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THE
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE,

AND:

LITERARY MISCELLANY.

NOVEMBER 1819.

ON THE INFERENCES TO BE DRAWN turies of the previous history of the FROM THE EVENTS OF THE WAR. world, the information which it is

calculated to convey. Twe war has now ceased, and the On the most cursory view, there nation has had several years to consi- appear to be many particulars in der the interesting events which it which the opinion wbich is now & occasioned, and the extruordinary dopted by the public seems to be ercoinbination of circumstances to which roneous, and in which posterity, judgit gave rise. During the progress of ing from the events themselves, and that momentous struggle, and at a pe- not from the feelings with which riod when every year was marked by those events were accompanied, will new and unheard-of changes, both in probably come to a different determi. the political aspect of Europe and the nation. What we say of others in relative situation of the contending this respect may equally be said of parties, it was impossible to contem- ourselves; and, therefore, the opi. plate coolly the political lessons with pions which are now to be advanced which it was fraught, or the light will, of course, be judged of by the which it was fitted to throw on the same test as we apply to those of ocomparative wisdom of the statesmenthers, and acquiesced in only in so far by whoin it was at first either sup- as they may seem to be borne out-by ported or opposed. We, in common the facts, and to be devoid of the prewith all onr contemporaries, have judices and party-feelings of the peshared in the influence of these cir- riod to which they refer. .. , cumstances; and we are, perhaps, It seems to be pretty generally asstill too near the events which have suined by the adherents of Mr Pitt's occurred, and too much under the in- administration, and tacitly conceded fluence of the temporary feelings to by a great majority of his opponents, which they gave rise, to view in its that the successful and glorious tertrue light the memorable conflict in mination of the war with revolutionwhich this country has been engaged. ary France was a complete and tri

After a breathing time, however, of uinplant demonstration of the justice four years, during which our atten- of the views which first prompted that tion has not been distracted by any great statesman to undertake a con. very novelor interesting circuinstances, test with that kingdom at the com'it is proper that we should begin mencement of the Revolution. The *calmly and dispassionately to survey principles which first led him, it is the extraordinary events which have said, to form coalitions against its a. occurred in our recollection, and en- larming power, and to raise a crusade deavour to extract from that period, against its dangerous principles, were which is unquestionably filled with steadily adhered to during the whole more political instruction than cen- . subsequent conduct of the war, um

dismayed by misfortune, unsubdued to a period of such unparalleled poliby defeat, this system was pursued tical interest, they will be better able for twenty years, until at length the to judge of the conclusions to be drawn glorious accomplishment which he from the events by which it was disalways anticipated was brought about, tinguished. Judging from the facts and the struggle which he had com- which occurred, and not from the menced for the restoration of legiti- men by whom they were carried into macy, and the overthrow of revolu- effect, they will perceive, that, in the tionary principles, was terminated by progress of that memorable struggle, the destruction of the revolutionary other elements came into action bearmy, and the triumph of the legiti- sides those which were at first emmate Sovereign of France.

ployed, and principles were acted upIt is no wonder that this course of on on both sides utterly inconsistent events should have led Mr Pitt's ad- with those on which they at first proherents to conceive that they satisface ceeded. They will perceive that a totorily demonstrated the truth of the tal alteration in the character of the principles which they had maintain- war took place before Fortune changed, and that many, even of the most ed her side ; that the spirit of liberty respectable among the opposition, re- which at first protected the arms of collecting the vehemence with which France shielded her adversaries, when Mr Fox had always opposed the form- they, in their turn, were struggling ing of coalitions against France, should for political existence; that, like Hamhave admitted, that the successful is- let and Laertes, the combatants exsue of the last coalition was not re- changed weapons in the confusion of concileable with his doctrines, and the conflict; and that the rapier by - that it was to be ascribed rather to which the mortal thrust to one was at chance, or an extraordinary fatuity on last given was that which was first the part of Bonaparte, than to any po- used, and had been envenomed by litical principles which could be fore- himself. seen by human wisdom.

At the commencement of the ReWe have observed, accordingly, volution in France, the political senthat the subject of the war is one up- timents of all ranks were immediately on which the adherents of opposition, divided upon the course which this in general, are little disposed to enter, country should pursue in regard to it, and that the national trophies by -and it is no wonder that the opi

which its triumphs are to be com- nions of the wisest amongst us should * memorated meet with a very luke. have differed when so extraordinary warm support at their hands. Re- and portentous an event was going garding, however, as we do the suc- forward. On the one hand, it was cess of this war as the strongest of all urged that the proceedings of the peoconfirmations of the real whig princi- ple in that great and formidable counples, and the victories of Leipsic and try were not of a description to be Waterloo as the triumph of civil li- calmly regarded by the rest of Europe, berty, it does appear a little extraor- or by the friends of social order anydinary that this view should be en- where in the world ; that the lantertained by men of the acknowledg- guage which they used, and still more ed abilities and enlightened views by the atrocious and sanguinary conduct whom we have sometimes heard it which they had pursueil, marked, in maintained. We can hardly account the most unequivocal manner, that for the perversion of understanding by their determination was to carry war which the real import of these politi. to the palace and peace to the cottage cal events is misunderstood or overthrough all the civilized world ; that looked, or for the timidity with which every day they were acquiring new they shrink from a battery which it is energy, and spreading their seducin their power to seize, and turn with tive and poisonous principles farther such triumphant effect upon their ad- throughout their unhappy land ; and versaries.

that, not content with destroying their Posterity, it cannot be doubted, will own nobility, and massacring their see this matter in its true light, Ex- own sovereign, their emissaries were empt, as they necessarily will be, from already preparing similar tragedies in the passions, the jealousies, and the other states, and carrying the seeds of temporary feelings naturally incident revolution and anarchy through all the European monarchies. Such a re- strength would be wasted in intestine public, it was said, could never be at struggles, and its resources exhausted peace with the adjoining countries; by civil warfare, insomuch, that if, at its very principles are inconsistent with any future period, it might be comihe existence of kingly power or social bined under one military leader, it order in the rest of Europe ; and, if would, comparatively speaking, be they waited till it had consolidated little formidable; whereas, if it was its energies, and calmed its intestine attacked in the moment of unparalcommotions, all the force which they leled excitation, in which the popular could bring against it might be una- minc! then was, not only would all vailing to stem its destructive pro- civil dissensions be immediately healgress. Now, then, it was said, is the ed, but Europe had every thing to moment to interfere and crush the dread from the military power which monster in his cradle, before he has it would develope. Experience, it acquired the vigour and strength to was said, had shewn, that no nation which he is so fast approaching, and ever displayed such military resournot wait, like the infatuated Italians, ces, as when roused by a coalition of who behold the fiery torrent issuing foreign powers, in proof of which, it from the volcano, and never think of was noticed, that Austria never rose saving their property till they be so high as after she had defeated the hold their dwellings encircled by the coalition against Maria Theresa, nor flames.

Prussia, as when the Great Frederick As such a proceeding, it was added, baffled, with the resources of a small is clearly agreeable to the dictates of kingdom, the three greatest powers on expedience, so it is entirely in conson- the Continent. The military power ance with the plainest principles of of France always had been formidable justice. Admitting that a nation may; to Europe, even when the national in the general case, be allowed to re- zeal was least excited : what then gulate its own intestine affairs, and might be expected, if to that natural choose that form of government which proneness to military glory which they is best adapted to its peculiar habits; inherited from their ancestors, was yet this principle will not authorize superadded the extraordinary incitesuch unheard of atrocities as have been ment, which a foreign attack, pressing committed in France, and as the on the newly developed energies of a French people are avowedly preparing revolution, would produce ? Such for all who do not follow their frantic energies, though doubtless formidable example. In repressing such enormi- at all times, are rendered ten times so ties, all the civilized world have an when they are condensed by pressure obvious right to interfere ; upon the from foreign states, as the force of same principle on which, in private steam, which, when suffered to escape, matters, all the neighbours of one, is attended with no danger, becomes whose house is burning, are entitled altogether irresistible, when a presto combine, for their own sakes, and sure from without is applied. prevent the conflagration from arriy- Coalitions, it was admitted, might ing at such a height as may endanger be formed; but coalitions, formed by the surrounding buildings.

kings alone, unsupported by the poOn the other hand, it was urged pular feeling, will be wholly unable with equal confidence, that the course to withstand the energies of revoluwhich was thus recommended to ob- tionary France, guided by a single viate the evil, was the very one, of all government. The defeat of such forothers, best adapted to increase its ced and unwieldy alliances will augdanger. That although it might be ment the confidence of the enemy, as perfectly true, in the general case, that much as it will depress that of the republics were disposed for war, and allies. The only policy, therefore, that revolutionary France would soon- seemed to be, to let the enemy attack, er or later break loose upon the rest of and each nation trust to its own enerEurope; yet that it never could by gies for defence: and seek thus to such a proceeding acquire the energy, combat France by the same weapon or be consolidated into the united mass which she will otherwise use with irWhich would inevitably result from resistible effect in her defence. the combined attack of the European Nor, it was added, are the means powers: that, if left to itself, its by which it is proposed to coerce the

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power of France, at all the ones wliich but never to give to the enemy the ad, are most likely to attain the object in vantage of being the invaded power, view. The nuvy of England, indeed,' or to its people the inspiring sentia may destroy its trade, and the press' inent of national resistance. sure of internal taxation may swallow Such were the views which the dif. up its riches, but it is not from such ferent parties in this country enter, sources, that its means of carrying on tained of the policy of an aggression the war will be obtained. It was our on the French people. The war parserved by the great Frederick, that ty carried the great majority along the devastation of his provinces filled with them, and the natural ardour of his ranks, and enabled him to sup- our people for war, joined to their port the war. In like manner, unlike hereditary animosity against France, the ordinary European wars, in which rendered the measure generally acsuperior resources for prolonging the ceptable to the country. contest are likely, in the end, to prove In an eyil hour the allies forined victorious, the arinies of France will the project of lividing France, and increase with the devastation and ruin the hoisting of the Imperial flag Or of their country, just as the hordes the walls of Valenciennes, proclaimed who overthrew the Roman empire to the French nation, that all partics were swelled, and pushed forward, by must unite to save their country the famine which they had left in froin destruction. The consequences their native seats.

which followed are universally known, Equally impolitic is it to attempt That magnificent army of a hundred to prevent the spreading of the revo- and eighty thousand men, which lutionary principles, by the aggression the Emperor liad reviewed on the of foreign armies. Terrible, indeed, heights of Cateau, was broken up by as the progress of such principles have the division of interests in the coali. been, and much as it becoines every tion, and stubbornly resisted by the government to check then within enthusiastic energy of the French their own bounds, yet special care people. The separation of the Engshould be taken, lest, in the vain at- lish army to conduct the siege of tempt to put thein down, in the coun. Dunkirk, and the defeat of the allies try where they arose, they are clisseini, at Fleurus and Jemappe, demonstrated nated farther than the utmost efforts both the impossibility of so largé an of the democratical party could effect. alliance being maintained when ne If armies are brought up from dis- common danger was felt, and the intant morarelies to invade France, the adequacy of these standing armies to chances are, that, by coming in con- resist the energetic valour of the 'tact with such principles, they will be French troops, fighting in defence of infected by a contagion of which they the French soil. otherwise would have been ignorant; We will not fatigue our readers by and thus the poison will be spread dwelling on the painful history of the among the very persons to whom the reverses which the Allied arms expe. civilized world looks for the means of rienced, or the steady progress which arresting its progress; and the soves the French armies made. It may be reigns of Europe may have the same noticei, however, that all the disasters cause to lament their fatal precipi- which befel their anns during the tancy, which the Sultan of the East course of the war, were of such a had, who sent an army to extirpate kind as arose obviously from the the plague in a particular province, division of interest and jealousy of and had it universally spread through each other, which belongs to all his dominions, by i he soldiers wiro re forced coalitions. The brilliant susturned from the attempt.

"cesses of the Archduke Charles in · The true wisdoin, therefore, it was 1796, when he drove Marshal Jourconcluded, in contending with the dan from the frontiers of Suabia extraordinary political body that has to the Rhine, were wholly lost by usurped the place of a legitimate the weakness and treachery of the throne in France, is to guard sedu. Austrian and Russian commanders in lously against the dissemination of the Italy; and, on the other hand, the principles on which it has proceeded; glorious career of Marshal Suwarrow to arm the other European monarch- in 1799, graced by six complete vice jes, with a view to a powerful defence, tories, and the entire expulsion of the

French from Lombardy, was render the scene of foreign conquest, and ed fruitless by the criminal jealousy sought amidst the tumult of camps, of the Austrian cabinet, who let the and the plunder of provinces, a fit brave Russian army, which had done theatre for their cruel or rapacious such unparalleled service to the come dispositions. : The young and the ammon cause, perish in the St Gotharil, bitious of all ranks ropaired to the for want of that co-operation which standard of the republic, and amidst had been promised and relied on the ruin of all peaceful occupations, The battle of Hohenlinilen, and the found in the profession of arms both liumiliating peace which followed, the only means of subsistence which were the punishment of Austria for the situation of the country had left this base treachery of their valiant them, and the most brilliant prospects allies : and thus through the utter of advancement which imagination failure of all the coalitions which had could desire. Above all, talent of been formed against it, was the pow-' every description was extricated from e of France, extended over one half all classes of the state ; and, as in of Germany and all Italy, and the this country, we find that the loss of terror of the French arms spread over those at the head of affairs only makes the whole extent of the civilized way, in every department of life, for world.

thousands as able to fill their situaIt was in this tried superiority of tions as they themselves had been'; so the French arms, more than in the the losses of the French army, whes territory which they had gained, or ther in the ranks or among the officers, the fortresses which they had captur- were filled up by crowds ot' daring ed, that the magnitude of their suc- men, capable of fulfilling the duties cesses consisted. The Austrians, in which they had to perform, and consequence, uniformly went into bat- proud to enter on the path of ambitle in the conviction that they were to tion from which their predecessors be vanquisbed, and this feeling, of had been removed. course, brought about its own accom. To oppose this terrible power what plishment. The Italians ceased to was it that the Allies had to exhibit? make any resistance to a power which Armies vast, indeed, in numbers, and the military monarchies of Austria renowned in military discipline;-geand Russia had tried in vain to with- nerals established in faine, and tried stand. Even the English shared for iri the practice of former times ; ---mo a time in the general consternation, narchies grey in years, and celebrated and, forgetting the glorious days of in arms : but nono of the vigour, Cressy and Agincourt, trembled for none of the enthusiasm,- none of the m invasion from that power which determined perseverance which the had once yielded its capital to their cause of FREEDOM had given to the arms, and always bowed before the other side. When the contending hereditary prowess of their seamen. powers accordingly were drawn out in

In all these effects there was no- opposition to each other, the differ: thing that might not have been fairly ence in the resources on which they anticipated from the nature of the relied was soon conspicuous. The war which was carried on, and the discipline, the experience, and the character of the powers which were military skills of the Allies' at times engaged on either side. On the one procured them some advantages; but side was a vast monarchy, containing these were speedily counterbalanced thirty millions of men, in which all by the superior energy and more prothe powers of the human mind, and lific source of talent with which their all the energies of virtue and of vice, enemies were supplied : and when at were called forth from the slumber of length, in the progress of the contest, tenturies, by the most powerful mo- the Revolutionary armpies became ex: tives which can rouse the human perienced in the art of war, their and mind. The brave and the virtuous tagonists were no longer able to conjoined the armies to defend their na, teid with the powers which they de tive land, and to drive from her fron- veloped. tiers those hostile bands who threats · So far, then, the event of the war ened to divide her soil and extinguish was strictly agreeable to the predica the ancient glories of her name. The tions of the friends of liberty in this wicked and the turbulent hastened to country, and demonstrated beyond

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