Obrázky na stránke

cur in Prussia; suppose that the late attempt to effect a military revolution there on the model of that of Spain had succeeded; what would have been the consequence? Not that Prussia would fall off from the triple alliance and strengthen the influence of the west; but that a Russian army would immediately march into Berlin, and that the Emperor would then rule there by actual force, as he now rules by terror. If, by possibility and in the progress of time and events, a similar explosion could be expected in Austria, the result would be precisely the same. In Austria, however, there is at present no enthusiasm for liberty, and there is no probability of any attempt at revolution there for a long time to come. The whole north and west of Germany will have been distracted by these internal agitations and have been thrown by them under the direction of Russia, long before the epoch of freedom arrives in Austria.

Thus there appears to be very little probability that Austria and Prussia will be detached from the triple alliance, and consequently that the balance of power will ever be restored. Then by a singular fatality the progress of the principles of liberty, so hostile in their character to those of the Russian government, is itself one of the circumstances most favourable to the influence of this government over

the western powers. It furnishes at once a pretext for interference in the affairs of these powers, and an infallible means of sowing among them and in their borders the seeds of destruction and disunion-the only thing necessary to insure the victory of any single great power over any coalition, however extensive and formidable. Inflamed by persecution, the friends of liberty in the several countries will finally lose their patience and their prudence, and be hurried into attempts at revolution. Under pretence of checking these attempts, the Russian garrisons will advance from capital to capital, as their terror has already spread itself from cabinet to cabinet; and should the discordant materials, now fermenting in England, burst out into open insurrection, we may see at last the twoheaded eagle extend his wings triumphantly over the tower of London itself.

Had the western powers understood their policy better, and were they united among themselves in such a way as to enable them to derive the greatest possible advantage from accidental circumstances, the present commotions in Turkey would have afforded them an excellent opportunity to strengthen the western and constitutional interest, and to obtain an important check upon the Russian power by erecting a new Greek empire at Constantinople.

The late diabolical outrages of the Turks, upon the christian inhabitants of their territory, not only furnish a good pretext for other powers to interfere, but make it the bounden duty of the neighbouring nations, as men and christians, to rescue their fellow men and fellow christians from this horrible tyranny. I consider it as much incumbent upon the European powers to unite at last and expel this horde of ruthless and bloody barbarians from Greece, as it would be upon any regular government to dislodge and break up an association of professed highwaymen. Having taken this preliminary step, the western powers, by restoring the Greek empire, would have obtained a new and very powerful ally, precisely in the point where a new ally would be most useful, and would serve but as a check upon Russia. But would Russia, having concurred with her troops in expelling the Turks, consent to put this bridle upon her own ambition? And if the other powers, in the event of her refusal, attempted to obtain her consent by force, would the battle be fought in Greece, or in Germany, and with what success? These questions might have been of great importance, had a better union existed among the western states. As the case now stands, the fate of Turkey will be decided by Russia; and the present troubles will probably be the means of

extending instead of diminishing her influence; although it may be hoped that they will be not wholly without advantage, to the unfortunate countrymen of Miltiades and Epaminondas.


The British Navy.

NEXT to the Russian army, the British navy is the most remarkable engine of war now existing in Europe. It is not, however, like the former, of recent origin. England was always a considerable maritime power; and, since the decline of Holland, has reigned without a rival upon the ocean. For a short period, during the American war, the union of all the maritime states of Europe with her own colonies endangered her sovereignty. But in the late long struggles, she not only recovered all her former advantages, but carried her naval greatness to a point, which it had never reached before, and very probably will never reach again. At present, however, it is not threatened with any immediate danger. The United States exhibited, in the several actions of the late war, at least an equality of naval

science in all its branches; but the nature of our political institutions does not permit us to aim at conquest by land or by sea. We have as little ambition to wield the sceptre of the ocean, as willingness to submit to the enormous burdens which it brings upon its possessor. Our permanent naval establishment will never be pushed beyond a very moderate point; and in the future struggles, which may be forced upon us by the aggressions of other powers upon our commerce, as in the last, we shall always depend mainly for the actual annoyance of the enemy upon our private armed vessels; while the gallantry and skill, displayed by our public officers in single actions, will serve, as they did then, to sustain and exalt the national character. It is only in the peaceful pursuits of commerce, that we shall ever contest the superiority of England; and as there is no European power, from which it appears to be in danger, she will probably remain in undisturbed possession of her watery empire, as long as the foundations of her power remain in other respects unshaken.

"The trident of Neptune,' says a French poet of the last century, 'is the sceptre of the world.' The power conveyed by it is, however, of a very peculiar kind. A great navy is not, like a great army, immediately dangerous to the liberties of the nation

« PredošláPokračovať »