13 JULY 1850, Page 13


Tin: tribute paid by the French to the memory of Sir Robert Peel ought not only to be dear to those who were dear to him, and to the nation on whose behalf he laboured, but it ought also to teach us a lesson. The President of the National Assembly has formally pronounced an expression of regret for the loss which Europe has sustained ; and the President of the French General Commission for the Exposition of 1851 has addressed a letter on behalf of that body to the President of the British Commission. "How French!" Very true ; by no means " English : we can't do that kind 'of thing at all, and we are none the better for the incapacity. The judgment pronounoed upon statesmanship by foreign na- tions is said to be the judgment of "a contemporary posterity" : here, then, we see Peel taking his rank among the statesmen of his- tory, by his labours, his clear views his generous acknowledgment of foreign nations, their wishes and interests. France is able to hold up the mirror of future history to England,—a great and friendly office, well suited to a great and generous nation; but we cannot have the honour of returning the kindness, because our formal and trading ideas prevent our holding any national com- munion on such subjects unless British "interests " are coneerned. We can thank a crew for saving an English ship ; we should pro- bably find no precedent to embolden our representatives in paying tribute to the memory of any great foreign statesman. Could we even acknowledge the acknowledgment?

We leave such matters to the official channels of communica-

tion, and they make a very poor hand of it. This hearty re- cognition of national sympathy may be contrasted with the heart- less petty squabbling about the miserable Greek affair. That, say our officials, was conducted according to the highest technical rules of the diplomatic profession. Be it so : it placed England in the position of making an evasive apology for a breach of treaty ; of backing exorbitant claims disgraceful even to the sharper practisers in trade, and then 'bating its bill ; of accepting the mediation of a friendly power, and repaying the service with alight; of yielding to remonstrance what was refused to good taste or justice ; and Anally, of raieinc a bad feeling between England and a powerful nation, only allayed. by a humiliating concession. That is what diplomacy has done for the honour and interests of Great Britain.

But the tortuous notions of the profession contaminated the

other side; even the being in the right was not a disinfectant against that contamination. The same M. Dupin who is the in- strument for suggesting and recording the generous national sen- timent, when he was involved in the diplomatic squabble, and heard how England had yielded by its representative in that be- half, could not refrain from the unhandsome exclamation, "So we have the advantage stall points!" Even the aspirations of diplomacy are =generous. It was for Lord Palmerston that Lord John itussell made the taunting boast, that "he was not the hi-mister of Austria, nor of Russia, nor of France, but of England": what id that but a jargon, or an official version. of the retort common among the servile vulgar, "I am no servant of yours"? ffir Robert Peel was eminently the servant of England; among all our statesmen, not one more consistently and steadfastly devoted himself to promote the interests of England : but such devotion, so far from blinding a statesman to the feelings and. interests of foreign nations, rather makes him more acute in the perception and earnest in the coneideration ; and it was so with PeeL We test the result when we see the representative of a highly acute and sensitive people declaring, "Our French hearts are still moved by the last words which he pronounced in the British Par- liament—words of esteem_ dud friendship for our country." Diplo- matic smartness sets nation against nation, and so far endangers war : a generous reciprocity establishes between the same nations not only a feeling of common interest, but that higher sense of esteem and affection which draws them closer -together, andhinds both to the service of their common kind. Peel could. do that individually; but it is France only that can give a national expression to such sentiments.

That one channel of communitation should be supplied, by the Commissions for arranging the cosmopolitan display of progress in arts and industry, appropriately enhances the tribute to the states- man who had done so much to develop industry, to render trade cosmopolitan and to make countries better able to join in the furtherance of the arts. It may be called a striking illustration of the silent and peaceful advancement of that part which is true in democratical ideas,—and all very widely and long-entertaine4 opinions have at least their nucleus of truth,—wheu we note that the Queen's husband has become capable of that national function by seaming a useful and " levelling " place among working Cam- missionens. lie is thus promoted from a royal station to the higher one of a national servant, and becomes an instrument in that in- tencourse of nations which will make anir happiest alliance in history. But this capacity, which the French teak us how to exercise *aid we augment for nmacareptahciatity aforme.enohinterillefeelitiginalandaniadeilajs.ebyre- fore occasional purpose. The faculty of recognizing greatness is not only a power, because it is-the means of exercising an influence upon other countries, such as the French now exercise over us by their appeal to' ourliveliest and-most conscience-compelling senti- ments, but also because the recognition and overt acknowledgment of greatness stimulates the growth of it amongst ourselves, nay,. in oursele,es. We foster Vie growth of greathess by acknowkdrging opening our souls to such influence. The nation that is under the influence of such feelings and ideas will be in itself the more power- ful and happy : to possess this -wisdom and feeling, is to have a wise had and. a strong heart; to have a -wise head and a strong heart, is to be wise in council and strong in action.