NEWS OF THE WEEK.
THE letter of the Emperor Napoleon must stand amongst the most remarkable appeals ever made to a public community ; for such it is. It is an " openhearted " reference from the Emperor Napoleon to the Government and people of this kingdom. Couched in a style perfectly unreserved and unceremonious it has been likened to the writing of the first Napoleon to "My dear Ney ; " but it is as unlike any epistle of that writer as the second Napoleon is unlike the first in appearance and in genius. The first Napoleon was a student of arms and conquest ; the second is a student of social philosophy and of international commerce in the highest sense of the term. The letter is amongst the most important of recent documents in two bearings ; the first is the declaration of a desire to be perfectly at one with this country. The explanation which the Emperor gives as to the military and naval strength of France is brief, but it has been verified by an elaborate semi-official memorandum which the French Government has recently put in circulation, giving the precise figures. Since the peace of Villafranca, says Napo- leon, I have had but one thought—but one purpose, and that has been to inaugurate a new era of peace, and live in a good understanding with all my neighbours, and most chiefly with England. And he invites our Government to join him in treat- in.. the two urgent continental questions of the day—Italy and the East.
This declaration has been received very differently in different quarters ; perhaps the person who has spoken publicly and is most qualified to express the sentiments of Englishmen in the com- mercial classes is the Prime Warden of the Fishmongers' Com- pany. He accepts the declaration of friendly feeling with the most frank and unreserved satisfaction. By another channel, also, the public has made a still more general manifestation of its sentiments ; the Three per Cents instantly improved ; and although they have been stigmatized by Sydney Smith's witti- cism, as a plain matter of business, they must be allowed to re- present the real feelings of the English public, which is some- thing to lose, with distinctness and with a guarantee of sincerity. The questions in Parliament failed at first to draw forth any very distinct response from our Foreign Secretary ; but the gene- ral nature of the official reply may be gathered from the tone of the press,—that our Government, we may suppose, conveyed to the Emperor Napoleon its acknowledgments of his friendly de- claration, and avowed its perfect trust in the statement of the Emperor's own personal feelings and intentions ; but, at the same time, it pointed to the actual state of the French army and navy, persevered in declaring that the armed condition of Conti- nental Powers forbade our own State from abating its own mili- tary and naval strength, and intimated, more or less covertly, that, whatever the Emperor Napoleon might himself feel or in- tend,—however a conscientious sense of duty might make him resist the public opinion of his country in very grave questions, —the sentiments of the most impulsive nation in Europe might once more, under provocation or mistake, become actively hostile to us. While we write, we are still without any official informa- tion whatsoever ; but such, from the indications to which we have referred, we may surmise the official reply to have been. It does not follow that the letter is a coup manqué. On the
contrary, the response of the pu.blis, particularly of the commer- cial public, has been very salutary. The mistrust of the money market has been greatly soothed and the fresh impulse given to investments, is likely to produce that agreeable state of feeling which makes our community above all others disposed to friendliness all round.
The letter, we have said, is also a key to the probable turn of action in Italy and in the East ; with regard to Italy, the Em- peror Napoleon expresses the desire that she should be pacified, it matters not how, but without foreign intervention. This declaration lends additional force to the letter which King Victor Emmanuel is said to have addressed to Garibaldi, imposing upon that leader all the responsibility of any experiment which he may make on the conquest of Naples for the Italian kingdom. The fear is, that if any action were to be attempted in excess of the spirit and letter of the treaty of Villafranca and of the understanding with this country, if a force from the Italian States were to in- vade Naples, and thus offer a casus belli, Austria would seize the opportunity of interfering, and the war would no longer be confined to the Italian frontiers. According to the latest ru- mours, Garibaldi is deaf to these international considerations, and he seems ready to invade Naples without any such previous in- ternal revolt as would save the casus belli. Imperial France and the national party of Italy, remain of the same opinion which we have reported for the last two weeks.
With regard to the East, the Emperor Napoleon avows a wish that he could avoid the Syrian expedition, but he is pressed by the public opinion of his country not to tolerate the massacre of Christians, the pillage of monasteries, and the destruction of consulates ; and he invited our country to act with him in order to deprive' the intervention of any isolated character. The Turk- ish Goverpment, it is reported by the telegraph, has acquiesced in the intervention, only asking certain formal recognitions of its own initiative ; and that France is sustained in her proposition by the spontaneous public opinion of Europe is shown not only in the proceedings of the diplomatists in Paris, but in the steps taken by Holland to defend her own subjects and Christian sub-
jects in the Syrian ports. Here, again, the Powers seem to be converging upon a joint action in the case of the Emperor Napoleon's declaration.