« ElőzőTovább »
accomplished such an undertaking ; to had such a frontier for its protection ; have overcome so many and such for- never was such a base afforded for mi. midable intervening obstacles, and litary operations as on both its banks. planted the British guns in triumph on Provisions for any number of soldiers ; the walls of Herat, is one of the most warlike stores to any amount; cannon glorious exploits which have ever sufficient for a hundred thousand men, graced the long annals of British mili- can with ease ascend its waves. Vain tary prowess.
That our soldiers were is the rapidity of its current; the undaunted in battle and irresistible in power of steam has given to civilized the breach has been often proved, in man the means of overcoming it; and the fields alike of Asiatic and Euro- before many years are expired, British pean fame. But here they have ex- vessels, from every harbour in the hibited qualities of a totally different United Kingdom, may ascend that kind, and in which hitherto they were mighty stream, and open fresh and not supposed to have been equal to the hitherto unheard-of markets for British troops of other states. They have industry in the boundless regions of successfully accomplished marches, Central Asia. Now, then, is the time unparalleled in modern times for their to secure the advantages, and gain the length and hardship ; surmounted mastery of this mercantile artery and mountain ranges, compared to which frontier stream; and, by means of forthe
passage of the St Bernard by Na- tified stations on its banks, and a powpoleon must sink into insignificance; erful fleet of armed steamers in its and solved the great problem, so much bosom, to gain that impregnable bar. debated, and hitherto unascertained in rier to our Indian possessions, against military science, as to the practicabi. which, if duly supported by manly vility of an European force, with the im- gour at home, and wise administration plements and incumbrances of modern in our Indian provinces, all the efforts warfare, surmounting the desert and of Northern ambition will beat in vain. mountain tracts which separate Persia But there is one consideration defrom Hindostan. Involved as we are serving of especial notice which nein the pressing interests of domestic cessarily follows from this successful politics, and in the never-ending agi- irruption. The problem of marching tation of domestic concerns, the atten- overland to India is now solved; the tion of the British public has been little Russian guns have come down from attracted by this stupendous event; Petersburg to Herat, and the British but it is one evidently calculated to fix have come up from Delhi to the same the attention of the great military na- place. English cannon are now planttions on the continent, and which willed in the embrasures, against which, stand forth in imperishable lustre in twelve months ago, the Russian shot the annals of history.
were directed; and if twenty thousand There is one result which may and British could march from Delhi to should follow from our undertakings Candahar and Cabool, forty thousand in Affghanistan, which, if properly Russians may march from Astrakan improved, may render it the means of to the Ganges and Calcutta. Our sucstrengthening, in the most essential cess has opened the path in the East manner, our possessions in the East. to Russian ambition ;-the stages of The Indus and the Himalaya are the our ascending army point out the stanatural frontier of our dominions; tions for their descending host; and they are what the Danube and the the ease with which our triumph has Rhine were to the Romans, and the been effected, will dispel any doubts former of these streams to Napoleon's which they may have entertained as to empire. The Indus is navigable for the practicability of ultimately accomfifteen hundred miles, and for nine plishing the long-cherished object of hundred by steamers of war and mer- their ambition, and conquering in Calcantile vessels of heavy burden. It cutta the empire of the East. This is descends nearly in a straight line from the inevitable result of our success; the impassable barrier of the Himalaya but it is one which should excite nó to the Indian ocean ; its stream is so desponding feeling in any British borapid, and its surface so broad, that no som; and we allude to it, not with the hostile force can possibly cross it in selfish, unpatriotic design of chilling the face of a powerful defensive ma- the national ardour at our success, but rine.
Never was an empire which in order, if possible, to arouse the
British people to a sense of the new that that expedition is really intended and more extended duties to which to chastise the rebellious Khan. they are called, and the wider sphere Thirty thousand men, and a large of danger and hostility in which they train of artillery, are not sent against are involved.
an obscure chieftain in Tartary, It is no longer possible to disguise whom a few regiments of Cossacks that the sphere of hostility and diplo- would soon reduce to obedience. A matic exertion has been immensely glance at the map will at once show extended by our success in Affghanis. what was the real object in view. tan. Hitherto the politics of India Khiva is situated on the Oxus, and the have formed, as it were, a world to Oxus flows to the north-west from the themselves ; a dark range of interven- mountains which take their rise from ing mountains or arid deserts were the northern boundary of Cabool. supposed to separate Hindostan from Its stream is navigable to the foot of Central Asia; and however much we the Affghanistan mountains, and from might be disquieted at home by the the point where water communication progress of Russian or French ambi- ceases, it is a passage of only five or tion, no serious fears were entertained six days to the valley of Cabool. If, that either would be able to accom- therefore, the Russians once establish plish the Quixotic exploit of passing themselves at Cabool, they will have the western range of the Himalaya no difficulty in reaching the possessions mountains. Now, however, this veil of Shah Shoojah ; and their establisha has been rent asunder--this mountain ment will go far to outweigh the inscreen has been penetrated. The Rus fluence established by the British, by sian power in Persia, and the British the Affghanistan expedition, among in India, now stand face to face; the the Affghanistan tribes. Already, if advanced posts of both have touched recent accounts can be relied on, this Herat; the high-road from St Peters- effect has become apparent. Dost burg to Calcutta has been laid open Mahommed, expelled from his kingby British hands. The advanced po- dom, has found support among the sition we have gained must now be Tartar tribes; backed by their supmaintained; if we retire, even from port, he has already re-appeared over tributary or allied states, the charm of the hills, and regained part of his doour invincibility is gone; the day minions, and the British troops, on when the god Terminus recoils before their return to Affghanistan, have ala foreign enemy, is the commence- ready received orders to halt. Let us ment of a rapid decline. We do not hope that it is not in our case, as it was bring forward this consideration in or. in that of the French at Moscow, that der to blame the expedition ; but in or. when they thought the campaign over der to show into what a contest, and it was only going to commence. with what a power, it has necessarily Regarding, then, our success in brought us. Affghanistan is the out. Affghanistan as having accelerated by post of Russia ; Dost. Mohammed, now several years the approach of this exiled from his throne, was a vassal of great contest, it becomes the British the Czar; and we must now contend nation well to consider what preparafor the empire of the East, not with tions they have made at home to main. the rajahs of India, but the Muscovite tain it. Have we equipped and manbattalions.
ned a fleet capable of withstanding The reality of these anticipations the formidable armament which Ni. as to the increased amount of the cholas has always ready for immedanger of a collision with Russia, diate operations in the Baltic ? Have which has arisen from the great ap- we five-and-twenty ships of the line proximation of our outposts to theirs, and thirty frigates ready to meet the which the Affghanistan expedition thirty ships of the line and eighteen has occasioned, is apparent. Already frigates which Nicholas has always Russia has taken the alarm, and the equipped for sea at Cronstadt? Have we expedition against Khiva shows that thirty thousand men in London ready she has not less the inclination, than to meet the thirty thousand veterans she unquestionably has the power, of whom the Czar has constantly prepaamply providing for herself against red to step on board his fleet on the what she deems the impending danger. shores of the Baltic ? Alas! we have No one can for a moment suppose none of these things. We could not,
to save London from destruction or the British populace are distinguished the British empire from conquest, fit by the well-known limited vision of out three ships of the line to protect their class, when all the eloquence of the mouth of the Thames, or assem- Demosthenes failed in inducing the ble ten thousand men to save Wool most enlightened republic of antiquity wich or Portsmouth from conflagra- to take any measures to ward off the tion. What between Radical economy danger arising from the ambition of in our army estimates, Whig par- Philip of Macedon; and all the wisdom simony in our naval preparations, of Washington was unable to commuand Chartist violence in our manufac- nicate to the greatest republic of moturing cities, we have neither a naval dern times, strength or foresight suffinor a military force to protect our cient to prevent its capital from being selves from destruction. All that Sirtaken, and its arsenals pillaged by a Charles Adam, one of the Lords of British division not three thousand the Admiralty, could say on this sub- strong. Unless, however, the Conject last session of Parliament was, servative press can succeed in rousing that we had three ships of the line and the British public to a sense of their three guard-ships to protect the shores danger on this subject, and the Conof England. Never was such a proof servative leaders in Parliament take afforded that we had sunk down from up the matter earnestly and vigorousthe days of giants into those of pig- ly, it may safely be pronounced that mies, than the use of such an argu- the days of the British empire are ment by a lord of the British Ad numbered. miralty. Why, thirty years ago, we No empire can possibly exist for sent thirty-nine ships of the line to any length of time which provokes attack the enemy's naval station at hostility in its distant possessions, while Antwerp, without raising the block- it neglects preparation in the heart of ade of one of his harbours, from Gib- its power; which buckles on its gloves raltar to the North Cape. Herein, and puts on the helmet, but leaves the then, lies the monstrous absurdity, breastplate and the cuirass behind. If the unparalleled danger of our present a Russian fleet of thirty ships of the national policy, that we are vigorous line appears off the Nore, it will not even to temerity in the East, and par- be by deriding their prowess, or callsimonious even to pusillanimity in the ing them a “pasteboard fleet,” that West; and that while we give Russia the danger will be averted from the a fair pretext for hostility, and per- arsenals and the treasures of England. haps some ground for complaint in the The Russian sailors do not possess any centre of Asia, we make no prepara- thing like the nautical skill or naval tion whatever to resist her hostility on habits of the British ; but they are the shores of England.
admirably trained to ball practice, The contrast between the marvel- they possess the native courage of their lous vigour of our Indian Government race, and they will stand to their and the niggardly spirit with which guns with any sailors in Europe. Reall our establishments are starved down member the words of Nelson, “ Lay at home, would be inconceivable if we yourself alongside
of a Frenchman, but did not recollect by what opposite mo- out-manæuvre a Russian." tives our Government is regulated in The manifest and not yet termina. Hindostan and in the British islands. ted dangers with which the AffghanTaxation in India falls upon the inha istan expedition was attended, should bitants, who are unrepresented; taxa- operate as a warning, and they will tion at home falls upon the ten-pound- be cheaply purchased if they prove a ers, who have a numerical majority in timely one, to the British people, of Parliament. We never doubted the the enormous dangers, not merely to inclination of a democracy to dip the national honour and independence, their hands in other people's pockets; but to the vital pecuniary interests of what we doubted was their inclination, every individual in the state, of consave in the last extremity, to put them tinuing any longer the pernicious sysin their own.
tem of present economy, and total Disregard of the future, devotion to disregard of future danger, which for present objects, has, in all ages, been twenty years has characterised every the characteristic of the masses of department of our Government. Why mankind. We need not wonder that is it that England has now been com
pelled in the East, for the first time, they are capable of the most stupento incur the enormous perils of the dous exertions. That England, in the Affghanistan expedition—to hazard, event of a war breaking out in her preas it were, the very existence of our sent supine, unprepared state, would Eastern empire upon a single throw; sustain in the outset very great disand adventure a large proportion of asters, is clear ; but it is not by any the British army, and the magic charm ordinary calamities that a power of of British invincibility, upon a peri- such slow growth and present maglous advance, far beyond the utmost nitude as England is to be subdued. frontiers of Hindostan, into the heart She now possesses 2,800,000 tonnage, of Asia ? Simply because previous and numbers 1,600,000 seamen in her preparation had been abandoned, ul. commercial navy, and a fleet of seven timate danger disregarded; because hundred steam-boats, more than all retrenchment was the order of the Europe possesses, daily prowl along day, and Government yielded to the her shores. Here are all the elements ever popular cry of present economy; of a powerful marine; at no period because the noble naval and military did Great Britain possess such a foun. establishment of former times was re- dation for naval strength within her duced one-half, or allowed to expire, bosom. What is wanting, is not the in the childish belief that it never elements of an irresistible naval force, again would be required. Rely upon but the sagacity in the people to foreit, a similar conduct will one day pro- see the approaching necessity for its duce a similar necessity to the British establishment, and the virtue in the empire. It will be found, and that too Government to propose the burdens ere many years have passed over, that indispensable for its restoration. In the Duke of Wellington was right the experienced difficulty of either when he said, that a great empire can- communicating this foresight to the not with safety wage a little war; and one, or imparting this virtue to the that nothing but present danger and other, may be traced the well-known future disaster, will result from a sys- and often-predicted effects of democratem which blindly shuts its eyes to the tic ascendency. But that same as. future, and never looks beyond the cendency, if the spirit of the people is conciliating the masses by a show of roused by experienced disgrace, or economy at the moment.
An Aff. their interests affected by present caghanistan expedition-a Moscow cam. lamity, would infallibly make the most paign-will be necessary to ward off incredible exertions; and anavy, greatimpending danger, or restore the sunk er than any which ever yet issued from credit of the British name : happy if the British harbours, might sally forth the contest can thus be averted from from our sea.girt isle, to carry, like the our own shores, and by incurring dis- French Revolutionary armies, devastant dangers we can escape domestic tation and ruin into all the naval essubjugation.
tablishments of Europe. No such But let not foreign nations imagine, career of naval conquest, however, is from all that has been said or may be either needed for the glory, or suited said by the Conservatives on this for the interests of England; and it is vital subject, that Great Britain has as much from a desire to avert that now lost her means of defence, or that, ultimate forcible and most painful if a serious insult or injury is offered conversion of all the national energies to her, she may not soon be brought to warlike objects, as to prevent the into a condition to take a fearful ven- immediate calamities which it would geance upon her enemies. The same occasion, that we earnestly press upon page of history which tells us that the country the immediate adoption, at while democratic states never can be any cost, of that great increase to our brought to foresee remote dangers, or naval and military establishments incur present burdens to guard against which can alone avert one or both of it, when the danger is present, and these calamities. strikes the senses of the multitude,
A CHRONICLE OF ENGLAND.
Hark! above the Sea of Things,
Wisdom's Pearl doth often dwell,
" SISTER," said the little one to her the sun, which, while we sang, and companion, " dost thou remember while it went down, changed the sands aught of this fair bay, these soft white that its beams fell on into gold, and sands, and yonder woody rocks?" the foam that rippled to the shore into
“Nay,” replied the other, who was silver. We had often watched it besomewhat taller, and with a fuller yet fore, and we knew that if, without sweet voice, “ I knew not that I had ceasing our song, we gathered the gold ever been here before. And yet it sands and silver foam while the sun seems not altogether new, but like a was on them, into the shells that lay vision seen in dreams. The sea rip- about, they would continue in their ples on the sand with a sound which changed state. Left till sunset they I feel as friendly, and not unknown. returned to what they were, and we Those purple shapes that rise out of had only the sands and foam. We the distant blue, and float past over thought the sport so pleasant that we the surface like the shadows of clouds, had carried it on for some minutes, do not fill me with the terror which and even amused ourselves with scathaunts me when I look on vast and tering the shining dust over each strange appearances.
other's hair, when I saw something " To me,” said the little one,“ they floating between us and the sun. We look only somewhat more distinct than all looked; and soon it drifted near us, the marks which I have so often and was entangled in the web of sea. watched upon the sea.”
weed that waves in the tide round this “ Oh! far brighter are they in col- black single rock. A large sea-eagle our, far more peculiar and more at the moment stooped to seize the various in their forms. My heart prize. But I wished myself there bebeats while I look at them. There fore it, and one bound carried me far. are ships and horses ; living figures, ther than a long stone's-throw of our bearded, crowned, armed, and some dark enemies the mountaineers. Thus bear banners and some books ; and the eagle in his descent struck only softer shapes, waving and glistening the waters with his talons, and flew with plumes, veils, and garlands. Ahl off again, screaming to the clouds, now 'tis gone."
while I brought what I had won to “Rightly art thou called the Daugh- my sisters.” ter pf the Sea, and art indeed our own “ Dear one !” said the Sea-Child, Sea-Child. Here in this bay did I “ I guess what it was.
And she and my sisters, in this land of Faëry, kissed the airy face of her companion first find our nursling of another race. with her own, which seemed rather of
6 Was this, then, my first name rose-leaves, and the other only of colamong you, beloved friends ? The bay oured vapour. is so beautiful, that even in your land « Yes," said she, “ my own Seaof Faëry I have seen no spot where it Child, there was a small basket of were better to open one's eyes upon palm-leaf lined with the down of the the light.”
phænix, and in this the baby lay “ Yes, here did our Sea-Child first asleep. Beautiful it was indeed, but meet our gaze. I and a troop of my far unlike the beauty of my sisters. sisters were singing on the shore our We cared no more for gold or silver ancient Song of Pearls, and watching dust, or rippling waves, or the rays of