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fending ourselves against aggression; and that, instead of waiting for the approach of hostilities, we must ourselves take the initiative, and transfer the scene of action from the banks of the Thames and the Avon to the waters of the Channel, or, if necessary, crush the germ of preparation in the harbours of the enemy.
According to the calculations of Baron Maurice, the French government might gradually collect their ships of war and steamers in groups at Calais, Boulogne, Dieppe, and Havre, without exciting suspicion, and have them in readiness to proceed, on the sudden, to receive their cargoes at Brest and Cherbourg. But he admits that these preparations would require to be conducted with prudence, not to give England a pretext for interfering before the declaration of war.' Supposing this clever manœuvre to be accomplished before England could acquire intelligence of the proceeding,-which our sagacious author, who hunts out every aspect of the hypothesis, considers to be scarcely probable,'the next consideration is the time that would be consumed in the embarkation of troops and material and the transit across the Channel. In this calculation we do not include the time that would be required for the concentration of the material and the assembling ofthe squadrons; for we must suppose all these formidable preparations to be conducted with the same secresy that marked the gathering of the fleet, or the whole speculation goes for nothing. It is necessary, in order to comprehend the extreme measure of our danger, that we should be understood to remain in ignorance of what was going forward up to the moment of embarkation, and that the report of the departure of the
invading army should be e cated to us contemporanecTT the declaration of war, if Lot! poleon would condescend to g so formal a notification of 25 tentions. These conditions bet assumed, Baron Maurice pre to state, that the embarkation three squadrons destined for F mouth, Bristol, and Rye would, cupy about six days each, and consequently, taking them ni order of their sailing, and siz them an average passage wi impediments, the first division. arrive at the mouth of the Ave seven days and ten hours, the ser would be before Plymouth in days and a half afterwards, and third would discharge its carg the coast of Kent about the time that the first squadrons be marching into Bristol.
It will be seen that the trium achievement of this underts proceeds upon the assumption, is while France should be busied her arsenals and dockyards in work of preparation, in convey her guns, horses, and troops to ports of embarkation, and conet trating her ships of war upon harbours nearest to our shores, E land should be lulled into a state a profound ignorance and passive i difference; that she should carefu abstain from cruizing in the Chaan lest she should pick up a bit of strat intelligence from the opposite cous and rigorously prohibit the use telescopes, the receipt of letters, the return of the homeward-bo English, scared out of France by the consternation of these movements until the moment was ripe for the dispatch of the invading expedition Nor is this all. The convoy, upon the scale contemplated by Baron Mar rice, would put into requisition not only the whole of the French navy,
or that it might fall into the hands of either; so that, whichever way we regari this mode of intercommunication and transport, it cannot be relied upon as affording us any certain means of defence. We must be allowed to doubt the practicability of removing the engines, carriages, and trucks of any considerable terminus to place of safety in two hours. Places of safety for the concealment of such extensive machinery, are not always easily to be found. The vast locomotive resources of a great railway terminus cannot be hidden away like the crown jewels, or the statue of Charles I.; and if they are not effectually hidden, what should hinder an invading army from conveying them back again in a quarter of the time occupied in their We fear that, in the event of the sudden appearance of a hostile force, the only resource would be to break up the rails, or, imitating the patriotism of the Russians at Moscow, burn the locomotives.
it the entire of the merchant-service, yet to learn by what hitherto uneam and sail, making a grand total
982 ships of all kinds, and of the ghest procurable tonnage; so that ere would not be left behind a litary vessel for defence or occuation in any part of the French Cominions. And we must suppose, or the due fulfilment of this proigious scheme, that the bustle and in of preparation, necessary in ockyards and arsenals, in barracks nd entrepôts, to get this fleet in eadiness, and to march the troops o the ports of embarkation, which lo not possess the advantage of being connected by railroads with he interior, should be conducted so secretly as to elude the vigilant obbservation of the European powers, every one of whom is as much interested as we are ourselves in noting the movements of France. We will hat merely observe, that if there be a Frenchman alive who confides in the possibility of keeping such a secret as this, he is the most deluded individual the sun shines upon.
The apparently simple process of collecting these vessels in the harfprarbours of Brest and Cherbourg is an impossibility. The harbours could not en contain them. The proposed concenher shtration in the same spots and at the same moment of time, of 150,000 fighting men, and nearly 60,000 horses, besides parks of artillery, baggage-waggons, and all the other indispensable properties and decorations of war, may be disposed of as another impossibility. But we do not rest our security on this the ground. For argument sake, we of the will suppose it all possible, and that aredog the design so ably traced by Baron
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Is it credible that such extensive preparations could fail to be detected, or when detected, allowed to be completed? Louis Napoleon may extinguish the press, establish a police surveillance over lithographic machines, and banish from his territories ladies who suffer politics to be talked in their salons, as he has banished George Sand and the Marchioness d'Osmond; but we have VOL. XLV. NO. CCLXVI.
known spells of autocratic necromancy he is to secure the discretion of his rampant army, or close the eyes and gag the tongues of the myriads of people who would feel themselves bound to supply information to their respective governments and parties of his proceedings, and would be much more likely to exaggerate than to conceal them. There are tens of thousands of English, Italians, Germans, Belgians, Swiss, Sardinians, resident in France, or constantly passing through it. How is he to silence them? And by what means can he_evade the sleepless watch of the Legitimists, the Orleanists, the Red Republicans, and the countless masses of individual enemies, whose homes he has devastated, and every one of whom is at this moment acting as a spy upon his actions, and waiting the first opportunity to consummate his destruction? It would be sheer idiotey to suppose that armaments of this formidable description could be put in motion without the fact being made known all over Europe, in ample time to arrest their progress. In the very heat of the coupd'état, dexterously as it was managed between the social hypocrisy of the Elysée and the midnight outrages of the police, we knew more of what was going on in Paris than the Parisians themselves. Is it likely we should know less of the gathering of the whole French navy, and the concentration of an army of 150,000 men?
We take it for granted, then, that this enterprise, about which so much alarm exists, could not be undertaken without sufficient warning. For that matter, the warning may be said to be upon us already; at all events, we have now no excuse for being taken by surprise. Well, in that case, what would the diplomacy of Europe be about? What would England be doing? Would a fleet of nearly a thousand sail be suffered to spread its wings on the French coast with impunity? To prevent is easier than to repel aggression; and the course which it would be the obvious duty of the English minister to pursue would be to be beforehand with invasion, and nip the treason in the bud.' Q
It is certain that we are not in a condition to meet a hostile force on our own shores, and that the only defensive measure left to us is to intercept their approach. It is equally certain that we could not contend against such an array, if we once allowed it to collect in the Channel, and that, whatever strength we might bring against it, the mere extent of its sailing lines would baffle us, and ensure the safe convoy of at least a considerable portion of the invading army to our coast. The alternative, then, justified by the practice of nations and the necessity of self-preservation, is to recal, without delay, our ships of war from their remote stations, to make a naval demonstration in the Channel, and upon the first indication of warlike preparations in France, to demand a peremptory explanation, and in the event of an unsatisfactory result, to anticipate the conflict by carrying the war into the harbours of the enemy before the thunder could be forged which, in such a state of things, she might be justly accused of designing to launch against us.
Baron Maurice is of opinion that the English fleet can never alone, and of itself, preserve our coasts from a hostile descent. But that opinion, if it be a sound one, only supplies an additional reason for being in advance of the danger, and laying the scene of hostilities at a distance.
After all, the project of an invasion by Louis Napoleon, we must repeat, appears to us purely chimerical. It would find no support anywhere. Napoleon, says a contemporary, reckoned on the Radicals; Lamartine on the Irish; Louis Blanc looked to the Socialists; and Cavaignac, perhaps, relied on a small contingent of Chartists. But who upon British soil is to fraternize with Louis Napoleon? Now, the only party in this country from whom he could expect a show of quiescent sympathy is that of the Roman Catholics; but even if he brought the Pope himself in his train,
we have too much reliance on the integrity and tried nationality of our Roman Catholic countrymen to believe that they would debase themselves by an alliance with him.
They appreciate rational liberty ta well to risk it in a treasonable cumpact with a tyrant, who, emulga the atrocities of a Nero and an In begins his hopeful reign by a wik sale carnage in the capital. The is no bond of unity between them: and as, to use the parliamentary phrase, they would be grievously i want of a cry' to summon the scattered adherents together, we in no apprehension that he we derive much succour from ther disaffection. Mere discontent a mooted questions of internal poly is not enough to give energy physical resistance in a free country. Rebellions of opinion must alan fail in England, unless they well a out of the hearts of the people, are fortified by urgent necessio and sustained by a wide basis a popular assent. Plots and éments are either unknown, or held i contempt amongst us. We have had great revolutions; and neva can have, in the nature of our inst tutions, any other form of successi resistance to authority. But revolution of Roman catholics work only supply a fugitive jest for the facetious pages of Punch. T fanatical disciples of Wiseman Ullathorne might probably clamor for the stake, and be gratified by free passage to a convict colony. where they could vent their patro ism and their religious zeal with fear of interruption in the excellen company of Frost, Williams, and Smith O'Brien. But the bulk d the English catholics are too much identified with our historical traditions and the cause of order to assis the designs of a foreign power. A for the Irish catholics, we would Let insult their political allegiance, tested in a hundred fields of glory, by uttering one word in its vindication
From the general survey of our circumstances, internal and external, with a disorganized cabinet, a scattered navy, and a military fore dispersed over the world, it canno fail to strike every thinking who brings to the investigation mind unwarped by pernicious theories and inflexible dogmas, that our colo nial system lies at the root of our national evils. To the wasteful ex penditure we incur in their maintenance, the difficulty of training
them into useful and profitable dependencies, the humiliations and to which we are exposed in the fluctuating succession of administrative experiments we are 1 constantly trying upon them, and the necessity into which they compel us of protecting or overawing them by the presence of ships and troops which are more wanted at home, may be traced much of the anxiety and depression we are now suffering. Here it is that, looking calmly into on the future, we must seek the source of our weakness and the means of our recovery.
Our whole colonial administration has been a shame and a disgrace for years and years. Failures and disasters have darkened every step of our progress. The Colonial Office has been beset by two opposite theories; the humanity, or aborignes theory, and the coercive, or military theory; and the Colonial Office has followed them both in turn, and neither long. In the West Indies other we paid twenty millions on the
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The causes of these misfortunes may be mainly referred to the want of a intelligible system of colonial administration, the placing in the hands of incompetent men the affairs of our dependencies, and the huddling into a single bureau the control and regulation of the most numerous and important possessions in the world, instead of organizing them under separate departments, in which undivided attention might be paid to their claims. It might be almost supposed that the administration of colonial affairs was a gift of inspiration, so little importance appears to be attached to the necessity of bringing anything like accurate knowledge and practical experience to bear upon its development.
But of all the failures in which we are at present engaged, that of the Caffre war is the most costly and discreditable. During the six years Lord Grey has been in office, we have incurred many misfortunes, but this Caffre war is the crowning calamity and the bitterest disgrace of all. If it could be shown what national interest is served, what honour is to be gained, how commerce is helped, or colonization promoted by pouring our troops into that remote and thankless region, we might endeavour to bear our reverses with philosophy, hoping for better fortune hereafter. But we have everything to lose and nothing to gain. After a war of twelve months, we have been obliged to send 10,000 men to the frontier, and more are still required; we have had no less than five wars with these refractory tribes (the last of which cost us two millions of money), and they are not yet subdued; and at a moment when all our available strength is required on our own shores, we are devoting fifteen regiments of the line to this miserable conflict, from which success can extract no profit, and a thousand victories no glory. The whole course of our proceedings in Caffreland, from the conciliating policy of Stockenstroem to the bombast of Sir Harry Smith, displays, in a conspicuous light, the inconsistency which is so eminently characteristic of the colonial department. We tried friendly palavers with the chiefs, and were repaid with treachery; we tried war,
humanity theory, and failed; in South Africa we are paying something like a million and a-half a-year on the military theory, and are farther from our object in the end than we were at the beginning. We lost America by a war of taxation; and nursed Canada into a rebellion, which nearly cost us the allegiance of our own subjects by temporizing with their fidelity and their interests. Discontents and complaints every where attest at once the extremes of severity and vacillation by which our rule is distinguished; and the only possession we have that can be said to prosper is that with which the Government has had the least to do-we mean India. And this prosperity has grown up, not in consequence, but in spite of the influence of the Govern ment, whose interference has almost invariably been directed to thwart the administration of the East India Company-to force on unjust and ruinous wars, such as that in Af ghanistan in 1838, which was carried out in opposition to the protests of the Supreme Council and the deliberate opinions of the ablest generals and to foment disorders and jealousies amongst the neighbouring states upon whose amicable relations with us our security in the East depends.
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and were cut to pieces. And now, to mend the matter, we send out a general officer, whose military experience amounts to little more than a staff appointment at Waterloo some forty years ago, a skirmishing in the Canadian rebellion, the discharge of his regimental duty in the West Indies and North America, and a sinecure at the Tower! Such appointments as these are not calculated to satisfy the country. This
is not the sort of service that fits a soldier for the bush-work of the Cape. Were there no better qualified men to be found for a post of this peculiar nature? Why did we not send, as we have done in other instances, to India for an officer whose antecedents would justify some expectation of the promptitude and decision necessary to bring this war to a speedy and successful conclusion? It is not the first time that we have drafted both military and civil servants out of the East to take the charge of distant colonies, as in the cases of Lord Metcalfe in Canada, Mr. Anderson in Ceylon, and Mr. Bonham in the Mauritius.
But, setting aside the want of judgment shown in the conduct of this expensive and apparently endless war, we may ask-for what purpose was it undertaken, and what object do we propose to accomplish by its continuance? What business, in short, have we there at all? Would it not be wiser and cheaper to relinquish a colony that seems to be maintained solely for breeding cows and sheep, since we find, to our cost, that it grazes its cattle at such an enormous risk? Are we
justified in paying a price for beef and mutton which, at a low average, is more, ten times over, than its weight in gold? Even suppose that we should bring the war to a successful termination, what security have we for future tranquillity? Must we go on for ever pushing our frontier into the interior, and driving back the natives to protect our colonists against their incursions? Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle. It is like paying in insurance a hundred times the value of a venture, the fate of which is never to be determined. Would any man in his senses do that? And are governments justified in doing what men of common sense would decline?
To augment our difficulties d every kind, foreign and domestic, we have a disruption of the Cabinet at a time when it is more than ever essential to show a united front to the world. Whatever may have been the causes of the retirement of Lord Palmerston, and whatever may be the opinions entertained of his policy, there can be no doubt that his secession at this moment, betraying as it does the existence of grave internal differences, is a serious misfortune. We do not pretend to choose amongst the many speculs tions which are afloat on this subject; nor is it desirable to offer any fresh conjecture so close upon the opening night of Parliament, when all doubt will be set at rest by the ministerial explanations. But be the grounds of separation what they may, the defection of so able a man will be severely felt by a Cabinet which has little strength to spare, and which has in vain endeavoured to repair his loss.
The truth is-and the whol country feels it-the present admi nistration is inadequate to the de mands of the time. The curious division of parties deprives them of the weight requisite to carry on with vigour the business of the country; and it is so notorious that they have been kept in office by the want of a stronger party to take their place, and by a repentant pledge st the close of last session to atone for past inefficiency by a new Reform Bill, that no great reliance can be reposed on their efforts to retrieve themselves. Even the extorted promise of a Reform Bill lacks the heart and sinews of a united and energetic Cabinet, possessing the confidence of the nation, to sur round it with popular interest. It is by no means certain that the measure will come out with the mo mentum of cabinet earnestness and unanimity requisite to give it due effect. Lord John appears to be
the only member of the administra tion who is personally committed to the bill, and his previous views on the question of reform are not likely to inspire much hope in that section of politicians his tardy concession is designed to conciliate. It is even Isaid that he has hampered his own party by the pledge of last session. But his party, if it be so, should