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natures and restless dispositions of “Young America,” but mainly urged and demanded, almost as a matter of course, by the only country to be benefited by it. The English press, and English orators and legislators, not universally, but in respectable numbers, have decided to regard the close union of the United States with England, in the event of an European war, as a thing definitively settled ; and the pseudo-complimentary "extracts” from English newspapers, referring to this subject, have been greedily copied into our journals, without any comment to indicate the tone of popular opinion, but merely to show, we suppose, our growing importance and the altered tone of Englishmen towards a people whom, till recently, they have affected to overlook or despise.
With a few exceptions, however, this proposal, notwithstanding its flattering character, has found no very strong friends in this country; and it does not require great shrewdness to perceive, that it is intended not merely to conciliate America, but to serve as a kind of menace towards some of the European powers whom the English press and ministry have been in the habit of wantonly insulting with gratuitous advice, and the abuse with which English advice is generally accompanied. The consequences of this officiousness within a few years have been quite marked. Leaving, for the present the manner in which England has conducted herself towards France, and also towards Spain, whom she befriended so equivocally in the campaigns of the latter years of the war against Napoleon, - even her old faithful ally Austria, whose good opinion the Tories have always assiduously cultivated, and in whose armies many of her officers learned the art of war, regards her now with a degree of rancor bordering upon the ridiculous. It is not long since a drunken Englishman, of the name of Matthews, we believe, insulted an Austrian officer in the street, and was promptly cut down for it. The “opposition,” of course, was in a ferment. The Emperor Francis Joseph was applied to; he justified his officer, but offered to pay the surgeon's and nurse's bill, amounting to about £200. Lord Malmsbury, the valiant English minister of foreign affairs, pocketed the pounds sterling and the insult. We have lately seen it stated, in an
English paper, that at a target exercise during the present year, the Austrian soldiers shot at the figure of an Englishman which was surrounded by mottoes that indicated, to be sure, more bitterness than wit, and in which Lord Palmerston was not forgotten. It is, by the way, notorious that the retirement of this "judicious bottle-holder” from Lord John Russell's ministry was known at Vienna before it was divulged at London.
But notwithstanding the general enmity that England has excited upon the continent, there is one nation more than any other of which she stands in fear, and whose action she awaits with the uneasiness of a perturbed conscience, – a nation which it has been her unceasing boast, for more than thirty years, that she has trampled in the dust. The key to English diplomacy upon the continent may be found in the open promulgation of the doctrine by Mr. Canning, that the interests of England are to be secured at any price, and at any sacrifice of the independence of other nations. The key to that mad, but temporarily successful, attempt to annihilate, by means of coalitions, all French influence upon the continent, is to be found in the celebrated maxim which Mr. Pitt left to his successors, — that justice to France would be the ruin of England. And lastly, the secret of her sudden trepidation and sudden transatlantic friendship lies in the fact, that France, after a humiliation of thirty years, finds herself in a position to exact justice at the point of the bayonet.
The French throne is now occupied by one who bears that mighty name, so loved by France and so dreaded by her enemies. The lawful heir to an empire created by the suffrages of a free people, born in the palace of the kings of France, the first of a dynasty sprung from and inaugurated by her people, Louis Napoleon had no common claim to the almost unanimous voice which has recalled him, at last, after so many revolutions and so much suffering, to that summit of power which her own will had never denied him. Forty-four years before, that empire which made all France delirious with joy was made hereditary in the family of Napoleon by four millions of votes; two thousand royalists and disorganizers alone having offered a feeble negative to these over
VOL. LXXVII.— NO. 160.
whelming numbers. That vote has never been rescinded or annulled by any act of the French people. It was not forgotten even when a million of armed men overran her soil, and a hated and discarded dynasty was resuscitated as a part of her humiliation. It was owing to the conviction that the restoration of the Napoleon family was the act of the people, and would be defended by them with their lives and fortunes, that France has been permitted to consolidate her government, unembarrassed by a war of self-defence. The dreaded arbiter of the North, who, after the fall of Charles X., had gathered his forces to march upon Paris, quietly beholds upon an imperial throne the heir of him whom Alexander had been bribed to depose, and whose family the four great powers had solemnly decreed should never again hold property or power in France, or even live within the limits of her territory. Austria, occupied with her rebellious subjects, could not forget that she had held up the Duc de Reichstadt over the head of the usurping Louis Philippe, till the day of that youth's premature death. Russia could no more spare her armies than Austria; and there remained to England, therefore, no ally but her terrible press.
The cool impertinence with which, through that medium, England has presumed to speak of recent French affairs, while she is able to exert but little influence upon the continent, while her army is absolutely insignificant in numbers, and, by her own showing, not to be compared in point of discipline and science with that of the nation whose wrath she so sedulously invokes, can be explained only upon the hypothesis, that she hopes, by the aid of an alliance with this country, to avert a war which she is less able than any other country in Europe to maintain.
In no spirit of hostility to England, we think there are many reasons why this project of an alliance with her should go no farther; and it might be shown, out of the mouths of her own statesmen and historians, that so long as there is any prospect of the Tories, or Conservatives as they now call themselves, having an influence in her councils, that she is not a fit subject for the alliance or the friendship of a powerful and a free people. We think it can be made clear, moreover,
that the dynasty of Napoleon, restored at last to its natural place in the affections of the French people, ought to be cordially recognized and supported by the active sympathies of this country. The insular position of Great Britain is a sufficient protection to her from any ordinary attack, and she will hardly dare to invite any formidable coalition against herself. But France has once been punished for attempting to govern herself. She has passed through a series of convulsions such as no other country has ever recovered from. Her very victories were forced upon her. For twenty years, she was allowed no breathing space. Compelled to battle against the whole civilized world, she fell, at last, exhausted by her own prodigious efforts, but with prouder trophies and more glorious memories than she had won in whole centuries of her former history.
No Englishman has ever dared to write the history of Napoleon; for even Hazlitt was so misanthropic, at the time he was composing his work, that the jaundice appears on every page. Even the great name and fair fame of Sir Walter Scott have been injured by his acquiescence in the depraved spirit of the class for whom he wrote. Strange as it may seem at first, Alison comes nearest to doing justice to the character of Napoleon; for it being his intention to show only that it was the apostolic mission of England to put down all expressions of popular will, both at home and abroad, it was no object with him to prove Napoleon to be a monster, but simply that he was the embodiment of the great idea of popular rights, and for that reason, and no other, deserved the punishment which he received at her hands.
In forming an opinion of the early history of the Napoleon dynasty and its claims to be regarded as the form of government which the people have in their recent votes only reaffirmed, we need take no other ground than that which was assumed by Mr. Fox, and the liberal party of Great Britain, then represented, however, by only fifty or sixty members in a House of Commons which Lord Brougham has since called the most infamous that ever assembled. The powerful party, which has since overturned ministries and carried measures of vital importance, was then but germinating. The great body of the nation was unrepresented; the press, with few exceptions, was
under the control of the dominant party, and abetted the unscrupulous schemes of the patrician interest. Indeed, more than one Englishman in our own day has ventured to assert, that England persecuted France from the time of the rude dismissal of M. Chauvelin, till the final withdrawal of her troops from French territory, three years after she had restored the curse of " divine right” and Bourbon imbecility ; that her armies and machinations ultimately succeeded in overthrowing the only government that a European nation had ever chosen for itself, in strengthening the hands of absolute despotism, and in retarding, for half a century, the cause of that very liberty, the blessings of which she had been proclaiming for two hundred years. The peace-party, distinguished as it was for respectability and intelligence, could avail nothing against the machinery which the government of George III. and the Prince Regent employed to carry out their ends.
We had intended to say something of the abdication at Fontainebleau; of the intrigues on the part of England to have Napoleon removed from Elba to St. Helena or to St. Lucie, which caused the return to France, and the enthusiasm but ultimate catastrophe of the Hundred Days; of the unfortunate confidence in the good faith of the “most generous of his enemies ;” of the barbarities that hastened the death of the illustrious exile; and of the violation of the sanctity of death by those who tore from the coffin the inscription which his followers had placed there, and whose only fault was that it gave him a title which had been recognized by every sovereign upon the continent. But our limits will permit us only to say, that Mr. Pitt did not live to witness the triumph of his principles. He died soon after the news arrived of the defeat of the last of his combinations, when the “sun of Austerlitz." had set upon its bloody field. The spoiled child of the oligarchy, the uncompromising enemy of the people, fell at last under the burden of his misdirected labors. His last glance beheld the sun of that empire he had sought to quench blazing in its noontide glory, and, turning mournfully to the gloomy picture of his country's future that his distempered fancy had conjured up, his own weakness was disclosed to him. His genius had exhausted itself in coalitions, and his
inns had all been failures.