Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

sonified, the Lazarus-looking saint, and theject, had not every moment of my time been big-bagged loan-jobber, may hug themselves at the thought, that the people are to be forced to defend them and their Jewish kin; but, I should hope, that the ministers, amongst whom there are some men of sharp faculties, at least, will perceive, while yet there is time, that there is no reliance to be placed on men dragged to the ranks under the dread of pains and penalties.

N. B. In the last Register, "mowed with a spade," in page 710, should have been “moved with a spade.'

Botley, 12th May, 1809.

either occupied by business, or lost to the purposes of utility by indisposition. In my late enumeration of the population of the states now confederated against us, under the guidance of Buonaparte, I was guilty of an oversight in the omission of Turkey, the addition of whose people, and other minor corrections of the census, on the authority of Pinkerton's geography, will be found to swell the confederacy to full 140 millions of people, capable of furnishing above 23 mil lions of fighting men; that is to say, soldiers and sailors. That the proportion of the lat ter, must already be sufficient, with a due admixture of marines and other landsmen, (according to the practice of all martial na vies) to man a very large fleet, will not be doubted when we take a review of the maritime possessions of our enemies, from the White Sea to the Black Sea inclusive; and when we recollect how many, from one extremity to the other of that immense line of coast, subsist by following the occupations of fishermen; and when we farther advert to the coasting trade of all those petty maritime states, which are usually overlooked when we speak of the naval powers of Europe.And when, Sir, we likewise, turn our attention from the men, who are the soul, to the timber, iron, hemp and tar, which compose the body of a navy; we are to keep in mind what are our own remaining resources, and what are those of our enemy. We know how much has been said and projected about our building ships of war in the East Indies -a blessed dependence! It was also at the time stated, that large quantities of timber had been purchased by England in Dalmatia, and was ready felled, when the events of the war defeated our contract; and it is now understood that Mr. Bentham, well known for his former employment as a shipwright and a general in Russia, as well as for a later patronage of the English admiralty as a mechanician, was lately building ships for us within the dominions of the Emperor Alexander, where of course those ships will now remain to augment the navy of our enemies. Such circumstances do not prove to us that the government of this country has been sufficiently provident respecting a home growth of ship timber; and they certainly add to the apprehension, that we may ere long (if the present confederacy against us shall continue) see our enemy greatly out-number us in ships of war, even to the extent they please; as they are in possession of all the continental forests of Europe (those of nowinvaded Sweden alone excepted); and, moreover, are masters of countries abound

"

COBBETT'S

Parliamentary History

OF

ENGLAND,

Which, in the compass of Sixteen Volumes, royal octavo, double columns, will contain a full and accurate Report of all the recorded Proceedings, and of all the Speeches, in both Houses of Parliament, from the earliest times to the year 1803, when the publication of "Cobbett's Parliamentary Debates" commenced.

VOL. IV. Comprising the Period from the Restoration of Charles II. in 1660, to the Revolution in 1688; and containing an Appendix of scarce and valuable Parliamentary Tracts, written during the said period, will be ready for delivery on or about the 1st day of June next. The magnitude of the Parliamentary History, the great labour and expence attending it, and the comparatively small number of copies, which, to avoid serious risk, it has been thought adviseable to print, render it necessary thus early to adopt precautions calculated to prevent any broken sets remaining on hand at the conclusion of the work. Subscribers are, therefore, particularly requested to send in their names to their respective Booksellers, as not a sin gle copy, will, on any account, be sold, but to the purchasers of the former Volumes. Gentlemen, resident in Ireland, wishing to become subscribers, will please to apply to Mr. Archer, of Dublin.

DEFENCE OF THE COUNTRY.

Enfield, 24th April, 1808. SIR,Considering the importance, at this time, of a right system of national defence i certainly should not have suffered more than a month to have elapsed since the date of my last, ere I had resumed the sub

national security-if there be a natural possibility of so doing-that we should have nothing to fear, although not a ship nor a regular soldier should be kept at home for our defence? * When I offer it as my opinion, that we have such means, those who have duly and deeply contemplated the martial branch of the English constitution, may have no difficulty in believing the fact; although it must be confessed, that no one in modern times has yet produced a plan in detail, for a complete organization of our posse comitatus. Such a plan in detail must necessarily be voluminous; it must include arrangements for having all our youth perfected in arms and tactics before they shall reach eighteen years of age, and with regard to the great mass of the fighting men of the community, its annual classification by age, and other renewals of rolls for preserving a perpetual harmony between nature and military science; as well as a variety of subordinate provisions whereby the ordinary intercourses of society should remain uninterrupted, even within sight of an invading enemy, and all other parts of the country be in perfect tranquillity, must unavoidably contain much matter; but principles once clearly laid down for our government, regulations, in all their parts and sections, divisions and subdivisions, branches and ramifications, would follow in course without producing confusion, disorder, or obscurity; in short, the matter in a well digested system, may, like a column in an army, be of any length, and yet perfectly manageable.-It is now, Sir, nine years since I submitted to the public, in an appeal, civil and military, on the English constitution,' an outline of such a system, naturally and necessarily growing out of the principles of the posse comitatus, as we find it in our common law, and discover it to be an integral part of that constitution, coeval with, and essential to, our liberties; and, although the press, especially of late, has since teemed with, plans and projects of defence, I have not seen occasion to depart from a single princi. ple therein laid down; nor have I discover❤ ed that I over-rated the posse comitatus (equally adaptable to the arms and tactics of any age) when I therein observed" it is "without any rhetorical figure, the cheap

·"

ing with iron, hemp, and tar. -I am not, Sir, one who is afraid of a war with America, if it shall be necessary to the maintenance of our rights, and shall be rightly conducted; but still we are to consider the effect which a war with America must have, if it shall be raging while our country is to be the object of concerted invasions at a variety of points. Such an additional war must create a demand for additional exertions on our part: and must occupy a considerable number of our ships and seamen, and would probably, also, in its consequences, find employment for a material portion of our land force. If the morality of the bulk of the American people, and the good faith of the government be such as you describe them to be, and especially if you be correct in your idea of the peculiar hatred they bear to England, it might not be very surprising if, while they were even at peace with us, they should readily give into the schemes of our arch enemy, so far as to pour into his ports if possible, a great quantity of their shipping, on the eve of a projected invasion of England or Ireland; but should we be at war with Amerića, we could little doubt that he would bend the force of his genius to render the American shipping available to the utmost, to his grand object of effecting our destruction. Considering the natural impossibility of hermetically sealing up all the ports great and small of a vast line of coast, and at all seasons, whether the nights be long or short, light or dark, serene or tempestuous; especially when all this should be a task in addition to the blockading already imposed upon us; it must be evident that an American war, besides drawing aside from their present objects a considerable part of our cruizers, must administer to the enemy's means of invading us, in the proportion in which American ships could get safe into his purts; and we are not to forget, that our blockade of those ports which are the rendezvous of his ships of war, would not close the intermediate and inferior harbours against the merchant shipping of America.Seeing, then, such prospects before us, and not knowing how soon the line of battle of our navy, independent of contributing to the defence of our island, may have to fight for its own ascendant, or even existence; nor how much the smaller ships may be occupied in all the distant parts of the world; nor what new draughts from our land force may be required for our foreign services in every quarter; ought we not, if we would neither cripple our distant exertions, nor bring rain on our dependencies, nor hazard the conquest of our country, so to provide for our

*Not meant to apply to artillerymen; for, although a certain proportion should even be exclusively attached to the posse comitatus, they must be regular soldiers, as their educa tion is a work of time. It is not, however, necessary they should be subject to the same articles of war, as those by which the standing aruly are governed.

17

<

"defence of nations; while, in extinguish"ing jealousy, in banishing fear, in assuring "internal tranquillity, and annihilating ex"ternal danger, it holds a glorious pre-eminence over every other military system of "human invention Having thus endea. voured to diffuse a knowledge of the right principles of defence, and sketched an outline; and foreseeing as I thought the growing dangers of our country, it was my hope that some enlightened minister, or some able statesman in parliament, would have taken upon him the task of giving the picture the necessary light and shade; or, in other words, that he would have given the system a complete practical form and substance, in a statute for " restoring to full vigour and "energy" the disgracefully neglected" posse comitatus*. Considering that, since that time, two other editions of the military part of the work have been published, under the title of England's Ægis, or the Military Energies of the Constitution,' in which, although to the last of those editions large additions were made, for illustrating the principles, the work still remains a mere outline, I shall not be thought chargeable with any impatience to obtrude upon the public a finished plan, with all the necessary details and minutia for effecting that restoration. Knowing the system to be founded on, or rather a part of, the constitution, I could not divest myself of the hope, that, as our danger should grow more and more terrific, some public man of eminence, either in or out of place, would sooner or later, before our ruin should be irrevocably sealed, resort to the energies of that constitution for our deliverance. In this hope, the work has been very little advertised, but has been sent to two entire cabinets of his Majesty's ministers, the last and the present, besides individuals of a prior cabinet, and, last summer, it was likewise sent to the general officers about the person of the King, to the commander in chief, and to his Majesty himself. Whatever, therefore, may be the event, from a war of invasion raging in the bowels of our country, while the system of the constitution, explained in the Agis, shall not have been resorted to, no blame would attach on him who had laboured to recommend it. But the day may possibly come, when those who have pretended to defend us on principles that go directly to overthrow the constitution, and which principles, if not resisted, must as effectually subvert the true

66

[ocr errors]

Sir William Jones. See the Legal Mode of Suppressing Riots; with a Plan for National Defence, p. 10.

government of our country, and destroy our liberties, as could possibly be done by the most successful French invasion. The day, I say, may come, when such persons shall have to answer for their system; and their own personal defence in that day will not gain strength, when it shall appear that, even' in a military view, their systems are, and must necessarily be, glaring weakness, confusion, and imbecility, in comparison of that which the common law and constitution imperatively enjoin, and which they take upon them positively to reject. Accident has prevented my yet seeing the present bill of Lord Castlereagh; but if the newspapers truly describe its contents, it is only an additional feature in a system which, to my humble understanding, is greatly adding to the rapidity with which our country seems to be advancing to its ruin.-Considering, Sir, the supremely awful situation of our state at this extraordinary crisis, and considering the great variety of systems of defence, and defensive suggestions, which the patriotism of individuals has brought forth, would it have disparaged the reputation of that minister, would it have lessened our estimation of his zeal in the public service, or have made on our minds an impression unfavourable to his wisdom and virtue, had he, at the very commencement of the present session of parliament, moved for a committee of defence, to have examined all that public spirit, or legal learning, or military genius, had offered to the legislature through the medium of the press; and to have reported on what principles, as most constitutional, and most effectual, a system of national defence ought to be founded? And, had the noble lord, on succeeding in his motion, likewise made it his public declaration, that, on receiving within a certain number of days a letter from the author of any work on defence, expressing a wish for a particular member of the House being added to the committee, he would move for the same, I incline to think the admiration of such conduct would have been universal; equally preparing the public for an approval of the system of defence that should have resulted, and for zeal and unanimity in its execution. And when we know that gentlemen of talents and learning, mili tia and regular officers of experience, generals of reputation, and members of both houses of parliament, have contributed their quotas of knowledge and system towards our defence, it should seem to have been desirable that all such parties should, in the first concoction of a great national plan, have had the means of rendering their suggestions as available as possible for the public safety.

<

With regard, Sir, to that system which I onceive to be enjoined-imperatively enjoined by the common law and constitution, and at the same time infinitely the most ef fectual of any in a military view, I ought perhaps, on reflection, to take blaine to myself, for giving nothing more than a display of its principles, a general sketch of its provisions, and a demonstration of its efficacy; how clearly soever it might appear to my own mind, that enough had been said for enabling a statesman thence to furnish a complete plan of defence, in all its details and minutie of regulation. But as none are so deaf as those who do not choose to hear; nor so difficult to persuade, as those who are determined not to understand; so such persons no doubt are ready to say, 'There is a wide difference between the most correct theory and useful practice, - between the most perfect abstract and a real substance;' and they may be equally ready to ask, why, if he could, did he not produce a practical plan complete in all its parts?'-To such a question it might be sufficient to answer, that those charged with our defence did not desire such a plan. But the writer may farther observe, he did not think it incumbent upon him unnecessarily to put either himself or his readers to the expence of that which, how necessary soever in a law, was not necessary in a book recommending such a law. -He now, however, trusts, that a truly constitutional system of defence will at last be shortly proposed in parliament; a system in which nothing will be omitted through party bias, nor any thing perverted from a factious sacrifice of the public good to private ends. The respect which all profess for the constitution will, it is hoped, obtain for such a system a candid examination on the part of the public: and, great soever as the power of a minister may be, yet to a decided public opinion that power must bend. As a supplement to the observations in my last, relative to Sweden and the Baltic, I beg leave to add what follows: -I hope Sir Samuel Auchmuty has been consulted on the objects of the expedition now said to be proceeding to the Baltic, to aid the King of Sweden, both in the defence of his own dominions, and the conquest of Norway; and that the information respecting one of the causes of failure in the late expedition against Buenos Ayres, which ministers have received, has not been lost upon them. The following extract from the defence of General Whitelocke, is highly instructive. It had been conceived, that "the dissatisfaction which had been excited in South America, by the restrictive jea

"

66

66

"lousy of the Spanish government, had "rendered that country ripe for revolt from "the parent state. It was never conceived "that such a rooted antipathy could exist against us as their deliverers," [why deliverers?] as to justify the assertion that we had not, when we arrived in America, one single friend in the whole country; "little was it conceived that the whole population were originally hostile to us; still "less that they had become hostile from any thing that had occurred in the capture "of Buenos Ayres, or while we retained possession of it. The able officer who "commanded at Monte Video, had disco"vered the reverse of this to be true, that they were equally inimical to us and their own government; and on a disorder ari"sing, in which the viceroy was said to "have been made prisoner by his own peo"ple, Sir Samuel Auchmuty wrote to those "who possessed the supreme government in "Buenos Ayres, making them an offer of "British protection. His letter was au"swered by General Liniers, the Audienza,

((

66

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

and the Cabildo, all of whom treated his "offer with indignation and contempt; and "in this sentiment Sir Samuel Auchmuty "found the whole population to partake, "who had been influenced against the Erg"lish by every species of exaggeration and "falsehood" [together, I fear, with a mixture of truth], "The natives of the coun

""

try were indeed disposed to follow the steps of the North Americans, and to erect "an independent state. If we could pro"mise them independence, they would in

stantly revolt against their government; "but, though nothing but independence "would perfectly satisfy them, they would "prefer our government, either to their

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

present anarchy or the Spanish yoke, pro"vided we would promise not to give up "the country to Spain at the peace; but, "until such a promise was made, we must ex

pect to find them open or secret enemies." -Now, Sir, are the Swedes, or Danes, or Norwegians more in love with despotic government, more calculated for slaves, than the mongrel Spaniards of South America? And do we not in this mirror see, that if the youthful Gustavus (who I am assured is extremely unpopular with his subjects on account of the despotism introduced into the government by his family, and adhered to by himself) shall have any taste for true glory, or shall know how to render his reign secure and prosperous, and to place his throne on an immoveable, basis, he will begin the present campaign with completely restoring to Sweden its ancient huerty, and

16

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Presenting it with a suitable constitution of government, for giving that liberty perma-1 Dence to the end of time. By such an act alone, accompanied by an invitation to the Norwegians and Zealanders, to take shelter under his protecting wing, with a promise never to give them up again at a peace, he and his ally would, it is reasonable to suppose, be received " as their deliverers," and his power be so consolidated, he might thence. forth set at defiance all the efforts of Russia and France to disturb his repose. Sweden, so enlarged by its ruler's wisdon, and so strengthened by its liberty, could no longer have any thing to bear from the greatest mercenary armies which could be sent against it; but if the Swedes are to continue political slaves, and their king an unrelenting despot; neither the gulf of Bosnia, nor all the rive.s which run into it, nor all the armies the government can raise and pay, even with English subsidies, can long preserve the Swedish throne, if Napoleon now, (as before observed) at the head of 140 millions of people, capable of furnishing 23 millions of fighting men, have decreed its downfall. And from the complexion of the policy which the ministers of England shall pursue, and the advice they shall offer Gustavus towards the defence of Sweden, we doubtless may draw instructive conclusions, touching the complexion of their policy, and the nature of their system for the defence of England. --We have seen that had English statesmen acted on English principles, as friends to human liberty, the worst general ever set at the head of an army might, without firing a shot, have severed from the Spanish monarchy, by a single act, the vast province of Buenos Ayres; and little doubt is to be entertained that the example of that vice royalty shaking off its chains would have been soon followed by Peru and Mexico; opening to their deliverers every possible advantage of commercial intercourse, while it must materially weaken the European confederacy against us. As the same moral causes are in our favour in the north as were in the south, it remains to be seen, whether our ruling statesmen have any taste for gaining the hearts of whole nations, by respecting their rights and consulting their inclinations; or prefer the expense, and trouble, and hazard, attendant on violating their rights, insulting their understandings, and exciting their hatred. They ought not to forget the national hatred which subsists between the Swedes and the Danes. By the means proposed this might soon be melted into a mutual, affection; but, if fire and sword are to be the only arguments for

gaining Norway, we are not to calculate upon an easy conquest, we may rather expect a counterpart of what happened where the Danes made a descent on Sweden in 1710, while the king was in the hands of the Turks at Bender. The Danes" invaded the pro"vince of Scania, took Helsingbourg, rava"ged the neighbouring coasts, and extended "their levies of contributions a great way "into the country." Sweden was so exhausted of regular troops, that only 8000 cosid be collected. To these were joined 12,000 peasants, the greater part of whom " Came "in their linen frocks, having at their

66

girdles pistols tied with cords." They set upon the Danes whom they defeated with great slaughter. "Two regiments of these

66

peasants, hastily armed, cut to pieces the king of Denmark's regiment of guards, of "whom only ten men were left alive." The Danes fled under the cannon of Helsinbourg, and within five days after the battle had quitted Sweden; * and the reason assigned for this heroism of the Swedish peasantry is, that "these, forming an order "in the state, regarded themselves as citi

""

66

zens." The shadow of liberty left Sweden by Charles XII. was totally annihilated by the late king, who, for so doing, was stabbed by Ankerstrom. If Gustavus adheres to his father's principles, he cannot have his people's hearts. If made of the same materials as the other fallen despots of Europe, he has nothing to expect but a similar fate, nor would deserve a better: but if, indeed, he has wisdom and virtue, and deserve an immoveable throne, an enlargement of dominion, and a glorious reign, they are likely to await him.—I remain, Sir, &c.-J. CARTWRIGHT.

CORN AGAINST SUGAR.

SIR,-I shall preface my application for a place in your Register by observing, that it is not my wish to interfere as your auxiliary in your present controversy with Messrs. Young and Wakefield. That controversy cannot be placed in better hands. It is really amusing to observe the condescension with which they notice your inferior progress in the mystery of agriculture, and the confusion of ideas into which they are insensibly wandering, while they forget that a bad practical farmer, if he be a good practical logician, may sometimes prove a very inconvenient antagonist. My intention is solely to combat an assertion lately used (if the reports in the paper be true) by a worthy baronet at a Norfolk county meeting, and

Voltaire's Hist. of ditto, xii. B. 5.

« ElőzőTovább »