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conductor waiting for a flash of lightning." But what “tum up” of things is it which these chance.lotterymen would desire ? Can their imaginations devise any thing more favourable to their views than the recent insurrection in Spain, which presented them, one might think, with as entire an opportunity as they could possibly look for in the present state of things, of opposing some effectual resistance to the arms of Napoleon ?-1s Spain, then, rescued ? Were the French driven through they Pyrennes, the passes guarded, and one corner, at least, of the Continent for ever wrested from the
grasp of the Conqueror? Alas! nothing of this; as the enthusiasm of liberty has evaporated, and the French have established a firm footing in the country, then we send out a handful of men to shew their faces to the enemy, and bring home half their number,—then we march to Madrid, and back again to Corunna or to Lisbon, and amuse ourselves with talking of Spanisb success, while Spain is fast sinking into subjugation; and thus, as Demosthenes told his countrymen,.-
ως νύν έχετε, ουδε διδόντων υμίν των καιρών 'Αμφίπολιν, δέξασθαι δύναισθ' άν, απηρτημένοι και ταϊς παρασκευαϊς και ταϊς γνώμαις, 5. έ.
“ Distracted both in conduct and counsel, we lose the very tact of opportunity, and cannot lay hold of the commonest advantages it thrusts upon our acceptance.”
Let us next advert to the subject of Mercenary Troops, upon which the Orator has exerted his bitterest spirit of invective. The Athenians, it seems, had their German Legion as well as we; but Demosthenes speaks of them with an indignation, which, it appears, their patriotic exertions sufficiently justified; for, says he,
-ξ ου αυτά καθ' αυτά τα ξενικά υμίν στρατεύεται, τους φιλους χικά και τους συμμάχους. 5. θ'.
“ As soon as these foreigners undertake to fight for you by themselves, they go conquering your friends and allies.”
Who would not, on reading this passage, be led to conclude, that the sacking of Copenhagen had arisen from a similar blunder ; that the expedition had been sent out under some mercenaries, who had been commissioned to attack Calais or Flushing, but by mere mistake had fallen upon a country in perfect amity with Great Britain ? I wish the ingenuity of some future historian could hit upon such an excuse for us : it would fasten upon us, indeed, the strongest imputation of folly; but, at least, we should not then be reproached as robbers and pirates, and violators of the laws of nations. FF 3
The folly of the Athenians consisted in employing their merce naries atrà xa ' airde-in sending them out alone, without any force or commander from their owa country, capable of giving a proper direction to their exertions, and of restraining them from wanton and indiscriminate mischief. Such is not exactly our case; we send out our expeditions, purposely and after full deliberation, to pillage the capitals of neutral nations; as if our only ambition were to augment the number of our enemies !—The temporary employment of foreign troops in such a state as Athens,---which was open to the attacks of a powerful and encroaching enemy, without any barrier from the sea, and without. the means of adequate resistance by its own internal strength, is a measure which may well be palliated in its policy, though not, perhaps, reconciled with the national pride of the Athenians. But what occasion can England have for a standing army of mercenaries, enclosed as she is by the ocean, supported by a warlike population, and defended by the first navy in the world? What end can we hope to attain by such a measure, but to foment distrust, jealousies, and divisions !-- But the German soldiers, we are told, are brave;—and so are the English: but they are loyal:-to whom? If to their employers--so are the English. But, perhaps, the German soldiers are necessary to enforce obedience to military flogging!
The Athenians, our great prototypes, and our great rivals in political folly, had their expeditions too,—with this difference, however, that they did not call them by a name which contained so lively a satire on the thing itself. Demosthenes censures with just severity the tardiness of their armaments: had he lived in these times, what language could he have found sufficiently se. vere,—what name sufficiently sarcastic,—for British Expeditions ?
-'Εν όσω ταύτα μέλλετε, προαπόλωλεν εφ' ά αν έκπλέωμεν τον γας του πράττειν χρόνον εις το παρασκευάξεσθαι αναλίσκομεν.” και ιγ'.
“ lo consequence of these delays, action is a asted in preparation, and the very objects of our equipment are lost before we stir."
« Και υμείς εαν εν Χερρονήσω πύθησθε Φίλιππον, εκείσε βοηθείν ψηφιξεσθε· έαν εν Πύλαις, εκείσε" έαν άλλοθι που, συμπαραθείτε άνω και κάτω.” και ιδ'.
“ If you hear that Philip is in the Chersonese, you vote your aid into that quarter; if in Thermopylæ, you rush into that; and if any where else, there you are immediately, waiting him up and down."
How true is the former of these extracts in its application to Enga land, the experience of every year from the accession of Mr. Pitt to power to the present moment, is too sad a memorial. While a
battle is fighting in Spain, we are embarking reinforcements to our army there ; and while the most formidable expedition we ever equipped is lingering on our shores, waiting for the inspec. tion of this or that minister, our enemies are vigorously employed in fortifying the point destined for our attack. They wait for no inspection, and seem scarcely to require time for preparation : the moment the alarm of danger is given, every one is in his station ready to disperse it, with as much promptitude as if the thing had been foreseen a year beforehand. And the beauty of all this is,' Bonaparte knows just as certainly as our Minyster himself at what point the attack is to be expected:-* εισί γάρ, είσιν οι πάντ' iFayyéndovres éxeiwg."- In one respect, however, we do deviate somewhat from the example of our Athenian prototypes :-it was their practice, Demosthenes tells us, to follow Philip about from one place to another,-from Thermopylæ to the Chersonese, and back again,-in short, up and down, wherever he chose to lead them; for they were a people who, with all their wisdom, could
-"- as easily be led by the nose
As asses are." Now, we are somewhat more politic in this respect, but withal not more bold : our wisdom seems to be to look where Bonaparte is not, and there to aim our exertions. If he is employed in Spain or Austria, we send out a large expedition to Flushing : and neither Austria nor Spain is the better for it; for without relaxing his efforts in those quarters, he easily collects a sufficient force to march to Antwerp, not to take a leading part in the war (for that was unnecessary), but just to co-operate as an ally with the plague which was already destroying. « Πλείω δ' ή χιλία και πεντακόσια τάλαντα ανηλώκαμεν εις ουδέν δέον.”
Olynth. B. $ 9. The Athenians had squandered away, the Orator complains, more than 1500 talents,--that is, something above a quarter of a million. A prodigious sum, truly, in these days to enter into the calculations of war! Poor as the Athenian state itself was, its dependencies were numerous and opulent; and if still the resources of England are out of all proportion greater than theirs, a truth which need not be disputed, yet our expenditures (our uşeless expenditures, I mean,—the consumptions eis oidèn déon * ) have been infinitely disproportionate too, Calculate the expence of one single British expedition,ếto Sweden, to Corunna; or to Walcheren, and the amount would stagger the credulity of Pe. ricles himself. But it is not in foreign expeditions, however useless and how.
* To no purpose.
ever expensive, that the most obnoxious part of our expenditure consists: it is the gulph of Pensions and Sinecures which swallows up with unrelenting avidity the wealth of the country; and, Heaven knows ! all this is expenditure els oudly déor!. Expeditions will serve to dazzle us with a shew of exertion, and to keep alive our hopes and fears; but sinecures are a dead weight upon the shoulders of the nation, which palsies every energy, and checks all patriotic ambition. The Athenians knew not what they meant, and yet their orators dared to complain of foreign expenditure : we are patient under the pressure of an useless home consumption, superadded to an infinitely greater foreign expenditure. Surely there is some reason for complaint in this !
«« Αποβλέψατε δή προς τους τα τοιαύτα πολιτευομένους: ών οι μεν έκ πτωχών ταχύ πλούσιοι γεγόνασιν, οι δ' εξ αδόξων έντιμοι». ίσω δε τα της πόλεως ελάττω γέγονε, τοσούτα τα τούτων ηύξηται.”
Ibid. “ Turn your eyes upon the authors of these doings, and see bow the obscure have been made eminent, how the beggarly have been made rich, and in what exact proportion as the means of the State have become less, those of it's Statesmen have become greater.”
Look, then, at the men whose ill-fated administration has reduced their country to this wretched state: look at the Percevals, the Cannings, the Castlereaghs—oi lg ådów ÉVTILOthe sinecurists, the reversionists, the duellists! And how truly does the parallel hold good in this particular,--that they have risen in proportion as the country has fallen!
It was not, however, by pensions and sinecures that the Athenian politicians accumulated their riches : their resources were in the bribes they could collect from the enemies of their country;a practice which, however execrable, however repugnant to every decent feeling, had at least one advantage over the modern system, that whenever it was detected, it was liable to be not only checked, but punished: the thing was not only in a visible, but in a " tangible shape;" whereas now-a-days, we may murmur, if we will, to see men fatten on the spoils of the State ; but we have no resource against it in the detection of Macedonian cups, or Persian carpets: the men hug themselves in their thousands, as if they were conscious of having well earned them; and conscious they are that clamour cannot strip them of their wealth, nor bring them to the bar of their country.
“ Oh! that such bulky bribes as all might see,
No: the thing that now shackles our brave designs is that intan. gible, invisible, mischief-working Influence, which bovers over pensions, places, and sinecures--which defies all scrutiny and all analysation, and which, upon the first mention of inquiry into its merits, sends out a shrill, pert cry of faction and disloyalty; and thus we are secure in our approbation of the last, most galling, most degrading parallel in the Athenian Orator's complaint :
« Ταύτα, μα την Δήμητρα, ουκ αν θαυμάσαιμι, ει μείξων ειπόντι έμοι γένοιτο πας' υμών βλάβη, των πεποιηκότων αυτά γενέσθαι· ουδε γαρ παρρησια παρί πάντων αιεί παρ' υμίν εστίν.”
“ In fact, as liberty of speech does not always sait the taste of the times, I should not be at all surprised, if what I have now uttered should be of more injury to myself than to the very perpetrators of what you are suffering.”
This was a bold truth to utter under the “ Tyranny of Democracy,” as it is designated by the aristocratic zeal of Mr. Mit ford : and it is a truth which is equally evident in its application to the existing circumstances of this country. It is notorious that the detectors of political abuses expose themselves to greater danger than they incur who practise and encourage them: it is notorious that certain shackles are imposed on the freedom of discussion,—that truth is liable to be distorted into libel, and that they, of all political writers, live in the greatest personal security, whose pens are employed on the side of the existing Administration, with all its corruptions; and that the men in power betray a strong and watchful jealousy of all the popular writers in this land of liberty and internal security. Now, against this spirit of jealousy our writers have a resource in the law of the land, which the Athenian orators did not possess : it is not exactly that our law of libel is more defined in its purport or extent, for in this respect it is confessedly vague ; but it is more defined in its 66 local habitation” than theirs was. The Athenian law was in effect vested in the Athenian mob; and if this body of fickleness and despotism could be skilfully wielded by some factious declaimer, hopeless was the lot of him whose words could be construed into treason by the vehemence of political, or frequently personal, animosity.
The freedom of our Press does not rest on so precarious a foundation : but there is a body of men, whose interest it is (as detached from the interest of the State) to restrain this freedom within certain limits; and it becomes us to hold fast this safe. guard of our liberties, to look about us on the situation of our own affairs, and to look back on the comparative circumstances