Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Military Education. ral Hill deserves praise. He is said to have displayed it eminently in the battle of which we are speaking. Mr. Perceval moved the thanks of the House of Commons for this victory; he took occasion in his speech upon this subject to mention the distinguished manner in which General Hill had repulsed the French at the point of the bayonet. In the late affairs of the surprise of General Girard, and of the bridge of Almaraz, General Hill has crowned his former reputation; but as the documents of these actions have already been given in full in the Military Chronicle, we now pass them over,

MILITARY EDUCATION.

Mr. Editor.-ST. PHILIP, your correspondent, appears to write with judgment on the confined system of Military Education in this country. Possibly one reason why those officers who have studied abroad are found more competent, is, because the very act of a temporary residence in a foreign land insensibly expands the mind, leads it to comparisons, and gives it some insight into men and manners. A restricted education is ill calculated to form a character of discrimination, and firinness; men so instructed will require a precedent for all their actions, and unless the able General Dundas, or some author of their acquaintance, has provided a remedy for any accidental dilemma, the dearth of grand and fertile conceptions renders them undecided, and their arrangements consequently without evergy.

A solid foundation should therefore be laid of the elemental parts of learning; and as all the branches of knowledge have a mutual connection and dependance, the only way to prevent narrow prejudices in favour of one is to afford, at the same time, a prospect of several, and alternately to exercise the mind upon each. A general frames his designs according to the measure of his talents and the means within his reach; the great and cultivated spirit rises superior to difficulties, and dares resources which would appal the weak and barren understanding. A Spanish couplet well expresses this idea

Si impossibles parecen empressas altas
Es glorioso en los hombres, solo ententarlas;

Alma resiste!
Por que en difficultates

Gloria consiste I would maintain that an education on the plan now adopted cannot fit a man for the coinmand of an army, although it may render him competent to the mechanism of moving or fighting a brigade under the eye and orders of more comprehensive heads, any more than what is termed a classical education, viz. a knowledge of Latin and Greek, can form a statesman. Have we not a recent and lamentable example, that a fertile memory in capping verses is not a sufficient qualification for the representative of Majesty in a foreign cabinet.

Character of Plutarch.

In the morning of our days, the seeds of general knowledge should be sown, and the mind be induced to nurture the plants as they spring, and to grasp at information on many subjects. Then, though unforeseen difficulties and disappointments arise, it will not lose itself in astonishment and surprise, but retire to its own resources with confidence; and, relying on its innate strength, will dare lofty and original acts.

I submit to the judgment of the more experienced, whether the system of education now in use at public schools does not tend to enlarge the ideas and expand the mind, and consequently to form great military characters, rather than the establishments of Marlow and Wycomb, (into which interest alone can open admittance). Could not a professor of nuilitary tactics be added to the masters of Eton, Westminster, &c. &c. in order that youths intended for the army might imbibe professioval instruction without being deprived of the general knowledge essential for those who are to figure in the grand world? Although characters competent to the task are difficult to be found, yet some few surely may be selected, and if royal patronage followed their exertions, others would rise from obscurity, warmed by the rays which beam kindly on their humble merit.

Miles BRITANNICUS.

CHARACTER OF PLUTARCH.

SIR--I have seen with a great deal of pleasure, that in your last number of the Mr. LITARY Classics you are giving Plutarch to the army, and I hope every officer will avail himself of this cheap method of obtaining a copy of this most inestimable author, (whether we consider him as a soldier, a statesmen, or historian), which the stream of time has brought down to us without merging him in its ware. The following, Sir, is an extract from a speech of the great Lord Chatham, when Mr. Pitt, in the House of Commons-" The book from which I have quoted, Sir, in enforcement of my sentiments, " is one of those which has always been my study and delight. No book, I say, Sir, " was ever perused by me with equal satisfaction to that which I experienced from the “ lives of Plutarch.” Another great and learned man expressed himself eyually warmly in praise of this admirable author. The following is an extract from the works of Gay Patin.—“ Pliny's Natural History is one of the best books in the world, and is of itself

a library; but if to this you add Plutarch and Seneca, you bave then the whole family “ of good books; the father, mother, and son,"

The praise of Budæus, however, another very eminent scholar, is still more pointed. Budæus was the favourite and chancellor of Francis the first; King of France; he was always with this sovereign in his hours of leisure, and'ackompanied him to the splendid interview he had with Henry the Eighth, near Ardres. He asked him one day-Were all the books to be burned, which book he would choose to have exempted from the general destruction. “The works of Plutarch, Sir," replied he, "for they contain the ele“ ments of every thing that is known.” It may not be amiss to mention, for the encou. ragement of some of your military readers, that Budæus, to use bis own words, was « both self-taught, and late taught.” He supplied these defeels by his great pains, and became one of the profoundest scholars of his age, and this' without neglecting the duties of his chancellorship. He was at the same time, as I have said, the favourite of Francis the first, and the correspondent of Erasmus,

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.

COMPARATIVE ESTIMATES

OF THE
STRENGTH OF FRANCE AND RUSSIA:

SECOND PART. RUSSIA,

Concluded from page [227]. THE Russian cabinet knew, that in terminating a war such as that carried on by revolutionary France, no government could be at liberty to adhere so far to lack nied precedents and principles long disregarded by all its neighbours, as to compromise the safety of the state. Who first settled at the cape of Good Hope, colonized Brasil and Surinam, or conquered St. Domingo*, and to whom had belonged Malta, Candia, Egypt, and Bassora,

• Since the House of Bourbon ascended the throne of Spain, the separation of the colony of St. Domingo from France, was, in as far as relates to Great Britait, tbe most important event that has occurred in the politics of tbe world. It should have been considered by the British government as brougiit about by the guardian-angel of the empire, to affirm our national existence, and perpetuate our maritimde grandeur !

Of every twenty years that have elapsed since the peace of Utrecht, we have had to fight ten with monarchical France, in defence of our foreign possessions and maritime trade. In that period all that we have acquired is Canada in farm, and have lust in property that iminense empire which now makes the United States of America; wa have incurred a debt that absorbs twenty millions sterling annually, of the industry of ibe public; we have lost the naval support of Holland, the markets of Europe for our manufactures, and all political connexion with the continent. In the mean time, France is become a military state, has doubled fier national powers, tripled her military force, disembarrassed herself from debt, soused the inoral energy of the public by her conquests, extended her political influence from Washington to Moscow, and het military comaíand frow Bergen in Norway to Madagascar. lo this relative situation we had the most indisputable of all rights, that of self.preservation, to have used every means in our power to prevent the French republic ever again acquiring possessions abroad. The revolution of France in itself was a matter of indifference 10 Great Britain as a state; her Jacobinism was a bugbear wherewith to frighten fools; or had she conquered continental Europe, what was that to us? It was our business to care, that neither France nos muy power under ber influence and authority should either conqner of retain a single post or settlement out of Europe ; and above all things, Great Britain ibould have spent ber last shilling to maintain a separation between France, republic of toonarchy, and Si. Domingo. Rather than suffer that island to fall under the dominion of the consulate, it would be good policy on our part to give to any power, Russia or America, no matter which; that would protect it, either independent or as a colony, the island of Jamaica as a douceur.

At war with France, she being unable to conquer our possessions, could not impose upon us any obligation to respect bers. Or, for wbat purpose go to war? If we went out to figbt merely in our own desence, in that case, we bad ceriainly, when it was in dur power, a right to provide for our future satety. Our allies subdued, and the contident of Europe under the dominion of our enemies, the future safety of the Britisly VOL, IV. No. 22.

2 L

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia. were, in the court of Petersburgh, considerations of no sort of political import. the government of Russia believed, that it was now the question, who should hercafter possess those and other such sertlemerits that concerned the interests and safety of the British empire; and it was thought that overtures drawn up, upon that principle, would have been made by the British ministry. Indeed all Europe expected that such would have been our line of conduct at this auspicious moment. Those who were in anywise interested for the future prosperity of the British empire and peace of the world, ardently wished that a cordial and solid arrangement between the governments of Great Britain and Russia might take place, and our enemies almost trembled for the consequence. But here again Buonaparte's stars came

1

empire undoubtedly required, that sources of maritime trade and naval power, sufficient to oblige those very enemies to open their ports to our commerce, and their councils tu our political influence, should have been retained. As France estended her dominions in Europe, it was our duty to have confined her to that continent, and to have increased and secured our own possessions abroad. If the republic should recover the island of Hispaniola, that settlement alone, will, in spite of the world, give her a preponderance upon the ocean, equal to the superiority she now assumes on land!

• When the Chief Consul heard that our fleet was returning from the Baltic through the Belts and the Sound unmolested, knowing that his army in Egypt could neither hold out, nor be reinforced, he looked upon an alliance between Great Britain and Russia as certain. It is no secret, that under this apprehension, Buonaparte hastened to offer his mediation between the Bashaw of Widdin and the Grand Signior; he at the same time, proposed to His Sublime Highness, to seud a troop of French soldiers and engineers from Otranto in Italy, through Macedonia, to defend the canal of Constanti. nople; and he sent his most confidential adherents loaded with intrigues and diamonds to Petersburgh, Berlin, Copenhagen, and to other quarters; as we skall particularize in the second part of these sketches. He lavished his eulogics on the Prince Royal of Denmark, and pressed him to accept succours of men, officers, and arms; and he used all his art to bring about an accord, or rather a co-operation between the courts of Berlin and Vienna. In this last negociation the Consul was secunded by certain men, who little suspected his motives!

What made the French government more anxious, and alınost alarmed at the probability of an alliance between Great Britain and Russia was, that in a correspondence between General Duroc and some persons near the court of Berlin, a graud treaty was stated to be really in agitation aud far advanced, and which was said to have for its basis 2 plan, that had been proposed to the First Consul, and demurred upon, during the life of Paul I. viz.-1. To re-establish the Greek enpire, to be confined to the Turkish dominions in Europe. 2. To erect Natolia, Candia, and Cyprus, into an hereditary monarcly for the exiled princes of the House of Bourbon, under the guarantee of Russia. 3. That the Ionian Republic of the Seven Islands, and the island of Malta be given to the order of the St. John of Jerusalem. 4. That Egypt be an independent state under the protection of Russia and France.

To these four articles Great Britain was said to have acceded, taking upon herself the guarantees wbich the Emperor Paul had offered to France; and to have likewise agreed with Russia and Denmark upon the following clauses, to wit:-St. Domingo, (or the tho Island of Cuba if America should prefer St. Domingo) ceded to Russia, Porto

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia. round, and cast their baneful shade over all the hopes of his adversaries ! Our cuckoo-song on subsidy, the dangers of Jacobinism, export duries on hemp, tallow, and iron; and the import duties on coals, calicoes and cillery; with a long chapter on the formalities under which a British officer Rico given to Denmark and guaranteed by Russia and England. Another sugar island to Sweden, to be guaranteed by the same powers. Holland, as far as the Scheld, to be given to Prussia; and the Prince of Orange to be indemnified in Poland. The Cape of Good Hope should be a free municipal settlement under the immediate protection and support of Great Britain and Russia. That Russia should enjoy a free and unrestricted trade from the Elbe to India, China, &c. With some efficacious measures to be adopted for the delivery and independency of Spain and Italy from the yoke of France; for the security of the Portuguese settlements abroad, and for the exploration of the country and improvement of the trade of Brasil.

Whether, by this presumed treaty, it was intended to secure as much of the Consul's influence as possible on the side of Brandenburgh, in the general partition of Germany, or whether a plan for such an arrangement did really exist, we shall not here give any opinion. Certain it is, however, that to prevent its being carried into effect, all the talents and invention of the cabinet of Malmaison were occupied; and what, we must allow, did more credit to the capacity of Buonaparte's ministers than to the diplomatic sagacity of some other parties, before it was either known at the courts of Berlin, Vienna, or London, that any intercourse between France, Russia, and Turkey, was opened, the conventions now subsisting belween the Emperor Alexander and the Consul, and between the latter and the Grand Signior, were signed and ratified. It was then that Buonaparte resolved upon the entire subjugation of Italy, the partition of Germany, the acquisition of the kingdom of Fez, and the dominion of Brasil.

With respect to Brasil, next to Indostan, that country is the object that most immedi. ately occupied the cabinet of St. Cloud. The Consul knows, that were it possible to dispossess Great Britain of her settlements abroad, should the British government secure the empire of Brasil, our maritime and naval superiority would be consolidated in spite of all his efforts. It is the only country on the globe which neither France nor her allies could ever molest; she cannot approach it by land, and in our possession, it could alone maintain a navy that would bid defiance to the naval power of the rest of the world. To prevent Brasil falling under our dominion, the Consul lately spread out his protecting arn over Lisbon, and forbade his soldiers, as well as those of the king of Spain, to pillage that capital. Had General Lasnes managed his instructions more French-like, than he did, or until the British troops had evacuated the posts and places ceded, or given up by the late truce, we should have heard of another cause for his quarrel with the Regent of Portugal than the entry of a pair of lace ruffles! and by this time Brasil would have been guaranteed in a more effective manner than it has been on our sheep-skins at Amiens!

When Buonaparte guarantees the settlements of his allies, lie secures the contract in its full sense, by either the possession of the settlement itself, or by taking his ally under the dominion of the republic. But when we send out our ambassadors to guarantee the dominions of our friends, they are not instructed to forbid such a friend to cede these same dominions to the Consul next day; any such restriction would be to interfere in the affairs of other states! When the rulers of France see a post or country, which in other: hands might, on some future occasion, prove detrimental to their projects, as a duty they ove to the republic, they secure it. Although we know, that settlements, or naval and military posts, in our power by conquest, are by their former owners ceded to our

« ForrigeFortsett »