TOPICS OF THE DAY.
THE delay is over at last, and Germany has commenced the invasion of France. While the Emperor was wasting time in a scenic attack on an open town, held by a Prussian
major and a few infantry troops, an attack apparently designed mainly to show his little boy "War," and inspirit his army by accounts of an easy victory,—the Crown Prince, supposed to be in Kreuznach, made at Landau his last preparations, and at the head of 100,000 men, of whom 30,000 are Bavarians, burst on Wednesday into France, seized the heights above Weissenbarg, and drove the French division under General Douay in such rout that they lost a gun, 500 prisoners, and their camp. Of the actual extent of the victory we have as yet no trustworthy account, but a French division is usually 8,000 men, the Crown Prince employed part of three corps, each of which comprises 30,000 men ; and when Princes of Prussia talk of "bloody but bril- liant victories," they mean that they have fought battles and not skirmishes, and have lost thousands of men. The hill was carried, as we judge, by the needle-gun and the bayonet, in spite of the mitrailleuse —by sheer hard fighting and superior numbers—and the resistance of the French was worthy of their reputation. It will be found, we believe, that they were out- generalled, attacked by an army of whose near neighbour- hood they had no conception, and deprived of support from the remainder of their corps.- The details, however, urgently as they may be expected, are of minor importance compared with the great fact that the North-German armies are to be used with the energy and purpose of 1866, that the war is to be waged on French territory, and that its object is not the defence of the Rhine, but the overthrow of the military power of France. By a strange irony of fate, on one day Napo- leon in his Journal Officiel declares that one grand object of the war was to deliver Bavaria from Prussian oppression, and on the very next the Crown Prince of Prussia, at the head of Bavarian soldiers, drives a French division from the field ; but this movement is but an incident in that great concentric advance of which the object is Nancy or Luneville, or it may be even Chalons, and in which a battle must be fought at almost every step. The Crown Prince, on the left, has succeeded ; and a few hours should bring us news of the advance of Prince Frederick Charles—now, we imagine, near Sarrelouis—on the right, with 120,000 men ; and of the King, with the immense reserves at Mayence, in the centre. Any one of these movements may be checked or defeated, till the whole plan is foiled, for French Marshals and French cog's d'armere are of all obstacles the hardest to evade or overcome ; but it is by a march to Paris, and not by a defence of the Rhine, that the struggle is to be fought out. Those who have judged by moral considerations, believing it impossible for a German Emperor to surrender Germans to an invading army without a blow on their behalf,—impossible for victors who, only four years ago, had triumphed by audacity to commence a great war by a retreat,—were better guided than strategists who rely only on their maps. The Emperor, if he remains at Metz, will have his fill of battle.
He has just made one more grand political mistake. Count von Bismarck's publication of the Draft Treaty, however bene- ficial to Germany through its influence on European opinion, was in one respect most useful to France. It induced all Germans to think that it was not their land, but Belgian land, for which the French were fighting, and as men never fight for their neighbours as they do for themselves, the Treaty pro tanto diminished their enthusiasm. As if, how- ever, to destroy this one advantage from the revelation, the French Government has chosen this opportunity to fling off the mask, and explain the true object of the war. Without even a reference to Spain, without a word about Prince Leopold, the Emperor affirms that his object is, and since Sadowa has always been, to "maintain Austria in her ele- vated position among German States," Count von Bismarck in excluding lier "having betrayed the common country"— [10 the advantage of France, your Majesty, according to
1?ouher], to re-establish " the despoiled Princes of Germany," [How, Sire, about those of Italy?] and to ensure to the Princes of the South an independent international existence. "Our traditional sympathies for these States sur- vive even the war, and the time will arrive when those popu- lations will perceive that the French were their true friends." "The Emperor said so in his proclamation ; he desires that the countries which compose the great Germanic race should dispose freely of their destinies. To deliver the Fatherland from Prussian oppression, to conciliate with the rights of the Sovereigns the legitimate aspirations of the people, to put an end to the excessive encroachments which ate a menace for Europe, to preserve the Danish nationality from a complete. ruin, to conquer an equitable and durable peace, founded on moderation, justice, and right, such is the general idea which presides over the present struggle." In other words, if the Emperor triumphs, the history of the past six years will be blotted out, the terrible sacrifices of Germany will go for nothing, the prize for which all Germans long will be torn from them as their fingers close on it, and Germany will once more be divided into a cluster of feeble States, paralyzed by the rivalry of their two leaders,. and always looking to France as the ultimate arbiter of their actions. Can any one imagine a statement more calculated to make the Germans resist to the death, to rouse the popular as distinguished from the official heart ? We know how America fought rather than resign her cherished dream ; and Americ& had never felt, except in imagination, the consequences of dis- union. Germany has, and as her one answer to all offers of emancipation, she advances her united armies straight upon her Liberator.