Imagens das páginas

Of such a nation it is obvious we may make any thing we please, by an upright and beneficent course of policy. Throughout the whole of our vast empire they entertain the most exalted opinion of our character, intellectual and moral. Much has been said, and is still repeated, even by Colonel Sleeman, of our neglect to strew the face of India with architectural, and other material monuments of our greatness and proficiency in the arts and sciences. We admit that something might be done in this way, and that it is not for a wise people to neglect any means of benefiting and inspiring with respect those who are subject to their sway. But we have wisely commenced at the right end, that is, have endeavoured to improve the institutions and moral habits of the people, and to better their domestic condition, after which, if time permit, we may dazzle their imaginations by erecting magnificent structures in the various Presidencies. However, it is mere prejudice to imagine, as many do, that if we were driven out of India to-morrow, we should leave behind us no enduring monuments of our occupation. We have built numerous churches, hospitals, school-houses, and bridges, and constructed great roads to facilitate the transit of merchandise and agricultural produce from one part of the country to the other: we have ameliorated the native system of tillage; we have improved the breed of horses, sheep, and cattle: we have taught the natives to lay out parks and plant gardens;' and, what is of infinitely greater importance, we have inspired them with the belief, that so long as the government of their country shall remain in our hands, they may without the slightest fear enjoy and display their wealth in any manner they think proper. Nay, more, we have imprinted on the national mind of India a new impress, which will never permit us to be forgotten. They have learned of us to believe that good government is their due, and will therefore henceforward be satisfied with nothing less. This is a monument far more glorious and beautiful than any bequeathed to India by the Mohammedan emperors. The Tag Mahat will perish-the very marble of which it is composed will be disintegrated and mingled with the dust-but the feeling and persuasion that justice is due to the governed from all who dare pretend to rule over them, will be immortal in Hindustan, and compel its people to bless the name of England. It was well remarked several years ago by Colonel Sutherland, that the government of India by the Company is one of the most perfect systems of its kind ever invented. Still this government is not without its defects. Its law courts and police, for example, might be very greatly improved, and we think Colonel Sleeman has done very great service

The Entente Cordiale.'


by pointing out in what those defects consist, and suggesting how they may be removed. Up to this time public opinion has not been brought sufficiently to bear on the affairs of India. When abuses have sprung up, therefore, it has been a long time before they have been observed. The case is now altered. A hundred publications have their attention steadily directed to the East. No act of mal-administration can pass there unnoticed. It was the press that recalled Lord Ellenborough, and the same power will recall his successor if he shall be found unequal to the performance of his duty. Of this the Tory cabinet are beginning to be aware, and therefore direct their own section of the press industriously to bespeak public favour for their governor-general. This is a fact at which the people of India may rejoice as well as we.

It would be improper to conclude this notice, without remarking that the illustrations to Colonel Sleeman's work are extremely beautiful, and represent some of the most extraordinary monuments in Northern India.

ART. VII.-1. Survey of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, executed in the Years 1842 and 1843, with the intent of Establishing a Communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and under the Superintendence of a Scientific Commission appointed by the Projector, Don JOSÉ DE GARAY. London: Ackermann and Co. 1844.

2. L'Isthme de Panama, Examen historique et géographique des différentes directions suivant lesquelles on pourrait le percer et des moyens à y employer, suivi d'un aperçu sur l'Isthme de Suez. (The Isthmus of Panama, a historical and geographical Inquiry into the various directions in which it might be cut through, and the means to be employed for that purpose, with some brief Considerations on the Isthmus of Suez.) Par MICHEL CHEVALIER. Paris. 1844.

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RIGHTLY has it been said in a recent number of the Revue des Deux Mondes,' that' with no other interest in view than to have for minister on one side Sir Robert Peel, on the other M. Guizot, you will never effect what can justly be called an alliance between two nations. All you will effect will be a compact between men actuated by selfish ambition.' What an eloquent commentary on this text is supplied by the events of the last few years, and above all of the last few months! How plainly do they show that whilst a cordial understanding' subsists between the ministers on either side of the channel, there is secret war between their respective

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nations:-if that indeed be war, ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum,' where France is the constant aggressor, and England must patiently endure incessant insult and injury. To thwart England, right or wrong, is the darling wish of French politicians, to accomplish which they will stick at no meanness or wickedness. The atrocious slave trade must be maintained and its horrors aggravated, because England desires to put it down. Spain, just emerging from the deluge of civil war, must be overwhelmed more hopelessly than ever, not more for sake of the gain that may ultimately accrue to Louis Philippe's dynasty, than for the purpose of spiting his dear friends the British. Intrigues prompted by the same devilish spirit of mischief have been practised with the like success in Greece. The Ottoman empire is insidiously urged on to its destruction, that piratical France may share in the scramble for its spoils, and rejoice at all events over the downfall of a bulwark, in the integrity of which England has always felt so deep an interest. Such are a few of the pleasant fruits we gather from the cordial understanding.' Our interests and our honour as a nation are bartered away:-but what of that? There abides with us the sweet consolation of knowing that we suffer for the convenience of the Tory administration. Relieved from the trouble of watching our tricky rivals abroad, Sir Robert Peel has the ampler leisure at home to jockey his friends and cajole his enemies; and while we are fooled by the foreigner, Lord Aberdeen, cannie man, eats his porridge and says nothing.

It may be alleged that in the instances above alluded to France had some direct positive advantage to hope for as the result of her policy; but no such excuse can be offered for her crooked dealings in the affair of the Cairo and Suez Railway. Here her motives must have been purely negative, purely and gratuitously inimical to Great Britain. It is notorious that the project of the railway was not merely approved of by Mohammed Ali, but that it was one on which he was earnestly bent, as a safe, easy, and expeditious mode of greatly augmenting his revenue. French intrigues have prevailed with the old viceroy, and have induced him to forego his cherished scheme. No one, we presume, will venture to deny that it was the duty of our foreign secretary to counteract those intrigues, nor can we imagine that the most unblushing, thickand-thin defender of ministerial imbecility, will affect to doubt that Lord Aberdeen could easily have done so, had he and his subordinates exerted for good a tithe of the activity which his friend, M. Guizot, has put in operation for evil. God forbid we should push any man upon enterprises cruelly disproportioned to his powers or his courage; but here was a case that seemed provided on purpose for his lordship's timid hand to deal with. There cer

Great American Isthmus.


tainly needs no colossal effort to induce a man, whose choice is perfectly free, to do the very thing he has both the will and the means to do, a thing which would enrich himself, benefit others, and injure no one. The dullest apprentice in diplomacy might have ventured successfully upon a task like this: it was as easy, and quite as safe, as doing the dirty work of the despicable Sardinian government.

Our hopes of completing almost indispensable arrangements for speedy communication with our Indian empire by means of an Egyptian railway are now indefinitely postponed: meanwhile our attention is solicited elsewhere to a kindred project of immeasurble importance. Don José de Garay having been empowered by the Mexican government to effect a communication through its territory between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, now lays before the British public his credentials, and a report of the survey made under his directions by an accomplished engineer and his assistants. M. de Garay alleges that he has ascertained the perfect practicability of carrying a ship canal across the great American isthmus, and he publishes decrees of his government, by which the most ample rights and immunities are conferred on him, on condition of his accomplishing the proposed work. Upon the security of these concessions we presume he intends to raise the necessary funds; and it is a significant fact, that his first step after completing his preliminary arrangements, was to come to this country and put forth the work, the title of which stands at the head of this article. We are bound to say that the case he has made out is, primâ facie, an exceedingly strong one, and merits the serious attention of our capitalists, merchants, men of science, and others. It is superfluous to remark, that before Englishmen engage their capital in the proposed undertaking, they will carefully verify all the projector's statements, and obtain full security for their investments, as far as he is concerned. These are matters wherein they must rely on their own sagacity; but they will also have need of other precautions, for which they must have recourse to the government of their country. They will require protection against the open or secret machinations of unscrupulous foreign rivals, and against the not impossible contingency of bad faith on the part of Mexico. Can they hope for such protection at the hands of the present ministry? The fate of the Cairo and Suez Railway is a melancholy omen. Nevertheless, let us not despair: a sordid and pusillanimous administration may be forced to assume a virtue that is not its own; nor is its tenure of office perpetual, whereas a determination to vindicate their indefeasible rights is an imperishable instinct in the breasts of the British people.

The idea of a direct navigation between Europe and the eastern shores of Asia is no new birth of modern times. This was indeed the grand thought that filled the mind of Columbus, when he steered his adventurous course westwards; not as has long been erroneously supposed, in search of a new continent, but of a shorter passage to the golden and spice-bearing shores of Japan and Cathay. He found not what he sought, but something infinitely beyond his boldest hopes. Such is the fortune that commonly befals all the great efforts of innovating intellect. New objects are proposed; new means are devised for their attainment; and these means, whether or not they effect the special end originally aimed at, rarely fail of producing a rich harvest of results, all the more welcome for being wholly unexpected. So may it be in the instance we are now about to consider. It is impossible to believe that human enterprise will long endure the obstacles presented to it by the narrow barrier that separates the Atlantic from the Pacific waters; and equally impossible is it to foresee the scope or the details of that stupendous revolution in the affairs of nations and the course of civilisation, which will be occasioned by the opening of the American isthmus.

Both Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci died in the full persuasion that the lands they had discovered were appendages of Asia: but even after it was apparent that a new continent had been revealed, imagination ceased not to dwell with impassioned delight on the wealth and marvels of India and Cathay; and the primary impulse still prompted adventurers to seek out some strait or arm of the sea by which they might make their way al nacimiento de la especeria, to the regions where spices grew. In 1517 Magellan discovered the straits that bear his name; but these were too remote to facilitate the intercourse of Europeans with Asia. Meanwhile Cortes was achieving the conquest of Mexico, and during the brief period of his friendship with Montezuma he failed not to question that monarch closely as to the secret of the straits, and as to the possibility of finding on the Mexican shores some better anchorage than that of Vera Cruz. The Aztec emperor gave Cortes a map of the coast drawn on cotton cloth, whereon was laid down the mouth of a great river, which the Spanish pilots recognised as that of the Coatzacoalcos. A survey was instituted, and showed that there was no strait at that point, but it was ascertained that, between the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos and Tehuantepec, the continent contracts and forms an isthmus, across which a rapid communication from sea to sea was practicable, partly by the Coatzacoalcos and the Chimalapa. Dockyards were soon formed at Tehuantepec, where the vessels employed

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