ページの画像
PDF

the interests and feelings of so large a mass of the human race, could not be done with impunity.” How has this glowing picture faded ? With four times the population we then had, and a much larger increase of strength and resources, we no longer deserve his eulogium. It has not heretofore been exacted of political writers to treat with any ceremonious respect those whose inability or depravity is, in their opinion, sinking the state. While the attack avoids every point of private character or misfortune; every weapon of personal and malevolent abuse, the whole fublick onam has ever been thought to be a fair object of assault, with all the energy which talent, without malignity, can give; and all the powers of persuasion, which genius can supply. The examples of ancient, as well as modern days, amply justify the war, and, when the motive is pure, it is a solemn duty. The warning prophets of a people have ever been permitted to discharge their high functions in tones of authority; in the language of truth. Junius, at least a flofular writer, especially among fierce republicans, whatever his other merits may be, has not thought an attention to the courtesy of his phrases necessary to the propriety of his demeanour, or the proof of his patriotism. Surely the friends of the existing powers will not dare to complain of harshness or disrespect, when they recollect by what torrents of the grossest and most vile, calumnies, they overwhelmed the principles and policy of the Washington administration. I repeat, that it is not expected that the leaders of the party, whose administration is condemned, will have any fond affection for a work which exposes its weakness, and points to the awful results that wait lupon its measures. But it is hoped that many, very many, who follow the predominant sect under an honest, belief of its wisdom and virtues,

will not avert their eyes from the

age which examines, with a master-spirit, the truth of its pretensions. If their condemnation be rash or unjust, the reader will have his faith strengthened by the investigation; his friends will become more firm in his affection by passing the ordeal, and his confidence in them be more rational and satisfactory. But if from a condensed view and fair analysis of undoubted facts, and a clear exposition of their causes and consequences, he shall find he has trusted too far and too blindly; he will be thankful for his deliverance from so dangerous a delusion, and use all his power to dispel it from others. Converts, assuredly, will not be made from those who feed and fatten on publick employment, and exist by keeping “ things as they are;” who have an interest directly opposite to that of the nation: But surely those who supply the treasure, may inquire whether it be honestly and beneficially distributed; whether those who are paid for their services are really useful; whether those who have been honoured and exalted for their virtue and wisdom, are really virtuous and wise. Let it always be kept in mind too, that it is the official, folitical conduct of the administration, that is the object of Mr. W’s animadversions, and not the fiersons who compose it. Mr. Madison appears no where but as president of the United States; and the members of his cabinet are treated with the same decorum. Has not then this work a commanding claim to the attention and patronage of every American, who has the will, the ability, and the courage, to look into the conduct of his rulers, to judge for himself of their wisdom and capacity, and to anticipate by sound reasoning, and fair deductions, the probable consequences of their mea. sures. If such inquiries are to be stifled by power, or withered with coldness, we may, indeed, conclude, with dean Swift, “ that it is safer for a man’s interest to blas. pheme God, than to be of a party out of power, or even to be thought so.” It is hoped that these general remarks upon the spirit and character

of the American Review, will have.

so much influence in removing the charge of anti-Americanism, as to induce those who have entertained this prejudice, at least, to read and judge for themselves. Whatever latitude there may have been for conjecture about the character of this journal before its publication, such anticipations must now be at an end. It is before the publick to answer for itself; and is, undoubtedly, its own best defender. Calumny will be refuted, and cautious doubt removed more effectually by perusing its pages, than by any panegyrick. A short notice of the articles contained in the first number, shall conclude my observations. This number commences with An Inquiry into the past and present Relations of France and the United States. We venture to pronounce this one of the most lucid, elegant, and argumentative political articles ever published. The facts are stated with so much candour, supported by such evidence, and grouped with so much propriety and judgment, that they present to the mind, at one view, and with the irresistable conviction of truth, the various occurrences which have taken place between the two countries for several years past. When the author reasons from his facts, his powers of combination, analysis, deduction, and carry conviction to the understanding, and admiration to the heart. The man who doubts after he has read, must be incorrigible in obstinacy or dullness. The great object of this article is to demonstrate from publick documents and unquestioned facts, that Napoleon, the mammoth devourer of nations, is bcnt upon our destruction in com

mon with the rest of the world, or as auxiliary to the downfall of Great Britain—that he hates us, either as a fart of the human shecies, against which he wages a war of extermination, or because we are a commercial people. Those nations which deserve to live and thrive by the arts of peace are the natural objects of hate to one which exists by rapine and bloodshed; that avows itself a military power, and confessedly puts all its hopes upon conquest. The writer solemnly warns us, that Bonaparte has hitherto sought our ruin by plundering and oppressive decrees; by the most provoking arrogance and insult; and by profound and artful efforts to excite a quarrel between Great Britain and the United States. Having failed in the full accomplishment of his wishes, by these means, he has changed his plan of hostility, and now strives by hypocritical caresses; by false professions of affection, to draw us to his embrace, and involve us in war with Great Britain, which he well. knows will sink us into calamities, he cannot in any other way inflict. We have in this article a masterly exposition of the principles and policy, as well as of the practical effects of the French decrees; and so clear a view is given of the designs of the emperour upon this country, and of our “past and present relations” with France; that the American who will not read, is a traitor to himself. Let the man who doubts Mr. W’s Americanism, turn to these pages; let him observe the knowledge displayed there of our best interests, the anxious solicitude for their preservation, the ardent love of country, the rational respect for the American people, their character, power, and resources, and his doubts must give way to admiration and affection for such a defender of our rights. In the true spirit of honest impartiality, Mr. W. applies his powers to the British orders in council,

which he pronounces, “in the highest degree, ill-timed, impolitick, and unjust.” Indeed, he considers the British as the dupes of France in this business. The following is an elegant and grateful tribute to our revolutionary worthies:—“We hold in the highest veneration, the memories of those who swayed the councils, and fought the battles of this country, in the war of our independence. There was a loftiness of spirit about them, as well as energy of deliberation and of action, which never can be too much admired or too warmly applauded. Their’s were Italian History of the war of the Independence of the United States —notice of an Historical Essay on the temporal power of the Popes— Kotzebue's ancient history of Prussia—and notices of a number of interesting foreign publications. We may safely aver, that in extent, interest, variety, and excellence of matter, this journal need affect no diffidence in claiming a rank with any similar production abroad. To the whole is added, as an appendix, a copious and valuable selection of state papers. Whether a work, at once so honourable and so useful to our country, shall continue, must depend upon the patronage it shall receive; the patronage, not only of those who read, but of those, also, who can write. It is idle to imagine, that the labour of any individual can, alone, sustain for any great length of time, the weight of such a work; and men, who have either pride or interest in the character and concerns of the

“Virtues that shine the light of human kind,

* And, rayed through story, warm remotest time.”

I shall not be pardoned by those who may read these remarks, for having so much extended them as to preclude me from introducing copious extracts from the work, I would recommend to attention. In truth, it cannot be fairly judged of by parts. It is only by a view of the whole that its symmetry, its elegance, and strength, can be seen. The firm statement of facts; the lucid arrangement of the proofs; and the logical precision of the deductions, must be all taken together, before their excellence can be comprehended. I will, however, indulge in one further extract, as being particularly applicable to my purpose.

“We cannot conclude,” says Mr. W. “ this article, to which the importance of the subject has induced us to give an extension not contemplated by our general plan, without repelling an accusation which will, in all likelihood, be preferred against us. We expect to be called the blind apologists of Great Britain, and the zealots of a party. These epithets we disclaim, because we know that in denouncing the views of France, and in reprobating the measures of our administration, we have but one object;-and that is, the good of this country—to the institutions of which we are as ardently attached as any of those who may think fit to asperse our motives, We bear no enmity or malice

to the men in power; but we will protest against their ability to manage the affairs of this nation, and must express our fears for her safety and publish our warnings,

* While such as these * Presume to lay their hands upon the ark “Of her magnificent and awful cause.”

“Great Britain, we know, has heretofore often abused her power in her relations with the United States, and may, hereafter, abuse it. At any other time, we should be as vehement in our opposition to her, and as indignant at her injustice as the most clamorous of her revilers are now. But we are overpowered by the sense of evils impending from another quarter more formidable and pressing than any which she is either able or disposed to inflict upon us.”

The miscellaneous department of the American Review is filled with materials prepared and chosen with the finest judgment and taste. The Letters on France and England, the productions of Mr. W’s fertile pen, hold a foremost place; and for interesting matter and spirited description, are not surpassed in the same line of composition. A Sketch of Palestine, translated by the editor, from Mr. de Chateaubriand, is full of the characteristick eloquence and vivacity of the Frenchman; and takes us to scenes that touch the scholar’s heart. Sympathies and associations rush upon us “pleasant but mournful to the soul.” The account of the first night passed in Athens, is uncommonly vivid and beautiful. It forced upon my recollection the fine lines in Dyer’s “Ruins in Rome.”

[blocks in formation]

United States, are bound by potent obligations to give their utmost aid to an undertaking which has commenced its career so brilliantly, and given such pledges for repaying, four fold, all they can do for it.

I address myself to no party, as a distinction arising from domestick dissensions, but to the AMERICAN PARTY, as regards our great national interests and policy, in relation to foreign powers, about which we should be wholly and indivisibly united. To that fiarty, to Americans, as distinguished from foreign intruders, the doctrines of this journal cannot be offensive or unacceptable. They are truly and ardently American; and whatever preference Mr. W. gives to Great Britain in relation to her conflict with the “homicide despotism,” he gives her none over his own country; on the contrary, he grounds his preference very much on the belief that our safety waits on her success.

FROM THE MONTHLY REVIEW.

A second Journey in Spain, in the Spring of 1809; from Lisbon, through the Western Skirts of the Sierra Morena, to Sevilla, Cordova, Granada, Malaga and Gibraltar; and thence to Tetuan and Tangiers. With plates, containing 24 figures, illustrative of the Costume and Manners of the Inhabitants of several of the Spanish Provinces. By Robert Semple, author of Observations in a Journey through Spain and Italy to Naples, and thence to Smyrna and Constantinople, in 1805; also of Walks and Sketches at the Cape of Good Hope; and of Charles Ellis. Crown 8vo, pp. 304.

8s boards. London.

THE present is the third time that Mr. Semple has come under our jurisdiction in the capacity of a traveller; the first occasion having been, as a describer of the Cape, and the next as a tourist in Spain. The interest excited in the publick mind by the situation of that country induced him, during the last year, to resume his travels; and he has lost no time in bringing before His readers the fruit of his research

es. In our former criticisms, we took occasion to censure his inelegancies and inaccuracies of style, while we paid a tribute of commendation to the fidelity of his descriptions. These impressions have been recalled to our recollection by the perusal of the work before us. It possesses an equal degree of merit with its predecessors, in regard to candour of delineation; and it continues to betray the traces of the same false

[blocks in formation]

After a tedious passage of nearly a month, Mr. Semple arrived at Lisbon, in the packet from Falmouth, on the 29th January, 1809. He found that capital in alarm at the recent successes of the French over the Spaniards, and the spirit of the people depressed by the retreat of general Moore. The government paper was at a depreciation of 30 per cent. the eagerness to transfer property to England caused a high premium on bills. And so impatient were our countrymen in Lisbon to return, that nine places for the home passage were engaged before Mr. Semple left the packet to step on shore. The appeals of government, however, roused the Portuguese to the appearance, at least, of resistance; and the squares and streets were lined with motley groups of volunteers. After having descanted on the inefficacy of such a force for the defence of a country against regular troops, Mr. Semple proceeds to give a distressing example of the disorders which men, who had been long subjected to bad government, and were armed on a sudden, are liable to commit.

“The mob of Lisbon was armed, and determined to show that it was so. Every night, at least one Frenchman, or one suspected to be so, was discovered and dragged to prison, where, generally, his dead body alone arrived. I myself was witness to an Englishman being murdered in this manner, and strove in vain to save his life. An Englishman!, you exclaim. Yes, reader, an Englishman. It was on a Sunday evening, and I was proceeding up the principal street, when, having advanced a little beyond the headquarters of the English general, I heard the shoutings of a great mob. They drew nearer, and I presently found myself in

WOL. W. 2 F

veloped in a furious crowd, dragging along a poor wretch in the English dress; his countenance disfigured with blood, and hardly able to stagger along from the blows which he had received. I demanded his crime. They told me he was a Frenchman: but an English officer, who was in the crowd, exclaimed, that it was his servant, and endeavoured to reason with some who appeared as leaders of the mob. At this intelligence I made my utmost efforts to get near the unfortunate man, and just arrived in time to seize, with both my hands, a pike, which some brave Portuguese from behind was endeavouring to thrust into his back. I called out to the officer to assist me. He replied, it was the positive order of the general that in all such cases no Englishman should interfere, and advised me to take care of my own life. I was in the midst of pikes, swords, and daggers, which seemed to be thrust about in all directions, as if through madness or intoxication. In spite of all my struggles, I was thrown down and nearly trampled upon by the mob; and at length, with difficulty escaped from amongst them. Next morning I was informed that the poor wretch had been murdered in the course of the night. And this passed within one hundred yards of the English head-quarters'

... “Because they were armed, and the enemy was not at their gates, the Portuguese already began to utter rhodomontades. Every man finding a weapon in his hands, perhaps for the first time, performed with it a thousand deeds of heroism. But not merely what they were going to do, what they had already done against the common enemies of Europe, was the topick of their discourses. They had gained, in conjunction with their English allies, the battle of Vimeira. It was a Portuguese soldier who made general Brenier prisoner, and they had beaten the French at Oporto. Lest there should be any doubt of these facts, an engraving of the battle of Vimeira, to be found in every shop, represented the dreadful Portuguese dragoons charging the enemy, and bearing away, at least, one half of the palm of victory “The English have supported a regency odious to the people, and have lost more by that, and the convention of Cintra, than they gained at Vimeira. The French are attacking, in all directions, old and corrupted establishments, ready to fall by their own weight. We fly to prop them up with the whole of England’s strength. The natural consequence is, that the people of most countries execrate the

« 前へ次へ »