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If men could be generally persuaded of the necessity of the case, and of the efficiency of the proposed remedy, we should by no means despair of seeing it adopted, at least to such an extent as to ensure its ultimate success. Of the necessity, we think, no man that looks at the present state of Europe, and recollects by what it has been produced, will long entertain a doubt. The fame review will satisfy him of the efficacy of the remedy suggested. France has triumphed by the free and unlimited use the has made of the talents of her people; but the people of England are at this moment much more enlightened and ingenious, and capable of affording more efficient service to their government, than those of France, or of any other country. If a similar field was opened for competition,-if the same high rewards were held out for excellence, and the same facilities afforded for its publication and display, we are perfectly satisfied that England would in a very short time exhibit more splendid instances of successful genius, in every department of the public service, than have yet been produced among those who have risen to such a height by their multiplication. Unless some such measures be adopted, it is not easy to fee how they are to be resisted.
We have dwelt too long, we are afraid, on' these general considerations; but they are too important, we conceive, to be suppressed upon such an occasion; and we have been induced to give fome latitude to the expression of our opinions, both because the topic has been altogether overlooked by the author of the work before us, and has not been sufficiently unfolded in any recent work that has fallen under our observation. The effential difference between a new and an old government, is the key, we are firmly perfuaded, to the whole recent and difastrous history of Europe, and should be our guide and point of direction in all the efforts which we are yet to make for its restoration.
The only other topic in the work before us, to which we have now leisure to attend, is that which treats of the policy of seeking peace with France, in her present triumphant position. The opinion of tie author, we have already intimated, is decidedly against such a pacification. Ours, we will confess, rather leans the other way, though the question appears to us to be one of the most difficult and delicate, as well as the most important, to which the public attention can poflibly be directed.
The war was undertaken, we shall admit, for the purpose of repressing the usurpations of France, or of ameliorating its government. The result has been, that France has subjugated the whole Continent, from the Baltic to the Straits of Messina ; and that its government has passed from a tumultuous democracy, into a regular, enlightened, and well-disciplined military despotism.
Such is the state of things with regard to France and her continental enemies. With regard to ourselves, we have hitherto suffer ed nothing but in our tranquillity and our finances. Our navy has been uniformly triumphant, our trade has increased, and we have conquered a great number of the foreign settlements of the enemy, without losing any of our own; at the fame time, we are threatened with invasion, and our taxes are becoming every day more intolerably burdensome. The problem is, whether, in these circumstances, it be wiser to make peace, or to continue the war. The solution, we have already said, appears to us to be extremely difficult ; but it will be easier if we can ascertain for what objects the war must now be carried on.
There are only four ends, we think, that can possibly be in the view of those who are for persisting in hostility. The first is, to restore the Bourbons, to reduce the power of France, and to repress her within her ancient limits. The second is, to retrieve, at least to a certain extent, the losses of our faithful allies. The third is, to maintain the conquests which we have made during the war; and the last is; to defend ourselves with greater secuo rity from the dangers with which we are menaced from the enor. mous power and rooted hostility of our enemy. Of these four objects of war, the two first, we are afraid, may now fairly be given up as desperate and unattainable. The third, we conceive, is unjuftifiable and insufficient; and it is with regard to the last only, that we are inclined to entertain any doubt òr hesitation.
Every attack that has been made upon France has ended in adding to her power. The wars which her neighbours have waged against her have been the sole causes of her greatness. She baffled the greatest armies, and the most extensive leagues, while the strength of her enemies was unbroken, and her own immature. Is it to be expected, then, that the issue of the contest should be different, when their resources are wasted, and hers improved, when their armies have been broken and dispersed, and hers consolidated, multiplied, and elated ? The game, we fear, is decidedly lost, as to the continent of Europe ; and for our allies to persist in it, will only be to push their bad fortune. They had better take up the remaining stakes, if they can; and endeavour to acquire a little more skill and contrivance, before they chufe partners for a new party. Every new league that has been formed against France, has added a new country to her conquests. The first gave her the Low Countries and Holland ; the fecond gave her Italy and part of Germany; the third laid Austria at her feet; the fourth has annihilated Prussia. Is it for her enemies to perGst in this system? Or does any cne remain so sanguine as to think the continuance of the war more hazardous to France, than B 2
to what yet remains unconquered on the Continent? In so far as Europe or our allies are concerned, there seems no reason for doubting that peace will give them a better chance of salvation than war.
With regard to ourselves, it will probably be pretty generally admitted, that the conquests we have made are of little value, except as the means of disarming or embarrassing the enemy; and that, if a secure peace could be purchased by their restoration, it would be madness to think of continuing the war, merely for the sake of retaining them. We have more foreign settlements already than we have any good use for ; and it would be the height of imprudence to think of keeping all that are now in our hands, even if their original owners were quite willing to relinquish them.
The only rational ground, then, upon which the continuance of the war, as it seems to us, can be justified, is, that in point of fact, we are safer from the power of France by war, than we should be by peace ; that war is truly a defensive measure with us; and that, to relinquish the advantages which its continuance gives us over the enemy, would be to fall into a snare which a very little foresight might enable us to escape. It is essential to inquire, therefore, how far this is a well-founded opinion.
It proceeds upon one general and fundamental supposition, which we are not inclined to dispute, viz. that the enemy would like better to conquer, than to make peace with us; that he dislikes our free constitution, our naval power, and commercial prosperity; and deeply resents the destruction of his marine, and the hoftility we have so zealously endeavoured to excite against him. If he does make peace with us, therefore, we may depend upon it that it will be for his own convenience, and not for any love he bears to us, and that he will have every inclination to procure our destruction, whenever he can find an opportunity. In admitting all this, however, as to the dispositions of the French government, we do not admit much more than may be safely assumed as to the purposes and dispositions with which nations in general leave off an indecisive war. They do not in general love each other at such a moment at all better than they did during the fubfiftence of hoftilities; nor do they care less for the objects, for the attainment of which they have been shedding each other's blood in vain. They make peace merely because they despair of obtaining those objects at any reasonable expense ; but with a strong resolution to renew the pursuit of them, whenever they think they can be attained. As to making peace in the spirit of peace, therefore, it is a profession in which we have no faith on any occasion. For the same reason, we are but little moved with the common declamatory in
vectives vectives against the perfidiousness of our enemy, and the impoffibility of trusting to any promises or engagements he may come under. We conceive that all nations are perfidious in this sense of the word; and that they neither do, nor can trust to the good faith of each other, when they enter into compacts and agreements. There are few positions in the science of politics so generally and constantly true as this, that a treaty will not bind any govern. ment much longer than its interest would have bound it at any rate; and that all treaties will be broken, soon after it ceases to be the interest of either of the parties to observe them. If we were at peace with France to-morrow, it would still be very much for her interest (we mean the interest of her present government) to demolish our constitution and our marine, and very much for ours, to reduce her power, and diminish her territory. If either of the parties, therefore, saw a fair prospect of accomplishing their end, is there any one so romantic as to suppose that pretexts would not be found to set aside the pacific bonds of the treaty ?
It is no doubt true, at the same time, that there are peculiarities in the present case which give an extraordinary weight to some of the confiderations to which we have alluded. The object about which we are contending is nothing less than our existence; and the hostility of the enemy approaches to the bitterness of personal hatred and animosity: we have nothing to receive back, besides, at a peace, and have a great deal to give up. All those things certainly require deliberation. The most important of them, however, is the peculiar hostility of the enemy; and we will confess, that our conclufion upon the general question would be very much influenced by the opinion we should form as to the extent of this hoftility, and the degree to which it is felt by the French nation in general.
If we could persuade ourselves that the French emperor had sworn in his heart to accomplish our destruction, or perish in the attempt, and offered to make peace with no other purpose than to take profit by the temporary advantages it might give him by the restoration of his colonies, and the opportunity of bringing home his stores and treasure;--if we could believe, in short, that he was resolved only to give us one year of peace, and that he would find it safe and practicable to renew the war again after so short a respite,--then we would entirely agree with those who think that such a peace ought to be rejected, and that it could only be considered as a stratagem to cheat us out of the conquests we have made, and to defeat the effect of our maritime superiority. But if, on the other hand, we should see reason to believe that France stands in need of a peace of longer duration, and that, with all the inward hostility that can be imagined, its ruler looks
forward to the formation of a navy, and the restoration of his commerce, as the only sure means of subduing us,-then we would grant him such a peace, and take his word for it in a treaty; because we are decidedly of opinion, that we should profit more by the respite than he could do ; and because the very time which would be requisite to mature his machinations, would render their execution impossible.
We certainly incline decidedly to the latter of these opinions ; though we have no longer room to state our reasons at length. They are founded chiefly upon the great difficulty the French government would find in engaging its people to enter upon a new and desperate contest, after so welcome a pacification ; upon the unwillingness and hesitation of that government to grant us a peace at all ; and upon the admitted fact, that no such use as is here supposed, was made of the peace of Amiens, though it subsisted much longer than was necessary to have indicated the purposes for which it was concluded. Believing, therefore, most cordially and sincerely, that France will make peace with an intention to renew the war whenever she has us at an adyantage, we see no reason to think that she has in view such local and limited advantages as she could gain by a speedy renewal of hostilities, or that she will ultimately gain any advantage at all by a longer interval of repose.
The reasons of this opinion will be best explained by a short enumeration of the advantages and disadvantages of a peace to this country; or rather of the losses and dangers which we shall incur and avoid, by accepting, at this moment, of terms of pacification.
The dangers and disadvantages of peace in our peculiar situation are obvious, and have been often enumerated; but, for the most part, with so much exaggeration and vehemence, that a plain and candid statement of them may still have the merit of novelty. In the first place, we must lay our account with giving up the greater part of the conquests we have made, without receiving, ourselves, any thing in return. France has nothing to return to England in compensation for what England may restore to her or her allies. We may stipulate something indeed for our allies in return for what we give up; but though this may be very much for our honour, it will not be much for our immediate interest or emolument. We have already said, however, that the possession of these places is really of very little benefit to this country; and that the chief use of taking them, is rather to hamper and annoy the enemy, than to enrich ourselves. The chief disadvantage, therefore, which we shall fuffer by their restoration, will be, in the second place, that we shall thus enable the enemy to occupy a variety of positions from which he may annoy us, on the re