Изображения страниц

The liberties of man, and confequently the progress of sciences of civilization, and the arts, have already enough to contend with in every state, viewed separately. Whenever the powers invested in goverment for useful purposes, become abused to ambitious ones, in vain do individuals seek to resist a great collective force instituted by themselves. Despair sometimes produces a counter-union of the subjects, but as it commonly ends in an alteration of rulers, rather than of principles, the evil complained of foon recurs. Hence there are few good governments in the world; so few, that our own nation thinks itself in pofleffion of the only one; and even this has required more than one successful revolution to produce, or to preferve its perfection such then, is the state of every single country, even when the domestic eremy to its happiness has none except the forces of his own nation, at his disposal.—But a new scene at the prefent moment opens itself. Several princes have agreed mutually to lend to one another the powers respect vely intrusted to them for national objects, in order that each may thence be enabled to enforce his respective pleasure upon his respective people. In other words, they engage to bring the military forces and the revenues of all nations, to act, when requifite, upon the people of any fingle nation'; although thar people has already enough to struggle with at home, whenever its own public force is applied to support tyranny. As a counter-concert among the people of different nations is impossible, it is henceforth then intended, that princes shall legiflate at their own discretion; and hat no nation shall ever be able to right its own wrongs; the example of Poland even proving, that when a prince is disposed to concur with his own people in improving the constitutution of the nation, permission is to be denied even for a measure of mutual lappiness.-- Each nation is, therefore, to be considered as designed to be governed by an enemy within, and an enemy without; and every order in society, whet. er civil or religious, is to vanish before an union of military de potiin.'

He proceeds to shew, that in joining ourselves to their alliance We not only give a fanction to their rapacity, but are acting in direct opposition to all the maxims of sound policy, by directing our arms azainstre only power capable of balancing this mighty triumvirate -- he observes, that if France is suffered to be under a re, ublican go.crriment, she is necessarily detached from Austria, and as necessarily thrown into connections with it, if the ancient government is restored by the corăbined powers. The author relates, in terms of strong and animated reprobation, the dismemberment of Poland, and gives a curious account, taken from the works of one of the royal plunderers, the late king of Pruslia, of the history of the first partition.It ought to be read by every one, though it tends to awaken painful feelings oi indignation against the authors of a transac

[ocr errors]



tion fo villainous, that under any tolerably well regulated government, it would have brought individuals who had so acted to the gallows. The second division was if possible still more glaringly flagitious, as the invading powers had guaranteed the remainder of their prey. Pruília, according to the idea of the author, is preparing her own destruction by this co-operation with Austria and Russia, who when they have swallowed up the rest of Europe will easily reduce their unequal partner to the state of an obsequious dependant. The author endeavours to rouse the general attention to the progress of this triumvirate, by showing the consequences of unrestained despotism, not only towards the people, but towards the clergy, the aristocracy, and even all the minor princes of Europe. The incieasing power of Ruffia is described as particularly formidable.

' Ruffia is an empire as fingular in its present state, as it was in its commencement.--She exhibits the picture of North America in Europe, or of an old country and a new country combined into one ; having a population which owing to easy means of fubfiftence, which render marriages early and frequent), augments one-fifth in every twenty years, in defiance of public and private despotism. She displays a partial luxury in the midst of wiidernesies; she has a civilized cabinet at the head of a semi-barbarous nation ; her people are obstinate, yet docile; and her peafants, though awed by trreir masters, yet are brave when soldiers.---With thirty millions of people, which are thus rapidly and progresívely increasing, Ruflia is placed invulnerable, in the north-castern corner of Europe. 'Her territories are bounded by defarts, by woods, and by inhospitable climates; fhe derives strength from the very barrennefs and diffufion of her empire; and the is fituated out of the reach of all maritime approaches, though herfeli posfelling a considerable navy for offenfire purposes. She has also myriads of disciplined forces, and a peculiar strength in light troops for keeping in ape large tracts of country ; and almost all her forces combat with the advantage of diferent religious prejudices, which leffen the terrors of death; and they are also peculiarly hardy and capable of fatigue. If her empire is vaft in its extent, her troops, her failors, and her stores, move through it with incredible celerity, owing to water communications, and to the abundance of horles belonging to her peasantry, which admit of conveyances by pofi, (either in waggons, or else in sledges upon the snow,) both for her forces and for errlik, fiores.-- At the end of her last war but one, the remitted taxes ; and at the end of the war just concluded, she has not augmented them.--She loses subjects in war, but replaces them by those whom ine vanquishes, or by the excess of the number born from her own people over those which die; the increases, therefore, both in war and in peace; and it is this internal or this extraneous increase of men, accompanied at the fame time




with an augmentation of cultivation, of arts and of wealth, which
(unnoticed by the rest of Europe,) enables her, upon every struggle,
to appear with renewed and accumulated strength.—Lastly, the
skirts the whole northern frontier of Asia; she posesses the means of
attacking its rich western flank completely from north to south;
and (since distance is nothing to Russians,) the is not without access
to its eastern flank, and to the rich mines of Western America ; but
above all, (in consequence of having the means of invading our East-
Indian possessions from the north, facilitated by the help of water
carriage on great lakes and descending rivers ; as well as by having.
a probable opportunity through the aid of Austria, of commanding
one or both of the two navigations of the Red Sea and the Persian
Gulph,) the seems to draw close to the moment of obtaining pos-
session of that communication between western and eastern nations,
which in all ages of the world has uniformly and signally aggrandiz-
ed those who have held it.-In one word, she is become the modern,
northen hive, pouring forth, not disorderly, but marshalled and obe-
dient swarms, increasing yearly in their numbers by land and by
sea, all recognizing a common chief, whose watchful eyes turn alike
to the east and to the west, to search for opportunities of plunder,
either in company or alone ; rendering barbarians her immediate in-
struments, and the rich her certain victims;. and being likely soon
to polless that most dangerous of all combinations; namely, numbers,
arms, and wealth.'

When Austria and Ruffia have fucceeded in gatňering into their vortex one after another of the secondary states of Europe, the Observer predicts that their ambition will be excited to revive in their persons the eastern and western empires, a shadow of which still remains in their respective titles. He, therefore, calls upon us to direct our fears and our precautions towards that quarter where there is the most danger.

. During the present century, we have lost no territory to France, even though the has been supported by Spain, Holland, and America;. but have regularly gained ground upon her. On the other hand, the triumvirs have of late years been large and constant accumulators of. power; and the observing eye can see no traces of any returning footfteps from their fatal den; for if they lose any thing, it is only to one another; and their internal balance, whenever thus difturbed, is soon re-adjusted, by means of new plunder ravished from their defenceless neighbours.—What weakness then is it in us, resentfully to pursue the ignis fatuus of French politics into swamps and quagmires, without observing rhe flaming mafs of lava which is not only formed, but pouring forth behind us ? Shall we dread the froth and foam, the noise and fury of the wave, which beats but without. everpassing the rock on which we stand; and neglect the tide of powa, which is filently rising to overwhelm us > Shall we be afraid of


the strength depending upon fever and convulsion, and view with unconcern, that which depends upon fixed stamina and constitutional habit? Shall we only struggle against the smaller evils which France has it not in her power to accomplish, and has even ceased to threaten ; rather than against the greater ones, which the triumvirs can certainly produce, whenever they have but the inclination, and their secrecy respelling which renders but the more certain ? Shall we be terrified at the discords of France, and not be alarmed at the union of freebooters; when the tritest of proverbs tells us, that the honest have always something to fear, whenever those who are lefs honeft agree too well?"

The author discusses at length, the great question of the present war upon a variety of grounds, and conGders it, whether victorious or unfortunate, as pregnant with evils both to our internal liberty and our external situation amongst the powers of Europe. He takes pains to establish the unwillingness of the French to break with England, and confiders the dimillion of M. Chauvelin as a virtual declaration of war-to the objec tions made against the fraternizing spirit of the French repubdic, he answers, by referring to the intriguing fpirit of their old monarchy, and the fraternizing practices of the triumvirateto the objection that we have no one with whom to treat, he answers, treat with the powers that be -- those are the people to make peace with, with whom you are making war. Peace does not imply alliance. It would perhaps be better, he adds, if Great Britain were at peace with all and in alliance with none. Among the various reasons given by this masterly writer (reaKons which are not, we presume, grown lefs forcible fince the publication of the work) for opening an immediate negociation, we shall quote the following, becaute it may be level to the comprehensions of those who confess themselves to be no politicians, but who are the zealous partisans of the war, purely as good Chriftians.

There is another reason, which, in my opinion equally relates to the high and the low, to the government and to the people, and which ifrongly pleads for peace : I mean, the rapid rate at which we are spoiling pur tempers. We have feen many persons among us, of all ranks, profoundly ignorant of the state of things in France, who yet have learned to utter imprecations the moit horrid against a whole nation. One is apt to suspect at times, that we are among the pupils of Caligula and Nero, when we observe men and even women, who feem desirous that the French nation thould have but one neck, that themselves might serve as the executioners, and find some who would fiddle while Paris was burning. Such fentiments would certainly disgrace the reprobated country of France itself, whofe misdeeds are inade the pretended parent of them.

I must


B 3

here add, that to deny corn to the armies and garrisons of France might seem justifiable, though at the expence of dangerous measures towards neutral powers; but to deny corn to the people of France, and (like lord Auckland) knowingly to favour either the creation or the operation of " famine," throughout a whole nation ; seems a strange relapse into systems, from which the philanthropy of modern writers of ail nations, and the softening principles of the age, had once seemed to have delivered us; especially, as the operation of famine upon the temper of a nation, is feldom regular and systematic, but commonly tumultuous and uncertain ; being much more likely to produce, in the present instance, the massacre of men of substance in each little community of France, than the conversion or exclufion of the present general governors of it. But another evil to result from the spirit which has lately gone forth among us, is the inveteracy endeavoured to be established against the French nation, which tending to generate fimilar paflions on their fide, a fecond road may thence be opened for a return to all our mutual ancient animosity and infanity; and thus future ministers and ages may long have to rue the effects of a conduet, which will have again alienated from each other two great nations ; who, as living fo near each other, are highly interefied in mutual peace, the establishment of which between them would probably lead to the peace of Europe and mankind.'

Such are the sentiments and such the reasoning of our respectable author, from whom what we have quoted will serve to shew how liberal are the one and how forcible the other, Yet we cannot help thinking that, with regard to the dangers to be apprehended from Rullia and Austria, he indulges too much to speculation, and countenances, at least by easy inference, a fyftem of interference as bad as what he reprobates with regard to France. For when he speaks of ! preventing any new accellion to the strength of the triumvirs,' of further

endeavouring to decompose this mighty mass of mischief,' and propofes for that purpose that a speedy,' and, he adds indeed,

if polible, a spontaneous division of the Ruslian territories should take place between the issue of the present empress' when he talks of renovating the power of the Turks by engaging them to receive twelve or fiiteen thousand foreigners into their pay, and insists that the triumvirs should not be permited, even by means of exchanges, to arrange their dominions in any form more commodious to themselves than the present;' what is it, but to plunge us into all the labyrinth of continental and extraneous politics, from which, under the romantic notion of keeping up the ballance of Europe, this country has suffered so much.-If, says the author, we did right lately in countenancing the German league formed against


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »