Table of Contents:
The Canadians seem to be in great trouble about the passport system which Seward has introduced ostensibly to prevent conspirators, etc., from crossing the line and burning the goodly towns of Detroit, Buffalo, etc. Their journals gravely assert that Mr. Seward is behind the times — that the passport system has been abandoned even by France and Austria; and that, while in full operation it never prevented a single conspirator from crossing the line. They complain also of the abrogation of the Reciprocity as a great grievance, calculated to fall with heavy force upon Canada, and earnestly desire the British Government to interfere, and get all things straight, if it be possible to do so by negotiation. The Canadian journals must have a far more indifferent opinion of Seward's sagacity than we can venture to entertain, if they believe he is not well aware of the inefficiency of the passport system. He knows well enough that it cannot prevent such incursions from Canada as he affects to dread, and that a half dozen passport officers upon a line two thousand miles long can afford no security against Confederate raiders, were there really any danger of them. But there is no danger; and that no man knows so well as Seward himself. His object is palpable. It is, in the first place, to annoy the British Government as much as possible, and to affront them at every turn. He knows that he shall gain great with his own countrymen without incurring any danger. He sees clearly enough that he may offer Great Britain any amount of insult and injury, and that she will carry her resentment no farther than a protest or remonstrance. In the meantime, his own countrymen will applaud to the very echo everything he does or says offensive to Great Britain, for, since the days of the Revolution, in order to insure popularity in the United States, nothing more has ever been necessary than to abuse John Bull, who is heartily detested there. In the second place, Seward is evidently paving the way to the annexation of Canada. He patterns closely after the great European despotism. Russia, when she wishes to annex an adjoining country, always commences by rendering intercourse as difficult and as onerous as possible. Police stations are sown thicker along the line — scarcely a mouse can pass without being detected — trade is interrupted by prohibitory duties — the people of the coveted country are straitened and harassed by a thousand petty annoyances. They complain, protest, remonstrate — all in vain. The system, as to foreigners, cannot be altered; but as to subjects, the largest license is allowed. The inhabitants begin to see, and to feel, how much better off their Russian neighbors are, and they desire to belong to the same Government, that they may enjoy the same advantages. And thus, in the end, they become Russian subjects, and advance the Czar one step forward in his march to the south of Europe. Such is the fate — or analogous to it — that Seward is now preparing for Canada, towards which the eyes of every Yankee have been turned for eighty years with all the eager longing of their covetous natures. The unsettled times present many favorable opportunities for annoyance:--the fear of "rebel raids" is an admirable pretext. Great Britain, if the London Times be a proper exponent of public opinion, is already more than half disposed to give up Canada — the people of that magnificent colony have never known restraint upon the entire freedom of their motions — the first experience is sufficiently annoying — the abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty seriously interferes with their individual prosperity — there is no way of securing to themselves the liberty of trading with their numerous and wealthy neighbors but by becoming their fellow-citizens — and their fellow-citizens they will, sooner or later, become. Of that we may rest assured. There is considerable animosity at present existing between the two.--But the Yankees are necessary to the Canadians, and mutual interest will soon allay mutual animosity. Such are the hopes of Seward, we have no doubt, and such his design in the policy which he has thought proper to inaugurate with regard to Canada.--Whether it will succeed or not, we are not prepared to say. The Reciprocity Treaty, we believe, was the work of Southern men, who had no desire to see Canada added to their other enemies in the Union. It is a shrewd stroke of policy in Seward to abolish it, and thus cut off a large source of wealth to a large class of Canadians. The Canadians have always looked for defence to a British army. It no doubt delights Seward that they have shown already an invincible repugnance to adopting any measures for self- defence; or, at least, that a portion of them have. We have yet to learn what will be thought of all these things in Great Britain. Alison, in one of his chapters written twenty-five years ago, asserted that the love and increase of wealth had greatly damaged the spirit of the nation and impaired its military strength. We did not believe him when we first read that chapter, but the fact has been rendered very plain during the present war. Under such a ministry as the present, at any rate, Great Britain is not what she was fifty years ago, when George IV. was Prince Regent and Castlereagh War Minister — odious characters both, but men who had a regard for the national glory.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.