Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Vol. XXII. No. 8.] LONDON, SATURDAY, AUGUST 22, 1812.

[Price 1s.

225)

[226 under our ancient sovereigns; that, in short, SUMMARY OF POLITICS.

we owe nothing to German discipline or BATTLE OF SALAMANCA.- -Battles are German dress, or to any person, any thing characterized by their results, and as this German. As to the consequences of this battle has ended in the capture of 7,000 victory, they will not, I am very much prisoners, and those prisoners Frenchmen afraid, be so beneficial to the nation as too, it may, with truth, be said, that, upon many persons seem to expect. The wise this occasion, we have gained a victory; way to act would be to take advantage of it a real victory; something for Englishmen for the purpose of proposing peace, for to be proud of; something to make them which the occasion is now extremely faforget, for a while, at least, the campaigns vourable, especially if the news from Sweden of Dunkirk and the Helder, at the latter of and Russia be true. If Napoleon be pressed which places the Duke of York agreed to hard ; if he be, as it is said he is, in a pesurrender many thousands of Frenchmen rilous situation in the North of Europe; if then in England, as the price of being per- this be really the case, it seems natural to mitted to embark his own army. Now, conclude, that this is the moment to prohowever, we have something, at last, on pose to treat, seeing that (as we are told). the other side; we have now a vic.ory to his armies in Spain cannot long hold their sing. Our numbers in the battle were cer- ground. By a treaty, begun at this mo. tainly very greatly superior to those of the ment, we might possibly render Spain inenemy, and, even according to our own ac- dependent of France, and might also save counts, we had, in many respects, the ad- Russia; but, I am of opinion, that, if we vantage over him; but, we have gained a pursue the war in the hope of doing more victory; our army has beaten a French than this; if we pursue the war in the aray in the field; and our commander has hope of effecting what is still called “the beaten a French Marshal, one of those men“ deliverance of Europe," we shall have, who have had the subduing of the continent by and by, to lament our conduct in the of Europe. --This being the case, there same strain that we lament the letter writis, on this occasion, justifiable cause for fir- ten by Lord Grenville in answer to that of ing the Park and Tower guns. There is a Napoleon before the Battle of Marengo. fair ground for rejoicings. It is not now a It is possible, and I think it probable, that shame to hear people boasting a little. Napoleon will be victorious in the North. Such boasts are excusable, especially after I think he will ; but, at any rate, it is posthe fate of so many expeditions against the sible; and, at the very least, there is no French. The details of the victory will chance of the Czar's refusing to make be found below in the Gazelte, which I in- peace with him upon terins tolerably good sert; and details they are very honourable for France. The Czar may love us very to our arıny and full of glory to their coun- dearly; he may be as constant as a dove'; try. They show (if, indeed, that had been but, there is no man will make me believe, wanted) that Englishmen still inherit the that the Czar would not make peace with courage, for which their forefathers were Napoleon, if he could thereby secure his renowned ; and they show, as Major Cart. dominions from that terrible revolution (I wright says, that to defend England, English mean terrible to the Czar) which seems in årms only are wanted. They show, that have been actually begun in the Russian we stand in need of no foreign aid to pro- States. ----Peace made with Russia, Napos tect us against the French.- -This, liow- leon would not be long in retrieving affairs ever, was not a point doubtful with me be- in Spain, even if his armies had evacuated fore. I have always scouted the notion, the country; and, therelore, I say, now is that we have recently become a match for the time to propose terins of peace. It is, the French, man 10 man. I have always indeed, possible, that Napoleon may be decontended, that our army is not now either feated in the North; and, in that case, a more brave or more steady than it was treaty for peace would come better after

H

[ocr errors]

wards ; but, the risk is too great to run ; their resolution to enjoy, and to enable and, therefore, I am for proposing terms of their children to enjoy, the rights of man; peace now. - There are, I know, persons the moment they did this, that very moin this country who never wish to see any ment did those in this country, who had peace with Napoleon; and who would ra- formerly taken such pains to paint their ther see the people of England die from misery and slavery, begin to tell us, that misery than see him formally acknowledged the French were very well off, and that as an Emperor and King. I trust, how they were fools or knaves, if not both ever, that this malignant and foolish way of at once, to attempt to make a revolution, thinking will not prevail; for, if it does, which these persons now represented to us woe be unto this nation.- When men

as a most horrible thing, though heretofore talk of the deliverance of Europe," they they had been teaching us to boast of and do not, one would suppose, know what to commemorate the revolution in England. they mean. They would begin, I dare All this the people of France rememsay, by the deliverance of France; and, ber; and, though I have been here speakwhat folly must fill the mind of that man, ing of the acts of our deceivers, the people who supposes, that the people of France of France can make no distinction; and they would exchange their present, for their do remember, they will remember, they former, governmenit!" What folly, what must remember, that, before their revoluprofound ignorance, must possess the man tion, this nation reproached them as being who imagines, that the people of France slaves, and that they had scarcely declared sigh for an opportunity of returning to their that they would no longer be slaves, when former state; and, that is the state (I beg this nation joined in a war against them the reader to observe) to which the deli- along with those sovereigns whose armies verers of Europe wish to restore them. were headed by the Duke of Brunswick.

- The people of France are not so stupid - These things the people of France can as to be ignorant of the motives of these never forget. They must bear them in Deliverers; the people of France remem- mind, because they are so notorious, and ber, that, before their revolution, when are in their very nature of so much importthey lived under the house of Bourbon, it ance. -Now, then, either what our was the fashion with English writers, Eng. Clergy and Politicians, that is to say, the lish painters, English Statesmen and Legis- Church and the State; either what they Jators, to treat them as slaves, as acknowo taught us to believe about the former miJedged slaves ; that we used to exhibit thein sery and slavery of the French people was as poor fribbles, as ineagre, half-starved, true or it was riot. If the latter, let them ragged, bare-boned wretches; that we used account for their conduct; if the former, to hold them up to the world as frog- what is to be said of those who replace the eaters, as lappers of soup neagre; that we French people in their former situation? used to be continually compariug their ab- Either the speeches of our members of parject subjection to their priests with our free- liament; the writings of our poets, our dom in religious matters; that we used to historians, our moralists, and our divines; represent their ecclesiastics as eating up the the works of our painters and statuaries ; produce of the land, while the people eat either all these are false ; either they are little more than the reptiles; that we used all full of lies and calumny against the to reproach them as the basest of slaves, French nation and the old French goverbecause they submitted to Lettres de Cachel ment, or, the French were a most miserand to the horrid cruelties of the Bastile. able and degraded people, and their go

-All this the people of France remem- vernment an execrable tyranny. Let the ber; and, they remember, too, that the " Deliverers" choose, therefore; let them moment they promulgated their resolution acknowledge, that the people of France and no longer to submit to these indignities; the old French government were calumnithe moment they proclaimed to the world ated for the purpose of cheating the people their resolution no longer to be robbed of of England into a belief that they were the fruit of their labour, and to feed upon better off than their neighbours, and also frogs and soup meagre, while their masters for the purpose of making them despise the fed upon the meat, and bread, and butter, French, and be the more ready to enter and all the fat of the land; the moment into wars against them; let the Deliverthey proclaimed their resolution not to be “ ers" acknowledge this, or, let them find any longer exposed to arbitrary imprison- out a justification for the war which Engment; the moment, in short, they declared land waged against the French revolution.

At any rate, the "Deliverers" may the Lettres de Cachel, which, in English, be well assured, that all this is well under- means literally, letters under seal, but stood in France; and, that, therefore, in which were, in fact, orders secretly issued order to begin the work of delivery, the by the government for the seizing of any former opinions and assertions of English persons, and sending them to a solitary priwriters and orators must be satisfactorily son, there to be kept during pleasure. There explained. -But, it is said, that there is was no warrant, no magistrate, no oath, no a medium : though the people of France be confronting with the accuser; but any man, not so well off as they were under their old at any moment, might be seized and imgovernment, there is no necessity for carry- mured for life; might be dragged from the ing them back to their former state.- -I bosom of his family, and thrown into a know that assertions like these are made, dungeon to die raving mad, or to pine out a and, as it is possible, that they may have miserable existence. And, there were produced an impression where such an im- times when these ' horrible lettres de cuchet pression might lead to mischievous conse- were to be purchased of the government, quences, I will avail myself of this oppor- with blanks for the names of the persons tó tunity, which is a very suitable one, for be imprisoned, to be filled up at the pleaexamining these propositions, and for in-sure of the purchaser, who thus, by mere quiring into the probability of prevailing dint of money, became the master of the upon the people of France to be is deliver liberty and life of any one whom he wished « ed" from their present state.

- The to ruin.- -Here was a blessing! A blessfirst proposition is, then, that the people of ing which the French do not now enjoy, France are now worse of than they were but which they would have enjoyed to this under their old government.

-This is a day, if their revolution had not taken proposition so void of truth; it is such a place, or, if a counter-revolution had taken Hagrant, such an impudent, falsehood, that place. But, say the Deliverers, one, at first sight, is astonished to hear it Napoleon's government makes use of lellres advanced; but, when one cousiders the nu- de cachet; or, at least, of something equally merous pens that are employed in England, arbitrary. The "Deliverers" do not deal constantly employed in the work of pro- in proofs. They do not attempt to produce mulgating notions disadvantageous to all proof of any thing they assert, and, therechange in government; when one consi- fore, we might suffer their assertion in this ders the means that are made use of to en respect to pass for what it is, in itself, courage, support, and circulate the produc-worth. But, I take upon me to deny it. tions of these prostituted pens, one's won- I say it is false ; and I say that no person

der at the effect is changed into iudignation can be sent to prison in France without an at the cause. The deceiving of the peo- oath made against him before sworn magis

ple of England does not, however, alter the trates, and without proof of guill sufficient real state of the case ; and we will now see to satisfy the mind of at least five magishow that stands. We will take a few in- trales. And I say, that, beyond the space stances of those blessings, to the enjoyment of three months, no man can be kept impriof which the “Deliverers" would willingly soned without a trial; and that no man restore the people of France; and, when can be imprisoned, for any cause, without we have so done, we shall the better be being brought to trial within the space of able to judge of the likelihood of the people three months.If I ain asked how I of France wishing to be delivered. We know this, my answer is, that I know it in will not talk about political rights and pri- the same way that I know our own laws. I vileges, but will confine ourselves to things know it by reading the laws of France; I touching the purse and the persons of the know it by reading the Criminal Code of people; and see what degree of security Napoleon, which has been promulgated either enjoyed under the old government of through all France and all Europe. This France. In treating of the blessings of is the way I know it; and, knowing it, I the old government of France, any man am not easily to be persuaded, that the peomust be at a loss where to begin. Those ple of France feel very eager to be delivered blessings were so numerous as well as so from this Code, in order to be restored to great, and there were so many of them that that of the blessings of lettres de cachet and

seemed to vie with each other in magni- the Bastile.—The next blessing that I tude, that, really, the list presents a great shall mention was the Gabelle, or fax upon difficulty as to giving a preference; how- salt. All the taxes were oppressive in eyer, I will begin with that prime blessing, their mode of collection; and the insolence

mous tax.

manner.

Or

[ocr errors]

and tyranny of the tax-oilicers were into other blessing of the old government was lerable; but the Gabelle was the most fa- the Corvées, or the labour of keeping the

In the first place, every family public roads in repair. This was a most was compelled to buy a certain quantity of cruel oppression on the common people, salt per head, in the course of the year, who were compelled to make and keep in wherber they wanted it or not, under the repair most grand and beautiful roads withpain of various fines according to the nature out any payment for their labour, while of the case.

Salt being made very dear by the Nobility and Clergy, who used the the tax, and being almost a necessary of roads and owned the lands, contributed life, became, of course, an object of smug. not a farthing.--Under Napoleon there gling. For this offence various penalties are no Corvées ; he supports the roads out were inflicted, all of them horribly severe. of the taxes raised upon the whole of the In many cases dealh ; in some six years people. And does the reader believe, that hard labour in the galleys or hulks. Wo- the people of France are over anxious to men and Children were punished in a cruel have the Corvées restored ? Does he be.,

Women, married and single, for lieve, that the people of France sigh to be the first offence, a fine of 100 liv. Second, delivered from the want of Corvées ?500 liv. Third, flogged and banished the The next blessing that I shall mention was kingclom for life. Husbands responsible that of the dixmes, or, in English, the for their wives both in fine and body. Tithes. These amounted to about 8 or Children the same as women. Fathers 9,000,000 of pounds sterling annually, in and mothers responsible, and for defect of a country where provisions and all the nepayment, flogged. It is calculated by cessaries of life were low in nominal value Mons. le Baron de Cormeré in the 3d vol. compared to what they were in England. of his Researches, page 187, that there These Tithes maintained about 3 were annually taken up and sent to prison 400,000 Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Priests, or the galleys, on account of the Gabelle, Monks, Friars, Nuns; the far greater part 2,340 men, 896 women, 201 children. of whom, being the sons and daughters of Total 3,437.- This blessing no longer the nobility, lived only for the purpose of exists in France. There is no law of Ga- devouring the produce of the people's labelle under Napoleon. I will leave the bour.-- - This blessing no longer exisis. reader to judge, whether the people of THERE ARE NO TITHES IN France can be extremely desirous of being FRANCE. Those who wish to have a delivered from the want of a Gabelle.- priest, pay the said priest, and the Bishops The government not only took from the have a moderate salary from the governmass of the people every penny that ment. Every one is free to follow that went beyond the means of barely support mode of worship that he likes best. There ing themselves, but, it was as partial as are no religious tests in France. The Code it was greedy; for, from the most bur- Napoleon knows nothing at all of religious densome of the taxes all the Nobility distinctions. All Frenchmen have the and the Clergy were exempted, while same rights, immunities and privileges. the common people were pressed down -Does the reader believe, then, that to the earth by the hand of the tax. the people of France wish to be restored to gatherers, who were sent into the different the enjoyment of paying tithes ? Does he provinces armed with such dreadful pow. believe,' that they wish to be delivered ers, that no man's property, or even life, from laws which leave every man to do as was safe, if he had the misfortune to offend he likes as to matters of religion? Does them or any one having influence with the reader imagine, that the French farmer them. They could exempt, change, add, longs for the time to return when he shall or diminish at their pleasure. The detail again be called upon to give a tenth of his of the oppressions committed by these of- crops to the fat monks of some neighbour. ficers makes one shudder as one reads, and ing convent ? Yet, this is what the reader makes it impossible to restrain one's indig- must believe before he can believe, that nation against those who have the impu- the people of France wish to be delivered dence, the unfeeling effrontery, to talk of from the sway of Napoleon and to be redelivering a people from the want of such stored to that of the House of Bourbon. execrable tyranny; for, in the taxes of - The Game Laws was another blessNapoleon, there are no exceptions; all ing, to which, I suppose, the “Deliverers" property of all persons pays alike towards would fain restore the people of France. che expenses of the government.-- -An- When we speak of Game, under the old

[ocr errors]

government of France, we must figure to mill, bake their bread at his oven, press ourselves whole droves of wild boars, and their grapes at his wine-press, and pay a herds of deer, not confined by any wall or tax in all cases for so doing ; besides end, paling, but rambling at will over the less duties and fines which they imposed whole country, to the destruction of the upon the people; besides these griev. crops in the fields and gardens. To touch ances, which the people experienced any of these, or any other sort of game, was, the hands of the feudal lords, the latter, to the offender, a punishment little short of | held courts of justice in their several death. To such an extent was the tyranny manors. In these courış litigation, for the of the government carried in this respect, sake of lucre to the lord, was endless, every that, in certain districts, called Capilaine- species of chicanery was favoured, the parries, the farmer, though he might be the ries were frequently ruined not only by: owner of the land, did not dare to weed or enormous expenses but by loss of time. In hoe bis corn, nor lo cut his upland hay or short, one is at a loss to say, under which his stubble before obtaining permission, the people suffered most, the royal, or the lest he should thereby disturb the par. clerical, or the feudal, tyrariny; but, this tridges' nests. He did not dare steep his one may easily believe, that, all put ton seed lest it should injure the game; nor did gether amounted to a state of suffering which he dare to manure his land with night soil, no human being ought to endure, and which lest the favour of the birds should be in- 110 human being will endure a moment jured by their feeding on the corn pro- longer than the sword of power is held to duced by such manure. -What will the his throat. - The Jacobins; aye, reader, Deliverers" say to the people of France, the abused Jacobins ; the abused, the caq when they propose to them deliverance lumniated, Jacobins ; they swept away, they from the laws which liave abolished such tore up by the roots, and scattered in the insolent tyranny as this ? The Jacobins winds, this feudal tyranny in France. Naabolished all the Game laws, and made the poleon found it abolished by law; and that game the property of whomsoever occupied law he has carefully preserved and mainthe land. They made any man liable to a tained. There is now no feudal tyranny fine for trespass if he went on añother in France. There are even no feudal rights man's ground, without his leave, to seek or tenures. There are no fines, no heriols, for, or to pursue, game; but, they abo- no exactions of the sort. The holders or lished all the exclusive rights of killing or occupiers of real property know now of ng of eating game; and, as they left the law superior authority but the government. so Napoleon found it, and so he has wisely All real property is freehold and tithe free, kept it. Now, I ask the reader, whe-And is it from a state like this that it ther he believes it to be possible, that the is proposed to deliver the land-owner and people of France should wish to be delivered the land-occupier ? Does the reader befroin the game laws, as they now stand lieve, that such persons will be very eager under Napoleon. I ask him whether he to be delivered back into the hands of the can possibly suppose, that the people of lords of manors and their courts of justice ? France have any desire to be restored to Does the reader believe, that the people of their former blessed state with respect to France are such decided beasts as to prefer wild boars, deer, and other game. Thou- their former to their present state ?sands of the people of France were annually Mr. Arthur Young (from whose Travels dragged to the galleys for offences against principally I have taken my facts) in speak, these execrable game laws. And does the ing of the outcry that was raised, against reader believe, that they wish to be re- the country people in France on account of stored to the blessing of being sent to the their violences at the outset of the French galleys for scarcely looking into a par- Revolution, has the following passage : tridge's nest ?-Great, however, as were “It is impossible to justify the excesses of the blessings which the people of France the people on their taking up arms; they derived immediately froin the government, were certainly guilty of cruelties; it is idle they were, if possible, exceeded by those, to deny the facts, for they have been which flowed to them froin their feudal proved too clearly to admit of a doubt. lords, who, living amongst them, in the But is it really the people to whoin we are several parishes, or villages, ground them to impute the whole? Or to their opto the very earth. These lords, besides pressors, who had kept them so long in a numerous exactions, such as compelling state of bondage ? He who chooses to be the people to grind their corn at the lord's served by slaves, and by ill-treated slaves,

« ForrigeFortsett »