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"These expressions of opinion possess no little interest, in connexion with the intelligence by the last steamers.' It seems that in the British House of Commons, on a recent occasion, Mr. Gladstone took the strongest ground against the "rebellion losses bill." He contended that the passage of the bill involved imperial as well as local considerations; that its provisions were at variance with the honour and dignity of the crown,' and he denied that the sense of the Canadian people had been pronounced in favour of the measure.' Lord John Russell complained of the tendency of Mr. Gladstone's remarks; said that it would imbitter the feelings of hostile parties,' and affirmed that 'it would be the duty of the government to leave the act in operation.' The whole subject was discussed with great warmth; when, finally, the matter was postponed until the 15th, when the subject was resumed, and with the following results, as we gather from the European Times:
"A long debate took place, in which all the circumstances of the dispute in Canada were recapitulated, but the main argument prevailed that a line cannot now be drawn with reference to Lower Canada which was not prescribed in the case of Upper Canada, when the previous indemnity bill was passed. It was felt in the House of Commons that the people of Canada, in the exercise of their legislative rights, are the fittest judges of what is best to be done. All parties, including Lord Elgin, Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Herries, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Herbert and Mr. Roebuck, all organs of great sections of politicians, disavow the intention of compensating rebels. The rules and the exceptions have been discussed in the Canadian Parliament upon which the title of the claimants is to be decided. A responsible colonial government has constitutionally sanctioned the measure. It would indeed be a most unwise step for the imperial Parliament to interfere almost on the first occasion when an appeal has been made to them by the unsuccessful minority in the colony. Such an interference would aim a blow at the very root of representative government. Such is the prevailing impression, coupled, however, with the strongest repugnance that any of the money should directly or indirectly flow into the pockets of notorious convicted rebels. Upon a division on the second evening, a majority of 291 over 150 rejected the amendment of Mr. Herries.
The question was again mooted in the upper House of Parliament on Tuesday evening. Lord Brougham, in a very elaborate speech, went over all the arguments which had previously been adduced unsuccessfully in the Commons, whereby it was aimed to reverse the system of representative government, and to prove that the minority in the legislature of Canada ought to be supported, and their views carried into effect in spite of a 'tyrant majority.' The efforts of Lord Brougham might have been disregarded, but that, to the general surprise of the house, Lord Lyndhurst re-appeared on this occasion on
the scene of politics. His lordship, in the support of Lord Brougham's views, with undiminished vigour, delivered an able, argumentative, and effective speech, which, we fear, will create as much sensation in Canada as it did in the House of Peers, and which will not tend to pour oil on the troubled waters of the colony.
""The effect of this speech was to marshal a formidable opposition to the ministers, who, upon a division, only carried their point by a majority of three, the numbers, including proxies, being ninety-nine to ninety-six. It is, however, decisive of the question; and without seeking to dwell upon a subject, which necessarily must give pain to many parties whose feelings we respect, we think they must perceive, from the tone of the debate in both houses, that all parties on this side cherish the connexion which now so happily subsists between the mother country and the colony; and that no one entertains the idle belief that the sanction of the crown to the rebellion losses act, or, to speak more properly, its refusal to disallow it, can bring about any permanent differences between those whose interests are as identical with our own, as we are identical 'in race, in language, and in blood.''
"In conclusion, we may remark, that the imperial governmentconsisting of Queen Victoria, Lord John Russell, and the other ministers-together with majorities in both houses of Parliament-have sustained Lord Elgin and the French Canadians. The determination of the British in Canada, who protest against the obnoxious bill, is yet to transpire."
(The following spirited sketch from Blackwood will be especially interesting and valuable at this time, when Russia has acquired, by recent events, so commanding an influence in the affairs of the continent of Europe. We have added to it a notice of the present political position of the Czar.)
"Russia is the most extraordinary country on the globe, in the four most important particulars of empire-its history, its extent, its population, and its power.
"It has for Europe another interest-the interest of alarm, the evidence of an ambition which has existed for upwards of a hundred and fifty years, and has never paused; an increase of territory which has never suffered the slightest casualty of fortune; the most complete security against the retaliation of European war, and a government at once despotic and popular-exhibiting the most boundless authority in the sovereign, and the most boundless submission in the people-a mix
ture of habitual obedience and divine homage-the reverence to a monarch, with almost the prostration to a divinity.
"Its history has another superb anomaly: Russia gives the most memorable instance in human annals of the powers which lie within the mind of individual man. Peter the Great was not the restorer or the reformer of Russia: he was its moral creator. He found it, not as Augustus found Rome, according to the famous adage, brick, and left it marble:' he found it a living swamp, and left it covered with the fertility of laws, energy, and knowledge; he found it Asiatic, and left it European; he removed it as far from Scythia as if he had placed the diameter of the globe between; he found it not brick, but mire, and he transformed a region of huts into the magnificence of empire.
"Russia_first appears in European history in the middle of the ninth century. Its climate and its soil had till then retained it in primeval barbarism. The sullenness of its winter had prevented invasion by civilized nations, and the nature of its soil, one immense plain, had given full scope to the roving habits of its half-famished tribes. The great invasions which broke down the Roman empire had drained away the population of the north, and left nothing but remnants of clans behind. Russia had no sea by which she might send her bold savages to plunder or to trade with southern and western Europe; and while the man of Scandinavia was subduing kingdoms, or carrying back spoils to his northern crags and lakes, the Russian remained, like the bears of his forest, in his cavern during the long winter of his country; and even when the summer came, was still but a melancholy savage, living like the bear upon the roots and fruits of his ungenial soil.
"It was to one of those Normans, who, instead of steering his bark towards the opulence of the south, turned his dreary adventure to the north, that Russia owed her first connexion with mankind. The people of Novgorod, a people of traders, finding themselves overpowered by their barbarian neighbours, solicited the aid of Ruric, a Baltic chieftain, and of course a pirate and robber. The name of the Norman had earned old renown in the north. Ruric came, rescued the city, but paid himself by the seizure of the surrounding territory, and founded a kingdom, which he transmitted to his descendants, and which lasted until the middle of the sixteenth century.
"In the subsequent reign we see the effect of the northern pupilage; and an expedition, in the style of the Baltic exploits, was sent to plunder Constantinople. This expedition consisted of two thousand canoes, with eighty thousand men on board. The expedition was defeated, for the Greeks had not yet sunk into the degeneracy of later times. They fought stoutly for their capital, and roasted the pirates in their own canoes, by showers of the famous 'Greek fire.'
"These invasions, however, were tempting to the idleness and poverty, or to the avarice and ambition of the Russians; and Constantinople continued to be the great object of cupidity and assault. But the city of Constantine was destined to fall to a mightier conqueror.
"Still, the northern barbarian had learned the road to Greece, and the intercourse was mutually beneficial. Greece found daring allies in her old plunderers, and in the eleventh century she gave the Grand duke Vladimer a wife, in the person of Anna, sister to the emperor Basil II-a gift made more important by its being accompanied by his conversion to Christianity.
"A settled succession is the great secret of royal peace; but among those bold riders of the desert, nothing was ever settled, save by the sword; and the first act of all the sons, on the decease of their father, was to slaughter each other, until the contest was settled in their graves, and the last survivor quietly ascended the throne.
"But war, on a mightier scale than the Russian Steppes had ever witnessed, was now rolling over Central Asia. The cavalry of Ghengis Khan, which came, not in squadrons, but in nations, and charged, not like troops, but like thunder-clouds, began to pour down upon the valley of the Volga. Yet the conquest of Russia was not to be added to the triumphs of the great Tartar chieftain; a mightier conqueror stopped him on his way, and the Tartar died.
"His son Toushi, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, burst over the frontier at the head of half a million of horsemen. The Russian princes, hastily making up their quarrels, advanced to meet the invader; but their army was instantly trampled down, and, before the middle of the century, all the provinces and all the cities of Russia were the prey of the men of the wilderness. Novgorod only escaped. "The history of this great city would be highly interesting, if it were possible now to recover its details. It was the chief depot of the northern Asiatic commerce with Europe, and it had a government, laws, and privileges of its own, with which it suffered not even the Khan of the Tartars to interfere. Its population amounted to four hundred thousand-then nearly equal to the population of a kingdom. In the thirteenth century it connected itself still more effectively with European commerce, by becoming a member of the Hanseatic League; and the wonder and pride of the Russians was expressed in the well known half profane proverb, 'Who can resist God, and the great Novgorod?"
"There is always something almost approaching to picturesque grandeur in the triumphs of barbarism. The Turk, until he was fool enough to throw away the turban, was the most showy personage in the world. The Arabs, under Mahomet, were the most stately of warriors, and the Spanish Moors threw all the pomp, and even all the romance, of Europe into the shade. Even the chiefs of the 'Golden Horde' seemed to have as picturesque a conception of supremacy as the Saracen. Their only city was a vast camp, in the plains between the Caspian and the Volga; and while they left the provinces in the hands of the native princes, and enjoyed themselves in the manlier sports of hunting through the plains and mountains, they commanded that every vassal
prince should attend at the imperial tent to receive permission to reign, or perhaps to live; and that, even when they sent their Tartar collectors to receive the tribute, the Russian princes should lead the Tartar's horse by the bridle, and give him a feed of oats out of their cap of state.
"But another of those sweeping devastators, one of those gigantic executioners, who seem to have been sent from time to time to punish the horrible profligacies of Asia, now rose upon the north. Timour Khan, the Tamerlane of European story, the Invincible, the Lord of the Tartar World, rushed with his countless troops upon the sovereignties of Western Asia. This universal conqueror crushed the Tartar dynasty of Russia, and then burst away, like an inundation, to overwhelm other lands. But the native Russians again made head against their Tartar masters, and a century and a half of sanguinary warfare followed, with various fortunes, and without any other result than blood.
"In the fifteenth century Russia began to assume a form. Ivan III. broke off the vassalage of Russia to the 'Golden Horde.' He had married Sophia, the niece of the Greek emperor, to which we may attribute his civilization; and he received the embassies of Germany, Venice, and Rome, at Moscow. His son, Ivan IV., took Novgorod, which he ruined, and continued to fight the Poles and Tartars until he died. His son Ivan, in the middle of the sixteenth century, was crowned by the title of Czar, formed the first standing army of Russia, named the Strelitzes, and established a code of laws. In 1598, by the death of the Czar Feodor without children, the male line of Ruric, which had held the throne for seven hundred and thirty-six years, and under fifty-six sovereigns, became extinct.
"Another dynasty of remarkable distinction ascended the throne in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Michael Romanoff, descended from the line of Ruric by the female side, was declared Czar. His son Alexis was the father of Peter the Great, who, with his brother Ivan, was placed on the throne at the decease of their father, but both under the guardianship of the princess Sophia. But the princess, who was the daughter of Alexis, exhibiting an intention to seize the crown for herself, a revolution took place in 1689, in which the princess was sent to a convent. Ivan, who was imbecile in mind and body, surrendered the throne, and Peter became sole sovereign of Russia.
"The accession of Peter began the last and greatest period of Russian history. Though a man of fierce passions and barbarian habits, he had formed a high conception of the value of European arts, chiefly through an intelligent Genevese, Lefort, who had been his tutor.
"The first object of the young emperor was to form an army; his next was to construct a fleet. But both operations were too slow for his rapidity of conception; and, in 1697, he travelled to Holland and England for the purpose of learning the art of ship-building. He was