EUROPE AND AMERICA.
[MOM OUR OWN COBRESPONDBNT.]
! London, Nov. 25, 1864. • The Americans seem bent on exhibiting the fact that the converse of the old maxim " noblesse oblige " ■ holds good with nations as well as Individuals. The speciality of their national vulgarity is an insouciant' 'licence. I need hardly remind your readers of-the many manifestations of this particular quality which have illustrated their great war. The latest of all is perhapsthe most irritating and pronounced. The Florida, one of the most famous of Confederate privateers, £ arrived at Bahia, in the Brasils, on the 4th of October last. She had put into that port in quest of stores I and coals, and to undergo some slight repairs in her machinery. Soon after she had come to her anchor jn the outer harbour, or Bay of Bahia, a boat appeared alongside of her, and demanded her name. Her commander, nil suspicans malt, answered at once that she was the Confederate States steamer Florida, and the inquisitive boat retired-, not, however, before I the officer in command of it had volunteered a good Yankee lie, by*stating that he was from her Britannic Majesty's ship Curlew. The next morning, Captain Morris, of the Florida, discovered that his interrogators of the day before had come from the FederalI steamer Wachu»etts,whieh was lying in the harbour: : on the same morning, that of the sth of October.' ; The Florida was also visited by a Brazilian naval ; officer, to whom Captain Morris stated his require- : inents, and who undertook to carry a message from him to the Governor of the Province. Soon after-; wards a letter from the Governor was received by ; Captain Morris, requesting an official interview.: The Captain immediately went on shore, and was( i by the Governor tliat he would be allowed | 'forty-eight hours to get in stores and coals, and that, r ahould the repairs require a longer time, an extenI lion for that purpose would be granted. The | Governor was very urgent in his request that Captain I Morris would strictly observe the laws of neutrality, | during his stay; and he further informed hini r that the American consul, Mr. Wilson, had given him i his word of honour that the Wachusetts would do I nothing that was not absolutely legal in Brazilian | waters. Captain Morris gave the required assurance, ! v«n the part of the Florida, and retired. Ati Admiral | of the Brazilian navy was present during the inter- ! "view; and when Captain Morris requested to be I allowed to move the Florida into the inner harbour, I ao as to be out of danger, and in order to facilitate I coaling operations as well, the Admiral said, " Oh I 'yes, move her in, and come inside of me, and you |, will be all safe." The Florida was accordingly reI moved to a berth where she had two Brazilian | vessels of war between her and the Wachusetts, and I where she was close under the guns of one of the I forts. The Brazilian engineer who examined the I broken machinery of the Florida, reported that it I could not be repaired in less than four days, and I Captain Morris accordingly, gave part of his crew I* shore leave' for twelve hours. Just after dark, I about seven o'clock, a boat went alongside the | Florida, and, upon being hailed, replied that she was |; from the Wachusetts, and that she had .the United | States Consul on board who had an official commuI * nication to make. The Consul sent up his card, with % a letter which was addressed " Captain Morris, sloop I Florida." The letter was sent back to the Consul, i " who was told that it could not be received as it was r wrongly addressed, but that any communication to k " Captain Morris, of the Confederates States Navy," would receive pioper attention. The boat then went ; away. On the morning of the 6th, a Mr. de Vidiky i ' vent on board the Florida, with a second letter. Mr. f de Vidiky delivered thialetter, which challenge I to a naval engagement, from the Commander of the I Wachusetts. This challenge was improperly direc11'ted as before, and Captain Morris again declined tft_ _ lieceiveit. Mr. de Jiawever, insisted upon ipnaking him acquainted with its contents. Captain K Morris than bade that gentleman inforrp theComfeiMmlfir of the Wachusetts that he bad come to Bahia llflfrr a special purpose, which being accomplished, he If ahouid put to seaagain; that be should neither seek to gptyoid nor seek to meet the Wachusetts, but that, should fall in with her, he would try to destroy her. P Mr. de Vidiky went away with this answer. On II She same afternoon, the first batch of liberty men ! having returned to the Florida, the starboard watch 1 was released, and Captain Morris, with some of his !#. officers, went ashore at the same time. On the I* evening of the 7 th the Wachusetts left her f anchorage, and, talcing advantage of the darkness, ij; ateered for the Florida, from whom she could not be i 5 Men until she was close upon her. She was hailed f by the acting master of the latter, who, as he received no answer, called all hands to quarters ; but before the officers and crew could well get on deck, the Wachusetts struck the Florida on the starboard quarter, cutting her. rail down to the deck, and carrying away her mizenmast. At the same time the Wachusetts poured a sharp volley of musketry and a charge of - canister, from her pivot gun, upon the Florida's decks. The aggressor then backed off, and '.demanded a surrender, to which Lieutenant Porter, the officer left in command of the Confederate sloop, declined to accede. The Wachusetts then renewed her fire, which the' Florida contrived, in some measure, to return. Another demand for surrender "■ was now made, and complied with. The fact was that the Florida, taken thus en dishabille, ai it were, ... could not be fought. The Wachusetts ceased firing, fnd gent a number of armed boata to take possession . of the Florida. As soon, however, as Lieutenant Porter was heard to say that he would surrender, fifteen of the crew of the Florida jumped overboard to escape capture. Six only of these, men succeeded ip reaching the shore, and it is said that the other nine were coolly picked off as they swam by sharp- ■„ «hooters from the rigging of the Wachusetts. The Wachusetts then made fast a hawser to the mainmast of the Florida, and after slipping her cable for her, towed her out to sea. While tins was being done, a boat from the Brazilian flagship went alongside the Wachusetts, and ordered her to return to her anchorage ground. This her captain, with the aame regard for truth that had characterized him from the first, said she was about to do. On the lith ult., the Wachusetts, with the Florida still in . tow, passed within sight of Peroambucd. It is to be noticed that the American consul at Bahia, Mr. Wilton, went away in the Wachusetts, without taking time to leave any one in charge of his consulate. The indignation of the Brazilians at this barbaric and dastardly outrage is naturally intense. The populace of Bahia have torn down the arms of the United States from Mr. Wilson's house, and -> have broken their in pieces in the street. With a • readiness which argues a vast deal more of ruffianly indifference to its own honour and self respect than of well-bred natural candour, the United States Government are ioud in their acknowledgments of wrong, and of their intention to make every reparation to Brazil. But, as they know very well, the Florida is theirß, whatever they do or say. They were determined to capture it, and they have done ao; and what to them, if the achievement were made, . not by skill or courage, but by two or three for- • feitnres of word, a lie or so, and the after-price of an ' apology? They are not a nation of gentlemen, ajjid they laugh at paying a P rice which gentlemen deem impossible. I have collated the facts of this occurence at great length from the different accounts that have come home of it. It is, of course, possible that it may turn out more costly for the Federals; even ' imder their own standard of value, than they at pre- . «ept fctogine. And it is not unlikely that it may °. ' have a more important effect oathe action«of Europe
than any act by which the civilized world has been attacked or scandalized ; since the commencement of this intolerably conducted war.
But this is riot tlie only occurrence which has-given to South American affairß a place in my letter of this month. Your readers will not have forgotten the sketch that I gavo them awhile ago of the aggressive seizure by Spain of the Cincha Islands in Iho Peruvian seas. • The most decrepit State in nil Europe' has again been evincing signs of an abnormal vitality. Off the coast of Chili there Ilea a small Archipelago known as the Islands of Chiloe, among the inhabitants of which, who are chiefly Indians, dwelt a person called Cosme Damian Antil. He seems to have possessed a singular influence throughout tho island, probably owing to the prestige he had acquired as a wizard. Rumours lately reached the' Executive of Chili that some " consphacy was' on foot among the natives, and Cosme was arrested on suspicion of being at the bottom of it., : In his possession were found various documentsshowing him to be the head of an organization, having' for its object to bring the islands under Spanish' dominion. Nor, as it seems, were operations to have been confined to the Archipelago. The plan was, also to deliver up to the old country "as much as possible of its own property" on Chilian soil Cosme'had, it seems, visited the greater part of the islands of the Archipelago, Waldivia also, and some parts of the Araucanian territory. Everywhere he •had succeeded in inducing numbers of the natives to become accomplices in his scheme. In a correspondence which was seized when he was arrested,! his companions were exhorted to remain stedfast in; the design; and the co-operation of Colonel Barrientos,j well known in those latitudes, and of other influential' persons, was promised. A Spanish gunboat, called the Covadonga, recently passed the port of Ancud,| and Cosme went aboard of her and presented to her commander a document signed by most of the natives whom he had gained over to the Spanish cause; Among the letters found in his possession was one in which he announced to his confederates the capture of the Cincha Islands, and the intended return of the Covadonga. The Chilian Government, with a proper appreciation of the facts connected with the seizure of the Cincha Islands, has ordered Cosme to be imprisoned and kept strictly without communication with any one, and has sent a reinforce, ment of troops to the Islands of Chiloe. One of the first questions which the new Cabinet of Queen Isabella will have to consider is whether it will adopt or repudiate, once for all, this new theory of colonial revcndication, left it as a legacy by its predecessors* and of which this affair in Chiloe is an illustration; If it be persisted in, its result will be to provoke a conflict with all the South American Republics in combination ; and that at the very moment when Spain pretends, or hopes, or believes herself to be iri a course of recovery. There are some indications on the part of the Republics of such a combination. Within the lasit few days a Congress of Ministers" plenipotentiary from Chili, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, aad Peru, will have met at Lima to discuss and decide upon the course which ought to be pursued for the common safety. As to Peru, the Government there has been authorized, not to declare war at once, as I have previously stated, and stated erroneously, but to declare war in the event of all the resources of diplomatic action proving insufficient to bring about an honourable settlement. Should Spain take the initiative in any attempt towards the establishment of friendly relations, Peru would undoubtedly meet her half way. One cannot at least perceive that it would be to her interest to do otherwise. But she has repeatedly declared from the first that the restitution of the Cincha Islands must precede.diplomatic action. In the meantime, the movement is full of perill^tWpaceorthewtroleof^be^outhAiJiiiri--can Continent. - " •
The rest of my news from the American Conti-
Lincoln has been re-elected to the Presidency of the United States; and two bloody battles, one in the Shenandoah Valley,and the other before Petersburg!* have resulted in an exchange of defeats which are so far from being disastrous to either party that they have not altered the aspect of the Campaign in any degree whatever. StiH it is a fact, and so must be recorded, that Grant and Butler made .within the last three weeks a grand and combined attack upon Lee's lines, and that they were repulsed with a slaughter of which, even now, the authorities of Washington take care to conceal the extent. It was probably intended to celebrate or to assure Mr. Lincoln's election with a grand triumph of the Potomae; but, as the Yankees themselves would say,'that 'rocket was damp.' Early on the other hand attacked Sheridan's army a few days previously .during the absence of its Commander at Washington, whither he had gone to attend a council of war. The attack took place in the morning, and by midday the Confederates, having already beaten the enemy, were collecting their strength for a final and decisive charge of their whole line. On the eve of what would probably have turned out to be its annihilation, * Little Phil,' (as his admirers call the young Federal General,) who had been summoned by telegraph, contrived to rejoin his army. It speaks volumes for his nerve and military skill to say that within an hour he had his men completely rallied, and his position restored with so much ! steadiness and compactness, that he felt himself able, early in the afternoon,to attack in his turn. This he did te such purpose that he actually inflicted on the Confederates one of the severest disasters that they have ever experienced in Virginia; But still the two armies confront each other, in exactly the same relations of force and morale as they did before that day of what must have been very terrible fighting. It is vigorously rumoured, however, that decisive battles will shortly be fought between Hood and Sherman on the olie side, and by Lee with Grant on the other ; that for the first time the forces of Lee are numerically as great as those of Grant; and that before long the Confederate veterans will attempt to repeat- upon Grant the condign reverse with which he avenged-the South for M'Clellan's original march upon Richmond.
I enclose with this letter, for publication or not as yon may elect, the text of the Constitution of the newly Confederated Statesof British North America. You will see by the date that there has been no time yet for people to make up their minds as to its bearings. For myself I have read it through, and that is all. I found that any attempt to'analyse it would make this letter too late for the mail. However, as it was a matter that must of necessity be unusually interesting to colonists, I thought that it was as well to let your readers see as soon as possible the text of the document itself. j London has recently been honoured by the presence of a most illustrious visitor. M. Berryer, the head of the French Bar, and the most eminent of modern advocates, has been on a formal visit to the Bar of England. He was entertained at a magnificent dinner in the Temple, at which nearly 400 of us sat down, of all grades from the Attorney General downwards. He was subsequently present at the annual Lord Mayor's dinner, on the 9th of this month. On each occasion he met with a most enthusiastic reception, and made speeches which were very lessons in the highest class of rhetoric. His French was so simple that even the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and one or two of the wires of the Common Councilmen went far towards understanding it. Berryer, if we forget for one moment to regard him simply asan illustriouspleader, is not quite the man whom one would expect to see receiving an ovation from the English people in 18(54 .ItisMQiewhat odd that the only two Frenchmen of
note who have received personal homage or distinc tion of late years in England, should be the most pronounced and eminent members of tho * timist party at present in France. M. Berrycr an M. Montalembert are both Bourbonist to the bac ; bone. The distinction in Berryer's case is that >s, profession as an advocate has impressed a glorous inconsistency upon his career, He has appe ftre a 8 the champion of Republican defendants under Bourbon prosecutors; of Imperialists and Bonrbonists in tho days of tho Republic; and of the French Emporor himself, during the days of the Orlenulst dynasty. He is an old man, having been born in the year l 79 °* lie received his earliest education from the Oratormns, who at that time had just been permitted to reopen their College. It is said that his boyish inclinations were towards Holy Orders, and that he gave himself to the Law out of deference to the wishes of his father who was himself a distinguished Barrister. The education he had received, his own fiery inde-. pendence of character, and his strong Erskinelike sympathy for the victims of political persecution, filled him with the greatest repugnance $>r the regime of the first Empire, and he hailed with hope and pleasure the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814. He was, it is said, one of the first to assume the white cockade, and to proclaim the forfeiture of the Imperial Crown at Rennes, in the presence of the Magistracy and the Law Students. In this he was somewhat premature, for the Imperial Executive was still extant and active, and he nar- ; rowly escaped arrest. Royalist, however, as'he was, he was no reactionist, and no member of the opposi-, tion protested more strongly than he did against the, fatuous proceedings of the rampant and clique who surrounded Louis the' Eighteenth, andwho so terribly damaged his character throughout the country. In his pleadings during 1815, he never failed to denounce, with a violence that alarmed his friends, the proceedings of the Court. "Itis a disgrace to the conquerors," he cried on one occasion, to pick up the wounded on the field of battle in: order to drag them to the scaffold !" M. Berryer was associated with his father in the defence of Mar-; shall .Ney.' Ney had relied upon the Convention' concluded between the Allies and the Provisional Government, which, among other things, provided that all the inhabitants, and generally all persons found in Paris, should continue to enjoy their rights and liberty, and should not be. liable to molestation or enquiry with respect to their functions, their con-t duct, or their political opinions. Relying on the protection of this document, Ney remained in Paris till the 6th July, 1815, and in France until the 30th August, in the same year, when he was arrested on a charge of high treason, and ordered to be tried by a Court Martial. He imprudently protested against being judged by such a tribunal, which probably, would have acquitted him, for it numbered among its members four of Ney's old comrades, Marshals of the Empire, like himself. The Court Martial declared itself incompetent, and tjie cause was.removed to the ... ouse of Peers. As the object of Ney's counsel was to gain time, they took exception to Parliament as 1 a court of Criminal jurisdiction, and demanded ! that the trial should be at least postponed until tliq. proceedings of the House of Peers should be ref gulated by a new law. In the meantime Ney and his friends applied to the Ministers of the Allied Powers to prevent the Convention being violated in his person, but without; effect. The Berryers of course pleaded the Convention at the trial, but they were immediately interrupted by the Council for the Crown, and eventually the court decided that the Convention could not and should not be alluded to. In the course of the case another technical objection to the indictment was raised, and that was, that Sarre-Louis, the birthplace of Ney, had been ceded -frrt-Rpiiaain.,.- nnft that, he was therefore no longer a French subject. It is possible that something rnight have been made of this objection, but Ney here.once . irronrhrtCTpoeed- to hie own destruction. H®, leapt._ up in his place and repudiated theplea.-~~*Tras~ born a Frenchman," he cried, " and a Frenchman I will die." How the trial ended, and hovTYain were the efforts to obtain a pardon, we all know. Since the death of Ney, Berryer has defended several political prisoners hardly less illustrious than he; of these, the most conspicuous are Cambronne, Lamennais, Chateaubriand, and Prince Louis Napoleon the present Emperor of the French. On all ; these occasions it was his love of liberty that ennobled the advocacy of this gloriously inconsistent follower of the Bourbons. When the elder branch of the old Royal Family ceased to reign in France, M. Berryer did not emigrate. He had been elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the beginning of 1830; he took the oath to the Constitution of July, and from that time to the overthrow of the Orleanist dynasty M. Berryer took the lead in all the important debates of the Chamber, and was almost always in opposition. He strongly disapproved the rising attempted to be made in La Vendee by the Duchess de Berry; and when he found that her party disregarded his vehement advice, he resolved to quit France. He was arrested at Angouleme, and comprised in the prosecution instituted by the Government against the "Insurgents of the West," He received, however, a triumphant acquittal from the Assize Court at Blois. In 18S6 he paid a visit to Charles the Tenth, then in exile at Goritz,! and subsequently to the Count de Chambord, in London, on the occasion of the well-known " Belgravian Pilgrimage." It was this last visit that provoked the formal censure of the Chamber of Deputies. In March, 1848, he was elected to the National Assembly, and was one of the leaders of that Constitutional Party who foresaw, and struggled so hard and so vainly to prevent", the restoration of the Empire. Since the coup d'etat, and until his election for Marseilles last year, he has more or less abstained from politics, beyond lending himself ,to an abortive attempt to bring about a fusion of the two sections, of the Bourbons. In 1852, he was elected Batonnier, or Head of the Order of Advocates, and in 1854, a member of the Academy. On the occasion of this last election, he was exempted, at his own request, from the customary visit of ceremony to the sovereign. M. Berryer has not formally retired from the Bar, although he is so full of honours, and has reached the age of 74.
A very pretty contest has lately been in process at the Geographical Society's meetings. Captain Burton, the well-known African traveller, has read a paper in which, while he does the fullest justice to the skill and enterprise of Speke and Grant, he throws the greatest doubt upon the finality of their discovery. His arguments are. chiefly a priori, but. .they are hardly the less sound for that. It does seem contrary to all experience of nature, that one of the hugest of rivers should have its absolute source in one of the hugest of lakes. The lake may feed the river, but what feeds the lake ? Of course, it is possible to reply, that the lake is fed on all sides by a number of petty streams, none of which have any claim to be called dominant or principal. Moreover, it is possible to show that there is no such flowing in and flowing out of a great river as occurs with the Rhone, in Lake Leman, for instance. But such hypotheses as these are so far improbable, that ey have never yet been illustrated in the experience o physical geographers.
We have had another Japanese war; this lme, however, without a tale of horrors. One o je great Feudatories whose possessions line >6 trance to the inland sea had announced his nen , of resisting the provisions of the oommerc a which opened the sea to trade. True to ciples on which the treaty was extortc r ruling classes in Japan, the combined nee pi England, France, and Holland attacke
very powerful batteries, which the Daimio ha d »j erected at the neck of the sea, and so handled them'; and the forces collected to work and protect them, that the reousant lord has already Sued for peace,; offering to concede all Remands of the allies and re-: imbtirse them the expenses of the expedition. . John Leech, the artist, is dead. He was almost; our only living humouristic artist, if the antedilu-> vian George Cruikshank be excepted In him tho; Editor of Punch has lost a right arm, and indeed it is difficult to see how without him the periodical is. to be continued. He and John Tenniel used to do; nearly all the drawing of the paper between them.j The Almanack was Leech's own entirely. He died* of some disease of the brain, brought on by the 1 constant excitement and abnormal exertion inseparable from.|uch a profession as his was.
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Lyttelton Times, Lyttelton Times, Volume XXIII, Issue 1352, 28 January 1865
EUROPE AND AMERICA. Lyttelton Times, Volume XXIII, Issue 1352, 28 January 1865
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