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have raised up endless obstacles in the path of all administrative improvement-they have acted as a constant fuel to the old rivalry between Austria and Prussia-they have served no single profitable purpose either to the government of Germany or the stability of Europe. The then English interest in Hanover, or the difficulty of disposing of the spoil among so many jealous claimants, are the only reasons that can be suggested for their preservation. Whatever was the motive of the plenipotentiaries at Vienna, enlightened German reformers have never ceased from the wish that these unfortunate demarcations should be gently but thoroughly effaced. To mediatize the smaller sovereigns would be revolution: they may be more peacefully obliterated by the construction of some central executive, or some compulsory system of common action in which the individuality and caprice of the numerous atoms may be merged. In internal affairs, the Zollverein and Pass-verein are a certain step in the right direction; but in respect to foreign relations, no advance whatever has been made. If Germany is to hold the position to which her population and territory entitle her, it is quite clear that she must be able at any moment to direct all her force against any given foe; and the construction of some machinery that will secure this object must be and always has been the end and scope of every movement for the defence of Fatherland. But it is clear that in this matter the interests of the German people and those of the German princes are in direct antagonism. As Germany increases, they must decrease. To charge them with having, for the sake of Austria, got up, by means of the expedients known to the police, a movement whose first ery was for German unity, is to charge them with preferring Austria's interests to their own existence.
In truth, the real state of the case has been the other way. It is the German people who have dragged their princes along a path on which the princes have very coyly and reluctantly advanced. The courts of Darmstadt, and Bavaria, and Wurtemburg have lately shown every inclination to bow down, as their predecessors did half a century ago, to the conqueror of the hour. It cannot be expected that would-be despots should have any extraordinary repulsion for the man who has reduced despotism to a science. But within that half century the materials on which they have to work have been radically changed. In 1806, Germany was but a geographical expression: it is now a nation as resolutely united as any nation on the earth. Petty courts may make petty quarrels to give themselves importance; diplomatists may galvanize historic rivalries anew; local or dynastic interests may be preferred to national
in the intrigues of selfish rulers; but the day of such small things is past away. Their paltry tracasseries can no more turn aside the strong and steady stream of national feeling, than the ripple that a may-fly makes can turn a river from its course. Whatever ephemeral combinations may pass through the brains of ingenious officials, every mouthpiece of popular opinionmeetings, memorials, newspapers, pamphlets from Stettin to Eisenach, and Eisenach to Stuttgard, speak but with one voice. They have no faith in the arts of diplomacy, or the settlements of congresses for quieting such an enemy as the Emperor of the French. They scorn to buy peace, as some of their rulers seem willing to buy it, by fawning on the hereditary enemies of their race. What they insist on is, that Germany must be made safe, and that she must be safe not by other's sufferance, but by her own united strength.
It is impossible for us in England to witness, without a lively interest, a burst of feeling so fiery and fierce in a nation ordinarily so calm. There must be rankling memories and very well-grounded apprehensions to have stirred up so unusual a commotion in such sluggish waters. We only trust that it may endure until every weak point is fortified, and every military resource is concentrated in the hands of some central power. For, over and above all feelings of sympathy for our own kith and kin, it is of the most vital importance to England that Germany should be strong. In the storm which is impending over Europe, and of which we have already felt the preliminary gusts, it is to Germany alone that we can look for the alliance of a people-the only alliance that will avail us For the subtle policy of the Tuileries has brought about a change in the mutual attitude of European nations, which was little marked at the time it was taking place. The bulwarks which our fathers with much labour and at the cost of much blood built up to secure Europe from the insatiable aggressiveness of France, have been very quietly but very effectually undermined. The effect of the first Napoleon's rapacity was to raise against him a coalition against which it was hopeless he should stand. The powers who had combined to stay the plague that had devastated Europe for a quarter of a century, did not look upon their mission as at an end, when France had been stripped of all her ill-gotten spoils, and driven back within her ancient frontiers. The horrors which one nation's bloody ambition had been enabled by the disunion of the others to produce, were too fresh in the minds of all not to suggest the necessity of precautions against their recurrence. Accordingly, in all emergencies in which there seemed a
danger that the settlement of 1815 would be disturbed, the great powers who had crushed Napoleon acted unitedly to maintain, with a strong hand, the peace they had jointly made. That in the course of the thirty years during which this united action was maintained many errors should be committed was almost unavoidable. It was natural that the despotic courts should combine to use for their own purposes the enormous power which the rebound from the madness of the Revolution had placed in their hands. It was to be expected that they should look on all aspirations after freedom as pregnant with the elements of the confusion which freedom à la Française had so widely sown. But still, with whatever drawbacks, the perpetuation of the alliances by which Europe had been freed from the incubus of French bayonets was productive of great good. For five-and-thirty years it secured to the populations north of the Alps and Pyrenees the greatest of all blessings-peace. It sealed up the evil genius of Europe for a time. It made French invasions impossible, and forced the military ardour of the French nation to expend itself in Thiers' romances and Béranger's ballads. Had it not existed, Belgium would probably at this moment have been French.
To the schemes of ambition, once the visions of an enthusiast in the cells of Ham, now the policy of an Imperial Cabinet, it was obvious that this compact phalanx of Allies presented a fatal obstacle. To break it down by force had defied the genius of the first Napoleon, and the nephew was not the man to attempt the path in which even his uncle's foot had slipped. But with a little ingenuity it might be dissolved. The sun might succeed where the north wind had failed. The first thing was to make one member of the confederacy his friend. Successful mischief can only be made from the vantage-ground of pretended friendship. England was selected as the most suitable subject for this first experiment, perhaps on account of her eminent simplicity, more probably because Lord Malmesbury's festive recollections of the merry days when they were young threw England into the Emperor's arms. This step once gained the rest was easy. There are subjects of difference among the closest friends; and when he had once obtained the ear of England, there was no great difficulty, to use a homely phrase, in establishing a raw. The policy of Russia towards Turkey did not differ materially from the policy of the United States towards Mexico, or the policy of England towards the Great Mogul; but it happened unfortunately to cross the interests both of Austria and of England. From the papers that have seen the light we are able to admire the ingenuity
with which the Eastern Question' was treated, and the art with which it was fanned into a quarrel. But we can also see enough to be certain that much more remains behind. The conduct of the Emperor Nicholas during those negotiations was not only inconsequent and unintelligible in itself, but was inconsistent with the sagacity which had distinguished his whole life. By what double dealing he was tempted or goaded into perpetrating the fatal act of aggression, which he never could honourably retract, and in which the Western powers could scarcely with honour have acquiesced, is no doubt written in M. Walewsky's or M. de Bourqueney's Memoirs, which will probably be published when all of us are dead. But until then the world must be content to judge the transactions by the light of the maxim 'Is fecit cui prodest.' The Emperor could afford to be compliant to the English in the conduct of that war. Its issue to him was comparatively unimportant. Whatever terms were ultimately agreed on his first great blow was struck, and the greatest member of the anti-Napoleonic alliance was severed from it for ever.
Since that time the same policy has been prosecuted with the same steady and skilful hand. The next great point was to detach Austria from England; and to one who knew the temper of existing English opinion this was not a very arduous task. The Emperor of the French has this advantage over every other antagonist with whom England has ever had to contend, that he is thoroughly familiar with the nature of the influences by which our somewhat fickle and impulsive policy is shaped. To most continental statesmen English policy is an insoluble enigma. They find a hopeless contradiction in the views of successive cabinets; they are utterly unable to discover any single object for which the meandering path, whose course changes twice every ten years, is making; and yet they cannot blind themselves to the fact that in spite of this aimlessness the wealth and empire of England are constantly increasing. Their belief in the virtue of protocols is too ingrained to tolerate the idea that a nation may thrive though its diplomatists blunder. They prefer the hypothesis that all the inexplicable evolutions of our Foreign Office are only the arts of a self-seeking but most dexterous finesse. They see nothing, and therefore they suspect everything; and one great source of English unpopularity on the Continent is the firm belief that, from the days of Lord Castlereagh to the days of Lord John Russell, 'cette vielle tricheuse de l'Angleterre' has pursued by hidden and tortuous paths one undeviating policy-to clip the wings of every other power, and ruin every trade except her own.
The Emperor of the French has had the means of knowing better. He knows that the course of England at each emergency is decided much more by some passionate but ignorant sentiment out-of-doors than by the sage deliberations of coolheaded ministers; and that English diplomacy is a very tractable instrument to any potentate who is master of the art of shouting the right claptrap at the right time. During the late transactions he has shown great skill in this unimperial accomplishment. Two feelings have been growing in England of late years, out of both of which he has made a profit. Among the practical and smaller portion of the community there has been a growing disapproval of the ancient practice of taking a part in continental disputes; and among the more impulsive majority the sufferings of Italy have year by year excited a deeper and deeper sympathy, and more bitter animosity against Austria. Both feelings could only meet with a very qualified assent from calmer statesmen; for it is clear that if we never take part with anybody, nobody in our need will take part with us; and that Italian independence can only be a very circuitous remedy for Italian sufferings, inasmuch as out of the three great despotic powers in Italy, the two which are purely Italian, the Pope and the King of Naples, are incomparably the worst. But the national feeling of England, so sluggish on domestic matters, makes itself heard on these foreign questions with a power and a decision which overbears all efforts of individual statesmen to restrain or to direct it. Thus, by a temporary affectation of the liberality which he persecutes at home, the Emperor of the French was enabled to evoke among us enough of sympathy for his Italian raid to reduce England to absolute inaction.
We are far from saying that this neutrality was unwise. The expediency of such a policy can only be judged of by its ultimate result, and the end is not yet. And even if it had been a point of national expediency to act as Austria's turnkey by helping to keep the door of her Italian prison, English statesmen are not bloodless enough for such a course. But it is the excellence of the Emperor's tactics that he so plays his game, that even those who suspect him most cannot refuse their assent to the policy by which England is made to play into his hands. Austria, however, could not be expected to recognize either the wisdom or the loyalty of our course. She repudiated the imputation of a tyranny which in truth was rather the unconscious result of pedantry and narrowness, than deliberate cruelty of temper; and she appealed not unnaturally to treaties which said a great deal about territorial rights, and nothing whatever about misgovernment. And as far as the letter of national law goes,