« ForrigeFortsæt »
opium was not administered, it was no merit of his. With respect to Buonaparte's cowardly insinuation that the mind of the chief physician anticipated his determination, and waited, with trembling hope, for orders to poison his fellow creatures-it is clear, from his own account, that he suggested, that he pressed, that he insisted on this abomination, and that it was only prevented (IF it was prevented) by the courageous and humane resistance of the medical staff of the army.
The massacre of part of the garrison of Jaffa is thus related:
At the period in question General Desaix was left in Upper Egypt; and Kleber in the vicinity of Damietta. I left Cairo, and traversed the Arabian Desert in order to unite my force with that of the latter at El Arish. The town was attacked, and a capitulation succeeded. Many of the prisoners were found, on examination, to be natives of the Mountains, and inhabitants of Mount Tabor, but chiefly from Nazareth. They were immediately released, on their engaging to return quietly to their homes, children and wives: at the same time, they were recommended to acquaint their countrymen the Napolese, that the French were no longer their enemies, unless they were found in arms assisting the Pacha. When this ceremony was concluded, the army proceeded on its march towards Jaffa. That city, on the first view of it, bore a formidable appearance, and the garrison was considerable. It was summoned to surrender : when the officer, who bore my flag of truce, no sooner passed the city wall, than his head was inhumanly struck off, instantly fixed upon a pole, and insultingly exposed to the view of the French army. At the sight of this horrid and unexpected object, the indignation of the soldiers knew no bounds: they were perfectly infuriated; and, with the most eager impatience, demanded to be led on to the storm. I did not hesitate, under such circumstances, to command it. The attack was dreadful; and the carnage exceeded any action I had then witnessed. We carried the place, and it required all my efforts and influence to restrain the fury of the enraged soldiers. At length, I succeeded, and night closed the sanguinary scene. At the dawn of the following morning, a report was brought me, that five hundred men, chiefly Napolese, who had lately formed a part of the garrison of El Arish, and to whom I had a few days before given liberty, on condition that they should return to their homes, were actually found and recognized amongst the prisoners. On this fact being indubitably ascertained, I ordered the five hundred men to be drawn out and instantly shot.'-p. 161–163.
Here again we have two or three remarks to make on the palliative circumstances adduced by Buonaparte.
We will say nothing of the perfidy of the war which he was himself waging; we will not attempt to shew that the poor peasants of Mount Tabor might be supposed to be ignorant of the etiquette of European capitulations and paroles;-we shall not insist on the impossibility of the French recognizing the men found in
Jaffa as the very individuals who capitulated in El Arish;—we shall not state, as Sir Robert Wilson states, the massacre to have been of more than as many thousands as Buonaparte confesses hundreds; we shall not urge against Buonaparte that he actually obliged officers to serve against us who had been released from England, on parole, not to serve:-we shall give up all these topics, and only insist upon the plain facts of the case which prove this transaction to be one of the foulest and most inexcusable massacres that was ever perpetrated.
These poor people were taken at El Arish; their homes were Nazareth and Mount Tabor; they were bound to return thither; from El Arish to Nazareth, the high road passes through Jaffa. Buonaparte describes himself as having lost no time in marching to Jaffa; he could not, therefore, be far behind the Nazarites; and must, indeed, have arrived before the town almost as soon as they entered it: the place was summoned-an atrocity is committedthe assault is immediately given-and Jaffa is taken; but in it, on their way home, were found the garrison of El Arish; and, because they were found there-where Buonaparte must have known them to be, if they adhered to the capitulation--he ordered 500 of his fellow-creatures to be drawn out and instantly shot!—and this too the next morning after a carnage which exceeded all that this tiger had ever before witnessed. If Jaffa had been ever so little out of the way, or if it had been besieged long enough to allow the poor people to get away from it, or if they had been found in it after a lapse of time which ought to have carried them beyond it, something, though, God knows, but little, might be said in defence of Buonaparte; but as the fact is stated by himself the bloody perfidy is clear, and the whole of Buonaparte's conduct is proved, by his own confession, to have been detestably and infamously base.
We have now done with the Letters from St. Helena !-We have felt it on this occasion necessary to enter into minute, and often, we fear, tedious details, because Mr. Warden's pretences and falsehoods, if not detected on the spot and at the moment when the means of detection happen to be at hand, might hereafter tend to deceive other writers, and poison the sources of history. And for the honour of our country, and for the dignity of human nature, we are unwilling that it should be supposed that the falsehood and flatteries of Buonaparte and his followers could obliterate from the minds of Englishmen the atrocities with which he had for twenty years ensanguined and desolated the civilized world.
ART. XI. 1. An Inquiry into the Causes of the General Poverty and Dependance of Mankind; including a full Investigation of the Corn Laws. By William Dawson. Edinburgh.
2. A Plan for the Reform of Parliament, on Constitutional Principles. Pamphleteer. No. 14.
3. Observations on the Scarcity of Money, and its effects upon the Public. By Edward Tatham, D.D. Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford. 1816.
4. On the State of the Country, in December, 1816. By the Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair, Bart.
5. Christian Policy, the Salvation of the Empire. Being a clear and concise Examination into the Causes that have produced the impending, unavoidable National Bankruptcy; and the Effects that must ensue, unless averted by the Adoption of this only real and desirable Remedy, which would elevate these Realms to a pitch of Greatness hitherto unattained by any Nation that ever existed. By Thomas Evans, Librarian to the Society of Spencean Philanthropists. Second Edition. London. 1816.
6. The Monthly Magazine.
7. Cobbett's Political Register.
IF F the opinions of profligate and of mistaken men may be thought to reflect disgrace upon the nation, of which they constitute a part, it might verily be said that England was never so much disgraced as at this time. Never before had the country been engaged in so long or so arduous a struggle; never had any country, in ancient or in modern times, made such great and persevering exertions; never had any country displayed more perfect magnanimity, and scarcely ever had any contest been terminated with such consummate and transcendant glory :-this at least is universally acknowledged;-it is confessed as much by the rage and astonishment of the ferocious revolutionist, and the ill-disguised regret of a party whom the events of the war have stultified as well as soured, as by the gratitude and admiration of all true Britons, and of the wise and the good throughout the civilized world. Yet at this time, when the plans of government have been successful beyond all former example-when the object of a twenty years war-the legitimate object of a just and necessary war-has been attained, and England, enjoying the peace which she has thus bravely won, should be left at leisure to pursue with undistracted attention those measures, which, by mitigating present evils and preventing crimes in future, may, as far as human means can be effectual, provide for an increasing and stable prosperity;-at this time a cry of discontent.
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXI.
is gone forth, the apostles of anarchy take advantage of a temporary and partial distress, and by imposing upon the ignorance of the multitude, flattering their errors and inflaming their passions, are exciting them to sedition and rebellion.
During the great struggle between Charles I. and his parliament, the people required an appearance at least of devotion and morality in their leaders; no man could obtain their confidence unless he observed the decencies of life, and conformed in his outward deportment to the laws of God and man. There was much hypocrisy among them as well as much fanaticism, but the great body of the nation were sincerely religious, and strict in the performance of their ordinary duties; and to this cause, more than to any other, is it owing that no civil war was ever carried on with so few excesses and so little cruelty, so that the conduct of the struggle was as honourable to the nation as the ultimate consequences have been beneficial. It is a melancholy, and in some respects an alarming thing, to observe the contrast at the present crisis, when the popu lace look for no other qualification in their heroes than effrontery and a voluble tongue. Easily deluded they have always been; but evil-minded and insidious men, who in former times endeavoured to deceive the moral feelings of the multitude, have now laboured more wickedly and more successfully in corrupting them. Their favourite shall have a plenary dispensation for as many vices as he can afford to entertain, and as many crimes as he may venture to commit. Among them sedition stands in the place of charity and covereth a multitude of sins.
Were it not that the present state of popular knowledge is a necessary part of the process of society, a stage through which it must pass in its progress toward something better, it might reasonably be questioned whether the misinformation of these times be not worse than the ignorance of former ages. For a people who are ignorant and know themselves to be so, will often judge rightly when they are called upon to think at all, acting from common sense, and the unperverted instinct of equity. But there is a kind of half knowledge which seems to disable men even from forming a just opinion of the facts before them-a sort of squint in the understanding which prevents it from seeing straightforward, and by which all objects are distorted. Men in this state soon begin to confound the distinctions between right and wrong-farewell then to simplicity of heart, and with it farewell to rectitude of judgment! The demonstrations of geometry indeed retain their force with them, for they are gross and tangible :-but to all moral propositions, to all finer truths they are insensible--the part of their nature which should correspond with these is stricken with dead palsy. Give men a smattering of law, and they become litigious; give them a
smattering of physic, and they become hypochondriacs or quacks, disordering themselves by the strength of imagination, or poisoning others in the presumptuousness of conceited ignorance. But of all men, the smatterer in philosophy is the most intolerable and the most dangerous; he begins by unlearning his Creed and his Commandments, and in the process of eradicating what it is the business of all sound education to implant, his duty to God is discarded first, and his duty to his neighbour presently afterwards. As long as he confines himself to private practice the mischief does not extend beyond his private circle, his neighbour's wife may be in some danger, and his neighbour's property also, if the distinctions between meum and tuum should be practically inconvenient to the man of free opinions. But when he commences professor of moral and political philosophy for the benefit of the public,-the fables of old credulity are then verified his very breath becomes venomous, and every page which he sends abroad carries with it poison to the unsuspicious reader.
We have shewu, on a former occasion,* how men of this description are acting upon the public, and have explained in what manner a large part of the people have been prepared for the virus with which they inoculate them. The dangers arising from such a state of things are now fully apparent, and the designs of the incendiaries, which have for some years been proclaimed so plainly, that they ought, long ere this, to have been prevented, are now manifested by overt acts. On this point, therefore, it cannot be necessary to enlarge. But there is a class of political reformers who profess, according to Horne Tooke's expression, that they mean to stop at Brentford; and as these gentlemen, as far as they go, use the same arguments by which their more eager allies are stimulated to go the whole way and push forward for the Bank and the Tower, it may not be a useless task to detect their fallacies and expose their falsehood.
It is boldly asserted that the late war was undertaken and carried on against the wishes of the people, and in support of despotic governments against the liberties of mankind; that it is the cause of the existing distress, being itself a consequence of the corrupt state of the representation; and that the remedy for all our evils is a Reform in Parliament. The first of these assertions is in direct opposition to the truth. The second imputes the evil to a cause in itself inevitable, and which has only incidentally and partially operated in producing it. The third recommends a remedy which could no more mitigate the disease, than the demolition of Tenterden Steeple could remove Goodwin Sands.
No. XVI. Inquiry into the Poor Laws.