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awkward dilemma. Anxious for popularity, they had to chuse between the applause of the people of Cadiz, and that which, though repeated by millions, would but late and faintly be echoed from beyond the seas. The Corles took the natural course of human weakness-present gratifications outweighed the dread of distant evils, and the mercantile interest prevailed.
No sacrifice of importance was required to check the disaffection which was rapidly spreading through the colonies. A frank and liberal disapprobation of the angry measures of the regency would have produced an instant and favourable change. But so strong was the influence which biassed the Cortes upon this subject, that notwithstanding the signs of displeasure with which the regency had been dismissed, its conduct towards America was approved and followed. The war was continued against those provinces, which though sworn subjects of Ferdinand the Seventh, the regency had not hesitated to declare rebels.
This injudicious policy, less the effect of conviction, than of accidental influence, placed the Cortes in a singular situation with respect to the theoretical principles which they were about to promulgate as the basis of their proceedings. Instead of deriving their power from the king, as all the other Spanish governments had done during the revolution, they formally declared, that the only source and fountain of their authority was--the sovereignty of the people. Such a principle once established, the rest becomes a matter of arithmetical calculation. The American Spaniards had been always acknowledged by the laws as an integral part of the Spanish people; the Cortes had confirmed them in that right, and they naturally expected to have their share in the throne assigned by the Rule of Three. But the Cortes were not so correct in arithmetic as they appeared to be in metaphysics; and while the European part of the sovereign was composed of more than one hundred members, the American was reduced to twentyfour. It was scarcely to be expected that a body so philosophie cally constituted should require the allegiance of the American provinces, as a previous and indispensable step to the cessation of hostilities. True it is, that the Americans were told anew, that they were equal IN RIGHTS to the old Spaniards; but those rights, however natural and inherent, they were not to enjoy until the Spanish Cortes had formed a constitution in which their share in the sovereignty would be fixed!
This was, certainly, affording very strong arms to the Theorists of Spanish America. The Cortes were attacked with their own arguments in an unanswerable manner, and their injustice towards the colonies was made palpable in the addresses and proclamations
which the new governments spread among the people. Such is the danger of abandoning the practical paths of wisdom, and making abstract and general truismis the ground work of a system of government! The Cortes, we are sorry to observe, have shewn a decided taste for these philosophical speculations—and the sovereignty of the people, which they have consecrated into a political creed, in order to build upon it the whole edifice of the new Spanish constitution, may, one day, prove the ruin of the internal liberty of Spain, as it has already dissolved that bond of affectionate loyalty which preserved the union bet'veen her and her American possessions.
Had the leaders of the American revolution succeeded in inspiring a certain degree of confidence in their wisdom and integrity, nothing could have induced a native of those countries to adhere to the government of the Peninsula, except personal views and connexions, or a sentiment of the most heroic generosity; fortunately, however, for Spain, the revolutionary governments which have hitherto appeared in her colonies, present but an indifferent prospect of happiness to their country. The moderate and prudent first Junta of Curacas has been succeeded by a turbulent Congress, completely swayed by Miranda and his violent and ambitious partizans: their steps have been marked with bloodshed and oppression, ever since the declaration of their independence. A Jacobin club, under the title of Sociedad Patriotica, has been established. It seenis to be composed of hot-brained philosophists, who dispose of the lives of their fellow citizens according to the code of liberty which inundated France with blood, and prepared the ground for the growth of the present military despotism.
Buenos Ayres seems to have suffered considerably under the sway of the faction which has been lately defeated. The Junta was divided into two parties, the most violent of which took the lead when the revolution broke out, and disgraced itself by murder and rapine :—the first in the execution of Linniers; the second, in the expedition which was sent to conquer Potosi and revolutionize Lima, under the direction of a lawyer, who, in imitation of the National Assembly, was to represent the Junta, at the head of the army.
Thus the conduct of the two principal governments which the revolution has produced (for the insurgents of Mexico have not yet been able to exercise any political power,) must have materially checked the enthusiasm with which the American population welcomed the prospect of emancipation. Born under a despotic government, and accustomed from their infancy to take little or no concern in political questions, the mass of the creole proprietors
must consider themselves as placed between two evils, the Spanish and the revolutionary governments. The unsettled state of their country, and the horrors of a civil war, in which the Indians and people of colour are likely to be let loose upon them, must painfully agitate the bosonis of a people who have hitherto sacrificed every thing to their quiet and indolent habits.
It is upon the influence and support of this part of the Spanish American people, that the hopes of an accommodation with the mother country must rest. Commissioners have been named by our government, for the purpose of pacification, a step which we cannot but cordially applaud. We only regret to see their detention at Cadiz, when, in our opinion, the evil which they are destined to remedy, is becoming every instant more dangerous and incurable. That our commissioners will be received with open arms by a great part of the creole population, who are at this moment trembling between the dread of American democracy, and of Spanish revenge, we confidently hope and expect. But we would entreat those who have it in their power to facilitate their arrival, to consider, that the influence and numbers of this party are naturally decreasing apace. Feeble, indeed, both must already be at Mexico, if we may judge from the constant effects of cruelty and revenge in civil wars. We know indeed from undoubted anthority, that all the horrors which disgraced the conquest of that empire, are, in our days, literally repeated. The progress of the viceroyal troops, is marked with devastation and blood, and the forces which were lately sent thither by the Cortes, threaten to contirm the hatred of the Americans, by augmenting the number of victims already sacrificed to the revenge and fury of the contending parties.
In those parts of America where the revolutionists have met with less opposition, two evils may be feared from the continuation of hostilities ---Freuch influence--and a destructive anarchy. That the former is not an imaginary danger, we could prove by authentic documents, if there were any one so ignorant of the activity of French intrigue as to doubt the existence of the fact. The first attempt of the French Usurper, was to preserve the possessions annexed to the crown of Spain. Since, however, he has seen the impossibility of securing it for his brother, and discovered that the hatred of the American Spaniards -was no less violent than that which was so nobly evinced by their brethren of the Peninsula, he has adopted the plan of depriving Spain of the support of her colonies. We have before us a list of the names of thirty-one Spaniards, who were chosen at Madrid by the intrusive government, and sent to Spanish America, through the United States, for the purpose of exciting a revolution. A Frenchman of the name of Desmolard, resident at
Baltimore, was the chief agent. The Spanish minister to the United States endeavoured to trace out the intrigue, and succeeded in getting a copy of the Instructions, which the French agent gave to his emissaries in the name of Joseph Napoleon. One of these documents was in the possession of the Captain General of Venezuela, when the revolution broke out; and was transmitted by the Junta, who discovered it among the government papers, to the British Admiral at Barbadoes, as a proof of their abhorrence of the French.* We entertain, indeed, no doubts of the hatred of the Spanish Americans to that people; and we are perfectly sure that there is no danger of any of the colonies submitting to Buonaparte, or to any king of his making. But while the civil war continues, a field is open to French intrigue; to emissaries, who, under pretence of promoting the liberty and independence of the country, will labour to increase the devastation, in order to deprive Spain of her resources.
It should not be concealed that the insurgents have at their disposal a tremendous engine, which they may employ to the destruction of the country, if the Cortes improvidently persist in the plan of subjugativg them by force of arms; we mean the Indians and the people of colour, who constitute more than two-thirds of the whole population, and who, once set free from the bonds of subordination, will probably repeat the horrid scenes of St. Domingo. Should the Spaniards and creoles agree in time to lay down their arms, these hordes of demi-savages, might be readily reduced to their former habits of submission; but every moment must add to the difficulty, and the efforts which would now be successful, may, if the contest continues, prove either ineffectual or fatal.
The conditions upon which the colonies might remain united to the mother-country have been frequently discussed. Were it otherwise, we should pause before we entered into the question which the contending parties cau only decide, according to their peculiar views, and the circumstances of the monient. We shall only add, that whatever tends to restore tranquillity and happiness to Spanish America, and insure to the mother-country those supplies, without which our brave allies must faint in the noble struggle in which they are engaged, will meet with our cordial and unlimited approbation.
* This important paper appeared in the Spanish Journal El Espanol, No. XI.
Art. II. A Letter to Henry Brougham, Eq. M. P. on the
Subject of Reform in the Representation of the People in Par
liament. By William Roscoe, Esq. Liverpool. 1811. pp. 16. An Answer to a Letter from Mr. John Merritt on the Subject of
Parliamentary Reform. By William Roscoe. Liverpool.
1812. pp. 79. •THEE gentler arts befit, and milder wars.' Tew spectacles,
indeed, can be more incongruous than that of Mr. Roscoe, engaged in the turmoils and hustlings of Brentford warfare. To those who are acquainted with the literary productions of this author, his name is assuciated with a number of images mostly classical and altogether pacífic, and must suggest the notion of a genius, not only consecrated to the muses, but distinguished rather for the quality of taste than force or originality. He is contemplated as a sort of Lorenzino;-a designation by which we,
course, mean no allusion to the variet actually so called, but would merely indicate the impression naturally produced by the style and manner of Mr. Roscoe in his best works ;-a mingled impression of something elegant, Florentine, and slender.
The history of Lorenzo de Medici was overrated at its first ap-, pearance, but well merits a place in our libraries. What with its classic appearance and valuable information, its English and Italian, its prose
verse, its uniforin composure and not rare affectation, its frontispieces and vignettes, its splendour of type and expanse of margin, it may perhaps be characterised as exhibiting somewhat like that union of neatness, pretension, and cheerlessness which belongs to the modern idea of a cold collation. “Scribebat,' says. Pliny of Silius Italicus--and we protest against any invidious application of that name---majore curâ quam ingenio.
The second great attempt of our author on Italian history proved, by no means equally successful. Its faults were greater, its virtues less; and, by a singular infelicity, though it discovered few tokens of spirit or genius, it could still less lay claim to the praise of correct composition. The historian, also, somewhat unecessarily, as it appears to us, and beyond doubt, somewhat inauspiciously embroiled himself, to a certain extent at least, with the Reformation ; a circumstance, however, for which the subsequent discovery of his political opinions may possibly enable us to account; for the reformers of the sixteenth century are in no great favour, we suspect, with those of the eighteenth and nineteenth. Yet the positive delinquencies which deforined the history of Leo the Tenth, were protected from observation by the negative fault of dulness. It was screened by clouds of its owu raising, and the literary character of