firmly. The place possibility of war he would be almost sure to is the key to the Rhenish Railway system, do this. Very great disturbances to comand if for that reason alone Frederick Wil- merce annoy all Sovereigns, and specially liam would never voluntarily give it up to annoy the Emperor of the French, who is France. The alternative rumour that Luxem- sensitive about the funds, anxious about the burg may be neutralized may be set down finances, and heartily inclined to make his as merely expressing the wish of the Lux- people rich. Already the negotiations have emburgers, who would like very much to be stopped the German emigration to Paris Germans without any liability to German and much of the German trade with France, taxes, German conscription, or German bu- incidents the Emperor does not desire for reaucratic interference. As neutrality, how- an Exhibition year. The fleet, too, is being ever, would involve the retirement of the put in order, and the Chassepot rifles are Prussian garrison, and the retirement of the being pushed forward in almost every counPrussian garrison would leave Luxemburg try in Europe and in the United States. exposed to a French coup de main, their The balance of probabilities from the Emwish will not greatly influence events. peror's actions therefore is that he contemNeither will the talked-of appeal to the Eu- plates war, and war so soon that it is not ropean High Court of Appeal the Five worth while for the sake of commerce, of the Great Powers. That tribunal is temporarily Exhibition, and of Paris, formally to deny dissolved, and were it in session, Prussia the intention. would not permit it either to alienate or There remain the broad general reasons neutralize German territory. Who is to for and against going to war, and of these carry the decision out? In spite of tele- the strongest are and must remain doubtful. grams, officially and demi-officially inspired I Do the Marshals of France, more especially