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In the history of 1808, the great object of attention is Spain. Spain is the centre around which we arrange all other countries in Europe ; and we take more or less interest in them, according to the relation in which they stand to the theatre on which the contest between liberty and tyranny is to be determined. This exhibits to our view a striking mixture of patriotism and corruption, exertion and remissness, precaution and improvidence, heroism andcowardice. Patriotic ardour, however, prevailed, on the whole, over corruption ; and though new levies of peasants were apt, on most occasions, to consult, as was to be expected, their safety by flight, the amor patriæ, and the bravery of many thousands of Spaniards were carried to the highest pitch of glory; and formed an early and fond hope, that if some character pre-eminently energetic and great should be produced by the present contest, and the patriots place him at their head, and trust themselves entirely to his direction, the Great Peninsula might be saved, and the tide of fortune turned against the tyrant. Such were the expectations of humanity after the first efforts of the direction of provincial juntas. At the present moment, the minds of men, accustomed to anticipate future by a retrospection of past events, are agitated between hope and fear, according as they turn their views to the progress of conquerors, or the prosperous success of those who, contending for liberty, have made head against them.
When a great and populous nation, possessing extensive yet compacted dominions, is roused to arms, and breathes a spirit of ambition and conquest, it has generally been found for a time irresistible. Multitudes are united under one standard: experience produces able commanders; they possess all the advantages of stratagem and attack over mere defence: resistance only renovates their spirits, in
flames their passions, and with their strength increases their pretensions. They go on, conquering and to conquer. The Persians under Cyrus were irresistible : the Macedonians under Alexander were irresistible ; so were the Romans; the Saracens who invaded Europe from the south; and the hordes of Tartars that have poured at different periods into the north of Europe and of Asia. To come nearer to our own times, and a case the most similar in history to what is now alluded to, Charlemagne, triumphing over all confederation and resistance, carried his conquests over Europe to the banks of the Vistulaprecisely to the territory that witnessed the peace of Tilsit in 1807. Scarcely had that great and enterprising prince remitted his exertions for the farther extension
of his empire, or ceased from aggression, when the Norwegians and Danes appeared, and made predatory descents on the coast of Aquitaine. In the reign of his successors, they effected settlements in Sicily, Naples, France, and Great Britain : thus proving still the truth of the maxim, that enthusiasm and aggression usually prevail over the power attacked, or combinations among different powers for common safety.
On the other hand, the spirit of liberty, in as many or more instances, and some of them against the most fearful odds, has proved invincible. Not to multiply examples which will readily occur to readers of history, the Dutch maintained or regained their liberty, after a struggle with both the branches of the House of Austria, then in the zenith of its power, continued for half a century. The mountaineers of Chili were not to be subdued by the arms of Charles V., nor those of his successors, to this day. Whatever be the issue of the present contest in the Peninsula, it is proper to record the efforts of patriotism and courage, and the resources of necessity--we had almost said, of despair.
While doubts and fears were entertained that the political independence of Old Spain was hastening to a period, a gleam of hope arose, that; in all events, the Spanish name and nation would still be preserved in both Asia and America-plus ultra.
For the YEAR 1808.
E U R O P E.
The Parliamentary proceedings of this Year, a natural Bond of Connection between the great Events of 1807 and 1808.-Speech from the
Throne.- Debates thereon in both Houses.--Moved in the Peers by the Earl of Galloway.— Amendment moved by the Duke of Norfolk. This Amendment seconded by Lord Sidmouth.- Opposed by the Earl of Aberdeen. - Supported by Lord Grenville.- Opposed by Lord Hawkesbury.-Supported by the Earl of Lauderdale.- Opposed by Lord Mulgrave. - The Amendment rejected.- In the House
of Com. mons the Address moved by Lord Hamilton.-Motion for the Address seconded by Mr. C. Elis.- Observations by Lord Milton respecting the Attack on Copenhagen.-Speech of Mr. Ponsonby, and Notice of a Motion respecting the affair of Copenhagen.-The Address supported by Mr. Milnes.-Strictures on the Address by Mr. Whitbread. - Specch of Mr. Canning in support of the Address.-Lord H. Petty against the Attack on Copenhagen.--Mr. Bathurst ditto.-Mr. Windham ditto.- Reply of Mr. Perceval.-The Question carried without a Division.- Report of the Address.-Fresh Debates.
"HE wonderful events that had were brought into discussion in the
come to pass on the continent imperial parliament of Great Britain of Europe in the summer and au- and Ireland, that was assembled on tumn of 1807, formed a great por- the 31st of January, 1808. It is tion of the various subjects that therefore proper, in the history of VOL. L.
this year, for the sake of order, of the enemy to compel the courts both chronological and natural, in of Denmark and Portugal to sub. the first place to give some account scribe their navies to a general conof the proceedings and debates of federacy about to be formed against this great national council ; the this country, This formidable only great council in Europe in combination had been frustrated which political affairs could be treat- with respect to Denmark by force ed with freedom. The attention of of arms. The hostile sentiments parliament towards the close of the of the court of Denmark, evinced session was roused with equal impor- in many ways for some years past, tunitybythe most unexpectedevents had rendered every other mode of in the west of Europe: events which proceeding useless. It was an unseemed to be asfortunate and bright, fortunate circumstance that the as those in the north and east had Danish fleet should be encircled by been disastrous and cloudy. Though the walls of the capital, thereby therefore parliamentary affairs con- causing misfortune which every hustitute only a secondary and subor. man mind would wish to have dinate part of the history of Europe, avoided. But it was creditable to in the present case, they form a the arms of this country, and merivery natural bond of connexion be. torious in the officers commanding tween the great events of 1807 and the expedition, that every attempt those of 1808.
was made to prevent that evil. As The speech from the throne,* soon as success had enabled us to delivered by commission, turned as judge for ourselves, every predicusual on the great public questions tion of government had been verithat would come under discussion fied. An arsenal was found to be in parliament; the most important over supplied with every article of of which were, the expedition to equipment, magazines replete with Copenhagen ; our relations with stores, ascertained to have been Russia, Austria, and Sweden; the purchased by agents of France, and departure of the royal family of demonstrations which could not Portugal for the Brazils; and the escape the eye of seamen, that the orders in council respecting neutral fleet was on the eve of being fitted commerce. In the house of peers out. It was gratifying to reflect on an address in answer to his majesty's the means that had been employed speech, was moved by the earl of to secure the navy of Portugal from Galloway, who recapitulated with the grasp of France, by recomgreat approbation its most promi. mending to the court to transfer the nent features. In the speech from seat of their government to the the throne, their lordships had been Brazils; to see one government of informed, that soon after the treaty Europe preferringemigration to subof Tilsit had announced the dere- mission to France, an event from liction of Russia, of the cause she which, provided a strict friendship had espoused, his Majesty's minis. and liberal policy should be observed ters received the most positive in. by both Britain and Portugal, the formation that it was the intention most beneficial results were to be
State Papers, page 296.