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Napoleon II. When such measures were in progress, it Chap. was evident that the safety of France, and the preserva- XI1' tion of its institutions, were seriously menaced, and that 1823its Government was warranted in taking steps to extinguish so perilous a volcano in the neighbouring state, by the strongest of all reasons—that of self-preservation.
It is more difficult to find grounds to vindicate the intervention of England in favour of the insurgent colonies w*i th« in South America, which was done in so efficacious a tervention manner, and from the success of which consequences ofs0uthAmefsuch incalculable importance have ensued to both hemi- ""J"8'16" spheres. Nothing can be clearer, indeed, than that when the colonies of Spain had become de facto independent, and Spain was obviously unable to reassert her dominion over them, we were warranted in treating with them as independent powers, and sending consuls to their chief towns to guard British mercantile interests. If our intervention had been limited to this, the most scrupulous public morality could not have objected to the course pursued. But we not only did this—we did a great deal more, and of a much more questionable character. We repealed the laws against foreign enlistments; permitted expeditions of eight and ten thousand men, many of them Wellington's veterans, to sail from the Thames under the very eye of Government; and advanced immense sums by loan, to enable the insurgent states to prolong the contest. It was by these means, and these alone, that the conflict was ultimately decided in favour of the colonies,, Hirt and against the mother country. The decisive battle of Europe, c. Carabobo was gained entirely by British battalions and69*72?* a charge of the British bayonet.1
What was the justification for this armed and power- ^ ful intervention 1 Was the freedom of England menaced its ultimate by the re-establishment of Spanish authority in Southeffedtsto" America? Confessedly it was not: the hope of commer- Enslandcial advantages, the vision of a vast trade with the insurgent states, was the ruling motive. But commercial
Chap. advantages will not constitute legal right, or vindicate acts XI1' of injustice, any more than the acquisition of provinces 1823. justify an unprovoked invasion. It sounds well to say you will call a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old; but if that new world is to be carved out of the dominions of an allied and friendlj power, it is better to leave it to itself. England saw very clearly the iniquity of this insidious mode of proceeding when it was applied to herself, when Louis XVI. allowed covert succours to the American insurgents to sail from the French harbours, and the Americans sent some thousand sympathisers to aid the Canadian revolt in 1837. She loudly denounced it when the Americans allowed an expedition to sail from New Orleans, in 1852, to revolutionise Cuba; and she exclaimed against the Irish democrats, who petitioned the French revolutionary Government, in 1848, to recognise a Hibernian republic in the Emerald Isle. But what were the two last but following her example? She sees the mote in her neighbour's eye, but cannot discover the beam in her own. It will appear in the sequel of this history whether England in fact derived any benefit, even in a commercial point of view, from this great act of disguised aggression; whether the cause of freedom and the interests of humanity were really advanced by it; and whether the greatest calamities, public and private, its inhabitants have ever undergone, may not be distinctly traced to its consequences.
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