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to protect her subjects from insult, and plunder, and torture, was a necessary policy. Could the veil of diplomatic intrigue be withdrawn from these classic shores, the world might be astonished at the complicated machinery by which the puppet Otho has been moved.
The second branch of the question opens a much wider range of discussion, but as the principles involved are simple, and the facts have been well discussed separately, by parliament and the public, the remarks pertinent to this occasion may be reduced to much narrower compass. The general policy of non-interference may be said to be a duty co-ordinate with the abstract rights of nations. As each independent state is a supreme power, no civil authority can interpose in the regulation or management of its internal affairs. But there is a moral obligation on all nations to act with justice and benevolence towards each other, and the more free the intercommunication of nations, and the greater the reciprocal advantage proceeding therefrom, so are the difficulties of carrying out that obligation removed. Under the custom of nations, opinion becomes a power for enforcing it. If the selfish ambition of a potentate moves him to attack a weak state, the indignation of nations is aroused, public expediency prompts the interposition of aid, and justice sanctions it; but if he should trample on the liberties of his own subjects, there is no primâ facie case for a forcible interference. With the progress of nations, the exception to the rule is enlarged, for if the moral law of benevolence is equally incumbent between nations as between men, nations are bound by common ties of humanity to render each other assistance. On the demand for foreign assistance against domestic oppression and lawless tyranny, which shall appear to be clearly in the nature of a national demand, that is of a vast proportion of the people, intervention is recognised by the custom of civilized nations. Some of the most important events of history have been accomplished under this exceptional principle. Thus England gave aid to the United Provinces of the Netherlands against Spain; the Prince of Orange and the States enabled England to effect the revolution of 1688; and France in turn assisted the Americans to free themselves from the oppression of England; all great facts in the history of the freedom and progress of man.* The right of interference must therefore depend on
A case stronger than any one of these was of possible occurrence last year in the glorious struggle for the laws and liberties of Hungary. Had the Hungarians called for an armed intervention, the intervention would, we apprehend, have been morally and lawfully justified. Hungary was not rebelling against the tyranny of a king, but was opposing one who was not king under the constitution, sworn to by his immediate predecessor, who had vacated his office, and whose pretensions were supported, not by Hungarians, the special circumstances of the case. If armed interference may be justified in cases, much more so, and much more generally so, may the use of good counsel and persuasion be justified in the intercoạrse of nations.
Unluckily, the principle of non-interference, the generally sound policy of which we have fully and cordially admitted, is not often understood by those who assert it. It has become a stereotyped phrase of speech, signifying anything or nothing as suits the sentiment of the hour. Act on the principle as rigidly and with as little consideration as it is daily asserted as an article of the political creed in conversational politics, and each nation must recall its ambassador and wandering citizens,' close its ports, and shut itself up in isolation from the world. Narrow the principle within the little world, and in time we may get rid of moral responsibility, and dry up the fountains of benevolence, charity, and humanity. To maintain the theory with all the rigidity of abstract principle, and at the same time preserve the just relations of nations, we must suppose a condition of perfect equality in the territory and strength, in the intellect and civilization of nations more socialistic than socialism itself. For until the age of social perfectibility shall come, the strong will threaten the weak, and the weak, by necessity, stand in want of counsel or aid from the strong. Nicolas of Russia in 1848, declared that but two powers then existed in Europe, Revolution and Russia.
Can peace or progress, or prosperity, prevail amongst nations, when the one power has proclaimed a war of extermination against the other? There may be a great deal of Russo-phobia in Europe, but there are too many proofs to the contrary to doubt that Russia is now the strength and hope of the legitimacy and absolutism of Europe. On the authority of the Tory converts, we may consider the division of 1850 to be England against the whole despotism of Europe. The issue lately determined was not on the abstract question of interference or non-interference, but on a great fundamental principle of progress. It would be well for those who maintain the con
but by Austrians, that is, foreign soldiers. The resistance was not only a national resistance; but the government was de facto and de jure the government of Hungary: "Stet rei agendi potestas," as the jurists would say. It had at least the right to call for foreign aid. One of the Tory arguments in the late debate was this : if Lord Palmerston is permitted to interfere in foreign affairs, why not allow the right to Nicolas of intervention in the affairs of Hungary? There is no analogy; Lord Palmerston, with all his alleged warlike propensities, never marched an army into Italy, as Nicolas did into the territory of a foreign country, to aid another foreign aggressor, whose foreign army had been signally beaten. The courtly language of diplomacy may not permit the term brigandage to the act, but it was assuredly one of daring foreign aggression.
sistency of working out a principle at all costs, to bear in mind that there are two classes of social principles—principles fundamental and essential to the right constitution of society; and principles accidental—important to its development, though not essential to its existence. To illustrate the distinction: all rational Englishmen recognise self-government to be essential to the freedom of the nation ; that is a fundamental principle. But all Englishmen do not maintain that arbitration in international disputes is essentially necessary for freedom, however important it may be towards its development; that is the principle accidental. This is certain, that the one is very much more fundamental than the other; as the foundation of the nation must precede the confederation of nations. But we submit, looking to the fierce antagonism which now prevails between freedom and despotism, that the universal recognition of the one is essentially necessary to the possible acknowledgment of the other. Look at the present condition of Europe. See Russia, inspired with her holy mission, with absolute Austria, the vassal, on the one side, and republican France, the pliant ally, on the other, casting the network of her selfish intrigues over every kingdom and principality of the civilized world. Behold freedom prostrate beneath the bloody hands of vengeful kings, and answer, Are these the instruments, or is this the time, to realize the glorious aspirations of peace and goodwill amongst men? Is England, then, the light of free institutions, to continue in antagonism to these powers of political darkness ; or to retire from the contest, and leave the unholy alliance to quench the flickering hopes which live in Europe? These are the principles, considerations, and necessities, on which a just judgment of Lord Palmerston's policy must be formed.
We cannot enter into the details, neither can we approve of all the acts charged in the indictment. His interference in Portugal was, doubtless, neither wise nor well—stifling liberalism without procuring any alleviation of a grievous despotism; bis tender of good counsel to Spain may have been too energetically expressed; he may have been too slow to produce the famous Austrian despatch; he may have mixed himself somewhat rashly in the affairs of Piedmont, and excited too fond hopes from the mission to Rome and Sicily; but it cannot, we think, be said, by any one who reviews these events with the calm and dispassionate mind which we apply to the study of history, that he endangered the peace of Europe. The plea of good intention, of a sincere wish to promote, by the offer of friendly counsel, the progress of constitutional liberty, the desire to prevent the outbreak of a fierce collision in Italy, prompting him to acccde to the solicitations of the sovereigns of Rome and Naples—these and other motives, so powerfully enforced in his candid and eloquent defence, are surely worth something, in judging of his general policy during the stormy years of recent revolution. If it is fair to judge ministers as men, then is Lord Palmerston entitled to some credit, for having, in times of unexampled difficulty, with all the powers of continental absolutism opposed to him, kept England at peace with the world. On these grounds, and chiefly because the censure of the strangely-allied opposition in the Houses of Lords and Commons, was really and in truth a manifesto of another holy alliance of European despots, we think the declaration by the House of Commons just, generally in accordance with the views of the liberal mind of England, and well calculated to sustain the fainting courage of continental liberalism. That it is so considered by liberal foreigners, we have every reason to believe, from the congratulatory tone of the liberal and democratic journals of France and Germany.
It is certainly to be regretted that a discussion, involving principles so important, should have hung not on the merits of each specific question, but on the success of the party which, by accident, became representative of certain other general principles. On that vote not only rested the hopes and free aspirations of continental nations, but the immediate progress, and, possibly, the safety of the great economical principles on which so much of the happiness of England depends. However much we may have regretted special cases in Lord Palmerston's career, and condemned the oligarchic system and mischievous legislation of his Whig colleagues in reference to many acts of domestic policy, we cannot help feeling that any vote which might tend to deliver foreign affairs into the hands of Lord Aberdeen, and place free-trade at the mercy of the Protectionist party, was a contingency most disastrous to the progress of freedom in Europe, and to the prosperity, and possibly to the peace of England. The lamented death of Sir Robert Peel has already worked a change in the aspect of party. It is not difficult to foresee a re-union and re-construction of a Tory party, animated by one Tory feeling. Let the Whigs be warned in time by the events past and possible. For the eminent abilities of Lord Palmerston, we entertain a just respect-a feeling which would increase if his lordship would adopt a less haughty tone to other states ; for his less liberal colleagues we are not without some hope that the events of the past month may
teach them more wisdom. They may redeem past errors by the policy of the future, but there is only one course of policy which can save them, and save their country from the miseries and the perils of Tory domination—to govern and legislate no longer for class, or for the petty interests of class, but for the people of England. Then, and then only, may they defy all the absolute conspiracies and conspirators of England and Europe.
One word as to the un-English prophecy with which the debate was concluded. Mr. Disraeli, from the precedent of Venetian history, drew the conclusion that England had seen the last of her proud pre-eminence amongst the nations. But Mr. Disraeli misstated historic facts. That haughty republic fell from the greatness of her power and place because she was ruled by a heartless oligarchy. Unmindful of all responsibilities, dead to all moral obligations, Mammon her God, class aggrandizement the only aim of her policy, her star may have paled at Cambray, but she fell never to rise again from her too great prosperity, the victim of class-rule and commercialism. The melancholy desolation which hovers o'er her deserted palaces, and the silent pathway of her waters, conveys, it is true, an impressive warning to England to avoid the errors of the once commercial mistress of the world. But there is only one course for England, if she would be moved by that solemn warning, to abandon all that she still holds of the narrow and selfish policy of which the honourable gentleman is the representative, and proceed onwards, calmly and steadfastly, in fulfilment of the glorious mission which the poet claimed for her of teaching the nations how to live.
Modern State Trials. Revised, and Illustrated with Essays and Notes.
By William C. Townsend, Esq., M.A., Q.C. Two Vols. 8vo.
London: Longman and Co. The phrase, “State Trials,' is used by Mr. Townsend to designate such as are likely to command the attention of all members of the community, and to be read by them with pleasure and profit.' Whatever question may be raised respecting the logical correctness of such a definition, no doubt can be entertained of the spirit and variety of the work being increased by its adoption. Those who demur on this point, will do well to examine the volumes before us. The trials included are those of John Frost, Edward Oxford, James Stuart, the Earl of Cardigan, Courvoisier, M‘Naughten, Alexander Alexander, Smith O'Brien, Lord Cochrane, the Wakefields, Hunter and others, John Ambrose Williams, Charles Pinney, Mr. Moxon, and Daniel