« PreviousContinue »
prevented us from accepting these ready done, much yet remains to be terms. WE MAY HAVE IT YET, in all probability, if we can subdue our exasperated passions, artificially blown into a flame by those whose interest and whose gratification it is to hurry us on to our ruin: men who are lost to every feeling of the true interests of their country, and who, in case its constitution should be subverted by a foreign power, would be the first, not only to testify their implicit submission to any government, however tyrannical it might be, but to direct its vengeance against those genuine friends of liberty and truth, who would, under every change of exterior circumstances, remain unchanged, and who after having defended their principles in their lives, would seal them by their blood."
done by him, even after the restoration of peace, to consolidate and secure his newly acquired dominions, to ascertain the relations and confirm the fidelity of his dependant states, and to lay the firm foundations of that monarchy of which he is ambitious to be the founder. If we interfere not with him in these occupations, (and it has abundantly appeared that all opposition on our part has only defeated its own object) he is not likely to entertain the absurd hope of rivalling that maritime superiority, of which, if he were to attempt to deprive us, his efforts would be as vain as ours have been to overturn his power on the continent. That this supposition is well founded appears by the uniform tenor of the last negociation, in which This is the language of reason, and this true and only basis of general which we hail with the greater plea- tranquillity was repeatedly pointed sure, as our ears are daily stunned out; and by the offer on the part of with the splenetic effusions of our France, not only to surrender Hadiurnal prints, which are disgraced, nover and Malta, but to relinquish to for the most part, with mean and us her territories in the East Indies, despicable invectives. It is not by to add to our possessions in the West, "quips, and sentences, and paper- and to guarantee to us the Cape of bullets of the brain," that a man like Good Hope. If it had been the ob Bonaparte will be "awed from the ject of France to increase her mari career of his humour:" he can do time strength and her colonial terri us more injury now by his edicts and tories, would her politic and longhis restrictions, than we can do him sighted ruler have proposed to have with all our formidable navy: delen- surrendered her foreign possessions to da est Carthago is the war-whoop of this country? Or would he not, ou the modern Catos of France; but the contrar, rather have grasped at their Scipio will endeavour to accom- those distant acquisitions, and have plish the end by other means.
We shall conclude our account of this pamphlet with the following peroration with which Mr. R. closes it; and at the same time recommend the whole work as an able, calm, and dignified appeal to the good sense, and honour, and prosperity of our countrymen.
sought in the plunder of Holland and other countries to have added to the colonial possessions of France? In any negociation in which he has as yet taken a part, it has not appeared that he was willing to disable himself from the attainment of any object which he has deemed of sufficient importance to be insisted on; and if he Nothwithstanding the present has proposed thus to add to our coappearances of increased hostility be- lonial and maritime strength, there tween Great Britain and France, there is every reason to presume, however is reason to hope, that by a seasonable he may threaten, that he has no seand temperate exposition of the views rious intention of contending with it. of the two countries, the foundation
Happily however for this country, might be laid for that state of tranquil we have no occasion to place a reli lity which is so greatly the interest of ance on his intentions, or to ask from both. Whatever may be the language him the concession of our naval supe of Bonaparte with respect to ships, riority as a favour. If we are but true colonies, and commerce, these are not to ourselves, and do not wantonly the objects towards which his views sport with those blessings which Prowill be directed. Much as he has al- vidence has conferred upon us; if,
if instead of blindly aiming at conti- on the other to the west; herself the nental influence and connections, we emporium of the world. In this conduly estimate our own interests, im- duct we should find not only our inportance, and security, we may regard terest but our safety, and be equally all the efforts of France to rival us, as and at all times prepared for either a maritime power, without disınay. peace or war. The increase of our In a political point of view, Europe, commerce will be attended with an since the commencement of the revo- increase of the maritime strength of lution in France, has changed her po- the state. Those apprehensions which sition. This country must, in some operate so forcibly on the weak and respects, change her position also. timid, that France in the event of Her connections with the continent peace may rival us in our naval glory, are, by her own act, dissolved. The will be effectually removed. We have balance of power, that chimerical now in our power the means of great source of war and bloodshed, now national prosperity, with our manuexists not even in name. Instead of factures at home, with our markets in devoting our exertions, exhausting the East and West Indies; with the our resources, and risking our very existence, in a fruitless and destructive contest, let us turn our attention to those incalculable sources of prosperity and independence which have hitherto been so unaccountably and so fatally neglected. Let us attend more to ourselves and less to our neighbours; convinced that if we had devoted one tenth part of those immense sums which have been so lavishly expended in foreign subsidies and fruitless expeditions, in promoting the arts, the agriculture, and the internal econony of the country, we should have raised ourselves to a justly merited eminence, and should have added to our real strength, importance, and respectability. Let us establish and consolidate, on principles of justice, humanity, and inutual interest, our foreign possessions and colonies, and adopt such a policy with respect to them as may give additional vigour to our manufactures, and additional employment to our commerce. By a dignified, but just and conciliatory conduct to neutral states, let us dissipate the suspicions and animosities to which we appear in some late instances to have given rise. What would then be the proud situation of this country? Standing on her own foundation, independent of foreign allies; extending herself by her commerce, on the one hand to the east,
imports from the colonies, and that intercourse with the rest of the world which these advantages will always command, who can contend with us? At the same time the instruments of our prosperity are the instruments of our safety, and the increase of our navy, the increase of our strength. This is the true position, this the high destiny of our country; and NOTHING BUT A POLITICAL SUICIDE, A TOTAL INCAPACITY TO MEET THE BOUNTIES OF PROVIDENCE AND TO IMPROVE ITS BLESSINGS, CAN INDUCE US TO HESITATE FOR A MOMENT, AS TO THE COURSE WE OUGHT TO PURSUE."
VIEW of the Present State of PoLAND. By GEORGE BURNETT, late of Baliol College, Oxford. 1 vol. 1807.
HIS work cannot distinctly aspire
to the merit of an original publication, as a very great portion of it has already appeared in a periodical journal. It is reprinted, however, with various insertions and alterations, and the concluding chapters are entirely new.
Mr. Burnett was in Poland about ten months, connected with the family of Count Zamoyski; how he employed these ten months we are at a loss to conceive, for certainly had he made a judicious use of them he might have given to his book a much greater degree of utility and interest. *In the present critical and uncer- We are not entitled, however, to tain state of affairs between Great pass any censure upon this subject, Britain and America, I forbear to for Mr. Burnett candidly states, and touch upon them. The subject would seems to regret his own negliof itself be of sufficient magnitude to gence: he does not pretend to more form a separate publication. than he possesses; and from promis
ing little, the reader, in fact, finds turf. Of the towns, it is a tolerably more than he expected. large one that contains two thousand Mr. Burnett is a lively and perspi- inhabitants. Many are dignified cuous narrator of facts, which makes with this appellation, where the peoit the more to be lamented that his ple cannot exceed two or three task was so little extensive. Chap- hundred. The population of Warter I. is occupied with an account of saw, since the partition, has been on Dantzic and its environs, of which the decline. It is now rated at no the most remarkable thing in Mr. more than 50,000.-Chapter VI is Burnett's eyes seems to have been devoted to a consideration of travel"that every second man he met had ling, inns, &c. The former must, of a great German pipe in his mouth, course, be bad; and the latter are so or dangling in his hand. When a little inviting, that on entering, you Dantzicker, or German, makes an are assailed with a most abominable excursion, he always takes his pipe host of stinks. "It is literally true," with him, as an Englishman his says Mr. B. " that frequently after I walking stick." Chapter II relates had proceeded a step or two within to the face of the country, forests, the threshold, I was obliged to turn lakes, &c. The surface is slightly back to collect fresh air and resolution uneven, but not sufficiently to inter- ere I could advance." This is suffirupt the view towards the farthest cient to give us an idea of what the possible horizon. Hence, though interior must be. The inns in the Poland is a flat country, it is not a interior of Poland are all kept by perfect plain, as has been sometimes Jews.-Chapter VII is occupied with represented. The traveller some- an account of the population, peatimes finds himself in an expanse of santry, &c. The general population surface, almost without a house, a of Poland, prior to its dismembertree, or any single object large ment, has been stated at fifteen milenough to attract his notice. Soon, lions; but the nobles are fond of however, are descried the skirts of thinking that it has declined since some vast forest fringing the distant that event. His account of the Pohorizon; and on entering it we pro- lish peasantry exhibits a melancholy ceed for eight or ten miles, winding picture of their degradation. They with the road through lofty pines, are scarcely a degree above a Hotten&c. &c. These forests in some tot in intellectual energy; they are places are fifteen and even twenty the miserable appanage of an estate, miles in all directions: of an estate and transferred with it like a lot of belonging to a certain nobleman, trees.
nearly one half is computed to be "When a young peasant marries, forest; and Mr. Burnett thinks, that his lord assigns him a certain quantity not more than one half of the coun- of land, sufficient for the maintenance try, generally speaking, is cleared. of himself and family in the poor manA sufficient proof of the low state of ner in which they are accustomed to agriculture. Chapter III considers live. Should the family be numerous, the soil, vegetable, and animal pro- some little addition is made to the ductions; in which we find nothing grant. At the same time, the young very curious, except that Mr. Burnett couple obtain also a few cattle, as a says he has "drank wine a hundred cow or two, with steers to plow their years old!" Chapter IV relates to land. These are fed in the stubble, the climate, air, seasons, &c. and of or in the open places of the woods, as which nothing is here told that was the season admits. The master also not well known before: the severity provides them with a cottage, with of the climate, and the consequent implements of husbandry, in short, sufferings of the Polish peasants, or with all their little moveable property. rather savages, are common facts. In consideration of these grants, the In Chapter V we have some ac- peasant is obliged to make a return to count of the villages and towns. A the landholder of one half of his laPolish village consists of a collection bour; that is, he works three days in of miserable huts, about fifty in all, the week for his lord, and three for and rudely covered with straw and himself. If any of his cattle die they
are replaced by the master; a cir- is occupied with an account of the cumstance which renders him negli- nobility, manners, ladies, &c. We gent of his little herd, as the death or were much amused with this part of loss of some of them is a frequent oc- the work, for it is so irresistibly comic (though written in "sober serious"When a farmer rents a farm, the ness" by the author), that we were villages situated on it, with their in- perfectly exhilirated into good huhabitants, are considered as included mour. As a sample of the Poles in in the contract; and the farmer de- general, he gives a full length derives a right to the same proportion of scription of two or three ladies and the labour of the peasants for the cul- gentlemen: which is about as sagativation of that farm, as by the con- cious a plan, as if a foreigner were to dition of their tenure they are bound give an account of Mr. Sheridan and to yield the lord. her Majesty as a specimen of English "If an estate be sold, the peasants beauty. But then the beautiful meare likewise transferred, of course, taphorical language of Mr. Burnett! with the soil, to a new master, subject Count Czartoryski has eye-brows to the same conditions as before. The which are "moveable by the electric Polish boors, therefore, are still slaves; touches of thought." The Countess and relatively to their political exist- Zamoyska has sweetly pouting lips ence, absolutely subject to the will of-beautiful dark eye-brows, exhibittheir lords as in all the barbarism of ing the gently waving line"-lovely the feudal times. They are not pri- eyes, lovely form, and, in fact, lovely vileged to quit the soil, except in a every thing, for we cannot follow few instances of complete enfranchise- Mr. Burnett through all his sickenment; and if they were, the privilege, ing verbosity. for the most part, would be merely Chapter XI, which relates to the nominal for whither should they go domestic accommodation of the Poles, They may retire, indeed, into the is most interesting, because most comrecesses of the forests, where it is pos- plete, and it is most complete, because sible they may not be traced; and it is evidently most within the grasp of probable, that in times past many re- Mr. Burnett's observation. He gives sorted to this expedient to escape from us an unpleasant idea of the servants, the cruelties of a tyrannical master. who are avowed thieves whenever To fly from a mild master would be they can. Chap. XII is a sort of coobviously against their interest. To rollary to the former, relating to the quit the territory of one grandee for diet and domestic life of the Poles, that of another, must commonly if not and in which we have a Polish bill always, have been impracticable: for of fare for breakfast, dinner, tea, and what landholder would choose to admit a fugitive peasant, and thus en- Chapter XIII describes the dress courage a spirit of revolt? Again, it of the Polanders; among whom the is not in their power, from the circum- ancient costume is rapidly declining, stances of their condition, to sell their and the English manner very genelabour indifferently to this or that mas- rally prevails. Yet there is scarcely ter; and if such obstacles did not op- any large company in which will not pose, the very extent of the Polish be found a few, attired after the ancient farms, and the consequent want of a mode, being chiefly elderly men. Chap. second contiguous employer, would XIV relates to the mode of salute, suffice in most cases to preclude a and Mr. Burnett seems to be quite in change of masters." dudgeon at the prickly beards of Mr. Burnett offers, in the course of some of his friends who greeted him this chapter, some sensible and hu- with the accustomed kiss. The peasuggestions for the emanci- santry, in some instances, still fall at pation of these oppressed boors. the feet of their lords when they have Chapter VIII relates to the agri- a favour to ask. A gentleman salutes culture, &c. but it is scanty and un- a lady by kissing her hand, "on which Satisfactory; and the same may be occasion an elegant woman, if she said of Chapter IX, which concerns happens to be standing, makes a quick the manufactures and trade. Chap. X and lively curtsey (courtesy), her
countenance assuming an expression morality that almost staggers our of grateful joy, which is truly fasci- belief. " Conjugal fidelity," says Mr. nating." Chapter XV considers the Burnett," is a question of less anxious amusements of Poland, and from Mr. interest in Poland than in England, B.'s account of the Polish dances, we and a husband perhaps acts wisely have extracted a short article in our in treating it with philosophic indifpresent Number. (See the Bee, ference. It is not uncommon to go p. 121.) Among the amusements, he classes a taste for collecting curiosities, and was surprised one day, at the Princess Czartoryska's, with the sight of Shakspeare's chair, which her highness had bought when in England.
through a family, and to remark upon each younger member — that was the fruit of such an amour-that of such an other, and so on." If this be true, we are indeed yet a virtuous people.
Chapters XIX and XX are of a po"Her highness has also amassed a con- litical nature; and here Mr. Burnett is siderable collection of curiosities, of a simple narrator of well-known facts, various descriptions. Among these, and it is therefore unnecessary to folthe reader may judge of my pleasing low him through them. But in Chap. surprize on discovering-in the middle XIX, speaking of the religion, we of Poland-the chair of Shakspeare! suspect he has committed an anachroIt was one day sent for to the saloon. nism. "At a diet, held in 1658, it A pretty large chair presently made its was ordered that the Socinians, who, appearance, and seemingly consisted under the auspices of Socinus himself, of one entire piece of wood, the back had made a greater progress in Pobeing a plane, and somewhat orna- land than in any other country, should mented at the sides; but what appear- be banished; and the order was exed to me the strangest circumstance of tended to the Arians, Calvinists, Luall was, that the whole was painted or therans, Quakers, and Memnonites." stained of a faint and delicate green Now, George Fox, the founder of colour. Being left to wonder for a Quakerism, was not born till 1624, while at appearances, which found myself utterly unable to explain from the little knowledge I possessed of the antiquities of the reigns of Elizabeth and James, some hand was placed on the back of the chair, a great case was uplifted, and behold, a little, plain, ordinary and whitish wooden chair appeared, such as might haply be found in most of our cottages of the Mr. Burnett's book, and expressed We have thus given an analysis of present day! This relic of our revered baid, the Princess procured some the pleasure which it has given us in years ago when she was in England, various parts. But we cannot dismiss and paid for it a very considerable the work without adverting to the sum; it seems to me that I was told, as much as three hundred pounds! At the same time was exhibited, cased in a similar manner, the chair of Rous seau, in no wise superior in elegance
and did not begin to visit the continent to spread his doctrines till towards 1656, and it is hardly probable that his followers should have grown up in a few months to become objects of legal interference. We offer this merely as conjecture, for we have not space to accumulate evidence.
language, which is shamefully incorrect and vitiated. Mr. B. vaunts himself in his title-page to be an Oxonian; but let him glance over from his own garden, and judge whe the following hortus siccus, all culled ther his Alma Mater may pride herself upon her son?
"Immediately contiguous to these princely palaces, are commonly seen houses which are quite ordinary, often shabby." p. 59.
Chapter XVI relates to the language and literature of Poland; but respecting the latter nothing is said in way of addition to what Mr. Pinkerton has communicated in his Recollections of Paris" Chapter XVII, on the Universities, &c. offers nothing worthy of notice: not so Chapter XVIII, on the Polish society, "A thoughtless and a feelingless which communicates one trait of im- person." p. 92.
The dress of a Sunday is," &c.