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Themistocles, that a statesman's masterpiece is to convert a small State into a great one. It is true that in the decisions of that democratic commonwealth the voice of the noisy multitude has to be heard, and its easily deceived ear cajoled; that men of inferior attainments and capacity fill the House of Representatives directly chosen by universal suffrage. But, on the other hand, that ably and artfully constructed body, the Senate, in which the chief power of the North American confederation resides, contains the corn carefully winnowed from the chaff. In it are to be found the two elect men of each State, who, having gained the highest honours of their own community, have come to battle for the honours of the federal republic.
Here, then, are the most able and ambitious men in that vast empire and aspiring society at the head of affairs, with their eye constantly directed towards the public, and with the foreknowledge that their power can only be increased by the increase of their popularity. This popularity, however, must have a basis constructed of opposite materials: there are the of Toxo, the masses who are to be gained by a triumph of some sort, but there are also the more sagacious and influential few who are to be won by a triumph cheaply bought. The dexterity of the able American Statesman consists in gathering into the crowd of his admirers these two distinct classes. It is difficult to conceive a system more perfectly framed for safe and constant conquest: for frequent triumph and rare peril; for successful negotiation and skilful negotiators. The wary politicians at the head of the United States Government know that their country has an instinct of what they are about: and they proceed in their course with a bold but measured step, watched by attentive spectators, who will probably laugh if they lose their footing, but who will certainly applaud if they safely tread the narrow and slippery path which lies between the yawning gulphs of a dangerous contest or a defeated diplomacy. An attentive notice of past and passing events will exemplify these observations, and explain a mystery which otherwise would be inexplicable.
A war between the English and the Americans we say now, and shall repeat hereafter, would be a war most disastrous to both; the loss inflicted by it would be grievous to Great Britain, but it would be still more grievous to the United States. One fifth of our trade would be jeopardised by such a struggle, nearly one half of the trade of the United States would be still more seriously endangered by it. But whilst this consideration is always present to the mind of the English statesman, it never seems to have the slightest effect on the Secretary of State at Washington. He commences very abruptly a serious
discussion on some point from which the British Government never expected that any serious discussion could possibly arise. He plunges at once into the subject by a broad statement of claims - somewhat vaguely defined but very boldly asserted. A rejoinder ensues; a long correspondence, in which the American minister shows considerable power and dexterity, follows; cach striking document on the side of the United States being instantly published and circulated throughout that people of reading politicians, craving excitement. War at last appears on the point of breaking out: Great Britain makes a last effort for peace; she cannot entirely submit to the terms which have been demanded from her, but she will make a sacrifice to get rid of so troublesome a business. The American Government here pauses; it does not wish for war: it says it never did wish for war. It believes that it could fairly demand all that it has asked for; still, as the Government of Great Britain does not seem wholly unamenable to reason, it will be willing to abate some of its rightful pretensions. A little haggling ensues; at last a bargain is struck; our Cabinet meet; each member draws a long breath and rubs his hands, and thanks Heaven that that troublesome affair is at last over; and so probably it is over for him if his tenure of office be not a very long one; albeit the constant amari aliquid will hereafter embitter the repose of his successor. The cause for all this is perfectly clear. The American Government has not begun the conflict of words with any intention that it should be a war of weapons. But the object of the American negotiator has been gained; he has made a great deal of noise; his dispatches have been a constant series of advertisements for popular favour; his eloquence, ability, and logic, the last quality generally consisting in the assumption of something as conceded which has never been conceded, and from that point arguing the rest,have been generally admired, and finally he has cornered the Britishers.' Mr. Buchanan's. recent nomination by the democratic party at Cincinnati for the Presidency is a marked proof of the accuracy of our inferences. Diplomatic questions are, in fact, parcelled out amongst the ambitious members of an American government as provinces and commands were parcelled out by the Romans amongst their great generals and statesmen: to Mr. Buchanan is allotted the Central American question, and to Mr. Marcy the Enlistment question. We have yet to see what the latter will obtain, but probably his fate is involved in that of Mr. Pierce ; and that gentleman has by this time discovered that the great objects of a statesman's ambition are as frequently lost as won by a turbulent solicitude to obtain them. But at all events, in
these two questions just referred to, as in many former questions, the points in dispute between the two Governments have been of trifling importance and admitted of easy arrangement; but the spirit in which they have been carried on has swelled them from molehills into mountains; and it is only after sending a. fleet to the West Indies, and receiving the British Minister back from Washington, that we obtain welcome assurances of the amicable disposition of the United States.
Nor is this all: there is a cleverness in the way in which these assurances are finally conveyed and a disposition manifested to negotiate upon a matter which has hitherto defied negotiation, which cannot fail to win the approbation of a people who are accustomed to praise sharpness and acuteness quite as much as force. Let us observe! Mr. Dallas arrives in this country, at a period when the negotiations both on the Enlistment and the Central American Question have arrived at a crisis which is exciting increasing interest and alarm. Her Majesty's Government inquires what instructions he has brought with him in regard to the Enlistment Question, in order that no time may be lost in amicably disposing of it. Upon that question, however, Mr. Dallas has unfortunately come without any instructions. Well then, let us turn, says the British Government, to the Central American Question: What can we do about that?' That unfortunately is another question on which Mr. Dallas has brought no instructions. An ominous silence, which M. de Talleyrand called the eloquence of diplomatists,' ensues. Not a word is to be extracted from Mr. Dallas on either of the above-named questions, for not a word has been put into him. At last the calm which precedes a storm ceases, and the same packet brings over our dismissed minister, and the long-looked-for instructions to Mr. Dallas. There is perplexity in Downing Street-what are the Ministers of the Crown to do? If they politely retain Mr. Dallas after Mr. Crampton is rudely discarded, they cannot do otherwise than afford a triumph to American Diplomacy; and if they do not retain him, they have refused to listen to the American representative at the very time when he has received instructions most propitious for bringing a long agitated matter to a favourable conclusion. Lord Clarendon bows his head, Mr. Dallas is retained, and the negotiations as to Central America are to commence.
It is with reference to the subject of these negotiations, since it is still alive, whereas the differences that arose concerning the Enlistment Question are practically no more, that we shall principally address ourselves. But before proceeding to unravel
whatever mystery may still remain involved in the Central American controversy, we shall say a few words with respect to the affair which Mr. Marcy's last dispatch has terminated in a manner which, though from sound policy it may be accepted by the English Government, cannot be acceptable to the feelings of the English people. Every form of government has disadvantages as well as advantages, and ours lies under one very serious disadvantage, when engaged in war with a great military Power. We have no peremptory means of obtaining a given number of soldiers within a given time. We cannot compel Englishmen to enrol under the banner of England, and when we cannot get the number of men we require within the British dominions, we must look for them elsewhere. This is a humiliating position, -a position which some day we may be forced to remedy, but until it is remedied, we must abide by the consequences it produces, among which is the necessity of having recourse, in some way or other, in certain crises, to foreign aid. A Bill for the enlistment of a limited number of foreign soldiers was therefore brought into Parliament by the Government of Lord Aberdeen, when our struggle before Sebastopol required extraordinary resources. There was much, doubtless, to say against that Bill, and much was said with considerable ability by the leaders of the Opposition. Nevertheless, Parliament agreed with Her Majesty's Ministers who proposed this Bill, and their successors cannot be blamed for carrying out the Act of the Legislature: nor can we be surprised that one of the first spots to which their attention was directed when in quest of military adventurers was the United States, which not only abound with a warlike population, indigenous to the soil, and always ready to engage in some wild scheme of invasion or conquest against their neighbours, but which are likewise the receptacle of every needy man with a strong arm and a bold heart, who has found Fortune unpropitious in his native land. The Hungarian, the Pole, the German, the Irishman-all, whether driven from their home or discontented with it, are to be found equally hating quiet or toil, and with that indolent but restless disposition which supplies armies scattered about the towns or wandering through the prairies of that great continent, where the pent-up and stifled population of the Old World is again able to breathe. It is not surprising, then, that a recruiting depôt was established on the adjacent North American British territory, whilst agents were sent into the United States from the Government of the British provinces to ascertain what means could be best adopted for legally and efficiently attracting soldiers to our standard. It
was for the information of one of those agents, a Mr. Howe, that the British Minister at Washington, Mr. Crampton, obtained the opinion of an eminent lawyer at Washington as to the interpretation that ought to be given to the Neutrality Laws of the United States.
Mr. Crampton seems to have communicated this opinion (which he also conveyed to Her Majesty's Consuls in the United States) to the agent from Nova Scotia, Mr. Howe, to whom we have been alluding, and he also handed over to this gentleman the applications he had received from those persons who had desired to be employed in case Her Majesty's Government should have any employment to offer them, in the execution of such plans as might be adopted for attracting persons to the recruiting standard of Great Britain in the neighbouring provinces. Mr. Howe appears to have been rather of the 'go-ahead' school of politicians, and, whilst he chose his agents without much inquiry into their real character, seems not to have fettered their discretion by any very precise instructions. They consequently committed acts which Mr. Crampton thought it necessary to condemn, and to inform the United States Government that he disavowed. Mr. Crampton, indeed, seems to have been brought rather incidentally than directly into this affair up to the month of May, when he went to Nova Scotia and Canada, for the purpose of making some arrangement for abandoning the scheme of obtaining volunteers from the United States altogether, or of adopting some plan less objectionable than that which had hitherto been pursued. Without entering into various details which involve useless controversy, and which it is not necessary for the true understanding of the case to enumerate, the conduct of Mr. Crampton and those who acted under him, or with him, is, we think, fairly to be judged of by three documents. First, the Neutrality Act of the United States; secondly, the opinion given by Judge Kane at Philadelphia, as to what the Neutrality Law was, on the committal of certain persons who were accused of having broken that law; and, thirdly, the instructions which Mr. Crampton, acting in concurrence with the British authorities in Canada, gave to a recruiting agent called Ströbel. From a due attention to these documents-each of which is undeniable testimony - we think that an impartial opinion may be pronounced.
The three documents alluded to are as follows:
I. We quote the second section of an Act of Congress of 20th April 1818, commonly called the Neutrality Act.'
And be it further enacted, that if any person shall, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States, enlist or enter him