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CONTINENTAL REVOLUTIONS-IRISH REBELLION-ENGLISH DISTRESS.
SEVEN months have barely elapsed to which its finances, under present since the throne of Louis Philippe management, seemed unequal-having was overturned, by a sudden and borrowed £8,000,000 in a single year well-concerted urban tumult; and six of general peace-seemed shaken to have not expired since the fervour its foundation. The distress so geneof revolution invaded the Germanic rally diffused by the combined effect empire, and Italy, torn by the inno- of free trade and a fettered currency, vating passions, commenced a strife appeared at once to have dried up its with the Austrian power. How mar- material resources and overturned vellous have been the changes, how the wonted stability of the navehement the action, how powerful tional mind : every thing seemed to the reaction, since those events com- be returning to chaos; and even the menced! Involved in the whirlwind most sanguine advocates of human of anarchy, the greater as well as perfectibility, the most devout bethe lesser states of Germany seemed to lievers in democratic regeneration, be on the verge of destruction. Aus- looked on with trembling anxiety, tria, tormented by diversity of line- and could hardly anticipate any other age, race, and interest, seemed to be result from the disturbed passions of irrevocably broken up; and amidst society, but a general and sanguinary the rebellion in Lombardy, the seve. war, terminating in the irresistible rance of Venice, the insurrection in ascendency of one victorious power, Bohemia, and the fierce demand of or possibly a fresh inundation, over the Hungarians for independence, it the exhausted field of European strife, seemed scarcely possible to hope that of northern barbarians. the house of Hapsburg could main. But truth is great, and will pretain its existence, or the important vail. There are limits imposed by element of Austria in the balance of the wisdom of nature to the madness European power be preserved. Torn of the people, not less than the strife by contending passions, a prey to of the elements. Extraordinary conthe ambition of the republicans, the vulsions seldom fail to restore godreams of the socialists, and the in- vernment, after a time, to a bearable dignation of the loyalists, France form : the letting loose of the pasresembled a fiery volcano in the sions of nations ere long rouses the moment of irruption, of which the feelings and alarms the interests, which throes were watched by surrounding produce reaction, and restore the subnations with trembling anxiety for verted equilibrium of society. Men their own existence. Italy, with will not be permanently ruled by Sicily severed from the throne of brutal force. Triumph reveals the Naples ; Rome in scarcely disguised latent tyranny of the multitude ; insurrection against the Papal antho- power brings to light the selfishness rity; Lombardy, Tuscany, and Venice and rapacity of their leaders. How in open revolt; and Piedmont, under strikingly have those truths—so often revolutionary guidance, commencing enunciated, so little attended to-been the usual system of external demo- demonstrated by the events of the cratic aggression, scarcely presented last summer! Six months only have a spot on which the eye of hope could elapsed, and what years, what cenrest. Prussia, the first to be reached turies of experience have been passed by the destructive flame, seemed so during that brief period! How many strongly excited, that it was hard to delusions has it seen dispelled, and say whether its national unity or fallacies exposed; how many premonarchical institutions would first tensions levelled, and expectations fall to pieces. England, assailed by blasted; how many reputations wiChartism in the one island, and the thered, and iniquities detected ! How approaching insurrection of the Irish much has the peril of inflammatory in the other; oppressed with a debt language been demonstrated, and the hollowness of revolutionary regene- from the north that a new Arminius ration established ! how quickly have is to issue, to assert the liberties of words been blown into the air by the great Teutonic family of mankind? deeds, and the men of eloquence Turn to Berlin, and see to what a supplanted by those of the sword! pitiable degree of weakness revolu*+ Words," says Lamartine,* “set na- tionary triumphs have reduced the tions on fire; bayonets alone restore monarchy of the Great Frederick. Bethem to reason." Who has furnished hold its monarch and its army desuch a commentary on these words as feated by a band of students and Lamartine himself ?
shop-boys; its arsenal pillaged by Is it the doctrines of the French an insurgent mob; and the power Revolution which were deemed seduc- which withstood the banded strength tive, its principles insinuating, its of Europe, a century ago, and example dangerous ? The Red Re- fronted Napoleon in the plenitude of publicans, the insurrection of June, the his power, waging a doubtful and agslaughter of a greater number of men gressive war with Denmark, a fifthin a single revolt than has taken place rate power, and paralysed by proin many a decisive battle, the withering cessions of apprentices, and the meagony of Parisian destitution, the ten naces of trades-unions, in the capital. thousand captives in its dungeons; Is it Ireland that is regarded as the the nightly transportation, for weeks sheet-anchor of the cause of revolutogether, of hundreds of deluded fana- tion, and from the Emerald Isle that tics; the state of siege,-the pros- the bands of heroes are to issue who tration of freedom, a military dicta. are to crush the tyranny of England, torship, rise up in grim and hideous restore the freedom of the seas, and array to dispel the illusion. Is it the avenge the long quarrel of the Celt Io Pæans of Italian regeneration which with the Saxon? It is in Boulagh Comhave caused the heart of the pa- mon that we must look for the exploits triot to throb all over the world, and of the new Spartan heroes, and among led the enthusiastic to anticipate a the widow's cabbages we must search second era of Italian independence in for the grave of a modern Leonidas! the old age of its civilisation? The Is it in the energy, courage, and perdefeats on the Adige, the fall of Milan, severance of the army of Tipperary, the dispersion of the Lombard and that we must find the realisation of Tuscan levies, tell us how miserable the long-cherished hopes of Irish inwas the delusion on which such ex- dependence, and the demonstration pectations rested, and how vain is the of the solid foundation on which the hope that a selfish and worn-out na much vaunted prospects of Hibernian tion, destitute alike of civil firmness success against British oppression is or military courage, can successfully to be founded! It must augment the establish its independence. Is it from admiration which all the world must Rome that this regeneration of society feel at the gallant conduct of the Irish, is expected to arise, and the reform- in this memorable struggle, to reflect ing pope who is to be the Peter the that they owed their success to themHermit of the new crusade in favour of selves alone; that none of their arms the liberties of mankind ? Behold him had been purchased, nor preparations now trembling in his palace, bereft of made, with the wealth of the stranger; authority, deprived of consideration; that they had spurned the charity of hated, despised, discrowned; wait- England as proudly as they had reing to see which of the Tramon- pelled its arms; and that, whatever tane powers is to send a regiment could be cast up against them, this, of horse to receive the keys of the at least, could not be said, that they Eternal City, and give a lasting had evinced ingratitude for recent ruler to the former mistress of the benefits, or eat the bread of their beneworld.
factor while they were preparing to Is it Prussia that is to take the lead pierce him to the heart ! in the regeneration of the world, and Memorable, indeed, has been the
* Lamartine, Histoire des Girondins, i. 83.
year which has given these examples, which braved the storm under which and taught these lessons, to mankind. the world was reeling. History will be sought in vain for a Nor is the moral lesson less striking, period in which, during so short a or less important, which France, during time, so many important political the same period, has read to mankind. truths were unfolded, so many moral She has not, on this occasion, been precepts taught, by suffering; or in assailed by the Continental powers. which, after being for a season ob- No Pitt or Cobourg has stood forth to scared by clouds, the polar star of mar, by ensanguined hostility, the religion and duty has shone forth with bright aurora of her third Revolution. so bright a lustre. It is a proud thing No Louis Philippe has stepped in, to for England to reflect on the exalted change its character or intercept its post she has occupied during this consequences, and reap for royalty marvellous and trying time. While the fruits of insurrection. No bands other nations, possessed of far greater of Cossacks or plumed Highlanders military forces, were reeling under have again approached the capital of the shock, or prostrated by the trea civilisation, to wrest from Freedom chery and treason of their defenders, the rights she has acquired, or tear she alone has repelled the danger by from her brows the glory she has won. the constable's baton. She has neither Whatever she has gained, or suffered, augmented her army, nor increased or lost, has been owing to herself, and her navy; she has not added a gun to herself alone. Europe has looked on her ships, nor a bayonet to her batta- in anxious, it may be affrighted, neulions. She has neither yielded to the trality. Though undermined every violence of the Revolutionists, nor where by the spirit of propagandism, been guilty of deeds of cruelty to re- though openly assailed in some quarpress them. If her government is to ters by scarcely disguised attacks, blame for their conduct during the the adjoining powers have abstained crisis, it is for having been too lenient from any act of hostility. Albeit -for having dallied too long with agi- attacked by a revolutionary expeditation, and winked at sedition till it tion, fitted out and armed by the grew into treason. A fault it un- French government at Paris, Belgium doubtedly has been, for it has brought has attempted no act of retaliation. matters to a crisis, and caused the Victorious Austria, though grievously ultimate outbreak to be repressed with provoked, has accepted the mediation far greater and more unavoidable se- of France and England : when Turin verity than would have been required was at his mercy, the triumphant if the first merciful coercion had taken Radetsky sheathed his victorious place. Had the Habeas Corpus Act sword at Milan, and sought not to been suspended in November, and revenge on Piedmont the unprovoked the farce of Irish patriotism been hin- aggression which its revolutionary dered from turning into a burlesque government had committed on the tragedy, for one person whom it would Imperial dominions in Italy. Russia have been necessary to imprison or has armed, but not moved ; the Czar transport, fifty must now undergo has left to the patriotism and valour that punishment. Yet is this leniency of Denmark the burden of a contest or temporisation, misplaced as it was, with the might of revolutionised Gerand calamitous as it has turned out, many. Revolution has every where a proud passage in England's story. It had fair play; a clear stage and no is some consolation to reflect that favour has been accorded to it by all she conquered the revolutionary spirit, the surviving monarchies in Europe. by which so many of the military mo. The enthusiasm of Lamartine, the innarchies of Europe had been pro- trigues of Caussidière, the dreams of strated, by moral strength alone; that Louis Blanc, the ambition of Ledru scarce a shot was fired in anger by Rollin, have been allowed their full her troops, and not a drop of blood development. Nothing has interwas shed on the scaffold; and that cepted the realisation of their proundue forbearance and lenity is the jects. If France has suffered beyond only fault which, during the crisis, all precedent from her convulsion; if can be imputed to the government her finances are in a state of hopeless embarrassment; if forty-five per cent acing in England, it was not that the has been added to her direct taxes, executive was more powerful or effiand the addition cannot be levied cient in this country, but that the from the public distress; if three hun English mind was slower to take fire dred thousand men have been added than on the other side of the Channel, to her regular army; if poverty and and that more weighty interests redestitution stalk through her streets; quired to be subverted among the if her jails teem with ten thousand Saxons than the Celts, before the insticaptives, and thousands of families tutions of society were overturned, mourn a father or a brother slain on and anarchy, plunder, and spoliation, the barricades, or transported for became the order of the day. Yet civil war,—the cause is to be found in even here there were many indications the Revolution, and the Revolution of Government having become paraalone.
lysed, and lamentable proof that the The terrible and tragic result of the public tranquillity was preserved, strife in the streets of Paris in June, more by the moderation of its assailhas done scarcely a less service to ants than the strength of its defenders. mankind, by opening the eyes of the The violence and general impunity of world to the real nature of crimes the trades-unions, in both England and which recent events had rendered po. Scotland; the open and undisguised pular, and restoring their old and just preparations of the Chartists in both appellation to acts of the deepest atro- countries; the toleration in the metrocity, which the general delusion had polis, on two different occasions, of a caused to pass for virtues. Since the Chartist Convention, which aspired at successful result of the Revolt of the usurping the government of the counBarricades in 1830, the ideas of men try; the uniform and atrocious viohave been so entirely subverted, that lence of the revolutionary press; the no government was practicable in entire impunity with which, on every France but that of corruption or the occasion, the most dangerous sedition sword; and treason and sedition ap- was spouted on the platform, or repeared to have been blotted out of the tailed in the columns of the journals ; list of crimes in the statute-book of the open preparation, at last, of treaEngland. So licentious had the age sonable measures ; and the organisabecome, and so much was government tion of the disaffected in clubs, where paralysed by terror at the unprece- arms were distributed, and projects of dented turn which the public mind rebellion, massacre, and conflagration had taken, that, in Ireland especially, hatched-were so many indications, it can scarcely be said, for the last ten and that, too, of the most alarming years, that, in regard to state offences, kind, that matters were approaching there has been any government at all. a crisis in these islands; and that the The Repeal agitation-the wholesale paralysis and imbecility of a Governliberation of prisoners by Lord Nor- ment which had ceased to discharge manby--the unchecked monster meet. its functions, might prove, as it did in ings,—the quashing of O'Connell's con- France in the feeble hands of Louis viction by the casting vote of one XVI., the precursor of a dreadful and Whigpeer, in opposition to the opinion disastrous convulsion. of the twelve judges of England-the Thanks to the French revolution unparalleled and long-continued vio- and Irish rebellion, this state of matlence of the treasonable press in Dub- ters has met, for the time at least, lin-the open drilling and arming of with a decisive check. The eyes of the people in the south and west of men have been opened ; things are Ireland—the undisguised announce- called by their right name. We again ment of an approaching insurrection, hear of treason and sedition-words, of of which the time was openly fixed late years, so much gone into disuse for the completion of harvest-were so that the rising generation scarcely many indications that Government had knew what they meant. In France the become paralysed, and ceased to dis- heroes of the barricades bave ceased charge its functions, in the neighbour to be lauded as the greatest of men. ing island.
Insurrection is no longer preached as If matters were not as yet so men- the first of social duties. That which
was the chief of civic virtues on the “Martyrs' Monument” in Edinburgh 24th February has become the great stands as a durable monument of their est of civic crimes on the 24th June. sympathy. Lord Campbell, in his The soldiers of treason no longer meet Lives of the Chancellors, has in bitter with an honoured sepulchre, nor, if sui- terms exhaled their collected indigviving, are they fêted and caressed by nation. But scarcely was the ink of royal hands. If killed, they are thrust his lordship's lucubrations dry, when into undistinguished graves ; if taken he saw fit, as a member of Lord John alive, they are immured in dungeons Russell's cabinet, to bring in a bill to or transported. Universal suffrage has assimilate the punishment of sedition done that which royalty was too in- in Ireland to the old law of Scotland ; dulgent or too timorous to do it has and under it Mitchell has been transceased the dallying with treason. It ported fourteen, and Martin ten years has fought the Red Republic with its the very punishments inflicted for own weapon, and conquered in the similar offences on Muir and Fische strife. It has erected a military des Palmer. The difference is, that for potism in the great revolutionised one person transported or imprisoned capital. Industry, almost destroyed under Mr Pitt's system of timely coby the first triumph of anarchy in ercion and prevention, in 1793, in Great France, is slowly reviving under the Britain and Ireland, a hundred will protection of absolute power. With be transported or imprisoned under suppression of the trade of the jour- the Whig system of long temporisanaliste," the “ émeutier," and the tion and final repression, in 1848. So " homme des barricades," other true it is, that undue weakness in the branches of employment are at length prevention of crime is the inevitable beginning to revive.*
parent of undue sternness in its puNor is the change less remarkable. nishment, and that in troubled times in Great Britain, where government government incur the reality of sevehave not only followed Mr Pitt's ex- rity to avoid its imputation. ample of suspending the Habeas Cor- Not less important, to the final pus Act in Ireland, but have passed a interests of mankind, is the exposure special statute, assimilating for two of the real designs and objects of the years the punishment of aggravated revolutionary party, over the world, cases of sedition to what it was by which has now taken place. The the old common law of Scotland. days of delusion are gone past; words Great was the abuse which the Whig have ceased to mislead men as to the writers for half a century bestowed nature of things. For half a cenon the Scotch Judges in 1793, for ap- tury, men have been continually misplying the punishment of the Scotch led by the generous and elevated law to the sedition of 1793, and trans language under which the democratic porting Muir and Fische Palmer, for party veiled their real designs. The trying to force on a revolution by strength of revolution consists in the means of a national convention. The power it possesses of rousing effort
* The Prefect of Police had published an account of the situation of Paris during the last ten days, in which he states that the most perfect tranquillity prevailed in the capital ; that confidence was beginning to revive on every point ; that a slow but incontestible progress manifested itself in every branch of industry ; and that at no former period, and under no previous regimen, did Paris offer more respect for persons or more security for property. Orders were arriving from the departments. The manufacture of articles of luxury and jewellery partook of that resuscitation, as appears from the returns of the inspector-general of the hall-mark at the mint of Paris. The articles of jewellery completed and ordered during the last five months produced the following receipts :-in April, 9,000f.; May, 11,000f.; June, 17,000f.; July, 19,000f.; August, 36,000f. The number of workmen reduced by distress to reside in lodging-houses had considerably diminished. In the preceding bulletin their number was 31,480 ; it is now 27,308—17,977 of whom were employed, and 9,331 unoccupied. The houses of confinement contained nearly the same number of ordinary prisoners, and only 4,058 insurgents of June ; 2,909 of the latter had been liberated since the 26th of July, and 1,005 conveyed to Havre between the 28th of August and the 4th of September. From the 26th of August to the 5th of September, nine persons committed suicide.-Times, Sept. 11, 1848.