TOPICS OF THE DAL
THE NEW BALANCE OF POWER.
OVID relates how the ancient hero sowed the teeth, and saw the men rising from.the ground, armed, like corn growing visibly but Europe is witnessing a spectacle far more marvellous and un- epeakably sublime—it is the.rising of a nation into existence. The immortal saying of Metternich, "Italy is a geographical axe pression," has acquired a new-force, as it-contrast to the true meaning with which the word Italy " endowed, in this very year. Before 1860 closes, we are likely enough to see the classio nation occupying a position in the world which, with all the conquests of the Romans, with all the power of the modern Italians, she has never yet occupied in the history of the world. The apparent cross purposes of the moment do very little to disturb our hopes. Events are greater than individuals, even when those individuals sit enthroned or march 'forward on the shoulders of a people to apparently boundless conquests. The Emperor Napoleon has several times dictated to Italy on the eve, and on the morrow has had the unexampled good sense to accept a situation which he'had not antieipated--to remain friends with a nation Which had not obeyed his advice to the letter. When Victor Emmanuel wakes in the morning, he never knows the precise extent of his own dominions ; and no man is more aware that the endowments which have fallen upon his house within the'last few.years heve been regulated wholly by the aspirations and requirements of Italy, -and .not at all by any hereditary or a,priori claims of his own. He shuts'his eyes, and opens his hands, and takes. the kingdoms that the Gods provide him ; and the trust could not be placed in better keeping. Gari- baldi imagines that he is appointed to free-the whole Peninsula, though to do so he should contend with the beads of the Guelph and Ghibelline parties--Pontiff and Austrian Emperor together. The faith in his own " destiny " may impel him to brave, any conse- quences, however formidable they may seem ; but, again, the course of events is greater even than Garibaldi. We none of us'know precisely what the community of each different province wishes ; we-do not-know the influence that its leaders can exer- cise; but what we do know is enough for the strength of our hopes: it is, that the Italians, from Napoleon to Gari- baldi, from "rioter 'Emmanuel to Soialoja, have a common ground upon which, notwithstanding their diflereaces in de- tail, they are all agreed in the main. In the case of all the dispossessed Princes, each one has had a splendid oppor- tunity to remain at his ,post and identify himself with the Italy of 1861. We have yet to learn whether the Pontiff can be advised, or can advise 'himself wisely enough to secure that splendid position ; but, however that may be, all the Italians, we say, are in the main agreed that Italy must stand free from any interference of the Stranger ; andthrough the force of that agree- ment, they will realize their main purpose. There is, indeed, one Prince who can scarcely expect to retain his possessions in Italy. We allude to the Duke of Austria, who claims to be the Lord of Venice, and vindicates his Lordship by holding the province, vi et armis, and in no other way. A suggestion has emanated, it is said, from certain English friends of the Italians, that the Emperor -Frandis 'Joseph the Second should consent to negotiate the sale of this untenable possession. Should he not do so, it is said with much force, he will endanger something more than Venice.; since the hurly-burly that is sure to 'happen is likely to involve the provinces all round his duchy, from Istria and Dalmatia southwards by the Military- Pron.- tiers to Hungary and 'Transylvania, even down to Bohemia. Those who are.interested in the maintenance of " the balance of power" will sedulously advise Austria to get out of Venice all that she can,—that is a good round sum under the.name of pur- chase-money,—a sort of reinforcement which might undoubtedly enable. Austria to retain the other great dependencies which lie around that small German duchy. 'For our own part, we do not feel ao great a solicitude about the maintenance of the balance of.power. It has always been amongst the idols of the market, commanding lip homage, surviving on the strength of established commonplaces, exercising a certain re- straining influence over diplomacy, but possessing no substance of existence, and compelling diplomacy only so far as diplomacy h pleased to be compelled. It never had any very truthful exis- t-Owe. When the ideal was last set up, the Chief motive to its establishment was the desire to despoil .a great country in the name of defending Europe at large. Underthe.pretence Of esta- blishing a permanent coalition against 'Pranee,the Towers agreed to a partition of Italy for the benefit of Bouibons and Haps- burgers. The whole project has failed ; the Bourbons have .been very charitably kicked out of Italy, and 'the Hapsburger retains only the smaller half of his actual possessions in Italy, with a total'loss of the overruling influence that he once enjoyed. In
/ant)-the whole eyetem df 'the`balance of power," haslapsed, and in the place of that imaginary and delusiveguarantee, a better guarantee is actually developing itself. By degrees, the.nations are attaining some success in identifying' hemselves with their own Governments.
The consequence is a great accession to the powers of the Go- vernment which permits itself to be thus identified. in England, we 'have ahnoat-forgaten thatthere ever was a difference between the two. ' Although the Government in:Belgium amid seine other Northern nations is not so ancien_it has become thoroughly em-
badiect with the nation. The Emperor Napoleon and francearevae and the same. Italy is making itself one and the same with-the kingdom, of Victor Emmanuel. The 'English, the French, the Belgians, the'Italians'have acquired, or are acquiring, a Govern:- meat strictly national, thoroughly informed by the life, thought, and action of the people. Amongst the most hopeful signs for the future energies of Europe is the development of a similar desire in other nations further to the East and North, in Hungary, ftt instance, and in 'the North Scalavonio kingdoms of the Beide, 'Lately we have had the opportunity of obtaining. direct informal- tion este the state of feelingia Germany, and it is remarkable. The only.wonder is that Prussia can be blind to that feeling and to the splendid opportunity which is open for the house of Ho- henzollern. There is some distrust of France amongst the Ger- man people, but not the hostility that there was a year or two ago. There is not so strong an anti-Austrian feeling as there was an the lesser German party which has been merged nationally in the great German party, the essential idea of this party being that, whatever Courts and Bureaux may think, the whole body of the German nation should be enabled to act together, nationally.. The leading idea in Germany at present is a thorough Unigl Germany. Let us for a moment contemplate 'the picture of Europe pre= seated by these salient facts. It suggests a view of the Continent divided mainly by national characteristics—an English nation here, an Italian there, a French, an Hungarian, a Russian ; each Government acting less as a power coercing a given people, Ulm as an administration acting in the name and with the will °film% people. Already, we see an approximation towards enlarged"in- tercourse-through commerce, creating in each land popular
terests adverse to European hostilities. War is a game•of
likely to become less and less possible in proportion as the people are growing wiser. Heretofore, we have been living under the supposed protection derived from the interests of the several Powers to join in preventing an aggression by any one of their body—the policy or interests of the whole balancing the ambi- tions or the greeds of each. We have shown how this system, never well established, has exploded ; but in place of it we distal': the gradual development of a genuine guarantee. Once let a great notion be emancipated from the complications which have neutralized this influence, and it must exercise that influence aver its own Government. Should a Prince feel inolined to . as- semble axabble rout, dress them all in a given colour,- bindtheir coats with -.white worsted, and march away with them to glory, his people will belikely enough to ask the reason why, and to cross-examine him asto the advantages which they, the people,. are to derive from war rather than peace. A thorough nationality must tend to localize the responsibilities of Governments, to bend them down to their own domain, and so to good behaviour towards all in whose welfare their subjects have• a material interest.