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CONTRASTED WITH THAT OF ENGLAND.
the throne, his dominions were hemmed in, on all sides, by powerful neighbours. The House of Austria, in its two great branches, swayed the sceptres of Germany and Spain, whose territories almost surrounded France; the republic of Holland completed the line of circumvalation. Nevertheless, although, during the last thirty years of his reign, Louis was almost incessantly beaten by the allied armies of Austria, England, and Holland, he contrived, by the superior skill of French diplomacy, to enlarge his own hereditary possessions, by considerable acquisitions from Germany; to place a Bourbon on the throne of Spain, to shatter Austria, to crush Holland, to cripple England, to leave France so intrinsically powerful, as to enable her, under the augmented impulses of revolutionary action, to be an overmatch for the other powers of continental Europe, not merely single-handed, but for a combination of them all; so that, in 1813, 1814, and 1815, about a century after the death of Louis the Fourteenth, it required the united strength, in its full exertion, of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal, aided by the fleets and armies of England, to rescue the whole European continent from the humiliation of French
oppression. Contrast the adroit diplomacy of France with the most miserable negotiations of England, at the peace
of Amiens. So low, indeed, had England fallen under the degrading conditions of this treaty; so completely evaporated was that spirit, which, under the auspices of Marlborough, had rendered her the arbitress of Europe; that spirit which, under the presiding mind of Chạtham, had smitten both branches of the House of Bourbon, and loosened the joints of the loins of France and Spain; that the Addington administration actually submitted to the mandate of Bonaparte, and indicted Mr. Peltier for a libel against Napoleon, whom he represented as a ruffian, an upstart, and an assassin. It was high time for Messrs. Addington and Company to obliterate from the memory of the English people, and to raze from the records of history all mention of the fields of Poictiers, Cressy, and Agincourt, of the battles of Blenheim,
Ramillies, and Malplaquet, and to write the name, French department, upon the veteran front of the British empire.
While revolutionary France was making herself complete mistress of the south-west half of continental Europe, another power of equal force (as subsequent events proved,) claimed a similar dominion over the northern and eastern sections of that district of the globe. After Austria was humbled, Prussia beaten down, the German empire broken up, Flanders, Holland, Switzerland, and Italy, conquered by the Gallic armies, the political powers and military forces of the European continent were divided between the governments of France and Russia. These two mighty empires touched each other in the beginning of the year 1812; Berlin, Vienna, and Constantinople, were only three military posts in the line of their imperial demarcation. A free and secure communication between the southern provinces of Russia, and the Mediterranean Sea, was an essential part of the system of policy established by the first Peter. This scheme of national aggrandizement has been pursued by all his successors, and is of such importance to the Russian empire, as never to be abandoned without a severe struggle.
Russia covets Candia, Negropont, and the other Greek Island in the Archipelago, as posts that might command the communication between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Oczakow is the key to the northern provinces of Turkey, and is to Constantinople what the Pyrenees ought always to be to Madrid. That post Russia will never relinquish; she took it from the Grand Signior in 1737, when England was mediating in favour of Turkey, with thirty-six line of battle-ships. Russia has steadily, and successfully, pursued her scheme of national aggrandizement, since the accession of Peter the First, to the present hour; in consequence of which she now possesses a territory larger than all the rest of Europe, with a brave and hardy population of more than fifty millions, four-fifths of which inhabit her European dominions. She has recently added Po
DIPLOMATIC BLUNDERS OF ENGLAND.
land, as an outwork to her empire; and, in a few years, probably it will require nearly as powerful a coalition to stop her progress to universal dominion as was found necessary, in 1813, to reduce revolutionary France within reasonable limits. Indeed, France and Russia are the only two European powers who systematically act upon ther conviction that skilful negotiation is as necessary as victory in war to augment and consolidate national dominion. The Treaty of Amiens gave more power and influence to France than she could have acquired by ten years of successful fighting
Nay, ever since nations have fought to extend their dominions, their progression in power has depended more upon the ability of negotiators and peacemakers than upon the talents of military heroes. Every one knows that republican Rome augmented and consolidated all her military conquests by the consummate skill of her diplomacy: her whole history, during the first seven hundred years of her national existence, was little else than an alternation of successful wars, improved by dexterous negotiation, and of dexterous negotiation preparing the way for successful wars. Peter the First, the founder of Russian greatness, was a profound politician, as well as an able soldier: he knew that to conquer in war was not enough; that not to be conquered, in his turn, it was necessary to retain, in peace, such posts as could both guarantee the possession of his own dominions, and facilitate the acquisition of further territories. Charles the Twelfth, of Sweden, conquered Denmark and Poland; but being no statesman (only a mere soldier), he lived long enough, although he died young, to lose all his conquests, and one-half of his hereditary dominions, and the independence of his whole kingdom, which has been, ever since his death, in 1718, under the control of Russia or France.
The acquisition of Noteburg, now Schusselburgh, of Nyeskantz, now Petersburgh, and of the islands of ReLusary, now Cronstadt, posts of no consideration to the
obtuser vision of the Swedish hero, has secured to Russia, for ever, the dominion of the North of Europe, which is still more extended and magnified by her later acquisitions in Finland and Poland. By the more recent accessions of territory in the Crimea, and Georgia, and in the possession of Oczakow, Constantinople, Ispahan, and Delhi, the capitals of Turkey, Persia, and the Great Mogul, are laid open to the arts and arms, the legions and the diplomatists of Russia.
The war, carried on by the Grand Alliance, made in 1686, between Germany, Britain, and Holland, against France, was one continued series of victory for twentyseven years; and yet, owing to the unskilful diplomacy of England, the peace of Utrecht and Radstadt, in 1713-14, ruined the house of Austria, the principal party in the alliance, subjected Holland, laid all Germany open to the inroads of France, placed a French monarch upon the Spanish throne, and annihilated the influence of Britain upon the continent of Europe. The maritime war, carried on by Britain against France, from 1759 to 1763, was a train of conquests, as was also her land-war in the North-America colonies, during the same period. Yet the British were so far out-manæuvred by the French negotiators, that the peace of 1763 laid the foundation of the treaty of 1783, by which England was shorn of half her physical strength, and all her national honour.
Had the British diplomatists at Utrecht secured, as was then easily to be done, an independent monarchy in Spain, and given to the United Provinces of Holland (what, in fact, they did a century after, by the Treaty of Paris, in 1814), a territorial basis, made by a permanent incorporation of all the Low Countries, then the Spanish Netherlands, with the existing Dutch dominions, the independence of continental Europe probably would not have fallen a sacrifice to revolutionary France. And, if Britain, at the peace of 1763, had retained her conquests, made in the preceding war, she might not have been compelled to sign away half her empire, by the treaty of 1783; and, still less, to ao
259 knowledge the paramount superiority ofregicide France, by the peace of Amiens, in 1802.
One of the most triumphant issues of French diplomacy, which has already given rise to one war between the United States and England, and will probably ere long breed occasion for another conflict between these two kindred nations, was the originating and establishing the doctrine of the “ armed neutrality;" a doctrine which gradually grew from sufficiently large beginnings into the three sweeping propositions which Bonaparte, as the French revolutionary chief, and Mr. Madison, as our American President, laboured to compel England to receive as an improvement in the system of international law. These propositions are- First, Free ships make free goods. Second, The flag protects the crew. Third, No blockade is legal unless a place be invested both by sea and land.
This interpolation of national law has no other object in view than the destruction of the British maritime power. If ever acceded to, it will merge all belligerent rights in neutral pretensions. France, as a great land power, wants to annihilate England on the ocean : she has never been able to accomplish this purpose by fair fighting, in open and honourable warfare ; she, therefore, seeks to effect her object by a war in disguise, which she calls neutrality; a name that these United States readily adopted under the auspices of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison, in order to further their own peculiar views against Britain, as well as to second the designs of revolutionary France. A most unwise act on the part of America, because she is ripening fast into a first-rate naval power, and is therefore deeply interested in maintaining belligerent maritime rights. Examine for a moment the practical effect of these three neutral propositions. Britain and France are at war with each other: America remains neutral : the United States carry on all the trade of France, both foreign and coasting, in American vessels, under the eyes of the English cruisers, who have no power to annoy the trade of their enemy, because free ships make free goods.