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Department of Foreign Affairs, we are led to suspect that the working staff under them is by no means so efficient as it ought to be. Upon any other supposition it would involve an unjustifiable slur upon the aspirants for distinction and advancement at Downing-street, that upon occasions of important missions or negociations, instead of employing some of the regular diplomatic servants of the crown, amateur diplomatists, sought out from amongst the ornamental or influential classes of society, are specially appointed for the purpose. For instance, Lord Durham was sent to Petersburg on a special mission in 1832, and again in 1836; Lord Ashburton went to Washington in 1842, to settle the Maine boundary dispute ; when he pusillanimously surrendered every point in contention, for the sake of peace,-signing a treaty which was at the time but too justly stigmatized as a “capitulation.” Then the late Lord Lyons, after nearly forty years service in the Navy; was appointed to diplomatic posts in Greece, Switzerland, and Sweden, but afterwards returned to his original profession, leaving his son to take up his honours in diplomacy. Then we find Mr. Cobden taken from amongst the lay element to negociate a commercial treaty with France ;* and lastly, we

* In mentioning the name of this eminent and patriotic man, we by no means would imply any opinion upon the soundness of his principles, or the value of his public services ; we only suggest that his employment in the public service at all, implies a sad want of ability in the staff of the Foreign Office to deal with great international commercial questions; a want which, to an especially commercial nation, must be peculiarly disadvantageous.

have Lord de Grey and Sir Stafford Northcote, and Professor Bernard, of Oxford, three distin. guished amateurs, who never broke lance in diplomatic encounter, deputed to Washington last year to settle in an "amicable” manner

a whole string of disputes which had exhausted the best energies of the sharpest men on both sides of the water for many years past; the result being a treaty of which every article involves an igno. minious surrender of rights, or principles (to say nothing of rights abandoned by omission),-and all for what ?--for the sake of peace, in the interests of trade. So true is it that our present international policy--if we can be said to have any too 'generally takes its key-note from what is called the “tone of the market."

WEAKNESS OF OUR RECENT FOREIGN POLICY.

It is not to be disguised that concurrently with, and probably as a natural consequence of, that want of astuteness and trained ability in our diplomatic agents, of which we have complained, there has of late occurred a marked and habitual failure in conduct, as regards consistency and vigour of action, and that conservative principle which should jealously guard the national rights and interests by the stern principles of national law. In obedience to vague notions of philanthropy and generosity which have recently got into vogue with us, it has come to be considered noble to abandon constitutional rights and safe-guards, in a vain

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belief of promoting a reciprocally friendly spirit amongst our neighbours when we happen to have dealings with them. The idea, however, is a sad mistake. Never was a greater error than to talk of "friendship” in diplomacy ;-wherein Monarchs and their Ministers have invariably shown themselves more bitter in hostility, more selfish in purpose, unscrupulous as to means to be adopted, more ruthless as to results, than in the field of war itself ! With such customers to deal with, nothing should be left to honour, much less to generosity. A few instances will suffice to illustrate the way in which England, in obedience to a mistaken chivalrous or confiding policy, has lost ground amongst her neighbours, sacrificing her interests, receding from her position of dignity, or waiving distinct rights; and how this policy has often been more or less influenced by party motives at home.

To begin, was there anything so glorious or satisfactory in the Treaty of Paris, of 1856, which closed the disastrous Crimean War, that we shouid have been called upon to make a heavy sacrifice of belligerent rights in honour of it, and that in deference to the wish, and in furtherance of the traditional policy, of the haughty foe whom we had vanquished, but not subdued ? Yet so it was, that the ink was scarcely dry in the pen which signed that unworthy treaty, when Count Walewski, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a jaunty, offhand manner, induced the assembled plenipotentiaries, in the interests of “humanity and civilization,” to put their hands to a “Declaration,"

abolishing privateering, protecting enemies' goods under a neutral flag, and neutrals' goods under an enemy's flag, and denouncing what are termed paper blockades."

These principles, so largely and exclusively affecting the belligerent rights of maritime powers, amongst whom Great Britain stands in the foremost rank, were promptly agreed to, as was also a provision for submitting them to the other powers for their acceptance. It was little thought of doubtless at the time, that these principles, with the exception of the first, were but a revival of, and improvement upon the famous declaration of “armed neutrality,” which Catherine II. of Russia propounded, and, in combination with other States, endeavoured to force upon Great Britain in 1780, with the sole and averred purpose, of destroying her maritime superiority; a hostile combination which we so gloriously faced and resisted then, and have ever since repudiated. Is the world now grown so wise in its own conceit-is statesmanship so superior in perception and judgment to that in the time of our fathers, that we should lightly disregard the principles which they considered essential to the national dignity and power? And is it not somewhat worthy of remark, that whilst some score or two of states, great and small, who have all to gain and nothing to lose by the change, have responded in the affirmative to the appeal to recognize this new maritime code, the United States of America, being the maritime power next in importance to ourselves, has declined to do so ? But, indeed, all pretences to restrict the natural rights of nations, and to surrender generally, in times of peace, the powers of war, are but futile; and there can, as we apprehend and hope, be little doubt that in any future case of belligerency, no British Government will hold itself too stringently bound by the restraints of the “Declaration of Paris," should the success of the war, and the safety of the state be seemingly prejudiced by them.

In the course of the late Franco-German war we suffered indignities, and committed absurdities utterly incompatible with all idea of a great power in Europe. When Count Bernstorff, in the name of the Prussian Government, sent a stern letter of rebuke for our not having interfered to prevent the export of horses, coals, and arms to France, instead of boldly repudiating the correspondence as being upon a subject on which the Prussian Government had no right to address us, Earl Granville condescended to enter upon a dicsussion in which he certainly justified our conduct, though at the sacrifice of the national dignity which was prejudiced by offering any justification at all.

When the German Army of the North was at Rouen, a detachment of this force seized six British colliers, which were peaceably lying in the Seine, near Havre, and after forcibly carrying away the crews, and casting them helpless on shore, on the very field of hostilities, then actually going on, they proceeded to scuttle and sink these ships in order to obstruct the passage of some French gun boats which were supposed to be approaching. And what was done by our Government to vindicate the hon

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