Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

&c.), should only happen once and only produce one couple. He believes that the germs developed themselves in thousands, and this he considers solves the question of the different races. Indeed, but we ought to have at least been told how much of them will make an European, how much an African, and how much a Malay. What a picture, the earth covered with this two-year-old assemblage! How did they get to talk ? Did galvanism teach them? Did a series of electrical shocks bring out a language? Again, how were they all preserved in this state, if Strauss feels this difficulty of conserving one couple for the propagation of the species. For the present we close our labours with this author, but we have not done with him. His book reached us late from Germany. It is not easy to apprehend such a book even in our language, far less in German, which grows daily more unintelligible and involved in its reasoning processes. We understand that Strauss is fast sinking in estimation even amid his brother esprits forts. The spirit of the esprits foibles, of a nation's common sense, he has experienced, in nearly the rising of an entire city to prevent his taking a chair he would have desecrated with his present opinions, though with just cultivation his powers might have advantaged himself and benefited others. He has at least unwittingly done the world one kindness by developing himself so completely in the present production, that no one can hesitate in pronouncing a verdict upon him. As literary men we do not covet restrictions on the press, but if ever a work deserved the suppression by the censor or custos morum, this does unquestionably. Fortunately, from the recondite nature of the topics, it will only circulate among those who can test the information it contains, and appreciate it at its value, which, if we were called on for an estimate, we should not place very high.

'ART. VIII.-France and Europe.--Revue de Paris. An article has just appeared in the Revue de Paris, a French periodical, which, when M. Thiers was in power, had the reputation of being his inmediate organ on the Eastern question, and on the position in which France would probably be placed by the accession to power of the Conservatives in England. The Revue says:

“A year ago England voluntarily isolated herself from France, and, in concert with Russia, induced Austria and Prussia to enter into an alliance, from which France was excluded. The alliance once formed, the contracting parties lost no time in proceeding to action, without the concurrence of this country. The coasts of Syria were invaded ; Beyrout was bombarded, and the fall of St. Jean d'Acre, which was ill-defended, was obtained partly by treason. Ibrabim was compelled to evacuate Syria; the powers dictated laws to the Sultan, whom they protected, and to the Viceroy whom they oppressed ; and an ounced the conditions on wbich they would permit Mehemet Ali to retain Egypt. All this was done, and in a few months the affair was about to be consummated without France. What a triumph! But to these events, which took place as if by enchantment, succeeded a state of dissatisfaction, attended with symptoms of revolt in the whole of the East. The people rose, and the cause of their rising is easily explained. Before the treaty of July 15, there were in the eyes of the people of the East two things, which represented the destiny of Islamism; they thought that the descendants of the Osmanlies were still strong enough to defend the usual independence of the empire ; but this illusion ceased to exist, when they saw the cabinets of Europe declaring themselves the guardians of the young Sultan, and ruling over the inheritance of Mabmoud. On the other hand, the man whom on the banks of the Nile they had regarded as a hero, as a sort of regenerator of religion, set up by the prophet, bent beneath the imperial mandates of an English commodore, and the power of Mehemet Ali passed away as a dream. Thus, neither at Constantinople nor at Alexandria bas Islamism a representative, who can inspire confidence and respect in the minds of the people. When the East has no great man in whom it can trust, and on whom it can place its hopes, it necessarily becomes restless and agitated. In our western part of the globe, the regular flow of institutions and laws supplies the absence of those great individuals, who are sent by God from time to time for the government of mankind; but in the East, where there is no hero, there is sure to be anarchy. Let us turn our eyes towards all the countries which anciently formed a portion of the Turkish empire, from the banks of the Danube to those of the Nile, and we shall see that they are all more or less agitated ; and that in some points open revolt has broken out. Religion, as in 1821, serves as the rallying cry and the standard for the Christian population, which is still nominally under the sway of the turban. In 1821, we saw but the people of one small country endeavouring to tbrow off the Turkish yoke, and succeeding at length in their sanguinary and glorious struggle. Now, however, the scale of resurrection is more vast, and it will probably one day extend from the Danube to the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

upen SM02 Pi stort bohat9991:6 2571 di direct her attention to the East and this she cannot do without France. Sigvald og nasc 9 Jori bio3 M b SMU 39119111109 godwodtin .270!

There is some truth and much more vanity in this declaration of the importance of France as regards the Eastern question, which can never be regarded as finally settled whilst the various population of which the East is composed, whether Christian ori Turk, be in a state of reyolt against its natural rulers or its conse querors. There is still what the French call a prestige about them, in all great European contests, and although France is a Christian country only in name for the French as a nation haye. thrown down their altars, and set up the goddess of Reason in their stead, there are still many and very influential men in that country who are ardently attached to the religion of Christ, and anxious for the emancipation of Christians of every denomination from the yoke and thraldom of Mahometanism. | Although the French as a nation are really indifferent to Christianity, yet France as a state is still Christian; and the philosophers of the French revolution have not yet dared to worship publicly the goddess, in whose name they justify the abandonment of the rights and duties of Christianity. Iu a war of mere religion, the armies of France can never be nerved by her present rulers, but where religion can be made the cloak of ambition and spoliation, it will not be difficult to raise armies, and provide those sinews of war by which armies are set in motion. 10 Any attempt, therefore, by the allied powers to settle à question, in which Christianity is concerned as in collision with Mahometanism, would be very difficult of execution without the concurrence of France. She must have the glory of intervention in favour of Christianity, although the motives of action may have none of the fine features by which even the partizanship of a zealot is sometimes distinguished. Her pride teaches her that Europe without France must not have the honour of protecting Christianity; and if, on the contrary, Europe, taking into consideration only her material interests, should incline to the enemies of Christianity, and seek to crush revolt, without due regard to the religious claims of those who have revolted, France could not have a plus beau role than that of lending her aid to the weaker party, and thus securing for herself the honour and glory of intervention, with an increase of moral influence, which might one day tend to the aggrandizement of her physical influence. There never was, perhaps, at any period of history, if we except the few years which immediately followed the revolution of 1789, when France was less susceptible of a successful appeal to religious feelings; but on the other hand, there never was a time in which she was more ready to make religion a stepping-stone to spoliation. The conquest of Algiers was undertaken upon purely religious feelings, or such at least was the profession of the go

[graphic]

210

IROSNI 007

and Europe

3 vernment under which it was attempted; and there is some reason to believe, that the sovereign hiniself and his immediate councillors, without whose concurrence the attempt could not have been made, were sincere, when they declared that they desired only the emancipation of Christians, and the extension of Christianity. Under the present dynasty, the occupation of Algiers has lost all its religious character, but the Chambers and the government still keep up the pretence of Christian intervention ; and the na. tion, stimulated in its vanity, and still hoping, almost indeed against hope, that the conquest in Africa will one day enable them to extend their influence in Europé, consent to pecuniary sacrifices for their new colony, which are as absurd as they are costly. The dominion of the French, if dominion it can be called in Algeria, iš attended with atrocities which would disgrace Turks or Pagans; and yet they pretend I to be the soldiers of Christianity. In their conflicts with the Arabs, wliose soil they! have invaded, whose homes they have plundered, whose fields they have ravaged, whose wives and daughters they have polluted, they display the ferocity of tigers; and like tigers, their appetite'is whetted by blood; and yet the war in Algiers is liypocritically called a war of Christian civilization against Turkish fanaticism. What the French have done and are doing in Algeria, they would also do in Syria, in Candia, in Egypt, and in Turkey. With them religion is but the name; military glory, as the word may be una derstood in its worst acceptation, and ambition of conquest; are the realities. The writer in the Revue de Paris says truly, there: fore, that the eastern question cannot be settled without France. If France be not strong enough just now to msist upon the right of intervention, she will continue to foment insurrection, and await the proper moment for open declaration. This is truth, although the vanity of the boast is greater'than the truth, which is evident in the quotation ; for as regards the present state of the question, it would be quite possible for the allies to act without France. They have nothing to fear from her at tliis moment, for her financial embarrassments, and the struggles of parties, 'Tender her comparatively impotent, but even now she is not too weak to intrigue, and two or three years of peace, with her fine natural resources, might place her in a position if not to dictate to at least to annoy the rest of Europe. The Tories have taken' a inach more correct view of the state of France and French feeling than the Wbigs; and they would never have conceived anything so wild and extravagant'as an intervention in the East, in direct kostility to that feeling. They would have accomplished all, and more. perhaps, than the Whigs have done; but they would have been more wary of rousing the passions of our excitable neighbours, and would have obtained from vanity what the Whigs have hoped to obtain from humiliation. Lord Palmerston was not wholly wrong in his estimation of the French character, if he thought that they were as much given to swaggering as acting ; the mistake has been in assigning to them the cowardice of the bully as well as his bullyism, and in overrating the difficulties, pecuniary or otherwise of France, for future as well as present operation. Even the Duke of Wellington, who both as a general and a minister has evinced a more thorough knowledge of the French character and resources than any other man in his position, and who never permitted his contempt of what is ridiculous in that character to carry him to dangerous extremes, was deceived as to the effect of defeat and humiliation upon the French nation. When, after the battle of Waterloo, he was the means of imposing upon them a contribution, which, at that time, appeared beyond the means of the country, his Grace is reported to have said, that he had put a weight round their necks, which they would be many, very many years compelled to carry: and yet we have seen, that a few years enabled them to throw it off, and that without any extraordinary taxation. The government of France, however, was never so settled during the restoration as to be enabled to make all the resources of the country available. There were parties then as there are now; there was a debt then, and a still heavier one, as there is now. The French, however, have given us reason to believe, that they are not to be deterred for ever from action as regards Europe, by debt or the struggles of party; and the feeling which treats them with contempt, which excludes foresight, is unwise and dangerous.

The writer in the Revue de Paris, although he belongs to the Thiers school, and is therefore a thorough hater of the English Tories, expresses his opinion that they are wiser in their views in connection with the Eastern question than the Whig government. He says :

“ Thé Tories bave not been blind to the true state of this question. For a moment, indeed, whilst the sound of the cannon of Beyrout and St. Jean d'Acre was still recent, the policy of Lord Palmerston may have received unqualified approbation in England; for every thing then seemed to indicate a near and glorious solution. But feelings bave changed with the change of circumstances, and with the present complications of the Eastern question. It is now felt that the policy which dictated the treaty of July 15, however good it may have appeared at one time as regarded the interests of England, is now become impracticable, and that it was absurd to pretend to exclude France for ever from a share in that question. Hence it is that the most influential men of the Tory party speak as if they were disposed for a better understanding with France, and appear to desire a modification in the policy of England.

« AnteriorContinuar »