« AnteriorContinuar »
His emotion upon the subject of Savary and Lallemand, for whose fate he showed more anxiety than for his own, was peculiarly honourable to him. Nor were his parting acknowledgments to Captain Maitland less seemly and dignified. :. Soon after breakfast, Marchand came and said the Emperor wished to see me: I went into the cabin. “ I have requested to see you, Captain,” said he, “ to return you my thanks for your kindness and attention to me whilst I have been on board the Bellerophon, and likewise to beg you will convey them to the officers and ship's company you command. My reception in England has been very different from what I expected; but it gives me much satisfaction to assure you, that I feel your conduct to me throughout has been that of a gentleman and a man of honour. He then said, he was desirous of having Mr O'Meara, the surgeon of the Bellerophon, to accompany him ; and asked my opinion of him in his medical capacity, as well as of his principles. I replied, that I had the highest opinion of him, both for his skill and attention; that he had given me so much satisfaction while under my command, that I had procured his removal from two different ships in which he had served with me previous to my appointment to the Bellerophon, that he might accompany me; and that I was convinced he was a man of principle and integrity. After conversing some time longer with him, during which he spoke in the warmest terms of affection of General Bertrand, and the obligations he felt to him for his remaining with him during his adversity, when he knew strong efforts had been used to induce him to abandon him, I took my leave; and this was the last time I was ever alone with him.
• About one o'clock, the barge of the Admiral was prepared ; a Captain's guard turned out, and by Lord Keith's direction, as Napoleon crossed the quarter-deck to leave the ship, the guard presented arms, and three ruffles of the drum were beat, being the salute given to a General Officer.
- He walked out of the cabin with a steady, firm step, came up to me, and, taking off his hat, said, “ Captain Maitland, I take this last opportunity of once more returning you my thanks for the manner in which you have treated me while on board the Bellerophon, and also to request you will convey them to the officers and ship's company you command:” then turning to the Officers, who were standing by me, he added, “ Gentlemen, I have requested your Captain to express my gratitude to you for your attention to me, and to those who have followed my fortunes.” He then went forward to the gangway; and before he went down the ship's side, bowed two or three times to the ship's company, who were collected in the waist and on the forecastle ; he was followed by the ladies and the French Officers, and lastly by Lord Keith. After the boat had shoved off, and got the distance of about thirty yards from the ship, he stood up, pulled his hat off, and bowed, first to the Officers, and then to the men; and immediately sat down, and entered into conversation with Lord Keith, with as much apparent composure as if he had been only going from one ship to the other to pay a visit.' pp. 202– 204.
Our author gives several traits of a very amiable disposition in this celebrated person-as of his kindness to all about him - the liberties he allowed them to take, and the pains he took to soothe them when any hasty expression of his might have ruffled their temper. His affection for his wife and son was strongly marked. “I feel, ” (said he, when showing their miniatures one morning), “ Í feel the conduct of the Allied So
vereigns to be more cruel and unjustifiable towards me in • that respect than in any other. Why should they deprive 'me of the comforts of domestic society, and take from me • what must be the dearest objects of affection to every mano my child, and the mother of that child ?” On his expressing « himself as above, I looked him steadily in the face, to observe
whether he showed any emotion: the tears were standing in his eyes, and the whole of his countenance appeared evident• ly under the influence of a strong feeling of grief.' But the general impression which he made upon the Bellerophon's crew is decisive in his favour. It is thus recorded by the Captain.
• After he had quitted the ship, being desirous to know the feeling of the ship's company towards him, I asked my servant what the people said of him. “Why, Sir," he answered, “ I heard several of them conversing together about him this morning; when one of them observed, • Well, they may abuse that man as much as they please, but if the people of England knew him as well we do, they would not hurt a hair of his head;' in which the others agreed." This was the more extraordinary, as he never went through the ship's company but once, immediately after his coming on board, when I attended him, and he did not speak to any of the men ; merely returning their salute by pulling off his hat ; and in consequence of his presence, they suffered many privations, such as not being allowed to see their wives and friends, or to go on shore, having to keep watch in port, &c.; and when he left the ship, the only money he distributed was twenty Napoleons to my steward, fifteen to one of the under-servants, and ten to the cook.' pp. 223, 224.
Having spoken of the greatness of Napoleon, as all unprejudiced men already feel, and as, before long, all will openly speak, it remains that we guard ourselves, once more, against being supposed to reverence that greatness as the highest which genius can attain. We are using the word in the sense affixed to it by the prevailing disposition of mankind to magnify those qualities which are most hurtful to themselves, and admire, above all other exploits, those which lead to conquest and to power. Napoleon was a conqueror and an absolute ruler; that is sufficient to place him, in the estimation of all who love liberty, and regard the happiness of their fellow
creatures, on a får lower level than those who have only drawn their swords to defend their country, or destroy her oppressors. But while men shall agree in being dazzled by the brilliancy of vast military genius and prodigious success, regardless of the cause in which the battle is fought, they must place him above all other captains; and he has the same claim to precedence among successful usurpers. He has, however, beside this more vulgar applause, some title to the admiration of the enlightened and humane, very different from those of ordinary heroes. He founded his empire upon the subversion of abuses the most pernicious to the well-being of society.
If he was not a friend of the people for their own sake, he · was the enemy of their worst foes. He set his face every where against intolerance; he restrained within narrow bounds the power of the Romish priesthood; he gave no quarter to those antiquated notions which at once inthrall and prop up old governments; and wherever he bore sway, the utmost scope was allowed to improvement throughout all the departments of human industry. As a lawgiver, he occupies a high place in the history of modern Europe; and grievously as France paid for his boundless ambition, his thirst of honest fame made some amends, however inadequate, for the evils which his thirst of dominion wrought: The same hand that inflicted the Conscription, bestowed the Codes.
Art. V.--A Letter addressed to the Peers of Scotland.
CHARLES LORD KINNAIRD. London, 1826.
This spirited, sensible, and well written paper directs the at
tention of our Scottish Peers to the peculiar hardships of their political situation; and, as it especially points out the manner in which their Parliamentary existence trenches upon the independence of the Supreme Judicature of the realm, we shall take this opportunity of shortly discussing some matters connected with that most important of all questions in the Judicial system of any country, the Independence of its Judges. But, first, we must state the substance of Lord Kinnaird's remarks.
The noble author, we lament to perceive, has formed a very moderate estimate, we will not say of the purity, but certainly of the resistance to ministerial influence which may at any given time be expected from the distinguished body to which
vo. XLIP. NÓ. 88. . Cc
he belongs. Indeed, he takes it quite as a matter of course, that they must elect for their representatives the nominees of the Crown, and without exercising more of their own free will than the Chapter of a Cathedral in the choice of a Bishop. · The Congé d'Elire,' says he, being duly issued, and the Go! vernment list received and corrected, you are about to ass ' semble,' &c. We greatly fear, too, that he is by no means singular in his notions upon this subject. A long course of almost unvarying compliance with the known wishes of the ministry for the time being, whether Whig or Tory, has obtained for the elective body a reputation nearly approaching that of a Treasury or Ordnance Borough in respect of steadiness, and for the noble representatives a fame hardly surpassed by the Household troops themselves. If the Peers have sometimes ex, ercised a will of their own in electing one or two of the sixteen, so have we occasionally seen the best regulated boroughs for once oust the nominees of their proprietors; and if, at a memorable crisis, “ the Thanes fled from a minister, it must be recollected that his ministerial days were numbered, as the event proved; and our noble countrymen, with their national gifts of foresight, fell not into the error from which even Oxford herself has not at all times been exempt, that of fixing her regards and bestowing her honours upon a candidate fated to remain for years in opposition.
In the year 1806, we are informed by Lord Kinnaird, the ministers were disposed to introduce a bill into Parliament for placing the Scotch Peers upon the same footing with the Irish.
A most liberal proposition,' says his Lordship, and wor6 thy of the high-minded statesman from whom it proceeded.' Little, we should imagine, did Lord Grenville expect it to be rejected by the noble personages, for securing whose independence, and increasing their personal weight, it was so manifestly calculated. It seems hardly credible, that they should have preferred remaining in the state in which the Union left them, so greatly inferior to their Irish brethren. For, let us only consider the difference of the two bodies:-The eldest son of a Scotch Peer cannot sit in Parliament for any shire or borough in Scotland; consequently, he is excluded from all chance of being elected where his natural influence lies, and can only make that influence available towards his return, by bartering it with some English or Irish borough-monger; so that the entrance of the most distinguished members of the Scottish community into Parliament is almost of necessity united with the corruptions of the representative system, inasmuch as the return of each individual presupposes two close seats, one in Scotland, and one elsewhere. From this incapacity, operating at once as an inconvenience to the individual and a stigma upon the body, the Irish Peers are wholly free, their eldest sons being eligible for any city, borough, or county in Ireland. Again, the Scotch Peer, if not chosen to represent the peerage in the House of Lords—that is, if not a friend to the ministry, is excluded from all Parliamentary existence;- he cannot sit in the House of Commons, even for an English'or Irish seat. It is obvious how direct the tendency of this incapacity must be to perpetuate the dependence of the body upon the Government; and how grievous it may prove to individuals, or rather how hurtful to the country, by shutting the doors of Parliament against many who were formed to be among its highest ornaments, we need go no further than to the author of this Tract to prove;- for it is one of the most lamentable effects of the injustice which so often bears sway at Court, that his country has, during twenty years, been deprived of Lord Kinnaird's services, only because he had the misfortune to be a Scotch Peer, and the honesty to maintain his principles at the hazard of his Parliamentary existence.
There remains, however, a third particular in which the Scotch is inferior to the Irish Peerage, and it is the most important of the whole;- the latter choose their representatives for life, the former only for the Parliament. · Here, then, we have sixteen of the members composing the highest court of justice in the kingdom, who do not hold their places for life, but only at the will of their constituents, that is, practically speaking, at the pleasure of the Crown. That in practice the Peers, not of the legal profession, are seldom called to exercise their judicial functions, forms no answer to the argument. As often as the House of Lords at large acts judicially, we perceive the effects of the dependence of the Scotch Peers. In Lord Melville's case, only one of the sixteen was found to vote for the Impeachment on any one of the articles, although he was upon several acquitted by a narrow majority of the English Peers; and in the Queen's case, where there were a majority of the English and Irish Peers against the scandalous and disgraceful proceeding, only a single Scotch Peer deserted the Court! Among the many inestimable services which Lord Erskine rendered to his country, we may justly reckon the admirable conduct of Lord Melville's trial, by which he removed from the great constitutional remedy of impeachment the objection of endless delay, attached to it ever since the proceedings in Mr Hastings' case, and threatening to make it a dead letter. Restored by this means to vigour, there is now every