« PreviousContinue »
BIOGRAPHICAL, LITERARY, AND SCIENTIFIC
ROBERT BISSET, LL. D.
THIS NUMBER IS EMBELLISHED WITH A PORTRAIT OF
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY
BOOR SELLER TO HER ROYAL HIGANESS THE PRINCESS OF WALES :
SPİNBURG; AND ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN TOWN AND COUNTRY.
THE.Editor begs to remark to the different Writers of observations on certain parts of the two last Numbers, respecting BụONAPARTE and Sir SIDNEY SMITH, that necessary absence having prevented himself, during that time, from taking his usual superintendence of the Magazine, he has sent the letters to the authors of the articles in question. The circumstance which he now mentions will account to those who impute to him a deviation from for, mer opinions in the characters therein contained. The opinions animadverted upon in these Numbers ARE NOT THE Enitor's.
We hope to present to our Readers, in the next publication, - The State of Knowledge and Science in the last Year of the Eighteenth Century, and a Character of that Century.'
Some articles of considerable merit, being received too late for this Num. ber, are unavoidably deferred.
The Life of GeneRAL WASHINGTON, delineated by the pen of an able Writer, who has made American History a principal part of his sțudy, will appear in the SUPPLEMENTARY NUMBER,
POLÍTICAL HISTORY OF EUROPE
FOR THE YEAR 1800.
HAVING in our late numbers directed our attention chiefly to
foreign politics, we shall dedicate the present chapter to a subject which involves in it both foreign and doinestic affairs. It is our intention to confine ourselves to the overtures of the French Consul, Bocaparte, for a pacification with Great Britain, and the discussion which they underwent.
The Republican French have uniformly affected to imitate the policy and conduct of the Romans. One of the maxims according to which that extraordinary people acted was, to detach members of confederacies against them from their alliance. To the practical application of this principle they were in a great degree indebted for their progressive conquests. Nor was this policy peculiar to those conquerors. It had been adopted by other states, who wished to subdue foreign countries, without possessing the power of crushing them by one effort. Had Cyrus, on his accession to the Persian throne, manifested an intent to subdue Asia, froin the Indus to the Hellespont, the western monarchs, by combining, might with ease have repelled his attempts; but he conducted himself with much greater art. He first made himself inaster of Media; thence extended his encroachments in a western direction; without manifesting any hostility to the Assyrian or Lydian monarchs, he reduced their neighbour of Armenia. The balance of power, which, in fact, is only an extended view of the principles of self-preservation, was then understood, but too late in being applied. Cræsus endeavoured to form alliances with the Grecian States and with Egypt ; but these nations were at too great a distance to send himn in time effectual assistance. The power of Cyrus was now too strong. Perhaps, indeed, if a confederacy had been formed cf the Lydians, lonians,
Assyrians, Phænicians, and Egyptians, they might still have been able to repel the Persian host. A cordon of troops, extending from the Euxine to the Red Sea, might have driven Cyrus back to his ancient bounds. The Assyrians, Phænicians, and Egyptianis, satisfied with their own luxury, commerce, and arts, supinely neglected to support Cræsus.
THEIR ILL-TIMED LOVE OF PEACE WAS THE ULTIMATE CAUSE OF THEIR OWN SUBJUGATION. Haying subdued Cræsus, Cyrus did not even then immediately attack the Assyrians. He subjected Asia Minor to his power before he indicated any hostile purpose against the Prince of Babylon. During the Assyrian war, the Phænicians and Egyptians still kept aloof, being reserved, by their ill-tiined love of peace, as a prey for Cyrus's son and successor. Such was the policy of Cyrus; * and such is the natural policy of those who attempt progressively to subdue different independent states.
Never has this policy been applied with more dexterity and success than by Philip of Macedon. How did he reduce the States of Greece one after the other ? BY CAJOLING AND DELUDING THEM TO AN ILL-TIMED LOVE OF PEACE. + If Persia had been sufficiently provident to join in the league which was effected against Philip, though too late to succeed by the unassisted efforts of the Greeks, the genius of Alexander might have proved inarlequate to the task of overturning the Asiatic empire. Alexander himself, before he manifested hostility to Persia, reduced all Greece under his subjection. Greece and Persia fell, as Lydia, Assyria, and Egypt had fallen, from AN ILL-TIMED LOVE OF PEACE.
But the most systematic and persevering einployers of this policy were the Romans. By combination only could their encroachments have been resisted. Their rule was, let us try to separate the confederate powers. Hiero they detached from the Carthaginians ; Sicily, in the next generation, became a province of Roine. Massinissa they detached from the Carthaginians; Numidia, under his grandson, became part of the Roman empire. Cæsar made an alliance with the Edui against the rest of Gaul; a few years after they were involved in the general subje&tion of their country. .
In movern times, those who wished to cxiend their power ein
• See Herodotus's Clio, passim.
+ See Demosthenes's Orations, passim.
ploved the same policy. They cajoled one power by professions of pacific and amicable intentions, while they invaded another. This was the policy of Charles V. in his treaties with the rash and inconșiderate Heory: this of Louis XIV. with the corrupt and profligate Charles. By cajoling England, said they, we can render ourselves paramount in Europe.
The French Republicans, however varying in their internal regulations and constitutions, have steadily adhered to this inaxim. They saw that the only means of opposing their ambitious plans was a confederacy to be formed and carried on for that purpose. If Britain, Prussia, Russia, Austria, and Spain, firmly unite, and act vigorously, said they, we can neither hope to extend our prin-' ciples nor our power.
We shall not be able to plunder our neighbours: we cannot break the bundle while closely tied, let us !ry 10 destroy it twig by twig: let us hold out some alluring bait, some separate interest ; perhaps they may be so blinded as noi to perceive that the advancement of this partial and separate interest will ultimately overwhelin their common and general interest. This plan they carried inio effcet, 'first with Prussia, then with Austria. Bonaparte at Campo Formio displayed great policy in the sacrifices by which he tempted the Emperor to withdraw from the confederacy; he conceded a considerable part of his unjust acquisitions, to prevent bis being dis! urbed when unjustly acquiring more; fol that is the whole amount, in point of morality, of his cessions to the E.peror, which his panegyrists celebrate as generous and magnanimous, and when any of them shall establish the justice of attacking those that had given no provocation, stripping them of their property and possessions, and making a donation of part of the plunder, then shall we be the first to give him credit for his virtue. Here we may be told, that Cyrus, or Alexander, or Cæsar, would have done the sarne, in similar circumstances. That is a position which we will very readily adinit. But our question, as Britons, is neither with Cyrus, Alexander, nor Cæsar, but with Bonaparte. We are to judge of the relation in which it is expedient for us to stand towards him, not from the conduct of any other conqueror, but from his own.
Hitherto the object of Bonaparte and his countrymen was to de. tach all other countries from the alliance of Britain ; and for a time