Imágenes de páginas

indeed he may, that the Spanish Islands will soon abandon their dependence on the mother country. He cautiously avoids going into any details about Cuba, which already exercises a virtual sovereignty as to its foreign trade. He thinks this a delicate subject; he knows that the United States are, in fact, suspected of looking upon that fair island with an eye of desire, and rather than dissipate the visions which are fostered concerning it, he rapidly passes it over. The British dependencies, he need hardly inform us, will also fall off from the parent empire in due season. We disagree with him in thinking that the Canadas will be the last to cling to us. On the contrary, they will be the first to claim, or at least to obtain, their independence. Indeed, every one who has read the debate that incidentally arose concerning them in the last session of Parliament, must have seen that the retention of them was a matter concerning which the government is not, and need not be, very anxious. The West Indies will remain with us to the last, because the proprietors of the soil require all the protection we can give them.

We have been much pleased with the tone in which the author touches in this chapter on the question of Hayti. He properly enough considers that island as a European colony, since it holds its independence' by a somewhat doubtful tenure, (the price that is to be given for it being not yet paid).' It is well known that the successive governments of the United States have declined to acknowledge the de facto independence of Hayti, from a fear of encouraging a spirit of revolt amongst the numerous slaves who are spread over their own territories. The greater the measure of praise, therefore, that is due to our author for the manly and generous language in which he expresses himself on this subject. He shews in a very satisfactory manner, from the history of the Ethiopians, the Egyptians and the Moors, that the natives of Africa instead of being that inferior and degraded race which they are generally represented to be, were the original authors of much of the civilization, and many of the arts which are now so highly appreciated in Europe. He insists that it is most unjust to derive arguments against all the inhabitants of the African continent, from the unhappy specimens of them who are carried away from their native shores in the slave ships, and suddenly transferred to a distant land, of the language and usages of which they are totally ignorant. The whole of his reasoning on this interesting subject proves that he has given it great attention, and his mode of handling it is novel and engaging.

In the seventh chapter we have a dissertation on the foreign policy of the two Americas. The author considers the relation between them and the Continent of Europe, so far as it is represented by the Holy Alliance, as one of hostility actual in some parts, and only virtual in others, but real and effective in all.' The causes of this hostility resolve themselves, as was remarked by the

President Monroe,' into the opposition that exists between the principles of government that respectively prevail in the two great divisions of the Christian system. The Spanish Americans are contending for independence and liberty, and the United States sympathise with them, because they have not long since passed through a similar struggle, by means of which they acquired and are now enjoying those great blessings. The continental powers of Europe sympathise with Spain, because their governments are all organized on arbitrary principles, and because they are naturally led by this state of things, to disapprove the extension of liberal principles in any part of the world, and to apprehend the re-action of such extension upon their own subjects at home.' The author gives the continental governments some very good advice upon this subject, which we much fear will be lost upon them, at least for the present century. The position of the British empire, as respects the two continents, is by no means so obvious. It was certainly placed in a friendly attitude towards America, and in a hostile one towards the continent of Europe,' since our recognition of the South American States; it continued to be so until the Russian armies crossed the Danube; but to what new changes of policy, to what new alliances in Europe that important event may give rise, it is difficult at this moment to ascertain. If Great Britain, Austria, and France, shall unite to oppose the ambitious designs of Russia, it is manifest that the European system must be altogether altered, and that the Holy Alliance must give way to a tripartite league against the Autocrat of the North. This league, however, cannot affect the friendly attitude of England towards America. Upon this subject we cheerfully extract the following observations. They are somewhat acidulated in their spirit, and want that very tone of cordiality which they profess to encourage; but they are nevertheless well intended, and we are happy to second their object.

'It has so happened, therefore, by a somewhat singular effect of the course of public events, that Great Britain and the United States, who but a few years since were at war with each other, upon grounds, as it then appeared, of a permanent and essential character, who for a long time previous had been in a state of continual and bitter collision, and had never since the war of independence, one may say, in fact, since the first settlement of the colonies, had a single moment of real cordiality, have now, without any sacrifice of pride or principle on either side, without concession and indeed without concert, been brought, by the mere force of circumstances, into a situation of virtual alliance and amity, so deeply and broadly founded in the interests of both, and in the established political system of Christendom, that it cannot well fail to supersede all the old motives of contention, and to endure as long, perhaps, as the national existence of either. This relation is so far from having been the effect of any reconcilement of feeling, between the countries and their governments, or of any artificial arrangements, digested by leading individuals, who might be supposed to rise above the low sphere of na

tional animosity, that it has taken place, as it were, against the will of the parties, whose sentiments are even now less friendly than their position, and who seem to glare on each other with eyes of hatred and suspicion, at the very moment when they are exchanging good offices of high importance, and taking the field, in fact, together against a common enemy. It is known indeed that the British government, though often requested, has constantly refused, through the whole period during which this new relation has been growing up, to act in concert with the government of the United States. They declined the proposition made by the latter, that the two governments should recognise, by a simultaneous act, the independence of the American states, although such a proceeding would have been perhaps upon the whole even more honourable to them, than to follow step by step, and at short distances, in the course marked out and pursued by us. They also affected to consider as hostile to them the declaration made by President Monroe, that the American continent was no longer open for colonization, although the obvious purpose was to discourage a cession by Spain of any part of her American colonies to any other power, a purpose that had already been distinctly and formally avowed by England. There is, therefore, this rather singular difference in the form and spirit of the relations now existing between the British empire, and the two continents respectively; that with that of Europe a feeling of deeply seated animosity is veiled by a semblance of apparent good will, while in regard to us, the new sentiment of amity has hardly yet begun to beam out brightly, in the countenance of either party, through the sour and gloomy expression, which had been so long worn by both, that it had become habitual and in some degree natural. this is a matter of little consequence. The forms in this, as in most other cases, accommodate themselves, after a while, to the substance; and we have reason to expect that the two governments, after they shall have stood by each other faithfully, for half a century, in regard to their most important interests, will not refuse at last to exchange a few civil speeches and good humoured looks. Mr. Canning indeed, whose decision and talents have done so much in fixing the new position of the British empire, in regard to the continent, has been also among the first to perceive the bearing of this position upon the direct relations between that empire and the United States. His address to Mr. Hughes, at the Liverpool dinner, is conceived in the true spirit of these relations, as they now exist. The tone being thus given by the leading voices, the minor performers will of course in due season join in the chorus; and it would not be surprising if we should, after a while, be as much surfeited by the gross adulation of the inferior British presses, and second rate politicians, as we have heretofore been disgusted by their causeless and tasteless satire.'-pp. 243–245.


'We cannot reconcile this passage, however, with one which follows it at the interval of two or three pages. We shall give it without commentary, as at the conclusion the author pretty well accounts for it, by almost admitting it to be a mere effusion of national pride.

'In the progress of future events, we may anticipate that America will become every year more and more important to England, and that England,

on the other hand, will gradually cease to render any essential service to America. Such is the rapid growth of our continent in population, wealth, and political power, that it must at no distant period be entirely secure in the extent of its own resources, not merely from conquest, which it is already, but from any apprehension or danger of attack. The adherence of Great Britain to our system will then be to us of no utility; while the same causes will render the connexion, in an economical point of view, to her constantly more and more valuable. Add to this, that while our continent is yearly developing new resources of every kind, it is altogether probable that the British empire will be gradually brought within smaller dimensions, by the successive falling off of its distant appendages, and will ultimately be reduced to its primitive possessions on the north-western coast of Europe. The United States, having thus become the most populous and powerful nation of English origin, will naturally take the place of the British islands, as the commercial and political centre of the English settlements in every part of the globe; while the original, but then exhausted parent soil, will lose her present high standing as a constituent member of the great system of Christendom, and finally sink into a dependency on the continent. But without dwelling too much in anticipations, which may appear to some to be dictated by national pride rather than just political foresight, it is sufficient for our immediate object to remark, as I have done before, that the existing friendly relation between the British empire and the continent of America is, for the present at least, whatever it may be hereafter, equally as well as highly beneficial and honourable to both the parties.'—pp. 248, 249.

We have left ourselves no room to notice an excellent proposition, which the author has taken much pains to recommend to the attention of the Governments of Europe; its object is to establish as a maxim of international law, that upon the seas, as upon land, in time of war, all private property should be held sacred. The two cases are not, perhaps, in all points parallel; but the proposition certainly deserves the most serious consideration. Any thing that tends to civilize the ancient ferocity of war, ought to be received in these enlightened times with the utmost attention.

The eighth and ninth chapters are employed on subjects peculiarly American-the international relations of the northern and southern portions of the continent, the abortive congress of Panama, the fiftienth anniversary of the declaration of the independence of the United States, and the death of Messrs. Adams and Jefferson. The tenth and concluding chapter, which treats of 'the prospects of the future situation of America, and its influence on the fortunes of the world,' is little more than a repetition of all the dreams of grandeur which the wildest of American visionaries have already imagined. The following paragraph will perhaps be deemed a sufficient specimen of its contents.

With a territory equal to that of the greatest empires of ancient or modern times, with a government far superior, as we think, to any one that was ever tried before, unless the auspices under which we have entered on our march of national existence should, contrary to every reasonable anticipation, prove fallacious, we must become, and that at no very distant

[blocks in formation]

period, a more populous, wealthy, and powerful community than any the world has ever seen. Supposing the number of our citizens to increase as it has done, from the first settlement of the country up to the present day, (and as it must continue to do, unless arrested by disastrous political events,) it will amount at the close of the present century, to about eighty millions, a population twice as large as that of Russia at present. By the middle of the next century, it will reach three hundred millions, and will then be equal to the most exaggerated estimates of the population of China, and much exceed those of later date and more authentic character. Continuing to advance on the same principles, it will arrive, in less than two centuries, at the sum of twelve hundred millions, and will then considerably exceed the present estimated population of the globe.'--pp. 339, 340.

Thus it will have been seen that amid many wise and admirable reflections on the present political condition of Christendom, some gleams of the American visionary now and then break out. We take leave of him, however, with unfeigned respect for his talents, which are calculated to raise him to distinguished eminence in his own country.

ART. VI.—Hinterlassene Schriften von Carl Maria von Weber. Zwei Bände. Dresden und Leipzig: Arnoldsche Buchhandlung. 1828. Carl Maria von Weber's Posthumous Works. 2 vols. London: Black and Young. 1828.

THE charms of music have been sung in all ages; the rude and the civilized, the sage and savage, have all paid homage to its commanding and sympathetic power. Other arts and sciences are suited only to one people or to one age, but this is common to all; its language is understood without previous cultivation; it speaks to all nations and to all times; it is the associate of man, and expresses his feelings alike in the depression of grief, the calm serenity of contemplation, the harrowing accents of despair, or the ecstatic delights of love and happiness: it brings him more closely in connexion with universal nature, for in its origin it was less the result of the principle of imitation and adaptation, which so remarkably distinguishes man, than the effect of the same impulse which induces the light and feathered tribes to express their instinctive joy in existence by their thrilling and delighful warblings.

Whence is it, (it has been often asked, and the question has been recently repeated), that in former times such marvellous effects were attributed to this divine art, whilst men in our degenerate days are comparatively insensible to its powers? Is the difference to be accounted for by any change that has taken place in the art, or are we to suppose an alteration in the state of human feeling?

A few observations on this subject may not be without advantage, and may serve in some measure not only to explain the distinction that is to be made between ancient and modern music, but to show what is the ultimate object of this art, and, consequently, what ought to be expected from it.

The stories of Linus and Orpheus have been constantly and

« AnteriorContinuar »