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from the East. There are malcontents enough in Italy, and conflicting passions of democrats and priests, to keep the elements fermenting till the effervescence leaves them flat and dead. But Germany,—Mr. Cobden's “educated " nation,-is there no barrier there? Alas! we believe and hope everything good of Germany except political union and power. Her courts are already wholly, and her people half, corrupted by Russian alliances and admirations : poised in vigilance between Paris and St. Petersburg, she considers her nationality still pledged to look suspiciously at the West, and bound by good fellowship to accept the compliments of the East. A direct invasion, indeed, would at once rouse and unite her people, and repeat the patriotic sacrifices of the war of liberation. But this is not the method of the Czars. The schemes of Napoleon I. were personal, and could not wait;-a lifetime was the limit of their chance :--the policy of Russia is traditional and slow, advancing not like passion, but like destiny; pressing, like a circumambient atmosphere, into every open opportunity, and oozing into every leaky will. Against so insinuating a power there are not, we fear, in Germany, the requisite elements of resistance,-mutual trust, definite aims, and moral solidity. A huge Macedonian autocracy, disposing of the resources of an empire, deals to immense advantage with a group of small or secondary states, jealous of each other, and peopled by a race of susceptible sentiment and rich culture, but sunk, for want of a common faith and a common experience, into intellectual distraction and practical feebleness. Nothing, therefore, beyond an occasion for patience and circumspection is opposed by central Europe to the Muscovite advance, and France and England present the first formidable and positive barrier. Who can say that, offered then, it is not offered too late ? Nor, meanwhile, is it supposable that these countries could remain to that hour what they are now. There are plenty of combustible elements in France, whose outbursts might call-in the great Russian fire-engine to quench it with conservative floods. And as for England, two inevitable changes would have altered her whole relation to the world. With the fall of Turkey, Persia, already trembling between Russian pensions and patriotic shame, wholly disappears; and India, penetrated by the intrigues, and bordered by the reputed omnipotence of Russia, would need no invasion to become untenable, but with the sudden sweep of Oriental revolution, would go over to the strongest. And in the presence of a power uniting with its fleets the Mediterranean and the Baltic, with freedom to retreat into the Euxine or scour the Atlantic; with the rocks of the Ægean turned into Cronstadts, and the harbours of Asia Minor into Portsmouths; the naval supremacy of England, and therefore the security of her commerce, the protection of her dependencies, the spread of her colonization, would be hopelessly compromised. Thus to surrender her proper life, and let the national genius entrusted to her perish by her apathy, what else would it be than historical suicide ?
It is customary with easy-minded politicians to set aside all apprehensions of Russian aggrandizement with the remark that, "An empire of so vast a bulk must fall to pieces.” Will you then stand by and see it built up, on the contingency of its hereafter tumbling down ? Astounding argument ! On what does such an empire rise ? Upon annihilated nations. And what brings it to the ground? The agonies and heavings of subjugated populations, too wretched for its framework to hold. Who cares to calculate the chances of life for a colossal despotism, once at large to stride over the world ? To those who tremble for its next step, and over whom the barbaric foot already hangs, is it consolatory to say, “Take comfort, for the giant by and by will trip and perhaps die ?" It is not the continuance only of denationalising tyrannies, but the process of their formation, and the throes of their dissolution, that make them the wasting curse of the world. The doctrine of ultimate ratios,—of the goal which limits a tendency at last,—has no just practical application to human things, and is but a logical instrument of theoretical construction. Life is all transition : men are not at the end, but ever on the road, toiling, panting, hoping, striving; and between the pauses of historic law of which you coldly speak, generations have slipped through and the work of centuries been undone. But we have no faith in the received maxim, that monster empires are impossible. That under certain conditions they may exist, Macedonia and Rome sufficiently prove; and in a world whose societies have lost their forces of moral unity, it is not to be hastily assumed that a high and susceptible civilization is in itself a source of strength. It is a serious problem whether, in the absence of common sentiments of reverence, and the consequent ascendency of restless and divergent individualities, it is possible to create on a large scale the mutual sympathy and trust, and the sense of concurrent interest, without which resolution and self. sacrifice cannot be concentrated and sustained. There are elements combined in a semi-barbaric empire like Russia, frightfully favourable to military domination ;-hordes of human beings at the disposal of a single will; a command of the material arts of more advanced communities, without their moral hesitations ; a population susceptible of fanatical excitement, possessed with the idea of a national destiny, and identifying
their political allegiance with their religious worship; and the prestige of a rapidly growing and consolidating power, standing before governments shaken by revolution, and peoples distracted with intellectual anarchy. He must be a bold prophet who can weigh the elements of the European system, and compute their possible combinations and antagonisms, without profound anxiety.
The grounds on which we have justified the present struggle, sufficiently define our conception of its object. That object plainly is to take from Russia the power of further aggrandizement, and the disposition to further menace. To keep this one end steadily in view; to rest in nothing short of it; to be tempted into nothing beyond it, appears to us the true duty of this country By their tendency to secure this result soon and effectually, all proposed methods of procedure ought to be tried. The resort to war is ever a fearful responsibility, and it ceases to be defensible, where its moral idea and aim are not kept distinct and clear, and visibly made the rule of its operations. The statesman who proclaims hostilities for one cause, and then thinks that, while his hand is in, he may as well do a little business for another, brings suspicion on his motives, and takes away all solemnity from his act. For this reason it is impossible to give prominence in the present war to the English sympathy with oppressed nationalities, and to treat their restoration as its object. And he who would demand attention to them has but one course of argument open to him; he must show that to attempt their restoration, offers the best chance of making Russia harmless. Only in this character, as instruments of a policy, can they fairly come before us for a hearing
a now. Did we make them principals in the quarrel from the first, we should be justly exposed to the reproach of insincerity, negotiating in one sense and fighting in another. The Western Powers are accused, naturally enough, of compromising their better sympathies by advances to Austria, of paying in precious character for her alliance, and after all barely obtaining her neutralisation.
With the feeling that inspires this objection we are completely in accordance ; nor could any good hope breathe freely in England till the Vienna delusion was broken ap, and the key was turned upon the empty conference-chamber. But if the friendship of Austria has been too patiently sought, it would have been an equal error and a greater wrong, to use the breach with Nicholas as a mere occasion for breaking up her empire ; to make her the chief object of hostilities due to the delinquencies of another. Yet this is precisely what we should have done, if we had begun by pronouncing the words, “Hungary, Poland, Italy."
Their terrible power,
(glorious also, when the just hour strikes) must act primarily to convulse the empire of Francis Joseph, with whom we were at peace; and only secondarily that of the Czar, against whom we went to arms. Even if Austria were justly suspected of prowl. ing about the skirts of the Russian design, and by connivance preparing a claim to, some share in the contingent booty, she was not in a position to be made principal enemy: her evil propensities showed themselves at the remotest corner of this country's Turkish interests and engagements, and were but incipient and tentative auxiliaries of the main offender. In the utter selfishness and meanness of her conduct we fully believe; yet it does not follow, except in the logic of passion, that no opportunity should have been allowed her to withdraw from her hovering position, and take sides with the police instead of the thieves. If by detaching a half-inclined accomplice you can baffle a scheme of depredation, or favourably alter the balance of its chances, it is surely lawful to do so, provided it be by no unworthy means, but by indicating the path of more legitimate interest and less doubtful honour. In casting about then for means of carrying on the contest to which they were committed, the Western Powers would not have been justified in appealing, in the first instance, to the nationalities; and were not precluded from the attempt to determine Austria to their side, and form a complete European combination. The experiment was worth trying Its success would have compelled the recoil of Russia. Its failure would remove the mask from the character of the German powers, and would open to England and France, in the second act of the conflict, lines of policy which were not legitimate in the first. To call up the oppressed races at the outset, not in aid of any spontaneous and localised effort by some one of them, but all at once, by foreign stimulus and in a foreign cause, -what would it have implied ? universal war, from the Rhine to the Araxes, from Finland to Sicily; limited by no definite and paramount idea, but with a dozen supreme objects in different parts, until all objects were lost in the uncontrollable chaos of passions; a war in which the regime of the coup d'état would have been little likely to join ; which, in the most favourable case, would have arrayed against the West every constituted government, and the whole military power of central, southern, and eastern Europe, with no allies but provisional juntas and undisciplined populations. We have no dynastic, no aristocratic predilections, but we approve the shrinking hand that would not hurl a torch to kindle such a flame.
Our sacrifices, however, to the Austrian experiment, are now at an end. Vienna has had her opportunity, and declining it, leaves us free to adapt our future policy to the exigencies of
Her withdrawal' increases the physical difficulties, but simplifies the moral complication of the problem. The allies must adopt a different tone to Austria. Her armies oppress and demoralize the Principalities : let her be desired to evacuate them : let a reasonable and popular government be constituted there under European guarantee, and the appearance there of a Russian regiment be declared an act of war. Russia owes to the world and a just God restitution for the crimes that are her only title-deeds to Warsaw. Let no scruple towards the partners in that guilt any longer deter us from becoming the instruments of retribution, and testing the fidelity of the Czar's Polish subjects. There is no need to put forth any promise or programme of a restored kingdom, and so give Berlin and Vienna the plea for war.
Invasion of Russian Poland is an indisputable belligerent right; and if the invasion succeeded, the kingdom would appear of itself. Of the strategical possibilities we cannot pretend to judge; but every moral and political consideration makes us hope that they are encouraging. Even the dynasties must sometimes suspect how much better it would be if the Poles-disturbers of so many other countries—were made conservators of their own. On this road it is,—by the banks of the Niemen, at the foot of the Bukowina hills,—that we should make reparation to Hungary for our guilty neglect in 1849. The wind that once sets in from the sea north of the Carpathians, cannot fail to sweep over to the south. Unhappy Hungary! Who can now doubt the fatal loss of opportunity by England in the spring of 1849, through the yet clinging curse of the non-intervention doctrine ? For how much of the present entanglement of Europe must Lord Palmerston himself feel that these few cold words of his are answerable !
“ ViscounT PALMERSTON TO MR. Buchanan. (Extract.)
“ Foreign Office, May 17, 1849. "Much as her Majesty's Government regret this interference of Russia, the causes which have led to it, and the effects which it may produce, they nevertheless have not considered the occasion to be one which at present calls for any formal expression of the opinions of Great Britain on the matter."*
When the appropriator of Poland heard that Great Britain had no opinion to express about the invasion and political extinction of Hungary, he might well suppose that the West had ceased to care about thė East,—that Bucharest was as
Correspondence relative to the Affairs of Hungary, 1847—1849. Blue Book, Aug. 15, 1850, p. 137. No. 179.