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« feengtiieiiecL ± hat France is preparing to side against Austria , hence the . greater oat ^ spokenness of Count Gavcmr and thenew expectations which keep alive agitation in . the : peninsula . Trom that , too , sprang aJso . aictation by the Emperor to the Governments of Belgium , Piedmont , and Switzerland , and an alarm for the general freedom . Between the despotisms there is enmity , and both are more liated . Other Governments are preparing to side with fine or the other , and Orsini ' s attempt sowed the seeds of a confederacy of the old and great Powers of Europe to . resist Napoleon - It has Tjeen promoted by the difference between the French and
the English Governments , and by the union of the Princess Royal and the heir presumptive of the Prussian Crown , the transference of the Government of Prussia to the hands of a Regent , and the growth ID £ foetter feelings between Berlin and Vienna . Orsini ' s unsuccessful attempt has given a new aspect to the politics of Europe . "The difference between the Trench and English XSovernments made manifes t the disgraceful subservience of the English Ministry , and led to the defeat and retirement of Lord Paimerston . To it
therefore , the Derby Ministry owes its possession of office . Having ho inherent power , to Orsini ' s attempt we are indebted for the strengtliened conviction of our own power , and our own skill , and the imbecility of pur rulers . The sp irit of Reform has suddenly expanded into magnificent dimensions , and if Grsini ' s attempt be finally to end in giving free--dom to Italy , it wiU be by first placing the executive power of England completely in the hands of the people . Somehow or other all the exasperated political feelings of all the people of Europe are grouped around Orsini ' s atrocious crime . It was
plainly a consequence of the wrongs done by the j Emperdrs of the world , and honoured by their subjects . . He paid by his life for Iris offence , which may possibly prevent the repetition of such crimes ; out the All-overruling Power which governs society aiot as men govern it , educes alike from crimes and Virtues the general progress and the general improvement . If Orsini be in death conscious of the consequences of his action , he , or even his living Confederates , maybe consoled for the failure of his abominable crime b y the alterations to which it has led in the political affairs of Europe . That -crime ,-with its consequences , was the chief political -event of 1858 ; Minor objects we leave to other liands or other opportunities .
FOREIGN AFFAIRS- ^ PAST AND FUTURE . "When . the history of international relations during $ he ryeartl 858 shall be written , there will seem to t ) &t > ut i little cause for rejoicing to the friends of ( enlightened progress . Perhaps their principal source «> Jf satisfaction will be found in the absence of many striking events of minister import . The old French ohromcler has said , that * ' blessed are the people ^ whose annals are vacant ; " and this as regards nations that have attained to liberty , and are peranitted to repose under their own vine and fig-trees , in a certain sense is true . But for those communities that still sit JLajjdarkness and in the shadow of political , death , nothing worse can be said than that < a > whole year has elapsed without bringing them any mitigation ov change , and that' through . hopoful spring and . radiant summer , golden autumn and hoav 'winter time ., they have remained motionless , itheir feet being nationally fast bound in . the stocks . l ? or ourselves as a people we have nothing whereof to boast in the year gone by , with two exceptions . By a vigorous effort of national mutiny « we escaped ^ he humiliation which the ill advisors of tour Crown -and Parliament would have subjected us jfco at the request of the Emperor of the French . Looking back at the whole transaction calmly , we aire- more firmly than ever persuaded that the popular instinct was wise as well as iust , and prudent as well
it ? " The other topic to which we can here but briefly allude is the conclusion of peace with China . 3 Jet us hope that the flattering anticipations held forth of commercial advantages in tnat quarter may eventually ,. if not immediately ,, be realised : < and that we may not find ourselves drawn into entanglements as we were in India at the beginning of our connexion with that region , by the presence of European rivals . Better we had never obtained permission to send an embassy to Pekin , than that we should thereby become involved in diplomatic intrigues and naval or military collisions with Russia or America , ' both of whom are jealously watching the progress of our . influence in the C elestial Empire , and both of whom , we fear , stand better at the Mantchou Court than we do .
office tried to make use of Austria ' s influence to bring about the re-establishment of diplomatic intercourse with Naples . Certain official language in connexion ; with this supposed attempt was some time since iniputed to Xord Malinesbury , and publicly ; disowned by " him . As yet , however , there has been no authoritative denial of the general truth of the story ; and there are some reasons for ¦ attaching to it a degree of-credit that we would gladly forget . Meanwhile , France is supposed to be " preparing to take decisive measures , without our privity or co-operation ; and . the best
We caii ; hope for is that Russia may be induced to abstain from actively intermeddling in the fray . Looking at the present condition ot the Dainibian States , whether Sclave , Rouman , or Mussulman , it is most undesirable that she should have the pretext of a war with Austria for rcoccupyiug any portion of the territories whence her troops were -driven during the late war . Firmness alid vigour on the part of our Government ^ might , we believe , restrain the Czar from breaking the public peace , even though France and Austria should come to daggers drawing in Lombardy . Will Lord Derby show himself possessed of these high qualities ?
Towards the United States our present rulers have evinced a very conciliatory disposition in the abandonment formally and finally , of the unmaintainable right of search . We only wish Lord Malmesbury may have courage to tell Parliament when it meets what everybody knows to be the truth respecting the utter futility of all negotiations With either the Government of Washington or that of Paris , for the purpose of inducing either to give back to our cruisers some portion , of the privileges we have absolutely and unconditionally abandoned . What is called < some better means of identifying tlio nafiniiaiifv nf t . lip . flacr . " is merelv a will-o ' -thethe nationalitof the flag" is merely a will-o '
-they , wisp , which Lord Malmesbury fancied he saw , or pretended to point to , byway of diverting attention from the unreserved repudiation of the right of search . We dare say it will not prevent some fanatical asserters of Great Britain ' s absolute supremacy on the . high seas from attempting-to revive bur obnoxious pretensions . But the nation has had enough of African squadrons and American squabbles , and it lias made up its mind to have done with both . The non-interference of our Government in the affairs of Portugal during the recent misunderstaiidinsr with France about indentured
immigrants will , no doubt , be brought , before Parliament early in the ensuing session . Mr . Roebuck , we believe , has not renounced his intentions in this respect , although Lord Palinerston has . A brisk debate and the interchange of keen taunts arid recriminations may be the result , but other there can be none . The Portuguese Government did not call for our intervention , but , on the contrary ,, rather deprecated it . If this be stated plainly , without any qualification , by Ministers , the House of Commons will then and there irrevocably makeup its mind that there is nothing more to be said or done in the matter , and will go to dinner .
Far deeper interest will attach to the inquiries that are certain to be made in Parliament regarding the position of affairs in Italy . During the whole of 1858 the public promises maue by our representatives at the conference of Paris , remained , as far as the public are aware , unfulfilled . The only negotiations which our Foreign-office was suspected of carrying on were such as public opinion is little likely to approve . Several months ago , Sir G . Hudson is said to have been instructed to press the Sardinian Government to enter into relations of intimacy and friendship with that of Austria ,
England offering to , become a party by way of guarantee to the proposed treaty . No words can too strongly designate the fatuity of such a . proposal if it ever was made . The mere suspicion of such an alliance would , within a month , withdraw all confidence in constitutional Government in Piedmont , overturn the Cabinet of M . Cavour to make way for one of reaction , and throw the whole bulk of the Liberal party into the hands of Franco . English influence is already low enough in tho peninsula , but it would then be absolutely extinguished ; while that of France , already perhaps more powerful than is desirable , would oecome wholly paramount . A great minister would , in all
probability , have been tempted ere this to join with France in a peremptory course of intervention for the rescue and reconstruction of tho Italian states . Against such a combination , and with twenty-six millions of people in arms , tho artifices ol tho Vatican and of Vienna could avail naught . We do not blame Lord Malmesbury , indeed , for wot taking such a course , nor do wo think that Parliament will blame \ nm . On tho other hand , womuat repeat our strong persuasion that tho publio opinion of this country will ndvor bo brought to sanction any efforts on tho part of our Government to tighten tho yoke of absolutism , or to hazard , in some short-sighted view of temporary peace , tho existence pi" tho only constitutional Government south of the Alps . It is also said , that our Foreign .
, # 3 noble . "With it view to the permanent maintenance of friendly relations with France , we have not 4 V doubt that Lord Clarendon and his colleagues took , an impolitic as well as an un-English course ,, and that -the people of this country who , repudiated their Conspiracy BUI and censured tthoir / w , ant of spirit , took the Tbest means of preventing-future misundoratandtogs with the Government of > our ne % libours . We , ttp not know , indeed , a better tost of political sagacity than that which WAS : affordc 4 by tho events of February last j and should , a general election oome ore long , there arc few touchstones of a . man ' s political fitness and . reliability tliat nuay more safejyTse usecl than this—<* J > id We ftbettthe Cpttspirftey Bill , or did he oppose
THOUGHTS , FACTS , AND SUGGESTIONS ox PARLIAMENTARY REFORM . No . VIII . Few people will deny that the practical result to be aimed at in all measures of electoral reform , is the better enabling the industi'y and intellect ol the country to return to Parliament men who they believe will fully represent them . To secure this end three things are necessary : a sufficient nuinbci of voters , freedom from undue influence in the act of voting ; and liberty of choice as to candidates ,
We have all heard a great deal of late regarding the first two , and we may be tolerably sure that between this and Easter there is not a . point iii the controversy about suffrage or ballot that will not have been thoroughly sifted and examined . But about the third essential , that of candidature , little or nothing is said , although to every reflecting mind it must be clear that practically it is of as much importance as cither of the others . What is the use of doubling or trebling our large constituencies , 6 r of securing to every man in them the right of giving : his vote independently , if the state ot the law be such as to
narrow the choice within the smallest possible limits , and , in point of fact , to leave no real liberty of selection at all ? It is no use trying to parry the force of such a question by the old humdrum assertion that every man is at liberty to vote for any other man he likes . In sound this is true , but in sense and iii substance it is false—notoriously false . A man coming up to the poll may undoubtedly utter the name of Prince Albert or Mr . Punch , or that of any other distinguished personage in the realm ; but is that voting ? Is it not to all intents and purposes as good as playing the fool , or talking iu ono s sleep , or chattering gibberish ? Throwing
your vote away is surely the thing most opposite to usiug it ; yet that is what nine-tenths of the electors of the United Kingdom must do if they wore to record their votes iu their various localities for the men whom they knew to bo the fittest to represent thorn . Tho fittest men are not only very seldom candidates , but they are necessarily so . They are systematicallv and designedly precluded from beooming such by tho perverted ingenuity of tho law which imposes upon candidature a protecting duty in favour of tho Upper Teu Thousand , aniountiug in effect , in most caacs , to an absoluto prohibition . Who is thero amongst us thut has not again and again wished to huvo an opportunity of supporting some man of talent or disbeen
tinotion , whoso acts or whoso writings he baa particularly pleased with P Who does not roinoinbci instances ot such men having been publioly or privately invited to come forward , and who docs not roeollect thp storootypo rosponso , which , acknowledging gralofully the honour intended , intimates significantly that private circumstances routlor it impossible P Wlmt are these ciroumslancos . Infirmity of hoalth sometimes no doubt , and Boinotimos pressure of business j but in nineteen cusos out of twenty is it not simpl y and mcroly the inability to boav tho unconscionable oxponso wluoli a vicious law would subject him to P Membershi p of Parliament must bo ono ol two Ihinga-r-tt , busmoss carried ou for personal objects , or
| L 8 THE LEADER . [ No .- 458 , January 1 , 1859 . _
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 1, 1859, page 18, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2275/page/18/