grandfather, or a great grandfather, of whose character or whose deeds, or whose existence at least, he can speak of; not having neither, ho desires a country of long standing, to which he can say he belongs, or from which he can say he is descended. Of all the natural propensities of the human mind no one appears to be more general than a veneration for ancient things. This is a feeling, of which the Americans have been deprived. They are a nation without forefathers, without renown, and without a history. They have no monument of antiquity, to which to point; no memorial of past events nothing round which to rally; no name, fame, or character to preserve. This, I think, has been the great cause of that total want of principle, which, every one says, has been creeping in upon them ever since the commencement of the revolution. They feel the deprivation of which we have been speaking, and, in their invention of a tutelary saint and the Order of Cincinnati, they have discovered their desire to supply the want of what they have lost. But these are miserable inventions. It is a vile mockery to see a fraudulent shop-keeper, who took up arms for the purpose of resisting the first demands of his creditors, assuming the name of an old Roman, who, after having saved his country in war, returned again to the plough. These tricks do not satisfy even the Americans themselves. They hate England, because she has all her greatness the same as she had before their revolution. They hate, in a less degree, the whole of the old nations of the world. They rejoice at revolution and destruction, wherever it takes place. If their wish were accomplished, there would be left in existence no establish ment of more than twenty years standing; the pride of ancestry, the example of noble deeds, the records of genius, of wisdom, and of virtue, would all be aunihilated.- -The cause of their malice towards England lies, then, very deep. It is not to be removed and, we have nothing g but our power to protect us against the hostility, which will be continually therefrom arising. I have often said to them; "You are free, as you say. "You boast of your triumph over us. Your "happy revolution has been accomplished. "You have got from us all you asked for. You have, you say, reduced us to a little Well, then, why do you still why are such pains taken to rear up your imps of children to curse us; why not bestow on us your pity, or, at "least, your contempt 2 They were never able to answer me, and the principal cause of their wicked machinations against me,


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was, that I perpetually reminded them of the greatness of England, and forewarned them of the consequences of provoking her hostility. They knew that I spoke the truth; and it was because they felt the truth, that they sought revenge.- -America has long been boasting of her population. It is probable that she now equals England in that respect. But, where is the equality in point. of force? When they used to remind me, that, in the course of twenty years, they should have a population equal to ours, I always begged them to bear in mind, that salt-petre and charcoal and sulphur and iron and brass and flint and wood were very impotent materials when lying scattered here and there, but, when formed into a cartridge and a musquet, they became formidable means of either protection or destruction; that their nation would still continue to be the scattered materials, and that England would continue to be the loaded musquet. They may now, perhaps, recollect some of my sayings; but, I am afraid, the recollection will only tend to harden their hearts, aud, not having me within the reach of their cowardly revenge, induce them afresh to persecute my friends, for which persecution the pub lic distresses will, if their embargo continue, supply them with pretences in abundance.

GENERAL WHITALÒCKE.—-—The trial of this gentleman has, for nearly three months past, been, for the public attention, a formidable rival of the motions for papers and of Angelica Catalani. The two former are now at an end; but Angelica, by her continual refreshers to those worthy gentlemen,' who instruct the English people, through the columns of the news-papers, appears to be resolved not to let go her hold of the ass's ears. The green room tribe have heretofore been content with puffs in the third person, sometimes singular and sometimes plural; but, Angelica, apparently despising this English sheepishness, boldly comes forward in the first person singular, and claps her name at the bottom of the balletins, in which she details to the well-dressed vulgar, the rise and progress of all her quarrels and all her ailings: at is quite a mercy that she forbears to go into other particulars. -The General's trial was, I must confess, very little interesting to me. I was glad, that we did not possess Buenos Ayres, and that for the reasons, which I stated at the time; and, though I was very sorry for the loss of the men, I was not tone..of those, who, without any prood; concluded that the fault was wholly in the commander. As to popular clamour, b dos mot see that it has had any undue effect. That the


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

popular cry against him was loud, and general it is certain; but, so it always is too against a famous robber, or murderer; yet, we do not conclude that the latter is innocent for that reason, nor, that he has, when condenined, had an unfair trial. The public will, and ought to, think, upon such subjects, and, it will, of course, express its opinion. -The chief thing to be noticed, is, the deplorable ignorance of the military profession, which, it has been made to appear, existed in the army sent on the expedition to South America. But, how can it be otherwise, when we consider the motives, whence, in general, military officers are promoted? If the same system had prevailed in the French army, for the last fifteen years, France, instead of being the conqueror of Europe, would have been parcelled out between the several kings and princes, whom that army has dethroned.--General Whitelocke appears to have acted the part of a conceited man; a man full of himself; a man overbearing and vain; but there is not, in my opinion, the smallest room for suspecting him of any evil intention. That his sentence is just is pretty evident; there can be little doubt of his being wholly unfit to serve in the army; and, there can be as little doubt of his being unfit before, as well as since, the expedition to South America.



who give the recommendation.--In the circular letter, sent, by order of the Duke of York to the army, the passage which expresses his Majesty's consolation upon reflecting, that such disgraces as that of Buenos Ayres have never before happened to his army (or words to that amount) gave me great pleasure; for, some how or other, had, previous to the reading of that letter, run in my head, that there had been, in some instances, affairs of nearly the same sort; and, at the hearing of the inten of trying General Whitelocke for his life, I thought the general might well exclaim, in the language of Macbeth, “such things have been done before, and men " slept quietly in their beds!" It did seem to me, that I had a faint recollection of an affair, which happened while I was from England, in which a general, after having been beaten in his attempt upon the interior of a country, retreated, with all convenient speed, to the spot where he had first landed, and there entered into a capitulation to eva cuate the country in so long a time, and to give up a great number of prisoners, before taken, and elsewhere taken, from the ene my, by whom he had been beaten. I thought I heard of this; but, the circular


tter of the Duke of York led me to believe, that it must have been a lie, invented by those sad rogues, the news-paper printers in America; a belief, in which I was confirm ed, when I came to reflect, that I never, upon the occasion alluded to, heard of any court-martial, or even of any court of inquiry; nay, of no blame whatever, in any of the abominable and detestable news-papers, who have been so ready to set up a cry upon the present occasion.]'m not at all sorry, observe, for the sentence upon general Whitelocke: I wish, with all my soul, that EVERY one, who has brought disgrace upon the army of England, whether through his cowardice or his stupidity, was.4. not hanged, or shot; for no man can help being a coward or a fool; no man can help, if such be his weakness, hiding his head, when another looks him full in the face; no man can, if he be half an ideot, help dri velling upon his frill and upon the collar of his coat; but, any man can help wearing a sword and receiving the public money; as a military officer, when he ought to be wheeling a barrow, and to become, himself, as soon as convenient, a wheel-barrow full of carrion. No, not hanged, or shot; but I would have EVERY such man cashiered; because, as his ROYAL HIGHNESS THE service, the DUKE OF YORK says, in his excellent The pothose circular letter, the sentence would be "a


Now that he has failed, the question comes, "who selected him for the service?". Some say, Mr. Hindham; others the Duke of York. It is asserted, on one side, that Mr. Windham forced him upon the Duke, and, on the other side, that the Duke forced him upon Mr. Windham. Both assertions are, I am well assured, false. Who it was that first mentioned his name, as a fit person for the command, I have not heard, but, I have heard, and from very good authority, that the appointment was determined on in consequence of the strongest recommendations, signed by several of the first officers in the military service. This being the fact (and the reader may rely upon its being so), the army has nothing to complain of, at any rate; for, if the choice was a bad one, the fault rests with the army.There never would have been any dispute as to this point, had it not been for the workings of faction, Those who send out expeditions are by no means answerable for the conduct of the officers. To make a good choice is the duty of those who choose; but, they must, in most cases, be determined by the judgment of others; and, if an officer presents himself recom mended by men responsibility


[ocr errors]



lasting memorial of the consequences, to " which officers expose themselves, who, in "the discharge of the important duties con"fided to them, are deficient in that zeal, "judgment, and personal exertion, which "their sovereign and their country have a right to expect from officers entrusted "with high commands." Botley, 31st March, 1808.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]


SIR-As the awful day seems fast approaching when England must be fought for on English ground, it becomes us to consider on what principle we are to build our defence; that is, whether on that of an armed people, or that of a standing army; or, in other words, whether as a nation under a free, or under an arbitrary government. In this inquiry, we must guard against being misled, by a sort of mixture of these different systems which there may appear to be in our military establishments. To this end, we have only to distinguish, which of the principles the government act upon as fundamental and permanent; and which they merely tolerate as collateral and subsidiary-The difference between the two systems may be tolerably well illustrated, by what has fallen within our own experience in the last sixteen years.-France when attacked in 1792, had not a single friend to draw a sword in her behalf; while a confederacy was soon formed against her, whereof Millions The Italian States had a population of 13 Austria.....



The Netherlands nearly...

Holland and certain Gernian States



And England...


Making an aggregate of...

territory, and every one to take his appointed share in the division. But these politicians wholly overlooked one material circumstance. They totally forgot that, when they confederated, France was free. Feeble as was her government, unprepared as were her people, yet the nation, because of its freedom, was radically strong. The confederacy called forth this strength. The magnitude of the assault rouzed all the energies of defence. We know the issue. And we likewise know, that the present ruler, by the splendour of victories, by quartering his armies on his enemies and auxiliaries, and by flattering the national vanity, has preserved in full vigour under his military government, that energy which originated in liberty.-Now, Sir, when France turned upon her pursuers and hunted them in her turn, we see on all occasions an issue the reverse of that of her own successful defence; and for this plain reason, that the invaded nations were not free. We have seen all these states in succession, with their numerous millions of inhabitants, that might have furnished fighting men enow to have trampled their invaders under foot, completely conquered, and the greatest of them in effect no better now than provinces of the French empire. It was not until after a contest of fifteen years, that a single ray of defensive wisdom beamed or rather glimmered on the continent, where the emperor Alexander was said to have armed 600,000 of his subjects, as a volunteer militia but the truth is, these were the slaves of the nobles, and were armed with the same jealousy, and precisely on the same condition, as English ministers' have armed English volunteers, that is, for the mere occasion, and subject to be dissolved again in a moment, by a breath from the lips of those ministers-I will not stop to shew how, in this respect, ministers have disobeyed and betrayed the constitution, but proceed to remark that the imperial autocrat of all the Russias, with his immense standing army, his thirty-six millions of sub2jects, and his six hundred thousand volunfeers, found his throne endangered by a single defeat on the confine of his dominions; which obliged him to sign at Tilsit a disgraceful treaty of peace with his enemy.Such are the defensive powers of despotism!

Now, Sir, with all this experience before our eyes, and with a change of fortune that hath thrown into the scale of France above one hundred and eight of the aforesaid millions of population, to be added to her own original numbers, and altogether forming an aggregate of full one hundred and thirty

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







[ocr errors]

Making another aggregate of


France from the then recent fall of the old government, and the tottering infancy of the new, was, in the imagination of her hunters, already divided as a spoil. They fondly thought they had only to enter her

millions, capable of furnishing above twenty millions of soldiers; with all these means, I say, at the command of France, we see English statesmen granting £1,200,000 of our money to Sweden, to a country, whose revenue is perhaps one fifth of our poor's rate, "to put in motion and keep on a respectable establishment her land forces and part of her fleet, particularly her flotilla," for the purposes of her defence, and without bestowing a single thought on the main spring of that defence, meaning the liberties of the people. Surely, Sir, greater insanity than this, never came under the eognizance of a Willis or a Monro !-By a vigorous effort, our government possessed itself of the Danish navy and the Island of Zealand, which, with Norway, is no mean portion of the kingdom; and by certain expressions in the northern correspondence laid before parliament, it should seem as if the king of Sweden was privy to that enterprize. I will not now stop to discuss the morality of that expedition. It seems however pretty generally admitted, that, bad it been necessary to our own defence, it would have been justifiable Taking it then asso considered by our ministers, and with the views which they might possibly take of approaching danger to England from the Baltic, it seems to me that those ministers did not act consistently with their own principles, by allowing the Island of Zealand, which commands one side of the Sound, to return again into the hands of an exasperated enemy. I am no advocate for tearing a country and its inhabitants by the sword of war from one monarch to strengthen the hand of another; but when, in the course of a war, a nation can be emancipated from the government of a despot, and restored to its antient liberty, such an act of power must always command my admiration. Despotism is a perpetual war of the sovereign on his people, and whenever a favourable opportunity, in the course of a war, presents the means of emancipation, I think they ought to be made use of. If, therefore, when Zealand had come under the power of our government, the English commanders had convened the people, laid before them the model of a free government, for themselves and the Norwegians, offering it to their acceptance, subject to such improvements as they themselves should suggest, I do not believe those Danes and Norwegians would have accused us of having coined a "new morality," or that they would have stigmatized us with any opprobrious names. As those people must have thought themselves too weak to stand alone, they might have had no objec


tion to have been united with Sweden, provided the same free form of government that was offered to them should have been extended to the Swedes; and if such a reformation in his state had been acceded to by the gallant Gustavus, I cannot see that there could have been any difficulty in Zealand and Norway, containing about a million of inhabitants, having been added to his dominions; and the hearts of the whole people being united in the common defence; while, with English assistance, Zealand should have repelled any attack that could have been made upon it by the French.-Under such circumstances, and by a training of the whole people to arms, agreeably to the ge nius of every free government, the continent might yet have beholden a spectacle, to have put to shame the rest of her degenerate sons, and to have covered with infamy those of her sovereigns, who, rather than give liberty to their people, have licked the dust at the foot of a foreign conqueror.Even in Gustavus's present situation, his case, if he have real wisdom and magnanimity, is not to be despaired of; but it is absurd to suppose, that, if he shall refuse to give his people freedom, his throne either can, or will be defended. If there be an immense disparity of force between him and his enemies, there are great advantages in the situa tion, and circumstances of his kingdom, With those advantages on his side, and with the naval assistance of England, he would probably frustrate all attempts at his subju gation, provided his people had the same interest as himself in the common défence. He is doubtless in the crisis of his fate; and it is probable we shall shortly see him, eitherTM a patriot and triumphant hero, `or a miserable pensioner on the bounty of this country; in which latter case we may expect to see both shores of the Sound in possession of Denmark This consideration revives in my mind apprehensions I have long enter tained, and have on more occasions than one formerly intimated; respecting all the pow ers of the Baltic being enrolled among the number of our enemies. Nor is this appre hended danger like to come upon us alone, in addition to those we had already to encounter. When the whole coast of continental Europe shall form one uninterrupted line of hostility, with a sea at each extremity into which we cannot enter, our situation will require talents for government and for defence, and virtues for inspiring the people with attachment and confidence, which we have not yet witnessed among any of those who are either possessors of, or competitors for, the power of ruling over us. In any



individual port that we can blockade, a cooped-up enemy is kept in a state of torpidity, not favourable to naval improvement; but if the Sound and the Dardanelles be once shut against us, our enemies will then have within those passages extensive seas, which may be made both nurseries and schools for very numerous bodies of seamen, where they may be trained to naval war in defiance of us. That we can be shut out of the Dardanelles we know; but whether the same can be done at the entrances into the Baltic, when all the shores shall be in the hands of an energetic enemy, I will not pretend to decide. But at all events our danger from invasion is rapidly growing to a magnitude, not only to demand for the preservation of our country every hand that can grasp a weapon; but a removal of all rankling discontents, by an honest and substantial redress of grievances. To our detence reformation is at length, become as necessary, as arms and ammunition. I particularly mean that which includes in it every practicable correction of state abuses and corruptions, namely, a reformation of the House of Commons; far more than half the seats of which it is universally believed are become the private and hereditary posses sions, of those who are collectively called the Borough Faction. If this be true, the liberty of our country is lost; and if this liberty shall not be speedily restored, there needs no ghost to tell us, our country cannot be defended. If we could suppose our borough-holding grandees to desire that Napoleon should have our country, and his generals their estates, their present conduct would be quite consistent. On any other supposition, it is inexplicable. But as national defence is now a subject much studied, I trust its true principles will soon be universally understood.I remain, Sir, &c. JOHN CARTWRIGHT-Enfield, 20th March 1808,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


SIR, I am induced by the letter of an American merchant, which appeared in the last number of your Register, to trouble you with a few lines on the point upon which that writer chiefly, relies for the support of his argument. say, Sir, and I suspect that I know somewhat more of these matters than the American merchant, that the letter which has been so often quoted from M. Decres to Gen. Armstrong is no authority at all for the latter to assume that American vessels were to be exempted from the decree of the 21st Nov. 1806-I say further that, if Gen. Armstrong knew any thing at all of

the functions of his office, and of the course of transacting diplomatic business at Paris, he must have very well known that the letter he had received from M. Decrés did not invalidate the obnoxious decree. Is it indeed in any way probable that Bonaparté would allow an act of supreme legislation signed by himself, and destined to controul every power in Europe, to be explained away by the crude and unauthorised opinion of his minister of marine? But, Sir, indepen dent of this general argument, it is well known that the minister of marine is not the competent authority from which Mr. Armstrong could receive any official communication on the subject, and, unless M. Decrés stated himself (which he did not) to be write ing by order, and in the name of his master, his sentiments were no more conclusive than those of any other individual of whom the American minister might have asked advice. ---In fact, M., Decres was well aware of this, and, at the end of his letter, refers the general for a further and more decisive opinion to the minister for foreign affairs. He, of course, did not mean to say that the treaty between France and America would be violated; but as little does he say that the Berlin decree should not be enforced. Who was the proper organ through which the foreign ministers resident at Paris were to communicate with the French governe. ment?-No other than Charles Mauric Talleyrand, yclept Prince of Benevento, and such was the jealousy of the said prince and his master, upon this subject that I have known them reprimand the ambassadors of some of their vassal courts for: addressing themselves upon occasions of very inferior importance to the heads of other departments. > -M. Talleyrand was, as I remember, absent at the time from Paris: but, do you think, Sir, that he did not, on notifying his de parture to the corps diplomatique, name the person in his office with whom they were to communicate in his absence? Depend upon it that upon that, as upon other occa sions, their communications were to be res ceived by the Chef de Bureau in the Rue du Bacq, to be decided upon by him, or to bec by him forwarded, if the decision was-best" yond his competence, to the minister hime self. Why then was this channel, not used, and why was M. Decrés resorted to??→→Why Sir, because M. Talleyrand would either have given no answer at all, and thus have con firmed the Americans' feats, or hemust have an denied the application of the decree to Ame+'? rican commerce and navigation:poldwas been yond the powers of ambiguityaevens of a Talleyrand to avoid gitingin such archselas a


« ElőzőTovább »