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CHAP. the founders of British liberty ; what they induced was,
the military tyranny which made all sigh for the Resto-
“ Vermess sich kerner untugendlich,
Untrue schandet alles !” * The French invasion of Spain in 1823 was a model of 127. Great merit combined energy and moderation, and affords an apt French illustration of observations made in another work as to into Spain the consequences which might have resulted from a more
. vigorous action on the part of the allied powers in their 1 Hist. of invasion of Champagne in 1792.1 Denied and passed Europe, c.
over in silence by the Liberal and Napoleonist historians, who had an object in keeping out of view its merits, it was in reality an expedition which reflected equal honour on the government which planned, and the generals and soldiers who executed it. Undertaken in support of Royalist principles, and to overcome a revolutionary convulsion, it partook of the dangerous character which more or less belongs to all wars of opinion; and had it been conducted with less vigour and moderation, it would infallibly have lighted a flame which would have involved Europe in conflagration. Jealousy of France is inherent in the Spanish character : it burned as fiercely in the breasts of the Royalists as the Liberals ; a spark might have set the whole country on fire. A cruel massacre, such as that of Murat at Madrid, on 2d May 1808—an act of perfidy, like that which has for ever disgraced the memory of Napoleon at Bayonne-would at once have caused the entire nation to run to arms. England, in
*"Scatheless held by virtue's shield,
Dare alone this sword to wield ;
such an event, could never have remained a passive CHAP. spectator of the strife, and probably a new Peninsular war would have arisen, rivalling in blood and devastation that which Wellington had brought to a glorious termination. But by advancing with vigour and celerity at once to the capital—by paying for everything, and avoiding the execrable system of making war maintain war—by disclaiming all intention of territorial aggrandisement, and generously proclaiming an entire amnesty for political offences, they succeeded in detaching the revolutionary party from the vast majority of the nation, and effecting that which Napoleon, during six campaigns, sought in vain to accomplish. Little blood was shed in Spain, because the wisdom of the measures adopted required little to be shed; and never was eulogium more just than the generous,
°1 Ann. Hist. one pronounced on it by Mr Canning, who said, “ Never vi. 480, 481. was so much done at so little cost of human life.”l. So great was the advantage gained by the government
128. of the Restoration, in consequence of the glorious issue of it bad near
ly establish this campaign, that it went far to establish it on a lasting ed tho foundation. But for the blind infatuation which, under theo the direction of the priests, guided the Government of ration. Charles X., it in all probability would have done so. The prophecy of Chateaubriand had been fulfilled to the letter. The Royalists and Republicans had forgot their animosities under the tent; the reign of Louis XVIII. terminated in a state of peace and unanimity which could not possibly have been hoped for at its commencement. So strong is the military spirit in the French people, so ardent and inextinguishable their thirst for war, that when these passions are once roused, they obliterate for the time every other, and unite parties the most opposite, and feelings the most discordant, in the eager pursuit of the ruling national desire. Napoleon himself could not have preserved his throne but for the whirl in which his incessant wars kept the minds of his people. Louis XIV. was, till he became involved in misfortune, the most VOL. II.
CHAP. popular monarch who ever sat upon the throne of France;
and if circumstances had admitted of either Charles X. 1823.
or Louis Philippe going to war, and emerging victorious from its dangers, it is not going too far to assert that the family of one or other of them would still have been in possession of it.
No doubt can now remain that the French invasion of 129. The French Spain, against which public feeling in this country was invasion of Spain was so strongly excited at the time, was not only a wise justifiable.
measure on the part of the Bourbon government, but
Napoleon II. When such measures were in progress, it CHAP. was evident that the safety of France, and the preservation of its institutions, were seriously menaced, and that its 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 in
130. tervention of England in favour of the insurgent colonies was the
English inin South America, which was done in so efficacious a tervention manner, and from the success of which consequences of South Ame such incalculable importance have ensued to both hemi-Fi 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 bave 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, ,, and against the mother country. The decisive battle of Europe, c.
Ixvii. ss Carabobo was gained entirely by British battalions and 69, 72. a charge of the British bayonet.
What was the justification for this armed and powerful intervention? Was the freedom of England menaced Its ultimate by the re-establishment of Spanish authority in South effects to America ? Confessedly it was not : the hope of commer- En cial advantages, the vision of a vast trade with the insurgent states, was the ruling motive. But commercial
Es ultimate disastrous
CHAP. advantages will not constitute legal right, or vindicate acts
- of injustice, any more than the acquisition of provinces 1823.
will 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 friendly 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.
END OF VOL. II.
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