« AnteriorContinuar »
join with those who flatter themselves that a peace with France, in the present slate of things, will prove a blessing to this country. Much, very much indeed, must be done in the way of reform, before any of the comforts which many look for, in a suspension of hostilities, can be realized. Meanwhile, it does appear to me, that a general peace is neither so near nor so easily to he obtained as most people are inclined to believe. The multitude of interests involved; the extent of territory to be adjusted; the continental and maritime rights of the belligerents, which have been rendered complex by the long endurance of the contest, and the difv ferent pretences, and arrogant assumptions of ambitious individuals; are points not to be settled in a day, ora month, perhaps not in a year. As a preliminary point, I think Napoleon may insist upon the evacuation of the soil of France by the Allies. It was while they were on the other side of the Rhine, that he agreed to the terms which they proposed as a basis of a peace. They refused to give his ambassador a passport, though fully empowered to enter upon an immediate negociation; and followed up that refusal by an invasion of the territory of France. Napoleon even suspended all military operations, till they had penetrated into the heart of his kingdom. -Conl'er-v ences were no doubt held at Chatillomsaid to be, of a pacific natureybut it was a strange way of settling the terms of peace by cutting each other’s throats. It was impossible both parties could be sincere. Now that the Emperor of France has lowered the presumption of those who would listen to no terms until they were in possession of his capital, 1 am inclined to think he will not treat with the enemies of France till they re-assume the position which they occupied when he signified his acquiescence in their original proposals. He may meet the views of the Allies. so far as to consent to a suspension of hostilities; but I am persuaded he will not go into discussions respectinga definitive treaty, until the whole of the invading army has re-crossed the Rhine. If this should be his plan, and the Allies refuse to accede to it, we may then, instead of an immediate peace, have war in perpetuity.
The linrsaon NAPOIJON AND nis Axum—What l foresaw in my last, without pretending to the spirit of prophecy, and which any other man, who ex
ercised his reasoning powers, might have
foreseen as wellas me, has actually hap— pened. Napoleon has forced the combined arm)‘ to fall back to Troyes, 111 miles from Paris, and 75 miles l'retn the point which they had previously reached. This fact was first ascertained by the receipt of dispatches from our military agents who accompany the allied army, the last offwhich is dated Troys the 17th ult. These dispatches fully confirm the leading facts stated in the previous French.- bulletins, and clearly show, that the object of the Allies, the capture of Paris, had completely failed. Since then French oflicial papers have been received to the ‘25th, in which it is stated, that Buonaparté’s head-quarters were at Nogent on the ‘201b, and that his advanced guard was “ half way between “ Nogent and Troyes ;" that is, within ‘25 miles of the latter place ; so that it is more than probable, ‘as Napoleon was bringing forward his troops on all sides, and actively preparing for new and olfensive operations, that another battle may have been fought, unless hostilities have been suspended by an armistice._ The latest official intelligence which, by the last accounts, was received at Paris from the army, was dated the 20th. if a battle had been fought on the 24th, or even the 26th, sufficient time has elapsed for the particulars to have reached this country.— That no advices have been received, can only be accounted for upon the supposition that some pacific measure has been adopted, or that the French papers, containing the details of another engagement have been kept back here, as I believe they have often been, to serve stock-jabbing purposes. Be this as it may, I think it cannot be long ere intelligence be received of a decisive nature from one quarter or another.
OCCURRENCES or rm: \VAn.—--I have little to add, under this head, to what I stated in my last. The storming of Soissons by the Russians, who, it was said, tool: 3,000 prisoners, 13 pieces of cannon, and killed and wounded between 6 and 7,000 of the enemy, is represented in the French bulletin to have been a very paltry affair. The garrison, it is there stated, consisted only of 1,000 men of the national guards. The redoubi‘uble Winzingerode considered it the safest way, after the mighty achievement of surprising this formidable garrison. to decatnp from Soissons, and follow the fortunes of Blucher. '
SUMMARY OF POLITICS.
Faeucn Susanna—ll the accounts, with which the French official papers have lately been filled, of the sufferings of the people of France, in consequence of the war, be true, which I see no reason to doubt, it appears to me that they are as much the objects of, compassion, and have as great a claim upon the charitable benevolence of this country, as the sufl'ering Germans, or any other suffering people on earth. The religion which we profess does not only enjoin it as one of the duties of ‘a Christian, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked of his own particular nation or sect, but it inculcates universal benevolence.
these precepts, it assures us that we conform to the Father of All, and by him will be rewarded‘ in due time for these virtuous deeds. What other impulse; what other motives than these influence the great mass ofthe community, who arejust now so actively engaged in promoting the subscription for the suffering Germans? Among these I observe the names of the great bulk
of the people called Quakers, who utterly‘
disclaim all motives ol action in this case but those which arise from the benevolent maxima of the ‘religion which they profess; who say they are actuated by no interested consideration, and who give their money for the relief of the miserable victims of war in Germany, not because these unlortunates have a higher claim upon their purse than others who may be equally unfortunate, but because they hold it to be the duty of all Christians, and, indeed, of all mankind, whatever may be their religion, to contribute towards the amelioration of suffering humanity, whether the call be made by an Englishman or by a German, by a Frenchman or by a Spaniard. These philanthropic principles are what I have often heard avowed by the Quakers, and I have often witnessed them exemplified in the conduct of many a worthy member of that association.—l should hope they are not confined to the narrow circle of my observation. 1 should hope that it is not with
It does more; it commands us to. love our enemies; and, in conforming to
a profession of philanthropy vmerely, that this numerous and respectable body of my fellow-citizens are satislied. I trust it is not a few of them who are alive to the misery and -wretchedness of their fellow-V men, but that they all feel alike on this subject, and are all employed, as far as they have the means, in administering the comforts of life to those who are in want of them. I say, Ihope and trust this is the case. But, [do confess, I have my Fears upon the subject. I entertain strong doubts
I that their present interference in behnllof
the Germans, is not altogether sodisinteresb ed as they would have the world believe. Have they no wish, no desire. in this age of universal jmlliolism; when the cry oi gerural liberty and the cnnuicipalion of Eu~ rope is in every one's-tnotnh,v to appear as patriotic as their neighbours? At least, does not the very active part which'they have taken in raising money for our Allies, show that they do not wish, itr'thts loyal age, to be suspected of incivism? [may be mistaken: but when I look into the history of the Quakers, I am very apt to think that their present decided conduct is somewhat tinctured with the leelmg which I have mentioned Still [admit I may be wrong in my conjecture. The moment, however, is arrived. which must remove all doubt-on this head; which tnust serve as a Iaurltslone to try the sincerity not only of this extensive class of religious professors,‘ but of innumerable other classes, all over the country, who boast, as much as the Quakers do, ol their universal benevolence, and who point to their names in the subscription list for the suffering Germans, as proofs of their philanthropy. The hour, I say, is- come, which must either confirm the claim of these numerous sects to the genuine character of Christians, such as they themselves describe it to be, or entirely overthrow all their pretensions. The people of France are how afllicted with all the horrors of war under which the neiglt~ bouring states and kingdoms so recently
groaned, and which excited tlte-tphtttuse- ‘
ration of this country in their the)
_ jt'alf. To so great a height, indeed, havejfth ' L ,
ings arisen, that they have attracted the particular notice of the Municipality of Paris, who have held several public meetiugs for the purpose of receivingthereports of the Deputies employed to collect in'ormation as to th'e'extent of the evil. .These reports,‘ saya-tbetttourier, “ which are given at length with the signatures of all the Deputies, In the Moniteur and other papers, are too‘ long, and too revolting to be given entire. They present a series of pictures, which may serve as companions to those of the atrocities of the French themselves in those unho/apy countries which have witnessed the retreat ‘of their discomlited armies." It is not my intention to malte any remarks upon the important fact here admitted by the Courier, that if the French armies committed atrocities‘ in the countries which they lately overrun, these have been since equalled, have since found companions in the interior of France. The fact, indeed, was sufficiently ltnown before, by the prdclamation of Marshal Blucher, who found it necessary to threaten his soldiers with military execution on the spot,‘ if they persisted in their depredations upon the inhabitants. \Vhat I wish principally to remark upon the above passage is, that the sufferings of the French people are admitted to be at least as great as those of the Germans. The details‘of them are represented to be extremely “ revolting," and the miseries of both nations are aptly described to be fit “eompanions." But why the extent of these sufierings, and the enormity of the “ atrocities" committed, should have been considered a reason for suppressing thesedetails, I cannot discover; unless, indeed, those who have the managetnentof these matters were afraid that a pe~ rtrsa-l of these revolting accounts, might excite a kindred feeling to that which exists on behalf of the Germans. Every circumstance connected with the sufferings of the latter has been ransacked from all quarters; and, as appears to me, without proper attention to the sources whence the greater partoi the information has been drawn, obtmded upon public' notice with an unjustifiable degree of anxiety; whereas the details which have been furnished of the great extent of French suffering, and of French misery, on the authority of men officially ctnployed for the purpose of drawing them up, and whose reports have been authenticated by their appearance in the .ltonileur, are considered too long for publication ! Of all these numerous and highly
important documents, the following is the
only one to which it has been thought prudeut to give an English dress; and which, though limited in the information it contains, I have given here, because I consider it calculated to lay a foundation for the exercise of that benevolence, of that general philanthropy, which is so tnuch in vogue in this country.
‘RC/IO"! to his Excellency the Minister of the Interior, by M. Desprez Grassier, Auditor lo the Council of State, dated March. 2, 1814.
“ I notv'lay before you the heart-reading picture of the calamities and outrages which the inhabitants of the communes I have visited have experiencedfrotn the enemy. It will be an abstract of the subscribed depositions taken by verbal examination, and an abridged detail of the havoc which I have seen wit my own eyes. That part of the enemy's army which caused all these evils was chiefly composed of Russian troops, at small number of Bavarians and Wurtembergers, and some Hungarian hussars. . At N angis the inhabitants generally had to complain ofpillage ; their PC!‘sonal outrages leave frightfitl recollections ,pillage itself was always accompanied with menaccs, very often with ill-treatment; and it was with pistols at their breasts, and the sabre over their heads, that these brigands compelled the unfortunate inhabitants to declare where their money and valuable effects were concealed. The 1st and 2d depositions state, that a female received frotn these miscreants a blow on the loins, with the flat side of their sabre, which deprived her of sense; that they held a knife to the throat of another, to compel her to disclose where her money was ; that the two husbands oi these women were cruelly struck, and that one of them, after being beaten in his own house, was driven to the enemy's’ camp, with blows of the fist, and the butt ends of mttskets: ‘there the brigands com/Jel/ed him to strip, and were about to shoot him,>when an officer fortunately came up, and delivered him out of the hands of these barbarians. At the house of the man of landed property, who makes the sixth deposition, they perpetrated the most horrible excesses. With blows of the fist and the butt end of their muskets, they demanded his bramly and money. I myself saw the bloody marks of the blows which he received; but their fury did not stop there; four jemales from the comtnune of Bailly, and canton of Mormant, had taken refuge with this proprietor; two of them were girls from 12 to 13; the others were women from 28 to 35. These unfortunate creatures were the victims aft/2e brutality of these ferocious men; and an eyewitness, who wished to prevent their outrages, was himselfscverely beaten.—---[The report, after describing a variety of similaroulrages on the persons qf individuals, proceeds as follows:] There is not a farmer, an inn-keeper, or an inhabitant, who has not seen his cattle, his implemenls of agriculture, his property, his furniture, carried a , wasted, or burnt. The churches and ministers of religion have not been spared ‘more than others. The strongest language would fail in describing the mourn/u! aspect which these ravaged habitations present. The Secretary of the Mayor of Rampillon, who has been a soldier, declared to me, that he never saw troops deliver themselves up to pillage with such horrible rage, even when licensed so to da.———At Nanjzisl visited a number of farm-houses, which had been previously well furnished; but now in all
'4. flaw—'1‘ Epi—
the apartments nothing was to be seen but,
fragments of broken and half-burnt furni~ ture, feather-beds and mattresses torn to pieces, and the‘ feathers and wool scattered about. It was with the woodwork of this furniture, of wagons and ploughs, and with the frnil-trets 0f orchards and gardens, that thry lighted t/teirfires at their bit'auacs, and roasted the cattle which they had carried off and killed. In all the places i have passed through, the inhahitnnts have declared that these banditti spoke only of pillaging and burning Paris. I have been assured that each of them had a torch slung at his back; and when asked what use they meant to make of it, they universally answered, that it was to set'lire ‘to Paris, where they calculated on arriving by the 18th of February. This fact was confirmed to me by M. Grabwisky, Mayor of Mortuant, a Pole by birth, who understood their language. The picture of the calamities which these unfortunate ‘hen/rte have sufi'ered, and which are reserved for all those of the other departments into
‘which the enemy may penetrate, must
rouse the indignation of all Frenchmen, and give them the courage and energy necessary to repel those hordes of barbarians beyond the frontiers, and force them, by a peace glorious for France, at last to give repose to all Europe."
Whetherthe calamities, the misery, the wretchedness, which is depicted in the pre~ cedingnarrative, arejustifiable or not accord
upon our Christian charity.
ing to the system of warfare now introduced into civilized Europe, is a point entirely foreign to my present purpose, and which can in no shape affect the question, whether the French people, who are confessed/y as great sufferers by the war as the Germans, have not the same claims as the latter All that is generally required to induce an exercise of this benevolence, is the making out of a case; is a statement of facts sufficient to remove all doubts’as to the persons being proper objects of our compassion. ' Here then, ye professors of a religion, characterized by the purest system of morality established amongst men, is a case \made out to your satisfaction, which even the most inveterate political enemies of France have not dared to question. Here are objects upon which to exercise that charity which you so much extol, because its operation is not confined to any particular time, people, place, or circumstances; because it embraces the whole human race in its benign circle; and because it is only necessary to give a nation or individuals a claim upon your bounty, that they are suffering distress. Here you have a picture of the “heart-rending calamities” of a people who have been deprived of every thing they possessed on earth, even of their habitations during a long and dreary winter, by the rude hand of ferocious war. Here you have the young and the old, the infirm as well as the healthy, the matron and the virgin, imploring relief from the hands of those who are far removed from this dreadful scourge, and who have it in their power to give them that relief. \Vhere then, ye philanthropic Dissenters; where, ye pious and charitable Churchmen, are your bowels of compassion for suffering humanity? If you do not step forward immediately and afford relief as liberally to the French sufferers, whose case is so powerfully recommended to your notice, as what you have done to their neighbours the Germans, yoti will belie all your professions of universal benevolence; you will fully justify the suspicion, that you are actuated by motives very different indeed from those which your religion inculcates. In short, if, after the appeal which is now made to
‘your humanity inv behalf of. the French
people, you should nevertheless turn adeaf ear to that call, it will no longer remain a doubt, that the part which you have taken as to the German sufferers, is altogether political,- that you have been impelled to this from the mere selfish consideration of
wishing not to be behind in demonstrating
blame the inhabitants of that country, for
those senseless clamours about, benevolence, .
philanthropy, and Christian charity, which