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land he loved. See the glorious result. It was that noble, unselfish spirit which made our tars the conquerors on the ocean, and crowned our troops on shore with the wreaths of victory. It was that spirit which saved Europe from slavery and restored peace to the world, and it is that same spirit which in these days can alone again save Old England from destruction.
Since I sheathed my sword I have devoted my days to the education of my boys, and the peaceful pursuits of literature and science. I never trouble myself with political squabbles, seldom glance at what are called political articles in the newspapers, nor, I must confess, at the navy and army estimates, though I have however, narrowly watched the great events which have been taking place in Europe and the rest of the world. I have seen Russia increasing her army and exercising them in the Caucasus, and improving her navy till it is one she may well be proud of. I have watched how carefully she has manœuvred to gain possession of the city of the Constantines, till she may any day claim it as her own; nor have the eager glances she has turned towards the East escaped me. I have seen France tampering with Egypt, taking possession of Algeria and training her army of 350,000 men in a bloody war against the fiercest and most heroic tribes of Africa. I have seen her carefully increasing her navy, both in line-of-battle ships, and especially in steamers, and practising her sailors in seamanship and gunnery ; and more than that, I have seen her princes brought up with a taste for conquest and a jealousy of England, and I have observed them endeavouring to instil the most bitter hatred into the minds of the people against us, openly suggesting an invasion of our territories, by pretending that we shall some day pay them a warlike visit. I have observed, too, a spirit of territorial acquisition growing up in the United States of America, which may make her free and enlightened citizens unable to withstand the temptation of laying an unlawful hand on Canada, which they have already shown no slight inclination to do, although they may burn their fingers if they attempt it. I have seen Italy endeavouring to regain her long lost liberty, and Austria determined to prevent her if she can, and Switzerland also likely to become a bone of contention. I have watched Ireland, still unmanageable, or illmanaged, and I have thought often of the gigantic efforts we must make to preserve our immense possessions in India, our newly-acquired influence in China, and our numerous colonies in every direction, should the world again be cursed by war. Yet seeing all these things (I must confess my ignorance, nor was it singular) I had no conception of the amount of the British army. I might, had I been asked, have stated it at from 150,000 to 200,000 men, for knowing the immense forces of our neighbours, I should have thought there was very little use making the protests and representations against any of their acts of which we disapproved, without a power beyond what mere words could give us. I used to wonder why we allowed the subjugation of Poland by Russia, why we so placidly submitted to see our flag so frequently insulted by the French at sea, and why we allowed the Americans to annex Texas and invade Mexico. I used to blame our ministers for their pusillanimity and supineness. I now see that they acted most wisely and patriotically, for they knew that they would not only make England ridiculous and contemptible, by attempting to interfere, but would endanger her safety. Those nations would only have answered as a tall broad-shouldered friend of mine did with a kind
Feb.- VOL. LXXXII, NO. CCCXXVI.
smile to a little imp who came up sparring at him with a threat of thrashing him, “ Now don't
, you may hurt me.” Oh ye gods, it did amaze me that England could submit to such indignities, till I saw every paper and other periodical with leading articles on the National Defences, and found, to my amazement, that Great Britain possessed scarcely men sufficient to garrison her forts and protect her colonies, in fact, that she exists as a nation merely through the clemency of her neighbours. Knowing the intense hatred of the French, the ambitious projects of Russia, and the jealousy of cousin Sam, I was panic-struck, and so I think must every man be who is not besotted by money-making, or blinded by prejudice.
I had for some months past felt that we were on the eve of a war, but being one of those who do not consider that the ministers of the crown must of necessity be rogues and place seekers, I put full confidence in their judgment, that they would make the necessary preparations to meet it. I did not suppose that any men of ordinary capacity existed in Enge land who could expect to influence 350,000 well-disciplined, but bloodthirsty troops, longing for plunder, by harangues on the advantages of free-trade and the blessings of peace, I did not dream that my country, men had grown so avaricious or so insensate as to have lost all sense of danger, and I therefore could not suppose that our rulers would find any difficulty in raising funds for the defence of the country, even though a single possibility only existed of war on any side.
Doubly astonished, therefore, was I when I found, that not only did some of the papers, although not denying that war might occur, assert that it will be time enough to prepare for it when war is declared, sagely reminding their readers that they must be taxed if they have an army, but that one orator is making a progress through the country to endeavour to persuade people that the best way of preserving peace is to disband our troops and dismantle our ships.
Armies and fleets are expensive toys, and war is an expensive game, certainly, but let me ask those sagacious gentlemen whether it is not cheaper to pay five shillings to a policeman to guard your house, than to be robbed of your plate and jewels, not to speak of having your wife frightened out of her wits by the thieves ? Let me ask them whether it would not be wiser to pay an increased tax, than to have Hull or York sacked and burned ; than to be liable to receive visits at their country-houses and marine villas from privateersmen, who are apt to go beyond even robbery and murder, not to speak of a hostile descent on the coasts of Kent or Sussex, and the bare possibility of the
capital and all its hoarded wealth falling into the hands of an enemy? This event, as several high authorities have declared to be possible, it is worse than folly not to guard against by every means in our power. Let me ask those gentlemen if they ever send a ship to sea without insuring her ? and let me ask if the arming of a couple of hundred thousand of her brave sons is not the best way of insuring Old England ? Or, perhaps those gentlemen are so cosmopolitan in their principles, that they care not who inhabits England provided trade flourishes. They will answer, probably, “We are very good patriots, but we have been travelling through France; the French merchants gave us excellent dinners, and made speeches as long as ours on the advantages of free trade and peace.”
I have no doubt they did ; but can those same merchants curb the fiery
passions of 350,000 armed men ? Has the wealth and intelligence of a few of late years so governed the mob of France, that the free-traders can trust to it now for preserving peace ? Did the army and the mob, did the princes who have crowns to win and ambition to gratify, did the marshals of France say they wished for peace? Were even all the merchants sincere when they dined late, sat drinking wine, and talked of free-trade ? If we have no better security for peace than such promises hold out, we had better forthwith prepare for war, or haul down our flag at once, and, to save bloodshed, give in. Perhaps, like falling Rome, we had better bribe our foes to desist from their
for The free-traders may supply the funds. Away with such fallacies. Free-trade, I honestly believe, will some day prove a great blessing to the world; but till the world grows more civilised, it will be wiser to carry it on with arms in our hands, or it may chance to have some odium thrown on it.
When the works of Adam Smith, M'Cullagh, and Jean Baptiste Saye, are taught in conjunction with military tactics, then may we hope to see the principles of political economy influencing the army of the Grande Nation ; till then let us trust to our broad swords and bayonets.
The next most silly class of our countrymen are those who have not got over their nursery ideas of one Englishman being equal to three French
Ten Englishmen, with their fists, would probably floor ten Frenchmen unaccustomed to the use of their knuckles ; but any soldier will tell them that ten thousand well-disciplined French soldiers, with the aid of artillery and cavalry, not to speak of shells, congreve-rockets, grenades, and other engines of war, would utterly destroy fifty or even a hundred thousand of the bravest Englishmen who ever fought for all they love best, if armed only with their fowling-pieces, and summoned hastily together without officers or discipline. Such folly is worthy only of little children or old ladies, who may talk
of shouldering their muskets and going out to fight the French. The Duke of Wellington had frequently, during the Peninsula war, to rebuke his officers and men for a fool-hardy contempt of their foes, a contempt which at that time cost them heavy loss, and which same feeling was the cause of the destruction of so many brave men in Affghanistan, and which might have caused the loss to Great Britain of her whole empire in India, when our troops were surprised on the Sutledge.
We cannot conceal those painful facts from our enemies any more than from ourselves, but we may receive them as useful lessons to guard us from like fanlts for the future. I, for one, have a sincere respect for the bravery of the French, though I bear them no love, and I know their troops to be as well disciplined, as well educated in all the arts of war, and as inured to hardships and bloodshed, as any soldiers in the world, and I therefore do not know whether I feel most anger at, or pity, or contempt, for those boastful heroes of ours, who talk of never letting a Frenchman return alive who sets foot in England, or of partitioning France, and such like nonsense, yet all the time are unwilling to arm or take the common means of defence. France and her allies are much more likely to partition Great Britain, let me tell them, if they do not make use of all the means in their power to prepare for the worst.
Some of these newspaper generals talk of disputing every inch of ground with guerilla parties behind hedges, of protecting London by breaking down the bridges, and by summoning the population, the clerks and shopmen, to charge the enemy (with their rulers and yard measures, I conclude). The French marshals are not old women, and have seldom exhibited any over-serupulous squeamishness; they know every inch of coast, and all the roads necessary for military purposes, and depend upon it, before war is declared, before the fastest message-boat can bring over intelligence of their intentions, they will embark a force at one or other of their ports, sufficient to strike a blow somewhere or other, perhaps in the north, perhaps in Ireland, perhaps in the south, which will make us repent our want of precaution. I certainly have wished to discover why some of our journals have so studiously endeavoured to lull the mind of the easily-led public back into the dull apathy from which those who have any feeling of patriotism have endeavoured to rouse them. Feeling the weakness of their own arguments, those journals have endeavoured to throw ridicule on the letters of Lord Ellesmere and the Duke, and, with a want of the common decencies of society, of all manly and grateful sentiments, have derided the warnings of our greatest general, and have treated him and his opinions with scorn. I believe that but one feeling could animate the breast of every honest Englishman on seeing such observations, that of unmitigated disgust, and I here enter my protest against such being the sentiments of Englishmen.
It must be remembered that Lord Ellesmere, although a civilian, is considered by military men as one of the first authorities on military matters. Some officers took umbrage, because he spoke of the army as a mere police force, alluding to their numbers ; others, because he observed that the guards would be compelled to march out of London on one side, as the French entered it on the other. This, he said, with bitter grief, to show how perfectly unable a handful of men would be to contend against a powerful French army. Besides, any wise general who commanded them would give them the same order to save them for the purpose of forming the nucleus of a future army. To Lord Ellesmere the thanks of every patriotic man are due, for the sound advice and awful warning he gave us. I will now turn to the duke's letter. He is abused and ridiculed by fools or traitors, because he utters words which may well make honest men alarmed for the safety of the country.
First, he is found fault with, because, as is asserted, he does not speak of the navy. Near the commencement of his letter he says, “ We have no defence, or hope of defence, ercepting in our fleet." The duke, like every Englishman, has a sincere respect for the navy, and knows that they will nobly do their duty; but suppose our fleets are scattered, driven into harbour, or wrecked by storms; suppose one or more divisions are attacked, and, if not beaten, crippled by a superior force, a contingency which is very likely to occur; then, says the duke, the country is totally unprepared to defend itself from an invading army; besides, descents may be made on any part of our coasts with much greater facility and impunity than Paul Jones effected more than once in his day. Such being the case, argues the commander-in-chief, it becomes my duty to make preparations for the military defence of the soil. The only sentence in his whole letter which can be cavilled at is the following,—“excepting immediately under the fire of Dover Castle, there is not a spot on the coast on which infantry might not be thrown on shore, at any time of tide, with any wind and in any weather, and from which such body of infantry, so thrown on shore, would not find within the distance of five miles a road into the interior of the country, &c.” Had the duke added, what he evidently intended to express,- " in any weather, when vessels can at all approach the shore without danger of shipwreck,"—even the most dull of comprehension would have understood his meaning, and seen that such is clearly the truth; viz., that an enemy can land on the spots he speaks of. A naval officer also adds, by sacrificing the larger transports from running them aground, even in rough weather a breakwater may be formed to enable troops to land. Thus, if any accident should happen to any one of our channel squadrons, or if the flotilla of the enemy can manage to elude them, or should they be drawn off in chase in another direction, we have no means of defending our shores. Some of the paper-generals do not deny that a French army may march to London, but say, that not a man would ever get back again. Now I assert that, if they once got to London, even if not a ship of our fleet was injured, we should be compelled to carry them and their plunder back to France in that very fleet, besides having to pay pretty roundly for the ransom of the city, our magistrates, and our women. If an army once got there, while our fleets were assembling at the mouth of the Thames, a second French, or, perhaps, a Russian or Austrian, army, might be marching victoriously through Ireland, and a third taking up their quarters in Lincolnshire or Yorkshire, while the first would hold as hostages, thousands of our women, many of our principal people, and, perhaps, even the person of our sovereign, while they would, of course, threaten to give up our women to the soldiery, our residences to plunder, and our city to the flames, if we refused to grant their demands. Peaceful civilians can scarcely picture such scenes of horror to their imaginations, but as little more than thirty years ago they were of daily occurrence throughout the rest of Europe, so they may again occur; and I do not know by what talisman we Englishmen can expect to be preserved from them, except we have on foot a few hundred thousand well-disciplined regulars and militia, backed by bodies of gallant volunteers similar to those I remember in my younger days. Such is the only talisman in which a Briton ought to trust, such the only safeguard of British liberties. People have for the last month back been talking and thinking only of a French invasion ; but may not the Russians and Yankees be tempted to pay us a visit, on seeing our unwarlike condition ? Russia would bargain for India ; the United States, for Canada and the West Indies; and France would be content with our possessions in the Mediterranean, the colonies we took from her, and Ireland probably. One thing we may be assured of, that if we tempt the French to go to war, they will commence hostilities before they declare war ; and they will, if they are wise, not give us a moment's time to make preparations to receive them.
The duke has, I fear, too just an estimate of the sentiments which of late years have appeared to influence the mass of the people, when instead of appealing to their chivalry and their patriotism, he alludes only to the pecuniary sacrifices they will have to make to the contributions de guerre which will be assuredly levied if the French are once masters of any part of the kingdom. But I, perhaps, have a right to think better of my countrymen. I do appeal to their chivalry, their loyalty,