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and even after reinforcements arrived, and the advance was resumed, the fortunes of the expedition trembled in the scales before the walls of Puebla. The defence made by the Mexican garrison was unexpectedly obstinate; it seemed as if the spirit of the defenders of Saragossa still existed among their countrymen in the New World. But with the fall of Puebla resistance ceased. The French advanced, unopposed, to the capital. Conciliatory proclamations were addressed to the people, and soon every element of organised resistance to the invaders melted away and disappeared.
It was a sagacious act on the part of Napoleon to associate with him, in the outset of the enterprise, the only two Powers in Europe who might have regarded his policy in Mexico with distrust. He was equally careful to leave no ground for international jealousy in the selection which he made of a ruler for the regenerated empire. His great uncle, in the heyday of his success, surrounded France with affiliated kingdoms, placing members of his own family upon the thrones which his conquests had rendered vacant. Napoleon III. does not seem disposed to imitate his example. His cousin Prince Napoleon, although notoriously "a Prince in search of a crown," was not chosen to fill the throne of Mexico; and Prince Murat was left to dream of possibilities which might one day place him on the throne of Southern Italy. The Emperor made a good choice in selecting the Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Mexico could furnish no man suitable for the throne. The country had been in such a state of chaos and revolution for forty years, that the only prominent personages were unscrupulous adventurers, dishonoured by their previous career, and in whom no confidence could be placed. If any Mexican had been raised to the throne, his name would have had no power, he would have commanded no respect. Pronunciamentos and insurrections would
have gone on as before. A foreigner was needed for the throne. Let us wipe out the past; let us have a clear stage; let us start afresh." Such ought to be, and such in great part is, the sentiment of all the better classes in Mexico. But the chief of the new empire must not be a parvenu. All nations prefer to have for ruler a man born in the purple, a prince of royal lineage,a man accustomed to royalty, and removed from the jealousies which attend a commoner who is suddenly raised to be a king. Such a prince is the Archduke Maximilian, a member of one of the oldest royal families in Europe, and the lives of whose ancestors form part of the public history of Europe. Moreover he was not inexperienced in the practical duties of government, and he had discharged those duties creditably and with ability. trust that in the wider and higher sphere of duty to which he is now called, the Archduke will justify the best expectations which have been formed of him. Many difficulties will attend the outset of his career, although they are not such as should daunt any monarch of ordinary resolution and intelligence. He is a foreigner, he enters Mexico escorted by a foreign army; and foreign troops will for several years remain to support his throne. But he does not come as a conqueror. He does not seek to destroy the past, but to restore it. He succeeds to a blank in the annals of Mexico, and he will seek to make his reign a continuation of the prosperity which preceded that blank, and to raise the country to a higher position in the world than it ever enjoyed before. A brilliant future is before him, if he prove equal to the occasion. It is in his power to leave behind him a distinguished name in history,—to found a great empire, and to restore to the civilised world one of its portions which had relapsed into misery and barbarism.
French took care that the importance and true character of his design should be generally known. No man knows better than he the power which a policy derives from the support of public opinion. He wished to get the moral sense of Europe on his side, and to prove to France that the "idea" was one which was worthy of a great nation which aspires to be the leader of civilisation. He intrusted the task of exposition to one of his Senators whose character for impartiality is as well known as his high intellectual powers, and who enjoys a celebrity greater than any which can be conferred by the favour of Courts. Michel Chevalier is the ablest political economist on the Continent, he is a man of facts, and of sound and careful reasoning; so that he was eminently fitted to be an expositor of the imperial policy upon whose judgment and integrity the public could rely. He has produced a work upon Mexico* which goes far beyond the scope of the present intervention, and which gives a clear and solid exposition of the condition and history of the country from the earliest times of which we have any knowledge down to the present day. Although warmly approving the motive which led to the Napoleonic intervention in Mexico, he nowhere shows the slightest trace of the spirit of a partisan. He views everything clearly and dispassionately, and takes full account of the difficulties which beset this attempt to establish a stable Mexican empire.
The greatest danger which besets the new empire, manifestly arises from the ill-will with which the Americans of the United States will regard an undertaking which has for its object to rob them of their prey. Either the new Mexican empire must be established on solid foundations before the termination of the civil war in the United States, or the project will run a
great risk of failure. vinces of Sonora and Lower California, especially, with their rich mines, will tempt the cupidity of the Americans in California; and these provinces lie so remote from the capital, and the means of communication with them are so extremely defective, that the Mexican Government will have much difficulty in defending them in the event of their being attacked. In order to secure her north-western provinces, adjoining the Pacific, from attack, Mexico must have a fleet, or else obtain the assistance of a naval squadron from France. If the civil war in the United States terminates, as it seems likely to do, in a permanent disruption of the Union, the Mexican Government may find support in one or other of the rival sections into which its colossal neighbour will break up. But this is a very doubtful support to rely upon; and if the Mexicans are wise, they will act as men who know they are enjoying a breathing-time, and that ere long they must confide in their own energies to defend their territories and maintain their independence.
As regards the immediate difficulties which surround the new Government, M. Chevalier evidently considers that the most serious is that which may arise from the conduct of the Pope-from the policy of the very Church which the Emperor takes under his special protection. In order to regenerate Mexico, says M. Chevalier, it is indispensable that the Government should secularise and take into its own management the immense property of the Church; by which means the finances of the State would be placed on a prosperous footing, without really impairing the resources of the clerical body. But the Pope has hitherto shown himself strongly opposed to any such project; and M. Chevalier states that the influence of the clergy is so great among the Mexicans,
*Mexico, Ancient and Modern.' By M. Michel Chevalier, Senator, and Member of the Institute of France.
VOL. XCVI.-NO. DLXXXV.
that no Government can secure an adequate amount of popularity which sets itself in opposition to the Head of the Church. Is, then, the Pope to make the required concession, or is the new Emperor to find himself surrounded by disaffection, arising from the great influence of the clergy over the minds of the people? Before embarking for his new empire, the Archduke visited Rome to obtain the benediction of the Pope, and also doubtless to endeavour to procure a favourable settlement of this important question. We have not heard that the Archduke succeeded in the latter and more important part of his mission. He got a blessing on his voyage, but, probably, a non possumus as regards all else.
Ere this, the new Emperor will have landed at Vera Cruz, amid salvoes of artillery, and will have commenced his royal progress to the capital. On the way, he will have abundant evidence of the fallen condition of the country; and when the magnificent valley of Anahuac opens upon him, he will see how ample are the triumphs which await him if he succeeds in his mission. Doubtless his first act I will be to assemble a council of the notables, the leading men in the country, to ascertain from them the wants of the nation, and to obtain their co-operation in the measures requisite to reorganise the state and regenerate the people. Order must first be established, and the administrative system put upon an efficient footing. The work of regeneration will necessarily be a slow one, and years must elapse before much progress can be made in awaking the energies and developing the resources of the country. Mexico is almost roadless, and the cost and difficulty of transport at present are serious obstacles to the development of the export trade. A railway from Vera Cruz to the capital will probably be the first great public work undertaken by the new Government; and in the execution of this work, foreign capital and enterprise will doubt
less be drawn into the country. The mines of the precious metals will likewise engage the eager attention of the Government, as the most promising of all the immediate resources of the State. Two-thirds of all the silver circulating in the world has been produced from the mines of Mexico. Nevertheless, the mineral wealth of the country can hardly be said to have yet been explored; and probably Humboldt was right in his conjecture, that if the mines of Mexico be adequately worked, Europe will again be inundated with silver as in the sixteenth century. In any case we may expect that, ere long, the produce of the Mexican mines will to a great extent redress the balance of the precious metals, and prevent any derangement in the relative value of gold and silver by adding largely to the supplies of the latter metal. Let us hope also that, as soon as the finances of the State permit, the Emperor will seek to restore his capital-the noblest city which the Spaniards ever built in the New World-to its former splendour, and make it worthy of its magnificent site, which is hardly rivalled, and certainly not surpassed, by any in the world. Let him do in some degree for Mexico what Napoleon has accomplished for Paris. Let him employ the crowds of beggars which disfigure the streets in works of embellishment and public utility-thereby arousing them to a life of honest industry, and at the same time making his renovated capital a beautiful and stately symbol of the happy change which in like manner, we trust, will be accomplished in the country at large.
If the new Emperor has difficulties to encounter, he has also many advantages. Although a stranger, a majority of the people will receive him as a monarch of their own choice, and the remainder will readily acquiesce in the new regime. He has no native rivals: there is no old sovereignty to be overborne -no old traditions of government to be encountered and supplanted.
He is the first monarch after chaos. He succeeds to a long interregnum of anarchy which constitutes a mere blank in the history of the country. His throne will be raised upon ruins which are not of his making -upon the debris of a power which had crumbled into the dust half a century before his arrival. The founding of his empire is like building a city upon the site of another which had long perished, and with which the new one does not enter into rivalry, but simply replaces. England wishes him good-speed. And among the strange events of the future it may possibly happen that the House of Hapsburg may be the head of a great and flourishing empire in the New World after the original empire in Europe has been broken into pieces.
The intervention in Mexico is a remarkable episode in the policy of Napoleon III., and as such will not fail to attract the regard of future historians. It is a task as novel as it is honourable for a monarch to attempt the regeneration of a country other than his own, to carry civilisation and prosperity into a region of the globe where they have fallen into decay, even though he undertook the task primarily with a view to his own interests. To raise a country thrice as large as France from a state of chronic desolation-to pierce it with railways, to reconstruct the old watercourses of irrigation, to reopen the rich mines, and to make the waste places blossom with flowers and fruits and useful plants, is certainly a noble design. And still nobler is it to rescue a population of eight millions from anarchy, demoralisation, and suffering, and to restore to them, in better fashion than they ever had before, the protection of the State and the benefactions of the Church. Lawlessness and rapine, wastefulness and oppression -no public virtue and no private enterprise-such has been the condition of Mexico for many years. Napoleon, it is true, does not undertake to remedy these evils himself, but he has made a beginning, he
has taken the first step, which is proverbially so difficult. He has placed the Mexicans on a vantageground which they could not have obtained for themselves, and he gives to them a Government temporarily aided by his troops, recognised by the Powers of Europe, and possessing a fair amount of credit in other countries, by which the work of regenerating the moral and material condition of Mexico may be carried out. He has cleared away the old obstructions—he has founded the new empire; and whatever be the ultimate results of his enterprise, he has thereby added fresh laurels to his renown, which are all the more honourable since they are voted to him by the world at large.
So far as it has gone, the intervention has been successful, and the Napoleonic idea has a good prospect of being fully realised. Meanwhile two important ends have been attained. The expedition has paid its expenses-the cost of the intervention is to be refunded to France by the new Government, which likewise takes upon itself the charge of maintaining the French troops which are to be left in Mexico. The enterprise, moreover, has successfully engaged the thoughts of the French people during a period when the Emperor found it advisable to remain at peace in Europe. France is still in a condition in which the stimulus of military action abroad is requisite to keep her quiescent at home. The Emperor's Mexican idea has served this purpose as well as others. And Europe has been thankful that the French have been amused otherwise than at her expense. But the Mexican idea, so far as regards the direct action of France, is now at an end; and, looking at the circumstances of Europe as well as at the fact that the Emperor's hands are again free, we think the Continental Powers may now feel as King John did when, at the close of the tournament at Ashby de la Zouch, he received the brief but significant warning, "The devil has got loose."
THE LONDON ART-SEASON.
THE three leading Exhibitionsthe Academy, the Old Water-Colour, and the New Water-Colour are at least of average interest and merit. Indeed, the general opinion is, that the collective pictures of the year show, if slow, at all events steady and satisfactory progress upon the pictorial products of previous seasons. It is true that no new or startling phenomena have arisen-that no star or comet of surpassing magnitude has come to shed unaccustomed brilliancy over the world of Art. Still, light is not lacking to our hemisphere, nor beauty wanting to the painter's fair creations. The power which belongs to knowledge, the charm which pertains to simple truth, and the reward that follows on honest labour, each year, even in the absence of long-looked-for and oftpromised genius, give to our English school accumulative worth. And, moreover, other causes cooperate towards this progression, over which, with reason, we rejoice. England has reached that point in the history of nations when the arts are accustomed to spring into luxuriant growth. She has long passed the period of pinching penury, wherein imagination is ofttimes stunted and starved. She
has, at least in her higher classes, escaped from the drudgery which, while it wears away the body, grinds down the mind which makes the finer senses of humanity obtuse, and too often darkens the eye to the beauty of the outward creation. England, we say, has, in the onward march of her civilisation, left in the path behind these arid tracts, and now enters a garden of delight, redolent with flowers. And of all the gems which adorn daily life—of all the decorations which add charm to our homes pictures are, perhaps, the most sought after. And as this demand is each year growing in its compass,
and as the taste of purchasers becomes from day to day more highly educated, so are our English artists stimulated by increased reward, and yet, at the same time, held in wholesome check by the discriminative power of public opinion. Still further, the advance which has been made in all branches of knowledge, the development of inductive science, especially in those departments which lie close upon nature, and the extraordinary activity which, in every direction, has seized upon the human intellect, ever eager to enter on new enterprise-these restless motions in the universal mind rendering absolute stagnation, even within the tranquil world of art, impossible-have imparted to our painters corresponding impulse. Moreover, we think, notwithstanding occasional symptoms to the contrary, that enterprise of intellect is now more than formerly governed by sobriety of judgment; that imagination, though at seasons ready to break wildly loose, is in the end reined in by sober sense. The drama, indeed, may degenerate for short intervals into sensational excess; romances may, in the hands of some writers, indulge in extravagance; but before long we can rest satisfied that truth to nature and allegiance to conscience as the silent yet potent witness to rectitude, will obtain the ascendance. And thus it is within the special sphere of pictorial art likewise: mistaken ardour may for a time mislead; extravagance such as that of which the so-called Preraphaelites were guilty may for a few short years betray the inexperience of youth; but in the end we can be sure, as indeed now we rejoice to be, that in the well-balanced English mind moderation will prevail. Thus have we endeavoured to set forth the reasons why our Exhibitions show amelioration. The causes do not