« ForrigeFortsæt »
ance, and thus been the means of destroying the power of Buonaparte, and restoring the Bourbons to France.
Yet so it was;-it does not enter within the scope of this work to detail the circumstances which led to the revolution in Spain; suffice it to say, that when Buonaparte, not content with having gained in fact the real power in Spain, attempted to place his brother Joseph on the throne, and imprisoned the legitimate sovereign in France, the people of Spain rose, and without the countenance or as. sistance of their chief nobles; and with little co-operation at first from the military, resisted the armies of France.
When this intelligence was first known, it was generally believed that the Spaniards were roused to resistance by their love of liberty and independence ; but this belief was abandoned by all, when it was seen how tamely they submitted to the despotismn of their restored monarch. But it appears to us, that there was great misapprehension upon the subject; there are three distinct causes, which may rouse a nation to resistance, the love, almost instinctive (for it exists in nations however degraded in other respects) of national independence ;--personal and individual oppression, of a kind they have not been accustomed to, or the infringement of their habits and prejudices in a violent and sudden manner. And lastly, the real love of political, civil, and religious liberty. With respect to the first cause, there seems no doubt that a nation governed by the most absolute despotism may be roused, by their love of national independence, to resist the government of a foreign power, even though they were convinced that under this government they would be ruled in a more free and gentle manner. In fact, the love of national independence exists in nations, who have no idea of political or civil privileges or rights; and who therefore naturally prefer, what they understand and feel an attachment to, to that which they do not comprehend. With respect to the second cause of national resistance, it may
at first sight surprize us to see a nation, which had long submitted to the most frightful tyranny in many instances, rouse itself, if other modes of tyranny are attempted to be introduced; but such are the opposite forces of novelty and habit, not only among individuals, but natives. In Spain it appears to us, that the people were roused to resist the French, almost entirely by the operation of these causes, and that the third cause--a real love of political liberty had not the smallest share in rousing them. They were roused, because they disliked the government of a foreigner, and especially of a Frenchman; for besides the operation of the strong antipathy to Frenchmen, which had long existed in the breasts of the Spaniards, their priests had increased this antipathy, by representing the French as-totally destitute of all religion. Suchi was one cause of the rising of the Spanish nation against the French ;-had Buonaparte been politic enough to have ruled Spain, by means of Spanish kings, he would probably have found her tame and submissive; but his foolish ambition led him astray from his proper line of conduct. But besides the love of national independence and the batred of the French character which roused the Spaniards—the latter were operated upon, by the tyranny of the French in Spain, which being of a nature very different from the tyranny to which they had been aecus. tomed, produced all the effects upon them, that any infringement of liberty would have produced upon the most high spirited and free nation in Europe.
Such appear to us to have been the causes which led to the Spanish revolution, which was by far the most important event in the year 1808. We shall now resume our account of naval affairs for this year,--they are, however, very few and very uninteresting. - The supplies for the navy this year amounted to the sum of seventeen million, four hundred and ninety-six thousand forty-seven pounds. Of the mode in which the
sumsannually voted for the navy are distributed the following account, respecting the grant for the year 1807, may give some idea. The sum voted for that year was sixteen millions, seven hundred and seventy-five thousand, seven hundred and sixty-one pounds, nine shillings and three-pence: of this there was distributed for salaries to the offices connected with the administration of the navy, the sum of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds ;—for wages, bounty half-pay, flag-pay, and pensioners the sum of two millions, eight hundred and nine thousand, seven hundred and twelve pounds nineteen shillings; for dock-yards, building of ships, stores, pilotage, &c. six-million, three hundred and sixty-one thousand, seven hundred and fifty-five pounds and eight-pence; for the marine service on shore four hundred and twelve thousand, one hundred pounds; for the victualling department, the sum of four million, nine hundred and thirty-two thousand, seven hundred and şeventy-seven pounds, nineteen shillings and nine-pence: for transports, prisoners of war, sick and wounded seamen, &c. the sum of one million, eight hundred and twenty-nine thousand, four hundred and thirty-five pounds, nine shillings and ten-pence; and for miscellaneous services, the sum of three hundred thousand pounds.
The state of the British navy, according to the returns up to the 1st of January, 1808, was as follows : there were in commission seven hundred and ninety-five ships of war, of which one hundred and forty-four were of the line : twenty from fifty to forty-four guns : one hundred and seventy-eight frigates : two hundred and twenty-six sloops of war; two hundred and twenty-seven armed brigs, &c. Besides which there were building and in ordipary, ships, which made the total amount of the British navy, exclusive of cutters and other small vessels, one thousand ships of war, including two hundred and fiftythree of the line; twenty-nine from fifty to forty-four guns; two hundred and sixty-one frigates; two hundred
and ninety-nine sloops ; and two hundred and fifty-eight armed brigs. The amount of the British navy up to the 1st of October this year was as follows: at sea, ninety-two ships of the line, twelve from fifty to forty-four guns ; one hundred and thirty frigates, one hundred and sixtyeight sloops, &c., one hundred and sixty-six gun brigs, and other vessels ;-total, five hundred and sixty-eight.
- In port and fitting thirty-three ships of the line, four from fifty to forty-four guns; thirty-four frigates, sixtynine sloops, &c. sixty-four gun brigs and other vessels : total two hundred and four. Guardships, &c. thirty-nine of the line, one of fifty guns; three frigates, two sloops, two gun brigs;-total fourteen. In ordinary and repairing, forty-six of the line, thirteen from fifty to forty-four guns; fifty-six frigates, forty-nine sloops, &c. fifteen gun brigs and other vessels ;-—total one hundred and seventynine. Building sixty sail of the line, fifteen frigates, twenty-two sloops, &c. six gun brigs and other vessels ;total one hundred and three.-Grand total one thousand one hundred and twenty-one. The number of seamen, including fourteen thousand royal marines, voted for the sea service of 1808, was one hundred and thirty thousand.
We have already adverted to the anti-commercial decrees of Buonaparte. Besides the decree issued from Berlin, he issued another from Milan, and a third from the court of the Thuilleries: the object and tenor of all these decrees were the same. The British Islands were decreed to be in a state of blockade ; all vessels laden with British goods were to be seized; and all British manufactures or colonial produce found in France, or in the countries subject to her, were to be burnt. These decrees were opposed by the British Orders in Council, which prohibited all trade by neutrals with France, unless the ships carrying on such trade first submitted to enter a British port, and there pay a regulated duty on her cargo. It is evident that neutrals were thus injured and irritated
by both parties; but as Britain had, from her command of the sea, the greater power of injuring, she became the most obnoxious to neutrals. The principal neutral state engaged in trade with France was America ; and the British Orders in Council certainly tended to widen the breach between the United States and Britain. They were also the subject of warm and repeated discussions in both Houses of Parliament. The opposition foretelling that they would injure Britain more than France, and that they would create a war with America: whereas the mi. nistry as strenuously maintained that they would bring Buonaparte to his senses, by the misery they would inflict upon France; and that with respect to the United States, if they were wise and took a fair view of the question, they would never go to war with Britain on account of measures into which she was driven for her own self tection, by the ambition and injustice of Buonaparte.
During the revolution in Spain, the British navy had it not in their power, by any very grand or decisive operation, to benefit and advance the cause of the Spanish patriots, but they did them much service by operations which do not make a great figure in history. Even at the very commencement of the revolution, the British navy was of essential service. The British ministry having been applied to by the Spanish patriots, resolved to assist them by every means in their power. Accordingly instructions were sent out to this effect to the commander of the British fleet off the coast of Spain. Lord Colling. wood offered his services for the reduction of the French fleet which lay in the harbour of Cadiz; but Morla, the governor of that city, very properly resolved that this should be exclusively the achievement of the Spaniards themselves; and they compelled the French to surrender their fleet, consisting of five ships of the line, of seventyfour guns each, one frigate, and four thousand seamen and marines. About the same time three ships were sent