« ForrigeFortsett »
bers ; and we must repeat, that the the protestants, but he might succeed very pretence on which the catholics in reviving controversies, similar to are now to be admitted into parlia. those which drove the Stuarts from the ment, and to the higher offices of the throne. It would then become necesstate the pretence of their insigni- sary to encounter anew the storms of reficance—is such, as will naturally ar-volution ; and if the minds of the peoray them against the protestants, and ple should not sink under the pressure give ten-fold energy to their struggle of the moment--if they should not befor the mastery. It will give them a come the martyrs of tyranny and persepowerful and a permanent interest in cution—if they should still cling with the overthrow of that ascendancy fervour and energy to that constitution, which dares to proclaim their eternal of which the essence is protestant assubordination; and he must be a mere cendency, although the honours of the driveller indeed who does not, in such triumph would be theirs, the guilt circumstances, discover the origin of a which should expose them to so fiery contest far more momentous than all a trial, would not be the less an objec the controversies maintained by all the of their just indignation and vengeance. factions which have flourished since We can discover nothing in the prethe Revolution.
cedent taken from the policy of HenWould the catholics, however, have ry the Fourth of France, on which the power of accomplishing their am- Mr Canning dilated so largely, that is bitious schemes, and of establishing applicable to the state of this country. themselves on the ruins of protestant- Many things are possible to a vigorous ism. Their numbers in parliament despotism, which would be very unsafe would be but small compared with under a free constitution of governthose of the protestants ; and it would ment; where the whole power
of the be too much to say with confidence, state is vested in the monarch, if he that their zeal and intrigue must se- have capacity for the trust, he need cure them an ascendency. But it can- not fear the most bitter animosities of not be necessary to prove so much as faction. Henry the Fourth did not, this; it is enough to indicate in what by the edict of Nantes, give any submanner so melancholy a catastrophe is stantial or independent power to his not improbable. The influence of the protestant subjects ; he still remained crown has become very great in both the absolute master of their destinies houses of parliament ; a prince might just as much as he was before he issued ascend the throne, not openly profes- that famous ordinance. In an English sing, but secretly encouraging the House of Commons, however, the whole catholic religion, and with even the powers of the realm have been justly limited aid which the catholics could said under different forms to reside ; afford him, he might be able to ex
he who is admitted to the functions ecute his purposes. If he were not of a senator, therefore, shares in the su. a madman, he would not hastily ven. preme powers of the state, and obtains, ture on any measures of open hos- of course, a consequence and authoritility towards the protestants, but ty which no subject of monarchical with the help of his own mighty in France ever possessed. He becomes fluence in the legislature, with the dangerous also as he becomes poweraid of the influence and property of ful; and in such circumstances there the catholics, and with the assistance is no ground for supposing that the also of foreign alliances, we do not say experiment made so long ago in France that he could subdue the resistance of could be safely repeated in England.
VOL. V. PART I.
We can, upon the whole, discover no obstacles which stand opposed to way in which the claims of the catho. them, we must fairly own, that we lics can be reconciled with the natural
can see no prospect of their speedy feelings, or just demands of the protes- removal. tants ; and much as we regret the
Affairs of America. Retrospective View of the Disputes betwixt the Britisk
and American Governments. Progress of the Differences.
The relations subsisting betwixt British government in its intercourse Great Britain and the United States with the ministers of the United States. of America, had for many years exhi. England had many obvious reasons bited a very singular aspect. The na- for endeavouring to avert the calamitions were not indeed in a state of open ties of an American war at this period ; war with each other; but the conflict she was engaged in a very arduous of opposite pretensions, the angry dis- contest in Europe,~she had the most cussion of many intricate questions numerous and formidable enemies to of international law, the charges and contend with,-she had the interests recriminations which had for a series of her commerce to maintain, which of years formed the only subject of are always dependent in some degree their diplomatic intercourse, had dif. on a friendly connexion with America; fused over both countries a spirit of and she had, moreover, a natural and distrust and animosity, which could a generous aversion to conquer,
before find in war alone its natural gratifica. she could bring herself to draw the tion. As this unhappy result was ac- sword against a people connected with tually produced in the course of the her by a resemblance in language, present year,
it may not be uninterest. laws, and institutions. These were ing to take a hasty retrospect of the motives sufficiently powerful to have causes which led to an event so much restrained the intemperance of the lamented by the enlightened men of English ministers, even if they had both countries.
not been otherwise remarkable for It seems to be generally thought mildness and forbearance. Had the that the Americans, whether right or principles of international law advanwrong in the principles of public law, ced by the Americans been as sound on which they so obstinately insisted, as an impartial examination of them (a point which shall be afterwards ex. may perhaps shew that they were unamined) might have brought matters reasonable, still it would have been to an amicable arrangement, without in the power of America, had she any material sacrifice even of the ques. sincerely desired peace, to have pretionable maxims for which they con- served it by an honourable compromise tended-for never was the spirit of on those points which had created conciliation carried farther than by the the greatest difference of opinjon, or
almost by any thing short of an abso. culations as to the motives of its hos. luté surrender of the rights and honour tility towards Great Britain, it must of Great Britain, which it was rather be
very far gone in vulgar absurdi. too much in any people to expect. ty. National prejudices so indiscriBut if there be any point in recent minating and so mischievous, are every history which even the arts of faction where but in America confined to the cannot iavolve in doubt, it is this,- lowest ranks ;-they have been long that the government of America was banished out of the more respectable not sincerely desirous of peace with circles even of private life, and could Great Britain, that it took all pos- never find their way into the councils sible means to disturb the moderation
of a great European state without deand provoke the anger of the British voting it to the unsparing ridicu e and ministers ; and that upon all occasions contempt of its neighbours. it betrayed symptoms of the most un- With the narrow prejudices of the accountable partiality to the despotism American mob, other causes combined of France. Those who have studied to hasten a rupture with England. the history of American affairs for the The commercial system,—that mise. last three or four years, will be well rable tissue of blunders which had aware of the grounds on which this 80 long kept down the growing prosopinion has been formed; and a curi- perity of Europe, had been wisely exous enquiry thus suggests itself, ploded by the most enlightened
of the how it should have happened that the European states before the French only republican government in the revolution. The enlarged views and world should, at the greatest crisis of fine talents of the political philosoaffairs, have combined with the most phers who cast a lustre round the close odious of despotisms against a country of the last century, had triumphed which has always been recognised as over every obstacle which ignorance an illustrious model of practical free. and prejudice could oppose ; and Engdom, and which was at this very mo- land and France at last discovered that ment engaged in a grand effort to vin. they had a mutual interest in the comdicate the independence of nations. mercial greatness of each other. They
In attempting to account for this did more than this ; they reduced their singular phenomenon in politics, some. principles to practice, and embodied thing must, no doubt, be allowed for them in a treaty which, if not unexthe yet unextinguished animosity pro. ceptionable in all respects, was at least duced by our unfortunate colonial a great step towards the triumph of
may be thought that preju. genuine philosophy over the errors dices so antiquated must long since and absurdities of the old political have become the exclusive property of school. The French revolution, howthe vulgar; and must have given way, ever, deranged all the plans of enin the minds of enlightened men, to lightened men,-it engendered a ranconsiderations more recent in point of cour and animosity betwixt the natime, and more important in their tions more violent and pernicious than practical influence on American af- the ancient jealousies of the commerfairs. It is a common belief in Eu- cial system, and terminated at last in a rope, however, that the government despotism which threw France and her of America is, to a more than ordi. dependencies far back in the scale of nary degree, under the discipline and improvement. The commercial system controul of the rabble ; and if indeed was revived by the new French govern. there be
truth in the common spe. ment with a barbarous and destructive
fury which had never been even con- extended and desolating warfare ; and templated at any former period; the at the close of a contest of long dura. refined and generous principles which tion and unparalleled fury, in which 80 many great men had contributed to the empire had sometimes contended establish, were forgotten; their works with the combined energies of Euwere neglected or proscribed ; the rope, it not only remained untouched, progress
of human improvement was but had mightily extended itself duarrested,' and ail seemed about to be- ing every year of hostility. The war come a sacrifice to the rude genius of had terminated in the establishment of an overwhelming despotism. Even du. a naval power which had gathered ring the short interval of repose which strength by all the efforts made to succeeded the treaty of Amiens, the weaken it ; and had now risen so high maxims of the new government were as to bid defiance to all rivalry. The sufficiently indicated in the impolitic rulers of France reflected on these restraints and prohibitions by which matters with bitterness corresponding the commercial intercourse of the coun- to the disappointment of their hopes ; tries was fettered. England did not they despaired of being able to meet indeed pretend that such measures af. this enormous power by any ordinary forded a legitimate ground for hostili. efforts ; and could think of no way of ties, since every nation being supreme checking its further growth, but by within itself, has a right to determine the entire sacrifice of their own comwhether it shall receive the commodi. merce and resources. They hoped, ties of foreign states; but if the com- that by excluding all the productions mercial animosity of France could not of British industry from their ports, have justified England in dei laring war, and by prohibiting the use of British it certainly afforded her a solid ground commodities throughout France and for entertaining jealousy against a pow. her dependencies, they might gradualer thus hostile to her interests, and ly undermine this overgrown power ; called upon her to watch all the pro. while their depraved policy at the ceedings of that power with the most same time sought to inculcate a belief scrupulous vigilance.
among their subjects, that such meaThe unrivalled commercial greatness sures would promote the industry of of England at this period, surpassing France. Thus was a system establishall that history records, and all that ed (if indeed so rude and impolitic a even the most flattering visions of her thing, deserve the name) in direct opstatesmen had contemplated, was an position to all the views of modern object of bitter and unceasing mortifi. science; a system which was in truth cation to the politicians of France, but a barbarous extension of the old her naval supremacy, which was found theories, which so many enlightened ed on the prosperity of her commerce, men had endeavoured to banish for and promised for it an indefinite dura- ever from the world, tion, filled their minds with jealousy The measures thus adopted by and apprehension. These feelings rose France had a twofold connection with to the highest pitch after the peace of the affairs of America. In the first Amiens. Europe seemed to learn, for place, the American statesmen enterthe first time, that the commercial tained much the same feelings with grandeur of England possessed a sta. respect to the commercial and naval bility which had never been supposed greatness of England with their friends to belong to this species of power. It in France ; their understandings were kad withstood the shock of the most in general of the same characters and