Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

EXTERMINATION to one of the parties, and of most serious injury to the other must be the unavoidable result,

We pass over on this subject the criminations and re-criminations which may be too justly made by the governments on both sides respecting the treatment of foreign powers ; if for no other than the following cogent reason the HONOUR of our country. This consideration prevents us from entering on the subject. Until the records of a certain expedition fitted out in the time of profound peace with a neighbouring nation, and who had preserved a strict neutrality, which was rewarded by the firing of her capital, the . murder of her inhabitants, the piracy of her fleet, and the robbery of her arsenals :-until the records of an expedition which thus combined the essence of every species of national SCOUNDRELISM, the apology for which the lord chief justice of the Court of King's Bench, Lord ELLENBOROUGH, declared in his place in the house of Lords, “ was only becoming crimiuals at the bar of the

Old Bailey”-until these most disgraceful records are blotted from the British annals, we should tremble at the task of entering on an examination of the question-On which side turns the scale of guilt,-on that of France or Britain ?---We have dwelt the longer on this important subject, because we fear our countrymen in general have not duly considered its importance. Our ministers it is plain, have not the least idea of peace; as long as they entertain the opinions they have recently expressed, it is impossible that blessing should be restored; and whilst the people are silent on the subject, we have nothing but eternal war, and eternally increasing taxation in prospect; or to speak with greater precision, war and taxation will be persevered in, till we can go on no longer, and national ruin must be the unavoidable result.

As the speech does not afford us even the most distant prospect of peace, neither does it afford us any hope of attaining a single professed object of the war. We are indeed informed of “ the con“summate skill, prudence and perseverance of Lord Wellington, “ conspicuously displayed throughout the whole of the campaign.” We are no jadges of " consummate military skill, prudence, and “perseverance ;” but this we kuow, that his lordship with forces, including those of our Portuguese ally, which bis lordship has informed us, were qualified to fight in British ranks, far superior in number to the enemy, has during the last campaign, retreated from Spain, to the frontiers of Portugal, upwards of 500 miles; that immediately after his boasted victory at Buzaco, as has been customary with his lordship after his victories, he commenced a tolerably nimble retreat ; that his army at the present moment is almost in a state of siege, and in a sickly condition; that our expectations are now confined to his being enabled to retain a strong

defensive position : and this after boasting in his dispatches to government of his victories, and representing the enemy as pos

sessing no part of the country, but the ground covered by his i armies, and in the most wretched state, destitute of provisions &c.

Why this second Marlborough did not with his superior forces and advantages, attack and defeat the enemy instead of constantly retreating, and reducing himself and his armies to the very state in which he so lately described that enemy, “ possessing no part of the "country but the ground they cover," is a question which will de mand the most serious investigation. Whether the “ consummate skill," or the “ consummate” veracity of the noble general, be most conspicuous, we must leave those who are the best qualified to determine. Our countrymen have now, however, the evidence of a third campaign to convince them, if not their rulers, that a great · majority of the people in both Spain and Portugal, behold the contest with indifference. In short, after wasting ariny after army, and lavishing fifty or sixty millions sterling for the preservation of SPAIN and PORTUGAL, the state of those countries does not appear to be materially different from what it was when that brave and able officer, Sir John Moore, gave the following account, a short time previous to the termination of his unfortunate campaign. " I cannot disguise my opinion, that the only good result to be “expected in our operations, is the preserving unsullied the honour *** of our arms. Spain in my opinion is conquered, nor is it worthi “ saving. Such apathy, such ignorance, such pusillanimity, seldom " before existed.”—To this it may now be added, that the weakness of all the different governments of Spain during the revolution, the little patriotism discovered in the various Juntas, Regencies, and in the Cortez ; their low, wretched, and partial ideas of civil liberty, and that midnight darkness which invelopes all parties on the subject of religious liberty; their bigoted attachment to a church which in its present state of domination, luxury, superstition and vice, must prevent any effectual reformation taking place, civil or ecclesiastical ;– these circumstances too evidently prove that neither the people nor their leaders, although there may be a few exceptions to the general rule, have any objects in view, sufficient to animate a nation to assert their liberty, and to secure their independence. Judging from what passes in the Cortez, (although there is little which the public prints think worth detailing,) some of the exceptions to the general rule are priests, and others who under all the old, corrupt, despotic governments, are the decided enemies of all innovation, that is of all reformation, and who, let the state of affairs be what they may, constantly enforce the neces. sity of keeping things as they are !That there are a few

VOL. IX,

sity

of affairs be what that is of all reformar: are the decided

observations, which, however, the repeated vices of the age have in the performance of duty, rendered imperiously necessary. To do justice to certain important subjects, line must be upon line, and precept upon precept.

I hope I shall be excused adding, (the reflection is not without satisfaction)—That it is not impossible after my course in this stage of existence shall be finished, this work may be referred to for many valuable documents; as a protest against the corruptions of the times, and as a defence of those principles which are of the last importance to individual and national happiness.

In parting with my readers, the majority of whom I consider as friends, partial to my general opinions and to the style in which I have expressed them, it cannot excite surprise if I am sensibly affected; I beg leave to take my farewell in the language of some of our great moralists, who have expressed themselves on similar occasions, so much better than it is possible for me to do, that I shall not make the attempt.

" There are few things not purely evil, of which we can say « without some emotion of uneasiness, this is the last ! Even “ those who never could agree together, shed tears when mutual “ discontent has determined them to final separation. Of a place “ which has been frequently visited though without pleasure, the last “ look is taken with heaviness of heart”.*

“ Time who is now dating my last paper, will shortly moulder “ the hand that is now writing it in the dust, and still the breast “ that now throbs at the reflection : but let not this be read as “ something that relates only to another; for a few years only can “ divide the eye that is now reading from the band that bas written. “ This awful truth, however obvious, and however reiterated, is “ yet frequently forgotten ; for surely, if we did not lose our re“ membrance or at least our sensibility, that view would always “ predominate in our lives, wbich alone can afford us comfort when " we die." +

BENJAMIN FLOWER. Harlow, July 29, 1811.

* Dr. Johnson's Idler, Vol. II. No. 103.
# Dr. Hawkesworth's Adventurer, Vol. IV. No. 140.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

ITIS Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has at length assumed the regal authority in the mode provided by the two houses of parliainent. From the long debates on this subject it was evidient, even to the most common observer, that the majority of the two principal parties, the administration and the opposition, took the part they judged the best calculated to promote their own interests. The former, tremblingly alive at the idea of losing their places, made use of every means in their power to delay the dreadful day on which they would be compelled to resign, and endeavoured by their restrictions on the government of the Regent, to deprive their successors of a considerable portion of that in. fluence, in which it seems it was agreed by both parties, the strength of government, that is of their favourite mode of government, principally consists. ,

* Judging from existing circumstances, it appears that the Prince Regent has been somewhat puzzled as to the manner in which he should exercise the important trust vested in hion by the representative bodies of the people. It was generally supposed, although we all along entertained suspicions on the subject, that his royal highness would choose an entire new set of counsellors. It appears that Lord HOLLAND had been favoured with frequent and long conferences with his royal highness, and it was supposed by many that his lordship would occupy the first place in the new administration ; but previous to the final settlement of the regency, the public were informed by the editors of the daily prints which are supposed to be the channels of authentic intelligence from the opposition quarter, that Lords GRENVILLE, and Grey had within a very few days of the installation of the Regent, received his royal highness's commands to form a list of members for a new administration. These commands were, however, shortly revoked, and a letter from his royal bighness to Mr. Perceval annouuced to the latter, his resolu

VOL. IX,

enlightened men in Spain, cannot be doubted. Our Miscellany for the present month affords an instance well worthy the attention of our readers ; but all exceptions of the latter description, seem to be only drops of water in the ocean of ignorance, bigotry, stupidity, and indifference !*.

Our limits will only allow us to glance at the state of the continent. In answer to all the confident expectations of success expressed in the speech of ministers, we cannot help seriously.

• * Just as we had penned the above remarks, we perceived the following letter, written by a person on the theatre of action. We copy it from the Star of Feb. 20; a print tolerably impartial, but which rather leans to the ministerial side. :

Extract of a Letter, dated Lisbon, Feb. 3. « The ardour of the Spaniards, on which so much has been built in the hopes of England, is nearly exhausted. We still indeed hear reports of exertions, but the exertions are no where to be found. During this mighty struggle, scarcely one Spaniard of sufficient weight has appeared to embody the powers inherent in Spain against the common foe. This was expected by many as the natural consequence of a worn-out monarchy, a weak nobility, and people full of prejudices, with a religious antipathy to the assistance of foreigners under protestant commanders.-More would have. been done in Spain, had we sent only arms, money, and ammunition, One man indeed made a splendid, but solitary exception, the Marquis de Romana. His death is deeply felt by us. He was loyal to his country, and friendly to the English.

"In Catalonia, Valentia, and Granada the sparks of hatred to the French are alive, but they never will be lighted up into a flame of resistance. Blake has been defeated by a very inferior force under Sebastiani. His army is dispersed, and is retreating to Cadiz, against which the preparations are increasing every day.-Lord Wellington has made every exertion in his power. Whether his conduct has been according to the rules of mili-, tary science is doubted by many; but, in my opinion, new circumstances require new modes of warfare. Our retreats after victories give the foe a' hundle to boust of success. We gain the honour, they gain the country. We are not in want of provisions. We are well supplied, both in this city and in the army.-Should they attack us in our formidable lines, they can expect no success, unless they determine to make an immense sacrifice." The motto of Massena is— A throne or a grave.' If we are defeated, the blow is fatal; if he is repulsed, his retreat is open through a strong country, and he would be sure of reinforcements. His plan of subjugating Portugal would not then be abandoned.--Montier, with about 12,000 men from the South, is in Spanish Estramadura. A part of his force surrounded 4000 Spaniards in Oliviera, a neglected fortress in the Guadiana, below Badaing. The place surrendered at discretion, it is said for want ot provisions. You must not be surprised to hear that the same fate has attended Badajos. Thus we are straitened every day. It is scarcely to be conceived that the enemy should bring such a force into Portugal, without a single diversion made by the Spaniards. We have one consolation : the fault is not ours."

« VorigeDoorgaan »