18 MAY 1867, Page 1


THE Luxemburg Treaty was signed in London this day week, and is, we suppose, by this time ratified. The Conservative papers are very great on the success of Lord Stanley in preventing war, and redeeming the results of " Whig blundering and the active imbecility of Lord Russell." That Lord Stanley did what he did at the Conference with manly good sense and reserve there is no doubt, and his straightforward and common-sense manner seems to have been generally appreciated. But as to the sub- stance of what he did the less said by his admirers the better. Lord Derby and Lord Stanley seem to claim the double credit of having prevented war by intervention, and of not having really contracted any new obligation. Lord Stanley says our responsibility is in no degree enlarged, and may even be said to be narrowed. Lord Derby assured the House of Lords on Monday that we have not entered into a " joint and several," but only a "collective " guarantee. The meaning of this we have discussed elsewhere. Here we need only say that it means one of two things,—that we have affected to give a security which we have not given,—or that we have undertaken a new and much more dangerous responsibility than the guarantee of the neutrality of Belgium. Luxemburg is the natural arena of the rivalry between Germany and France, and if we have made any engage- ment that is not a mere farce, we have engaged to stand (with Russia and Austria) in the midst, and break the shock of collision between two express engines of war of equal power and velocity. And whether Lord Stanley has been an actor in a solemn European farce, or has engaged to do this great thing, we doubt if it will redound to his future fame.