THE founders of the American Republic were wise alike in their grasp of temporary difficulties and in the forethought they bestowed upon the period of construction which was to come. Before a government was formed, its necessary elements had attained something of order, much of efficacy. In the very inception of revolution, the beginning was made of that elaborate diplomatic system which became the medium by which we have asserted rights, elicited respect, and received amenities from the great powers of the earth.
In the early days of our Revolution, the conduct of the foreign correspondence was intrusted to the care of a Committee, composed of men of established reputation for capacity and patriotism. Through their labors, not only did we receive substantial sympathy from those unselfish men in the mother-country who discountenanced the hateful oppression of the crown : France, guided by the generous Vergennes, was also attracted to our active defence; the independent spirit of the Low Countries cheered and helped us; Tuscany, inheriting the sentiment of liberty from Dante and Macchiavelli, extended loans with a liberal hand; Spain and Portugal rose superior to their traditional bigotry, and sent us money, ships, and stores. So efficient was our infant system of diplomacy, that, long before the war had ended, England stood absolutely without the countenance of a single Continental power, and confronted boldly by her most ancient and most dreaded enemy. Proudly as she entered into the conflict with her colonies, she became humbled as well by the skill with which they attracted monarchies and empires to their aid as by the valor with which they met her armies. It is hardly to be doubted that our final success is to be in a great degree attributed to the excellent diplomacy of Franklin, Lee, and Izard. Certain it is that their labors vastly accelerated that success. How gigantic those labors must have been, to bring the representatives and supporters of mediæval systems of state - craft to countenance not only rebellion, but the sentiment of republican liberty which rebellion matured, and which successful revolution was to lay at the foundation of a new government!
The Confederation, established for the more easy transition to a permanent system, included almost as its corner-stone a Department of Foreign Affairs. The duties of the Secretary were confined to the performance of the specific acts authorized by Congress, at that time at once the executive and the legislative power, — and consisted chiefly in the preservation of the papers and records of the office, and conducting the correspondence with ministers and agents abroad; he had likewise a seat, but without a vote, in Congress, to give information and answer inquiries, He was powerless to perform any executive act ; he could not negotiate a treaty ; he could not give positive instructions to ministers ; and he was removable at the pleasure of Congress. Under the Constitution, the duties of the Secretary of State became more responsible; and the office was recognized as the highest in dignity, next to the Executive.
We may attribute our present rank among nations in no little degree to the conspicuous fitness of our envoys at foreign courts for the peculiar mission which it was their duty to fulfil, in the first quarter of a century of our national existence. As soon as the British ministry recognized the nationality of the United States, it was clear, that, on the new footing, our relations with the mothercountry must of necessity be more intimate than those with any other nation. To pave the way for the establishment of such an intercourse, no man could have been more aptly chosen than John Adams. While his high-toned manners opened the way to favor, his nervous logic followed up the advantage so gracefully won, and drove home his purpose to its end. Franklin was equally felicitous in attaching to himself the good-will of the court of Versailles. Their successors well sustained the respect which they had inspired ; and it was a matter of surprise among the best educated Europeans that such cultivated and capable men should proceed from a country which they had thought to be a wilderness, and from a people of whom they expected only the most flagrant barbarisms.
That the elevated standard thus set up by our early diplomacy has been preserved with but little exception is a simple matter of history. We have been almost uniformly fortunate in the choice of our ministers abroad, especially those to Great Britain. It is rightly regarded as a distinction hardly inferior to any in the State, to occupy the post of Plenipotentiary to St. James’s or Versailles, — and this no less because the incumbent has generally been one of our most honored statesmen than because of the essential dignity and importance of the office.
If we consider, in connection with this fact, the persistency with which the Government has asserted the rights of an equal power, the promptness with which it has resented every indignity offered to our flag, and the vigor with which it has enforced in our favor the principles of international law, it can be no matter of surprise that we should stand, as we assuredly have stood, second to none in the estimate of our physical and moral power.
Starting on a totally new system, — a system which, if successful, would disprove the universally received dogmas of the political philosophers of Europe, —running counter to every prejudice and every conclusion of the Old-World statesmen,—the United States had to work their way through difficulties, innumerable to their present rank, and were forced to prove their institutions by experience, before they could assume the dignity of a first-class power.
When the present Rebellion arose, America had thus far proved the success of democratic institutions. In military and naval power, in education, in the administration of justice, in commercial thrift, in mechanical and agricultural enterprise, in the development of the national resources, the progress had been steady and rapid. The politicians of Europe had been amazed to find that their unanimous prediction of the frailty of our political system had totally failed. The idea of a political centre combined with separate State organizations was as firmly fixed as ever. The General Government wielded an undiminished power in aid of the general good; the local Legislatures controlled, within the original limits, local interests. The people had suffered no curtailment of their liberties from the delegation of political power ; the executive had not been weakened either by the accession of new States or the disaffection of old ones. The most philosophic of the English statesmen had predicted again and again that one of these alternatives must occur,—but they had begun to doubt their own theories, and wellnigh confessed that our institutions were a success. It was difficult for them to conceive that an entirely novel frame of government, deriving its genius from an idea, and regardless of precedent, could live to shame a system which had received the sanction of centuries of success, which was seemingly Providential in its stability, which had everywhere superseded every other form, which had absorbed into itself’ the elements of all other systems. Our Government was an anomaly ; as such, there were ten chances to one against it. And now, the Englishman who, above all others, is, on both sides of the Atlantic, regarded as the ablest of modern political theorists, has in a series of papers triumphantly vindicated the wisdom of the founders of this Republic, and placed in the clearest logical sequence the origin and tendency of our institutions. Every American feels gratitude and reverence toward John Stuart Mill, who, in the disinterestedness and courage of a great mind, has led the honest opinion of England to appreciate at its value the system in which our reason and our feelings are alike bound up.
The confident belief, that an unusual strain on the supposed weak points of the Federal Constitution would involve it in the fate of the Cromwell dynasty and the French Revolution had begun to sleep, at the time of the Secession movement, and but one ray of hope yet remained to the enemies of republican government. They watched Slavery with an anxious eye. There was their only chance. In that they saw the apple of discord which might destroy our Union. They observed with exultation the increasing influence of those who warred upon slavery in the North, and the increasing insolence of those who would nationalize it in the South. On this ground State and Federal authority must, they thought, come in conflict. And as far as foresight could avail them, they had some reason to be encouraged. That question has always been, without doubt, our greatest, almost our only danger.
There is reason to believe, then, that, when the Rebellion broke out, the theorists of Europe deemed the test to have come, and that the final success or failure of the Federal Constitution was staked on the result. The people of the United States have been willing to accept that issue. We have been ready to test the doctrines of Democracy by the practicability of maintaining the Union, and to demonstrate, that, it need be, the General Government may receive at the hands of the people greater strength without endangering either their liberties or the order of law.
The diplomatic correspondence between the State Department and our ministers to foreign powers during the present contest is contained in two large volumes, published by the Government, which are full of valuable matter. In the limited space permitted us, but little more than a general survey of this correspondence can be attempted ; and as our relations with England far exceed all others in closeness and interest, — a striking proof of which is found in the fact that the room occupied in these volumes by communications with that country is greater than that given to all the world besides, — we mainly confine ourselves to the portion which regards her.
England stands in the somewhat anomalous attitude of being to us the champion of the old monarchical principle, and to Europe the champion of Anglo-Saxon progress ; so that the dicta of her thinkers (those who have opposed our Republic) may be regarded as the best thought of the most enlightened monarchists in the world. As the ministry are obliged, however unwillingly, to represent as well the popular as the aristocratic ideas, through them there comes to us a pretty correct exposition of the different opinions entertained by all classes. We may regard two facts as well established, one leading out of the other, — that England has ever been, and is, the most selfish of nationalities, and that she does not desire the prosperity of any power which may become a rival. With her politicians and her philosophers, Tory and Whig, Churchmen and Dissenters, the ascendancy of Great Britain has lain at the bottom of every policy, and has been the postulate of every theory. Her history is that of a nationality eager to attain the distinction of the first of powers. This fact, and this alone, can reconcile the apparent inconsistencies of her record. At one time the bold accuser of Despotism, she has with marvellous celerity turned to the inthralment of oppressed races. Maxim has superseded maxim, until her code of international law is a bewildering complication of anomaly and contradiction. To humble her rivals by every means, and to encourage the efforts of a people striving for freedom only when decided advantage would accrue to herself, has been her constant policy. This is true of the general tone of her successive cabinets, of the press, and of those politicians who have by comfortable doctrines most successfully gained the public ear.
The classes who look at questions of policy with an eye to expediency are, the leading statesmen of both parties, who regard as the proper end of their labors the interests of Great Britain, and the business-community, who judge of every political event by the manner in which it affects their pockets. There are two other classes, who take a higher view, — those who are conservative and fearful of innovation, and those who believe in the progressive tendency of the Anglo-Saxon. Within the last quarter of a century, the public opinion of England has been undergoing a great change, especially that part of it which is influenced by the lower-middle class. The people have been growing up to the adoption of liberal principles of government. The Reform Bill of 1832 was a great stride in that direction; and the measures which have followed upon it have widened the observation of the masses, made the sense of political wrong quicker, and the appreciation of a free system much more vivid. As a natural result, the attention of this class has been drawn toward America, as the exponent of a government before which all men are equal, — and so it is, that, as the Rebellion goes on, we receive weekly evidence that the sober, honest thought of English opinion is with us of the North. The class to which we refer, if it is not now, will very shortly be, the governing element. The tendency is irresistibly that way ; the signs of its growing power are daily more and more manifest. That it should be deeply interested in the perpetuity of American institutions, as affecting its own position, is natural. In the failure of man’s self-governing capacity here, where every circumstance has been favorable to its exercise, the rising spirit of a broader liberty in England must foresee the death-blow to its own hopes. Our failure will not be fatal to us alone ; it will involve the fate of the millions who are now seeking to plant themselves against the tremendous force of kingly and patrician prestige. They have hitherto derived from our example all the inspiration with which they have struggled upward. They have been able to accomplish, step by step, important alterations in the unwritten constitution, by the apt comparisons their leaders have been able to make between American and British civilization. So that, in considering the forces at work to influence those at the head of affairs, it is necessary to consider that force which is imperceptibly, but subtly, brought to bear upon them by the working-class. Mr. Beecher, and other eminent Americans who have lately visited England, tell us that this class are almost to a man sympathizers with us; and that this sympathy has in many cases worked favorably to us cannot be doubted. Even the operatives and manufacturers of Manchester and Leeds, at first a little morose because of the effect of the war on their industry, seem to have come to a better second-thought, and are now outspoken for the North.
The different elements of English feeling toward us may be, we think, stated thus. The aristocracy would view with complacency the disruption of the Union, because we are a rival power, and they are thoroughly pledged to British aggrandizement ; because the success of the Union would belie the principle whence they derive their prerogative, and encourage the opposing element of popular rights to greater exertions for ascendancy ; because hatred of democracy is a sentiment inherited, as well as a principle of self-preservation; and because they have not forgotten the former dependence of America on England. The ministry feel toward us as the servants of a jealous power would naturally feel toward a rival. The theorists are eager for events to crown them with the flattery of verified prediction. The commercial classes are ill pleased that their thrift should be curtailed; the manufacturers grumble about the scarcity of cotton. The timid minds of some honest thinkers did not see the real issue, until the regular developments of the war satisfied them; the lower orders had to be told before they could comprehend that in our destiny they must read the counterpart of their own. Those pretentious philanthropists who have assumed to direct the anti-slavery party in England have mostly espoused the Southern side of the quarrel; thus demonstrating that their moral scruples have no higher source than their own political advantage, and no more lofty end than to divide and distract a sister-nation. Of these we may instance the most conspicuous of all, Lord Brougham,—who, after having for half a century derived all the benefit he could from the striking and pathetic points in slavery to vivify his eloquence, turns the bitter vial of his dotage against those who stake everything upon its extinction. But everybody knows that Lord Brougham is a type of those statesmen who stand by the people in the Commons and grind the people in the Lords; who, after crying down public wrongs, upon finding the responsibility of a coronet on their shoulders, suddenly become arrant sticklers for hereditary rights. We are amused to notice, among those peers who have risen above the selfishness by which they are surrounded, and have given us a welltimed sympathy, but few who are of new creations: for the Duke of Argyle and the Earls of Carlisle and Clarendon are descendants of the oldest and proudest houses in the realm.
It is gratifying to observe that, those forces which are operating against us are those which are rapidly losing that control in public affairs which belonged to past phases of society ; while those forces which are proper to the present., and are inevitably to assume the preponderance in the future, appear as they develop to be more and more sympathetic with the cause of our national integrity. Aristocratic prestige is shrinking back before an advancing enlightenment which elevates all to equal dignity.
The present ministry is a fair type of the selfishness of British statesmanship. The antecedents of its principal members are those of timeserving politicians. Lord Palmerston, starting on his career as a Tory of the Wellington stamp, has veered round as the tide has turned against his former associates, and is the still distrusted representative of the Liberal party. Lord Russell, in the youth of his public service a Radical reformer, and the eager disciple of Sir Francis Burdett when Sir Francis Burdett could not lead a corporal’s guard, once the prop and hope of those who sought a wider suffrage, has again and again eaten his own words, and the history of his political life is a ludicrous illustration of the perplexities of politicians. His invariable course as a diplomatist has been to leave the way open to prevarication, to keep his opinions in a cloud, and to confound sense with ambiguity. It would be pure credulity to place much confidence in the expressions of a statesman who within two months boldly censured and then as boldly favored the designs of Victor Emmanuel on Venice, officially and unblushingly before all Europe. Both these noble lords, however, are fortunate in a keen appreciation of the national prejudices, and know how to make use of the existing tone of public feeling. A long vicissitude of successes and failures Las taught both a lesson which is every day a practical benefit; and after finding that they were powerless when mutually opposed, they have succeeded in swallowing the hatred of half a century, that they may join and divide the power. The fact that there has been for some time a Tory majority in the House of Commons shows the cunning with which Palmerston manæuvres his machinery. If we could conclude at all from his acts what his sentiments are toward America, there is little love wasted on us from that quarter; and Lord Russell, even while addressing the House of Lords in terms favorable to us, never lets the occasion pass without slipping in a sneer between his praises.
Selfishness, national or individual, is ever cautious and ever suspicious. It seldom rashly grasps the thing coveted: it oftener lets the apt occasion pass without improvement. The diplomatic intercourse between Lord Palmerston’s government and our own for the last year or two amply illustrates this. He had in the first place no prepossession in favor of the United States. We believe that he was not at all unwilling to see the Union dissolved. It was natural for a statesman hardened by fifty years of intrigue and devotion to politics to look with absolute gratification upon what seemed the dissolution of a great, and, because a near, a hated rival. We do not think it too much to assume, that, as far as Palmerston’s personal feelings were concerned, he was ready for the chance of Southern recognition at the outset. In such a sentiment, he had the sympathy of the aristocracy, and of all others who take the low standard of self-aggrandizement in determining opinions. Two circumstances, however, were a restraint upon him, and appealed with controlling force to his caution. He was not only an aristocrat and a hater of republics, he was also the Prime - Minister of all England. He was absolutely dependent to a great degree upon the lower orders for the permanence of his present dignity. Was it wise in him to disregard the sentiments of those who were advancing to the predominance, and resort for support to those whose power was rapidly waning, whose opinions were yielding to the newer intelligence ? Would it not be fatally inconsistent in a Liberal statesman to override every Liberal maxim and belie every Liberal profession ? Was not the popular current too strong to be safely defied ? There were Liberal statesmen enough of conspicuous merit to take his place at the helm, should he make the misstep : Gladstone, Gibson, Herbert, Granville, would fully answer the popular demand: his downfall, if it came, would doubtless be final. His private feelings, therefore, even his political wishes, must yield to policy. His love of place is too strong to succumb either to personal prejudice or national jealousy ; and the long habit has made the self-denial more easy.
The other reason why Lord Palmerston has withheld open comfort from the Rebels is doubtless to he found in the steady adherence of our Government to the position which it assumed at the beginnings,—in the promptness with which we have insisted upon our rights throughout the world, — the grace with which we have disavowed the evident errors of public servants, — the steadiness of our military progress, — the ease with which we have borne the strain upon our resources in respect both of men and money, — the possible, if not probable, success of the war, — the certainty that that success would strengthen our system, and render us capable of resenting foreign insult. For while Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell are very apt to stalk about and threaten and talk very loudly at nations whose weakness causes them not to be feared, and by bullying whom some power or money may slide into British hands, they are slow to provoke nations whose resentment either is or may become formidable to British weal. The British lion roars over the impotence of Brazil: he lies still and watches before the might of Napoleon. In the one case he stands forth the lordly king of beasts; in the other he seems metamorphosed into the fox. The hope that America would descend incontinently to the rank of an inferior power was quickly dispelled ; so the lion crouched and the foxy head appeared. The everlasting caution came in and said, — Wait your chance ; a hasty judgment is always a poor judgment; let events take their course, and if occasion offers, strike the right blow at the right time; hut do not decree away the stability of the Union either by the illusion of hope or by an expectation as yet illfounded.” It was the wisdom of the serpent, eager, and conquering eagerness.
Under the cloak of a pretended neutrality, the ministry have had opportunity to watch the course of events, to connive at aid to the Rebellion, and to leave themselves unembarrassed when the success of one side or the other should make, it expedient to declare in its favor. It has been with the greatest difficulty that Mr. Adams has been able to bring the Foreign Office to exert its authority against violations of that neutrality. Vessels, known well enough to be in the service of the Confederates, or intended for their use, have been allowed to escape from the Clyde, and to put into British ports to refit. Frequent conflicts on questions of international law have arisen, in which our Government has invariably insisted upon the known precedents set by Great Britain, and which that power has generally deemed it prudent to follow. In the case of the Trent, if we lost the possession of two valuable prisoners of war, we at all events, by promptly disavowing the act of Commodore Wilkes, set England an example of fairness which she has been loath to follow, but which it would have been folly totally to disregard. Yet it has been apparent that the British ministers have borne us no goodwill. Whatever justice has been done us has been done grudgingly, — with the morose ness of an enemy who is compelled to yield. While Lord Russell has been cautious how he offended our Government in acts, his repeated sneers in Parliament, at dinners, and on the hustings have exhibited the rancor of a jealous mind. There has been no hearty will to do justice, no word other than of discouragement. Even the amicable assurances which customarily pass between the statesmen of two nations seem to have been dropped. We believe that any American would rather bear the manly and outspoken denunciations of the Earl of Derby, consistent and honest in his hostility, than the sly, covert insinuations to which the Foreign Secretary gives utterance, at the very time he is advocating a favorable course toward us.
The ministry have constantly been met with the fact that our Government has assumed throughout that the Union was to be preserved, and both the act and the possibility of secession forever crushed. They cannot have failed to observe, that, while the inevitable fortune of war has at times brought momentary depression to our arms, the field of the Rebellion has steadily contracted, — that those great conflicts which have seemed drawn games have contributed in every instance to the general end, —that repulse has been invariably followed by overbalancing success. They must have been aware that the contrast between the feeling of the North and that of the South has tended to foreshadow the issue. Upon grounds of political economy, a life-long study to them, they must have viewed with vast suspicion the ability of a people to attain independence, who are trammelled by a blockade which they are themselves fain to acknowledge effectual, prevented from the usual methods of subsistence by inferiority of population, and under dreadful apprehensions from the existence in their midst of millions of malcontent slaves. They have not needed a subtle knowledge of political philosophy to teach them that during the progress of the war the Federal idea has received new strength, which its success will make permanent, and which only total failure can diminish. Their favorite doctrine, that governments within a government cannot exist, and that our Constitution is weakened by the accession of every new State and the rise of every new disagreement, is meeting its refutation every day. A concentration of extraordinary power at the centre does not seem to shatter every bond of union, as they have predicted, — and the States hold together and work together with amazing zeal for so feeble a tie as that they have represented. In their intercourse with our Government, they have illustrated the effect which events have had on their policy.
The course pursued by our Government seems to us to present a favorable contrast to that pursued by Great Britain. The United States has always manifested an anxiety to preserve amity. But the effort to preserve amity has been dignified. We have claimed to be treated as a friendly sovereign State. We have urged that the war should be regarded by foreign powers as the rightful exercise of a complete nationality to suppress insurrection. That the insurgents should be put upon a par with the Government, that they should enjoy the benefits of an established system, that they should have every right and every immunity as if the quarrel were between equal powers, has seemed to us a fallacy tinctured with deep prejudice. That feeling has been courteously, but firmly represented by our ministers. Since it pleased the European courts to proclaim their neutrality, we have borne the injustice temperately, and have confined our demands to our rights under that status. When the conduct of Great, Britain has been of so irritating a nature as to produce universal indignation throughout the community, our statesmen have moderated the popular anger, and have remonstrated patiently as well as firmy. They have discerned more accurately than the multitude could do the evils of a twofold war, and yet have not avoided the danger, when to avoid it would have been disgraceful. Whatever may be the opinion of any as to Mr. Seward’s political career, it is generally admitted that as Secretary of State he has accomplished the better thought of the nation. In his hands our foreign relations have been administered with prudence, with minute attention, and with great dignity. He has constantly maintained the idea of our national integrity, the full expectation of our final success, the continued efficacy of the Federal system, and our right to be considered none the less a compact nationality because the insurrection has taken the form of State secession. Our diplomatic intercourse has been confined to strictly diplomatic etiquette. No attempt has been made to justify, for the satisfaction of foreign courts, either the origin of the war, or the modes which have been adopted in its prosecution. It has not been deemed necessary to retaliate upon the Confederate agents who fill Europe with their tale of woe, by retorting upon them a reference to the unchristian practices of their soldiery. There has been no appeal to the moral sympathies of the Old World, by harping upon the enormities of slavery, and by announcing a crusade against it. Foreign communities have been left to the ordinary modes of information, to the press and the accounts of American and European orators, for the events which have been passing. It has contented us to let the record speak for itself, to attach infamy where it is due, to extort praise where praise is merited. We have not shown an ungenerous exultation at the embroilments of European politics, as diverting the hostile attention of enemies from our own affairs, “ We are content, says Mr. Seward, in a despatch to Mr. Adams, “ to rely upon the justice of our cause, and our own resources and ability to maintain it.” We have not sought the aid of any power; we have only desired to sustain our admitted rights, and to be free from external interference.
It is surprising that Earl Russell should intimate his dissatisfaction that we have been less quick to offence from Franee than from England. The reason why we should not, in his opinion, feel so is the very reason why we should. He thinks, because our relations have been more intimate with England, because we speak the same language and inherit the same Anglo-Saxon genius, that therefore we should be more patient with her. But these circumstances seem to us to aggravate the treatment we have received at her hands. It has appeared to us unnatural that a nation so identified with us should mistrust us, and embrace every occasion to slight us where they could safely do so. The closer the tie, the deeper the wound. Besides, despite the common ground upon which England and America have stood, the past bequeaths us little grudge against France, much against England. France was the patron, England the bitter enemy, of our national infancy. Our arms have never closed with those of France ; we have fought England twice, and virulently. Our diplomatic intercourse with England has been a scries of misunderstandings; that with France has been, in general, harmonious. In later times, French essayists and journalists have been tolerant of our faults, and eloquent over our virtues ; and not a little good feeling has been produced among our educated classes by the fairness and acuteness with which one of the greatest of modern Frenchmen, De Tocqueville, has considered our institutions. On the other hand, the English press and the English Parliament have been outspoken in their contempt of America; and the offence has been enhanced by the peculiarly insulting terms in which the feeling has been expressed, Such facts cannot but intensify our chagrin at finding that power which we had always regarded as our companion in the march of modern progress ill-disposed to sympathy now in the time of our trouble.
Mr. Seward has well expressed our attitude towards England in a few words : — “ The whole case may be summed up in this. The United States claim, and they must continually claim, that in this war they are a whole sovereign nation, and entitled to the same respect, as such, that they accord to Great Britain. Great Britain does not treat them as such a sovereign, and hence all the evils that disturb their intercourse and endanger their friendship. Great Britain justifies her course, and perseveres. The United States do not admit the justification, and so they are obliged to complain and stand upon their guard. Those in either country who desire to see the two nations remain in this relation are not well-advised friends of either of them.”
Our relations with France during the war have not been dissimilar to those with England, but have been less grating and more courteous. The same difficulties in regard to neutral rights have arisen ; and the Imperial cabinet have seemed throughout favorable to the South. But the popular feeling, as far as it is patent, is decidedly more favorable to us than that of England ; whatever has been said against us has been said considerately and temperately ; and there has been at no period any imminent danger of war. The design of Napoleon to mediate was interpreted by the community as hostile and aggressive in its object. The President, we think justly, took what appears a more simple view, — that the Emperor miscalculated the actual condition of the country, and a mistaken desire to advise induced him to take the coarse he did. But those who know France best tell us that the Imperial opinion is far from being the index of the popular opinion, on any subject; and every evidence induces the conclusion that there is a strong undercurrent of sympathy for America throughout France.
Of all the foreign powers, Russia has been the only one which has given us cordial, unstinted encouragement. The sovereign, the most liberal and enlightened Czar who ever ascended the Muscovite throne, has expressed himself again and again the constant friend of the Union. It is agreeable to reflect that that vast empire, now far on its way to a liberal constitution, and hastened, instead of retarded by its august head, should lend the moral force of its unqualified good-will to the cause of American liberty. The noble words of Prince Gortsehakoff to our envoy will be grateful to every loyal American heart : — “ We desire above all things the maintenance of the American Union, as one indivisible nation. Russia has declared her position, and will maintain it. There will be proposals for intervention. Russia will refuse any invitation ol the kind. She will occupy the same ground as at the beginning of the struggle. You may rely upon it, she will not change.”
Our relations with other nations have not been important, and are quite similar to those with England and France. But, generally, the belief and hope in the final success of the Union have been steadily strengthening throughout Europe. The idea of our centralization has become more vivid ; and far juster estimates of our character and institutions have been formed. When the war shall have been brought to a successful issue, we shall have afforded a noble proof of the full efficiency of a republican system over an intelligent people. Our own sinews will be compact, and our spirit will be infused into the aspirations of distant peoples. It may not be presumptuous to feel that our efforts are not for ourselves alone, but that they tell upon the fate of the earnest and hopeful millions who are striving for disenthralment in the Old World. Let us, then, expand our just ambition beyond the object of our national integrity; let us embrace within our own hopes the dawning fortunes of a free Italy and a free Hungary, of Poland liberated, of Greece regenerated. While nerving ourselves for the final struggle, let the sublime thought that our success will reach in its vast results the limits of the Christian world bring us redoubled strength. For if we should fall, the thrones of despots are fixed for centuries ; if we triumph, in due time they will vanish and crumble to the dust. Those sovereigns who are wise will appear in the van, leading their people to the blessings of the liberty they have so long yearned for ; those who throw themselves in the way will be overwhelmed by the resistless tide. To such an end we fight, and suffer, and wait; the greater the stake, the more fearful the ordeal; but Providence smiles upon those whose aim is freedom, and through danger guides to consummation.