Imágenes de páginas


Little schoolboys a voice now may claim in the choice
Of the master they subject should be to:

If his ferule appears rather sharp for their rears,
They at once interpose with a veto.

O such a convenient veto

Every truant and dunce would agree to!
That his bacon should be

For ever birch-free,

By this new saving clause of a Veto.


In a different way, there are others who say-
"The foes of this measure are we too;
Could we even elect, 'twere of little effect,
If we can't, too, eject with a veto."
For O this most mischievous Veto
Will make many a sly Jesuito;
Who, when urging his suit,

Hides a huge cloven foot,

Which he shows when he's clear of the Veto.


The clergy, we saw, made good use of the law,
And hornings and captions could flee to ;

But they alter their song when the law says they're wrong,
And illegally stick to their Veto.

This unconstitutional Veto,

Why will they so lawlessly flee to?

They should either relax

Their annuity-tax,

Or submit to the law on the Veto.

[ocr errors]

When a claim they present-" Pray, our stipends augment," Which the Court interpones its decree to ;

They sing mighty small, or say nothing at all,

Of their views in regard to the Veto.

O this unprincipled Veto,

Which the Judges will ne'er bend the knee to!

How the Church would look blue,

If a chalder or two

Were cut off from each cure by a Veto!


The old friends of the Church they could leave in the lurch,
And coquet with a Whig nominee too:

For the Devil or Dan, I believe, to a man,
They would vote if he promised the Veto.
For all must give way to the Veto;
What is conscience or truth to the Veto?
Peace, order, and laws,

Nay, the Protestant cause,

Mustn't stand in the way of the Veto.


But I shrewdly suspect, if my news be correct,
That the sense of the people's with me too:

If their protege's fate is entitled to weight,
The country has VETOED the Veto.

So to dwell any more on the Veto
Would be tiresome to you and to me too:
I've detain'd you too long-
Here's an end of my song,
And I hope, too, an end of the Veto!


NAPOLEON'S Egyptian expedition supplies one of the most distinct proofs ever given of the Divine punishment which may directly stamp a great public crime. Many acts of memorable atrocity have of old unquestionably passed without any evident retribution; but of later years, whether for the purpose of more powerfully impressing justice on the minds of modern nations, or from the nearer approach of some great but still undefined consummation, the retribution has trod with singular closeness on the steps of the crime.

It is right previously to observe, that those direct inflictions seem seldom to be visited on the general course of public crime in high places, however repulsive. The punishment of what may be called the customary criminality, the habitual ambitions and encroachments of nations on each other, are apparently left to customary and general evils. But it is when nations, or their rulers, start out of the common track of ambition and encroachment, that a new, sudden, and striking brand of vengeance is often openly burned on them. Thus the partition of Poland was an act of plunder and blood beyond the ordinary line of that rapacity and cruelty which habitually marks the conduct of foreign cabinets; and never was the punishment of a highway robbery or murder more directly marked in the punishment of the individual robber and murderer than the punishment of that dreadful atrocity was marked in the sufferings of Prussia, Austria, and Russia-within a few years from the crime, the capture of their three capitals, the defeat of their armies, and the vast losses of wealth, population, honour, and territory.

The late instance of the invasion of Algiers, without the slightest cause except the French desire to gain what it terms glory, by cutting throats, and robbing wherever it can with impunity, was instantly followed to the King by the downfall of the Bourbon dynasty, as it has been followed to France by the erection of an anomalous and precarious Governmentforced to be despotic through fear of being forced to be republican; and the

anxieties of a war, which, after wasting life and treasure during ten years, is now to be begun afresh, and requires an army of 60,000 men. We shall thus see America, in due time, punished for her atrocious robbery by which she has seized Texas, and for her gross and wholly unjustifiable attempts on Canada. Russia will yet have to pay heavily in blood for her invasion of the brave Caucasian tribes, for her cruel extinction of the few remains of independence in unhappy Poland, and for that unlicensed and unlimited system of grasping by which she continues the guilty policy of Catharine, and labours to add thousands of slaves, and tens of thousands of square miles, to a population and territory beyond the power of any man to govern wisely

beyond any nation to hold safelyand beyond every thing but the indescribable folly of human ambition.

Napoleon's Egyptian enterprise was exactly of this order of ultra-atrocity. It is the universal characteristic of foreign politics, that they have no morality whatever. Whatever they can grasp, they grasp; and by whatever means they can obtain their objects, they obtain them. France has, in all ages, differed from her Continental neighbours only in putting these maxims into more unhesitating practice. What fraud can contrive and force can perform, will inevitably be contrived and performed by her, on every occasion where it can be done with impunity. The only country on earth which ever exhibits a sense of common justice in her public transactions, is England; and even at this moment no Ministry of England would be suffered by the nation to seize a single acre of the feeblest state on earth, without having strict justice on the national side. This is an eminent honour to the national character, and one which must never be forfeited.

Egypt had thus been an object of French cupidity for upwards of a hundred years. There exists a memorial of Leibnitz, then at the head of all Continental science, addressed to Louis XIV., recommending the seizure, at the period when that profligate and sanguinary despot was assaulting Holland. This philosophic tempter

advised him to signalize his ambition more effectually, even in Europe, by seizing on a province which promised a more easy and profitable victory than the swamps and sands of the Ďutch. He justly told the King that he could not pursue a Dutch war without exciting the jealousy of Europe. "It is in Egypt," said he, "that the true blow can be struck." He then laboured to show, that the possession would give him the road to India, and put her opulent trade into his hands; that it Would thus engross the real sources of the wealth of Holland-extinguish the competitorship of Europe and, by making the Mediterranean a French lake, virtually place Louis on the throne of Europe. Louis was fortunately as self-willed as he was sanguinary; he preferred the nearer conquest; brought on himself the arms of England and Europe, was hunted up to the gates of Versailles; and ought to have been hanged on those gates, with his whole ministry round him, if justice had been done.

A quarter of a century before the French Revolution, Savary, one of these scientific infidels who poisoned the public mind and prepared that Revolution, had gone to Egypt, and given a description of it in the national style,—a flourish of romance, in which every thing was dipped in colours of the rainbow, and the appetite of the nation was again excited to seize on this African paradise.

On the conquest of Italy, in 1797, the project of seizing Egypt was adopted by the Directory. It offered various temptations to that atrocious underhand policy, which regards every thing but justice. To Napoleon, the command of a fleet and army, which would keep him before the eyes of France to the Directory, the opportunity of getting rid of a too popular general and unemployed army for the time—and to the nation, that phantasm of national glory which is always able to delude France. We can find no counteracting opinion at the time no honest remonstrance against the utter villany of plundering an ancient ally, and the utter impolicy of showing that with France treaties were waste paper; we cannot find even any humane and natural protest against the actual murder of the multitude of men, Frenchmen as well as Turks

and Arabs, who must perish in the

invasion. On the contrary, all France was in exultation at the sight of the vast armament gathered for the purpose at Toulon; and neither among her people nor her priesthood was one warning voice raised against this preparative for wholesale robbery and slaughter.

In the beginning all seemed fortunate. The expedition sailed, escaped the British fleet, reached Malta, of which it became possessed by corrup tion; and turning out the weak and perfidious knights, placed in it a French garrison, and then reached Alexandria in safety, made its spirit known by putting 1200 of the garrison to the sword, and in a few days was in possession of the country.

But it is well worth remarking, that perhaps no expedition ever more distinctly failed in all its principal objects. Its seizure of Malta gave that great fortress finally into the hands of the English, by whom it had been immediately besieged, and taken with its garrison. But the first retributive blow was the destruction of the whole French fleet at Aboukir. The next was the defeat of Bonaparte himself, by Sir Sydney Smith and the Turks, at Acre. This was followed by the successive defeats of the French by the British army, until not a man of that expedition remained in Egypt but as a prisoner.

Yet the punishment did not end there. France was to be scourged, and the lash fell upon her with matchless severity. The Allies, encouraged by the absence of the last general and best army of France, poured fresh troops into Italy. The Russian Government, relieved from all fears on the side of Turkey, by the irritation of the French attack on a Turkish province, sent the celebrated Suwarrow with a strong force to Italy. He swept the French before him, and recovered the entire country in a single rapid but most bloody campaign. It was computed that, in killed and prisoners, France lost one hundred thousand men in Italy before the end of the year. Thus the fruits of the single atrocity of invading Egypt, and of slaughtering unfortu nate Turks and Arabs without a cause, was the loss of two great armies-of Italy-of the most important station of the Mediterranean for ever, and of all hopes of possessing Egypt, which

they not improbably might have obtained by purchase from the necessi. ties of Turkey. Even the more minute objects were failures. The Directory wholly failed in keeping Napoleon at a distance, for he contrived to return, however disreputably. And even in his personal instance, nothing but the accidental circumstances of the country could have saved him from ruin. His defeats in Syria had thrown a cloud on his military reputation, which would have enabled the Directory to bring him to a court-martial for desertion. But he was saved for a heavier fall. The loss of the Italian campaign, under Joubert and Macdonald, alone protected him at the


He was received by the people, in their emergency, as the sole hope of the country. The battle of Marengo turned the tide again, and that larger course of infliction began, which he was evidently reserved to put in mo. tion against Europe. Yet what were even his greatest victories but so many new shapes of suffering, in which France herself shared with unbroken powers of the Continent, in which hundreds of thousands of her people were sacrificed, only to bring an enemy twice to Paris, to lay the country at the feet of Europe; and even in the instance of that wonder of genius and fortune himself, only to make him the most memorable victim of humiliation that the world has ever seen-the blasted figure of a colossal ambition.

The battle of Aboukir was one of the most singular and one of the most momentous, in naval annals. Nelson, after having twice traversed the Mediterranean in chase of the French, first saw them on the 1st of August, (1798,) drawn up in line, at the anchorage of Aboukir, with their broadsides to the sea, and protected by guns on the shore. He advanced straight to the mark the moment he saw them, at three in the afternoon. The number of ships on both sides was equal-each thirteen sail of the line; but the French had a great advantage in guns and men, their 'ships carrying 1196 guns, and 11,230 men; while the British had but 1012 guns, and 8068 men. The enemy had a still more important advantage in the size of their ships, having the L'Orient of 120 guns and the Franklin and Guillaume Tell of 80; while the British

But they

were all seventy-fours. had what was more than equivalent to all other superiority-Nelson in command. Nelson, by throwing a part of his force between the enemy and the shore, accomplished the great manoeuvre of bringing an overwhelm ing weight of fire on a part of the op posing line. Five ships had thus passed inside the French line, while six ranged outside. After boldly sustaining this storm of fire for six hours, the enemy's ships began to strike; and flames were soon after seen from the Admiral's ship, the L'Orient. The blaze rapidly covered this magnificant vessel, and threw a light on the con tending fleets, the surrounding sea, and the shore, on which French troops and Arabs had gathered to see the battle.

At length she blew up, with an explosion so tremendous as to shake every ship, and cover them with blazing fragments. Nelson, though wounded severely in the head, and carried below decks, on hearing that the L'Orient was on fire, got up alone, and made his way to the quarterdeck, when, with that humanity which formed so conspicuous a part of his gallant nature, he ordered his boats out to save the enemy's officers and seamen who were jumping overboard.

By daylight the victory was seen to be complete. Of the thirteen French sail of the line, two were burned and nine taken; of their four frigates, one was burned and one sunk-two sail of the line and two frigates alone escaping, from the inability of the crippled English ships to follow them. The British loss was 895 killed and wounded. Tho enemy's loss was dreadful: 5225 killed; 3105 wounded and pri soners, subsequently sent on shore, on their parole, not to serve until exchan ged. But Napoleon, who despised such punctilios, instantly incorporated into his army all who were able to march, and made a regiment out of those remnants of the battle.

The mighty warrior who gained this victory became instantly and justly the object of European admiration. He was loaded with honours by the Allied Courts; England gave him a pension of L.2000 a-year, with that title which he had so nobly contemplated on his first sight of the enemy: "Before this time to-morrow I shall have gained a peerage, or Westminster Abbey."

[blocks in formation]

ed with plate and sacred ornaments, infamously torn from the altars of the island. And though the worship was that of a corrupt belief, yet we must remember that those treasures were devoted to religion, however imperfectly known; and that they were carried away in the open scorn of homage to God and justice to man. It is supposed that the whole of this sacrilegious pillage went to the bottom with this doomed vessel. In the flames that consumed the L'Orient, as in the handwriting on the banquetwall of the Babylonian king, was marked the final destiny of the profaner.


WHAT See I on this barren strand?—
A burning sky, a burning sand,
A shipless sea, a lifeless land!

Yet Time! thou old destroyer, Time,
Thou'st seen it earth's most glorious clime,
All throne and temple-all sublime.

Of earth's wild drama wildest stage;
Of mind's first flight, war's darkest rage,
The Soldier, and the Archimage!

Then sank its sun in midnight gloom;
Its life was treasured in the tomb.
Egypt was all—the Catacomb!

Yet on that strand was Europe freed!
The world beheld that battle bleed;
And mighty England did the deed.

'Twas eve; and on the horizon pale,
Like cloud on cloud, uprose the sail;
And warrior-echoes fill'd the gale.

There, squadron'd on the sunset tide,
With day's last gold and amber dyed,
Came Britain's sea-kings in their pride.

Splendid the thronging pomp swept on,
To cannon-fire and trumpet tone;
Each war-ship like a floating throne.

Who led them on? A deathless name,
That through their bosoms shot like flame----
Nelson! the noblest son of fame!

Startled, yet stern, the Frenchman's line
Saw in the sun the red-cross shine,
And felt it Ruin's judgment-sign.

Then blazed the gun-then burst the shell,
Then thick the muskets' fire-shower fell,
And all was thunder, shout, and yell!

« AnteriorContinuar »