Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

country was in accord with its own honour and its duty; with its own dearest interests and with those of mankind.

If the character of the enemy against whom we were contending had been any ways doubtful before the peace of Amiens, subsequent events had now cleared it from all ambiguity. Having touched upon the former part of Buonaparte's conduct, we will here complete the delineation; and for the benefit of those eminent patriots among us who look upon the Emperor Napoleon as the model of an enlightened prince, in as summary a manner as possible, evumerate some of the acts of this their beau idéal of a philo.. sophical sovereign,-ihis Perfect Emperor of the British Liberales. It shall be no counterfeit likeness, nor heightened by any false colours; the man is depictured in his actions and in those of the government which was directed by his single will. There is no necessity for insisting upon the murder of Pichegru and of Captain Wright; faith depends in no little degree upon volition,—these things were done in a corner, and damning as the proofs are, the Liberales do not chuse to believe them. Letting therefore these counts of the indictment pass among other acts of supererogatory wickedness, we will enumerate only some of those deeds of individual cruelty and guilt which were committed in the face of the world, in open defiance of God and man, and which no person except an English mob-orator has ever dared either to deny or to defend :—the detention of the English travellers in France; the betrayal and imprisonment of Toussaint; the murder of the Duc d'Enghien; the murder of Palm; the murder of Hofer. These were the individual deeds of Buonaparte, his own peculiar acts, the cold and cowardly crimes of a heart incapable in its very nature of magnanimity, and malignant upon settled system. The tyrauny of his home government extended to every thing. His merciless conscription placed all the youth of France at his disposal, and so largely did he draw upon this fund, and so lavishly did he squander it, that great as the population of France is, it was at length unable to answer the demand, and support his enormous expenditure of blood. The system of education was determined by law, and conducted upon the explicit maxim that all public education ought to be regulated on the principle of-military discipline. The plan was framed partly in imitation of the Jesuits, partly of the Mamelukes; and as no person was permitted to act as tutor to another, except upon this instruction, the study of Greek, the mother-tongue of liberty, was so far proscribed throughout France, that no person could acquire it by any other means than self-tuition. Every servant in Paris was registered, that the police might bave a spy in every house. The number of printers was limited; only four newspapers in the capital were

per

plan of permitted to touch on political events, and no newspaper or writing of any kind could be published without the inspection and approbation of the government.* To complete the tyranny, as the Bastile had been demolished at the beginning of the Revolution, Buonaparte appointed eight Bastiles in different parts of France, for the reception of persons whom it was convenient to hold in durance, and not convenient to bring to trial. Such was the system of government established in France by the Perfect Emperor of the Ultra-Whigs and Extra-Reformers.

The foreign policy of Buonaparte united falsehood, treachery, frantic pride, and remorseless barbarity. Witness the noyades at St. Domingo; witness the commandant at 4 Cerigo, who in his official correspondence with his superior, informed him that being mconvenienced with about 600 Albanian refugees, he had disembarassed himself of them by poisoning their wells. Witness HolJand, impoverished, deceived, oppressed, and finally usurped! Witness Germany; partitioned and re-partitioned, plundered, ravaged, and insulted, her

children forced into the service of their enemy, and sacrificed by inyriads to his insatiable lust of conquest! Witness Prussia, her wrongs, her long sufferings, ber holy hatred, her glorious resurrection and revenge! Witness the black tragedy of the Tyrol! Witness Portugal, where, when the French entered professedly in peace and without the slightest opposition, they exacted a contribution, the amount of which was equal to a poll-tax of a guinea and a half per head, upon the whole population; and where, when they left it, they committed crimes and cruelties of so hellish a character, that it might almost be deemed criminal to recite them. Witness Spain! A certain great authority, indeed, to whose predictions we have before alluded, has said that the hatred of the name of a Frenchman in Spain has been such as the reality would by no means justify;' and that the detestation of the French government had, among the inferior orders, been carried to a pitch wholly unauthorized by its proceedings towards them.' The treacherous seizure of their fortresses, the kidnapping of their royal family, to whom, whatever might be the merits of that family, the Spaniards were devotedly attached, and the usurpation of their throne and their country, migtit in the judgment of ordinary men be thought to authorize a considerable degree of detestation for the government by which such acts had been committed: so it should appear at first sight :-to politicians gifted with the faculty of second sight, it may tion which it discovers, pre pour pear, for its absurdity as well as the perverse disposi

proposals were circulated in 1813 for reprinting the French Mo. miteur in London, because the Euglish press was nearly in the same state of degradation as the press of Russia, and because inportant facts were often suppressed, coloured, and distorted in the English papers ! ' --Thus it is that faction makes men fools. + The evidence for this atrocious fact way be seen in our Third Volunie, p. 204. VOL. XVI, NO, XXXI.

appear

appear differently. But if to these wrongs we add the details of this struggle so inexpiably and ineffaceably disgraceful for France, praca tised as these advocates inay be in the defence of bad causes, this would not be found one of those cases which can be tolerably plastered over with light cost of rough-cast rhetoric. Let us not, how ever, lacerate the feelings of the reader with particularizing the horrors of that most atrocious warfare,--suffice it to mention as public, notorious, undeniable and official acts, the wholesale murders committed by the military tribunal at Madrid, under that General Grouchy whom the friends of liberty are now honouring with public dinners in America; the cruelties of Marshal Ney in Gallicia; the forepurposed massacres of Marshal Suchet; the decree of Marshal Soult for putting to death all persons who should be taken in arms against the intrusive government; and the decree of General Kellermán by which, after all horses of a certain standard were seized for the use of the French, the owners of those which were left, as being below the standard, or as being mares pregnant

for more than three months, were ordered to put out the left eye of their beasts, or render them by other proper means unfit for military service ! Such was the system carried on in foreign countries by the Perfect Emperor of the Ultra Whigs, and Extra Reformers. That any man should raise his voice in behalf of such a tyranny and such a tyrant is wonderful,--that any Englishman should do so is monstrous. The distinctions between right and wrong are broad and legible, and all men who have sufficient use of reason to be moral and accountable beings, are enabled by God to read them. But society has its idiots as well as nature: and the poor natural of the village workhouse who excites the mockery of brutal boys is less pitiable, in the eyes of thoughtful humanity, than he who, drunk with faction and inflamed with discontent, renders bimself a fook at heart.

It was against the tyrant by whom these infernal measures were enjoined, and against the atrocious army by which they were enforced in full rigour, that our war was waged, not against the French people. We and our allies fought, as the Common Council truly expressed it in their address to the Emperor of

not to subdue but to deliver a misguided people, and our efforts were crowned (to use the language of the same address) by the deliverance of the afflicted nations of Europe from the most galling oppression and unprecedented tyranny that ever visited the human race. Who does not remember the universal joy which the overthrow of that tyranny produced? The sense of the country cannot be more faithfully expressed than it was by the same common Council of London in their address to the Prince Regent

• We cannot, Royal Sir,' said they, upon such an occasion, but look back with the highest admiration at the Grmness, the wisdom, and the

energy

Russia,

energy which have been exercised by our beloved country during this long and arduous struggle. Had not Britain persevered, the liberties of Europe might have been lost. Had not her valiant sons been foremost in victory both by sea and land, it is too probable that the glorious emulation exhibited by her great allies would have been still dormant. Had not her triumphant armies under the inimortal Wellington co-operated with the brave inhabitants in rescuing the Peninsula from the grasp of an unprincipled invader, Germany and Holland might yet have groaned under the iron despotism of the oppressor, and the efforts of the magnanimous Alexander been ineffectual to relieve thein. These astonishing energies we believe to have been called forth by that admirable constitution of government which Britons possess as the best inheritance derived from their fathers, and which with proud satisfaction we observe is considered as affording the true basis of civil liberty by surrounding nations.'

Here the Common Council unequivocally and in the strongest terms deliver their opinion that the policy of the war was wise; that the object was in the highest degree important and desirable, being nothing less than the liberties of Europe; that that object had been accomplished through the exertions of this country, and that its happy accomplishment was owing to the firmness and wisdoni with which the contest had been pursued, and to the advantages which we derived from the possession of a free constitution. And in thus saying they spoke the

genuine sentiments of the people of England. But lo--this very common Council of London, before the shoes were old in which they followed their former address,

hother, in which they tell the Prince Regent, that the war was 'rash and ruinous, unjustly commenced and pertinaciously persisted in, when no rational object was to be obtained ;' and that this as well as sundry other evils has arisen from the corrupt state of the representation by which the people had been deprived of their just share and weight in the legislature. If the Prince had been, like Charles II., disposed to jest with men of this stamp, in what a situation might he have placed them by desiring that the first address might have been read for their edification, as the second had been read for bis; and then requesting them to reconcile the two The invention of printing in parallel columns was a happy one for consistency like this-e.g. 216d PHILIP SOBER. 1814.

1816. We cannot but look back with Our grievances are the natural the highest admiration at the firm- effect of rash and ruinous wars, ness, the wisdom, and the energy unjustly commenced and pertinawhich have been exercised by our ciously persisted in. beloved country during this long and arduous struggle.

PHILIP DRUNK.

Had not Britain persevered, the "No rational object was to be liberties of Europe might have obtained... . . been lost.

These astonishing energies we 'All constitutional controul over believe to have been called forth the servants of the crown has been by that admirable constitution of lost, and parliaments have become government which Britons possess.' subservient to the will of ininisters.'

It may be proper to shew cause why we should have affirmed that Philip was sober in 1814, and drunk in 1816, when Philip himself might chuse to reverse the statement, and plead drunk on the former occasion, having, at that time, been dining with kings and emperors. But Philip himself cannot be admitted as a fair judge of his own condition, and as persons, who, when in possession of their reason, are sensible, well-disposed, and decently behaved, will, when in liquor, talk nonsense, and become mischievous, quarrelsome, and insulting, it is clear, that Philip was sober when the first address was composed, and nori compos mentis on the latter occasion.

In reality, as Great Britain never before had been engaged in so long or so arduous a war, so never was any war so constantly approved by the great body of the people, because none was ever more unequivocally just. It was a cause to which the strong language of old Tom Tell-troth inight be applied, at being so just and so religious in all humane and divine respects, that if the noble ariny of martyrs were sent down upon earth to make their fortunes anew, they would chuse no other quarrel to die in, nor hope for a surer way to recover again the crown of glory.

While the war continued, the large expenditure which it occasioned at home* kept all things in activity, the landlord raised his rents as the government increased its imposts, the farmer de. manded higher prices for his produce, and every man who had any thing to sell advanced the price of his commodities in like manner and in full proportion. Upon annuitants, and other persons,

* There is a passage in Bishop Burnet which is strikingly applicable to recent times. He is speaking of Marlburough's war, and shewing how the nation abounded both in poney and zeal. Our armies as well as our allies were every where punctually paid : the credit of the nation was never raised so high in any age, nor so sacredly maintained; the treasury was as exact and as regular in all payments as any private banker could be. It is true a great deal of money went out of the kingdom in specie; that which maintained the war in Spain was to be sent thither in that manner :-by this means there grew to be a sensible want of money in our nation ; this was in a great measure supplied by the currency of Exchequer bills and bank notes; and this lay so obvious to the disaffected party, that they were ofrea attempting to blast, at least to disparage this paper credit ; but it was still kept up. It bred a just indignation in all who had a true love to their country, to see some using all possible methods to shake the adıninistration, which, notwithstanding the difficulties at home and abroad, was much the best that had been in the memory of man : and was certainly not only easy to the subjects in general, but geutle even towards those who were endeavouring to undermine it.'

who,

« AnteriorContinuar »