« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
1. L'Europe depuis l'Avènement du Roi Louis Philippe. Par M. Caperigue. 10
vols. Paris : 1846. 2. Le Congrès de Vienne dans ses Rapports avec la Circonscription actuelle de l'Eu
rope. Par M. CAPEFIGUE. Paris : Jan. 1847. 3. European Remodellings, a Plan with a Variation. London: 1848 4. Sketches of the Progress of Civilization and Public Liberty, with a view of the
Political Condition of Europe and America in 1848. By John MACGREGOR, M. P. London: 1848.
Whatever may be the character finally, its most comprehensive and instructive apcommunicated to the historical school of plication ; and the more so when, as in the our own generation, it must surely be res- present case, the progress of civilization has cued from sinking into antiquarianism, by apparently raised its judgments above that the influence of the events which are pass- argument which used to be the ultima ratio ing around us. It is scarcely possible that of kings. Within these last eight months any person in these days should overlook history has been appealed to in sanction of the present to exist solely in the past. From the most fundamental changes over half the a period of tranquillity, during which the continent of Europe ; until, indeed, it pacific stagnation of European politics was seems almost necessary to protest against visibly disturbed only by the squabbles of an excess of scholasticism, and practical diplomacy or the mutterings of discontent, statesmen have to take heed that historical we have been suddenly precipitated into a reveries do not terminate in some such exchaos of revolutions, which have threatened travagance as occasionally results from unto subvert the constitution and the relations qualified antiquarianism. In the spirit which of almost every state, except our own. From is hurrying the Germans across the Eyder, an age of repose we have been transferred might be found a strong analogy to that at once to an age of living history; and in- which has conducted certain young English deed, in some sense, the records of the past priests to Rome. offer no such scene for observation as that In constructing for our readers a synopwhich is now being gradually unfolded be- tical view of the present state of Europe, fore our eyes. It is at such periods, how- we have adopted the scheme which appearever, that history becomes susceptible of led to promise the most general, as well as Vol. XV. No. IV.
the most available, information. At such from a better point of view, not only the a crisis as this, besides the respective con- character and course of those events which ditions of the several states, there is to be con- are now so strangely affecting the condition sidered the condition of that political sys- of each particular member, but the extent tem which is composed by their reciprocal to which the general system has been disaction; in fact it is simply impossible, as turbed, and the results which any probable Europe is at present constituted, to look at modifications of its form may be expected any one of its component powers irrespec- to produce. However circuitous this route tively of its relations with the others. The may appear, the reader may be assured that existing system of Europe may be termed, more quickly and surely than any other will with almost perfect strictness, as indeed it it lead him to the position from which the has been termed by German publicists, a actual Europe can best be surveyed. Federal system ; and the fortunes of France Up to the date of these startling events, or Prussia can be no more separated from the public law and international rights of the those of the states around them, than the old world were understood to rest, as our affairs of Unterwalden can be distinguished readers know, upon the treaties of Vienna. from the affairs of Switzerland. It happens, | This, at least, is the phrase conventionally too, that this system itself has been brought, used to designate the charter of the Euroand that not unintentionally, into greater pean constitution, though it may be reperil by the recent movement, than could marked, for precision's sake, that the have resulted from any shock short of a expression involves some confusion of dates general war; and though modifications of and circumstances. The relations existing, its character are perpetually in operation, for instance, between France and Europe, yet its entire demolition, or in other words, which are those to which attention has been the subversion of all those political com- most frequently drawn, were determined by pacts
usages which have been received treaties entirely distinct from the acts of the as regulating the intercourse of nations, is Congress at Vienna. After the Allies had an event of the rarest occurrence and most first entered Paris, a treaty was concluded momentous import,-being equivalent in its on the 30th of May, 1814, by which the effects upon the whole European common- frontiers, possessions, and position of France wealth to those revolutions which subvert the were so far defined, that nothing was left to political fabric of any particular state. This, be settled at Vienna upon these particular herefore, would naturally be the first point to points. The final decisions of the Congress be attended to in considering the state of Eu- were precipitated, as will be well rememrope. Besides this, however, it will be found bered, by the return of Bonaparte from that by thus looking at each state as part of a Elba—an event which was considered by the whole, the several events, which are now in- Allies, after their renewed successes, to jusdistinct and confused, will admit of being tify a modification of the terms granted by classified and characterized according to the treaty of the previous year. Accortheir real importance. Some parts of the dingly, on the 20th of November, 1815, a machine may bear a good deal of rough new convention was signed ; and this is the handling without any serious consequences ; particular act which so rankles in the bosom in other parts a slight derangement may be of Frenchmen ; and which, under the genfatal to the whole. In order, therefore, to cral denomination of the “ Treaties of Viconvey the most intelligible and comprehen- enna,” has been the object of incessant
, sive idea of the present state of Europe, we denunciation and attack, from that moment propose briefly to review the system on to the present day. As a matter of fact, which European relations were based by the circumscription of France was not European consent at that last arrangement brought into discussion at Vienna ; it was of such affairs which has been thought to conceived to have been already defined at regulate our national duties; to specify the the peace of Paris; and this definition was modifications subsequently introduced ; to only modified in consequence of events which ascertain the functions attributed to each subsequently occurred. In common phraparticular state in the body politie ; to dis- seology, however, the “ Treaties of Vienna," cover the principles which determined the or the “ Treaties of 1815,” are usually apaction of the whole ; and thus, by elucidat- pealed to as regulating the existing state of ing the state of things under which we had Europe, and fixing the unhappy destinies of been living, and to which we had arrived, to France; and the inaccuracy involves no consider with better understanding, and very serious evil.
In considering these famous arrange-siderations than such as had suggested the ments, which have secured the general peace, strange coalition of 1756. In the presence with few and partial interruptions, for three- of a more terrible power all minor differenand-thirty years, and which now at length ces were sunk; and for the first time in poseem to be approaching their termination, litical history, the deliberations of a conit will be necessary to attend closely to the gress were directed less to the establishment circumstances of the period at which they of equilibrium between jealous states, than were determined, if we wish either to ap- to the erection of a barrier against a compreciate justly the spirit in which they were mon enemy of all. conceived, or to comprehend that in which The acts of the Congress and its supplethey have been attacked, and in which it is ments, may be considered from two separate now hoped to supersede them. The leading points of view; either as repartitions of idea of the sovereigns and statesmen assem- territory, or sanctions of principle. We bled in the Austrian capital, was the resto- will first take the former. Subject to the ration of the European system, which for a private expectations of the great powers quarter of a century had been utterly de- most immediately interested, the consummastroyed. They desired to recur to that an- tion aimed at in the territorial arrangements, cient code of public law which had formerly was the effectual repression of France ; a regulated the intercourse of states; and result in which it was secretly thought practhey were reasonably anxious to secure it ticable to include certain precautionary meafor the future against any such impetuous sures against what was already considered violations as those to which it had been re- the menacing predominance of Russia. Becently exposed by the ambition and the con- tween the Niemen and the Meuse, therefore, quests of France. As it happened, these lay the ground to be scientifically distribuobjects were not found very readily recon- ted. The scheme by which Napoleon had cileable with each other, and considerable superseded the old arrangements of Central violence was offered to national rights in the Europe, was admirably adapted to a system effort to preclude for the future any recur- based upon the supremacy of France. By rence of national wrongs. There was also the not unnatural annexation of the grand the necessity of satisfying individual ambi- duchy of Warsaw to a kingdom so intimately tion, of indemnifying impoverished states, connected with ancient Poland, he had creand of recompensing conspicuous services; ated in Saxony an attached and powerful nor was it to be overlooked that there were state, which, interposed between the Auscertain existing facts, to which the eyes of trian and Russian dominions, was calculated the Congress could not be closed. Italy, to neutralize any combination of these two Poland, and Saxony, were in the actual pos- powers; at the same time that the confedesession respectively of Austria, Russia, and ration of the Rhine, as we explained in our Prussia ; and in no case did there appear last number, protected the whole eastern any disposition to relax the grasp obtained. frontier of France; supplied troops and
Under these conditions the Congress as- territory against the first shock of an invasembled for its duties. It is to be observed, sion ; and carried to perfection that federathat, while the ancient code of public laws tive system, so long the favorite of the old was to be restored, the principles on which French cabinets, by which a league of sethe political system was to be organized cond and third rate powers was kept conwere entirely new. The canons and max- stantly on foot under the protectorate and ims of the old traditional policy of Europe presidency of France. had been exploded by motives more power
The provisions of a policy exactly oppoful than hereditary jealousies or historical site, involved, of course, the direct reversal alliances. All such history, in fact, was of these arrangements. The Saxony of now a tabula rasa. The House of Bourbon Napoleon was to be destroyed; and indeed had been re-seated on its throne by the it was only owing to the zeal and adroitness House of Hapsburg; and the descendant of with which Talleyrand exerted the revived Maria Theresa shared the hazards and the authority of France, and enlisted on his hopes of the descendant of Frederick the side the jealousy of Austria and the sympaGreat. There was no longer any room for thies of England, that this ancient title did the combinations of former times. The ri- not altogether disappear from the catalogue valry of France and Austria was as obsolete of nations. It was urged by Prussia, with as that of Genoa and Pisa ; and they were the full support of the Czar, that the donow connected by far more imperative con- minions of King Frederick Augustus had been fairly forfeited by his treason to the by the sacrifice of the Genoese, so discreditEmpire in the War of Liberation, and that able after the promises of independence by his territories according to the Germanic which they had been deluded. The secular law, were as justly liable to confiscation as sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff, which has those of Henry thé Lion. The decision of been so recently called in question, was duly the Congress stopped just short of the capi-confirmed, though not without some curious tal sentence; and Saxony was suffered to debate, both at Vienna and Westminster. survive as an independent state, though The states of the Church were thought by sorely circumscribed in importance and Protestant Prussia to offer an eligible retreat power. Of its Polish provinces we shall for disinherited Saxony; and even English speak presently. Its cessions in Germany Whigs conceived that no better material for served to round off and complete the ir-requisite indemnifications could be found regular frontiers of Prussia, and to contribute elsewhere. The sudden defection of Murat to the augmentations of strength which from the cause of the Allies facilitated the were thought necessary for the future func- general recognition of legitimacy which was tions of that Power. In the same spirit the thought desirable; and enabled the dispenConfederation of the Rhine was declared to sing Powers to redistribute the Peninsula be dissolved; and the Gernianic States between the Houses of Lorraine and Bourwere reorganized after a fashion, on which, bon. It is proper, also, to mention that a after our recent notice of the subject, we design was entertained of uniting these need not now insist. It should be observed, Italian states by some such federal compact however, that in addition to the other re- as that which had been devised for Gersults anticipated from this measure, there many; though, as the notion originated with was the obvious advantage of thus excluding M. de Metternich, it may be easily conceivFrance from any such connexion with the ed to have involved no idea of any such minor German states, as had heretofore been unity as was subsequently craved; but simmade so subservient to her views of politi- ply such an alliance as would have placed cal aggrandizement. As long as the great the resources of all the principalities more Germanic Confederation subsisted in full readily at the command of the Power preforce, it was impossible that France should dominating in their councils. again avail herself of any alliance with the From this brief recapitulation of the tersmaller powers, to the damage of Austria ritorial arrangements of the Congress, it will or Prussia.
not be difficult to deduce a general idea of The next measure of precaution involved the functions attributed to each Power in a still more arbitrary distribution of ter- the new political system. It was in Central ritory. In pursuance of the great scheme Europe that the difficulties chiefly lay, and of interposing a barrier of compact and con- where the main strength of the machinery solidated states between the suspected was required. Austria and Prussia, nearly powers of eastern and western Europe, the matched in power and resources, and with provinces of Holland and Belgium were their ancient feuds now healed by their erfused into a new kingdom of the Nether-perience of common peril, were supported, lands, in favor of the House of Orange, either in front or rear, as occasion might which thus succeeded to a sovereignty of no determine, by an array of states artistically small political importance Commanding grouped for this precise purpose. Gerthe mouths of the Scheldt and the Rhine, many, with just such a character of unity as and supported by the Rhenish provinces of the purpose required, was placed almost Prussia and the English kingdom of Hano- wholly at their disposal by the terms of the ver, it was conceived that the new state new confederation. To the Southlay would serve as an advanced post to Europe Switzerland; independent and neutral, preagainst France, or as a reserve for Europe served in its institutions and its integrity, against Russia.
The creation of this power less by the favor than by the jealousies of completed the chief territorial arrangements the dominant Powers; and retaining its of the Congress, by perfecting the great bar- sovereign existence on the single condition rier systein which had been devised. Its of excluding all states alike from the advanfiats on other points were dictated by the tages derivable in case of war from its fastsame spirit. The neutrality and indepen- nesses and its position. To the North was dence of Switzerland were studiously recog- the new-born kingdom of the Netherlands; nized and established; and the indispensable which, resting on the territories of the Gerkingdom of Sardinia was strengthened even manic Confederation, completed, along the frontier of France, a cordon of states, which I their own sincere designs, that the several it was hoped would be proof against any new monarchs now stipulated for constitutional outbreaks of ambition or revolution. In this governments in their respective dominions. way was the entire group between the Meuse If any reluctance was shown in this compeand the Niemen organized, and animated tition for popularity, it was on the part of with the single object of repressing for the Austria. Prussia deliberately proposed a future any irruptions of France, or any pos- scheme of almost that very constitution sible encroachments of Russia. The appre- which was at length revived two-and-thirty hensions respecting the latter power were, years after—by the present King. Russia however, as yet but indistinctly developed; was, of course, called upon for very little and it may be said that Central Europe en- exertion as regarded her unawakened protire, flanked on one side by Italy, and on viņces; but her propositions on behalf of the other by England, was combined and Poland, which were actually in part realconsolidated anew, for the one sole purpose ized, were at this time so unboundedly libeof forming a barrier against France-and ef- ral, as to excite serious apprehensions in her fectually confining that indomitable spirit western neighbours. The states of the Gerfrom which all war seemed to spring. manic Confederation were to be advanced to
The course which European history sub- equal and similar privileges; and a kind of sequently took, and which it is taking at model constitution, conveying all the chief present, renders it now necessary to consider rights and liberties of a representative gothe proceedings of the Congress in a point vernment, was delineated for general guidof view from which transactions of this kind ance. So entirely were these arrangements have seldom called for so much contempla- considered as flowing from the conclusions, tion-in respect, that is, of the abstract po- and sanctioned by the guarantee of the Con-1 litical principles there solemnly sanctioned. gress, that on the occasion of a collision beIt was, in fact, impossible, at the conclusion tween the states of Wirtemberg and their of what had been emphatically a war of sovereign, upon a constitutional point, the opinions, to omit some definite understand former parties actually appealed to the subing and decision regarding these opinions, scribing Powers of the Treaty of Vienna in from that compromise of interests and com- confirmation of their rights. How compact of powers which were to secure tran- pletely these ideas were superseded, we shall quillity for future generations. We are not see as we proceed. dow alluding to the moral questions which Such was the substance and such the spirit were overtly introduced into the conferences of the acts of the Congress. Many allow-such as the abolition of the slave trade, lances must be made for the circumstances the suppression of piracy, &c.; but to that of the time ; and for the influence of opingeneral determination respecting the inter- ions still obtaining, and of recollections still nal politics of particular states which was fresh. Europe seemed, as if by the subsitaken in concert by the sovereigns assem-dence of a deluge, to be left for a new orbled. This is a point of the greatest impor-ganization ; and after the violation of all tance; for the events which are at this mo- natural and political rights to which the ment convulsing Europe are directly con- world had been habituated, such examples nected with these resolutions, and with the of precautions against violence as we have modifications and reversals which they sub-s been relating, must have appeared warrantsequently underwent. However strange it able and wise. Still it is impossible to overmay appear, it is beyond all doubt, that the look the fatal errors thus committed in a spirit of the Allied Powers was at this pe- treaty which was to regulate public law, and riod sincerely liberal. The stream of opin- to insure universal tranquillity and contentions had been reversed. Originally, revolu- ment for generations to come. The Contionary France had overrun absolutist Eu- gress took little heed of nationality, of race, rope ; but now insurgent and emancipated of natural sentiments, of historical traditions, Europe was repulsing despotic France. The or of popular predilections. They treated principles which had been invoked in their states and principalities as so many unconown favor by the Convention and the Di- scious and lifeless parts of a huge machine. rectory, were now invoked against the op- They marshalled provinces and people like pressions of the Empire, by the sovereigns squadrons and battalions in a line of battle, of the Continent. It was apparently not calculated by the individual decisions of a more in acknowledgment of the debt they commander. They did even more—they owed to their people, than in furtherance of carried their distributive powers beyond any