« ZurückWeiter »
Georgia. After immense efforts he succeeded. Colonel Tarleton also defeated the republicans at Wacsaw: whilst Lord Cornwallis consolidated, as he vainly imagined, the restoration of royal authority from Florida to the frontiers of Virginia. Those, who love military details, may discover enough to satisfy them in the actions of Camden, the Cowpens, and Guildford, in the various pursuits and retreats of troops marching and countermarching, or in the notorious treason, in another quarter, of General Arnold, and the melancholy execution of Major André. The patriotic enthusiasm of the South Carolinian ladies is more to our taste, nor did the English anywhere commit a greater error, than when they condescended to banish them for their liberalism, and confiscate their property. In every affair of public interest, ‘general opinion never manifests itself with more energy, than when women take part in it, with all the life of their imagination. Less powerful, as well as less stable, when calm, than that of men, it is far more vehement and pertinacious, when roused and inflamed.” Sundry cruel edicts, on the part of Lord Cornwallis, relative to other matters, also tended to exasperate the entire Union. The reverses at Charleston touched American honour to the quick, and from that moment it was as though the first love of the revolution had revived again. Changes came over the spirit of their dreams. Washington fanned the flame. His own consort, worthy of her husband, placed herself at the head of her sex in Pensylvania, so that an organization was formed for stimulating every class to exertion. Immense sums were collected for lodgment in the national chest, whence they were to be taken out and distributed in bounties to such particular soldiers as should merit them, and in augmentation of pay to all. Imitation of such benevolence became universal. A bank was also established upon the most liberal principles, with a basis both extensive and attractive. Money now flowed in more steadily to support governmental operations, and France advanced rather a handsome loan. A kind of Guerilla opposition to the sovereignty of George III. broke out in numerous localities, of which, as specimens, we may take the followers of Colonel Sumpter, no obscure name in the mighty struggle. His people possessed neither pay, uniform, nor any certain means of subsistence. They were freebooters, living like Donald Bean Lean in Waverley, upon what accident or their own courage provided them. Without regular weapons, they learned to handle with strange and horrible success the implements of peaceful husbandry. Instead of leaden balls they cast pewter bullets out of the plates which patriots cheerfully gave them for that purpose. They were known several times to encounter the enemy with only three charges of ammunition, and the most precious point in their eyes of any advantages gained over the British, lay in the muskets and cartridges which they acquired at the expense of the vanquished. During a combat, such as had no arms would quietly lie down on the ground, or stand aside in thickets until the death or wounds of their comrades might enable them to take their places. In very deed and truth they were what the Roman lyrist calls a gens prodiga vitae: and how deeply seated must have been the love of liberty, to summon from industrial pursuits such Spartan battalions. Even the prowess of Great Britain quailed before them. The following year, 1781, at length terminated the bloody drama. The Dutch, French, and Spanish armaments encountered our flag upon the ocean with various fortunes. The first suffered fearfully in their commerce and lost St. Eustatius; the second retaliated upon the English with considerable success, captured Tobago and St. Christopher's, succoured the Cape of Good Hope and acquired Minorca; the third seized upon West Florida and entirely failed upon Gibraltar. All shewed themselves in combined and most tremendous force in the British channel. In America the actions of Hobkirk and Eutaw Springs distinguished the southern campaigns; whilst Lord Cornwallis, watched and overmanaged by Washington, was successfully allured into the trap prepared for him at Yorktown in Virginia. Here the American commander-in-chief, supported by the French, won his conclusive victory. Our native flotilla of twenty-two sail, one hundred and sixty pieces of artillery, with seven thousand troops, exclusive of seamen, became the splendid prize of the conquerors. Royalism was now prostrated in the dust, from New England to the Gulf of Mexico; Philadelphia had long been given up; the cities of New York, Charleston, and Savannah, alone remained in our hands towards the close of October. On the fourth of the following March, in 1782, General Conway proposed and carried his resolution in the House of Commons, that those who should advise His Majesty to continued hostilities were enemies to their country. This produced the retirement of Lord North, whose inglorious administration was succeeded by that of Lord Rockingham. All that could be hoped for, was, that some favourable event at sea might possibly repair the national misfortunes, so as to secure something like fair terms in the approaching treaty for peace. This brings Dr. Botta to his fifteenth and final book, in which he gives the best description we ever remember to have seen of Lord Rodney's memorable engagement on the 12th of April. This triumph, together with our success at Gibraltar, and the new empire we were rapidly acquiring in India, enabled us to make the peace of Versailles, on the 20th of January, 1783. We ceded to France some possessions in the West Indies, which we have since recovered; to Spain the Floridas and Minorça; and to America-Independence! We extended our Newfoundland fisheries, secured our Asiatic conquests, and broke up the armed neutrality: but the war added one hundred millions to our national debt, and cost us from forty to fifty thousand lives. In the position which, under the influence of toryism, we had taken up contrary to the freedom of mankind, we were righteously and ignominiously defeated. We trust that similar policy will never fail to encounter similar results.
And now for the lessons of wisdom to be learned by the present, as well as every future government. Let just concession be always made, before coercion steps forward to deprive it of its gracefulness. The achievement of American independence has quickened the circulation of mind throughout the world. It has passed a sentence of deposition or banishment against regal tyranny, wherever it may again presume to rear its head, with the exception, perhaps, of Russia and Turkey, whose time has not yet come. Yet, generally speaking, there is scarcely a throne in Europe which has not directly or indirectly felt its influence. Our own islands, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and some of the states of Germany have clearly done so: and who fails to see that upon the growth of sound liberalism in Great Britain and Ireland, the future fortunes, under Divine Providence, of all India will turn ;—to say nothing of China and the other eastern empires about to be embraced within the circle of our commercial energies? In mentioning Ireland, however, we are forcibly reminded of a larger amount of wrong to be redressed, within a day's sail of our own doors, than that which provoked transatlantic resistance against the sceptre of George III. From New England to Georgia, much less than three millions of our fellow-subjects confederated against the yoke of the mother country: in the sister kingdom, we have forfeited the affection of more than double that number. America after all, to a very great extent, governed herself, and was slightly interfered with as to the inalienable rights of man. Ireland has been treated for ages as a conquered province, without possessing even ordinary municipal privileges, until within the last few years. When forcibly united to this island, by an Act carried by perfidy and oppression, she owed only £40,000,000 : her resources now bear the burden, with slight differential exceptions, of more than twenty times that amount. With a population of eight millions and a half, she has one hundred and five representatives in the Lower House, against
five hundred and sixty-three English and Scotch members, returned by a census amounting only to a duplication of her own. We write in round numbers, yet with abundantly sufficient accuracy to enforce our meaning, Above all, she is afflicted with a church establishment intolerable to seven-eighths of her children, whilst by more than six millions and a half its doctrines are deemed as heretical, as its domination is odious. The revenue which Lord North would fain have extorted from the colonies was about £300,000 per annum; the Anglican hierarchy of Ireland pocket £450,000 as an annual composition for tithes modified to the extent of twenty-five per cent, besides the rich glebes of eleven hundred livings, together with the palaces, churches, deaneries, dignities, and episcopal incomes of upwards of thirty bishoprics condensed into twelve, founded and endowed by those whom their present holders now consider as having belonged to the Babylon of the Revelations. For years past have the sons of Erin been organizing themselves under an able leader for a total reversal of the current order of things. The combustibles are all prepared, - the trains are ready laid, -the matches are lighted. A numerous priesthood, popular and identified with the cause they patronise, are on the watch day and might for the first favourable opportunity. Where is the wisdom of administration? Where is the foresight of the premier? Sir Robert Peel cannot plead ignorance of Ireland, since he came early into office as her secretary: so much more therefore is required of him, Are the perambulations of an antiquated, though noble commissioner, to quell the disturbances of Tipperary? Is not Ireland, from Cape Clear to the Giant's Causeway, occupied rather than governed? Are twenty thousand bayonets the horrida seges, the spiky rampart, behind which alone civilization is to sow her seeds, and reap her harvests? Is not the chasm every moment widening between the two countries? Have not the last decade of years presented many frightful points of analogy with the periods from 1765 to 1775? If the sister realm be more immediately within our grasp, is she not also all the nearer to those foreign potentates jealous of our ascendancy, and ardent to behold us in difficulties? What more will the Orange lodges be able to do for toryism than the loyalists, so vainly relied on, were able to effect in the struggling United States? In rendering strict justice to Ireland, we shall in fact only be doing justice to ourselves; nor need we ever but feel perfectly confident, that the path of honour will be found the genuine path of safety. We could well endure the severance of the thirteen colonies, and in many respects are all the better for the separation, but a dissolution of the union with Ireland, achieved by violence, by rebellion at home and foreign aid from abroad, would undermine our mountain of strength, shiver the talisman of our imperial dominion, and convince all mankind that we deserve to fall; since the experience of previous generations will have been expended upon us in vain'
In taking our leave of Dr. Botta and his translator, we could have wished for a more distinct and continuous recognition of Divine Providence, than appears in the history. Ascriptions to * Fortune’ and ‘Destiny,’ neither become the catholic nor the protestant. It is the most High God who alone rules over the affairs of men, and disposes of them with unerring wisdom. America may one day discover that even the present world is a tribunal for nations, when the wrongs of the Indian and the Negro shall rise out of the dust of ages, and demand retribution at the hands of the posterity of their oppressors. We have all much to learn in this respect, and the sooner we learn it the better.
Art. VI.-l. A Pamphlet in Defence of the Game Laws, in Reply to the Assailants; and on their Effects on the Morals of the Poor. By the Honourable Grantley Fitzhardinge Berkeley. London: 1845.
2. Speech of John Bright, Esq., M.P., on the Motion for a Select Committee of the House of Commons to inquire into the Operation of the Game Laws. ‘Times’ Newspaper, February 28, 1845.
THERE are two features in the present times which not only distinguish them favourably from the past, but which, on the security of some deeply-seated social laws, promise to be characteristic of the indefinite future. The one of these is the increased and ever-increasing influence of public opinion, as compared with the crude and naked force of law and the power of the conventionally great. And in this we do not so much rejoice, because it consists with that first axiom which the unassisted perception of every human understanding adopts, that the opinions and interests of the few must yield to those of the many, as because we see in this great fact the incipient triumph of the universal empire of reason and justice; because in it seems to be involved the deepest welfare of the species; and because, simultaneously with its growing development, those blessings of education and religion are descending upon society at large, under the influence of which it must ultimately reach the highest and most glorious results. The second feature which may be derived not very indirectly