« PreviousContinue »
taken the most unnecessary oaths because the present ruler of France, of fidelity to the constitution and the corner-stone of whose policy the cause of liberty; and the great has always been the English alliRevolution was accomplished, in ance, keeps us up to the mark. Of which the wild but free Republic course, if we have to choose bebreathed its last, and the Prætorian tween the greatness of the two bands, as in ancient Rome, became men, we should naturally prefer the sole arbiters of the destinies of one who has been for sixteen years France. With this important event our consistent friend, to one who the first volume of M. Lanfrey's during the same period was our History concludes. The wonder is most dangerous enemy. And he that the French censorship should has been our friend through evil have ever allowed it to see the light. report and good report, though we But this may possibly have been have often, in our insular pride, owing to the influence of some sa- slighted his advances, and on one gacious friends of the present Em- occasion refused to take measures peror, who think that when all the to prevent a recurrence of a desfacts are placed in the full light of perate conspiracy against his life, day, the fame of the nephew will which was unfortunately hatched suffer no diminution by being mea
on our soil. The most valuable sured with that of the uncle, and legacy which Lord Palmerston left that it would be politic to allow his country was his statesmanlike public opinion to put them on a conviction that a firm alliance with footing of equality as far as possible. France was her true policy, and The bitterest enemies of Louis Na- this conviction has always coinpoleon speak still with the greatest cided with that of the Emperor. respect of the founder of his dy- The temporary weakening of that nasty, and endeavour to disparage alliance has been attended already him by the comparison. Men like with the most momentous conseVictor Hugo, who in their indomit- quences. Had it been more strongly able independence would have been cemented, we might have stopped the first to hate the living tyrant, at its beginning the frightful Civil are ready enough to consecrate his War in America; and instead of memory at the expense of his sage allowing a monster Democracy to and moderate successor. An Eng. form itself, which threatens the lishman may now form a cooler and rights and liberties of the whole juster estimate than of yore. If world, have secured the division of Napoleon I. hated England, it was North America into two great Reonly a natural return for the im- publics, to the inestimable advanplacable animosity of the English tage of each of them, and with an nation to him. He would have incalculable saving of blood and been willing enough, as he said at treasure,—we might have insisted St Helena, to have let the Eng. on Russia performing her engagelish alone in their dominion of ments with respect to Poland, inthe sea, if they had let him alone stead of absorbing that unhappy to work his will on the Continent. country,—we might have prevented We strove in our wars with him the spoliation of Denmark, which to make ourselves the champions brought on so deadly a quarrel beof the quarrels of others, as well as tween the two robbers that one of abstract principles, and reaped was laid prostrate at the feet of so little gratitude thereby, and the other, -we might have favoured found our glory so expensive, that a peaceful consolidation of Gerwe seem now inclined to surrender many, instead of looking on while entirely our position as a European her smaller States were overturned power. If we are still interested by violence, and her free but patriin European questions, it is mainly archal governments forced to bow their necks under the iron yoke of and the shadow of a national existPrussia,—we might, if we pleased, ence. It is not our good friend have shared the gratitude of the Napoleon III., but the American Italians, as the joint-founders of Federals and Count Bismark and their nationality, instead of their his master, who have acted on the owing it half to France and half traditions of the First Empire in to Prussia,—and lastly, in concert our generation, which were, after with France, we might have pre- all, but a plagiarism from the times vented the formation of another of Frederick the Great of Prussia. great military empire on the French That great captain acted on the frontier, the equality of whose re- simple principle of unscrupulous sources, and the similarity of whose aggrandisement; a principle by no institutions as now altered, is likely means new, but generally restrained to lead ere long to a gigantic fight in ancient times by some moral or for the championship of Europe, religious weakness in kings and coneven if the little affair of Luxem- querors, which the disciple of Volburg be safely settled. Some, how- taire despised, and by despising ever, consider this no affair of ours, gained a vast accession of power. and see a safeguard to England in It was reserved for the grandson of the rivalry of Prussia to France, the great Frederick to improve on and this from a distrust of the his atheistic principles by investing French character which history un- brigandage with the odour of doubtedly justifies. The oppor- sanctity, and enlisting the symtunity for all this has passed by; pathies of Exeter Hall as the but the alliance of England and champion of Protestant ascendancy France, which might have secured in the North of Europe, while his the supremacy of those two States acts display a heart as rugged as in the world, and bound over all the nether millstone in his dealings other nations to keep the peace, is with his fellow-men. Taught by still a matter of the utmost import- historical lessons, the day has perance, for powers have been allowed haps arrived when France is able to lift their heads, against whose to contemplate the character of possible aggressions such an alliance Napoleon I. without prejudice or is the only pledge of comparative partiality. Such a contemplation security. England and France, in cannot fail to place her present consequence of their mutual cool- ruler in a much more advantageous nesses, must now be content to ab- light. As far as mere military dicate their position as the world's glory is concerned, the Second police, happy if only by a close union Empire may well bear a comparithey can preserve their own persons son with the First. Every victory and properties from pillage, assault, of Napoleon I. had to be paid for and battery. A few years ago, by by disastrous defeat, and the final keeping up their absolute and rela- national humiliation surpassed in tive positions, they might have dis- its bathos the utmost “pride of armed themselves, and effected the place" attained by the eagle of his disarmament of the world, inaugu- reign; whereas Napoleon III., by rating by mere preponderance of slightly modifying his uncle's protecting force à millennium of maxim of "impossible n'est pas peace; now nothing is to be seen Français," and confining himself before us but a vista of chaos and to the limits of the attainable, has confusion, and a great gulf of mili- secured for France during his tenure tary expenditure, both in men and of power an uninterrupted series of money, which will make life a bur- victories, uncheckered by a single den to the citizens of great nations, important reverse—has raised his while those of small ones tremble country to a pre-eminence in the for the remnant of their liberties arts of peace which she had never
known before-has made her rich He has so steered his course for and respected in the commercial sixteen years, that he has managed world, by boldly adopting free- to satisfy the vanity of France, and trade principles in spite of the pre- to do her more good than evil at judices of his subjects, and the the same time, which was far from opposition of narrow-minded self- being the case with his famous preinterest—has made Paris the won- decessor, who left her in the most. der of the world in beauty and miserable state in which it was posconvenience for residence-and, sible for a ruler to leave a nation; although despotic in his rule, has he has on the whole behaved welí done more to advance real substan- and justly towards other nations, tial freedom than all the Govern- and the two political blunders that ments preceding him, even includ- he has made are pardonable errors ing the Republic. Though the in judgment: one being a wellPress may have been more free meant attempt to restore good govunder Louis Philippe, it must be ernment to a distracted country; remembered that the restrictions the other resulting from too close on trade in his reign were founded an imitation of the non-intervenon the narrowest principles of ex- tion policy of England. The preclusion, and that, while the pass- sent state of Mexico is a justifiport system was applied with its cation of the French expedition, utmost rigour to foreigners, no which would doubtless have been a born Frenchman even could pass success if the American Confedefrom one town to another without rates had been successful in assertleave. If the right of meeting ing their independence, and if existed, it was violated at the plea- England had properly supported sure of the Government, since it France in recognising the South; was such a violation that produced and the aggression on Denmark the Revolution of 1848. In asking and the war which laid Germany for more extended liberties, the at the feet of Prussia, were allowed French forget what they have to take place, partly because the gained under the present reign. Emperor had had too much expeThere is no doubt which way the rience of the untrustworthy policy personal sympathies of the Em- of our Foreign Office, partly beperor lean; and if the Opposition cause it was generally believed would clearly show that they only that the war between Austria and mean friendly criticism of, and not Prussia would be long and indecihostile action against, the existing sive. It is easy to say after the power, there is every probability event that the Emperor ought that he would give the country never to have allowed it to take all it sighs for, or at least all place at all. Many patriotic Gerthat is good for it, and all that mans believed, that nothing better is advisable in a regime behind could happen than that their two which is Universal Suffrage. It bullies should give each other a must not be forgotten that Louis thorough pommelling, and allow Napoleon was carried into power the spirit of the small States, which on the prestige of the First Empire; excelled as much in liberty and inthat the coup-d'état was in a man- tellectual life as they did in brute ner forced upon him, with the force, to assert itself for the realternative of abdicating his posi- generation of the country. Certion altogether; that it was not tainly, whatever it may be for us, open to him to remain President of the revolution which has the Republic if he had wished it, verted Germany into a vast Prusbecause France insisted on having sian barrack, is a great calamity an Emperor, under whom she hoped both for herself and for France. to revive her former military glories. Instead of disarmament being
thought of, the French army song. It is sad that the present must now be increased and brought combination of affairs threatens to to its highest perfection, to meet dissolve our old family connection any possible aggressions from such with Germany, a country with a formidable neighbour; peasants which we have never yet been in a must be torn from the fields more position of hostile collision, which pitilessly than ever, and the com- will infallibly ensue if the Germercial prosperity of the country mans try to emulate our naval suchecked in its growth, for how long premacy, as well as the military a period it is impossible to say. supremacy of the French. It has Many intelligent Frenchmen think been said with a degree of satire, that a short and sharp struggle for that Nature, in dividing her empire, the mastery would, with any result, gave England the sea, France the be less calamitous than such an land, and Germany the air. Taken armed and threatening peace as is seriously, this might mean that likely to ensue now. Certain it is while her sisters excelled her in that the French alliance is more arms and commerce, Germany exnecessary to us than ever, and the celled them in the fields of science closer it is made, and the more of and art, and that her standard of the small States it can be made to general education was higher than include, the better it will be for all that of either. Why could she not the parties interested. The alli- be satisfied with this gentle supreance of America, Russia, and Prus- macy? In coveting new realms sia, would be quite a match for which do not naturally belong to that of England and France; and it her, she imperils that which is pewould be as well to take every pos- culiarly her own. In future Eurosible precaution, for if not quite pean complications, however much probable as yet, it is always possi- sympathies of race may draw us ble. When Russia makes her next towards Germany, our interests attack on the Ottoman Empire, we will probably be found to coincide shall know whether or not she has with those of our next-door neighreally ceded all that large territory bours, and when a choice is forced in North America to the United upon us, we shall, in all likelihood, States for little more than an old be found at their side.
THE ROYAL ACADEMY AND OTHER EXHIBITIONS.
The Academy, by common con- tion even of his friends. “Treason' sent, reaches an excellence not is indeed a desperate conspiracy. known for many a day. Yet the The composition tells its story unlosses sustained through death have, mistakably. Mr Yeames, another within the last few years, been so young Associate, justifies his elecfearful, that to recount them would tion by a sober, serious-minded picseem to show that a good Academy, ture taken from Wycliffe's Reformameasured at least by our old stan- tion. Mr Watts gave promise of dards, were henceforth all but im- an ‘Eve,' whereof the tentative stupossible. Still, happily, such is the dies had gained admiration in the vitality within our English school artist's studio. He favours the that the gaps made by the dead are Academy with portraits rare in filled by the living, so that while excellence. The expectant ‘Eve,' we mourn over our losses, we may who did not present herself, it has be permitted to rejoice in our great been supposed would be shy of possessions. The Academy, indeed, companionship with the 'Venus dishas been singularly fortunate in the robed,' by the delicate hands of Mr recent acquisitions she has made Leighton. Certainly Mr Leighton through new elections; and, as is at his very best : he has been usual, she owes much to the recur- under the inspiration of ancient rent aid of the whole army of out- Greeks. We must not forget, in siders, whom no injury or insult recounting the services of young can discourage or drive away. Some Associates, a skilful composition dozen works may be enumerated by Mr Calderon, ‘Home after Vicwhich of themselves would suffice tory.' And then, lastly, to the preto render the Exhibition illus- ceding enumeration of chef-d'oeuvres trious. The post of honour has may be added contributions from been assigned to Mr Frith's pain- clever outsiders who make good ful but powerful picture, ‘Charles their claims to admission within the Second's Last Sunday. Pic- the pale. Sir Noel Paton presents tures too of singular beauty and a bewitching reverie in fairyland, interest by Mr Millais have been which we shall descant upon herethe talk of the season : the two after. Mr Poynter paints Israel's charming children, taken it is said bondage in Egypt with the circumfrom the artist's own nursery, the stantial detail of a contemporary one Asleep' in bed, the other chronicler. Lastly, in landscape, * Awake’ at morning's dawn, have Mr Graham for a second time makes been the delight of all Exhibition- his power felt as he tramps with goers. Mr Elmore, it is evident, heavy footfall O'er Moor and has gained something more than Moss.' Such is a rapid sketch of health by his recent sojourn in Al- salient points the Academy pregiers : seldom has a work more art- sents. We shall now proceed to istic in treatment, more lovely in fill in the details. colour, been brought from climes Of High Art, in the old sense of long the paradise of painters. Mr the term, there is next to none. The Goodall, also in colours glowing, change that has come over the Eng. and forms noble, recalls scenes from lish in common with Continental Holy Writ. The Academy, we have schools is remarkable. Heroic noses, said, has gathered strength by re- Jupiter brows, Herculean muscles, cent elections. Mr Pettie is no Roman togas, and other paraphersooner an Associate than he puts nalia of high historic schools, are forth powers beyond the expecta- out of fashion and obsolete. A