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A SWEEP OF THE POLITICAL HORIZON.
The fleet bas returned from the Bal- or, we believe, worse informed than tic, leaving the dark billows of that Lord Papmure or Sir William Cod. inhospitable sea to winter and the rington; there is a singular uniformity Czar. The army has gone or is going of ignorance in camp, council, and into quarters. Christmas is at hand. coffee-room, as to the position, strength, There is no sign of an extraordinary resources, and probable tactics of the session of Parliament. In a word, enemy in the field. We can, none of there is a lull in the storm, and the us, form a plausible guess as to whetime seems favourable for sweeping the ther Prince Ġortschakoff will fight, fly, political horizon with an eye observant or capitulate; but we all know that of indications of coming events or whereas, in December, 1854, no more dangers, as, under analogous circum- than 12,000 effective British bayonets stances, the cautious mariner would could be mustered in the trenches be. turn his glass to every point around fore Sebastopol, our active contingent from whence a favouring gale might in the allied army, solidly established spring, or where peril of fog or shoal in the Crimea in this corresponding might lurk. In commencing such a month of 1855, exceeds 50,000 men. survey, our glance is naturally first The poor remnant of the heroes of directed to the seat of actual war, and Alma, Balaklava, and Inkermann was, there, notwithstanding some haziness at the former period, a miserable mob in the atmosphere, it is not difficult to of armed men, perishing under disease discern many signs of improvement in and disorganisation, or starving, amid the weather. There is, at all events, supplies which, with order and military a vast change for the better observable, skill, would have given abundance. upon a comparison between the cir. That skeleton has now grown into a cumstances of our fleets and armies as healthy, numerous, and well-equipped they were this time last year and as army, doing its part in an allied host they are now. But we are not bent of 200,000 soldiers, pressing upon the upon raking up bygone errors or mis- enemy from whose overwhelming numfortunes; nor is it our intention to bers it was saved, on the day of Inker. serve up to our readers a stale hash of mann, only by the energy of desperation. the history of the campaign, which they It would seem, in short, that whatever have already bad, fresh and fresh, in difference of opinion may exist with the daily journals. Every one who sees respect to the original strategical ada newspaper, or who bears the common
vantages of the invasion of the Crimea, talk upon every occasion when men or as to the conduct of the two cam. congregate, knows the actual amount paigns, the progress of the Allies has of success obtained by the allied arms, been sure, and so considerable as to and to what extent our standards have leave no room for a reasonable doubt been advanced at Kertch, Sebastopol, that a complete subjection of the penEupatoria, and Kinburn. It would be insula will, sooner or later, be the rea work of supererogation to recapitu. ward of their perseverance. Already late the military events of the last the capture and occupation of Kertch month or two, and no less unprofitable and Kinburn have closed up the great to add our notions as to what might Russian river-highways of the Don, have been or remains to be done, to the Dnieper, the Bug, and the Ingul. those strategic speculations as rife (and Upon the whole northern littoral of the pace Sir George Brown, as sound) in Euxine, which, eighteen months ago, every coffee-room in the kingdom as in was indisputably Russian, from west the Cabinet or the camp. It is over to east, the Czar holds possession of this field of conjecture, in fact, that the the mouths of two rivers only-albeit haze to which we have alluded rests these are the highly important comheavily, and we do not pretend to be mercial outlets of the Dniester and the able to enlighten the thick obscure. Danube. This is the actual position Neither we nor our readers are better, of affairs; and, divested of all specu, lation as to what more might have been as much over-reached itself as it subse. accomplished, or as to the probable quently did in hoping to outbrag the future results of what has been done, feeble diplomacy that set all its trust we find that, during the eighteen in a demonstration. Had the Menschi. months that have elapsed since the koff mission to pick a quarrel with the allied troops disembarked in the East, Sublime Porte been supported by the the Russians have been forced to re- forcing of the Bosphorus by the Rus. treat from the Principalities behind sian fleet, and the landing of twenty their own frontier line of the Pruth; thousard men at Constantinople, what their naval power in the Black Sea has operations of the Western Powers, fron been demolished; the Crimea has been a basis two or three thousand miles dissolidly occupied by the Allies; and the tant, could have frustrated that morecoasts of the Transcaucasian provinces ment? Luckily, however, the Czar have been entirely cleared of Russian was timid, when his design required troops. From first to last, jointly and boldness. He might then, in all ho. severally, English, French, and 'Turks
man probability, have dealt with the have uniformly, and with strangely sick man quietly in his bed; and with corresponding equality of military full command of the Euxine, and his prowess, prevailed over the common basis at Galatz, Odessa, Nicholaieti, enemy; and the separate glories of Olte- Kherson, Sebastopol, and Taganrog, nitza, Silistria, Balaklava, Inkermann, at what point was he assailable by the the Malakoff, Kars, and the Ingour, Western Powers? How long would were worthily emulated by the Sardi. the Turkish armies on the Danube or nians, in their participation in the in Asia, with their communications efwork and the honour of the Tchernaya. fectually cut, have been able to main.
It is assuredly in no spirit of empty tain the unequal contest ?_The popagasconading that we sum up these tri- lar instinct of France and England disumphs ; they seem to us, in truth, to covered the dangers indicated in these be but practical illustrations of the questions, and the promenades of the scope and significance of the great con- fleets to Besikea and Beicos were under. flict that is going on, and material and taken, in obedience to the popular clamoral guarantees that still harder work mour, in time to profit by Russian cau. remains to be and will be done. The tion. The inoffensive character of the strength of Sebastopol, the furnishing demonstration was not changed soon of its
arsenal, the amount of shipping enough to forestall that outbreak of sunk in its harbour, the exploits and Russian rashness at Sinope, which renfame of the redoubtable Vladimir dered war inevitable, and subsequent reproachful as the latter are to the vi. events have cleared away many and gilance and enterprise of the allied various misapprehensions as to the fleets—are all so many justifications of strength and designs of Russia. She the war, which the instinct of the Eng- has been found to be not irresistible, lish and French people have not been or unconquerable : but so strong, as slow to apprehend. It was time to to be at present very dangerous, and take account of that vast magazine of growing stronger, at such a rate of offence, and the inventory proves to progress as cannot be observed without all ordinary understandings that its ac- alarm. The accumulated resources, cumulation portended a course of ag- the military skill, and the brute force gression not to be limited by the straits that held Sebastopol for eleven months, of the Dardanelles. The blow struck and still hold its citadel against the at Sinope was but a type of that which united forces of France, England, Turmight any day, and assuredly would, key, and Sardinia, favoured by the some day, have been struck at Con- immense advantage of a complete comstantinople, had not the popular in- mand of the sea, would be able to hold stinct of France and England outrun Constantinople against the world; and, the sagacity of their Governments, and acting from that frontier post, could anticipated the action of the Czar, by sweep the Mediterranean, and dictate forcing on the military promenade to terms to the Eastern and the Western the East, which it is now admitted was hemispheres. That the designs of only undertaken for the satisfaction of Russia extended so far, is proved by the public mind. In delaying to strike the fact of the accumulation of that when all was prepared, Muscovite craft inordinate store of materiel of war at
the particular point of Sebastopol : it subsequently countermanded and sent could have been required for no peace- to Kertch, but the rumours still conful or merely defensive purpose. Its tinue, and they at least show that a discovery demonstrated the uses it was general impression exists that an atreally designed to subserve, and the tempt to open the Danube cannot be demonstration makes it a matter of life long deferred. Both strategical and or death with the Allies to strive to commercial considerations, indeed, point prevent its ever being so used. Were to the probability that such an enterpeace to be made now, leaving to Rus- prise will be undertaken as a part of sia any footing on the shores of the the next campaign. It would seem to Black Sea, whatever might be the ver- be very obviously prudent, in a milibal terms of the treaty, it would be a tary sense, to provide some employpractical confession that a full know. ment for the Russian troops, which ledge of her designs and strength had should interrupt the incessant reinconvinced the Western Powers of the forcement of the army of the Crimea ; hopelessness of attempting to resist and the price of bread already prothem. The very fierceness of the strug- claims that the corn-trade of the Dagle, the irritation of defeats that af. nube, free to all the rest of the world, fronted, but did not crush, the languid must not be closed to France and recollection of barren victories, would England. The war, in fact, can impress upon the minds of both par- scarcely be carried on in earnest withties the firm conviction that the origi- out driving the Russians from the nal design must be prosecuted, and mouth and left bank of the Lower Da. would be ultimately successful. The nube, and that cannot be done with successes of the Allies, in a word, are out contact between the allied troops pledges to the world that a return to and the Austrians occupying the Printhe status quo would be a calamitous cipalities. There must, then, be either defeat, and that the object of the war a collision; or a junction; or the Ausis now to weaken and humiliate Rus- trians must retire behind their fron. sia. The difficulty that has been en- tier. Among these courses there is for countered in obtaining a slight footing Austria, under present circumstances, within provinces made Russian only by but a choice of evils, and her selection comparatively recent acts of force or will very probably be determined by fraud, binds the Allies to the alterna- accident. The casual brutality of a tive of retiring confessedly beaten, or drunken trooper may finally decide the of reconquering the Criniea and the question which bewilders the craftiest Transcaucasian provinces, and so re- of the diplomatists of Vienna. At all ducing Russia within a frontier which events, it is to be hoped, that expecould be defended against her aggres- rience has taught France and England sions.
that their safest course is one of straightThus a consideration of the position forward action. As there is nearly of the belligerents, as they stand face to equal danger for Austria, so there is face in the Eastern seat of war, seems to nearly equal chance of advantage for us to warrant no other conclusion than the Allies in her adhesion to them, or that they are all bound to fight it out to the enemy. A coalition of Austria to the end. There are, however, other with Russia would involve a disruption parties whose influence must be taken of the political bonds of Italy that into account. The course of everits could scarcely fail to strengthen Sardihas, for example, at length brought nia, as it would surely weaken Ausmatters nearly to the point at which trian military power. On the other Austria will be forced to take her hand, were Austria to take an active place upon one side or the other. Ru- part with the Allies, the engagement mours are rife that an allied army will thereby contracted for the maintebe collected upon the Danube, it is nance of that effete despotism, with all to be presumed for operations in Bes- its ricketty machinery of concordats, sarabia, during the spring, and the passports, and police-spies, would still statement is countenanced by the fact, further diminish that general sympathy that a portion of the Turkish contin- of the world with the justice of the gent, under British officers, was trans- war which has already waned before ferred to Varna two or three months the manifest disinclination of French since. It is true these troops were and English statesmen to disturb the
arrangements of the ola Holy Alliance. tents. That their hopes and tber If, in entering the League, Austria efforts may be restrained within the would incur the enmity of Russia limits of constitutional liberty, must be her ablest, and hitherto her only pro- the earnest wish of every Italian patector against the vengeance of her op- triot, and of every sincere friend of bu. pressed provinces she would at the manity. Sardinia,” to use the noble same time engage the less sure and worus of her king, in his late address ready support of the Western Powers. to bis parliament, "offers the noble They, in receiving her, would gain an example of a monarch and his people unsteady and crippled ally, and throw united by indissoluble ties of mutual off from their cause that element of love and confidence - maintaining iobitter determination to secure, at all violate the bases of public welfare, hazards, the independence of Europe, order, and liberty.” It is a moral which is its most significant character- impossibility that despotism can long istic. The conclusion to which these endure in presence of that grand specconsiderations seein to us inevitably to tacle, which can now scarcely be da. lead, is again the necessity of an ac- maged by any but parricidal Italian tive prosecution of the war.
hands. During the year of “heartgress of events tends to force Austria rending and cruel visitations," through to take her side, and as there is little which the King of Sardinia has passed, possibility of interrupting their course, he and his people have together braved so there is no ground for attempting the excommunication of the Church, to do so. The bold step taken by the intrigues of despotism, and the Sardinia, in casting in her lot with the fury of social revolutionists. The Western Powers, has virtually stripped union they formed with the “powers from Austria all the importance sup- who are struggling in the cause of posed to belong to her as a mediator, justice, in behali of the civilisation and and has rendered the question of her independence of nations,” has been choice of sides infinitely more difficult wisely cemented and drawn closer by and important to herself than to the Charles Albert's visit to Paris and Western Powers.
London, and it now stands before the For Italy, however, the conduct of world a League of France, England, Austria involves considerations of ra- and Sardinia, in defence of the for. pidly increasing gravity and interest. tress of Italian constitutional freedom. The Casati quarrel was a feather Whether or not it shall become a thrown into the air, and it has shown league of offence against foreign dothat Austria perceives the wind so far mination in Italy, depends, as we have to set against her. She has withdrawn already intimated, upon the part Ausfrom the attempt to outlaw refugees tria may take, and for the reasons we from her provinces, and Sardinia, in have mentioned, her decision cannot, resenting that attempt, has established we imagine, be very much longer deher own territory as a political sanc- layed. tuary for all Italy. It will soon be Let us now turn our glance to the known throughout all the states of the Baltic—the other seat, if not of actual peninsula, that the Austrian Bourbon war, at least of the semblance of it who reigns in Tuscany, obedient to where also, we think, the prospect is the policy of his house, ejected from brighter than it was at the close of the his court a member of the Sardinian last campaign, although less material legation, on the ground that he was injury has been inflicted upon the the son of a Lombard emigrant, and enemy during the present, than during therefore obnoxious to the court of the past summer. We need not here Vienna ; and that Sardinia promptly repeat opinions formerly expressed, met the insult by at once breaking off and now generally acquiesced in, as to diplomatic relations between Turin the nature of the cautious performance and Florence, thus announcing to the of the allied fleets before Sweaborg. It world her contempt for Duke and Em- would appear, however, that the noise peror. The lesson will not be lost; of the bombardment, strengthened, and, doubtless, the knowledge that a perhaps, by sounds from Sebastopol, has city of refuge is at hand will
not tend had some effect in arousing the northern to appease the ardour of Tuscan, Nea- nations to a sense of their own deep in. politan, Roman, or Lombard malcon- terest in the great game that is going
on. The young men of a nation are is no less manifest, after the experience commonly true exponents of its senti- of two campaigns, that the Western ments, and if the students of Upsala Powers want some condition to the suchave spoken truly, the hearts of the cess of their operations against Russia Swedish people are with the Allies. in the Baltic. They have fired away Nor did the shouts of those youths, some tons of projectiles for the satisexulting in the triumphs of France and faction of the people at home; but England, long want an echo in the they have, in the exercise of a perhighest place. Sweden, King and fectly sound discretion, carefully avoidpeople, would be more or less than hu- ed knocking their ships against the man, if she did not ardently desire to be stone walls of Sweaborg, Revel, or freed from the fear of Russian aggres- Cronstadt. They have, too, been foiled sion; and her feelings, expressed in the to a great extent, in their blockade, by University, by hurras and serenades, the neutrality of Sweden and Prussia, were made known by the Court in the and by the freedom of the ports of the decoration of Louis Napoleon with the latter kingdom for Russian purposes. Order of the Seraphim. How much or The active co-operation of Sweden how little of significance may lie in the would afford to them the means both return of this compliment by the trans- of carrying on war, and of interrupting mission of the Grand Cordon of the commerce, to the detriment of the eneLegion of Honour to King Oscar, by my. It would bring to their side in the hands of General Canrobert, we the struggle an army of 60,000 men are not in a condition to determine; and 200 gun-boats, and it would rebut that it is the interest of both par. move one difficulty that now stands in ties to draw together, and that they the way of their prosecution of the both know it to be so, can scarcely be most effectual warfare against Russia, doubted. During a long series of by a bona fide closure of the Baltic years, it has been the business or the ports. Thus the way would seem to pastime of Russia to encroach upon be open for the incorporation of Sweden Swedish territory, and that abundant in the anti-Russian league ; although facilities for gratifying this inclination it is not to be expected that it can be exist, experience too fully proves. conclusively effected without the arRussian troops, profiting by the hard rangement of specific terms for the fuwinter of 1809, marched across the ture protection of that barrier state. Gulf of Bothnia, on the ice, and im- The league with Sweden must include posed a treaty by which Finland was a guarantee by the Western Powers formally annexed to the crown of the against all future encroachments of autocrat. Even so late as 1852, the Russia, and, perhaps, an undertaking foundation of a boundary disputc, and to restore to her her conquered prono doubt of a prospective occupation of vinces. This, too, is one of those exNorway - of which the Czar, among ceptional cases in which the grant of a bis many titles, styles himself “ heir subsidy upon strictly defined condi-was laid, by a sudden abrogation tions would be justifable, and without of the boundary treaty of 1751, which it no important active assistance could permitted the periodical migration of be well expected. By the treaty of the Norse and Finnish Laps across the Orebro, concluded in 1813, Sweden border ; so that in future the ramblings contributed a force of 30,000 men to of those poor Nomads and their rein- the grand alliance, and opened the deer-a matter of absolute necessity to harbours of Gottenburg, Carlsham, them will be dealt with as a viola- and Stralsund to British ships ; she retion of Russian territory. This, of ceived in return, from England, a cescourse, will be seen to be a mere pick- sion of the island of Guadeloupe, and ing of a quarrel - a device for the a subsidy of a million a year. Here is North analogous to the Greck protec- a sufficient precedent for the principles torate for the South. As such it must of a new treaty of offence and defence be understood and appreciated by the with our Scandinavian ki smen; the Swedish and Norwegian nations, and devising of details suited to present must seem to them the prelude of an circumstances would not seem to be a aggressive attack, which, by their own very difficult task. For useful negounaided force, they could not hope to be ciations with the other Baltic states, able to resist. On the other hand, it the time does not appear to have yet VOL. XLVI.-NO. CCLXXVI.