« AnteriorContinuar »
damning proofs of treachery and black ingratitude, in Ney, Massena, and, in short, almost all the kingdom, to their amiable and too confiding Sovereign.
The present struggle will, however, prove a discriminating test between the faithful and the faithless; and it will become the imperative duty of the Allies, to let no ill-placed clemency seduce them a second time into the deadly error of suffering the criminals to escape again unpunished. There is but too much truth in the observation of BURKE, that “Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.”—Let not, therefore, the same ill-judging, though amiable fear of inflicting punishment, again be suffered to prevail; but " where the guilt is, let the great axe fall.” Perhaps, to yield up every traitor to condign punishment the moment he is taken in arms against his lawful Sovereign, might, under the present circumstances, be the means of consigning many an innocent loyalist to the retaliating fury of the bloody Roscius ; but it would certainly be right, instead of releasing rebels on a parole which they never mean to keep, to send them either to Siberia,' to Van Diemen's Land, or to some such distant and insulated place of exile, as should entirely preclude every possibility of escaping for the purpose of future mischief.
Neither should the nation, which has so tamely, if not so treacherously, allowed the Corsican to usurp his master's seat a second time, be now treated with the same liberal forbearance and indulgent policy which marked the conduct of the Allied Powers in their former irruption into the French territories; both principle and expedience now call for the support of the invading armies at the expence of the invaded. Corporal retribution must be exacted from those who are found in arms against their Sovereign, and pecuniary requisition from the “imbelle et inutile vulgus ;” the low-minded herd who yielded up their allegiance without a struggle.
France must be heavily amerced for her disloyal apathy, her more than negatively guilty indolence; and I am almost tempted to say, that if ever a nation could deserve the fate of Poland, it should rather be the Gallic territories that I would subject to partition; all power of future aggression should be totally and inevitably precluded.
The weak and the desponding, the feeble-minded tribe of Croakers, will tell to you, my Lord, as they have told to me, that
Of the leaders who have so hasely betrayed their easy, virtuous Monarch, and especially of Soult and Ney, those first of traitors and foul disgrace to the honorable name of soldier, the punishment should be im. mediately exemplary, and terrible,
the Usurper is so firmly seated on his throne as to be immove. able ; that the allies have no chance of penetrating into France ; and that, according to their silly expression, “ the game is up :" but do these deep-judging statesmen ever take into their consideration the widely differing circumstances of the Corsican's situation during his former triumphant career, and his present desperate, but impotent attempt to renew it ? Surrounded as he then was by the confederation of the Rhine, with one brother on the throne of Holland, another in Westphalia, and a third in Spain; with almost every power in Europe, either in his alliance, or at least in apparent neutrality; and at one time only Britain in a state of open enmity. He has, at this moment, not a single friend in any quarter of the globe, unless, indeed, one should be found in Italy.
His legions, which before were swelled with Germans, Poles, Hollanders, and Italians, must now be recruited from the terri. tories of France alone, and dragged from the bosom of an unwilling and diminished population.
Bankrupt in finance, where are again his hoards of plunder to be ravished ? pent up and circumscribed within his own limits; forced to provide his armies from his own exhausted resources ; and most probably seeing the victorious forces of his assailants living at free quarters within the territories on which he depends for his own supplies; how is he now to support with greater strength that contest under which he bent before ? Is his reputation as a warrior and a statesman so improved by his abdication of the throne he had usurped, and by the numerous battles in which he had been foiled by the superior skill and masterly manceuvring of the Allied Generals, that his name should now be more " a tower of strength” than it was when he fought with yet unblighted laurels on his brow? Is he still “ the unconquered lord of pleasure and of pain,” as when, like another Charles the XIIth, he marched won Moscow's walls," to see his w standards fly ?"--My Lord, he has no chance of ultimate success, unless it should be afforded to him by the supineness of his adversaries.
Some persons affect to laugh at the possibility of the Allies getting again to Paris; my Lord, they have done so once; they will accomplish it again, and that at no very distant period; and bril. liant and truly praise-worthy were the motives of their clemency and their forbearance then, they will now take ample vengeance, and terrible will be the sacrifice they extort for violated faith and slighted pardon.
Wellington yet lives, and has had sufficient breathing-time from his laborious triumphs, and Blucher, Wrede, and Schwarte
more cuvring of been made usur
zenberg are in his steps. The troops they have to lead are those who are well acquainted with the road to Paris; and their bosoms beat high with the expectation of revisiting the Gallic metropolis. To such men, my Lord, nothing is too difficult, nothing is impossible; and what they have once accomplished they will find an easy task to repeat.
From all the best and latest intelligence which I have been able to glean from those who are just arrived from Paris, I am inclined to think that the inhabitants of that city are decidedly in favor of their lawful Prince, if, unawed by the presence of a licentious soldiery, they dared to declare their real sentiments. By those on whom I can best depend, I am informed that a gloomy and distrustful silence prevails throughout the city of Paris ; even the spectacles are almost deserted, and instead of the heartfelt rapture with which the restoration of their legal Sovereign and the return of peace were proclaimed-whenever the sullen despot shews himself in public, a few faint vivas are all which the utmost exertions of his sycophants and satellites can draw forth from the thinly scattered spectators. But hard as it may seem, there is now no alternative remaining; and the war against the Tyrant and his banditti must be carried on at the cost of those who have not resisted his return to power—and to their own indolence and guilty apathy must be attributed the miseries which a conquered country must necessarily undergo-to this must be imputed the future ravages of the Cossacks, and the plunderings and burnings of the Croats and Pandours—to this the
« Barbaricis jaceant quot mæniu flammis,
7th April, 1815. MY LORD,
With respect to the conduct of the rest of Europe, on the important events which have so lately taken place in France, the wise, the energetic, the magnanimous 'manifesto so recently issued by the representatives of the allied Sovereigns at Vienna, has sufficiently marked the line to be adopted ; and prompt and vigorous, without doubt, will be the immediate exertions put in force in consequence of such a declaration ; for promptitude and vigor are the only means to ensure success against an enemy who never fails to profit from the supineness of his adversaries; and the powers of Europe have suffered too severely already by want of energy, and by excess of clemency, to permit a recurrence of the same errors a second ti:ne. Whatever those foul disgraces to the name of Englishmen may think, who, whether through the medium of the Anglo-Gallic Chronicles, or in their public speeches, have dared to stigmatise this admirable document with the title of infamous as to its principle, or weak and ill-judged with respect to its language, the great majority of society will applaud its general tendency, and approve the manly vigor of its expression; and whilst the false delicacy of these mock patriots takes such offence at the passage which declares the Corsican rebel to have forfeited, by his hostile return to France, the only legal claim to existence which he possessed, let me ask them if they are so ignorant of the laws of their own country as not to know that the thief who es. capes from transportation is ipso facto condemned to death, with. out any further trial than the simple proof of the actual return from exile.
To talk of our non-interference, under the present circumstances, can be dictated only by the extreme of mental imbecility, or a complete dereliction of every principle of national integrity. And wisely has the British government decided on the adoption of the bela lum internecinum against the faithless rebel, by rejecting at once every overture from him who never observed a treaty, even when his power to treat was in some degree admitted to exist. His late flagrant breach of faith has, at any rate, destroyed every previous pretension he might have claimed to the confidence of other nations.
My last letter' asserted the practicability and promising prospect of the rebellious invader's speedy ejectment from his seat of usurpation, the next and most important consideration is by what means the cost of the contest is to be supported.
From the actual expenditure of 1813, (for either the last or present year, as including part of the winding up of the war, can hardly be taken as a fair average of the extra expense it incurred) I am led to estimate the naval and military expenses of that period at about sixty-six millions annually. That is to say, the navy cost pearly twenty-two millions; the ordinary services of the army
See Letter IX; March 31, 1815.
eighteen millions and a half, and the extraordinaries of the same service about twenty-two millions and a quarter, (including eleven millions and a quarter of subsidies and advances to other countries) and the ordnance about three millions and a half : making together about sixty-six millions as before stated. The interest of the public debt was at the same time rather more than twenty-four millions and a half; the sinking fund fifteen millions and a half; and the interest payable on Exchequer bills a little more than two millions; the charges on the Consolidated fund one million and a half; other payments in anticipation of Exchequer receipts half a million, and the miscellaneous services at home and abroad about four millions more, making altogether an aggregate of about one hundred and fourteen millions of annual expenditure for the United Kingdom. To meet which, the ordinary revenue, including near four millions from Ireland, produced about forty-seven millions; the war taxes and other extraordinary resources about twenty-four millions; the contribution of Ireland towards the interest of loans rather more than three millions—making altogether about seventyfour millions ; leaving a deficit of forty millions, of which thirtyfive were raised by loans, and the remaining five furnished by the temporary aid of Exchequer bills, forming part of the unfunded debt.
Such was the state, on a rough sketch, of the income and expenditure towards the close of the late war; by which it appears that the difference between the income and expenditure left a deficit of about forty millions sterling, which, funded in different stocks, at the prices of the time, would create about fifty-eight milLions of additional funded debt; against which, we must set off the counteracting operations of the Sinking Fund, which at the same time was buying in about twenty-three millions of three per cents, thereby reducing the actual increase of debt to about thirty-five millions in the year.
Under the present circumstances of peace with America, and only France to be contended with, the war expenditure may now, as I apprehend, be materially reduced ; more especially as the allied armies may be expected, in the present contest, to draw a consider. able proportion of their supplies at the cost of the enemy's country; the total war expenditure of Britain may, therefore, now be probably taken as low as forty-eight millions instead of sixty-six as before ; as thus, the navy about fourteen millions; the army, (ordinaries and extraordinaries) twenty-two millions; ordnance three millions ; subsidies nine niillions; and the other articles of income and expenditure standing as before, the totals will now be ninetysix millions for expenditure ; and the income being, as before, sev. enty-four millions, leaves a deficit to be provided for by loans and