Page images
PDF
EPUB

|

ARISTIDES.

very true, that the British and Prussian against France ever since she declared for armies are now considerably advanced independence. What sort of ideas of into France; but it is equally true, that freedom can this child form, under the the enemies of France possessed the same tutelage of a daughter of the House of advantages in 1792, and yet were obliged | Austria?-Where are the hylacon days, to retreat. "The enemy is at the gates which Frenchmen had a right to look for "of Paris. Verdun, which lies in his under a free representative government, << way, cannot hold out longer than eight when such prospects as these seem to open ૮ days."-This was the state of affairs at before them?-The contemplation is that period, "but the citizens who de- gloomy indeed. Still, I am free to ac"fend it (Verdun) have sworn that they knowledge, that I would rather prefer the "will perish rather than surrender it." reign of Napoleon the Ild, with all its They were faithful to their oaths, and disadvantages, to that of the Bourbons. the invaders were driven back.—The only The former has the semblance, at least, doubt remaining in my mind is, that the of being the choice of the nation. The people of France are not so ardent in latter has been twice expelled, and if he the cause of freedom as they were in is again restored, it must be by the sword, 1792. So much has been done to fami- a mode of erecting a government at all liarize them with royalty, to impress times hostile to the legitimate rights of the their minds with the importance of a people, and subversive of the true princonstitutional monarchy, and to fascinate ciples of liberty. them with the vain and gaudy trappings of an Imperial dynasty, that if they again revert to the reign of despotism and priestcraft, they will only have themselves to blame for the melancholy change. Napoleon has always possessed a great share of my esteem and respect. never could forget the violence he offered to liberty, when he seized upon the government, under the name of "First Consul." It was the first step towards extinguishing public spirit. What followed served only to benumb the faculties, and to prepare France for the re-establishmentsess, but the popular and liberal instituof that system, which it had cost her so tions of the legislature by which they are many years of suffering to get rid of. governed. If reference be had to the best Why did not Napoleon, at once, renounce periods of the Assyrian, the Egyptian, the the imperial dignity, and return to those Grecian, and the Roman governments, it principles which were the cause of his will be found that the high renown and early good fortune, and which procured distinction of these several states, arose him more real and substantial glory than from the liberty enjoyed by the people, he ever derived from the imperial bauble? by the recognition of inherent civic rights, Had he done this, France would have and by the mutual confidence that subbeen saved; had he resumed the endearing sisted between the governing and the name and title of "General Bonaparte, governed. Commander of the armies of the Repub- and despotic artifice reared their baneful The moment that intrigue, lic," he would, indeed, have deserved sceptre, and gained the ascendancy of well of his country; he would have drawn public virtue, all the political advantages all parties around him. The very sound of those wise institutions were practically would have appalled the tyrants of the lost, and delapidation and ruin marked the earth, and little more would have been fatal effects of such deplorable aberration necessary to ensure the triumph of liberty. from sound policy. "Evil communica But, no-he abdicates only in favour of tions corrupt good mannerrs," is a maxim his son, whom he desires to be proclaimed that has the sanction of holy writ, and if by the regal title of Napoleon !!!-Alas! it were not there recorded, it is incessantly this very son is a branch of that house proving in the individual and national which has taken the most decided part intercourse of men. It is undoubtedly

BRITISH POLITICAL OBJECTS. MR.COBBETT.-The policy of the BriBut Itish government, as well with respect to its own domestic interests, as to those of foreign relations, should be to nurture, to extend, and to establish the cause of rational liberty. British realms the transcendant authority, What has given to the and the vast political resources they pos

the policy and interest of governments simi- | political security of that country, be dimi larly constituted, to co-operate in each nished and endangered. Where unreothers plans of procedure, and not to at- strained despotism exists, rational liberty tempt the solecism of reconciling in praccan have no secure abode. Overtly or tice what is radically and irreconciliably covertly, the machinations of tyranny áre different in principle. Agreeably to this incessantly directed against popular freerule of policy, the British government dom, inasmuch as the one is totally inshould be anxious to conciliate the good compatible with the other. As liberty opinion, and prefer the alliance of kin- and tyranny, therefore, cannot co-exist, dred forms of legislature, if any such how is it that they can be associated in there are, and not for purposes of tempo- alliance for any vindicable object? Tyrary power, or for objects unworthy of an ranny never lends its aid to liberty, and independent nation, enter into any poli- liberty disdains to assist the cause of tical compacts with powers that have no- tyranny. All alliance, then, obtaining thing in them at all congenerous; nay, between such opposite systems, is not that found their schemes of authority, and less reprehensible in principle than strength on principles of tyranny, at utter sooner or later, ruinous in practice. It variance with British liberty. Is it pos- is very natural and perhaps even comsible that any benefit can accrue to real mendable, agreeably to the existing sysBritish interests, by cultivating friendly tem, for Russia to seek the aid of alliance and confidental relations with States that from all the European states founded on a have not the slightest affinity with the similar scheme of government, but with constitutional liberty of Great Britain? what consistency can that, and other In what points of sound policy can nations, kindred states, ask co-operation from the governed by principles of liberty and British nation, knowing that their systems slavery, faithfully concur? If mutual sin- of government are so widely different? cerity exists in their engagements, must What is there in common between the they not make mutual sacrifices of their Russian and German governments, and respective systems for the benefit of these that of Great Britain. The two former engagements; and if that be the case, how are founded on the sole will of the peris the cause of liberty furthered by the sonal sovereign, excluding from all conalliance, and what practical benefit is sideration the political rights of the likely to result to the enslaved nation, who people; the latter constitutionally rests sees that professions of liberty are not so on a strict representative system, in unbending but they may be made to ac- which the people are acknowledged to cord with the habitual objects of avowed be every thing, and that without them despotism? The intercourse is unnatural there can be nothing. What interests, and necessarily tends mutually to vitiate legitimately or consistently associated, and injure the contracting parties, without can the government of Great Britain a chance of advancing the political virtue seek in conjunction with its present allies, of either. In this view of the hurtful dis- in waging hostilities against France. The cordancy, that must arise in the alliance French have proclaimed, and are now seekof governments essentially differing in ing the establishment of national liberty and political principles, and practice, is it not independence. These privileges have been an anxious consideration for Britons to bottomed on a representative system of ascertain what possible good can result to government, comprehending, with but a the British nation, by pledging its blood few exceptions, the most important adand treasu for objects that might coun- vantages of a free and an enlightened tenance and protect despotic governments, form of legislation. Its ground work is but cannot possibly benefit a liberal and not dissimilar to that of the English Conpopular system of legislation? In the stitution. Does not this circumstance, exact proportion in which the despotic as well as its generic character of civil liallies of Great Britain have their terri- berty, naturally assort it with British torial possessions, and political powers en- views, and should it not as naturally secreased by any compact into which they cure it British amity and protection? Is may enter with the government of this not the prosperity of French liberty facountry, must the real interests, and even vourable to all that is excellent in the cons

Where are the respective authority and dependence existing, which would warrant the representative office of the House of Commons in saying, that the representative possesses a power to which the represented are so subjected that they cannot be either relieved, or discharged from its obligations, but by the sort of favour that may be shewn to humility of petitioning or praying. Does either the principle or practice of social liberty recognise a feelling so abject, so mendicating, as that which would rather crouchingly supplicate, than sternly demand an unquestionable right? There cannot be two opinions with regard to the superior power of the represented to that of the representing; the former possesses the original and immutable right; the latter has only the exercise of its delegated authority, and to which it can have no moral claim longer than it be merited by a faithful and adequate execution of the duties imposed. The right of domineering and dictating cannot be vindicated by any provisions in the chartered liberties of the British realms, on the part of the representative towards the represented; and, of course, under no circumstances whatever, can the people be justly degraded to the low state of petitioning as a boon what they may demand as a right. All applications to Parliament may not be admissible; the propriety of them is justly subjected to the corrective wisdom of the House; yet, in as far as the objects of such applications were held to be warrantable, they are entitled to the most ample consideration; not because they are couched in servile language, but bestrance against either a real or supposed cause they are presented as a remongrievance. To talk of denying references to the legislature, in the independent tone of acknowledged complaint, and of city, to entitle it to any reception at all, prescribing to it the language of mendiis surely to invert the order of moral

ON THE TERM PETITION.

MR. COBBETT.-The admirable observations, recently made in his place in the House of Commons, by Sir Francis Burdett, in the memorable instance of presenting the Westminster Petition against the present war, are well adapted to enlighten the British people in the genuine political quality of a constitutional petition. It is quite clear, what, in the fram-authority; it is to obliterate and eclipse ing of that privilege, must have been de- the real source of power by rendering the signed by it; but the choice of the term delegated every thing, and the delegating for claiming that right is not correctly nothing. The hackneyed forms of parsignificant of its real import. To petition, liamentary petitions, the gradations of literally means, to pray, to supplicate, to favour assigned to them, in proportion as beg. How is this servile cringing attitude they attain or fall short of what is reof spirit consistent with the moral power garded as the standard measure of decoand freedom of requiring, of demanding, rous servility; and the unreserved flipof insisting, on an indefeasible right? pancy with which they are either, in the

stitutional charter of Great Britain; and
would not the destruction of the one en-
danger the safety of the other? Is it pos-
sible to suppose that the genuine spirit of
the British constitution can be embattled
against France, in opposition to her es-
tablishing a similar form of government?
Were the British people truly represented |
in Parliament, as prescribed by the con-
stitutional law of the land, would it be
possible to sanction a war against French
liberty and independence by legislative
provisions for its support? Frenca li-
berty is only dangerous to despotic states;
its tendency should awaken no apprehen-
sion in the British government; it will be
more likely to justify and confirm the
constitutional excellencies of that govern-
ment, than at all to invade or undermine
them. Great Britain and America should
be earnest in their devotion to the ame-
liorated state of French government; they
should regard it as another important link
in the chain of power, that promises ulti-
mately to extend and establish the influ-
ence of political liberty over the habita-
ble world. The prejudices, habits, and
ignorance of national slavery must gra-
dually give way to an enlightening system
of education, before the example of legis-
lative liberty, constitutionally provided
for in England, America, and France,
can become as universal as it is necessary
to the wants and happiness of mankind.
A TRUE BRITON.

first instance rejected, or, if received,
finally everlooked and forgotten, are
among
the worst effects of a degenerated
system of British representation. When
the people know their true political rights,
and dignities, and confer them only where
they will be faithfully administered for
their true benefit, it will then be under-
stood that the style of communicating
with the legislature will not be in terms
so debased as to assume the character of
either a petition, a prayer, or a supplica-
tion, but as a demand or remonstrance,
according to the circumstances of redress
or correction sought to be obtained. The
word petition ought, therefore, to be ex-
punged from the legislative vocabulary,
it should have no meaning in national po-treat.
litics. What may be justly required by
a British people, should be constitution-
ably demanded, whether it be in the way
of instruction, for the amelioration of the
State, or in that of remonstrance, for the
correction of alledged abuses of delegated
authority. The right of the British pub-was
lic to demand of the legislature redress
of wrongs, or to remonstrate with it
against any affirmed inaccuracies of con-
duct, cannot be denied.-If either the
demand or remembrance should be well
founded, it will be entitled to the fullest
acquiescence on the part of the legisla-
ture; if it should be imaginary and
roneous, it still deserves to be treated
with all the respect due from the delegated
to the delegating authority, and in no
case to be contumaciously rejected as
unworthy of notice. The right of the
people constitutionally, that is peacefully,
to call on the Government to do justice
to the public, when it may suppose itself
unjustly treated, is one of the most vital
privileges of the liberty of the land, and,
to be consistent with its own independ-loss
ence and dignity, should be always de-
clared in language of resolute firmness
and of determined authority.

CENSOR.

SPAIN, PORTUGAL, BAVARIA, WUR-
TEMBERG, &c. &c.; WITH AN ARMY
OF ONE MILLION AND ELEVEN THOU-
SAND REGULAR SOLDIERS, AGAINST
NAPOLEON AND FRANCE.

The following, as appears from the French official accounts, was the result of the battle of the 16th inst. to which they have given the name of the "Battle of Ligny-Under-Fleureus."

At half past nine o'clock we had 40 pieces of cannon, several carriages, colours, and prisoners, and the enemy sought safety in a precipitate reAt 10 o'clock the battle was finished, and we found ourselves masters of all the field of battle. General Lutzow, a partisan, was taken prisoner. The prisoners assure us, that Field-Marshal Blucher was wounded. The flower of the Prussian army was destroyed in this battle. Its loss could not be less than 15,000 men. Our's

3000 killed and wounded. On the left, Marshal Ney had marched on Quatre Bras with a division, which cut in pieces an English division which was stationed there; but being attacked by the Prince of Orange with 25,000 men, partly English, partly Hanoverians in the pay of England, he retired upon his position at Frasnes. There a multiplicity of combats took er-place; the enemy obstinately endeavoured to force it, but in vain. The Duke of Elchingen waited for the 1st corps, which did not arrive till night; he confined himself to maintaining his position. In a square, attacked by the 8th regi. ment of curassiers, the colours of the 69th regi. ment of English infantry fell into our hands. The Duke of Brunswick was killed. The Prince of Orange has been wounded. We are assured that the enemy had many personages and Generals of note killed or wounded; we estimate the

of the English at from 4 or 5000 men; our's on this side was very considerable, it amounts to 4,200 killed or wounded. The combat ended with the approach of night. Lord Wellington then evacuated Quatre Bras, and proceeded to Genappe. In the morning of the 17th, the Emperor repaired to Quatre Bras, whence he marched to attack the English army: he drove it to the entrance of the forest of Soignes with the left wing and the reserve. The right wing advanced by Sombref, in pursuit of Field-Marshal Blucher, who was going towards Wavre, where he wished to take a position. At 10 o'clock in

No. II.

HISTORICAL NOTICES OF THE WAR OF
ENGLAND, AUSTRIA, RUSSIA, PRUSSIA,
DENMARK, SWEDEN, HOLLAND, SAR-
DINIA, THE POPE, NAPLES, SIYLCI,

the cuirassiers of General Milband charged that division, three regiments of which were broken and cut up. It was three in the afternoon. The Emperor made the guard advance to place it in the plain upon the ground which the first corps had occupied at the outset of the battle this corps being already in advance. The Prussian division, whose movement had been foreseen, then engaged with the light troops of Count Lobau, spreading its fire upon our whole right flank. It was expedient, before undertaking any thing elsewhere, to wait for the event of this attack. Hence, all the means in reserve were cavalry charged the battery of Count d'Erion by ready to succour Count Lobau, and overwhelm the Prussian corps when it should be advanced. This done, the Emperor had the design of leading an attack upon the village of Monut St. Jean, from which we expected decisive success; but by a movement of impatience, so frequent in our military aunals, and which has often been so fatal to us, the cavalry of reserve having perceived a retrograde movement made by the English to shelter themselves from our batteries, front

The second

which they had suffered so much, crowned the heights of Mount St. Jean, and charged the infantry. This movement, which, made in time, and

BATTLE OF MOUNT ST. JEAN.--At 9 in the moraing the rain having somewhat abated, the 1st corps put itself in motion, and placed itself with the left on the road to Brussels, and opposite the village of Mount St. Jean, which appeared the centre of the enemy's position. corps leant its right upon the road to Brussels, and its left upon a small wood within cannon shot of the English army. The cuirassiers were in reserve brind, and the guards in reserve upon the heights, The sixth corps, with the cavalry of General d'Aumont, under the order of Count Lo sau, was destined to proceed in rear of our right, to oppose a Prussian corps, which appeared to have escaped Marshal Grouchy, and to intend to fall upon our right flauk, an intention which had been made known to us by our re-supported by the reserves, must have decided ports, and by the letter of a Prussian General, the day, made in an isolated manter, and before inclosing an order of battle, and which was taken affairs on the right were terminated, became fa• by our light troops. The troops were full of ardoar. We estimated the force of the English enemy shewing many masses of cavalry and intal. Having no means of countermanding it, the army at 80,000 men. We supposed that the fantry, and our two divisions of cuirassiers being Prussian corps which might be in line towards engaged, all our cavalry, ran at the same moment the right might be 15,000 men. The enemy's force to support their comrades. There, for three theu was upwards of 90,000 men. Our's less nu. hours, numerous charges were made, which enaAt noon, all the preparations being bled us to penetrate several squares, and to take terminated, Prince Jerome, commanding a di-six standards of the light infantry, an advantage vision of the second corps, and destined to form ont of proportion with the loss which our cavalry the extreme left of it, advanced upon the wood experienced by the grape shot and musket firing. of which the enemy occupied a part. The cau It was impossible to dispose of our reserves of ponade began. The enemy supported with 30 pieces of cannon the troops he had sent to keep of the Prussian corps. This attack always proinfantry until we had repulsed the flank attack the wood. We made also on our side dispositions longed itself perpendicularly upon our right of artillery. At one o'clock Prince Jerome was master of all the wood, and the whole English hesme with the young guard, and several batteries flank. The Emperor sent thither General Duarmy fell back behind a curtain. Count d'Erlon then attacked the village of Mount St. Jean, and pulsed, and fell back-he had exhausted his The enemy was kept in check, resupported his attack with 80 pieces of cannon, forces, and we had nothing more to fear. It which must have occasioned great loss to the was this moment that was indicated for an at. English army. All the efforts were made towards the ridge. A brigade of the first division cuirassiers suffered by the grape-shot, we sent tack upon the centre of the enemy. As the of Count d'Erion took the village of Mount St. four battalions of the middle guard to protect Jean; a second brigade was charged by a corps the cuirassiers, keep the position, and, if possible of English cavalry, which occasioned it much disengage, and draw back into the plain a part loss. At the same moment a division of English of our cavalry. Two other battalions were sent its right, and disorganised several pieces; but to keep themselves en potence upon the extreme

nerous.

1.

of reserve.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the evening, the English army occupied Mount St. Jean with its centre, and was in position before the forest of Soigne: it would have required three hours to attack it, we were therefore obliged to postpones it till the next day. The head-quarters of the Emperor were established at the farm of Caillon, near Plauchenort. The rain fell in torrents. Thus on the 16th, the left wing, the right, and the reserve, were equally engaged, at a distance of about two leagues.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »