Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

and the return of freedom and civilization, to the country from which they sprang. No doubt there is some illusion in this enthusiasm, but it is an illusion which every generous mind is proud to indulge, and which comes in aid of the incontestable claims of natural justice. Here then, the allies might at once have proved their honesty and have done something to redeem their popularity. But no; the Grand Turk is, it seems, legitimate; and the execution of the patriarchs in cold blood requires no atonement, calls for no interference, when done in the name of legitimacy; while the introduction of the most important improvements in administration into a country, which is perishing for want of them, is a sacrilegious and treasonable enterprise, that must be crushed by open force, because it bears the name of revolution. Instead of interfering in favour of the Greeks, the allies have, on the contrary, done every thing to discourage them, short of an absolute military alliance with the Turks. In reality it is their policy, according to the short-sighted and mistaken view they are accustomed to take of it, to frown upon this enterprise. The establishment of a powerful government, administered on liberal principles in their immediate neighbourhood, is not a pleasant thought to these iron despots; and a constitutional Greek

empire would be a still less agreeable object of contemplation than a constitutional kingdom in Italy. Instead of favouring the erection of these fine countries into an independent state, it suits their purpose much better to leave them as they are, till the proper period arrives for taking them into their own hands, a measure for which a sufficient pretext will never be long wanting in the conduct of such a government as that of Turkey.

All the accounts from the theatre of this struggle are so contradictory and uncertain, that it is impossible to form an opinion upon its present state or probable result. It would appear that the Greeks have been successful in the peninsula and on the islands; and that they have the command of the sea. If they have really gained these advantages, it will be hardly possible for the Turks to recover them, should they even maintain themselves in the provinces along the Danube; and we may venture to indulge a hope, that at least the proper territory of ancient Greece, the scene of so much greatness and glory in former times, will now resume its political independence. This would at once relieve the most numerous and civilized portion of the christian subjects of Turkey from that detestable yoke, and would furnish a rallying point for the future efforts of the rest. The day, it may be

hoped, is not now very far remote, when the civilization of Europe will overflow its present limits, and carry wealth and happiness through the whole of those delightful but desolate regions, that embosom the Mediterranean. Could the christian powers but act together for good with as much cordiality as they often do for evil, the regeneration of these countries might be accomplished almost without an effort. The expense, which has lately been so miserably employed in crushing the liberal institutions of Naples, would, under such circumstances, have been sufficient to establish them in every part of the domains of Islamism.

CHAPTER V.

Germany, including Austria and Prussia.

It is one of the anomalies in the political constitution of the German confederacy, that it comprehends several powers, which are wholly independent in regard to the government of the greater part of their dominions, and have subjected only a small .portion of them to the laws of the union. It would be worse than simplicity not to see, in this arrangement, a mere pretext for the interference of England, Austria, and Prussia in the affairs of Germany

proper. These states are nominally members of the league, but really masters of it; and the union, considered in distinction from the independent possessions of the principal members, can hardly be said to enjoy a real political existence. It is fortunate, therefore, for the interests of the smaller states, that its general operation is as feeble as it is unjust, and that it leaves the members, as separate sovereignties, in possession of every thing essential to independence, either in form or substance. The interval, that has elapsed since the peace of Paris, has been marked, in these states, by important and interesting events. It has been the epoch of the introduction of representative government. This important revolution has been effected without bloodshed or violence, under the influence of an enlightened public opinion and with the free consent of the sovereigns of these countries, some of whom have distinguished themselves by a truly liberal and magnanimous spirit. Such events are sufficiently curious to merit particular attention; and as they had not, perhaps, at the time of their occurrence, the immediate notoriety which belongs almost exclusively to military tranactions, some notice of them, in detail, may not be wholly superfluous. This will form the principal subject of the present section. As the history of the confederacy

is intimately connected with that of the separate governments, it will be necessary to commence by stating some of its principal points. It is only in this part of the subject that I shall have occasion to touch upon the affairs of Austria, which has not been the theatre of any important domestic occurrences. Those of Prussia will require particular attention, not only in their connexion with the League, but from the interesting nature of the proceedings in that kingdom in regard to the new constitution, which has been so long in preparation and so frequently promised.

At the close of the war, the principal powers of Europe and most of the inferior ones, fell, by the mere operation of the change of circumstances, into a settled and easy position. But there remained in the centre of this great body politic a mass of territorial and political interests, which, by the effect of repeated revolutions and counter revolutions, had bn thrown at last into a state of complete chao The principal of these interests were those connected in different ways with the German states. To adjust them on the broad principles of natural justice might not have been extremely difficult; but it was necessary to reconcile and satisfy, as far as possible, individual pretensions of the most various and opposite characters, infinite in

« PredošláPokračovať »