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Now it is idle to think of galvanizing the dead carcass of the Ottoman empire into sufficient life and activity to afford a safeguard to Europe. The only power to be relied on is Austria; and the true policy for the Western powers is to strengthen her, and render her powerful enough to check Russian advance in the East. If anything effectual is to be done, she must be permitted to extend her territory through to the Black Sea, by annexing to her empire Moldavia, Wallachia, and the greater part of Bessarabia. To pacify Italy, and soothe the jealousy of France, she might be required to exchange her Italian possessions, which should become independent under native princes, for Servia, Montenegro, and all of Turkey north of the Balkan. As a large portion of the population she would thus receive would by religion and race sympathize with Russia more than with her, she must, in addition, enter the German Diet with her non-Germanic provinces. Since Turkey must fall, transfer the Hellenic kingdom to Constantinople, and annex to it all that would remain of Turkey in Europe and Asia, to the borders of Syria and Palestine, which last might be formed into the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, in the house of Savoy, the heir, we believe, of the title.
Something like this would raise up a barrier to Russia without reconstructing the map of Western or Northern Europe, or creating in the East a power strong enough to harm the legitimate commerce of the Western powers. But we are not so silly as to suppose that European statesmen will entertain such a project for a moment. They would fear the predominance of Austria. We therefore see no prospect of the war terminating to the advantage of Europe. One thing is certain, that Russia will not yield without an obstinate struggle. If Austria and Germany do not engage in it, the Western powers will be worsted; and if they do, they will have to bear the brunt of the war, and all Western and Central Europe will become in addition the scene of a civil strife with the revolutionary party, encouraged and sustained by Russia, from which Italy and Austria will be the chief sufferers. In the former case Russia gains the victory, and resumes with redoubled ardor her policy of getting the control of the East, and of hostility to the Church. In the latter, Germany will be ruined, and Austria disabled, and both will fall a prey
to Napoleon the Third or his successor, and France will become once more the terror of Europe on the land, while England will continue with more insolence than ever to sing,
"Britannia rules the wave."
We do not wish to see Austria and the Germanic states under the tutelage of Russia, -a tutelage as incompatible with their true interests as with their dignity, and we should be most happy to see them escaping from it, and reconstructing a united and independent Germany, so essential to their own well-being and to European society. But, alas! it is impossible revocare defunctos. German unity becomes every day more and more difficult, and is wellnigh as impracticable as Italian unity. The sovereigns do not wish it, Russia is opposed to it, France and England will protest against it, and the German people, separated by political and religious differences, have no power to effect it. It is possible that an alliance with France and Great Britain would emancipate them from Russia, but it could only be by making of her an eternal enemy,—in a critical moment more dangerous as an enemy than she is as a friend. It does not do to overlook the internal state of Germany, or to forget that there is a powerful and increasing revolutionary party in her bosom, holding the most frightful principles of socialism and atheism,—a party almost strong enough in 1848 to overthrow all authority, and introduce the Saturnalia of Jacobinism. Only by the utmost vigilance of the governments and by strong repressive measures are they prevented from open insurrection. The danger from them is not over, and we have not seen or heard the last of them. Though Russia may appeal to the revolutionary element against powers hostile to her, we know not where but to her the German governments could look for aid in case of a revolutionary outbreak. Great Britain could not be relied on; she is half a democracy already, and her government must obey popular opinion, and popular opinion is and will be on the side of the revolutionists. France would render no aid, because she would hope to find in the revolution the means of re-establishing the empire of Charlemagne, the dream of the founder of the Napoleonic dynasty,-a dynasty that establishes itself by professing liberal ideas and practising despotism.
Looking at the subject from this distance, and as impartially as we can, we see nothing hopeful for Old Europe. She has thrown away her opportunities, and we no happy issue for her. Let the present war terminate as it may, we see no good likely to result from it. Indeed, wars undertaken from policy never end well, and there is no country that politicians will not sooner or later ruin, if abandoned to their lead. It is long since the European courts abandoned principle, justice, good faith, and religion, for simple state policy, and order is now nowhere maintained on the Continent but by armed force. There is hatred between nation and nation, and war between the ruled and the rulers. There is no reliance to be placed on the courts, none to be placed on the people. The courts became corrupt, and have corrupted the people, as the demagogues are corrupting them here, and there is only one point in which the people and their sovereigns agree, and that is in hostility to the Church, the only source of help for either. The one shows its hostility in trying to make her a tool of their despotism, and the other in seeking to crush her, and to substitute for the worship of God the worship of humanity.
Nevertheless, we may take too desponding a view of European affairs. Who knows the designs of Providence, whose prerogative it is to bring light out of darkness, and order out of confusion? Who knows but the celestial Spouse of the Church is about to interpose for the joy and glory of his Bride? It may be that Providence has suffered Russia to grow up and to become strong as an instrument for punishing the nations of Central and Western Europe for having abandoned him and betrayed the trust he confided to them. If so, we can only say the judgments of God are just, and his chastisements salutary. He may use Russia as the instrument of his justice, and dash her in pieces when he has served his purpose with her. She may cause much suffering to Europe, much injury to religion, but she will never realize the dream of universal monarchy. If she should overrun Western and Central Europe, she could not hold it in subjection, and her triumph would probably be as short-lived as was that of France under her great Napoleon. She may plant herself on the Bosphorus, and command for a time the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, the commerce of
India and China, but she will not be able to hold all Asia under her sway for many generations. Her power, unlike ours, is weakened by expansion, and she will have enemies enough rising up in every quarter to compel a division of her territories. Moreover, her advance southward and westward may operate through the grace of God her conversion, and thus what forebodes only ruin become the means of infusing fresh blood, young and vigorous, into the veins of those old populations that have so long proved themselves unworthy of the privileges bestowed upon them. It may be, that Almighty God intends visiting these old nations in mercy, and that he intends to use Great Britain, so long the bulwark of the Protestant heresy, to break the head of the Greek schism, and deliver his Spouse. Perhaps he remembers her hospitality to his bishops and priests, exiled from France by his Jacobinical enemies,―a noble hospitality, hardly ever equalled in the annals of any nation, and marvellous in'an heretical and commercial nation, wellnigh devoured by materialism,— and is determined to lead her by a way she knows not back to Catholic unity, and to make her once more an insula sanctorum. Who can tell what may be the effect of her alliance with France, and the union of their arms in that old mystic East? Man proposes, but God disposes; and as the union of these two powers against the crescent failed, so their union to uphold it may also fail, and result in the restoration of the cross. We are shortsighted mortals. We see but a little way before us, and that but dimly. What we are ready to exclaim is against us, may, as in the case of the patriarch, turn out to be for us. Spera in Deo. We have always this consolation in the worst of times, that the Lord God reigneth, and can make the wrath of man praise him, while, if we are faithful to him, no evil can befall us, for the only real evil in God's universe is sin.
Our correspondent will perceive that we are not the strong partisan of Russia he supposes, and that we do not regard her as a peculiarly conservative power. But he must bear in mind that we are American, and as much attached to our country as he is to his. Now his country, Great Britain, is the one whose supremacy is likely to prove the most offensive to Americans. We trust we have no uncatholic feelings towards his country, the land of our
THIRD SERIES.-VOL. III. NO. I.
ancestors, and with which, through our literary recollections, we have so many and so dear associations, but we must tell him that we Americans are as much disturbed to see Great Britain mistress of the seas, subordinating everything to her commercial and manufacturing interests, as he can be to see Russia mistress on the land. We have more to apprehend from Great Britain than from Russia, and we have, looking to our own interests, no wish to see Russia weakened as a maritime power. Great Britain
will no more suffer, if she can help it, a great maritime power to grow up to dispute her naval supremacy, than Russia will a great empire by the side of her own, able to interfere with her projects in the East. Great Britain is our rival, and now that she and France act as one, Russia is our natural ally, and the only first-class power in Europe that is. Naturally, then, should we Americans incline to the side of Russia in the contest now going on. We wish no harm to England or France, but we wish, for our own sakes, just as little to Russia.
We cannot hope that what we have said will satisfy our highly esteemed correspondent, but it will prove to him and our friends in the United Kingdom, who we hope are many, that we are willing to let those who think differently from us be heard, and that it is not rashly that we differ from many excellent Catholics and intelligent gentlemen on the Eastern Question. In point of fact, we are on neither side, and we dread the success of either party, of one just as much as of the other, unless it be that, if one side must get the better, we would rather it should be the Western powers than Russia, especially just now, when the odds seem to be against them, and their army is struggling so bravely against superior force.
ART. VI.-Message of the President of the United States, Washington, December 4, 1854.
IN the first annual Message of President Pierce there were several things against which, as our readers will recollect, we spoke with great severity. Time and events