24 APRIL 1880, Page 3

M. de Freycinet has issued a very lengthy Circular to

the representatives of the Republic abroad, explaining the action of France in Roumania, its proposed action in regard to the revi- sion of the frontier between Greece and Turkey, the policy of France in Egypt, and the protection extended by the French Government to Christian Missionaries in the East. On none of these subjects is the Circular interesting or informing, but we suspect that it was written in great degree in order to give M. de Freycinet an opportunity of saying to the world that France would protect her Missionaries in the East, as she always has done, and that no change in her general religions policy is intended as the consequence of the new decrees on the subject of unlawful religions associations.

Our solicitude for religious interests and our respect for in- dividual rights," he says, " are in nowise impaired." We are very glad to hear it, and we take the assertion as a sign of uneasiness, and an indication of some involuntary shame. But it is at least an eccentric way of showing " solicitude for religious interests," to deny Frenchmen the power of associating them- selves voluntarily for religious purposes, on the plea of an obso- lete law. And it is a very illogical mode of expressing " respect for individual rights," actively to suppress a good many which have been tacitly conceded for half a century at least. M. de Freycinet's professions are hopeful, but only as indicating more -or less involuntary dissatisfaction with his own actions, and a wish, if let alone, as far as possible to retrace his steps.