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RUSSIA AND TURKEY. THE overtures of the Emperor Napoleon for peace have been met in the spirit that was anti- cipated—but not in the spirit in which they were made. We believe the governing power in France meant honestly, and directed its best efforts, through the medium of an imperial letter, to awaken a Brother Sovereign to a sense of right, and to a consideration of what must be the hor- rors of war—a war,which, whenever it would take place, would be the offspring of his own head- strong will, and unappeasable ambition. That Sovereign has been deaf to the monition—has spurned advice—proved himself heedless to the dread alternative spoken of—and is as prepared as he was from the beginning, to maintain his great pretensions, with his great (but fortunately for the world,) unwieldy force. lie tells the French Emperor in plain and undiplomatic lan- guage, that he can only enter into negociations on the bases he had before laid down !"—which means this, and no more.—Give me the Protec- torate of Turkey—let me create an Irnpermm in Imperio in the Sultan's dominions—let me be the ruler, and your ally the shadow, and you and Queen Victoria shall have peace, and I shall no more disturb that European tranquillity so es- sential to TOUR recently-organised power— RES DURA ET NOVITAS REGNI,— and to the unruffled and unwarlike slumbers of the goodAberdeen, and thus there willbe joy and glad- ness on your Bourse, and the Cobdens and Brights of England may declare the triumph of THEI R prin- ciples, even should I make a solitude, and call it PEACE which I have before done at Warsaw, and on the Banks of the Vistula, while Europe looked calmly, though not approvingly on The Emperor Napoleon seems to have sensibly felt the pungency, or, if we may add, the pug- nacity of the answer he has received, and to have considered the letter addressed to him to have been almost written on the drum-head, rather than in the cabinet of the imperial Peterhoof. Enough of it has oozed out, to make it be termed in Paris as unscrupulous, arrogant, and discour- teous,"—indeed, it is said to contain one notable sentence, which must have keenly barbed the ar- row directed from St. Petersburgh. I have the firm confidence (so says the arrogantEmperor,)that my troops will reply as they did in 1812." By HIS war with Russia, the great Napoleon lost his throne, and his nephew is now significantly told that the reply" of the Autocrat's forces in 1854, may produce another imperial catastrophe in France. Such an interpretation will assuredly be put upon the Czar's words in the saloons of the Legitimists and Orleanists, in Paris, and they will sink deep in the mind of the thinking, mys- terious, and taciturn man at the Tuileries. He well knows his position, and what his honour, his interests, and the honour and interests of his country demand—and as the momentous hour for action has come, he, through the official organ of his government, announces to the great French nation—" That France must prepare to maintain by more efficient means, the course which the persevering efforts of diplomacy have failed to conduct to a successful issue:" in other words, that the sword must now interpose, and that all further negociations wonld be "a delusion, a mockery, and a snare." Thus ends all our, and our ally's fruitless efforts for peace, and we find ourselves in the same posi- tion we were in months ago—an enemy before us that we cannot conciliate or.appease, and a war to be encountered, that cannot now be postponed or refrained from being at once entered upon, un- less France and England are both prepared to abdicate their high functions, and give to Russia a supremacy in Europe. But history, calm, stern, and impartial, will yet have to detail the events of, while it will sit in judgment on, the times in which we live. Will history not condemn the two great civilised powers of the west, for so long keeping their people in a ferment of anxious hope —and to many, of paralysing fear-in endea- vouring to ward off a conflict which, from the first, must have been regarded as inevitable ? What sacrifices have not been made—what enor- mous losses incurred—what blows to our trade given—how much unhealthy speculation incur- red—and all in the vain effort to propitiate a Prince—the chief of a dynasty that was never yet known to falter in the stern resolves of its stubborn will, save by compulsion The Empe- ror Nicholas, in the entire course of events which have preceded the war on which we are now entering, cannot be said, so far as his aggres- sive policy may have been concerned, to have fal- tered one jot, or to have played the hypocrite, to veil his direct and indomitable purpose. He cer- tainly spoke of peace—but his acts declared that he had always contemplated strife—and the re- straint that he might have for the moment put upon the master passion of his nature, was not like The torrent's smoothness, ere it dashed below." The dash had been made—the Pruth passed— and the Principalities all but won. While his ministers were negociating, his legions were marching—while the ink was wasting, blood was shedding—and but for the unfortunate affair at Sincpe, materials would be even now accumula- ting, to swell other Blue Books, similar to those already given to the public ;—Books, so worthless, so stained with the recital of the frauds practised on credulous allies—so replete with the boldest species of lying, that they must ever rank with the worst state papers in the archives of the country. But, dismissing them for ever with ob- loquy and contempt, containing, as they do, to quote a minister of the crown, endless modifica- tions of untruth, concealment, and evasion, and ending with assertions of proclaimed falsehood," we have to trust never to look upon their like again," and to be prepared to see a nobler career than the past entered on by the government. It is now popular, and the policy of connivance," so gravely, we would say so audaciously, levelled against it by Disraeli, must no more be thought of, but its hands strengthened by all rallying round, and giving to the throne and its ministers the nation's fullest and firmest support. Closely, and intimately allied with France, the issue can- not be for a moment doubtful. Our fleets and our armies will sail and march side by side—the standards of both armies will wave together in the same battle and, in the words of Lord Pal- merston, it will be, indeed, a noble sight to see two countries, which have long been in rivalry with each other, united in a course of action— bound by a reciprocal engagement to seek no ter- ritorial advantage for themselves, but standing forth in defence of, not their own interest and wel- fare alone, but in behalf of the interests of Eu- rope. It will be, indeed, a worthy sight to see those fleets and armies, which have hitherto met in deadly contest, ranged side by side in perfect amity—not armed for the purpose of conquest, but armed in a noble and generous cause, to de- fend right against might." CORRUPT PRACTICES AT ELECTIONS BILL. ELECTION PETITIONS BILL. THEBE has been a variety of legislation upon these kindred subjects. With respect to the for- mer, it has been exceedingly inefficient; with re- gard to the latter, considerable improvement has been effected. Ministers, however, have done quite right in taking up both subjects, with a view to further improvement. The high penalties inflicted by various acts, from the time of William III. downwards, have been quite inoperative. The persons usually taking bribes, could not pay such penalties, if convictions were obtained. Lord John Rus- sell's Bill proposes, both for the givers and re- ceivers of bribes (if we rightly understand his speech, which does not go much into detail,) a smaller fine, with the alternative cf imprison- ment; and, in the case of electors, perpetual dis- franchisement, the name of the offender being published yearly with the register; no person guilty of bribery to be capable of sitting after- wards in Parliament. A Parliamentary register of the disqualified is also to be kept by the Speaker, as a check upon such individuals in after years. Treating and illegal payments" are to be more mildly dealt with. The persons concerned are to be prevented from electing, or being elected, for the same place during the same Parlimaent. The noble lord makes no attempt to check what, in Parliamentary language, is called undue influence what the minions of those who prac- tise it do not scruple to defend as legitimate influence;" but what those who call things by their right names, designate as intimidation. Lord John provides that any person who shall by himself, or any other person on his behalf, make use of, or threaten to make use of, any force, vio- lence, or restraint; or shall inflict, or threaten to inflict any injury, harm, or loss, or in any other manner exercise intimidation" towards a voter, shall be fined £50, with full costs to the person sueing. These measures relating to bribery and treat- ing, are good as far as they go, and may effect some improvement. The actions for penalties, however, should be brought, as Sir J. Walmsley suggested, in the County Courts, and we would add, that half the penalties should go to the per- sons bringing them. Political hostility is not a sufficient motive for such prosecutions; because, in most cases, both sides are involved, and hence the offenders escape. The love of gain being the object of the receiver of a bribe, the same passion might thus be made subservient to the detection of offenders. It has also been suggested that, without the necessity of [a formal trial, the re- vising barrister, in the ordinary registration court, should have the power to strike out the names of electors, against whom bribery could be proved. The obvious objection to this is, that it would be giving the barrister a criminal jurisdiction, with- out the intervention of a jury. As to the prac- tical effect upon the register, this objection would have no weight, since the barrister already de- termines who are the parties required by law to be inserted, or struck out. With respect, how- ever, to the stigma thrown upon the defendant, the consideration alluded to has some force. But it might be met, either by the decision being only ar- rived at by the barrister where both parties consent; or by either party being entitled to have a jury, as in certain cases in the county courts. The great benefit of thus taking the offence into a registration court, would be, that the agents of contending political par- ties, the very men who have all the information, are on such occasions present, with their assistants and a number of cases could be taken, with as little trou- ble and expense as few would occasion before a sepa- rate court. The very strength of party zeal, which so often leads to corruption, would thus be enlisted in its repression, since every case proved by one party would be a gain of a vote over the other; and cor- ruption would be much more assiduously checked than if it were left to the remedy of actions for pe- nalties, which, in such cases, are always regarded as vindictive. It might possibly be desirable to encou- rage this more summary mode of procedure, by ex- empting persons admitting the offence before the bar- rister, from further proceedings. Intimidation is evi- dently more difficult to deal with; and, comprehen- sive as Lord John Russell's clause appears, in words, to be, it will practically apply only to those grosser acts which are of less frequent occurrence. A vast amount of zeal and heavy coercion may be, and is ex- ercised, without coming practically within the range of these provisions; however much it violates their spirit. The true remedy for intimidation is the Bal- lot, without which all efforts to put an end to this great and degrading evil, will end in disappointment. In his lordship's alterations, with respect to Elec- tion Petitions there is not much that is striking, ex. cepting one provision, and that of an apparently un constitutional nature. Heleavesthepresentoommittees as they are, excepting that each, in order to arrive at greater uniformity of decision, is to have a legal as- sessor, taken by the general committee of selection from ten barristers of ten years standing, who shall be appointed by the Crown,previously to a dissolution. This proposal may have some advantages, but some parliamentary leaders think that the assessors should be members of the house. Another novelty is, the appointment of a preliminary committee of fifteen, in the nature of a grand jury, to hear the petitioners' witnesses, and decide if there be a case for investiga- tion if not, the matter is to drop. If they send it to a regular election committee, that committee may, if they deem it a substantial case, (even though they do not decide in favour of the petitioner,) award him his costs at the public expense; but should they find that the petitioner had not reasonable ground, he is to pay the sitting member's costs, as well as his own. We doubt much the utility of this new committee which is also far too numerous^ and, where a petition goes before both, the expenses will be greatly in- creased. It may not be improper in some cases for the public to bear the cost, seeing the importance of maintaining the purity of the representation; but if so, it must not be at the lavish and needless scale of expenditure now so common. But next comes the proposition to which an objec- tion lias been already expressed and that is, where the committee find bribery, treating, and undue influ- ence, on behalf of the successful candidate, the highest unsuccessful candidate, if he shall have polled two- thirds of the number polled by the successful candi- date, shall be by the committee declared duly elected. Against this usurpation of the functions of the elec- tors by any committee of the elected, or however constituted, we protest. Hitherto, when committees have seated petitioners, it has been by striking off the majority of the sitting members' votes, as being ille- gat the petitioners' poll being liable to the same ordeal; or it has been by finding sitting members legally disqualified, a practice also consi- dered highly objectionable; but which, from its rare occurrence, has not excited much attention. The noble lord seems to regard it too much as an affair between the candidates only and when one plays the game and wins unfairly, he would punish him, and compensate the other, by handing the stakes to the latter. But we must maintain intact the rights of the constituency. Why are a large body to be disfranchised, because a few on the same side have been corrupt ? Why are 3,000 voters to hand over their rights to 2,000 ? 1 he thing is intolerable. Further, Lord John Russell proposes that when a committee find extensive bribery, they may report at once to the Secretary of State, and a commission to investigate locally may issue, and the commissioners be named, without an address from both Houses. We doubt the desirability of this change. The restric- tion of those commissioners to revising barristers,may tend to secure greater knowledge of the subject; but will, at the same time, exclude men equally able. Lastly, the Attorney-General is to prosecute persons whom the committee report to be guilty of bribery— an excellent provision. One great omission of the Bill is the want of some means to prevent the getting up of petitions for the purpose of compromise. Further, it would be a great improvement that the committees should sit in the places to which the proceedings refer. The advan- tage of this, as regards expense, and the better eluci- dation of facts, is obvious; and the plan is further re- commended by the experience of various local com- missioners. THE AMENDMENT OlTlSllEFORM BILL. THE Anti-Reformers have developed their policy at an early period, and we must at all events thank them for their candour.—As we anticipated, they will not repeat their blunder of 1831, in opposing all re- form. And Mr. Disraeli has had, as geamen say, the wind taken ou. of his sails," with respect to the counties, by the large gain of seats which the bill professes to give them. There would have been con- siderable difficulty in choosing a plan of operations but for the prospects of war, which has been for ages one of the occurrences by which public atten- tion has been assiduously diverted from abuses at home. This, then, is to be seized upon as the pre- tence for holding reform in abeyance. Relieved of the odium of direct opposition, the Derby party will merely advocate postponement, and, with an abund- ant shew of plausibility, will dwell upon the wisdom and propriety of delay. Lord John Russell, indoed, foresaw this, as appeared by his opening speech, and the country concurred in the correctness of his view. But they are not to be deflected from their purpose. If the device be some. what transparent, they have beneath it the armour of obstinacy; in which they are cased like the tor- toise in his shell. But they are encouraged also, by the waywardness of some professing Liberals. Every cause is injured, more or less, by those who should be its friends. Earl Grey, on this occasion, is doing what he can to obstruct the Ministerial mea- sure and great is the joy of the Conservatives at having such a name at their side. But their very praise of him, as the son of the great and consistent Reformer—the CLARUM ET VENERABILE NOME:; of other days, associated with the Magna Charta of our times, provokes unpleasant comparisons. The pre- sent peer has not caught even a remnant of his great father's mantle. His conduct upon the second Irish Reform Bill has not been forgotten. A few other distinguished men of the same school, seem to have a tendency to gyration in Parliament; and a num- ber of those provincial gentlemen who regard reform as having gone quite far enough, when it has brought them into official importance, have been shaking their heads at the shocking idea of discussing reform in the face of war. The clever Conservatives, of course, are taking ad- vantage of it, and will profit by the unpopularity which these Fabian Liberals will bring upon them- selves. An honourable member has given notice of an amendment. Sir Edward J)enny is one of the old-school opponents of all reform, a gentleman of a past generation, a relic of the reign of George III. Sir Edward, doubtless, would prefer meeting the bill with a straight-forward negative. But that is out of the question and so the veteran will' lead the motley band of ^jostponers—to defeat, we pre- sume. Why should impending war cause us to shut our eyes to evils at home ? Why should even actual war, at a distance ? A collision with Russia, in Eastern Europe, is little more to us, at this season of the year, at all events, than a conflict with the Caffres or the Burmese. Is everything else to stand still ? It is not parliament or the people that will conduct the war; but the executive. Rather let us, at such a time, increase the stability of the constitu- tion, by admitting more of the ppople within its pale. Let us consolidate our power by removing the galling exclusion of five-sixths of our adult population from the franchise. Already we see in Ireland the benefit of confiding in the people—the sister isle is no longer THE difficulty of Government. A short time ago, it was difficult to get recruits. The calling out of our Irish militia has put the country on the same footing with England; and not only for that force, but for the army and coast guard, recruits are now readily obtained. Let a similar spirit animate our political arrangements; and we shall find ourselves invigorated for whatever efforts we, as a nation, may be called upon to make.



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