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battery of cannon. To contend with obstinacy had been only to lavish life without use or hope. After the exchange of a very few shots, a capitu
A few months afterwards (June 4th, 1770) the
Three days afterwards four other frigates entered the port, and a broad pendant, such as is borne by the commander of a naval armament, was displayed from the Industry. Captain Farmer, of the Swift frigate, who commanded the garrison, ordered the crew of the Swift to come on shore, and assist in its defence; and directed Captain Maltby to bring the Favourite frigate, which he commanded, nearer to the land. The Spaniards easily discovering the purpose of his motion, let him know that if he weighed his anehor, they would fire upon his ship; but paying no regard to these menaces, he advanced towards the shore. The Spanish fleet followed, and two shots were fired, which fell at a distance from him. He then sent to inquire the reason of such hostility, and was told that the shots were intended only as signals.
Both the English captains wrote the next day to Madariaga, the Spanish commodore, warning him from the island, as from a place which the English held by right of discovery.
Madariaga, who seems to have had no desire of unnecessary mischief, invited them (June 9th to send an officer who should take a view of his forces, that they might be convinced of the vanity of resistance, and do that without compulsion, which he was, upon refusal, prepared to enforce. An officer was sent, who found sixteen hundred men, with a train of twenty-seven cannon, four mortars, and two hundred bombs. The fleet consisted of five frigates, from twenty to thirty guns, which were now stationed opposite to the blockhouse.
He then sent them a formal memorial, in which he maintained his master's right to the whole Magellanic region, and exhorted the English to retire quietly from the settlement, which they could neither justify by right, nor maintain by power.
He offered them the liberty of carrying away whatever they were desirous to remove, and promised his receipt for what should be left, that no loss might be suffered by them.
His propositions were expressed in terms of great civility; but he concludes with demanding an answer in fifteen minutes.
Having, while he was writing, received the letters of warning written the day before by the English captains, he told them that he thought himself able to prove the king of Spain's title to all those countries, but that this was no time for verbal altercations. He persisted in his determination, and allowed only fifteen minutes for
To this it was replied by Captain Farmer, that though there had been prescribed yet a shorter time, he would still resolutely defend his charge; that this, whether menace or force, would be considered as an insult on the British flag, and that satisfaction would certainly be required.
On the next day (June 10th) Madariaga landed his forces, and it may be easily imagined that he had no bloody conquest. The English had only a wooden blockhouse, built at Woolwich, and carried in pieces to the island, with a small
The Spanish commander acted with moderation; he exerted little of the conqueror; what he had offered before the attack, he granted after the victory; the English were allowed to leave the place with every honour, only their departure was delayed, by the terms of capitulation, twenty days; and to secure their stay, the rudder of the Favourite was taken off. What they desired to carry away, they removed without molestation; and of what they left, an inventory was drawn, for which the Spanish officer, by his receipt, promised to be accountable.
Of this petty revolution, so sudden and so distant, the English ministry could not possibly have such notice as might enable them to prevent it. The conquest, if such may be called, cost but three days; for the Spaniards, either supposing the garrison stronger than it was, or resolving to trust nothing to chance, or considering that, as their force was greater, there was less danger of bloodshed, came with a power that made resistance ridiculous, and at once demanded and obtained possession.
The first account of any discontent expressed by the Spaniards, was brought by Captain Hunt, who arriving at Plymouth, June 3d, 1770, informed the Admiralty that the Island had been claimed in December by the Governor of Port Solidad.
This claim, made by an officer of so little dignity, without any known direction from his superiors, could be considered only as the zeal or officiousness of an individual, unworthy of public notice, or the formality of remonstrance.
In August, Mr. Harris, the resident at Madrid, gave notice to Lord Weymouth of an account newly brought to Cadiz, that the English were in possession of Port Cuizada, the same which we call Port Egmont, in the Magellanic sea; that in January they had warned away two Spanish ships; and that an armament was sent out in May from Buenos Ayres to dislodge them.
It was, perhaps, not yet certain that this account was true; but the information, however faithful, was too late for prevention. It was easily known, that a fleet despatched in May had before August succeeded or miscarried.
In October, Captain Maltby came to England, and gave the account which I have now epitomised, of his expulsion from Falkland's Islands.
From this moment the whole nation can witness that no time was lost. The navy was surveyed, the ships refitted, and commanders appointed; and a powerful fleet was assembled, well manned and well stored, with expedition, after so long a peace, perhaps never known before, and with vigour, which, after the waste of so long a war, scarcely any other nation had been capable of exerting.
This preparation, so illustrious in the eyes of Europe, and so efficacious in its event, was obstructed by the utmost power of that noisy faction which has too long filled the kingdom, sometimes with the roar of empty menace, and sometimes with the yell of hypocritical lamentation. Every man saw, and every honest man saw with detestation, that they who desired to force their sovereign into war, endeavoured at the same time to disable him from action.
The vigour and spirit of the ministry easily broke through all the machinations of these pigmy rebels, and our armament was quickly such as was likely to make our negotiations effectual.
that the injured party had a right to uncondi tional reparation, and Grimaldi delayed his an swer, that a council might be called. In a few days orders were despatched to Prince Masseran, by which he was commissioned to declare the king of Spain's readiness to satisfy the demands of the king of England, in expectation of receiving from him a reciprocal satisfaction, by the disavowal, so often required, of Hunt's warning.
The Prince of Masseran, in his first conference with the English ministers on this occasion, owned that he had from Madrid received intelligence that the English had been forcibly expelled from Falkland's Island by Buccarelli, the Governor of Buenos Ayres, without any particular orders Finding the Spaniards disposed to make no from the king of Spain. But being asked, whe-other acknowledgments, the English ministry ther in his master's name he disavowed Bucca- considered a war as not likely to be long avoidrelli's violence, he refused to answer without ed. In the latter end of November, private nodirection. tice was given of their danger to the merchants at Cadiz, and the officers absent from Gibraltar were remanded to their posts. Our naval force was every day increased, and we made no abatement of our original demand.
The scene of negotiation was now removed to Madrid, and in September, Mr. Harris was directed to demand from Grimaldi, the Spanish minister, the restitution of Falkland's Island, and a disavowal of Buccarelli's hostilities.
The obstinacy of the Spanish court still continued, and about the end of the year all hope of reconciliation was so nearly extinguished, that Mr. Harris was directed to withdraw, with the usual forms, from his residence at Madrid.
It was to be expected that Grimaldi would object to us our own behaviour, who had ordered the Spaniards to depart from the same island. To this it was replied, that the English forces were indeed directed to warn other nations away; Moderation is commonly firm, and firmness is but if compliance were refused, to proceed quietly commonly successful; having not swelled our in making their settlement, and suffer the first requisition with any superfluous appen subjects of whatever power to remain there with-dages, we had nothing to yield, we therefore only out molestation. By possession thus taken, repeated our first proposition, prepared for war, there was only a disputable claim advanced, though desirous of peace. which might be peaceably and regularly decided, without insult, and without force; and if the Spaniards had complained at the British court, their reasons would have been heard, and all injuries redressed; but that, by presupposing the justice of their own title, and having recourse to arms, without any previous notice or remonstrance, they had violated the peace, and insulted the British government; and therefore it was expected that satisfaction should be made by public disavowal, and immediate restitution.
The answer of Grimaldi was ambiguous and cold. He did not allow that any particular orders had been given for driving the English from their settlement; but made no scruple of declaring, that such an ejection was nothing more than the settlers might have expected; and that Buccarelli had not, in his opinion, incurred any blame, as the general injunctions to the American governors were, to suffer no encroachments on the Spanish dominions.
About this time, as is well known, the king of France dismissed Choiseul from his employments. What effect this revolution of the French court had upon the Spanish counsels, I pretend not to be informed. Choiseul had always professed pacific dispositions, nor is it certain, however it may be suspected, that he talked in different strains to different parties.
It seems to be almost the universal error of historians to suppose it politically, as it is physically true, that every effect has a proportionate cause. In the inanimate action of matter upon matter, the motion produced can be but equal to the force of the moving power; but the opera tions of life, whether private or public, admit no such laws. The caprices of voluntary agents laugh at calculation. It is not always that there is a strong reason for a great event. Obstinacy and flexibility, malignity and kindness, give place alternately to each other, and the reason of these vicissitudes, however important may be the consequences, often escapes the
In October, the Prince of Masseran proposed a convention for the accommodation of differ-mind in which the change is made. ences by mutual concessions, in which the warning given to the Spaniards by Hunt should be disavowed on one side, and the violence used by Buccarelli on the other. This offer was considered as little less than a new insult, and Grimaldi was told, that injury required reparation; that when either party had suffered evident wrong, there was not the parity subsisting which is implied in conventions and contracts; that we considered ourselves as openly insulted, and demanded satisfaction plenary and unconditional.
Whether the alteration which began in January to appear in the Spanish counsels, had any other cause than conviction of the impropriety of their past conduct, and of the danger of a new war, it is not easy to decide; but they be gan, whatever was the reason, to relax their haughtiness, and Mr. Harris's departure was countermanded.
Grimaldi affected to wonder that we were not yet appeased by their concessions. They had, he said, granted all that was required; they had offered to restore the island in the state in which they found it; but he thought that they likewise might hope for some regard, and that the warning sent by Hunt would be disavowed.
Mr. Harris, our minister at Madrid, insisted
The demands first made by England were still continued, and on January 22d, the prince of Masseran delivered a declaration, in which the king of Spain "disavows the violent enter-. prise of Buccarelli," and promises "to restore the port and fort called Egmont, with all the artillery and stores, according to the inventory."
To this promise of restitution is subjoined, that "this engagement to restore Port Egmont cannot, nor ought in any wise to affect the question of the prior right of sovereignty of
the Malouine, otherwise called Falkland's Is- | lands."
This concession was accepted by the Earl of Rochford, who declared on the part of his master, that the Prince of Masseran being authorized by his catholic majesty "to offer in his majesty's name to the king of Great Britain a satisfaction for the injury done him by dispossessing him of Port Egmont," and having signed a declaration expressing that his catholic majesty "disavows the expedition against Port Egmont, and engages to restore it in the state in which it stood before the 10th of June, 1770, his Britannic majesty will look upon the said declaration, together with the full performance of the engagement on the part of his catholic majesty, as a satisfaction for the injury done to the crown of Great Britain."
already, he might say, granted you the whole effect of right, and have not denied you the name. We have not said that the right was ours before. this concession, but only that what right we had, is not by this concession vacated. We have now for more than two centuries ruled large tracts of the American continent, by a claim which perhaps is valid only upon this consideration, that no power can produce a better; by the right of discovery and prior settlement. And by such titles almost all the dominions of the earth are holden, except that their original is beyond memory, and greater obscurity gives them greater veneration. Should we allow this plea to be annulled, the whole fabric of our em pire shakes at the foundation. When you suppose yourselves to have first deseried the dis puted island, you suppose what you can hardly prove. We were at least the general discoverers of the Magellanic region, and have hitherto held
This is all that was originally demanded. The expedition is disavowed, and the island is restored. An injury is acknowledged by the re-it with all its adjacencies. The justice of this ception of Lord Rochford's paper, who twice mentions the word injury, and twice the word satisfaction.
tenure the world has hitherto admitted, and yourselves at least tacitly allowed it, when about twenty years ago you desisted from your purposed expedition, and expressly disowned any design of settling, where you are now not content to settle and to reign, without extorting such a confession of original right, as may invite every other nation to follow you.
The Spaniards have stipulated that the grant of possession shall not preclude the question of prior right, a question which we shall probably make no haste to discuss, and a right of which no formal resignation was ever required. This reserve has supplied matter for much clamour, To considerations such as these, it is reasonand perhaps the English ministry would have able to impute that anxiety of the Spaniards, been better pleased had the declaration been from which the importance of this island is inwithout it. But when we have obtained all that ferred by Junius, one of the few writers of his was asked, why should we complain that we despicable faction whose name does not disgrace have not more? When the possession is con- the page of an opponent. The value of the ceded, where is the evil that the right, which thing disputed may be very different to him that that concession supposes to be merely hypothe-gains and him that loses it. The Spaniards, by tical, is referred to the Greek calends for a fu-yielding Falkland's Island, have admitted a preture disquisition? Were the Switzers less free, or less secure, because after their defection from the house of Austria they had never been declared independent, before the treaty of Westphalia? Is the king of France less a sovereign because the king of England partakes his title? If sovereignty implies undisputed right, scarce any prince is a sovereign through his whole dominions; if sovereignty consists in this, that no superior is acknowledged, our king reigns at Port Egmont with sovereign authority. Almost every new-acquired territory is in some degree controvertible, and till the controversy is decided, a term very difficult to be fixed, all that can be had is real possession and actual dominion.
This surely is a sufficient answer to the feudal gabble of a man who is every day lesserring that Splendour of character which once illuminated the kingdom, then dazzled, and afterwards inflamed it; and for whom it will be happy if the nation shall at last dismiss him to nameless obscurity, with that equipoise of blame and praise which Corneille allows to Richelieu, a man who, I think, had much of his merit, and many of his faults.
Chacun parle & son gré de ce grand Cardinal, Mais pour moi je n'en dirai rien; Il m'a fait trop de bien pour en dire du mal, Il m'a fait trop de mal pour en dire du bien. To push advantages too far, is neither generous nor just. Had we insisted on a concession of antecedent right, it may not misbecome us, either as moralists or politicians, to consider what Grimaldi could have answered. We have
cedent of what they think encroachment; have suffered a breach to be made in the outworks of their empire; and, notwithstanding the reserve of prior right, have suffered a dangerous exception to the prescriptive tenure of their American territories.
Such is the loss of Spain; let us now compute the profit of Britain. We have, by obtaming a disavowal of Buccarelli's expedition, and restitution of our settlement, maintained the honour of the crown, and the superiority of our influence. Beyond this what have we acquired? What, but a bleak and gloomy solitude, an island thrown aside from human use, stormy in winter, and barren in summer; an island which not the southern savages have dignified with habitation; where a garrison must be kept in a state that contemplates with envy the exiles of Siberia; of which the expense will be perpetual, and the use only occasional; and which, if fortune smile upon our labours, may become a nest of smugglers in peace, and in war the refuge of future Bucaniers. To all this the government has now given ample attestation, for the island has been since abandoned, and perhaps was kept only to quiet clamours, with an intention, not then wholly concealed, of quitting it in a short time.
This is the country of which we have now possession, and of which a numerous party pretends to wish that we had murdered thousands for the titular sovereignty. To charge any men with such madness, approaches to an accusation defeated by its own incredibility. As they have been long accumulating falsehoods, it is possible
to figure, and cipher to cipher, hoping for a new contract from a new armament, and computing the profits of a siege or tempest.
that they are now only adding another to the beap, and that they do not mean all that they profess. But of this faction what evil may not be credited? They have hitherto shown no vir- Those who suffer their minds to dwell on ue, and very little wit, beyond that mischievous these considerations will think it no great crime cunning for which it is held by Hale that chil-in the ministry that they have not snatched with dren may be hanged.
eagerness the first opportunity of rushing into the field, when they were able to obtain by quiet negotiation all the real good that victory could have brought us.
As war is the last of remedies, cuncta prius tentanda, all lawful expedients must be used to avoid it. As war is the extremity of evil, it is Surely the duty of those whose station intrusts Of victory indeed every nation is confident them with the care of nations, to avert it from before the sword is drawn; and this mutual their charge. There are diseases of animal na-confidence produces that wantonness of bloodture which nothing but amputation can remove; so there may, by the depravation of human passions, be sometimes a gangrene in collective life for which fire and the sword are the necessary remedies; but in what can skill or caution be better shown than preventing such dreadful operations, while there is yet room for gentler methods?
It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference the greater part of mankind see war commenced. Those that hear of it at a distance, or read of it in books, but have never presented its evils to their minds, consider it as little more than a splendid game, a proclamation, an army, a battle, and a triumph. Some indeed must perish in the most successful field, but they die upon the bed of honour, resign their lives amidst the joys of conquest, and, filled with England's glory, smile in death.
The life of a modern soldier is ill represented by heroic fiction. War has means of destruction more formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten thousands that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very small part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction; pale, torpid, spiritless, and helpless; gasping and groaning, unpitied among men, made obdurate by long continuance of hopeless misery; and were at last whelmed in pits, or heaved into the ocean, without notice and without remembrance. By incommodious encampments and unwholesome stations, where courage is useless, and terprise impracticable, fleets are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly melted away.
shed that has so often desolated the world. But it is evident, that of contradictory opinions one must be wrong; and the history of mankind does not want examples that may teach caution to the daring and moderation to the proud.
Let us not think our laurels blasted by condescending to inquire, whether we might not possibly grow rather less than greater by attack ing Spain? Whether we should have to contend with Spain alone, whatever has been promised by our patriots, may very reasonably be doubted. A war declared for the empty sound of an ancient title to a Magellanic rock, would raise the indignation of the earth against us. These encroachers on the waste of nature, says our ally the Russian, if they succeed in their first effort of usurpation, will make war upon us for a title to Kamschatscha. These universal settlers, says our ally the Dane, will in a short time settle upon Greenland, and a fleet will batter Copenhagen, till we are willing to confess that it always was their own.
In a quarrel like this, it is not possible that any power should favour us, and it is very likely that some would oppose us. The French, we are told, are otherwise employed: the contests between the king of France and his own subjects are sufficient to withhold him from supporting Spain. But who does not know that a foreign war has often put a stop to civil discords? It withdraws the attention of the public from domestic grievances, and affords opportunities of dismissing the turbulent and restless to distant en-employments. The Spaniards have always an argument of irresistible persuasion. If France will not support them against England they will strengthen England against France.
Thus is a people gradually exhausted, for the most part, with little effect. The wars of civilized nations make very slow changes in the system of empire. The public perceives scarcely any alteration but an increase of debt; and the few individuals who are benefited, are not supposed to have the clearest right to their advantages. If he that shared the danger enjoyed the profit, and after bleeding in the battle grew rich by the victory, he might show his gains without envy. But at the conclusion of a ten years' war, how are we recompensed for the death of multitudes and the expense of millions, but by contemplating the sudden glories of paymasters and agents, contractors and commissaries, whose equipages shine like meteors, and whose palaces rise like exhalations?
These are the men who, without virtue, labour, or hazard, are growing rich as their country is impoverished; they rejoice when obstinacy or ambition adds another year to slaughter and devastation; and laugh from their desks at bravery and science, while they are adding figure
But let us indulge a dream of idle speculation, and suppose that we are to engage with Spain, and with Spain alone; it is not even yet very cer. tain that much advantage will be gained.
Spain is not easily vulnerable; her kingdom, by the loss or cession of many fragments of dominion, is become solid and compact. Spaniards have, indeed, no fleet able to oppose us, but they will not endeavour actual opposi tion: they will shut themselves up in their own territories, and let us exhaust our seamen in a hopeless siege. They will give commissions to privateers of every nation, who will prey upon our merchants without possibility of reprisal If they think their Plate fleet in danger, they will forbid it to set sail, and live a while upon the credit of treasure which all Europe knows to be safe and which, if our obstinacy should continue till they can no longer be without it, will be conveyed to them with secrecy and security by our natural enemies the French, or by the Dutch, our natural allies.
But the whole continent of Spanish America will lie open to invasion; we shall have nothing to do but march into these wealthy regions, and make their present masters confess that they were always ours by ancient right. We shall throw brass and iron out of our houses, and nothing but silver will be seen among us.
All this is very desirable, but it is not certain that it can be easily attained. Large tracts of America were added by the last war to the British dominions; but, if the faction credit their own Apollo, they were conquered in Germany. They at best are only the barren parts of the continent, the refuse of the earlier adventurers, which the French, who came last, had taken only as better than nothing.
Against the Spanish dominions we have never hitherto been able to do much. A few privateers have grown rich at their expense, but no scheme of conquest has yet been successful. They are defended not by walls mounted with cannons which by cannons may be battered, but by the storms of the deep and the vapours of the land, by the flames of calenture and blasts of pestilence.
to exist; while they represented invasive ar mies as hovering in the clouds, and hostile fleets as emerging from the deeps, they obstructed our levies of seamen, and embarrassed our endeavours of defence. Of such men he thinks with unnecessary candour who does not believe them likely to have promoted the miscarriage which they desired, by intimidating our troops or betraying our counsels.
It is considered as an injury to the public by those sanguinary statesmen, that though the fleet has been refitted and manned, yet no hostilities have followed; and they who sat wishing for misery and slaughter are disappointed of their pleasure. But as peace is the end of war, it is the end likewise of preparations for war; and he may be justly hunted down as the enemy of mankind, that can choose to snatch by violence and bloodshed, what gentler means can equally obtain.
The ministry are reproached as not daring to provoke an enemy, lest ill success should discredit and displace them. I hope that they had better reasons; that they paid some regard to equity and humanity; and considered themselves as intrusted with the safety of their fellow subjects, and as the destroyers of all that should be superfluously slaughtered.
In the reign of Elizabeth, the favourite period of English greatness, no enterprises against America had any other consequence than that of extending English navigation. Here Caven-us suppose that their own safety had some indish perished after all his hazards; and here Drake and Hawkins, great as they were in knowledge and in fame, having promised honour to themselves and dominion to the country, sunk by desperation and misery in dishonourable graves.
During the protectorship of Cromwell, a time of which the patriotic tribes still more ardently desire the return, the Spanish dominions were again attempted; but here, and only here, the fortune of Cromwell made a pause. His forces were driven from Hispaniola, his hopes of possessing the West Indies vanished, and Jamaica was taken, only that the whole expedition might not grow ridiculous.
The attack of Carthagena is yet remembered, where the Spaniards from the ramparts saw their invaders destroyed by the hostility of the elements; poisoned by the air, and crippled by the dews; where every hour swept away battalions; and in the three days that passed between the descent and re-embarkation, half an army perished.
In the last war the Havanna was taken; at what expense is too well remembered. May my country be never cursed with such another Conquest!
These instances of miscarriage, and these arguments of difficulty, may perhaps abate the military ardour of the public. Upon the opponents of the government their operation will be different; they wish for war, but not for conquest; victory would defeat their purposes equally with peace, because prosperity would naturally continue the trust in those hands which had used it fortunately. The patriots gratified themselves with expectations that some sinistrous accident, or erroneous conduct, might diffuse discontent and inflame malignity. Their hope is malevolence, and their good is evil.
Of their zeal for their country we have already had a specimen. While they were terrifying the nation with doubts whether it was any longer
fluence on their conduct, they will not, however, sink to a level with their enemies. Though the motive might be selfish, the act was innocent. They who grow rich by administering physic, are not to be numbered with them that get money by dispensing poison. If they maintain power by harmlessness and peace, they must for ever be at a great distance from ruffians who would gain it by mischief and confusion. watch of a city may guard it for hire; but are well employed in protecting it from those who lie in wait to fire the streets, and rob the houses amidst the conflagration.
An unsuccessful war would undoubtedly have had the effect which the enemies of the ministry so earnestly desire; for who could have sustained the disgrace of folly ending in misfortune? But had wanton invasion undeservedly prospered, had Falkland's Island been yielded unconditionally with every right prior and posterior; though the rabble might have shouted, and the windows have blazed, yet those who know the value of life, and the uncertainty of public credit, would have murmured, perhaps unheard, at the increase of our debt and the loss of our people.
This thirst of blood, however the visible promoters of sedition may think it convenient to shrink from the accusation, is loudly avowed by Junius, the writer to whom his party owes much of its pride, and some of its popularity. Of Ju nius it cannot be said, as of Ulysses, that ho scatters ambiguous expressions among the vul gar; for he cries havoc without reserve, and endeavours to let slip the dogs of foreign or of civil war, ignorant whither they are going, and careless what may be their prey.
Junius has sometimes made his satire felt, but let not injudicious admiration mistake the venom of the shaft for the vigour of the bow. He has sometimes sported with lucky malice; but to him that knows his company, it is not hard to be sarcastic in a mask. While he walks like Jack the Giant-killer in a coat of darkness, he may