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no worse than the corresponding class in our own country; on the contrary, in many respects they are better. They are less docile, modest, and respectful, certainly; but they are more intelligent, more shrewd, more intensely energetic, and, as a rule, far better educated. The difference between the two countries is this: in the United States this class of men govern; in England they do not.
In the United States the government is elected, the national tone is given, the standard of public morality is fixed by the mass, the operatives, the tradesmen, the pioneers of the West, the cultivators of the soil, the lower professional electioneerers-by those, in fact, who correspond to what are termed the middle and lower classes in settled countries. In England the government is chosen, the national tone is given, the standard of public morality is fixed by the middle and upper classes—the educated minority, the merchants, the aristocracy, the thinkers, and the writers. If our parliament and our ministers were named, as in America, by universal suffrage and for brief periods, what sort of men would rise to the head of affairs with us? How long should we preserve even that modified degree of moderation, decorum, wisdom, and public purity which still prevails among our Transatlantic cousins?
ART. VIII.-THE AUSTRIAN PEACE.
The Moniteur of the 2d of February 1856. Those who still consider-according to a view at one time current among liberal politicians—that a state of war must necessarily be full of passionate impulses,—some of them sufficiently generous, but others, and those perhaps the most practically influential, of a widely different character,-must feel no little surprise at the mode in which the question of peace and war is now discussed. That it is not contemplated through any distorting medium of ambition or revenge is certain, and may to many appear to be a fact of unmixedly cheerful augury. The received imagery is at fault. The picture on the mental retina is not of ardent warriors meeting with hateful eyes-a bloody field-spent combatants-a foe struck down--and a peace dictated by the victor ; nor, on the other hand, do we see a vision
; of aims lost sight of, and hopes disappointed on all sides—a return to a mere status quo, with the addition of universal weariness and disgust—the unsatisfactory outcome of a series of inconsistent and transitory alliances and combinations, topped by some dexterous move acquiesced in by all as giving the finishingstroke to a game which has been deprived of its higher interests, and only needs to be ended, and, if possible, forgotten. The latter is a result so much to be apprehended in all wars where complex interests are at stake, that a conviction of our being at all events spared that ought possibly to awaken in humble and reasonable minds a more lively feeling of satisfaction and thankfulness than we find ourselves able to avow. The war and the negotiations have progressed with something like the steady march of a Chancery-suit, in which the plaintiff has gained some new point at each stage, and the antagonists have been strictly kept by the court to the issues raised in their preliminary altercation. Diplomacy can state its successive feats in parallel columns, and make up its record of a statesman's war by appending a scientific award, drawn up in all clerkly neatness by untrembling hands—a monument of practice, a precedent for future learners.
Yet, is this safe, calm, judicial procedure,—this legal, precise operation,—all that a great war and its close ought to be? Is the feeling of disappointment, of shortcoming, of dissatisfaction with nicely-elaborated expedients, which we believe to be tolerably universal in England, either immoral or even mistaken? If the Austrian pacification is completed, will its annals be the very
best contribution that ever was made to the historic food which nourishes the souls of nations ? Be it observed, that if the maxims at present in vogue among statesmen are really the maturest fruits of political wisdom and virtue, then this peace (supposing it to include the greater number of the points understood to be contended for by the Allies) must be a model peace. It cannot be looked on merely as an inevitable solution, or a wise practical mode of reconciling conflicting difficulties. It must be a type in its way-a pattern for the world-a specimen of the best that Christian civilisation has yet been able to effect; it must consecrate the admission that the knightly sword has no more work to do, and that international rights may henceforward be safely left to the vindication of the policeman's staff.
The maxims to which we refer are briefly reducible to two: first, that appeals to the nobler and deeper passions of mankind --to the enthusiasm for liberty and to the throbbings of patriotism-are so dangerous that they should be left to the last, and only made under the stress of inexorable necessity; and secondly, that wars should be confined to the removal of the immediate casus belli, and not be allowed to extend to any effectual dealing with the remoter causes of the wrongs complained of. No one can doubt that these maxims have been stated by the most influential persons more broadly than it is customary in
political life to state abstract principles, or that the war has been conducted, and the terms of peace framed, in a spirit of doctrinaire accordance with what is so laid down. Even on the first head, we cannot in any manner admit that the expressions used by our statesmen are to be considered as limited to the special circumstances. Their whole animus has been unmistakably to sneer down, with the keen superciliousness of age and experience, every generous allusion, every argument based on other than material considerations. Poland is not to be spoken of as a monument of oppression-a standing witness to the fraud and violence of an encroaching power-a thorn in the side of Russia, because a conquest from a noble and injured race, but at most as a menace to Germany.” The word "nationality" excites a titter, as representing the fixed idea of monomaniacs ; an irrelevant Quixotism, to be put down by naming it in a disparaging tone; a disturbing element, imported by a few presumptuous sciolists into the consultations of men of business. There is an unseemly proneness in persons of station all round to get rid of any thing like a reference to large principles by stamping those who venture to allude to them as “visionary.
What we except to in the language of statesmen respecting the mode in which this war has been carried on is, that they seem to consider the very limitation of its aims, the very smallness of the reparation exacted from a powerful and unscrupulous enemy of freedom and civilisation, to be evidences not of our weakness but of his. They forget that it does not really extend the pale of law to deal with those without it as leniently as if they were within it, and only needed, from time to time, the mild surveillance of constituted authorities. It may be necessary to stop at this point. The fears of a despotic ally abroad, or of a timid aristocracy at home, may make it impossible to go further; but, in the name of all that is worth living for, let not the final sacrifice of Poland, the respite granted to Austria, the abandonment of Circassia, the inadequacy of the protection given to the Baltic powers, the sufferance of a continued state of defencelessness in Germany, be held forth as proofs of respect for international law, and of the systematic judicial way in which Europe, conscious of her own strength, is contented with magnificently putting aside an aggressor who must henceforward be subject to her tribunals.
It is difficult to argue for that faith in liberty and in national rights which it is now so much the fashion to disparage. Those who feel it can but say so boldly, and help all in high places who will echo their convictions. It is disheartening, sickening, to observe how much credit for worldly wisdom is gained by the adoption of a sceptical tone on the subject. If, however,
such language were held by a generation great in all the arts of government, able adapters of means to ends, masterly realisers of narrow ideas, some respect for the hard efficiency of the sceptics might create a moment's presumption in their favour, and damp the ardour of their opponents. But when it is held by ministers and parliaments whose sole strength is in good intention, and who can lay no claim to the attributes of that cold politic intellect which they affect, those in whom the memory of the heroic ages of the world is still fresh must be forgiven some lack of deference for the wise saws of their monitors.
The same narrow legal spirit which holds it much gain to abstain from awaking great passions prides itself also on restricting the objects of a contest to the removal of the original casus belli. This is another fallacious application of the maxims that obtain within the limits of law to the region which lies without those limits. The test of a law-governed community is, that the least wrong, no less than the greatest, can be redressed on the application of the injured party. You have not to wait for an accumulation of such wrongs. Since your causes of complaint may be removed as they arise, it is your own fault if you invoke no aid till half your patrimony is gone. You cannot complain if the state, when set in motion at last, addresses itself simply to the removal of your latest grievance, and declines to open inquiries which you have waived by acquiescence. It is far otherwise in the half-organised commonwealth of States. There the immediate injury is the least part of the matter. If it is the first, little will be done to avenge it. The iteration and pertinacity of outrage must precede the
retributive stroke, open the eyes of all parties to its necessity, and give them time for reflection and preparation.
There is no ground whatever for the pharisaical complacency with which the narrowing of the present war to the direct protection of Turkey is viewed. The gist of the war is the effort to check the systematic aggressions of an oriental despotism, wielding many of the resources of Western civilisation far more effectively than the Western nations themselves, upon the East of Europe. The geographical position of Turkey, and her supposed weakness, seemed to render her at once the most important and the most attainable prize; and her danger aroused other states at last to interpose against Russia, when Russia was fast approaching the completion of her designs. It had been a mistake to sanction the appropriation of Finland, an instance of glaring incapacity to allow “the disastrous treaty of Adrianople," a crime to connive at the annihilation of Poland, a blunder and a blindness (to say the least) to permit Russian intervention in Hungary ; but peril to the Queen of the Bosphorus was too much even for
the statesmen of a forty years' peace. This last-mentioned peril, being too great and too obvious to be passed over, became the immediate cause of war; and yet its significance and its danger depended on a succession of events spread over a previous century. It might have been no more than the occupation of a good commercial station by a civilised power instead of an effete barbarism, and a benefit rather than a danger to the rest of Europe. Why are the integrity and independence of the Ottoman empire become so important to us, bound up as they now are with the last hopes of the countrymen of John Sobieski ? Not as the beginning, but as the consummation of Russian encroachment. We know not any rule of morals or of policy which requires us to rejoice in the terms of peace being limited to the prevention of the final iniquity. We see no grounds for self-righteous exultation in the fact that we have not sought to dismember or to degrade the empire of the Czars. We can only see that, having deferred action too long, we are obliged to content ourselves with staving off the last danger, and to put
up with insufficient securities obtained at the price of gigantic efforts.
Will Europe derive such an amount of security from the results of the present war, if now brought to a close, as might fairly and reasonably be expected ? We cannot think that it will. We subscribe to the condemnation which has been passed by others on the cant phrase, that a great country should not wage a little war. The proper answer to it is to quote Johnson's line on the subject of driving fat oxen. But the results of a great war should be of commensurate importance. The agencies which it sets in motion are too vast and too rarely available, as well as too solemn and too grievous, to be used without extracting from them all the good that they can yield. We should not lay down our arms in such a war merely because we have got what will do, if something that will do better is within our reach. In virtue of the precious blood which has been spilt, it is the right of the combatant to run some risks in order to complete his work.
The Eastern danger arises from two causes : the aggressive spirit of Russia, and the weakness of Central Europe.
We are aware that some whose opinions are entitled to respect deny the existence of the first. They rely on the quiet acquisitive character said to belong to the middle classes there as here, and are content to await the progress of commerce and the growth of riches as sufficient antidotes to the ambition of the house of Romanoff. To us this appears a most uncertain speculation. What we really know is, that ever since the Czars have lived at St. Petersburg they have pursued one undeviating course of aggression with a united nation at their backs. They have not