« السابقةمتابعة »
prefer taking the manufactures of her subjects to those of a stranger, and all Belgium may be called a manufacturing town. Independent of this, in case of any future war with France, Holland must join the latter through fear of losing the provinces of Belgium.'
Now let us see the state you are actually in. You are nearly as effectually shut out from the continent, as when I reigned and promul gated the continental system. I ask you, what peace dictated by me, supposing I had been victorious, would have been worse in its effects for England, than the one made by Lord Castlereagh, when she was triumphant. The hatred which your ministers bear to me, has precipitated them into an abyss....... Your meddling in continental affairs and trying to make yourselves a great military power, instead of attending to the sea and commerce, will yet be your ruin as a nation. You were, greatly offended with me for having called you a nation of shopkeepers. Had I meant by this, that you were a nation of cowards, you would have had reason to be displeased; even though it were ridiculous and contrary to historical facts; but no such thing was ever intended. I meant that you were a nation of merchants, and that all your great riches and your grand resources arose from commerce, which is true. What else constitutes the riches of England? It is not extent of territory, or a numerous population. It is not mines of gold, silver, or diamonds. Moreover, no man of sense ought to be ashamed of being called a shopkeeper. But your prince and your ministers appear to wish to change altogether l'esprit of the English, and to render you another nation; to make you ashamed of your shops and your trade, which have made you what you are, and to sigh after nobility, titles, and crosses; in fact, to assimilate you with the French. What other object can there be in all those cordons, crosses, and honours, which are so profusely showered? You are all nobility now, instead of the plain, old Englishmen. You are ashamed of yourselves, and want to be a nation of nobility and gentlemen. Nothing is to be seen or heard of now in England, but Sir John,' and
my lady. All those things did very well with me in France, because they were conformable to the spirit of the nation, but believe me, it is contrary both to the spirit and the interest of England. Stick to your ships, your commerce, and counting-houses, and leave cordons, crosses, and cavalry uniforms-to the continent, and you will prosper. Lord Castlereagh himself was ashamed of your being called a nation of merchants, and frequently said in France, that it was a mistaken idea to suppose that England depended upon commerce, or was indebted to it for her riches; and added that it was not by any means necessary to her. How I laughed when I heard of this false pride. He betrayed his country at the peace. I do not mean to say," continued he, laying his hand over his heart," that he did it from here, but he betrayed it by neglecting its interests. He was in fact the commis of the allied sovereigns. Perhaps he wanted to convince them that you were not a nation of merchants, by shewing clearly that you would not make any advantageous bargain for yourselves; by magnanimously giving up every thing, that nations might cry, 'Oh! how nobly England has behaved.' Had he attended to the interests of his own country, had he stipulated for commercial treaties, for the
independence of some maritime states and towns, for certain advantages to be secured to England, to indemnify her for the waste of blood, and the enormous sacrifices she had made, why then they might have said, • What a mercenary people, they are truly a nation of merchants ; see what bargaips they want to make :' and Lord Castlereagh would not have been so well received in the drawing-rooms !"
• * Talent he may have displayed in some instances,” continued the emperor, " and great pertinacity in accomplishing my downfal; but as to knowledge of, or attention to the interests of his own country, he has manifested neither the one nor the other. Probably for a thousand years, such another opportunity of aggrandizing England will not occur. In the position of affairs, nothing could have been refused to you. But now after such romantic and unparalleled successes; after having been favoured by God and by accidents, in the manner you have been; after effecting impossibilities—I may say, effecting what the most sanguine mind could never have entertained the most distant idea of, what has England gained ?—the cordons of the allied sovereigns for Lord Castlereagh !"
When,” continued Napoleon, “ a nation has been favoured so much as yours has been, and that misery exists in that nation, it must be owing to the imbecility of the ministers. The transition from war to peace cannot explain it. It is of too long a continuance. Had I been the English minister, or had the minister been possessed of common sense, and not blinded by vanity, or one who would not have allowed himself to be duped by the attentions of kings and emperors ; you would have been rich, the seas covered with your ships, and your manufacturers would have been wealthy and flourishing. Lord Castlereagh will be an object of reprehension for the nation and for posterity.”'
Vol. II. pp. 77–84. By far too large a portion of these volumes is filled up with minute and wearying details relating to the continual bickerings between Napoleon and Sir Hudson Lowe. If the statements given by Mr. O'Meara are to be depended on, the Governor of St. Helena conducted himself towards his prisoner in a very undignified and unwarrantable manner; but, as we have nothing before us besides an ex parte statement, we unable to enter fairly into a question which we are not sorry to have this excuse for abstaining from altogether. The situation of a man like Napoleon at St. Helena, was sufficiently galling, without the addition of the least unnecessary severity. Mr. O'Meara, after repeated censures and menaces, was displaced by an official order dated the 25th of July 1818.
The work is neither unpleasantly nor unskilfully written; but the desultory and Boswell-like form which has unavoidably been given to it, has made it necessary for us to occupy a larger space in extract than in analysis.
Art. IV. Napoleon and other Poems. By Bernard Barton. 8vo. pp. xvi, 256. Price 12s. London. 1822.
WE have few readers who will not welcome another volume from Bernard Barton, the poetical Friend. But what have we here? Napoleon, a poem, dedicated to George the Fourth! Lurks there ambition, then, beneath the ample beaver and quiet manner of this follower of Penn, which has prompted this. high and courtly flight? Not so. Friend Barton has only taken occasion from the death of Napoleon, to advocate the cause of Peace; and with an honest and upright zeal, he inscribes the poem, with all due respect,' to the monarch of a ⚫nation eminently distinguished by its high profession of Chris⚫tianity, and its zealous efforts to extend the Gospel.'
The Author is aware that a poem under the designation of NAPOLEON, may suggest anticipations which his performance was never intended to realize and should he be compelled to plead guilty to a misnomer, he trusts his more candid readers will accept as his apology the simple statement of the fact, that the death of Napoleon actually gave rise to the reflections contained in the poem; and that its design was less" to adorn a tale," than to " point a moral," which the chequered lot of this extraordinary man had strikingly suggested.
With respect to the sentiments expressed in the poem on the subject of war, the Author rather wishes to submit them to the indulgence of his readers, and respectfully to request for them their serious reflection, than argumentatively to attempt their defence. He admits them to be the sentiments of one to whom all war, under the Christian dispensation, is unlawful. But as this opinion is the avowed and well-known tenet of a religious society, with which he has never concealed his own connexion, and whose faith and doctrine on this important topic is cordially assented to by him; he can hardly conceive it possible for what he has written either to excite surprise, or to give offence.'
They will, assuredly, have neither of these effects: they are sentiments which claim, and will ensure respect where they fail to produce conviction. For our own part, although we cannot go the length of the Peace Society, in some of their positions on the subject of War, there are few cases in which we should be found practically to differ from them. In the general tenor of Mr. Barton's sentiments, we entirely coincide. But when he argues that
all war is still Forbidden by the law which says Thou shalt not kill,'
he appears to us to forget that that law was given under a dispensation which expressly sanctioned war, even to the extent of a judicial extermination of the heathen nations, and which made the extinction of life by the sword of the magistrate, the penalty
of various offences. The letter of the sixth commandment cannot, therefore, extend to war as war, any more than to capital punishments, because that would be to make the Divine law, under the Jewish dispensation, inconsistent with itself.
That the occasion of war is in all cases purely evil, and that wars and fightings have uniformly originated in men's evil passions, will readily be admitted. Still, such an admission fails to supply any ground for the conclusion, that all war is unlawful. All physical suffering has its origin in moral evil. The occasion of even just punishment, is evil. War, equally with criminal punishments, is, professedly and ostensibly, a reme. dial measure : its occasion is crime. But whether it be in its own nature essentially criminal, must be determined by other considerations. It is at least not self-evident.
The Society of Friends consistently deny even the right of the magistrate to take away life. Our readers are sufficiently aware that we are no advocates for capital punishments. But if the execution of a malefactor were incompatible with the doctrine of Christian forgiveness, or the exercise of Christian charity, then, all punishment that had not the good of the offender for its measure and ultimate object, would be liable to the same objection. The reformation of the offender ought never to be lost sight of by human laws; but there are some cases in which that is rendered hopeless by the character of the offender, and some in which it must be sacrificed to other and more peremptory considerations. The primary end of punishment is, most assuredly, to deter others from offending ; and the principle on which all punishment proceeds, is, not that of ill-will to the culprit, but of regard to the general weal. And for this purpose the sword is entrusted to the magistrate by God himself. There is nothing inconsistent, therefore, in praying for the very criminal whom we are the instrument of delivering up to justice; nothing incompatible in our forgiving him the personal wrong for which the laws justly visit him with punishment. To suppose every prosecutor instigated by malice, would be equally erroneous and uncharitable.
Now, in a strictly defensive war, it appears to us that the injury inflicted on the aggressor by repelling his attack, even when it extends to taking away his life, can no more be chargeable upon private malice or vindictive feeling, than the punishment of a malefactor. In point of fact, even in unjust and unjustifiable warfare, personal enmity has seldom any influence on the combatants. The conduct of our British sailors more especially towards their fallen enemies, has proverbially been characterized by magnanimity and kindness. We can perceive no necessary inconsistency in a good man's praying for the
very enemies he is about to combat, supposing his cause to be good, and his engaging in the warfare involuntary. The familiar case of an invasion would, in our view, place him in such a predicament. But if such a case be imaginable, the argument against war as war, drawn from the doctrine of Christian forgiveness, falls to the ground. It would equally apply to all sorts of punishment,-to the infliction of privation, not less than of positive injury, on those who oppress, attack, or offend against us.
• Praying now with Huss,
And then with Zisca fighting,'is indeed a flagrant and monstrous discrepancy. Nothing can be more plainly forbidden than the attempt to extend the cause of Christ by violence. When Paul stood upon his rights, it was not as a Christian, but as a Roman, a citizen of no city. And so," if any man suffer as a Christian,” that is, on account of his religion, the duty of an unresisting submission appears to us to be manifest.
« If ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye.” All religious wars, as they have been termed, as well as all penal laws and proceedings in matters purely religious, are in the most flagrant contrariety to the express mandate, as well as the spirit and example of the Saviour. All private resistance to even unjust laws is forbidden by the same authority. But war, as war, comes under neither class of prohibitions, and must be deprecated on other grounds.
It is only as to the abstract question, however, that real Christians of every denomination will be found to differ. As to the true character of wars in general,—their unjustifiable origin, barbarous and unprincipled nature, and ruinous consequences, we are ready to concede all that Mr. Barton can wish. The line he quotes from Cowper, is a text which would furnish a still more ample commentary than he founds upon
• War is a game, which, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at.' We shall not enter further into the argument of the leading poem. We applaud the Author's spirit and his motives ; his sentiments are unexceptionable, whatever may be thought of his arguments; and there is much in the execution to command and to repay repeated perusal. The didactic nature of the subject has given a heaviness to some passages of the poem, which was scarcely avoidable; and Mr. Barton has occasionally ventured upon a colloquial freedom and fluency in his versification, which can be pardoned only when eloquence is substituted for poetry, Stanzas 33, 34, 39, and 41, supply instances of a rhythm too closely bordering on prose. Yet, with all these