Imágenes de páginas

French took care that the import, great risk of failure. The protance and true character of his de- vinces of Sonora and Lower Calisign should be generally known fornia, especially, with their rich No man knows better than he the mines, will tempt the cupidity of the power which a policy derives from Americans in California; and these the support of public opinion. He provinces lie so remote from the wished to get the moral sense of capital, and the means of communiEurope on his side, and to prove to cation with them are so extremely France that the "idea" was one defective; that the Mexican Governwhich was worthy of a great nation ment will have much difficulty in dewhich aspires to be the leader offending them in the event of their civilisation. He intrusted the task being attacked." In order to secure of exposition to one of his Senators her north-western provinces, adjoinwhose character for impartiality is ing the Pacific, from attack, Mexico as well known as his high intel- must have a fleet, or else obtain the lectual powers, and who enjoys a assistance of a naval squadron from celebrity greater than any which France. If the civil war in the can be conferred by the favour of United States terminates, as it Courts. Michel Chevalier is the seems likely to do, in a permanent ablest political economist on the disruption of the Union, the MexiContinent, he is a man of facts, ..can Government may find support and of sound and careful reasoning; in one or other of the rival sections so that he was eminently fitted to into which its colossal neighbour be an expositor of the imperial will break up. But this is a very policy upon whose judgment and doubtful support to rely upon; and integrity the public could rely. He if the Mexicans are wise, they will has produced a work upon Mexico* act as men who know they are enwhich goes far beyond the scope of joying a breathing time, and that ere the present intervention, and which long they must confide in their own gives a clear and solid exposition energies to defend their territories of the condition and history of the and maintain their independence. country from the earliest times of . As regards the immediate diffiwbich we have any knowledge culties which surround the new down to the present day. Although "Government, M. Chevalier . eviwarmly approving the motive which dently considers that the most seriled to the Napoleonic intervention ous is that which may arise from in Mexico, he nowhere shows the the conduct of the Pope --- from the slightest tráce of the spirit of a par- policy of the very Church which tisan. He views everything clearly the Emperor takes under his special and dispassionately, and takes full protection. In order to regenerate account of the difficulties which Mexico, says M. Chevalier, it is inbeset this attempt to establish a dispensable that the Government stable Mexican empire.

should secularise and take into The greatest danger which besets its own management the immense the new empire, manifestly arises property of the Church ; by which from the ill-will with which the means the finances of the State Americans of the United States would be plated on a prosperous will regard an undertaking which footing, without really impairing bas for its olject to rob them of the resources of the clerical body. their prey. Either the new Mexi- But the Pope has hitherto shown can empire must be established on himself strongly op: osed to any solid four dations before the termi- such project; and M. Chevalier nation of the civil war in the United staies that the influence of the clerStates, or the project will run a gy is so grent among the Mexicans,

Mexico, Ancient and Modern.' By M. Michel Chevalier, Senator, and Member of the Institute of France.

that no Government can secure less be drawn into the country: an adequate amount of popularity The mines of the precious metals which sets itself in opposition to will likewise engage the eager atthe Head of the Church. Is, then, tention of the Government, as the the Pope to make the required con- , most promising of all the immediate cession, or is the new Emperor to resources of the State. Two-thirds find himself surrounded by disaffec- of all the silver circulating in the tion, arising from the great influ- world has been produced from the ence of the clergy over the minds mines of Mexico. Nevertheless, of the people ? Before embarking the mineral wealth of the country for his new empire, the Archduke can hardly be said to have yet been visited Rome to obtain the bene- explored; and probably Humboldt diction of the Pope, and also doubt was right in his conjecture, that if less to endeavour to procure & the mines of Mexico be adequately favourable settlement of this im- worked, Europe will again be inunportant question. We have not dated with silver as in the sixteenth heard that the Archduke succeeded century. In any case we may exin the latter and more important pect that, ere long, the produce of part of his mission. He got a bless, the Mexican mines will to a great ing on his voyage, but, probably, a extent redress the balance of the non possumus as regards all else. precious metals, and prevent any

Ere this, the new Emperor will derangement in the relative value have landed at Vera Cruz, amid of gold and silver by adding largesalvoes of artillery, and will have ly to the supplies of the latter commenced his royal progress to metal. Let us hope also that, as the capital. On the way, he will soon as the finances of the State have abundant evidence of the permit, the Emperor will seek to fallen condition of the country; and restore his capital the noblest city when the magnificent valley of Ana- which the Spaniards ever built in huac opens upon him, he will see the New World to its former how ample are the triumphs which splendour, and make it worthy await him if he succeeds in his of its magnificent site, which is mission. Doubtless his first act hardly rivalled, and certainly not will be to assemble a council of surpassed, by any in the world. the notables, the leading men in the Let him do in some degree for country, to ascertain from them the Mexico what Napoleon has accomwants of the nation, and to obtain plished for Paris. Let him employ their co-operation in the measures the crowds of beggars, which disfirequisite to reorganise the state gure the streets in works of embeland regenerate the people. Order lishment and public utility - theremust first be established, and the by arousing them to a life of honest administrative system put upon an industry, and at the same time efficient footing. The work of re- making his renovated capital a generation will necessarily be a beautiful and stately symbol of the slow one, and years must elapse be- happy change which in like manner, fore much progress can be made we trust, will be accomplished in in awaking the energies and de- the country at large. veloping the resources of the coun. If the new Emperor has difficultry. Mexico is almost roadless, and ties to encounter, he has also many the cost and difficulty of transport advantages. Although a stranger, at present are serious obstacles to a majority of the people will receive the development of the export him as a monarch of their own trade. A railway from Vera Cruz choice, and the remainder will to the capital will probably be the readily acquiesce in the new regime. first great public work undertaken He has no native rivals: there is by the new Government; and in no old sovereignty to be overborne the execution of this work, foreign -- no old traditions of government capital and enterprise will doubt- to be encountered and supplanted.

He is the first monarch after chaos. has taken the first step which is He succeeds to a long interregnum proverbially so difficult. He has of anarchy which constitutes a mere placed the Mexicans on a vantageblank in the history of the country. ground which they could not have His throne will be raised upon obtained for themselves, and he rains which are not of his making gives to them a Government tem- upon the debris of a power which porarily aided by his troops, recoghad crumbled into the dust half a nised by the powers of Europe, and century before his arrival. · The possessing a fair amount of credit founding of his empire is like in other countries, by which the building a city upon the site of work of regenerating the moral and another which had long perished, material condition of Mexico may and with which the new one does be carried out. He has cleared not enter into rivalry, but simply away the old obstructions—he has replaces. England wishes him founded the new empire ; and whatgood-speed. And among the strange ever be the ultimate results of his enerents of the future it may possibly terprise, he has thereby added fresh happen that the House of Haps- laurels to his renown, which are all burg may be the head of a great the more honourable since they are and flourishing empire in the New voted to him by the world at large. World after the original empire in So far as it has gone, the interEurope has been broken into pieces. vention has been successful, and

The intervention in Mexico is a the Napoleonic idea has a good remarkable episode in the policy of prospect of being fully realized. Napoleon III., and as such will not Meanwhile two important ends have fail to attract the regard of future been attained. The expedition has historians. It is a task as novel as paid its expenses—the cost of the it is honourable for a monarch to intervention is to be refunded to attempt the regeneration of a country France by the new Government, other than his own, to carry civili- which likewise takes upon itself sation and prosperity into a region the charge of maintaining the of the globe where they have fallen French troops which are to be left into decay,-even though he under in Mexico. "The enterprise, moretook the task primarily with a view over, has successfully engaged the to his own interests. To raise a thoughts of the French people country thrice as large as France during a period when the Emperor from a state of chronic desola- ' found it advisable to remain at tion—to pierce it with railways, to peace in Europe. France is still in reconstruct the old watercourses à condition in which the stimulus. of irrigation, to reõpen the rich of military action abroad is requimines, and to make the waste places site to keep her quiescent at home. blossom with flowers and fruits and The Emperor's Mexican idea has useful plants, 'is certainly a noble served this purpose as well as design. And still nobler is it to others. And Europe has been rescue a population of eight mil thankful that the French have lons from anarchy, demoralisation, been amused otherwise than at her and suffering, and to restore to expense. But the Mexican idea, so them, in better fashion than they far as regards the direct action ever bad before, the protection of of France, is now at an end; and, the State and the benefactions of looking at the circumstances of Euthe Church. Lawlessness and ra- rope as well as at the fact that the pine, wastefulness and oppression Emperor's hands are again free, we -no public virtue and no private think the Continental Powers may enterprise-such has been the con- now feel as King John did when, dition of Mexico for many years. at the close of the tournament at Napoleon, it is true, does not under- Ashby de la Zouch, he received take to remedy these evils himself

, the brief but significant warning, but he has made a beginning, he “The devil has got loose."

[blocks in formation]

The three leading Exhibitions and as the taste of purchasers the Academy, the Old Water-Col- becomes from day to day more our, and the New Water-Colour - highly educated, so are our Engare at least of average interest and lish artists stimulated by increased merit. Indeed, the general opinion reward, and yet, at the same time, is, that the collective pictures of held in wholesome check by the the year show, if slow, at all events discriminative power of public steady, and satisfactory progress opinion. Still further, the adupon the pictorial products of pre- vance which has been made in all vious seasons. It is true that no branches of knowledge, the develnew or startling phenomena have, opment of inductive science, espearisen – that no star or comet of cially in those departments which surpassing magnitude has come to lie close upon nature, and the exshed unaccustomed brilliancy. over traordinary activity which, in every the world of Art. Still, light is direction, has seized upon the hunot lacking to our hemisphere, nor man intellect

, ever eager to enter on beauty wanting to the painter's fair new enterprise--these restless mocreations. The power which be- tions in the universal mind renderlongs to knowledge, the charm ing absolute stagnation, even within which pertains to simple truth, and the tranquil world of art, imposthe reward that follows on honest sible-have imparted to our painters labour, cach year, even in the ab- corresponding impulse. Moreover, sence of long-looked-for and oft- we think, notwithstanding occapromised genius, give to our Eng. sional symptoms to the contrary, lish school accumulative worth. that enterprise of intellect is now And, moreover, other causes 00- more than formerly gorerned by operate towards this progression, sobriety of judgment; that imaover which, with reason, we rejoice. gination, though at seasons ready England has reached that point in to break wildly loose, is in the end the history of nations when the reined in by sober sense. The arts are accustomed to spring into drama, indeed, may degenerate for luxuriant growth. She has long short intervals into sensational expassed the period of pinching pen- cess; romances may, in the hands ury, wherein imagination is oft- of some writers, indulge in extravatimes stunted and starved. She gance; but before long we can rest has, at least in her higher classes, satisfied that truth to nature and escaped from the drudgery which, allegiance to conscience as the siwhile it wears away the body, lent yet potent witness to rectitude, grinds down the mind -- which will obtain the ascendance. And makes the finer senses of humanity thus it is within the special sphere obtuse, and too often darkens the of pictorial art likewise; mistaken eye to the beauty of the outward ardour may for a timé mislead; creation, England, we say, has, in extravagance such as that of which the onward march of her civilisa- the so-called Preraphaelites were tion, left in the path behind these guilty may for a few short years arid tracts, and now enters a garden betray the inexperience of youth; of delight, redolent with flowers. but in the end we can be sure, as And of all the gems which adorn indeed now we rejoice to be, that daily life of all the decorations in the well-balanced English mind which add charm to our homes — moderation will prevail. Thus have pictures are, perhaps, the most we endeavoured to set forth the sought after. And as this demand reasons why our Exhibitions show is each year growing in its compass, amelioration. The causes do not

lie in the rise of any transcendent Armitage, in the picture of Ahab power, or in the display of creative and Jezebel,' attains heroic propororiginality by the artists themselves. tion, and with size comes commenThe impetus to progression, on the surate dignity. King Ahab, a figure contrary, comes, as we have seen, seven and a half feet high, reclines from without; the painter is merely on a couch: his wife, the infamous the 'child of the age in which he Jezebel, stands at his head with the lives, the mirror that reflects the fury of a tigress and the appetite of form and fashion of bis time and a vulture, uttering the upbraiding country. Thus it is that our Eng. words, “Dost thou now govern the lish school is emphatically English, kingdom of Israel? Arise, eat bread, and that our annual Exhibitions and let thine heart be merry; I will serve as pictorial chronicles to the give thee the vineyard of Naboth the day and generation in which our Jezreelite.” But the king lies sad lot is cast. This is, indeed, high and sick, and the grapes and the commendation -- yet, after all, not wine areput aside untasted. Mr. the highest; for there is an injunc- Armitage has sought, and not withtion which Schiller lays upon the out success, to reconcile the broad artist that we would here repeat by generic treatment of the older hisway, if not of censure, at least of toric style with the literal detail caution. "Live," says this poet which is now dominant in our mophilosopher," with your century, dern school. Rich regal robes and but be not its creature; bestow sumptuous palatial decorations are upon your contemporaries not what studiously transcribed from the they praise, but what they need. works of Mr. Layard, or taken diThough you may regard them as rect from the Assyrian remains in they are if you are tempted to work the British Museum. It is also infor them, imagine them as they teresting to mark how the artist should be if you are to influence has given to his picture the manner and raise them." Our Exhibitions, of an ancient bas-relief, how he has it must be admitted, show little in- brought the liberty allowed to the dication that painters are striving one art under subjection to the for this command over the intellect severity imposed by the other. of their age. Content to follow, What we mean will be better unfew desire to lead. For the most derstood by an appeal to the depart, they paint in order to win the signs on Greek vases, the purest wherewithal to live, and, thus living and best examples of which illusfor the present, few, it may be feared, trate the transformation through will survive the century which has which sculpture emerged into paintwitnessed the beginning and will ing; or, in other words, these monosee the close of their labours. chrome pictures of the Greeks re

Armitage, Watts, and in some veal sculpture as the elder and the measure Leighton, have a right to parent art. Mr. Armitage deserves rank among those disciples of high praise for the courage required in art who, fulfilling the behest of the adoption of this self-denying Schiller, work less for present times manner, for experience proves that than for posterity. Forsaking forms a facile pictorial treatment is in the positive and individual, they seek present day the surest road to poputruths generic and absolute; they lar applause. We are sorry, howmake the accident of nature sub- ever, to see that in one vital point mit to the proportions prescribed he submits to a compromise. "Re. by esthetic law; they require rude pose and equanimity, Winckelreality to bend to ideal beauty; and mann tells us, the Greeks deemed thus they ascend to the sphere of inseparable from the noblest art; historic or philosophic art, a lofty and our own Reynolds offers some region which only a few ventur apology, or at least explanation, for ous spirits dare to tread. Edward the violence of passion which the

« AnteriorContinuar »