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CHAP. XXXIX. Memoirs of Field Marshal Von Blucher,
CHAP. XLI. Visit of the Emperor of Russia and King of
Remarks on the Nature of Bonaparte's Ambition.-Origin
of his Hatred to this Country.—His Desire of Power had for its Object the Destruction of Britain. This led him to invade Spain-and was the occasion of his War with Russia.--His complaints against Russia—that she had abandoned the Continental System—that she had injured the Commerce of France--that she had threatened the Duchy of Warsaw—and that she had protested against his Occupation of Oldenburgh.-Curious Reasorts by which he justified this last Measure.
AMBITION is not always an ultimate passion in the human breast, it sometimes happens that this passion is merely the mean to an object beyond the mere possession of power,
This is well and fully illustrated in the character and career of Bonaparte. At first, perhaps, he was desirous to extend his power, without any clear or defined object in view: this desire was opposed with more pertinacity and success by Great Britain than by any other nation; she not only fed, but stimulated the resistance of the continent; when the war would otherwise have languished for want of money, she supplied it: in short, it may be truly said, that, had Great Britain not existed, Bonaparte, long before this, would have reigned undisturbed over the whole of Europe. Such determined and successful opposition to his schemes
and his wishes, naturally roused the indignation of a man prone to anger, and who had not been accustomed to have those schemes and wishes thwarted : he meditated the ruin of this country ; and that desire of universal empire, which before was felt and indulged without any object beyond it, was now quickened by the hope, that if it could be fulfilled, the nation which had set herself against his plans, and which had thus roused his indignation, would be destroyed. Hence he had a double motive for his antipathy against Great Britain : she not only appeared unconquerable herself, but she wished to preserve the independence of Europe.
If we consider the character of Bonaparte in this light, as incited, by the hope of destroying Great Britain, to almost all his acts of oppression on the continent, we shall understand it more fully, and it will appear throughout consistent with itselt. - As he was sensible that the ruin of this country could not be accomplished while her navy was in the height of its power, and that this navy depended principally on commerce, he set himself to the destruction of our trade, to ruin our finances; and if the navy and finances of Great Britain suffered materially, he was convinced her destruction was at hand. Having these two objects in view, he endeavoured to accomplish them by excluding our manufactures and colonial produce from the continent, and by insisting on his vassal states, and those powers whom he subdued, uniting with him in maintaining the doctrine that “ free bottoms make free goods.
Should this view of the character and plans of the tyrant of Europe be correct and well founded, it may reasonably be supposed that his attack on the national independence of Spain was made for the purpose of inore completely and effectually carry
ing on his paramount and darling scheme; indeed, he avowed this in some measure, when he first invaded Spain ; he declared that her resources, and particularly her navy, were not so useful to him in his war with Britain, as they might be made : that, as Britain was the enemy of the continent, it was proper and natural that Spain should contribute, according to her means, in carrying on the war against this enemy; and that these means would never be fairly and entirely brought into action till the reigning monarch was deposed. But his object in getting possession of Spain went beyond this ; or rather, he hoped to injure Great Britain by inforcing the continental system there, as well as by employing the resources and navy of that country against us. It perhaps may be carrying this idea to too great a degree of refinement, if we suppose that Bonaparte was induced to carry on the war in the peninsula in the protracted manner in which it was actually conducted, because he thus hoped to exhaust our means, and was certain, that while this part of Europe was impoverished and desolated by being the scene of hostilities, it would be unable to supply an extensive or lucrative vent for our manufactures. That this notion of Bonaparte's character is correct, that he wishes for universal power, solely or principally in order that he may destroy Great Britain, will more clearly and satisfactorily appear from his conduct to Russia.
The principal article of the treaty of Tilsit ; that article on which Bonaparte laid such stress, and to gain Russia's acquiescence in which he was willing to forego all the advantages of his victory over her, displayed his hatred of Great Britain; by the article to which we allude, Russia bound herself to accede to the continental system, and