« AnteriorContinuar »
enabled, by means of the numerous papers presented to parliament during the last session, to place in a clear and intelligible light, several transactions of the period of which he treats, which, till these papers had appeared, were involved in comparative obscurity. He alludes, in particular, to the origin of the war between Russia and the Porte ; to the expedition of Lord St. Vincent to Portugal; and to the nature and grounds of our differences with the United States of America. He also flatters himself that his account of our domestic history will be found more than usually full as well as impartial,
Side of Europe at the Commencement of 1806.- Consequences of the Battle of Trafalgar.--dnimosity of Bonaparte against England. - trobability of Irresion.- Effects of the disastrous Coalition of 1805.- Ministry of Eng. Laval. --Meeting of Parliament.--Speech from the Throne.--Iddress. incndment read, but noi moted --Lasi Illness and Death of Mr. Pitt. Remarks on some parts of his Character.- Honours rendered to his Memory.
THE situation of Europe at the tablished the naval superiority of
1 commencement of 1806 was England, and crowned all her formenampled in history. Two rivalmer victories on the ocean. The tations had acquired, not merely a accumulated fruits of four years decided preponderance, but an ab. persevering labour and painful in. whate and uncontrouled dominion, dustry, on the part of France and de one orer the seas, the other over her dependencies, to form aud coke the land. If the battle of Aester. Ject a navy, fit to cope with the
tad conSrmed the military supe- maritime forces of England, bad mority of France over other nas been swept away and aonibilated ons, aod left her withont a rival in a single action. The importance
the ccotinent, the victory of of such a victory, at such a crisis, Trafalgar had no less decisively es. to England, cannot be easily exage Vol. XLVII.
gerated or over-rated. For, it was tius addressed these lines to the most not merely that the high-formed pacific of her monarchs : expectations of France from her newly repaired marine, in which
--Quæ meta Britannis, she had so weakly indulged and Littora sunt aliis; regnique accessio prematurely exulted at the begin. tanta est, ning of the campaign, were thus Quod ventis velisque patet-abruptly and thoroughly frustrated; or, that her projects of invading the There was no country which Eng. British islands, under the protection land could not visit with her fleets, of a powerful fleet, were again de to conciliate its friendship, or take feated: nor was it even that the vengeance for its enmity; and, most splendid victory had, on this what was of more importance to occasion, been won by England, her true interest and permanent that was ever gained at sea ; or, good, there was no independent that the greatest number of vessels, state, out of the reach of France, of first-rate magnitude, had, in this which she might not hope, by a action been taken and destroyed, wise and enlightened policy, to at. that ever rewarded a conqueror in tach stedfastly to her party. For, in any naval combat. But, the great whatever petty jealousies and temand incalculable advantage to Eng. porary grounds of discontent might land, was the universal conviction occur, to embroil her with other arising from this victory, that, in the nations, it was her permanent in. skill, bravery and discipline of her terest, that the blessings of peace naval forces, she was so incompara, and civilization should extend to bly superior to her enemies, that every corner of the earth. No all their future efforts to contend country, independent of her enemy, with her for the empire of the seas, could prosper, without England must be as unavailing as their past partaking in its prosperity: no endeavours had been fruitless. It country could increase in wealth or was now clear, that, if the contest population, without finding by ex. for pre-eminence between the rival perience, that the ties connecting it nations were to be decided solely with England, were drawn closer on the ocean, England had no- by its own progress and improvething to fear from the conflict. ment. While the dominion of It was now manifest, that if Eng. France was founded on military land could not be invaded, without force and usurpation, and her power her enemics obtaining a temporary was chiefly felt by her neighbours, superiority, at least, at sea, the pen in the acts of rapine and oppression, riod of her invasion was still dis. of which they were victims, the eleratant. If the trident of Neptune be tion of England was owing to a long really the sceptre of the world, En. and successful cultivation of the arts gland was now its undoubted inis. of peace and industry, and could not tress. The maritime trade of all be maintained an instant longer nations was at her mercy, and sub, than she persevered in the paths in ject in many respects to her con- which she had risen to greatness. The trol. It might now be said of her only tribute she could exact from with greater truth, than when Gro. other nations, was the price which
they willingly paid to her for re- tuated by every motive of policy, hieving their necessities and grati. ambition, and resentment, to purfying their wants: merchants, not sue her utter ruin and destruction: armies, were the collectors of her England was the only power that foreiga revenue: barter, not con- had ever set bounds to his ambition, quest, was her means of drawing to or maintained with him a successful herself the riches of the world: contest. She had defeated, in a and so fortunate for the general foriner war, his most favourite en. zood of human society was the pe. terprize, and had rejected with caliarity of her situation, that it scorn and contempt, the otters of was impossible for her to increase peace, which, in the first overflowher own wealth and resources, with. ings of unlooked for success, he had out communicating to other nations, addressed to her sovereign. During a portion of that spirit of industry the short interval of peace that suc#bich animated her people.
ceeded to the revolutionary war, Bat, great and splendid as were his pride had been shocked by the the present circumstances, and fair as coldness with which she met his adwere is some respects the future pros. vances, and his vanity had been morpects of England, her situation, on tified and provoked, by the incesthe whole, was, at this period, full sant libels against his person and of danger and alarm. She had em. government, that issued from her barked in hostilities with a most press. After a short and unsatis. formidable adversary, and had ha- factory experiment of peace, he had zarded a most unequal and dispro. been disturbed by her interference, portionate stake in the contest. The while employed in new modelling greatest injury which she could in. his empire; in pursuing plans of fict on her enemy, was the destruc. coomercial and colonial aggrandisetion of his commerce, and the sub. ment; and perhaps in meditating fu. jugation of his colonies-objects ture schemes of aggression against which she had already almost ac- the peace and liberties of mankind : complished. She might also, if she and, without any adequate cause or Tere inclined, retard by her in. provocation, he had been compelled trigues, the peaceful settlement of by her, to make his choice between his domestic affairs, and prolong, renewing the war, to'which he was for a few years more, the reign of most averse, or renouncing, pubmilitary government in his domi. licly, in presence of France and of Dions. But she was unable to make Europe, that which was known to any serious impression on his terri. have been the favourite object of his tories, or to weaken in the least the ambition, and the point he had been solid foundations of his power. While most anxious to secure by the the utmost exertions of her hostility treaty of peace, which he had so re: were limited to such paltry, ineffec. cently signed. Since the renewal tual warfare, the blow she was ex- of hostilities it was to the machina. posed to in return was of a most tions of England, he bclieved, that deadly nature. It was not her he was to attribute a dangerous power and pre-eminence only, but conspiracy within his dominions, her esistence, that was threatened which had threatened the existence with danger : and this mcoace pro. of his government, and endangered ceeded from an enemy, who was ac- B 2
the safety of his person: and there fected to give at this time to all bis could be no doubt, that it was to plans and operations, would seem her enmity, he was chiefly indebted to countenance such a conjecture.
for the late confederacy against him, He may possibly have under-rated · which, with such good fortune and the difficulties of invasion, and sedistinguished ability, he had de riously intended at first to carry his feated and put down. England menaces into effect. But, if his obonce subdued, he might plausibly ject in these measures was to obtain argue, he would be the sole and un. peace by intimidation, never was his disputed master of the universe : sagacity more in faolt. The English but, while England retained her in. were exasperated, not intimidated dependence, her maritime superio. by his threats, and the litile contirity, and her inveteracy against him, dence, which they reposed at that he must expect to be thwarted in all time in the vigour of their own gohis commercial and colonial views, vernment, served only to call forth, confined to the continent of Europe, in brighter colours, their zeal and and compelled, for safety, to sur. ardour in defence of their country. round his throne with an armed It would neither be consonant to force, iustead of emerging, as he de- reason to believe, nor agreeable to sired, from the precarious and in. truth to assert, that it was patrio.
certain condition of a military chief, tism alone, which filled the ranks · to be the head of a regular govern- of the volunteers. Exemption
ment, and the founder of a dynasty from more dangerous and more disof kings.
agreeable service contributed, no That Bonaparte, after the re- doubt, to swell the numbers of these newal of hostilities, was animated citizen soldiers. But, it cannot be by the most implacable hatred denied, that the spirit which the against England, and that he thence- English nation manifested on this forward considered her govern. occasion, shewed at once their be. ment, as the eternal enemy of his lief in the sincerity of Bonaparte's peace and repose, cannot well be threats, and proved how far he had doubted; but why he chose to be been mistaken in supposing, that gin the war with such ostentatious their minds were enervated by threats of invasion, such insolent luxury, or their military ardour denunciations of vengeance, is a extinguished by commerce. point not easy to decide. It may But, though the body of the En. have been merely to give vent to his glish people were thoroughly per. own spleen, or to spirit up his peo. suaded, that. Bonaparte meant ple to a new war, that he used such specdily to invade them, and waited impolitic, such unbecoming lan. only for a favourable opportunity guage towards his enemy. He to embark his forces; and, though may have acted from a deeper, there were men of talents and con. though' mistaken caleulation, and sideration in the country, who besupposed, that if he could terrify lieved, or affected to believe, that the English nation with the sound such was his intention; those who of his preparations, their 'govero- had considered well his character, ment would yield to his terms; and, when they reflected on the difficul. indeed, the publicity which he af. ties and uncertainty of the attempt,