« PreviousContinue »
pital of Canada, might possibly arrive there as captives rather than as conquerors.
As to the capture of the British West India colonies, it may be just sufficient to observe that the warlike navy of America, as enumerated in their official reports, does not appear to be quite competent to such an achievement.
The confiscation of the debts due from American citizens to British subjects (the third great belligerent measure of America) is unquestionably more within their power. But of this, it must be remembered that it is equally within their power in peace as well as in war; and for aught that we see, or have heard, or read of the practice of civilised nations, would be equally justifiable.
The hint, however, has, we think, been improvidently thrown out by America; for, anticipating as we do with no less anxiety than any of our fellow subjects, the renewal of commercial intercourse with the United States, we are vot without our apprehensions that the very circumstance of such a measure as this confiscation of individual debts, having been in contemplation, may operate here as a warning against the extravagant length of credit which our merchants have been in the habit of giving to their American correspondents.
Considering the war on the part of America, as a war for commerce, we are not aware what advantages she designs to herself from it. Her trade, it is true, may be cramped by the present state of the European world: but her exports still amount, as we learn from Mr. Gallatin, to more than forty-five millions of dollars; and of these exports more than five-sis ths are carried to Great Britain and her allies.
The following is the statement made by Mr. Gallatin, of their goods, wares and merchandize of domestic growth, and manufactures exported in the year ending September, 1811,
Dollars. 45,294,043 But a calculation of the balance of injuries, which the belligerent parties would probably sustain, can furnish but a miserable inotive for going to war. “How much more rational and politic and just is it to appreciate duly the vast advantages of remaining at peace! War must inevitably injure both England and America. The only power that would be benefitted by such a rupture, is at work to stimulate America to provoke hostilities with England. We trust, however, that England will still bear with the froward humour of America. Her characten will not suffer by her forbearance. We deprecate a war with America on every consideration; we could even wish that some sacrifices should be made on our part to remain at peace with her; but we would not be bullied into the sinallest particle of concession. If America does not expect (as surely she cannot) that by placing herself in ' a warlike armour and attitude,' she can frighten England out of her maritime rights ; does she hope that an alliance with Buonaparte will remove all restrictions on her commerce? Does she not know that Buonaparte hates commerce and all its concerns? Has she forgotten the answer he made to a deputation of the merchants of Hamburgh on their humble representation that his measures would involve them is universal bankruptcy, and banish cominerce from the continent ?' "So much the better,' exclaimed the tyrant, so much the better; the bankruptcies in England will be more nunierous, and you will be less able to trade with her. England must be humbled, though the fourth century should be revived, commerce extinguished, aud no other interchange of commodities than by barter.'
Here we have a complete exposition of the doctrines and the views of this implacable foe to all free governments. His frequent allusions to the dark ages of the fourth century,' and the return to barbarism,' are not so much the angry effusions of the moment as the settled purpose of his soul; they are the scope of all his actions, the tenour of all his discourses. All his regulations and restrictions are directed to the annihilation of commerce, and to the prevention of intercourse between different nations, as the most effectual means of extinguishing liberty among mankind. But above all the coinmerce of England is hateful to him, because, as the sensible author of War in Disguise' has observed, while it is light at Dover, it cannot be wholly dark at Calais. Destruction and desolation are his attributes. War, eternal war, is his motto, till the last spark of European liberty has been extinguished, and the last Festige of a free government obliterated by the tread of a colossal despotism.;
Next to England, America is his bane and his terror. The people of this country being derived from the same stock, speaking the same language, breathing the same spirit of liberty, have qualities quite sufficient to rivet his hatred. The American gentleman, who has so ably written on the genius and dispositions of the French government,' and who, from his situation in Paris, had every opportunity of hearing what the public opinions were, declares that every person, whether in or out of office, who had any intimate con
nexion with the government, spoke the same language of contempt and menace on the subject of the United States.
“The Americans were a nation of fraudulent shop-keepers; British in prejudices and predilections, and equally objects of aversion to the Emperor, who had taken a fixed determination to bring them to reason in due time.' "The British,' he continues,he hates, and dreads, and respects. The Americans he detests and despises. He detests them as the progeny of the British; as the citizens of a free government. He despises them as a body of traders ; according to his views, without national fame or national character; without military strength, or military virtues.'
To what then are we to ascribe the partiality of America towards France? There is no natural attachment between them, no community of sentiment, no mutual relation of benefit. If partiality towards France be denied, whence then, we would ask, proceeds the angry and blustering tone against England? The 'view' taken by the writer of the State of Parties,' ascribes the conduct of America, not to our blockades, our orders in council, the searching of their ships, or impressing their seamen, but to internal causes entirely arising out of the peculiar structure of the American government.
It is well known that America has long been divided into two parties; the federal, and the anti-fedral. The former comprizes a majority of the men of fortune, talent, and education : of this party were Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and many others, by whom the federal government was established, and conducted for twelve years, in the course of which America made a most rapid progress in prosperity and reputation. The anti-federal or French party, a turbulent democratical faction from the beginning, is said Ỉētiņ222 m22 /\ģētiņ2/\/22/2/2/2/2/2/2ÂÒ§Â2ÒâỈ??2?Â§Â§2 /\22\/?tiffi/ti2 rate fortunes and ruined characters, leaders of the rabble with whom they familiarly mix, whose inanners and dress they affect to imitate, and whose services they command whenever they find it necessary to raise a clamour or collect a mob. The superior vigour and activity of this faction, in 1800, raised Mr.Jefferson to the presidency. This gentleman is described as being, in the strict sense of the phrase, a modern philosopher; a pupil of Rousseau ; a reasoner on universal liberty, and universal philanthropy, whom all the horrors of the French revolution, and the total annihilation of liberty by the military despotism which it engendered, were insufficient to drive from his preconceived idea, that virtue could exist only in domocracy. Fugitives from all parts of the world were received with open arms by this patron of cosmopolites. French regicides, Irish rebels, and malefactors of every kind, who had Aed from the offended laws of their country ;-deodands of the gallows,'(as they are significantly called by an American author,)' who had left their ears on the whipping posts of Europe'-found an asylum in America. Whole shoals of this description focked to the President's standard; many of them were admitted to his confidence; some were employed in the inferior departments of government; soine were thrust into Congress; and to others was entrusted the conduct of the press, that great instrument of factions in America. A democratical journal is published in every little town; in some of the larger, eight or ten, all teeming with abuse of England, and of the federal party, who are reproached for a supposed attachment to the land of their forefathers. Mr. Madison, it is said, imbibed the principles, and follows up the views of his master. His policy is represented as fluctuating with every batch of news that is wafted from Europe across the Atlantic; and as vibrating to the feelings and the sentiments of a set of adventurers in the seaport towns, men without character and without a country; as appealing to the opinion of the mob, and the nbending to that opinion.-In one word, America is said to be, at this moment, as much swayed by the clamorous rabble and the democratic clubs of the seaport towns, as the Directory of France was in the very worst periods of the Revolution.
If this be a true description of the present state of parties and of the government in America, we can easily account for the loudness of the war-cry which is now raised there. We trust, however, that there is equal truth in the assurance, which we have received from good authority, that the respectable part of the United States desire nothing more anxiously than the preservation of peace with England; and although the large majorities in Congress on the resolutions for war measures, may seem to disprove this statement, and although we confess ourselves by no means satisfied with the manner in which these majorities are accounted for by some per-' sous who profess to be in the secret of American politics, and who tell us of a settled plan of the federal party to urge on the democrats to the brink of a war, as the surest means of getting the government into their own hands, and rescuing the country from destruction; a conduct in our opinion of dangerous and doubtful policy; we trust nevertheless, that better counsels will yet ultimately actuate America-she will open her eyes to her true interests, she will see her own prosperity in the prosperity of Great Britain; and in those maritime rights, against which she joins with France, at this inoment, in clamouring so loudly, she will see, not merely the safeguards of British power, but the surest protection of American independence.
They that will needs bear all the world before them by their mare liberum, may soon come to have nec terram, nec solum, nec VOL. VII. No. XIII.
rempublicam liberam,'--was the postscript to a pamphlet written on the breaking out of the Dutch war in 1672. Let America pon-der it; and consider how long her territory, her soil, and her form of government would be free, if the freedom of the seas were established, in the sense in which France calls for it, by the destruction of the British navy.
ART. II.-The Life of the Right Reverend Beilby Porteus, D.D.
late Bishop of London. By the Rev. Robert Hodgson, A.M. F.R.S. Rector of St. George's, Hanover Square, and one of the Chaplains in Ordinary to his Majesty. Second edition, London, Cadell and Davies, 1811. Prefised to an Edition of
Porteus's Works. The Life of Dr. Beilby Porteus, late Lord Bishop of London ;
with Anecdotes of those with whom he lived, and Memoirs of many living and deceased Characters. By a Lay-Member of Merton College, Oxford. London, J. Davies, Essex-street.
1810. BISHOP Porteus was sufficiently great in his generation, and
sufficiently distinguished by his talents and virtues, to make it desirable that the attention of the public should be fixed upon him by some authentic and judicious detail of his life and character. We have two biographical sketches of him before us. One of them, 'by a lay-member of Merton College, Oxford,' (of what class above the porter, does not appear,) is an ill-written, inaccurate, and meagre performance. The author tells us, that his object was to do justice to the memory of a deserving character, and to hold up the example of his virtues for the benefit of society. We have only to express a wish, that he had well considered his competence to the task. Had this been the case, the public would not have been informed, that Bishop Porteus was born in America, though he was really born in England, that he made no advances in mathematical study at Cambridge, though he took the degree of tenth wrangler—that he obtained the Chancellor's prize for a classical essay, which prize never existed—that • his person was tall and commanding,' (p. 252,) whereas he was a thin slender figure under the middle size, &c. Nor would they have had before them, under the title of a life of Bishop Porteus, a strange medley of various matters, dissertations on Yorkshire schools, on academical education, &c. mixed up with desultory ill-digested observations and opivions-together with endless memoirs of Bishop Horsley, Lord Thurlow, and others, inserted for no other apparent reason than that they were his contemporaries.