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The New Zealand Evangelist

Foreign Summary

page 17

Foreign Summary.

The state of Europe, according to late advices, is any thing but that of ease and prosperity. To begin with the land we love so well, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, we find great commercial distress and much discontent, an agitation set on foot for financial reforms, which it cannot be denied are much needed, the expences of Government being so much heavier than the case requires, and the incubus of army and navy is severely felt, and loudly deprecated. What the issue will be the future alone can show. It is, however, the opinion of many, that unless great changes be made legally, attempts will be made to effect them by violence—Revolution is rife. Rebellion in Ireland has been put down, but who will say that the latent fire has been extinguished. Emigration from all parts of the United Kingdom was going on—people who have the means are escaping from home, as though they were flying from death, and those who cannot leave mourn their inability, and have but a dismal prospect before them of destitution and death; for want and cholera were both in operation. It is hoped that brighter days will come, but from both public and private sources we learn that things were never so bad before. It makes our heart ache to think of the old country, and forces the wish that many of these poor struggling, suffering fellow-countrymen of ours could be transplanted to the colonies in these parts, where they might at least have enough to eat. The Lord have mercy upon the multitudes of our half fed, half clad, ill lodged countrymen.

If we turn from Britain and Ireland and take a look at the nations of the Continent we find things no better, “wars and rumours of wars,” “perplexity and distress of nations,” there is hardly one queit spot on which the eye can rest. France has changed its form of Government from monarchical to republican, the deposed Citizen King has been replaced by a Citizen President, and the choice of France seems to prove that there is something in a name after all; page 18 for what the chosen man of the electors has to recommend him but the name he bears, would puzzle a wizard to discover; he is one of the mushroom princes of the Napoleon race, and bears that talismanic cognomen. His former acts have proved him to be a hairbrained fool, whether his future will prove him a wise ruler, is certainly questionable. Fears are indulged that France has not seen an end of revolutions yet. In the rage for reform now existing, it has been proposed to revive or reconstruct the Germanic Empire, which if effected would extinguish a considerable number of sovereign princes, and place power in one; but power is sweet, and these rulers may not be willing to part with it; some of them it is certain will not. The King of Prussia appeared to favour the grand idea of a united Germany, while there was a prospect of his being Emperor, but that eluding his grasp, the other has been banished from his breast. Austria has been the scene of much anarchy and bloodshed, murders by the populace, slaughter by the soldiers, cities bombarded, statesmen immolated, and all the evils of civil war; its Emperor has abdicated; the abdication of Kings used to be a rare thing, it is happening frequently just now; but we live in strange times. What do these things portend? There is one King “immortal,” his “throne is for ever and ever;” for his kingdom is “everlasting,” and by his permission or appointment these things happen. We are sure that some wise end is intended, and some good will be educed from these things. Perhaps the predictions of the Apocalypse are about to be fulfilled, and true Christianity to prevail against error and vice, and if such be the result, the world will be a gainer. Italy was in a very disturbed state, and the patrimony of St. Peter, likely to pass out of the hands of his reputed successor; for the Pope had been constrained to flee from Rome in the disguise of a servant, and mounted on a coach box His case is one of the strongest proofs of the uncertainty of earthly grandeur. But a few short months before, the very idol of the people, now in danger from their page 19 violence, and glad to escape from the people who offered him praises, such as man cannot deserve and ought not to receive.

While these things of a sanguinary and destructive nature are occurring, the Friends of Peace are bestirring themselves. A Peace convention has been held, and good is certain to be the result. Sooner or later governments will find out the folly, if not the wickedness of war. The war fever appears to have abated in France, for a reduction of the forces is talked of; or may be it is necessity that compels this; armies are expensive things, and France is poor. The friends of peace are gratified by the appointment of the new American President, General Taylor, who though a soldier hates war, and will it is hoped labour to secure peace throughout the civilized world. Had his defeated antagonist, Gen. Cass, reached the chair, it is not unlikely but that he would have plunged his country in a war with Britain, on which point the man was mad. When we think of our comparatively happy and prosperous state, we ought to indulge and express gratitude, and when we think of those who are suffering from want or war, or whatever source, our feeling should be that of pity, and our prayers offered up in their behalf.