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But we are tired of the hateful office of finding fault; we gladly select a tale that is decidedly the best in the whole work, to give our readers an opportunity of judging of the favourable side of our subaltern.
During our stay at Ceylon, I had been introduced to a very lovely young woman, the wife of a Bengal civilian, a man old enough to be her grandfather. She came out to India, a fine lively, blooming girl, and she had been scarcely a month on shore, when she was proposed for, and married. Age and appearance, are in the eyes of some ladies who go to India, of little consequence, provided the suitor has a good fortune, and possesses a high civil situation.
'In one year this lady's husband was recommended by his physician to permit his wife to go and see her friends in Europe. They parted, as may be fancied, without much sorrow on her part. During her absence, which was to be for an indefinite time, she was to be allowed one thousand a year.
'She met with a giddy fashionable looking man at Ceylon, who, during the passage, paid her the most marked attention. In such an intercourse, unless feelings of propriety, and a sense of moral and social obligation are constantly uppermost, the result may be easily. foreseen. The slightest circumstances are noticed on board ship; and many try to employ themselves so little, as to have much time to spare in noticing the faults and peculiarities of their fellow passengers.
'The flirtation of the two individuals which I have just mentioned, became the daily subject most dwelt upon by the passengers.
"When lovely woman stoops to folly,"
and when the sophistry of her lover, and her own heart, lead her to err, there is still one slender stay-the observation and opinion of the worldthat may for a time prevent her falling. The epitome of that world on board ship, devours, most voraciously, every slander injurious to woman's fame; and watches, with the eyes of an Argus, for the slightest cause to impugn her innocence and purity.
There are here no mothers, or thoughtful, feeling females, who allow for youth, vanity, good spirits, and admiration, to warn the unfortunate woman she is going headlong to destruction; and that what is now her delight and boast, unless tempered with judgment and good sense, will shortly make her an object of pity to the feeling, and a bye word to the malicious.
I fear that passion and infatuation so completely took the lead in the minds of these young people, that they were blinded to all that was said or passing around them. Many rumours affecting the honour of the lady, were circulated on the quarter deck.
'The gentleman possessed an appearance, by some considered effeminate: he had those frank, winning manners, that find their way to the unoccupied heart of a thoughtless woman. He was esteemed a well meaning young man, who would not do any action that was admitted to be dishonourable, but whose want of thought led him to do things which tended directly to injure his own respectability, and the peace of others; his passions, where they took the lead, could not suddenly be checked, from a conception of the ruin he was bringing on the person he thought he loved,
and on the future store of misery he was laying up for himself; may do many things, and conscience trouble him not at the time of his iniquity; but the debt must be paid with interest, at some future period, and perhaps under disease and misery, which bow him to the earth.
'On coming on the quarter deck one night, after reading below, I observed many of the passengers and ship officers in a low whispering discussion: I walked up to them, and enquired what had taken place to occasion this meeting. "Have you not heard," said a captain, "that Mrs. was seen going into her cabin with a gentleman hidden under her long shawl?" She saw she was observed, and hurrying forward, left him exposed to the view of several people on the gun deck. Soon after we heard a cry, "I am lost for ever;" and a noise resembling a fall. The cabin was entered, and the beautiful form of the lady, in the last agonies, was extended on the floor. She pointed to a small bottle, and closed her eyes for ever. The next day she was brought up on a grating, with the Union flag over her body, to be committed to the deep.'-vol. ii. pp. 98–102.
The author threatens the public with a successor to his Log Book -we trust that they will be spared the infliction-at the utmost he should not venture beyond the sphere of a story teller. After dinner some of his tales and jokes might pass current, in the excusing exhilaration of a convivial party. Yet there have been about him the germs of better things, but they have been completely choked by an overwhelming mass of conceit and selfadulation. Witness his concluding paragraph:
'I trust, that in following the progress of my early days, my introduction to life, my observations, such as they have been, on men and things, during a very busy period, of a very active existence; and finally, in the review of those transactions, in which others, rather than myself, have held the prominent place, you have had all the profit and pleasure, which the time spent in the perusal warranted you to expect. A celebrated writer has said, that the biography of a man, if faithfully composed, could not fail to prove interesting and instructive. It is in the persuasion, that the portion of mine now presented to the public, contained very ample materials, that I venture to hope the uninitiated may derive advantage from the large experience a few years have given me; and the old stagers be amused by the recurrences, not very unlike those amidst which their own youth has passed.'-vol. ii. pp. 310, 311.
Confound the man's impudence! What a pity it is, that his experience has not conferred upon him a few scruples of selfknowledge.
ART. XII. On the Designs of Russia. By Lieut.-Colonel Evans. 8vo. pp. 251. London: Murray. 1828.
MINGLED with not a few ingenious, and sometimes fanciful speculations, we have in this volume many sound views, and cogent arguments, illustrative of the real objects which the Emperor of Russia proposes to achieve by his invasion of the Ottoman Empire.
The author discusses these objects with singular clear-sightedness and ability. He strips the diplomatic professions which have been hitherto made by the Autocrat of all their outward covering; subjects them to the test of facts, and of probabilities which almost assume the character of facts; and lays down a chart of Russian policy, which, perhaps, may not be altogether infallible, but which nevertheless, will, we trust, induce the people of this country to open their eyes to the dangers by which our national interests are at this moment surrounded.
We do not affect to penetrate the councils of our cabinet; but we must express our apprehension that it has not as yet paid sufficient attention to the strides which Russia has been, for some time, making, and is now pursuing with more energy than ever, in the East. The immense tracts of territory which it has conquered from Persia, ought to have already warned our government of the line of aggrandizing policy upon which the young Emperor has resolved, and upon which he has, undoubtedly, the means of acting, to as great an extent as the wildest visions of ambition could desire. To give implicit credit to his state papers-framed only for the purposes of delusion-to pin our faith on his vague expressions of generosity, and disinterestedness, and magnanimous moderation, would be as gross a piece of folly as ever was committed. Our true guide in all such cases, is to be found, in the first place, in a calm view of the interests which the invading party has to promote; and, in the next place, in a calculation of the prepara+ tions which he has made in order to secure them. For we may depend upon it, that expensive armaments by sea and land are not provided for the mere purpose of display. Heavy artillery and numerous waggons are not moved over hundreds of leagues merely to be rolled back again to the place from whence they came. When we see such formidable instruments of conquest poured into an enemy's territory, when we see them attended by multitudinous armies, well provisioned, and led on by a young and gallant soldier, who is, at the same time, their Emperor, we may readily believe that something more than the mere enforcement of a treaty, or even than the acquisition of a principality or two, must be within his contemplation.
Such also is the decided opinion of Colonel Evans, and the object of his present work is to select and examine the leading facts which bear upon this momentous question. We regret that he has not arranged his ideas in a somewhat more methodical form. He has a very happy talent of conveying his sentiments in guarded and apposite language; but in the proper disposition of them he is lamentably deficient. He appears to have written in a desultory and hasty manner, though the matter which he has collected would seem to be the fruit of extensive information, fully digested in his own mind. His work, however, is a most valuable one, and at the present moment must be peculiarly acceptable
to every person who wishes to become acquainted with the designs of Russia, and to contribute towards resisting them, as far as they can be injurious to the true interests of our country. We shall proceed to give our reader some notion of its contents, and in doing so we shall endeavour to arrange the different topics, which present themselves in a more natural and intelligible order than that in which the author has placed them.
We apprehend no person can doubt that the Grecian revolt, justifiable as it certainly was in every point of view, was originally kindled by Russian agents; at least it has been long encouraged by the Court of St. Petersburgh, and has lately received its most public and unequivocal sanction. Cotemporaneous with the commencement of that revolt was the collection of an imposing Russian army on the Pruth, which was continually augmented, until after being subjected to a due process of fermentation, it was at length led across the frontier. That army, supported by a maritime squadron, is now carrying every place before it; it will soon cross the range of the Balkan, and may, without much difficulty, take possession of Constantinople. Coupling the encouragement given to the revolt of the Greeks in the South, with this actual invasion of the territory of the Sultan in the North, the consequence is obvious, that Russia intends to subvert the Turkish power in Europe. This is a design transmitted to the present Emperor, through the portfolios of his late brother, whom he succeeded, and of his grandmother, the Empress Catharine. With respect to Nicholas, our author has the following pertinent obser
When with the armies in France and Germany, he was scarcely twenty years of age, and not being heir to the crown, attracted little observation. His fondness, however, for the kingly profession of arms, or at least for the semblance of it, military organization and arrangement, especially in the higher and more scientific branches, have been constantly and unequivocally displayed; while his personal intrepidity and firmness were no less conspicuous during the insurrectionary movement at the period of his accession; and which, it is averred (by those who appear not unacquainted with the state of that country), had considerable ramifications; but the immediate explosion of which we may certainly attribute, in a very great degree, to the fermenting inaction of the army. A large unemployed army is everywhere a dangerous implement. The remedy has been now adopted.
'On the accession of Nicholas, an opinion, pretty nearly in the following words, was expressed by one of the highest functionaries of the empire, whose name, were it right to be mentioned, would carry with it, even in this country, a degree of authority. "Russia has now an emperor, whose character is marked by much stronger traits, and who is of a far higher ambition than distinguished his late brother; but those qualities will not suddenly reveal themselves. They will be gradually disclosed by his public conduct." The truth or inaccuracy of this opinion will soon, from the greatness of the pending events, be resolved.
Few instances, I presume, if any, can be pointed out, of a sovereign succeeding, in the most vigorous spring-time of life, to unlimited power, -to the command of an immense, well-appointed, and warlike army, with difficulty restrained from action-who has not allowed these elements to develope themselves-who has not given the reins, in some degree, to his or their ambition.
But it surely must have required something like credulity, or at least a determined resolution to discard all thought of precaution-to have placed any stress on the upright political intentions of Alexander,-observing, as all must have done, that the general pacification of 1815-an epoch, when all the governments were unnerved, and exhausted by excessive and prolonged exertion, when every people sighed for repose, was precisely that wherein the northern cabinet commenced the organization of a greater armament than any that had been hitherto embodied during the war; and for which there is no possible mode of accounting, unless we suppose that some great ulterior project was in contemplation, or that some renewed and desperate attempt upon the existence of the empire was apprehended; which, as every one knows, was out of all question. In fact, no sooner was peace restored, than the greatest of all the military powers immediately converted the whole of her south-western frontier into one vast military camp; thus giving the most substantial grounds of inquietude, and imposing heavy burdens and expenses on several of the continental states.
And with respect to the reigning autocrat, although it is but the other day the diadem has descended to him, has he not already found time to prosecute successfully an aggrandizing policy? The ink is scarcely dry which has signed away to him, by means of a most indefensible exercise of force, the banks of the Araxes-and yet it is concluded that the same hand will gratuitously reject the splendid, and incomparably superior prize that now. lies nearly prostrate for acceptance. We presume then, not only that a luxurious court will prefer the frozen swamps of the Neva, with their worse than hyperborean atmosphere, to the superb and unequalled shores of the Marmora; but also that a young military monarch will be so reluctant to give umbrage to other nations, that he is so averse to war, so enamoured of peace, and altogether so imbued with a fine sense of abstract right, that although this transcendant achievement (the ultimate aim of all the national conquests) be now ripe for execution, and, as it were, courts him on, he will yet forbear to give it effect. This is to be more than moderate.
"It will be to disregard the fervent aspirations of his officers; the desires of his clergy; the wishes of his people (for on this subject even the serfs have an anxious sympathy); it will be to decline what comes recommended to him by every great name of Russia; to be unmindful of his own glory; to contemn the substantial interests of the empire, and even, not improbably, to hazard what we may well conceive to be one of the chief bonds of union between the throne to which he has been preferred and the chiefs by whom it is upheld and surrounded, and who, it is no more than reasonable to suppose, now ardently and sanguinely look forward, through the medium of this very operation, to the possession in their own persons, or those of their descendants, of high appanages, lordships, and princely satrapies, amidst the softer climes and wealthier and more inviting regions of Southern Europe.