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forces to their own country; and measures were actually taken on the part of government, to enable his lordsbip to re-embark bis ariny, whenever he might deem it necessary.
The unexpected intelligence of the retreat of MASSENA and the forces under bis command have inspired the British cabinet, and of course all their tools, dependents and supporters with new and lively hopes. Their exultations are as 'extravagant as they are foolish. Instead of pressing it on ministers, that as they now, contrary to general expectation, stand on somewhat higher ground, and consequently have an opportunity of entering on the importaut and necessary work of negociation more advantageously, than a few months since, it is their duty to seek peace, and pursue it ; the columus of our public prints, those on the ministerial side more particularly, are flattering us with hopes of new and continued success; fresh coalitions are talked of, formidable insurrections are reported, and the most confident hopes are expressed not only of the deliverance of Portugal, froin which we are assured the French are « completely expelled,” and also of Spain, but of various states on the continent, from the yoke of the “ Corsican usurper and tyrant ;" and to crown the whole, we are encouraged to hope that the ultimate result will be the shaking, if not the overturning of the throne of Napoleon, even in his own immediate dominions ! . .
The Morning Post of Wednesday last, informs us, on the authority of “ a gentleman just arrived in town, from the French « coast, (how many such gentlemen has the Morning Post employed « in its service during the war!)~" That the whole of the Dutch “ provinces are in open rrbellion against the Corsican tyrant; that "an insurrectionary spirit has also been extensively displayed in “ Flanders, and even in different parts of France; and that a very “ formidable plot has lately been discovered at Paris, in conse« quence of which several persons of high station have been arres. 'ted.” In confirmation of this charming intelligence of the '“ gen“ tleman” of the Morning Post, we are in the same day's paper assured, that the Speculator lugger (a most suitable vessel for the conveyance of such intelligence) “ arrived in the Downs from the “ Dutch coast, has brought intelligence corroborative of the above “ statement, as far as it regards the insurrection in Holland ; and of other accounts, entering into particulars state, that the populace .. of Rotterdam, Ainsterdaro, Dort, and other places, had risen or against the several garrisons, possessed themselves of the batte« ries, and disarmed the French troops; that in France the spirit " of insurrection was also extending itself, and that the oufery o was loud in all parts, on account of the general distress.” We are further encouraged to look to the good and faithful ally of this protestant country, the poor old Fope, for his services in this new,
and cheering state of affairs; for the writer adds" The Pope's “ ill treatment, and captivity bad given great offence; and as his “ Holiness had refused his sanction to Bonaparte's divorce and sub" sequent marriage, the people considered the infant, nick-named " King of Rome, as illegitimate.” · The reports of this “ gentleman,” and those brought by the " Speculator," do not appear to have obtained any great credit, but they at least shew the good wishes of the writer: no matter if the people of Europe be in a state of insurrection, or how much blood may be shed, or how many states ravaged, or whether a new coalition of the states on the continent, or of the pope and the devil, do the business! There is no occasion to inquire the cause of these insurrections, or by what means they are excited or supported! If our ministers can by any means light up the flame of war over Europe, and thus insure to the people a longer continuance of the contest, their great object will be so far attained.
All these reports have however been so frequently circulated du. ring the late and present war, that their revival can benefit to a very trifling degree the common cause; they are indeed highly impro. bable: the Hollanders it is true are deprived for a time of the object of their idolatry—TRADE, which to extend and preserve, they for this half century past, have been willing to sacrifice their own liberties, and of course were careless of the liberties of the rest of the world: as to insurrections in Flanders, Germany, or France, it may reasonably be asked what hope of success, or what expectations of ameliorating their condition can the people reasonably entertain? After all we have heard of the “ groans of the people “ of Europe under the tyranny of the Corsican tyrant,” we suspect that there are few.states in which the people at large, and more particularly the lower classes, bave not been benefitted by the revolutions which have taken place. One most oppressive grievance they bave got rid of, their corrupt and tyrannical church establishments: one invaluable blessing they have gained-TOLERATION. Civil establishments of religion have in all countries proved the grand instruments of enslaving the people; and wherever these Anti-christian nuisances are removed; wherever religious liberty is fully established, and the corporation of the priesthood dissolved, we are persuaded that civil, and political liberty will ere long follow. Men whose minds are set free, cannot be long content to remain in a state of slavery in any sense of the word. When we hear of an object being held out to any people in a state of servitude sufficiently animating ; when they have confidence in leaders who will offer them a restoration of those rights originally given them by God and nature, we may then, and not till then, entertain hopes that mankind will cheerfully rise up in defence of their original
dignity, and assert every right which iv all distinct and independent communities naturally flows from the equality of mankind, and from the sovereignty of the people.
The retreat of the French armies from Portugal, is a happy event so far as it may leave the people of that kingdom independent ; that is if they have wisdom and patriotism sufficient to form a free government for themselves, the exact counterpart of their old government, if the most wretched mixture of statecraft and priestcraft united, and completely vitiated in all its branches deserve the game of government, the heads of wbich sneakingly deserted the people, as soon as they perceived any danger, and leaving them entirely to shift for themselves fled to America. If the Portuguese, however, should be content with a government in which all the abuses of church and state shall be preserved, and a system of slavery, intolerance and persecution bé re-established, much more would it have been for their interest had the French remained masters of the country. Napoleon would at least have got 'rid of the worst and most odious part of the old government, a popish establishment in which toleration was unknown, the people were sunk in the dregs of superstition, and the inquisition formed a branch of the established church.
An impartial observer who was ignorant of the character of British troops, were ḥe to read the extravagant exultations with which our journals have abounded for this month past, would not be led to form the highest opinion of their skill or magnanimity. What is the sum and substance of our boasted triumphs! Lord Wellington was so strongly posted that the encmy did not deem it prudent to attack him; he obtained this position, it must not be forgotten, after having, during the preceding campaign retreared many hundred miles, entirely from Spain, and through the greater part of Portugal to its frontiers : he indeed boasted of several victories; but these victories were uniformly followed by retreats ; although he. represented the enemy in a starving condition, and possessing no part of the country but wbat was covered by their army. It is true that neither his lordship nor those in the habit of panegyrising him as “ a second Marlborough,” ever used the word retreat : do: for although his sick and wounded were,, after the wonderfully ex. tolled victory of Talavera, left behind him to the amount of 1,500 men, yet in all these various “ retreats” we read only “ of a change * of position,” which we are assured was always effected with the utmost skill. And what have the French done this campaign, which the British did not do the last? They have retreated; that retreat has also been conducted, so say their enemies, with the utmost skill; whether they will be driven out of Portugal and Spain, remains to be seen; and till they are driven to the frontiers of the latter country, neither the British general nor his panegyrişts will
o base any great reason, on comparison, for boasting. What after all have we gained ? Are the French drawing the British army after them, as our ministerialists affirmed Lord Wellington drew the French army after him during the whole of the last campaign? Has the retreat of the French armies been attended with a single battle of moment ? will any one pretend that it has been more rapid than the retreat of Lord Wellington last year, or so calamitous as the retreat of the army of Sir John Moore ?
The conduct of the campaigns in Spain and Portugal, may teach a lesson of humility to both the hostile parties. The first army sent from Britain was, after experiencing numberless hardships, and much ill treatment from the people whose battles it was fighting, compelled to leave the country. Since that period, although apother British army has claimed several victories, yet they were of such trifling advantage that every victory was the sure signal for retreat. The French have not been wanting in proinises, and vauntings. They were to have finished the conquest of Spain and Portugal, and to have driven the English army into the sea; this was, as the event proves, promising more than they could perform, and they in their turn have been compelled to retreat. Such events. ought to teach both nations the folly of vain glory, and the expediency if not the necessity of settling the affairs of Spain and Portu. gal, not by the sword but by negociation.
To add to our national delusion, we perceive the thanks of the two houses are to be voted to Lord Wellington for having expelled the French from Portugal. This compliment is now become so common, that a commander of skill and courage, who is not a professed partisan of the minister of the day, and who is not inlerested in the support of abuses, would scarcely deem it worth his acceptance. What has been the constant practice of ministers during the preset war? The moment news has arrived of what is termed a victory, without waiting for information as to the nature of such victory, or whether it was not followed by an immediate and precipitate retreat, leaving the sick and wounded to the mercy of the enemy,--relying solely on the word of the persons most interested, without a moment's consideration as to the general con. duct of the campaign, or waiting for its close ;-although the enemy claim the victory, appealing for evidence to the number of prisoners taken, and of the sick and wounded left in their possession, and to the retreat of the hostile army;-although men of the first military talents and experience have, from these and various other circum. stances, their doubts as to the proper conduct of the commander, and he himself acknowledges he was retreating from an enemy des. titute of provisions, and held in such abhorrence, that he was in possession of ņo part of the country, but the groqud he covered
yet, notwithstanding these suspicious circumstances, votes of thanks, peerages, and pensions have been heaped on the retreating com. mander, and his panegyrists in the height of their servile infatua- . tion, have forced comparisons by their ridiculous panegyrics, elevating him to the very pinnacle of the military profession, and dub. bing him ". A second MARLBOROUGH !"
But what are the brilliant esploits which demand the present vote of thanks? The enemy has retreated: from what cause Let our officers answer the question. One of their letters from Lisbon states :-“ The enemy must have suffered dreadfully from " want of provisions: their necessities have compelled them to sub“ sist upon every kind of animal within their reach. , . . Their re“' treat is conducted with great ability; and their line 'of march is * so well covered that we have hitherto been able to take very few “ prisoners." -So far from leaving 1500 sick and wounded behind them, another letter states—_~ That they waited to bury their dead." A third letter states" The French to confuse our plans, had s marched in three columns from Santarém. · Two were immea diately followed: but no mode or means were sufficient to bring et them to battle: skirmishing was continued, and some prisoners s were sent to the rear till we reached Pombal, where Massena “seeing himself so closely run, halted; and by position kept us « in check, until his baggage had advanced further in security." Now, we confess we are so ignorant of military matters, that we can form no conception, how one army in pursuit of another, and making use of every means to bring the fugitives to action, should suffer those fugitives “ seeing themselves so closely run,” to keep the pursuing army in check, until the baggage of the fugitives had advanced in farther security! But the enemy bas, retreated, and although that retreat was not occasioned by any of the operations of Lord Wellington (who had ever since his own retreat to the frontiers of Portugal, kept close within his lines strongly entrenched by nature and art) but solely to the want of provisions ;-although that retreat had been conducted in the opinion of our officers with the most consummate skill, with little interruption on the part of the British commander ;-and although it be yet very uncertain how the campaign may terminate, yet the tbanks of the two houses are to be voted ; an honour which was once thought due only on extraordinary occasions, when victories the most decisive and bril. liant, were the fruits of skill, brayery, and perseverance the most extraordinary. The grand end of all such votes, it is evident, is to increase the popular delusion; to reconcile a people oppressed with taxes, and cursed with an enormously extended paper circulation, which has occasioned the disappearance of their specie, and doubled the price of all the necessaries of life, to the continuance of the