Lyttelton Times, Rōrahi II, Putanga 72, 22 Haratua 1852, Page 2
FRANCE. Sunday before Christmas was the day chosen for the national act which was to consummate the usurpation, and ratify it by the semblance at least of a popular fiat. The result has been exactly what we predicted. The African legions indeed resent the imprisonment of their chiefs —at home one or two regiments have proved rebellious, and about a fourth of the navy has given a negative response ; but the bulk of the military and an enormous majority of the people have voted passively for the "man in possession." The noes are counted by hundreds of thousands —the ayes by millions. Louis Napoleon has for the present the greatest position, if he is not the most powerful man, in Europe. Enthusiasm of course there is none. Nor, if there were, could it find a vent. The screw has been turned ; and the great engine of compression is so admirably contrived that not the faintest pulsation of public feeling can make itself felt throughout the length and breadth of the land. In the present instance, however, it seems to have been used with superfluous vigilance and severity. There is nothing to be enthusiastic about. For Louis Napoleon personally nobody cares one jot. He is neither loved nor hated—for the personal animosities which he has provoked are confined to a handful of individuals, most of whom he has imprisoned or expelled. In the usurpation which he has effected there is nothing great, nothing imposing. The very cleverness which it displays does not rise above the sharpness of a blackleg combined with the secresy of a detective. The choice, so far as it is a choice, between " me" " or nothing," has been a mere matter of calculation. Bishops canvass for him in the hope that he will befriend the Church. The troops do as they are bid. The people as a mass say " Yes," first, because they can't help it; secondly, because they think that to keep him in power offers them, on the whole, the best chance of sleeping quiet in their beds for some years to come. The outer defences of society in France are, or are thought to be, so thin and frail, that the one impulse dominant in the mind of every Frenchman is a nervous dread of any shock that might shake, or any convulsion that might destroy, them. Fortune has given Louis Napoleon an opportunity of turning this timidity to his own account; and he has used it. If in the whole transaction there is something which Englishmen cannot contemplate without a rising feeling of contempt, let us lay to heart the lesson it conveys. So long as our institutions are stable, our standard of public virtue elevated, and our reverence for law unimpaired—so long, and no longer, we are safe from degradations to which our clever and high-spirited neighbours submit with such easy and good-humoured pliability.
And what says the rest of Europe to all this? The rest of Europe looks quietly on, not without a touch of that nervous misgiving with which we eye the movements of a bear in a chain, or the fizzing of some explosive substance that may bounce at any moment in our faces. At Vienna and St. Petersburgh the event is said to have been received with undisguised satisfaction ; the Russian and Austrian ministers were early in their attentions at the Elysee, and the note lately presented by those powers, in conjunction with Prussia, respecting the refugees at present sheltered in England is thought to indicate an increased reliance on their part upon the countenance and support of France. An absolutist league, with Louis Napoleon added to the linn as junior partner —a continental blockade against English calicoes—the descent of a French army on Harwich—are contingencies lo which sober observers are already looking forward in earnest; and Mr. Walker is not the only person who suggests as our only hope of safety a prompt alliance with the United States. On the other hand, the Count de Chambord still dates his instructions from Frohsdorff; and Prince Schwarzenbergh is reported
to have said that" you may do anything with bayonets but sit upon them"—a mot attributed to him perhaps with more malice than truth. All this, however, is a little premature. The web of European politics, though somewhat simplified -by the increased influence of Russia, is still a complicated one. A cool, consideration of the actual position of France will show, us that if there are powerful causes at work tending to hurry her into war, they are balanced by others which ought to restrain her from it. Should Louis Napoleon succeed in fixing himself steadily and firmly in the saddSS;, the peace of Europe will be comparatively seV cure.' But for the present, whilst all is unceitainty, we must be content to see it resting on the frailest foundation, We must face the disagreeable fact that an accident, a gust of popular feeling, the shifts and perplexities of an ambitious adventurer, may at any moment arm the Continent against us, and precipitate upon our shores a» army of four hundred thousand men. As to our Transatlantic, cousins, we are on excellent terms with them, and it is our plain interest lo remain so ; but the American alliance, in the event of an European war, offersno guarantee on which we can rely. If it is unwise to trust in princes, it is ten times more so to expect an upright and consistent policy from republics. We must trust to our own slender military and naval resources, to the need which Europe feels, for bur manufactures and our markets, to the maintenance on our part of a firm, temperate, and prudent policy towards the Old World and the New. Providence, we may be sure, will not desert us if we do not desert ourselves.— Guardian. The Pope has written to M. de Montalembert, congratulating him on his adhesion to the act of December 2, and on his enrolment in the Consultative Commission. On the other hand, it is said that M. de Falloux has written to M. de Montalembert a letter.concluding with the. words " vous meritriez d'etre excomunie." M. Berryer is also said to have taunted him with a want of honesty, even of personal truthfulness in his policy. There have been reports that M. Guizot has expressed his decided approbation of the coa^> ■ d'etat. A deputation of traders and manufacturers went, with M. Sallendrouze de Lamornaifx at. their head, to M. Bonaparte, with an address in this fulsome style— " We come in the name of a great part of the manufacturing interest of Paris to express to you our deep gratitude. You have restored confidence to us ; we owe. to you order and labour, which constitute the strength and wealth of States. We have come, Prince, to tell you that we place entire faith in your exalted wisdom, and in your enlighted solicitude for the* true interests of French industry." | (In the provinces, says a Paris writer, " the adhesions of municipal and other public bodies to the President of the Republic have now become almost general. In many of the: departments, nearly the whole of the municipal councils have voted adhesion, and an immense number have sent to Paris addresses of thanks to the Pesident.
The papers continue nearly as strictly suppressed, or gagged, as at first. "Iv truth," says the correspondent of the Daily Netvs, " there are not above half-a-dozen writers of any mark or likelihood, who support Louis Napoleon ; and these include the myrmidons of the Constitutional and the Patrie, who were the principal pioneers of the coup d'etat. The Univers, under the order of the Jesuits, is the only newspaper, of importance that has been converted to his interests. For although the Pays and the Presse are also converts so far as their printing materials are concerned, all the men who gave any value to those papers have withdrawn from them. An occasional corresponi|ent of the Times confirms this:—"The journals are literally one mass of falsehood and nisrepresentation. No sheet is allowed to go to press until it is first examined by the authorities^ the police. The English journals are not;. Secluded, because of the small number of persons (chiefly English) to whom they are accessible or intelligible; but all journals in French printed abroad, which are not favourable, are excluded. For example, the Independance Bdge has been stopped." The Daily Neivs announces the fitting pendant to these meumeasures. " Our Boulogne correspondent informs.us that all the English papers were stopped on Sunday morning, even those carried by passengers."
The preparation" of a fleet to transport persons politically opposed to the Usurpation has been followed up by a decree apportioning to the Ministers of Marine and Colonies, M. Duoos, a credit of 658,000 francs " for providing eatables, clothing, and medicines, in Cayenne" —" a marshy island at the mouth of the^ river Cayenne on the pestilential coast of French Guiana." It is supposed that there are 1700 per■ sons accused of rupture de ban, and 500 persons accused of being chefs de section or members * of secret societies, in the different prisons of Paris alone; and the number E was greatly increasing. It was said to be " reported in some wellinformed quarters" of Paris, that the "liberty of the press" is about to be promulgated, with these leading features:— " Every editor of a journal at present in existence, or to be published in future will be bound to deposit security-mouey to the amount of 200,000 f. (£8000), which, in case of conviction, may be increased to 400,000 f. The Executive Power will reserve to itself the right to suspend the publication of any journal of which the suspension may appear necessary. Offences of the press are no longer to be submitted to a jury. Special tribunals are to be constituted for that purpose. Offences of the press are to be classed in three categories:—lst. An attack on the President and on the principle of the Government ; 2nd. Exciting hatred amongst citizens; 3rd. An attack on religion, family, or property. Each of those offences may be punished by imprisonment for five years, by transportation for 20 years, and by a fine of from 5000 to 100,000 f." M. Morny has called together the syndics of the printers of Paris, and informed them that the Government intends to interdict the publication of every book or pamphlet of less than ten sheets until he has given his personal license for each work. There has been some talk of an intention to raise a loan. The correspondent of the Daily Neios states that " the Government is about to raise a loan of 8 millions sterling ;" but there has been no confirmation of the report. The same writer believes that the octroi-duties and , the duties on wines were to be abolished, and the enormous deficit made good by a "heavy tax on the rich classes, which will not bear directly on the working classes." It is said that modifications of the ministry were in contemplation. " M. de Morny is going on a special mission to St. Petersburgh. The alliance with Russia is at this moment thicker than ever. The post of Foreign Affairs is destined for M. Walewski, the French ambassador in London. The Marquis de Lavalette has been recalled from Constantinople, where he will be replaced by the Duke de Guiche." A London correspondent reports, from a private source, that a marriage is on the tapis between Louis Napoleon and a Princess of Sweden. SPAIN. Queen Isabella was delivered of a daughter on the 20th of December. The differences with the United States have been successfully arranged. Spain releases the prisoners taken in the Cuban expedition, and the attack on the Consul's house atNew Orleans has been repaired by a decent compensation and apology. AUSTRIA. The Austrian Lloyds has put forth the following statements respecting the relations of the Cabinets of Vienna and London : — "Notes, complaining of.the dangerous support given to political fugitives in England, were presented by the representatives of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, and the German Confederation, at the British Foreign Office,-on the 12th Dec. A similar note was also handed by the EUind to Lord Cowley at Frankfort. Austria will not hesitate to adopt measures which will v make it inconvenient or difficult for Englishmen to travel in the Austrian States, so long as |'the just complaints of the Imperial Government fare not attended to in London, and an organized communication between the revolutionary party in England and all the Continental States is curried on under the protection of the law. The English will have the less cause to complain, as the continuation of the measure will depend on themselves." The correspondent of the Times adds—" From what I hear, I am induced to believe that the Northern Powers will not rest until the Sardinian Government has followed their example,
and the Liberal party in Switzerland has been crushed."