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could contrive that “ the Barbarians should consume their dangerous valour in the service of the state.” No policy so obvious; and though it was abused by the later emperors of Rome, in a very extraordinary state of the world, to their injury; none so easy to be modified and properly adapted to the circumstances of any
case; yet no hint either of ancient or modern policy seems ever to have reached our legislators. Lord Chatham, who, with all his faults, had that elevation in the character of his mind without which no minister can ever be great, made it his boast (and it was an honest boast) that he had been the first to take advantage of the noble qualities of the Scottish nation. “I was the first minister,” said he,“ who looked for merit, and found it in the mountains of the north. I called it forth, and drew into your service a hardy and intrepid race of men; men who, when left by your jealousy, became a prey to the artifices of your enemies, and had gone nigh to overturn the state in the war before the last.” His example stands alone. Nothing is ever done by cabinets in the way of conciliation or timely and prospective wisdom; they live upon expedients, and provide only for the day that is going over them.
But, before I conclude this lecture, I would wish you to cast one glance more on this remarkable rebellion. I would wish you to consider once more the character of the Highlanders, and the romantic nature of this enterprise in its commencement and progress, and then turn to the melancholy contrast exhibited by the people of England at this singular crisis. I do not say that associations were not formed; that volunteers were not collecting; that the nobility and gentry were not in alarm and in motion. But what is, on the whole, the simple fact, as it has been stated with his usual point and acuteness by Mr. Gibbon? “ That Charles and his followers marched into the heart of the kingdom without either being joined by their friends, or opposed by their enemies."
But how, it may be asked, could such a strange fact as this take place ? From national apathy, or disaffection, or pusillanimity? Whence could it arise ? The first answer to this question must be, that the nobility, gentry, and yeomanry of the country were not prepared for an inroad of this kind ; they had not been taught by their rulers to expect it, por directed
to learn the use of arms, and accustom themselves to military exercises.
But what need, it will be replied, of the use of arms and military exercises? Why did not the country rise, as one man, to beat back invaders that were as insulting from their numbers as their designs ? Four or five thousand men marching against the people of England ! to give away their crown and destroy their civil and religious liberties! This question, after all, can best be answered by the comparison of the English and Highland character at the time. The Highland character had remained the same; but the English character had been materially altered by the influence of commerce and manufactures, and half a century of peace and prosperity. There was intelligence, literature, industry, affluence, civilization, in England; but there was no ardour of sentiment as in Scotland; no visions of the imagination, no traditional poetry, and no national music; no spirits in the mountains, and the ghosts of no heroes in the clouds; no poverty that walked erect and familiar into the castle and the hall; no links of genealogy that united the hovel and the palace. Little had been heard of these things in England during the last century, though much had been heard of the value of estates, of the balance of trade, and of profit and loss.
I speak not to depreciate the labours of the manufacturer, the value of commerce, or the progressive blessings of successful industry in the towns or in the country; but I certainly do speak in order to represent to you that, as I have before observed, how necessary is the frequent exercise of the understanding to save men from the delusions of their feelings ; so I must now observe, with no less anxiety, how necessary is the influence of sentiment, as well as reason, of the elevated sensibilities, as well as the prudent dispositions of the mind, to the perfection of the human character; more particularly of the human character when found in any highly commercial and manufacturing, and prosperous community; that, without these sensibilities, wisdom and science may be of no avail to the individuals of a great nation; and their opulence be sa rested from them and be only an incitement to the enterprise of their invaders; that the romance of sentiment, as it would
be thought on the Royal Exchange of London, must not be banished from the land, lest the land should perish as Holland has done, surrounded with the images of its commerce and its wealth, but no longer the Holland where Philip and the Spanish infantry were defied, and Louis and the armies of France successfully resisted. You will easily trace out, on the one hand, the various and inestimable blessings which result from commerce and manufactures, from the successful exertions of industry, and the increasing opulence and independence of the inferior orders of the community. But you will easily see, on the other hand, that the virtue of personal courage, and all the high qualities that belong not merely to the character of the soldier, but even of the patriot, have a tendency to decline in a nation as it advances in its commerce and manufactures; as it makes, in short, greater progress in the science of affluence; that is, as those men every where multiply and spread themselves, who are more exclusively occupied in the mere pursuit of gain.
How the sentiment may still be kept high in the community, while men of this, I admit, very useful description are every where increasing in their numbers and influence; how these men are themselves to be properly elevated in their minds, while they are so exclusively occupied with their bargains and their markets, the article they are to produce, and the price they are to receive; how this can be effected, I may not have here any leisure to inquire; but I may at least say this, that it cannot be done by pressing hard on the democratic parts of the constitution, or that it cannot be done by preventing the education of the lower orders. I should rather say that it can only be done by means exactly the reverse; by keeping the poor man as enlightened, that is, as susceptible of a sense of duty and generous feelings as the nature of his imperfect condition will allow; and by accustoming every man to interest himself, and by calling him out to interest himself in the concerns of his country; that is, to think as highly of his own political importance as the peace of that country, as the safety and respectability of the executive power, will possibly admit.
Supposing you now to pass on from this rebellion in 1745, you will reach the peace in 1748; then arrive at a delicious period of tranquillity that intervened for seven short years, and thus at last be conducted to the great war which was raging when his present majesty, George III. ascended the throne. This war was concluded by the peace of 1763.
On the subjects of these wars, their causes, and their events, you will find information in the common histories of the times. I have already insisted (perhaps to a degree of tediousness) on the principles by which questions of this nature ought to be judged—“ Justa bella quibus necessaria.” It remains but to observe that the question of the proper boundaries of the French and English settlements of North America was not accurately determined, when it might have been, at the peace of Aix la Chapelle in 1748, and that the subsequent war was marked by those successes which must for ever attest the heroism of which the inhabitants of these islands can be made capable, and attest, at the same time, the genius of that great minister, the first Mr. Pitt, who was called by the people, rather than by the monarch, to draw forth the energies of his country.
And now it must be further observed, that this was the very people who had suffered the Highlanders to march to the centre of their kingdom to give away their empire to the Stuarts ; that afterwards without a murmur suffered a secretary of state, Mr. Henry Fox, to bring over Hessians and Hanoverians for their defence; and that gave occasion to Dr. Brown, in his estimate of the times, to represent them as degraded and lost in effeminacy and luxury.
At the summons, however, of Mr. Pitt, they started from their trance, such is the importance of the government of a country, and they shamed the secretary who had insulted, and confuted the author who had libelled them; they did so by defeating their enemies in every quarter of the world. The truth is, that ministers like the first Mr. Fox, and writers like Dr. Brown, were not fit, the one to call forth the powers of a great civilized nation, nor the other to estimate its character.
They who rail against the luxury of the times are in fact declaiming against the growing prosperity of the country. . The most refined of men may be the most brave—they generally are so. It was not by luxuries that the Roman and
Grecian empires fell, as has been commonly supposed; but by defects in their civil polity, and by the gradual and consequent decay of that spirit of freedom which, when it existed unimpaired, preserved them safe from every invader. Luxuries are not fatal to a people, but as the possession of them supposes a large mass of the community employed in furnishing them by their industry; i. e. employed in the pursuit of gain, and therefore exposed to great debasement in their natural sentiments, and the loss of their military spirit. But if this debasement be counteracted by such expedients as I have mentioned, by diffusing, as widely as possible, the benefits of education, and by keeping the constitution of the country as free, as the security of society will allow; that is, by giving every man some interest in his own character, some feeling of personal duty, and some sense of political consequence and right, then assuredly it will follow that never will there be wanting to that community men of high sentiments and military spirit, those who are to lead, and those who are to follow, not merely to the defence of their native land, but to every enterprise that can be pointed out to them of honourable danger.
These are, however, subjects which may not be entirely without their difficulty either in theory or in practice; but of their importance it is needless to speak. I have at least presented them to your curiosity, and offered my own view of them, and I proceed to other matters. You will find some sensible observations respecting them in the fourth volume of Millar; and finally, the defence of our island by the resident natives of it, its industrious and commercial population, has much occupied the parliamentary debates of our own times.
Having thus noticed the national wars before and during the administration of Mr. Pitt, I must leave you to read the events in the regular histories. The different hopes and fears, and the various emotions of mortification or triumph by which the public were agitated, will be best seen in the magazines of the time; and the events and leading particulars from the year 1758, in the Annual Register. I do not longer detain you with allusions to enterprises and successes which can never cease to be interesting to the reasonable pride, as well as natural curiosity, of every English reader.