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No. 22, Old Bcrweil-court, Strand,
BY J. WHITTLE; AND BY E. ILARDING, AT THE CROWN AND MITRE, PALL-MALL;
TN concluding the Seventeenth Volume of our work, at a I period marked by peculiar circumstances in the political , world, exhibiting an union of principles the most opposite, an amalgamation of particles the most heterogeneous, it is with particular satisfaction we look back upon our past labours, since the retrospect enables us, with confidence, to challenge the most ingenious of our opponents, to select a single instance in which we have departed from the principles which we originally professed; and, consequently, encourages us to expect a continuance of that patronage, 'which was liberally granted to us on account of our promised support of these principles.. Attached to no party, our political animadversions have, we are bold to say, invariably borne the stamp of independence; and whenever they shall cease to be so distinguished, let them and us be consigned to merited contempt. We now proceed to fulfil the promise which we recently made to our readers, and to enter on a concise ... View of the POLITICAL STATE OF EUROPE.
France naturally presents herself in the foreground of this picture, extending her colossal arins from the northern to the southern hemisphere, and, true to her principles, and steady in her plans, grasping at UNIVERSAL EMPIRE. Wild and romantic as this scheme of ambition formerly appeared, the wonderful events of the last twelve years, baffling the calculations of experience, and defeating the projects of wisdom, have robbed it of its distinguishing characteristics, and have almost reduced it to the level of probable occurrences. Supine, dormant, and inert, the powers of the Continent seemed, till very recently, disposed to submit to every spe. cies of aggression, insult, and degradation, rather than attempt to oppose that revolutionary torrent, whose destructive impetus, had been severely felt by some, and whose progressive force had been deemed utterly resistless by others. Various causes thus combined to perpetuate this supineness; terror, weakness, and mistrust, respectively, contributed to cherish and to maintain it; and had the artifice and cunning of Buonaparté borne any kind of proportion to his rapacious
ness, ambition, and vanity, the delusion had not been disa pelled, until it had been too late to derive any benefit from iis dissipation. Let the records of history be diligently searched, and no instance will be found, from the first dawn of civilization to the present eventful moment, in which one power dared so to violate the common laws of all, as France has violated the laws of nations, or in which so tame, so base, an acquiescence in the most wanton and the most dangerous invasions of the rights and privileges of independent states, in the most wicked and profligate systems of aggression and plunder, was evinced by the great powers of Europe as has been evinced by them since the treaty of Amiens. There is scarcely a power in Europe whose territory has not been invaded by France, in time of profound peace. Hanover,
which, during the late war, remained peaceable and neutral; · and whose neutrality was respected even by Robespierre, by 'the National Convention, and by the Directory; has been inyaded, plundered, desolated, and ruined by the Corsican Usurper, under the stupid pretext that its elector was sovereign of England, but for the real purpose of replenishing his exhausted coffers with her treasures, and of feeding and clothing his half naked and half famished regiments of military banditti, at her expence. The friendly and allied republics of Holland, Switzerland, and Lombardy, have experienced a fate but little more enviable. They have been deprived of even the shadow of independence; their lawful. magistrates have been controuled, and even deposed, by French generals and pro-consuls; their laws have been silenced by French bayonets; and their resources have been drained for the support of French armies which their population also has been thinned to recruit. The Neapolitan and Papal dominions have not escaped the general piliage ;: the independ. ence of both has been violated, the fortresses of both have been seized, and both of them have been compelled to receive French garrisons. The lawful heir to the duchy of Parma and Placentia has been deprived of his inheritance, and an: extorted covenant has been produced to sanction its annexation to the republic of France. So numerous and so flagrant have been these violations of the law of nations, these gigantic plans of public robbery, these extensive scenes of iniquity and oppression, that, to recount them all, would be alike tedious and unnecessary.
It may be proper, however, to add to this melancholy display of degraded sovereignty and of successful usurpation, the tributary kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, holding their precarious existence by the frail and humiliating tenure of a foreign tyrant's interest or caprice, and compelled to supply him with the means of opposing their own best friends, and of reducing other states to the same wretched situation with themselves! At any former period, when high notions of national honour, dignity, and independence, prevailed; before French principles had infected the people, or French power had palsied the princes, of Europe, any one of these acts of injustice would have sufficed to rouze the general indignation, and to produce a strong and generous confederacy for the manly purposes of repulsion and punishment. But the spirit of Europe seeins to have evaporated in the revolutionary alembic; the rich ore of honour has disappeared, and nothing is left behind but a vile mass which even interest cannot animate. A principle of self-preservation, indeed, one should have thought, would alone have operated with sushicient force to counteract the effects of this atrocious conspiracy against the general rights of mankind. But in this, as in every other rational expectation, the friends of social order have hitherto been disappointed. Universal encroachment has been productive of nothing but universal subinission, resistance has every where yielded to apathy, and, encouraged by this unnatural state of things, the Usurper bas proceeded, with increased rapidity, in his career of ambition, scarcely deigning to veil bis ultimate designs beneath any specious or plausive pretexts. Aware, however, that, in Great
Britain, he had still one formidable foe to encounter, and fear'ful lest the wisdom of her councils and the resolution of her government, might, at length, succeed in opening the eyes of other powers to a just sense of their own danger, and so lead them to follow her example, all bis efforts have been directed to render her odious to every other state, and to create a general distrust of her object, her views, and designs. For this purpose, justifiable only where its accomplishment may be atchieved by fair and honourable means, by open expositions, by reference to authentic documents and established facts, he has had recourse to every mean and pitiful art which envy, hatred, and malice, combined with falsehood, persidy,