« PreviousContinue »
wars of ambition. French armies have often carried their victorious arms over various countries of Europe. In the days of Louis the XIV. and Napoleon, we have seen her victories spread far and wide. Napoleon, the ablest general the world has seen, brought most of Europe and Egypt under the sceptre of France, and her dominion surpassed that of Rome in the plenitude of her power. This reign of the sword was soon termimated by the sword. France was trodden down by the allied armies, as she had invaded other countries, and she was coerced to pay in heavy ransom and severe exaction for her pillage of other nations, such indemnities in gold, as her victorious enemies prescribed. She lost all her trophies of conquest, all her conquered territory, and had a Bourbon tyrant and traitor forced upon the throne of France, which he had justly forfeited. Napoleon, the fallen Napoleon, threw himself upon the generosity of England, and, by order of the Allies, he was imprisoned on the lonely St. Helena, a blasted monument of ambition and Divine retribution. In this imprisonment he experienced the benefit of his like treatment of Touissainte, the St. Domingo chief. A great poet has appropriately said of the fall of Napoleon:
“Thanks for that lesson—it will teach
After many and victorious wars, during the last three centuries, France lost the wealth and dominion her triumphant arms had gained for her. The sweep of French armies over Austria, Prussia and Russia, is considered by the British historian Alison, as a natural and necessary consequence of the unprincipled partition of Poland by those Powers. , He explains the manner in which this destruction of Poland unbarred the gates of Germany and gave up Prussia, Austria, and Russia, to the armies of Napoleon, to pillage, to conscription, to deep national humiliation and suffering. He justly ascribes to the moral laws of our being, these national punishménts, and considers them as the natural and necessary effect of national sins. Such indeed must we consider the conquest, the pillage, and the abasement of those Powers, the conflagration of Moscow, and the destruction of Russian armies by the sword, and of the French by the frost. All are monuments of Divine justice, and of self-inflicted punishments for national offences.
These events, and the fall of Napoleon and France by the sword of the Allied armies, induced by French invasions and conquests, prove our position that violence begets violence and that what the sword gives, the sword takes away. Rogers has described and recorded the retributive justice of Providence, in the imprisonment of Napoleon on St. Helena till death, the fate imposed by him on Toussainte in the Jura mountains. Speaking of this, the poet well said, “Ah! little did he think who sent him there, That he himself, then greatest among men, Should in like manner be so soon convey’d Across the ocean—to a rock so small, Amid the countless multitude of waves, That ships have gone and sought it, and return’d Saying it was not.” Spain and Spanish America present also a striking example of the retributive justice of the moral laws impressed upon the human soul. Spanish chivalry and bigotry waged a war of extermination against the Moors, and they were either cruelly butchered, or expelled from the country they had for centuries occupied and beautified, and forcibly deprived of their property and possessions. The emperor Charles the Fifth of Germany, king of Spain, of the Indies, of the Netherlands, and of other regions, in the sixteenth century employed his vast power to roll back the Reformation, and to stop the progress of freedom, religious and civil. His wars for this purpose and those of ambition, filled Europe and America with desolation. His sword, for a time checked the advance of the Reformation, but the resistless power of freedom swept over his barriers, and moved the world onward in Christianity and civilization. His effort was as impotent as that of the emperors of pagan Rome to arrest Christianity, in its diffusion and developement. It is worthy of remark, that the addition of Mexico, and large possessions in America, was made to Spain by wicked wars, during the reign of Charles the Fifth. All the vast American continental territories of Spain, the Netherlands, and other subject countries, have passed from her, and she is poor indeed. Nothing now remains as a trophy of the wars of this great monarch. What an illustration of the folly of war! When Columbus opened to Spain the western world, she poured her brave and bigoted people upon the new world. Their bloody conquests of Mexico and Peru under Cortez and Pizarro, have affixed the seal of infamy on those brutal murderers called conquerors. The effect of this cruelty, at home and abroad, was to familiarize the Spaniard with the shedding of blood, and to render him indifferent to the slaughter of his kindred.
Hence the bloody scenes which Spain and Spanish America have exhibited for the last three hundred years. The royal feuds, the civil wars, and the Spanish American rebellion, prompted Napoleon to attempt the conquest of Spain, and his sword severed Spanish America forever from the mother country. The mode in which a cruel disposition punishes a nation, we can trace in Spanish history, even to our day. In our own time, continual revolutions, with fearful and savage slaughters, have been witnessed: Spaniard killing Spaniard in cold blood, by order of governors and commanders. The gold and silver of the American colonies, wrung from them at a cost of so much blood, have rusted in her coffers. They have neither enriched nor blessed her, but like the guilty treasures of Rome, they curse the plunderer. Spain, which in the days of Moorish power, was filled with the fruits of industry and the elegancies of art, rich and populous, is now poor, miserable, half depopulated, torn by bloody civil wars, oppressed, and devoured by the priestly agents of Rome. That once noble, great, and powerful people, have sinned against the unchangeable laws of our nature, enjoining peace, equity, and mercy; and they are now suffering the just and inevitable penalty. The Holy Alliance of the kings of Europe,