TOPICS OF TIE DAY.
WHIG METHOD OF WRITING HISTORY.
WHAT a pity the Poet Laureate is not a Whig! He would have " famous victories" to celebrate, by way of atonement for speaking disparagingly of these things in his youth. But haste we to chronicle the important news from the East.
" Never, even in the days of Chatham, did a session of Parlia- ment open under more glorious auspices than that which will shortly commence." This is the preface of the Morning Chrcrnicle : here f■Alow the items.
" Syria rescued ; the strongest fortress in the East captured in a single day ; the empire of our Turkish ally rescued from impend- ing danger, and its independence secured by the guarantee of the Great Powers ; the balance of power in Europe restored, and the prospect of a general war averted."—This chapter we have already dealt with in our more prosaic way, and shall not trouble the reader with further comment at present.
" Add to these, our Indian empire EXTENDED and secured ; the throne of cur ally- in Afghanistan established by the defeat and
submission of his rival ; and the mortar. influence of the British name spread far and wide into the very heart of Asia."—Thia makes us rub our eyes. " Our Indian empire extended"! how ?
when ? where ? The " moral influence of the British name" has been spread far and wide through Asia, by our Government send- ing an armed force to prevent the Emperor of China from sup- pressing the smuggling of a noxious drug into his states, and another to dethrone a sovereign far better than the average of Asiatic monarchs, and substitute in his stead an imbecile butcher, for whose acts our very Sepoys blush !
" And though last, not least, the speedy and complete settlement of our dispute vi.rith China, by a treaty which satisfies the honour of the British flag, provides for the compensation due to British -sub- jects, and holds out the promise of incalculable advantage in our future commercial intercourse with the Celestial Empire."— Brave news! 'But whet say the piices justifwatifs printed by the Morn- ing Chronicle alongside of its glowing narrative ?
" Admiral Elliot had returned from the Gulf of Pe-ehe-lee,, having negotiated with the third in rank of the Chinese empire. The Emperor, it seems, has declared his willingness 'to apologize ol-:the insult offered to Captain Elliot, the Superintendent, and to lin_ _Lin fur his unprovoked aggressions on the English. He thaug t it just, however, to give the High Commissioner a hearing ; -urd said he should send plenipotentiaries to Canton Jim that purpose, who afterwards would arrange terms with the English for the settle- ment of the quarrel."—We are therefore at the beginning, not at the end of a negotiation. Instead of treating directly with the Chinese Government, we are to treat with its agents at the opposite end of the empire. And we are commencing these negotiations under the following auspices. The Emperor " was much annoyed at the British having taken possession of Chusan," and " has offered us Lintao, a large island near Hong Kong, in exchange for it." Again—" Chusan is a dreadfully unhealthy place : many of the European troops have fallen victims to the climate, and .&great number are in hospital. Dy- sentery is said to prevail extensively." Yet again—" Captain Anstruther, of the Madras Artillery, has been captured and carried to Ning-po." Another report states that the Captain was caught while sketching, only a mile out of the town of Chusao- We are also informed that " the troops, it is rutnoured, are to winter on the island; and the cold is represented to be already so severe as to render the anticipation any thing but satisfactory." Naval affairs seem to be pretty much on a footing with those of the land. " The brig Kite, an armed vessel taken up for the service, and employed in surveying, has been either wrecked or seized, as her commander and his wife and crew are detained at Ning-po." And—" The Indian Oak transport was wrecked near Formosa, while proceeding down the coast with despatches. All trade is at a stand-still; there is no hope of commerce at Chusan ; and a complete stop to it is put to the Southward." So it would appear, that the Chronicle has been what we may call "writing history by anticipation." The result of our proceedings in China may be what the Chronicle states, but at the time of the latest despatches, the Emperor had induced the British commander to go back from Pekin to Canton to treat with Im- perial plenipotentiaries to be sent there ; and in the mean time the European soldiers were swept off by dysentery ; the severe winter of North China was already setting in, threatening destruc- tion to our Indian soldiers ; and the winter-storms of the straits of' Formosa, and the sea to the north of that island, were already smashing our ships like egg-shells. It would seem that Lord PAL- MERSTON has met with his match—that the Emperor of China un- derstands the use of" open questions."
"These are results which, in the course of one single vacation, have attended the policy of an Administration which its opponents are pleased to designate as "weak and incapable."—John Bulk John Bull, John Bull! button your pockets. The meaning of' this fine flourish is, "John Bull, we have imported an immense load of honour; pay cheerfully for such a valuable commodity, though the bills are rather high." John Bull, John Bull, John. Bull ! the goods are not delivered yet.
It is marvellous how Providence adapts things for each other. A Mirirox was provided to be Secretary to CROMWELL ; a HOMEZ was born to sing Acwmf pa. Our present Ministry are equally well fitted : they have pantomime allegories to illustrate their po- licy and victories, and they have the Morning Chronicle to record their achievements.