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OUR NATIONAL DEFENCES,
AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.
SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
PRINTED BY WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, EDINBURGH,
The position of this country, with long been blessed with an exemption reference to its foreign relations, is from the serious national ills of life. the most extraordinary that ever Like the human race in the days of existed in the world. It may safely the Flood, they will be marrying and be pronounced without a parallel in giving in marriage when the deluge the whole history of mankind. It is comes upon them. hard to say whether it is most mar- Although, however, this is, beyond vellous considered with reference to all question, the general condition of the moral influence of past effort, or the influential part of our people, and the real weakness arising from pre- though it is the apathy or indifference sent blindness. We are at peace; we of this majority holding power which seem to be secure; all the appliances has so long stamped indecision and of civilised life are at our command; want of foresight on the measures of wealth, unbounded at least as regards Parliament, yet, upon a nearer examiterritorial magnates and wealthy mil- nation, it will be found that it is not an lionaires, is around us; every one absolute majority of the whole nation is set on gain, or straining after plea- which has been struck with this judisure ;-and yet the hand of the spoiler cial blindness, but a part of it only. is ready to wrest it all from us; and, Unfortunately, however, it is a very amidst our feasting and rioting, the large class that has been so affected, handwriting is already to be seen and precisely the class in whom polion the wall which foreshadows our tical power is now vested, and who, doom. But our people are blind to as they return, at present at least, the the warning—they are deaf to the representatives of a majority of the voice of the prophet, prophesy he never seats in the House of Commons, have so clearly. They have yielded to the in effect acquired the government influence of great and long-continued of the whole nation. It is in the prosperity, won by the strenuous boroughs-above all, the manufacefforts of former times. With the turing boroughs—that the belief has usual disposition of mankind to be- spread most widely that war is an lieve in the perpetuity of the present evil which has entirely disappeared order of things, they think they are from the world ; that we shall never always to be at peace because they be called on to fight again; that are so now, and have long enjoyed pacific influences and moneyed power that blessing; and flatter themselves will henceforth entirely regulate the that their enjoyments are never to be affairs of nations; and that muskets abridged, nor serious sacrifices re- and cannon, swords and cuirasses, quired of them, because they have so sail of the line and steamers of war,
VOL. LXXII.-NO. CCCCXLI.
may be buried beside the bones of the ascendancy, even for a brief seathe Mammoth and the Mastodon, as son, of their political friends, has relics of a primeval age, which will closed for a century to come the pracnever return to the sons of men. tical application of their principles. Strange as it may appear to any one The Revolution succeeded in Pariswho is either versed in the annals of it succeeded in Berlin-it succeeded nations, or has read the book from in Vienna ; and what has been the which they are all taken, the human result ? Just what, under similar heart, these ideas are not only com- circumstances, might be expected in mon, but, with few exceptions, uni- London, Manchester, or Glasgow. versal, in our manufacturing towns. The Revolutionists, among all their Mr Cobden never expressed an opi- professions of love for peace, proved nion which met with a more cordial the most warlike of mankind in their response in the breasts of a great deeds ; and armaments greater, and majority of his auditors in Free-Trade wars more bloody, and passions more Hall, Manchester, than when he said, violent, than had ever before arisen, two years ago, that all danger of followed immediately the triumph of war had now passed away; that no- the self-styled apostles of peace ! And thing could now withstand commer- in what state is Europe, at this mocial interests and the influence of ment, four years after the first explocapital ; and that our real wisdom sion of the revolutionary volcano by would be to sell our ships of the line, the overthrow of Louis Philippe ? disband our troops, dispose of all the Fifteen hundred thousand armed men stores in our arsenals, and trust en- are arrayed round the standards of tirely to the Peace Congress for the the European sovereigns; the efficient decision of the disputes of nations. warlike force of the great military
If other governments and people nations on the Continent has been could be brought to take the same doubled; and the military spirit deview of this subject, the doctrines ofveloped in them all to an extent the Manchester School of politicians never witnessed since the fall of Nawould perhaps be well founded, and poleon. Such has been the result of the world in general, discarding all the political measures of the peaceidea of wars or rumours of wars, makers. might rest in tranquillity, in the If these vast warlike armaments well-founded expectation of perpetual were confined to Continental operaand universal peace. But if other tions, and destined only for mutual nations are not animated with the slaughter by the Continental nations, same ideas-nay, if their warlike pro- they might be, comparatively speakpensities are every day increasing in ing, an object of indifference to the ardour, while ours are declining, our British public; and valuable only to situation, it must be evident to every the historian, or the distant observer considerate observer, is daily becom- of events, as an example of the ineviing more alarming. Qur wealth, table tendency of democratic revoluupon which we so much pride our. tions to awaken the warlike passions, selves, and to the increase of which and postpone, if not prevent, the reign we are willing to sacrifice everything, of peace upon the earth. But, unforwould then become the main source tunately, this is very far from being of our weakness--our fame, which the case; and if there is any one thing alone has hitherto protected us, the more certain than another, it is that greatest increase to our danger. The we ourselves are the principal object first would excite capidity, from the of all these armaments, and that we prospect of gratifying it without dan- are more immediately threatened with ger; the second inspire revenge, from attack than any state on the Conti. the hope of achieving it without dis- nent. The reason is, that we are at grace.
once the richest, the most inviting, and Now no man can look around him the most unprepared. Our immense and not see, not only that the chances riches, in great part centred in Lonof war are great, but that they are don in a form susceptible of immeimminent. The peacemakers have diate seizure, both invite attack and undone the work of their own hands : hold out the prospect of impunity to the spoiler. There is no other capital conquered nation over its conquerwhich presents anything like the ors, when the national strength was prizes which London would afford to once fairly roused, tells them in a à conquering enemy, or could with voice equally loud and distinct the so much ease be reached by his risk they run, if advantage is not armies. Vienna and Berlin, com- taken of the defenceless state of a paratively poor and worthless as the particular moment to complete our objects of plunder, can only be reached ruin. The series of defeats subseafter long and fatiguing marches, and quent to the one and only triumph when the forces of a confederation, of Hastings, inflicted by the English which can array 500,000 admirably on the French through four centuries, disciplined troops around its stand- is unparalleled in military annals ; it ard, have been subdued. But London even exceeds those gained by the can be reached in three days from French over the Austrians. Michelet, the coast of Sussex: it could only be in his History of France, confesses defended at present by a force so with a sigh that all the great days of inadequate to the task of protecting disaster and mourning to France it, that future ages will be lost in subsequent to the battle of Hastings, astonishment at the infatuation of a even on land, have come from the nation which, with such resources at arms of England; and the fact that its command, has left its metropolis it is so, is so notorious that it is in so defenceless a state; and the known to every tyro in history. battle of Hastings has taught us that Tenchebray, Cressy, Poitiers, Azina great disaster on the coast, even cour, Verneuil, Minden, Gibraltar, when the nation was far better pre- Egypt, Talavera, Salamanca, Vitpared than it is now, comparatively toria, Orthes, the Pyrenees, Toulouse, speaking, to repel aggression, speedily Waterloo, constitute a series of land renders further resistance in the triumphs, which the French, a miliinterior hopeless. There is no other tary nation, and passionately fond of nation but this which, within a day's military glory, can neither forget nor sail and three days' march, presents forgive. A French king has rode to the enemy a Bank with twenty captive through London ; a French millions of sovereigns in its coffers, emperor been buried a state captive a metropolis from which double that in the English dominions. Twice sum might be levied by military con- has Paris been taken by the armies tributions ; an undefended arsenal, of England; the English horse in one containing artillery and the muni- age have marched from Calais to ments of war for 200,000 men, and Bayonne, in another from Bayonne to a military force at the very utmost of Calais. Can these things ever be for12,000 disposable effective men to given? When the lover shall forget his defend the whole !
adored, the mother her child, France Add to this that England is the may forget them--but not till then. country against which the military The conduct of Prince Louis Napojealousy of France from the very leon, since he obtained the command earliest period has been most strongly in Paris, is sufficient to convince us directed, and on the head of which that he is perfectly alive to these disasters the most serious, and dis- views, and only prevented by prudengraces the most galling, have to be tial considerations from giving effect visited by our warlike, gallant, and to them at this time. Against whom thoroughly prepared neighbours, the was the great naval display and grand moment the hour for retribution is review at Cherbourg, two years ago, thought to have arrived. If the directed ? Were the stately threeFrench, or rather the Normans, can deckers, the huge war-steamers with point with just pride to the battle of their sides bristling with batteries, Hastings as a proof of the compara- intended as a demonstration against tive ease with which England, when Belgium or Prussia ? What was the taken unawares, and slumbering in object of the frequent great reviews, fancied security, can be conquered and late grand demonstration of miliby a single victory, a series of tary strength at Paris on the 18th of subsequent triumphs, gained by the May? Was it against the distant