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closely, it is a question of no little importance to England, for whom trade is the breath of life, and who would cease at once to be one of the great powers of Europe were she by any accident to lose her maritime and commercial supremacy. If she can check the further advance of Russia eastward, shut her ont from the Black Sea and the Baltic, and restore the Asiatic provinces now held by her to the porte, she secures for some time to come her present greatness. On the part of France, we apprehend the motive of the war is the reëstablishment and consolidation of the Napoleonic empire, or rather that of Charlemagne, which was the dazzling dream of the Corsican. On the part of England, it is to destroy Russia as a maritime power, which she has latterly bid fair to become, and to maintain her own commercial supremacy; which, howerer, let her do the best, if our government will shake off the remains of our colonial dependence, will before long be peaceably wrested from her by our growing republic.
The moral and religious interests involved count for something, we think, with the czar; for he is, we believe, sincerely and earnestly religious in his way, which is more than we would venture to affirm of either of his western opponents. As to France and England, we do not believe any motive but that of territorial aggrandizement with the one, and commercial supremacy with the other, has the least weight. We believe that there are millions of good, sincere, devoted Catholics in France, much true, ardent and enlightened piety amongst the French people, but we have not the least confidence in the religion of the French government, with its Gallican traditions. Under Louis Philippe, and especially under the republic, the French church spoke with a free, bold, earnest, and commanding voice. She was the admiration and glory of the Catholic world. She has been dumb since the coup d'état, or eloquent only in eulogies on her new master. At least, we hear her voice at this distance only when raised in glorification of France and her new emperor. The three years of the republic did more for the church in France than is likely to be done in half a century by the empire. Better the persecution of a Diocletian, than the courtly favors of a Constantius. The church in France prospers most when thrown back upon its own resources, and grows weak and helpless in proportion as nursed and petted by the secular government. The emperor may be a sincere Catholic in his faith, and far be it from us to question it; but he has shown no quality that would induce us to rely on him as a Catholic chief. He is the last sovereign in Europe, in cominunion with the church, that we should rely on to make any sacrifice for religion, or to promote Catholic interests any further than he can make them subservient to his own secular ambition.
We are well aware that many Catholics at home and abroad regard the present war as a sort of holy war against Russia, and think we ought to pray for the success of the allies. We do not agree with them. If Rome speaks officially on the subject, we shall know the part we are to take; but an unofficial voice even from Rome would not weigh much with us at the present moment, for we remember Rome is held by French troops, and we are not sure that people there are more free than they are in France to question French policy. We should be glad to be assured that the French troops are not at Rome to protect French interests, as much as they are to sustain the Holy Father against the outbreaks of the red-republicans. We are not surprised that, in Great Britain and France, our brethren should express sympathy with the allies. Loyalty in the former, and the paternal character of the government in the latter, are sufficient to account for it. Moreover, the success of Russia would bode no good to the Catholic cause, and we believe that so far as Catholic interests in the East are con(erned, they would be better protected under the sultan than under the czar. So far we agree with those of our brethren who side with the allies. But the sultan's independence is an empty word, and the success of the allies, will place Turkey under the administration of the ambassadors of the western powers, and Catholic interests will be sacrificed by France in order to secure the coöperation of Protestant England, as we have already seen in the recent interference of the British ambassador at Constantinople to prevent the Ottoman porte from conceding the demand of the French ambassador in favor of a certain number of Catholic Hellenes. The French ambassador was firm, indeed, and obtained his point, at least partially, but, if the papers may be believed, was instantly recalled by his government, who wished no religious question to be allowed to interfere with politics. The fact that France is acting in concert with England, or rather the fact that France has urged and induced England to act in concert with her, not only proves that Catholic interests are not consulted in the war, but that, whenever they come up, they must be sacrificed on the altar of the English alliance; and we do not think them one whit safer under Protestant England than under schismatic Russia.
A great injury is done and will be done to the Catholic cause in the East by the allies. The schismatic Greeks and Armenians were beginning to manifest dispositions favorable to unity; but the decided stand taken by France, and even Austria, against the independence of the Christian nations subjected by the Turks, will turn all their national feelings and love of liberty against Catholicity, and in favor of Russia and schism. Russia appears on the scene as the defender of religious liberty and oppressed nationalities. The representative of the Catholic world appears as the enemy of those nationalities, and as the friend and ally of the oppressor. The scandal to Catholicity thus occasioned is not easily estimated. France in old times appeared in the East as the defender of the Cross against the Crescent. She appears there to-day as the defender of the Crescent against the Cross. She may deny it, but so will the eastern Christians, deprived of the opportunity of recovering their long-lost nationality by French forces fighting on the side of the Turkish, believe, so they will feel, and no declaration of hers will suffice to disabuse them, if indeed they are disabused. We do not think Catholic interests had any thing to hope from Russia, but we think they have much to fear from the allies.
What will be the issue of this unjust and unprovoked war, it is as difficalt to foresee as it is to get any reliable information as to its present condition. While we are writing, the report is that Austria and Prussia have taken a decided stand against Russia. It may be so, and they may join the western powers; and if they do, they may possilly turn the scale against Russia, but not, we apprehend, in the long run, to their own advantage, for the success of the allies will render France a more dangerous enemy to Germany than Russia. If Austria turns her arms against Russia in the present crisis, she will not have Russia to sustain her when France has armed all Italy and Hungary against her. Nothing could justify Austria in making war on Russia but a determination on the part of the czar to take permanent possession of the Danubian principalities, of which we have as yet seen no evidence.
We hope Germany will maintain an armed neutrality, but not take any active part on either side, unless to step in at the conclusion to make herself heard in determining the disposition to be made of the remains of the Ottoman empire.
If left to themselves, France and England may possibly prevent Russia from crossing the Balkan, may destroy her Heets, bombard a few of her towns, and injure her trade and maritime coasts; but they will not subdue her, or materially weaken her power. Russia we do not think is so powerful for foreign conquest as she has been represented; but she is able to defend herself against all Europe. The western powers will not conquer her, or make her sue for peace. She can protract the war till their resources are exhausted, and in the mean time she may find a not insig. nificant ally in the United States. The Anglo-French alliance bodes us no more good than it does Russia, and it is as hostile to our interests as to hers. We can never consent to let a European power have possession of Central America, destined to be the key to the commerce of the world. Yet if the alliance continues, and succeeds against Russia, Great Britain will, in spite of us, get command of that important part of the New World. It will not answer for us to suffer Russia to be annihilated as a maritime power. Our policy should be close alliance with Russia, Spain, and all the American states. When alliances are formed against us, we must form them in our fa
With Russia we can have no conflict of interests, and we ought to have none with Spain and Spanish America. We are not in favor of proclaiming what is called the Monroe doctrine, but we are in favor of acting on it, and we are very likely to have occasion to act on it against England and France. This opinion is rapidly spreading throughout the Union. If reports may be credited, we shall settle our difficulties amicably with Spain and Mexico, and prepare the way for the combination of interests not precisely in accordance with those of the Anglo-French alliance. In this combination Russia will be included.
Our army and navy make at present no great show, but we could in a short time have a fleet afloat that would obstinately, and not unsuccessfully, perhaps, dispute with Great Britain the empire of the ocean, if necessary.
We are glad to see that congress has voted an increase of the navy. We hope it will vote a much larger increase. Our
merchant marine is second only to that of Great Britain, and we ought as a naval power to be second to none. Our great battles will all have to be fought on the ocean, for we have no powerful neighbors on land. The time has come when we must assume our proper place among the great powers, and we can do it only by a navy that enables us to cope with that of the greatest maritime power.
RUSSIA AND THE WESTERN POWERS.
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for January, 1855.]
A DISTINGUISHED Scottish gentleman, with an historical Dame, and for whose character, intelligence, and noble purposes we entertain the highest respect, has written us a song letter, complaining of our supposed Russian partialities, and endeavoring to convince us that, as a Catholic in religion and a conservative in politics, we onght to sympathize with France and England in their efforts to resist Russian aggression. We attach so much importance to his communication, and are so willing to listen to all that can be said against Russia from the Catholic and conservative point of view, that we most cheerfully comply with his request, so modestly and respectfully presented, to lay the copy of the communication made to Cardinal Antonelli, which he incloses, and the more important passages of bis letter, before our readers.
LA RUSSIE UNE PUISSANCE RÉVOLUTIONNAIRE. “Le sous signé ne doute pas que plusieurs des considérations suivantes n'aient déjà fixé l'attention de ceux qui occupent des places émi. nentes dans les différents états de l'Europe. Malgré cela il croit remplir un devoir en venant exposer brièvement ses convictions sur ce sujet.
“Il commencera par faire mention de ses propres expériences.
“Il y a envirou 15 ans que l'Angleterre fut ouvertement menacée d'un mouvement révolutionnaire dans les villes manufacturières, dans le pays de Galles, dans d'autres districts qui abondent en minéraux, et