« PrécédentContinuer »
Like floating fire the gleamy billows burn :
And life and strength and happy thoughts return.' 277-8 We do not know that these pieces are very lyrical; but they bave undoubtedly very great merit, and are more uniformly good, than any passages of equal length in the blank verse of the same writer. We should guess that Miss Baillie writes slowly, and with considerable labour ; and the trouble which it probably occasions her to find rhymes, may perhaps be one cause of the goodness of her rhymed poetry. It leads obviously to the great merit of brevity and condensation of sentiment, as well as to the rejection of weak or ordinary images ;- for it is only upon precious materials that a prudent artist will ever bestow his most costly and laborious work.nanship. But whatever be the causes of their excellence, it affords us great plensure to bear testimony to the fact; and it would go far to console us for the determination which Miss Baillie announces, to publish no more plays on the passions during her life, if we could be permitted to hope that she will favour us now and then with a little volume of such verses as those we have just been transcribing.
Art. II. The Crisis of the Dispute with Ainerica. By a Mer
chant of the Old School. 8vo. London, 1811,
his is a sensible and useful pamphlet, published by a very
respectable merchant, who writes on a subject in whicka he feels the interest of one actually engaged in the affairs he treats of, and suffering severely under the evils of which he come plains. He has inserted the very admirable letters recently ada dressed to the Prince Regent by Mr Cobbet, which contain a great variety of arguments, urged with the usual force and effect of that writer; and on a side of the question much more sound, in our apprehension, ihan that which he used formerly to espouse. Nothing can be more gratifying to those who really love truth, and seek the good of their country, than to sec such instances of able and well-informed men meeting on the same ground, after being kort separate by honest differences of opinion: and they who brawl against such changes of sentiment, only show themselves equally carcless of the interests of
the state and the cause of truth, and incapable of estimating the merits of that candour which acknowledges and retracts an Invohuntary error.
We propose, on this occasion, to offer a few reflections to our readers upon the subject of the disputes with America. Not that it is at all our intention to enter fully into the question of the negotiation now pending with the government of the United States ;-bat, from a conviction of the ruinous consequences
of an American war, and the meer worthlessness of the objects for which our rulers are contending, we feel it quite incumbent on us to say a few words on some of the points in issue between the two countries. In truth, there is but one question, in the present times, more important than the American--we meant the Irish; and it seems to be the design of the government, to exercise the patience of the nation, and rouse the alarms of all men of sense and worth, in a pretty equal degree, on both those momentous topics. The scruples under which his Majesty's conscience was said to labour, affording no longer any prerence for deferring that act which strict justice, as well as the soundest policy, has so long enjoined towards the sister kingdom,-and the Hlustrious person at the head of affairs having heretofore becne supposed to feel any thing rather than reluctance to grant the Catholies a participation in the constitution-his Royal Highness being in truth understood to be pledged to the cause by repeated declarations and promises—it is with incredible sorrow and disappointprent, tut the country now sees the question of time once more raised--the measure again deferred- and the whole influence of government of the Prince of Wales's government ! -exerted to prevent the Catholic question from being carried. However little men of observation, and knowing in the discernment of human character, might have expected from the exeeative government of the Prince, in other respects-how muciz soever they might shut their ears to the fairy tales of a golden age, and a pairiot king, wherewithal they hul been flattered by more sanguine seers-still we believe the least crexłalous were unprepared for the strange spectacle with which the new reign has actually opened the total abandonment of the Irish cause to its avowed enemies--nd the Prince of Wales ranging himselt all at once among the nlust vleeided alversaries of the Catholic body. This is disappointinent wholly unparalleled in the hisa tory of political predictions, it is change of sentiment, more sudden, and more violent, than any in the records of party consluct; it is a departure from o previous system--an erchange of feelings—a surrender of antipathies, and shifting of predilecsipas--a ika-molding of political principles, of which the whole
annals of courts and senates may in vain be searched for a
pas rallel ;--and they who viewed, in the Prince's former conduct towards Ireland, only matter of regret-who saw his attachment for the rights of the Catlvolics with alarm for the safety of the Church, may now congratulate themselves on the most mars vellous instance of a total regeneration which the entire range of profane history can furnish.
After this wondrous manifestation of the powers of what is called influence, it would be foolish to admire any longer at lesser miracles-to pause over any favour which may be shown to corrupt men and measures inconsistent with reform-or to feel any disappointment at the near prospect of a most lamentable extension of the hostilities which already press upon the resources of the country. But it is good to have our eyes at length opened—to see things, and men, in their real colours and natural proportions-and to know upon whom we can now rely for the salvation of the state, from the only remaining perils which it has yet to encounter. We now must allow, that the people themselves alone can extricate the country from its difficulties; and that it would be idle to seck for a check to the pernicious system of the court and its ministers from any other quarter than the public voice. That voice, if firmly, yet peacefully raised, is, we know, irresistible. It has awed the most undaunted-steadied the most capricious and disconcerted the most perfidious of princes. It has been found more than a match for monarchs, whose courage, seconded by the decent regularities of their private life, and upheld by talents of no ordinary description, seemed well fitted to overpower the liberties of their subjects, and to establish a dominion in which the royal will might prevail, uncontrolled by the sentiments or wishes of the community. Even against such an influence we have no doubt that it may still make itself heard with effect; and assuredly it can have nothing to dread from a conflict (if in the course of ages such a conflict should await it) with adversaries of a difierent description. Let this voice but intertere, and Ireland may yet be saved to the empire ; and peace with our brethren in America may still be maintained.
With a view to assist the people in considering the questions relating to this last subject, we purpose at present to treat of them in a plain and intelligible shape. They are indeed such as any one may easily understand ; and it would be hard to conceive a point more worthy of exercising the attention of the comtry, or a moment better calculated to rouse them to a view
themselves on board of neutral vessels--a right rendered still
Again, the neutral engages, during war, in trades from
The right to blockade a strong place, as a fortress, or a city, of the enemy, that is to say, of cutting off all communication with it, for the purpose of compelling it to surrender, is as ancient and undoubted as the right of making war. This interruption of communication may, and in most cases probably will, affect penceable subjects as well as persons bearing arms; and it may frequently affect the interests of third parties, or neutrals, by depriving them of a beneficial intercourse with the blockaded place. But the right to injure neutrals in this manner has never been denied ; because the course of hostile operations absolutely required it, and the exercise of it had a tendency, by severely distressing the enemy, and producing a great change in the relative strength of the belligerents, to shorten the period of hose
tilities, and attain the great end of all war—the end to which every principle should bear a reference—the restoration of peace. From this clear and admitted right of blockade, it is perhaps a slight, but unquestionably a certain deviation, to allow the blockade of a place, not in its nature and position military--as a large and wealthy manufacturing town, or a convenient place of maritime trade. Here the sufferers are, in the first instance, peaceable citizens-- who furnish indeed, by their wealth and their industry, the resources of war, but the protection of whom ought in general to be an object of public law. Yet the impos
sibility of drawing a line between those cases in which the distress of an enemy's financial resources may contribute to shorten the conflict, and on the whole to lessen the evils of war, and those where it can only make the contest more miserable, without abridging its duration, --Tenders it quite necessary to allow of this extension of the right of blockade ; and, accordingly, no one can deny the title of a belligerent to blockade any harbour, or any city, or any moderately large district, without regard to its military character, unless he is also prepared to dispute the right of privateering by sea, and of levying contributions, and quartering troops ; and, in a word, marching troops through a territory on shore. War between governments, and peace between nations, is indeed a notion beautiful to contemplate ; but it was not made for human affairs; and when pursued ever so short a way, will be found wholly inconsistent with the nature of hostilities. At any rate, it never was recognized, either by the practice of nations, or by any authority whatever, on matters of public law. It can form no part then of our present consideration.
If from single towns, or harbours, or small districts, we extend our view to large territories—to whole provinces—or large lines of coast- very different considerations must enter to qualify our inferences. Suppose a belligerent powerful enough to surround a whole kingdom by a cordon of troops, in such force as to prevent, by physical superiority, all ingress and egress at any part of the. circle; and the question is raised, not whether the entrance or egress of troops and stores may lawfully be stopt by these means; but whether every cart, horse, and foot passenger may thus be stopt, and his goods confiscated, and his person imprisoned, for making the attempt--we acknowledge that there appears some difficulty in giving this question an affirmative answer. For here is evidently a most grievous injury inflicted upon the neighbouring neutral—so grievous indeed, that the case may well be put, in which the pressure of such a measure of hostility would Hall as heavily on the neutral as on the enemy-on the party not