Page images

Comparisons are odious, and we will not say that none could vie with Pitt in clearness of intellect; but we are certain that no man can read attentively Mr. Pitt's speeches, or state-papers, whether in reference to the war, or any other public matters, without being struck with the remarkable precision of his ideas, the plainness and singleness of his pur


It is observed by Heeren, that England had not the supreme direction of this war, and that the great want was, a statesman and ge neral combined, as William III. or Marlbo rough, Unquestionably, a commander like one of these would have very materially af fected the operations of the confederacy, and would perhaps have enabled it to withstand the effects of the new system of internal go vernment, and the unsparing and reckless system of warfare which the French revolu tion introduced. Success, no doubt, might have tended to keep the confederacy togethpieces because the other members of it had not, like England, the one plain purpose of resisting France; they had jealousies of each other, and the most powerful of them had objects of aggrandizement in other parts of Europe. We shall not discuss the wisdom of the attempts which, with signal perseverance, Pitt made to excite and maintain the league against France. It is enough to note the magnitude of the exertion.

This precision is a much rarer quality than might be supposed. Certainly, the apparent defect is sometimes the result of artifice; but a hostile critic will find it difficult to detect in any speech of Mr. Pitt's a deficiency of clear-er; but it must be recollected, that it broke to ness, either natural or assumed. Errors he might commit;-blunders never.

Heeren takes a correct view of the origin of the Revolutionary war, which he shows to have been not only first declared by France, but to have arisen out of her perpetrated and threatened aggressions. We should be led too far away, if we were to examine the professor's doctrine of interference: he upholds that right, in respect of a neighboring government, which avows even principles manifestly dangerous to established constitutions. As England did not interfere with the government of France, she seeks no justification in this doctrine.*

The war of 1793 gave rise to many treaties of alliance and subsidy, but these were all for the purpose of co-operation in the war, and their stipulations were not intended to be permanent. Some of them were improvident in guaranteeing to the subsidized powers, Sardinia, for instance, the integrity of their territory at the termination of the war; an anticipation of success upon which no power is justified in acting.

It is remarkable that, when we entered into the war, we had, in union with Holland, a defensive alliance with Prussia; and yet, though Holland was attacked, we did not (so far as is known†) call upon Prussia for aid in virtue of this treaty. Whatever might be the reason of this omission, it seems to set forth the inefficiency of such alliances. Nor is it less worthy of remark, that Prussia, our particular friend, whom we had taken so much pains to cultivate, was the first of the powers coalesced against France that withdrew from the coalition.

[blocks in formation]

The native troops of England had a less important share in this war than in others of the century. Not only the revolutionary principle by which the immense armies of France were raised, but the numbers of the armies, and the rapidity of their movements, have rendered almost inoperative the comparatively small force which England can employ upon the continent. There are circumstances under which this force can effect great things; when, either from the interven. tion of the sea, the difficulty of provisioning an army, or of transporting the materiel of war, an overwhelming force cannot be brought to bear upon one point, and the cooperation of the navy can be made effectual. In the war of 1793, Egypt only, in the Eastern hemisphere afforded this occasion.

The glories of our naval and colonial campaigns were more memorable in this than in any former war; and yet, perhaps, they had less of effect upon the fortune of the war. The battle of the Nile, Heeren truly says, did produce a great moral effect; but the result, upon the continent, was a new but suc. cessless coalition. France made up her mind to disregard her colonies; and not to purchase them back by the sacrifice of her European objects; the capture of the enemies' colonies had therefore no good effect, except-(but in the sequel this became an exception of immense importance)—as it tended to the supremacy of our navy. So far as the independence of Europe was an object of of Amiens, we were virtually excluded from the war, we were unsuccessful. At the peace the continent.

It would be difficult, without deviating into


recent and party politics, to observe upon the political world, no unnatural condition can Heeren's opinion, that we ought to have last for ever; and if Napoleon had not hastenmade" some definitive arrangements in the ed the catastrophe by new deeds of violence, treaty, respecting the relations of the conti- it must, in some way or other, however tardi. ly, have come to pass at last. . . . England nent;" and especially to have insisted upon the prides herself, with justice, on being the evacuation of the Batavian republic by the only power that never bowed her neck French. Surely, this is equivalent to a de- during the whole course of that tempestclaration, that we ought to have continued the uous period. But England should not forget war until its fortune should be entirely that she is mainly indebted for this to her insular position. During that political storm which changed. Adroitness and firmness in nego. tries of the continent, she alone could insure tiation might possibly have made a difference periodically, as it were, desolated the counof an island more or less, but when the pow-to herself the internal tranquillity, without ers of the continent could not, or would not. which those peaceful arts, from which alone exert themselves, it was not in our power to she derives resources for her great exertions protect their interests or govern their relations. could not have been continued with such unHeeren is decidedly wrong in supposing exampled vigor, and prosperity." that the peace of Amiens, was not, on our After the restoration of the Bourbon, the part, intended to last there is no doubt of the sincerity of the administration by which influence of England on the continent revived, There is, perhaps, and she" became ranked as one of the five the peace was made. somewhat more of justice in the professor's leading powers, who determined the relation A of the European states-system." Not only remarks on the renewal of the war. great fault had been committed in signing because our author stops here, but because the definitive treaty before the arrangement we are desirous of avoiding party politics, we may be necessary respecting Malta had been completed; and shall not refer (more than the dispute to which the erior gave rise is in our summing up) to the way in which Engone of those in which neither party was ab- land has performed the new part thus asA considerable portion, insolutely in the right, or completely in the signed to her. wrong; but probably the difficulty might deed, of this period we have elsewhere rehave been surmounted if the hostile language viewed.* of Bonaparte had not convinced the English ministers that there could be no cordiality For our parts, we between the two states. own that we considered the peace of Amiens as an acknowledgement that we must give up, for a time, all concern in the continent; it was left, by our own avowal, in a most unsatisfactory state, and an instance of aggrandizement more or less, here and there, ought not to have induced us to renew the war. But these are by-gone matters.


Having now traced the history of our principal alliances with continental princes, we come to the conclusion that such few instances, we very engagements have, in might perhaps say in no instance, been productive of advantage to England. The guaranties which we have obtained, have not availed us in the time of need; those which we have given have produced embarrassment; neither have procured for us a true friend. A connection with one power, while it has obtained for us no useful assistance from him, has generally indisposed to us some other formidable prince. When at war, we have found those on our side whose interest has at the moment induced them to join us, with little or no reference to previous treaties, or even to the friendly relations which previously sub,

"England commenced this new contest in 1803, without an ally." True, and she concluded it by the most extensive combination of powers that Europe has witnessed! striking proof that, not the words of treaties, but the force of circumstances, unites states in a common cause, and produces a successful issue. In this war, our colonial as well as maritime successes had an important ef fect upon the issue. If they tempted NapoWe lay it down as a rule, to which we leon to "his continental system," they also can scarcely imagine an exception, that no made it intolerable. They largely contribut-alliance, even defensive, ought to be made, ed, with the disasters of the Russian cam still less any guaranty given, in time of peace, paign, and the glories of the Peninsular, to with the view of securing the friendship, or the final triumph of England and her allies.


* Vol. viii.

"Napoleon's continental system," says We use this word because we have passed over Heeren," which was to exclude the English from every port, had eventually the effect of various engagements of this nature, especially with re-opening them all to her. As in the physi- the northern and some of the smaller German cal," continues Heeren, expressing a senti- princes, which did not materially affect our his. ment on which we lay great stress," so in tory.

even averting the hostility, of the ally, in any unforeseen contingency.

and manners, and laws, are different, does not always produce an increase of power. And there are many chances of internal disunion, of new jealousies and collisions amongst the continental states, which diminish our danger. For that danger consists, not in the existence of the enemy's power, but in the probability of its injuring us. And be it remembered, that scarcely any com

Should it be objected that, if we connect ourselves with no one power, all will combine against us, we answer, that such combination is under any circumstances highly improbable; that it is more likely to be provoked by the interposition in the affairs of others which the supposed alliance would in all probability occasion; that no such combination of power that can be imagined has bination would hold together for a long time, and, if it were really to occur, we should have better opportunities of detaching its members by engagements made on the occasion; and lastly, that our friend is not the less likely to join such a confederacy, because he has previously allowed us to address him by that name.

not already occurred. Take, for instance, France and Spain; it is doubtful whether a "united kingdom of France and Spain" would be stronger than France and Spain united by the Bourbon compact. Would the unity of the government operate more largely in one way, than the division of the people in the other?

Between the system of speculative alli- 2. The case is somewhat different when ances, which we condemn, and that of an the acquisition is made by conquest, especientire unconcern in the affairs of other states, ally if it be the result of a wanton aggres there is a wide interval; to fill this, many sion; because then the love of right interquestions must be decided:-1st. Whether venes, and the maintenance of a character we are to interfere by good offices, mediation, for justice. But in order to maintain this and, in the last resort, by force, to prevent a character, we must interfere in all cases of disturbance of the balance of power, by the oppression; when we have a near interest in excessive augmentation of the power of any the oppressed state, we may boast of our one state? 2d. Whether we ought to inter- wisdom, but not of our goodness. Are we fere in defence of a weaker power against a prepared to make no difference between Holstronger? 3d. Whether we may not, never. land and Wallachia? And can we proclaim theless, take special charge of those states an intention to succor the oppressed, without whose locality, from their coasts being op- regard to the ower of the aggressor? Certainposite to ours, or any other cause, renders ly not. And what comes of our chivalry, if their occupation by an enemy peculiarly we permit the strongest powers to bully as dangerous or injurious to us? 4th. Whether much as they please? Recent cases are not we should interfere, by negotiation or force, wanting, in which we forbore to interfere, to prevent the occurrence of war between because either we felt unequal to the strugtwo or more countries? 5th. Whether we gle, or deemed it more onerous than profitashould interfere in like manner to preserve ble. We judged rightly; but it is best to or restore internal tranquillity in any foreign avow at once that it is by a calculation of country; to assist an oppressed people our interests, and of our ability to defend against tyranny, or a prince against rebels? them, that each question of interference will In discussing these questions, we premise, be decided. though it can scarcely be necessary, that we We have treated this question, and the admit the right and the necessity, not only of first also, as a question of interposition by resisting aggression and avenging insult, but force; because nothing tends more to lowof preventing an enemy who is preparing to er a state in public estimation, than a demand attack us, or who places himself in a threat- which it is not prepared to enforce by arms. ening posture. All this we now take for We would not exclude mediation and good granted nor shall we discuss the questions offices; but mediation should not be attempton the point of right. We confine ourselves ed, unless at the request of both parties. to policy, and to the policy of Insular Britain. Good offices and friendly suggestions may be 1. It is not easy to apply a summary rule usefully employed by a judicious and con. to this case. But the experience of the un- ciliating diplomatist, but the character of such calculated and strange changes and chances communications should be avcwed at once; of the last two centuries may reasonably the intention to use force ought not to be in. create a doubt, whether policy requires us to sinuated, unless it be really entertained. interfere by force to prevent any union of 3. Do we then carry our maxim of trustkingdoms, which may be brought about by ing to the chapter of accidents so far, as that the law of succession, or in any peaceful (to go at once to obvious instances) we would mode. Extension of empire, by the acquisi- not guarantee the integrity or independence of tion of new countries, in which the language, Holland or Portugal? would we not stipu

late for the independence or neutrality of the that sort of interference which we contemcountries through which they might respec. plate. Nor can we quit this matter of a tively be overrun, (as Holland through the neighbor's aggrandizement, without asking. Netherlands?) would we suffer those coun- those who are for a manful resistance to evetries to be occupied by one of the greater ry measure of power in another, whether powers? As one of the objections to they are prepared to admit the right of guaranties is that they are useless, we make France or Russia to make objections to our no exception in favor of Holland; and on naval force, to our colonial territory, to our the same ground we would reject any stipu- Indian empire? We know that sudden arlation professing to secure the neutrality of maments, unaccounted for by any obvious the Netherlands in any future war. A stip- danger, have often been the subject of reulation of this sort may be useful when a monstrance. We know of no case in war actually happens, and it may sometimes which they have been simply the cause of be wise to make it (as in 1733*) the condition war: but we are sure that it is not our inof our own neutrality. The expediency of terest to provoke or to justify by our examresisting by force an attack upon Holland by ple such remonstrance. And, although we a power with whom we are at peace, must make a distinction between Asia and Europe, depend upon the circumstances of the time. we cannot well expect others to observe it. Assuming that we have a perfect right, for 4. Ought we to interfere to prevent war our own security, to oppose the occupation between strangers? The affirmative may of that neighboring country by a third pow. be maintained, and not without reason, on er, and that our right against that third pow- the ground of humanity; or on the probar is quite independent of any previous treaty bility that a war, wherever begun, may finally with Holland, the policy of the interference involve us in hostilities. Assuredly, media. must be decided by the imminence of the tion or good offices may in such a case danger, and the probability of a successful be employed, under the limitations which we resistance, by our own strength and that of have prescribed. We doubt whether in any the enemy, by the disposition and strength of case compulsion ought to be used; assuredHolland, and of other powers engaged in the ly not in any case in which we are not cer war. If we confine our protection to a very tain of success. We can imagine a case in few points, and on those evince a determina- which a great power, or two combined, may tion to make it as effectual as possible, we be able to prevent hostilities between two may very likely avert the attack. But if smaller states, as the big boys sometimes this be our view, we must confine ourselves forbid a fight between two little ones at to those objects of real importance, and be school. But, if the result of this compul. rigidly neutral in every other part of the sory mediation is likely to be, as it often globe. It will also be questionable, wheth- will be, the transfer of the quarrel from the er our own security will not be as well pro- lesser to the greater powers, we shall not vided for by abstaining from interference al- even have humanity to boast of. together; and whether there is not too much 5. The same remarks will apply to the probability that we shall involve ourselves in case of internal divisions, with this importa general war, without accomplishing our ant addition, that in that case the probability particular object. Yet, seeing that, with all our care, we can hardly hope to avoid war for ever, admitting that an overweening love of peace may provoke insults and injuries, we are inclined to the opinion, that there are some points, (Holland probably would be one, but we now use it only as an example,) to which it may be politic to apply our protection, though required neither by sovereignty nor alliance.

A second branch of this question is involv ed in the term, interests. There are those who would resist by force the extension of the territory, or even of the influence, of another power, in a quarter at which it may possibly endanger or diminish our trade. From such we differ altogether. Nothing but actual, we may call it bodily, danger justifies even

[blocks in formation]

of an extension of hostilities is generally very much less. We say generally, because we have witnessed an exception of enormous importance. In such a case, interference is in self-defence, and perfectly justifiable and politic. In none other can we reconcile it either with right or policy.*

We are aware that, in recommending this rigid system of non-interference, we depart from the principles and practice of statesmen,

* As some of the observations which we have made in considering these five questions, may be said to bear upon questions now pending, as the Belgian, Turkish, and Spanish questions, we desire to remark that, as those questions are affected by treaties, some of them of old date, and as the Turkish question especially is one of many bearings, requiring a lengthened consideration, we do not now state the operation which our principles have upon those questions; still less, upon our relations with Russia.


ancient and modern, and from the practice, | scheme for the succession to every throne,
though not from the principles, avowed in the and intrigued in every court in Europe.
present day. But not the authority of Pitt
or Fox can destroy the conclusions to which
a perusal of history brings us. The great
duty of the government in respect of foreign
affairs is to secure the country against hos
tile aggression; this, we say, is not effected
by treaties. They neither deter one power
from attacking us, nor induce another to
assist us. An insular position delivers us
from the danger of a sudden attack upon the
mother country. We are more vulnerable
in our distant possessions, and in our milita
and commercial marine. A sudden at-
tack upon these would be equally treacher-
ous, whether we have a mere treaty of peace,
or the closest alliance with the attacking
state. The danger is in any case remote,
but in our minds it is nearer in proportion FROM the mode of inquiry into the earliest
to the multiplicity and complication of our existing histories of the human race to
connections with other powers, whereby which this Journal has lately endeavored to
points and chances of collision are augment- direct attention, we were naturally anxious
ed. The chance of an attack, either in the to avail ourselves of every opportunity for
shape of mere aggression, or (which is much enlarging the actual bounds of our knowl
more probable) on a sudden rupture of peace edge in that sphere; and the allusion in a
in Europe, is always such as to require us previous number to the promised publication
to keep our colonies in a state of defence; of the work before us renders us the more
and, for their protection, as well as that of careful to lay it before our readers. So much
our ships, we are bound to keep at sea a indeed has been written and conjectured res.
navy, proportioned to those of all other na-pecting Phoenician history, and the more
tions. No alliance makes it safe for us to material points of it seem so deeply veiled
do less than this.

ART. IX.-Sanchuniathon's Urgeschichte
der Phönizier in einem Auszuge aus der
wieder aufgefundenen Handschrift von
Philo's vollständiger Uebersetzung. Nebst
Bemerkungen von Fr. Wagenfeld.
einem Vorworte vom Dr. G. F. Grotefend,
Director des Lyceums zu Hannover.
Mit einem Facsimile. (Sanchoniatho's
early History of the Phoenicians, condens.
ed from the lately found manuscript of
Philo's complete translation of that work.
With Annotations by Fr. Wagenfeld, and
a Preface by Dr. G. F. Grotefend, with a
Facsimile.) Hanover, 1836.

[ocr errors]

England," says Heeren in conclusion, "is now marked as one of the five leading powers who determine the relation of the European state-system. She has connected herself with them without any surrender on her own part, and has, therefore. reserved to herself the power of stepping forward as a mediator whenever it may be necessary. . . . . Are we not justified in hoping, that she will become still more, in future, the mediating power?" She has lately mediated between two great powers, with an excellent result; let her reserve her mediatorial capacity for such occasions; let her avoid guaranties and alliances; let her maintain a respectable army and a powerful fleet; let her leave her neighbors alone, and resist promptly the slightest aggression; let her leave trade free: and, though friends may lament her loss of influence on the continent, and enemies boast of her exclusion, her character will stand higher in the world, her voice will be more respectfully heard, and her flag more honored, than when she exchanged guarantees with every state, had a

There is an appendix on the neutral questions, or which we hav no space now, but we shall probably have some opportunity of noticing it.

in oblivion that, few and simple as, in our private judgment, and those points must necessarily be, far fewer more simple indeed than is generally believed or even imagined; we were eagerly desirous of any. thing approaching to certainty or plausibility on this head.

We are bound to say that the publication in question has not in any shape answered our expectation, and that it contains nothing -so far as we can see-of sufficient importance to throw a light on the existence of contemporary nations. On the contrary, while supporting some, it agrees so little with other and more weighty of our impressions from the ancient writers, that it follows, if the work now put forth is genuine, the histori. ans on whom the learned world has been hitherto accustomed to rely must have been more inexact than we could have a right to suppose.

With these feelings we should be disposed to scrutinize severely the history itself, and the mode of its publication-and on this branch of the subject there is certainly some matter for suspicion. The work, as the reader will perceive, is not the Phoenician History itself of Philo-Byblius, but professes to be a summary of it only-a morsel to stay the eager appetite of learning till the full re

« PreviousContinue »