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2. The Mahometan Decision.The Emperor Charles V., at different periods, twice invaded the piratical states in the north of Africa. last of these invasions, directed against Algiers, failed miserably, covering the Emperor with shame, and strewing both land and sea with the wrecks of his great armament. But six years before, he had conducted a most splendid and successful expedition against Tunis, then occupied by Heyradin Barbarossa, a valiant corsair and a prosperous usurper. Barbarossa had an irregular force of fifty thousand men; the Emperor had a veteran army, but not acclimatized, and not much above one-half as numerous. Things tended, therefore, strongly to an equilibrium. Such were the circumstances—such was the position on each side: Barbarossa, with his usual adventurous courage, was drawing out of Tunis in order to fight the invader: precisely at that moment occurred the question of what should be done with the Christian slaves. A stronger case cannot be imagined: they were ten thousand fighting men; and the more horrible it seemed to murder so many defenceless people, the more dreadfully did the danger strike upon the imagination. It was their number which appalled the conscience of those who speculated on their murder; but precisely that it was, when pressed upon the recollection, which appalled the prudence of their Moorish mas ters. Barbarossa himself, familiar with bloody actions, never hesitated about the proper course: massacre without mercy was his proposal.
But his officers thought otherwise: they were brave men; "and," says Robertson," they all approved warmly of his intention to fight. But, inured as they were to scenes of bloodshed, the barbarity of his proposal filled them with horror; and Barbarossa, from the dread of irritating them, consented to spare the lives of the slaves." Now, in this case, the penalty attached to mercy, in case it should turn out unhappily for those who so nobly determined to stand the risk, cannot be more tragically expressed, than by saying that it did turn out unhappily. We need not doubt that the merciful officers were otherwise rewarded; but for this world and the successes of this world the ruin was total. Barbarossa was defeated in the battle which ensued:
flying pell-mell to Tunis with the wrecks of his army, he found these very ten thousand Christians in possession of the fort and town: they turned his own artillery upon himself: and his overthrow was sealed by that one act of mercy-so unwelcome from the very first to his own Napoleonish temper.
Thus we see how this very case of Jaffa had been settled by Pagan and Mahometan casuists, where courage and generosity happened to be habitually prevalent. Now, turning back to the pseudo-Christian army, let us very briefly review the arguments for them. First, there were no provisions. But how happened that? or how is it proved? Feeding the prisoners from the 6th to the 10th inclusively of March, proves that there was no instant want. And how was it, then, that Napoleon had run his calculations so narrowly? The prisoners were just 33 per cent on the total French army, as originally detached from Cairo. Some had already perished of that army; and in a few weeks more, onehalf of that army had perished, or 6000 men, whose rations were hourly becoming disposable for the prisoners. Secondly, a most important point, resources must have been found in Jaffa. But thirdly, if not, if Jaffa were so ill provisioned, how had it ever dream. ed of standing a siege? And knowing its condition, as Napoleon must have done from deserters and otherwise, how came he to adopt so needless a measure as that of storming the place? Three days must have compelled it to surrender upon any terms, if it could be really true that, after losing vast numbers of its population in the assault, (for it was the bloodshed of the assault which originally suggested the interference of the aides-de-camp,) Jaffa was not able to allow half rations even to a part of its garrison for a few weeks. What was it meant that the whole should have done, had Napoleon simply blockaded it? Through all these contradictions we see the truth looming as from behind a mist: it was not because provisions failed that Napoleon butchered 4000 young men in cold blood; it was because he wished to signalize his entrance into Palestine by a sanguinary act, such as might strike terror far and wide, resound through Syria as well as Egypt, and paralyse the nerves of his enemies. Fourthly, it is urged
that, if he had turned the prisoners loose, they would have faced him again in his next battle. How so? Prisoners without arms? But then, perhaps, they could have retreated upon Acre, where it is known that Djezzar the Turkish pacha had a great magazine of arms. That might have been dangerous, if any such retreat had been open. But surely the French army, itself under orders for Acre, could at least have intercepted the Acre route from the prisoners. No other remained but that through the defiles of Naplous. In this direction, however, there was no want of men. Beyond the mountains cavalry only were in use: and the prisoners had no horses, nor habits of acting as cavalry. In the defiles it was riflemen who were wanted, and the prisoners had no rifles; besides that, the line of the French operations never came near to that route. Then, again, if provisions were so scarce, how were the unarmed prisoners to obtain them on the simple allegation that they had fought unsuccessfully against the French?
But, finally, one conclusive argument there is against this damnable atrocity of Napoleon's, which in all future Lives of Napoleon one may expect to see noticed, viz, that if the circumstances of Palestine were such as to forbid the ordinary usages of war, if (which we are far from believing) want of provisions made it indispensable to murder prisoners in cold blood-in that case a Syrian war became impossible to a man of honour; and the guilt commences from a higher point than Jaffa. Already at Cairo, and in the elder stages of the expedition, planned in face of such afflicting necessities, we read the counsels of a murderer; of one rightly carrying such a style of warfare towards the ancient country of the assassins; of one not an apostate merely from Christian humanity, but from the lowest standard of soldierly honour. He and his friends abuse Sir Hudson Lowe as a jailer. But far better to be a jailer, and faithful to one's trust, than to be the cut-throat of unarmed
One consideration remains, which we reserve to the end; because it has been universally overlooked, and be cause it is conclusive against Napoleon, even on his own hypothesis of an absolute necessity. In Vespasian's case it does not appear that he had
gained any thing for himself or for his army by his promise of safety to the enemy: he had simply gratified his own feelings by holding out prospects of final escape. But Napoleon had absolutely seduced the 4000 men from a situation of power, from van. tage-ground, by his treacherous promise. And when the French apologists plead-" If we had dismissed the prisoners, we should soon have had to fight the battle over again"— they totally forget the state of the facts: they had not fought the battle at all: they had evaded the battle as to these prisoners: as many enemies as could have faced them de novo, so many had they bought off from fighting. Forty centuries of armed men, brave and despairing, and firing from windows, must have made prodigious havoc and this havoc the French evaded by a trick, by a perfidy, perhaps unexampled in the annals of military man,
II. Piracy. It is interesting to trace the revolutions of moral feeling, In the early stages of history we find piracy in high esteem. Thucydides tells us that anga or robbery, when conducted at sea, (i. e. robbery on non-Grecian people,) was held in the greatest honour by his countrymen in elder ages.
And this, in fact, is the true station, this point of feeling for primitive man, from which we ought to view the robberies and larcenies of savages. Captain Cook, though a good and often a wise man, erred in this point. He took a plain Old Bailey view of the case; and very sincerely believed (as all sea-captains ever have done,) that a savage must be a bad man who would purloin any thing that was not his. Yet it is evident that the poor child of uncultured nature, who saw strangers descending as it were from the moon upon his aboriginal forests and lawns, must have viewed them under the same angle as the Greeks of old. They were no part of any system to which he belonged; and why should he not plunder them? By force if he could: but, where that was out of the question, why should he not take the same credit for an undetected theft that the Spartan gloried in taking? To be detected was both shame and loss; but he was certainly entitled to any glory which might seem to settle upon success, not at all less than the more pretending citizen of Sparta. Besides
all which, amongst us civilized men the rule obtains universally-that the state and duties of peace are to be presumed until war is proclaimed. Whereas, amongst rude nations, war is understood to be the rule-war, open or covert, until suspended by express contract. Bellum inter omnes is the natural state of things for all except those who view themselves as brothers by natural affinity, by local neighbourhood, by common descent, or who make themselves brothers by artificial contracts. Captain Cook, who overlooked all this, should have begun by arranging a solemn treaty with the savages amongst whom he meant to reside for any length of time. This would have prevented many an angry broil then, and since then: it would also have prevented his own tragical fate. Mean-time the savage is calumniated and misrepresented for want of being understood.
There is, however, amongst civilized nations a mode of piracy still tolerated, or which was tolerated in the last war, but is now ripe for extinction. It is that war of private men upon private men, which goes on under the name of privateering. Great changes have taken place in our modes of thinking within the last twentyfive years; and the greatest change of all lies in the thoughtful spirit which we now bring to the investigation of all public questions. We have no doubt at all that, when next a war arises at sea, the whole system of privateering will be condemned by the public voice. And the next step after that will be, to explode all war whatsoever, public or private, upon
War will be conducted by belligerents and upon belligerents exclusively. To imagine the extinction of war itself, in the present stage of human advance, is, we fear, idle. Higher modes of civilisation-an earth more universally colonized-the homo sapiens of Linnæus more humanized, and other improvements must pave the way for that: but amongst the earliest of those improvements, will be the abolition of war carried into quarters where the spirit of war never ought to penetrate. Privateering will be abolished. War, on a national scale, is often ennobling, and one great instrument of pioneering for civilisation: but war of private citizen upon his fellow in another land, is always demoralizing.
III. Usury. This ancient subject of casuistry we place next to piracy, for a significant reason: the two practices have both changed their public reputation as civilisation has advanced, but inversely-they have interchanged characters. Piracy, beginning in honour, has ended in infamy: and at this moment it happens to be the sole offence against society in which all the accomplices, without pity or intercession, let them be ever so numerous, are punished capitally. Elsewhere, we decimate, or even centesimate: here, we are all children of Rhadamanthus. Usury, on the other hand, beginning in utter infamy, has travelled upwards into considerable esteem: and Mr 10 per shent" stands a very fair chance of being pricked for sheriff next year; and in one generation more, of passing for a great patriot. Charles Lamb complained that by gradual changes, not on his part, but in the spirit of refinement, he found himself growing insensibly into " an indecent character. The same changes which carry some downwards, carry others up; and Shylock himself will soon be viewed as an eminent martyr or confessor for the truth as it is in the Alley. Seriously, however, there is nothing more remarkable in the history of casuistical ethics than the utter revolution in human estimates of usury. In this one point the Hebrew legislator agreed with the Roman-Deuteronomy with the Twelve Tables. Cicero mentions that the elder Cato, being questioned on various actions, and how he ranked them in his esteem, was at length asked, Quid fœnerari?—how did he rank usury? His indignant answer was, by a retorted question-Quid hominem occidere?—what do I think of murder? In this particular case, as in some others, we must allow that our worthy ancestors and forerunners upon this terraqueous planet were enormous blockheads. And their "exquisite reason" for this opinion on usury, was quite worthy of Sir Andrew Aguecheek:-"money," they argued, "could not breed money: one guinea was neither father nor mother to another guinea: and where could be the justice of making a man pay for the use of a thing which that thing could never produce ?" But, venerable blockheads, that argument applies to the case of him who locks up his borrowed guinea. Suppose him
not to lock it up, but to buy a hen, and the hen to lay a dozen eggs; one of those eggs will be so much per cent; and the thing borrowed has then produced its own fœnus. A still greater inconsistency was this: Our ancestors would have rejoined-that many people did not borrow in order to produce, i. e. to use the money as capital, but in order to spend, i. e. to use it as income. In that case, at least, the borrowers must derive the foenus from some other fund than the thing borrowed: for, by the supposition, the thing borrowed has been spent. True; but on the same principle these ances. tors ought to have forbidden every man to sell any article whatsoever to him who paid for it out of other funds than those produced by the article sold. Mere logical consistency required this: it happens, indeed, to be impossible: but that only argues their entire non-comprehension of their own doctrines.
Christendom, and practising reprisals on the Gentiles for ruined Jerusalem.
IV. Bishop Gibson's Chronicon Preciosum.-Many people are aware that this book is a record of prices, as far as they were recoverable, pursued through six centuries of English History. But they are not aware that this whole enquiry is simply the machinery for determining a casuistical question. The question was this:An English College, but we cannot say in which of our universities, had been founded in the reign of Henry VI., and between 1440 and 1460_ probably it might be King's College, Cambridge. Now, the statutes of this college make it imperative upon every candidate for a fellowship to swear that he does not possess an estate in land of inheritance, nor a perpetual pension amounting to five pounds per annum. It is certain, however, that the founder did not mean superstitiously so much gold or silver as made nominally the sum of five pounds, but so much as virtually represented the five pounds of Henry VI.'s time-so much as would buy the same quantity of ordinary comfort. Upon this, therefore, arose two questions for the casuist: (1.) What sum did substantially represent, in 1706, (the year of publishing the Chron. Preciosum,) that nominal L.5 of 1440? (2.) Supposing this ascertained, might a man with a safe conscience retain his fellowship by swearing that he had not L.5 a-year, when perhaps he had L.20, provided that L.20 were proved to be less in efficacy than the L.5 of the elder period? Verbally this was perjury: was it such in reality and to the conscience?
The whole history of usury teems with instruction: 1st, comes the monstrous absurdity in which the proscription of usury anchored; 2d, the absolute compulsion and pressure of realities in forcing men into a timid abandonment of their own doctrines; 3d, the unconquerable power of sympathy, which humbled all minds to one level, and forced the strongest no less than the feeblest intellects into the same infatuation of stupidity. The casuistry of ancient moralists on this question, especially of the scholastic moralists, such as Suarrez, &c. -the oscillations by which they ultimately relaxed and tied up the law, just as their erring conscience, or the necessities of social life prevailed, would compose one of the interesting chapters in this science. But the Jewish relaxation is the most amusing it coincides altogether with the theory of savages as to property, which we have already noticed under the head of Piracy. All men on earth, except Jews, were held to be fair subjects for usury; not as though usury were a just or humane thing: no-it was a belligerent act: but then all foreigners in the Jewish eye were enemies, for the same reason that the elder Romans had a common term for an enemy and a stranger. And it is probable that many Jews at this day, in exercising usury, conceive themselves to be seriously making war, in a privateering fashion, upon
NO. CCLXXXVIII, VOL. XLVI.
The Chronicle is not, as by its title the reader might suppose, a large folio on the contrary, it is a small octavo of less than 200 pages. But it is exceedingly interesting, very ably reasoned, and as circumstantial in its illustrations as the good bishop's opportunities allowed him to make it. In one thing he was more liberal than Sir William Petty, Dr Davenant, &c., or any elder economists of the preceding century: he would have statistics treated as a classical or scholarlike study; and he shows a most laudable curiosity in all the questions arising out of his main one. His answer to that is as follows: 1st, that L.5 in Henry VI.'s time contained forty ounces of silver, whereas in Queen Anne's it contained only nine
teen ounces and one-third: so that, in reality, the L.5 of 1440 was, even as to weight of silver, rather more than L.10 of 1706. 2d, as to the efficacy of L.10 in Henry VI.'s reign: upon reviewing the main items of common household (and therefore of common academic) expenditure, and pursuing this review through bad years and good years, the bishop decides that it is about equal to L.25 or L.30 of Queen Anne's reign. Sir George Shuckburgh has since treated this casuistical problem more elaborately: but Bishop Gibson it was, who, in his Chronicon Preciosum, first broke the ice. After this, he adds an ingenious question upon the apparently parallel case of a freeholder swearing himself worth 40s. per annum as a qualification for an electoral vote: ought not he to hold himself perjured in voting upon an estate often so much below the original 40s. contemplated by Parliament, for the very same reason that a collegian is not perjured in holding a fellowship, whilst, in fact, he may have four or five times the nominal sum privileged by the founder? The Bishop says no; and he distinguishes the case thus: the college L.5 must always mean a virtual L.5-a L.5 in efficacy, and not merely in name. But the freeholder's 40s. is not so restricted; and for the following reason that this sum is constantly coming under the review of Parliament. It is clear, therefore, from the fact of not having altered it, that Parliament is satisfied with a merely nominal 40s., and sees no reason to alter it. True, it was a rule enacted by the Parliament of 1430; at which time 40s. was even in weight of silver equal to 803. of 1706; and in virtue or power of purchasing equal to L.12 at the least. The qualification of a freeholder is, therefore, much lower in Queen Anne's days than in those of Henry VI. But what of that? Parliament, it must be presumed, sees good reasons why it should be lower. And at all events, till the law operates amiss, there can be no reason to alter it.
A case of the same kind with those argued by Bishop Gibson arose often in trials for larceny-we mean as to that enactment which fixed the minimum for a capital offence. This case is noticed by the Bishop, and juries of
late years often took the casuistry into their own hands. They were generally thought to act with no more than a proper humanity to the pri soner; but still people thought such juries incorrect. Whereas, if Bishop Gibson is right, who allows a man to swear positively that he has not L.5 a-year, when nominally he has much more, such juries were even technically right. However, this point is now altered by Sir Robert Peel's reforms. But there are other cases, and especially those which arise not between different times but between different places, which will often require the same kind of casuistry as that which is so ably applied by the good and learned Bishop.
V. Suicide. -It seems passing strange that the main argument upon which Pagan moralists relied in their unconditional condemnation of suicide, viz. the supposed analogy of our situation in life to that of a sentinel mounting guard, who cannot, without a capital offence, quit his station until called off by his commanding officer, is dismissed with contempt by a Christian moralist, viz. Paley. But a stranger thing still is-that the only man who ever wrote a book in palliation of suicide, should have been not only a Christian-not only an official minister and dignitary of a metropolitan Christian church-but also a scrupulously pious man. We allude, as the reader will suppose, to Dr Donne, dean of St Paul's. His opinion is worthy of consideration. Not that we would willingly diminish, by one hair's weight, the reasons against suicide; but it is never well to rely upon ignorance or inconsideration for the defence of any principle whatever. Donne's notion was, (a notion, however, adopted in his earlier years,) that as we do not instantly pronounce a man a murderer upon hearing that he has killed a fellowcreature, but, according to the circumstances of the case, pronounce his act either murder, or manslaughter, or justifiable homicide; so by parity of reason, suicide is open to distinctions of the the same or corresponding kinds; that there may be such a thing as self-homicide not less than self-murder-culpable self-homicide-justifiable self-homicide. Donne called his Essay by the Greek name Biathanatos,* meaning
This word, however, which occurs nowhere that we remember, except in Lampridius, one of the Augustan historians, is here applied to Heliogabalus; and means,