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under the command of their officer, each man taking his place in the ranks, on the deck of a sinking ship, near the Cape of Good Hope, and calmly waiting their fate, is not more illustrative of this spirit, than the firm and heroic bearing of our army at Balaklava. What may not the country expect from such men? Certainly every thing which can be done by men, will be done by these heroes. The system, however defective in some of its arrangements, has inspired every soul with the indomitable spirit of a hero. The mass is as one man: the purest patriotism, the profoundest enthusiasm, the glow of an inextinguishable fire, must be found in those silent serried lines that have met so many ills.
Our alliances constitute one of the most important elements in this war; and the moral of these alliances cannot end with the contest. We refrain from speculating on so intricate a prospective as this would open up, but cannot be blind to the circumstance, that international conventions, of the nature in question, must lead, like the war itself, into new and untried paths. A nation in alliance with other states loses, for the time, much of its freedom of action, and, in reality, its national idiosyncrasy. When the policy of several States is to be one policy, it is easy to perceive that each must give up something to its neighbour, in order to secure harmony of operation. And when, as in the case of our own country, a somewhat marked, defined, not to say stereotyped, line of political development has long been going on, it is impossible for new alliances to be formed without some violence being done to their old maxims of policy. As an illustration of our meaning, we may remark, that our two great allies, France and Austria, are much more military nations than ourselves; are without the constitutional freedom enjoyed by us; and, in all respects, are governed by a policy different to our own. Now, a certain amount of suppressio veritatis, according to our notions, must be one condition of such alliances. The moral impression sought by a free nation to be made upon other nations, cannot be the same as that of despotic Governments; for, whilst one, in its wars as well as in its diplomacy, must desire to advance the freedom of nations, politically and personally, the other can have no such purpose all they can desire will be limited to some political advantage, and this may, in reality, lie in an opposite direction to our own desires; namely, to prevent the augmentation of liberty in neighbouring States, lest it should endanger the solidity of their own despotic power. Hence, the least that the latter States will expect from us, in alliance with themselves, will be to abstain from acting on our own national principles, to eschew all ideas of propagandism in favour of liberty, and to conform, in a certain degree, to the policy necessary to their own system. It may be true that, in these intercommunions of
nations, their peculiar internal state never comes into question, nor can be made a matter of interference. Undoubtedly this is the case. And we are not speaking of formal stipulations, but of moral effects, rather of negative than of positive issues. Hence none of the nations in alliance can be themselves. France cannot carry out French ideas and notions; Austria cannot be Austria, as she is on her own ground; England cannot be England, as she stands out in her own constitution, liberties, religion, Parliament, and press. Each must surrender something, or the amalgamation could not take place, so as to become at all practicable. Hence it is, that great numbers of intelligent and religious men look upon our alliances with suspicion and repugnance. What good result can spring out of the alliance of this country with powers, they imagine, "the one of which suppressed the liberties of France, and the other the constitution of Hungary?" And it is a perplexing question. But we are obliged to take the world as we find it; and, in many conjunctures of human affairs, we are obliged to act upon the maxim of taking the lesser evil presented by the alternative. It is so in the present case. We had no choice in the matter, except that of retiring from the arena altogether, which suited neither our self-love, nor our position, nor, as we believe, our obligations. In the history of nations, events over-rule predilections, policy, and even the most far-seeing judgments of statesmen. This we believe to be one of these events. There is not the least proof that any of the nations involved in this alliance, or that may hereafter enter into it, had any part in bringing about the state of things which has successively led to their union. To one State alone is due the guilt of involving Europe in this war, and of forcing these international compacts upon the several States now united. This compact is a necessity, and, we may say, an imperious necessity; one of those events which leave no scope for choice.
Our alliance with France is the most important event in the history of the two countries. After a long, ardent, variable, and bloody struggle, which lasted for centuries, these two neighbouring nations are at last in a state of concord and compact; not, we fear, brought about by the force of public virtue on either side, but by a pressing danger. Such are the ways of Providence, that in this, as in many similar cases, that which wisdom and sound principles failed to effect, He has enforced by the uncontrollable teaching of events. And it is well that the enmities of past contentions had not the effect of blinding the two nations to the realities of their situation. But the preparatory events necessary to this alliance are most extraordinary. The Empire is the basis of our union with France, that Empire against which we had fought with so much fierceness and perseverance to overthrow. Had either the old or the younger
France and Sardinia.
Bourbons been on the throne of France, there would have been no alliance with this country to resist Russian aggression; and, as far as human probabilities can pretend to decipher events, it is almost certain that Russia would have gained her point, without having, as now, to meet the forces of Western Europe.
How little the course of events can be foreseen by human sagacity! In this country, the burst of indignation on the resumption of the Empire, in the person of Louis Napoleon, was unbounded. The past flashed upon every Englishman's mind; and it was feared that we should have to defend our own shores against the Gallic legions. We know not what would have arisen, had not this Russian outbreak called the attention of the two nations to a danger that threatened them alike. How provident is God! We imagine we now see, in the restoration of the French Empire, a preparatory foundation laid for the successful resistance of Russian domination, and the preservation of the national freedom of Europe.
But what is most worthy of notice in this alliance, is its cordial character. The two nations had known each other too long, had contended with each other on too many well-fought fields, and been rivals in arts, commerce, and knowledge, on too great a scale, not to respect each other. The dynastic contention had long ceased; the heads of the two Governments had no grounds of suspicion; the peoples of each country had enjoyed a friendly intercourse, and nothing remained to engender distrust. Such being the state of the nations, when the time came for their union, the happy compact had only to receive the formal recognition of the two Governments, to be complete. The good faith observed on each side has augmented the mutual respect in which it originated, and we have hitherto heard of no divergence, even of opinion, in the matters to be arranged. The armies have evidently participated in the spirit of the Governments, and we have witnessed nothing but cordial and hearty co-operation. The French Generals and troops have sympathized with us in our suffering condition, and brought their hale and robust men to assist our wasted and dying troops in their greatest need. We hail this alliance as the augury of success in this struggle; but we look to it for even more permanent results, and trust in God that it may lead to the progress of each nation in the arts of peace and civilization.
The Sardinian alliance, also, as we hope, augurs nothing but good to all the parties concerned. We have, indeed, looked upon the struggles of this small State for freedom, in the midst of prodigious difficulties, with extreme interest. The opposition of the Popedom and the Church party; the disturbing elements introduced into the constitutional and moderate measures of the Court and Parliament by the factious; the
traditional prejudices and feelings to be overcome; the unequal laws to be rescinded, and the privileged orders to be conciliated or subdued; the political antagonism of the surrounding States; -all these things met, and successfully overcome, give to Sardinia an interest in the affectionate concern of Englishmen, such as can be accorded to no other people. And they are now our allies. But the manner in which this alliance was accepted enhances its value. We have heard of no quibbling, no diplomatic finesse, no sordid attempt at a good bargain, no stipulations for recompense, no equivocations or reservations. Every thing appears to have been done in the most straightforward manner. The alliance was accepted frankly, with all its risks and all its conditions, and the only thing left for consideration was its details; and these, as must always be the case with honest men, were soon settled.
We can entertain no doubt of great advantages arising to Sardinia from this alliance. It places her in the family of European nations, not as an auxiliary, but as a principal. She has not sold her services to one or more of the greater States, but has entered into engagements with them on equal terms. This must give her a voice in the affairs of Europe, as well as secure a hearing in regard to her own. The position of the smaller States, since the growth of the larger, has become less and less secure, and their influence almost a nullity. We hear nothing now, even in the diplomatic transactions of the world, but about the Five Great Powers; these Powers settle the conditions of peace and war, in entire disregard of the claims of the lesser States. Nations, as Holland and Sweden,-principal members of the European family a century ago, are seldom heard of in modern diplomacy. We cannot help looking upon this as political injustice, inasmuch as these smaller nationalities have interests at stake as dear to them, as valuable, and as important to the well-being of the world, as those belonging to the greater powers. That the human race, the freedom of mankind, the means of personal happiness, the advancement of knowledge and virtue, fare the better from the conglomeration of great populations under one head and system, may well be questioned. We trust that, in the case of Sardinia, a better fate than has fallen out to some of her sister States awaits her; at any rate, that her own independence will be assured to her by this alliance. Sardinia, we conceive, is the hope of Italy. The order, freedom, literature, science, and religion, now emanating from Turin, cannot be lost in the peninsula. The security of the Piedmontese Government must lead to the freedom and advancement, in one way or other, of the Italian people; and this, as we trust, is now rendered certain by her alliance with France and England.
But Austria! What of our alliance with this empire? This is a large and, moreover, a grave question. The course pursued
by this State, we confess, has been to us, as it must have been to all Englishmen, a perplexity, causing at times misgivings and doubts. We now, however, adopt the principle that, from the beginning, Austria has been governed by sincere and honourable motives in her diplomatic policy. Viewing the whole course of events from this starting-point, we are bound to accord to the Austrian Cabinet the praise of great prudence, and, indeed, of equal ability. Certainly Count Buol cannot be charged with precipitancy, with the love of war, with participating in the crime of plunging Europe into the miseries of the present complication. Like ourselves, he desired the continuance of peace; he strove, by all the means in his power, to prevail on Russia to forego, for the sake of humanity, her haughty and unjust claims; he mediated with caution and moderation between the belligerents, to bring them to terms; he went as near the line dividing justice and injustice from each other, as he could, to satisfy the demands of the Czar; he exhausted all the arts of a profound statesmanship, to compromise disputes so rife with peril to his country; but all in vain.
We say, "peril to his country," for Austria is more exposed to danger from the aggression of Russia on Turkey than any other State in Europe. The conquest of the Ottoman Power, or the aggrandizement of Russia on the Danube and the Black Sea, would be little less than the annihilation of the Austrian Empire. This being so obvious to all the world, from the geographical position of Austria, it has been a matter of astonishment to many, why she did not unite with the Western Powers from the beginning. Without being the apologists of Austria, we imagine we can discover several grounds for this procrastination. In the first place the empire was in a very disorganized state internally, arising out of the anarchy of 1818, and the Hungarian war. This disorder reached to the divided feelings of the people, the social and commercial condition of classes engaged in trade, to the finances of the country, to the administration of justice,-martial law existing in Hungary and Lombardy at the time, and even to the moral state of the army itself. A nation so disorganized as Austria, in the beginning of this struggle, could not be expected hastily to rush into war; and it is likely that this condition of his neighbour and ally would be one of the inducements to the Czar to commence the conflict at the time he did. But in addition to this, Austria belongs to a league of States,—the German Bund,—and it became essential to act in concert with these, if practicable. We apprehend this has been the chief impediment in the movements of Austria. It is known that the States, constituting the old Germanic Empire, are pretty equally divided in their adherence to Prussia on the one hand, and to Austria on the other; and, also, that it has been the avowed policy of Prussia to prevent the union of