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to the interest with which we contemplate 'such a scene, it is that they are ardently desirous to interweave with their infant prosperity the name of Britain, to associate us with all the enthusiastic feelings of the moment, and to enbalm out names in the memory of their posterity, with all those grateful recollections that must ever accompany a retrospect to the glorious epoch which gave them a political existence, and laid the first stone of the grand edifice which they are destined one day to rear. Whatever impediments the comparatively paltry interests of the present perplexing state of Europe may cast in the way of our immediate answer to the call which they make upon us, let them be assured that Britons (in heart and mind, at least) aspire to hold out the right hand of fellowship to a prudent and enlightened people, engaged in a cause, which Britons, in their own case, have long since carried to a triumphant issue.
Nothing now remains incomplete to La Plata but to found a solid and sound constitution, with a good system of legislation calculated to secure its future felicity and prosperity, and to establish a national force sufficient to repel such enemies as the chances of war may eventually bring to their shores. This, beyond doubt, will be the primary object of the general congress, which by this time we suppose to be in session. If we could judge from the variety of printed and manuscript pieces uow before us, containing strictures on this important subject, particularly those of the learned Dr. Funes, deputy from Cordova, and at present secretary of the Junta; we should anticipate proceedings not only of a wise and dignified nature, but such as would grace the journals of any deliberative body in Europe. A spectacle so novel as that of the learned and patriotic amongst a new people discussing freely and judiciously topics relating to a code of laws suited to their circumstances, cannot fail to awaken the deepest interest, and the liveliest curiosity.
We trust that in the deliberations of this assembly the cause of the Indians will not be forgotten, but that gradual means will be taken to extend to this much injured race the blessings of mental and personal liberty. We fairly confess that this will be the criterion by which we shall ultimately judge of the virtue and patriotism of the South American congress. We have had in Europe, nay in England, for some years past, quite enough of that patriotism which is desirous only to bring down to its own place in the scale all that is above it, and which, häving succeeded, is sure to tyrannize over all that is below it. And we will say of such a spirit, that nothing is so common, so vulgar, or so natural. The easy and unchristian habit of despising and reviling superiors naturally gives the mind a misanthropic and cynical cast, directly opposite to that love of mankind which urges to self denial and exertion for the benefit of others, and which is absolutely necessary to enable a man to do great things for the world. Accordingly we do not recollect of late years, nor do we now perceive on the stage, one single flaming patriot who has ever exhibited the least proof of sincerity in his love to mankind, or who has not convinced every cool observer of the selfish hypocrisy of his principles, by setting at nought the peace and welfare both of society and of private families, whenever they were found to interfere with the indulgence of his passions, or with his private views of ambition. But of the South American patriots let us hope better things! The conduct they have hitherto held certainly entitles them to credit.
We have entered more fully and explicitly into the discussion of the La Plata question, because it is now become a general one in the whole of the two great divisions of Spanish America. Lower Peru is the only country that has not yet openly moved, but the moment is not far distant when the people will there also assert their rights; many circumstances which our present limits will not permit us to explain, concur to keep the reins of government for a time in the hands of the old officers, but Peru is too enlightened, and the example of Buenos Ayres too strong, for the flame to be opposed, even by such barriers as the Andes' mountains. Caraccas, Quito, and Santa Fe have already risen, and the unanimous wishes of the Mexicans are suppressed, but not extinguished.
Such being the state of affairs--we understand that deputies from the popular government of Buenos Ayres are now in London; and we can well conceive the perplexity into which their presence must have thrown the British ministry. While the private interests of the Cadiz merchants necessarily hold their present control over the general government of their country, it is to be feared that no mediation of ours can be at all effectual in enforcing any compromise with the South American patriots; and it may perhaps be thought problematical how far, under such circumstances, government will be strictly justified in taking any official notice at all of the American deputies. The last dispatches from Spain seem to announce the probability of a struggle in Cadiz, that will either place that fortress in the hands of the French, or annihilate the influence of those local interests which in too many instances appear to have overawed the general government. The attentive reader of the Spanish articles in this and our preceding numbers may, perhaps, be of opinion that even the most unfavourable result of these struggles will not produce evil unmixed with good—and the free and unshackled contemplation of the South American cause upon liberal, and truly British grounds, will not be the least of the advantageous results. For ourselves individually we freely admit that we are quite prepared to run any risk that may be incurred by acting upon such consideration at the present moment. We are decidedly of opinion that on this, as on every other occasion, the danger of half measures is much greater than any temporary advantages that can possibly flow from them ;-that the most manly and the most sincere will be the most advantageous policy. No one, we suppose, now doubts that the Peninsula cannot be saved from France, without securing to itself a free constitution and equal laws. When the South Americans come to treat, under our mediation, with the government of such a country, who can doubt, but that an agreement would result more truly favourable to both parties, and therefore more acceptable to an enlightened government, than any which the continuance of civil war could offer? But to entitle ourselves to such a right of mediation we must now amalgamate our interests with those of the patriots-we must support them by mediation with our ally, or if necessary, by stronger measures, in the establishment of their liberty and happiness under the nominal sway of Ferdinand VII., till that monarch be really restored to an independent 'throne. We must disregard entirely the pretensions of those who, under colour of preserving the colonies to the mother country, are for pursuing measures which would really end in preserving them only to the French; and we must above all recollect that the alternative now in our power is not whether we shall keep the South Americans in slavery or assist in their liberation, for the former is now happily out of the power of any one—but whether we shall prolong the scenes of blood and dissension in that promising region, or at once establish an indelible claim to their gratitude, by assisting them to commence their career of happiness and glory.
Whatever then may be the result of their mission, let the deputies be assured that these sentiments really pervade the breasts not only of the British public, but we would almost venture to assert, of its statesmen also; for they are no less consonant with our national interest than with our national feeling. At all events we are prepared, as individuals, to declare to the Spanish South American deputies, our firm conviction that nothing but imperious necessity can prevent an open declaration in their favour. And we are willing to pledge our sagacity; that
the first moment of freedom from restraint will be marked by the hearty cooperation of Great Britain in those efforts of the South Americans, which are no less calculated to confer lasting happiness on them, than great commercial advantages on ourselves.
Art. VI. Sketches of the Internal State of France. By M. Faber.
Translated from the French. Two first Chapters on French” and “ Administration." London: Murray; Hatchard,
and Richardson. pp. 300. 1811. Berore the late revolutions, France was an interesting and instructive object of coutemplation. A kind of universal homage was paid by the public opinion of every other country to the manners, the language, and the literature of that people. Frenchmen had arrived at such a high degree of excellence in all the pleasures, refinements, and what some may choose to call the elegant vices of civilized life, that their superiority was generally acknowledged. To this species of pre-eminence, who can deny the claims of a people whose specious qualities could extort such universal suffrage in their favour? Thither our young men of fashion, kept in order at home by the public opinion and the decent manners of a free country, went to exchange the rusticated virtues of Englishmen, for the frivolous elegance of a people as much below them in dignity, as they may be admitted to have excelled in the superficial arts of pleasing. Englishmen found themselves without restraint, where immoral actions and principles were attended with no loss of reputation; they drank the cup of pleasure to the very dregs. But all their attempts were vain ; they made themselves ridiculous by awkwardly aping what there would have been great merit in despising. We have often heard Frenchmen exultingly exclaim, " On nous envoye les riches mi-lords pour etre apprivoisés; mais un ours qui danse est toujours un ours. Peut on blanchir le Negre?”
Russians, Swedes, Poles, and Germans also paid due homage to French manners, by going through a course of civilization in
But they were more successful than our young patricians in acquiring the graceful ease and thoughtless impertinence of Frenchmen. "The Russians particularly are perfect mimics in all the vices, talents, and manners of civilized life.
We who are plain men, and know no better, are disposed to contest French superiority in the grand art of “Sçavoir vivre,"
even though such men as David Hume, Gibbon, and Lord Chesterfield have avowed that the society of Paris was the best in the world; and though men of the world flocked to that voluptuous capital, to consummate their knowledge in that most important and difficult of all human sciences, the art of conversation. Shoals of babbling Frenchmen, professors of those vices and follies, which have been hitherto inseparable from a high state of civilization, have inundated every country where there has been wealth to invite them, and folly to promote their
These, and other well known causes, had turned the attention of all Europe to France. She held all other nations in a kind of moral subjection; her language became general. Women, every where anxious to please, copied their fashions. Voltaire became universal. What nation could resist his wit, or the eloquence of Rousseau, or the science of Lavoisier ? In short, their authors became classic, and united in one phalanx they produced that boastful monument of the power of the human mind, the Encyclopedia of Diderot and D'alembert, which completed the national triumph. Thus, before the revolution, France had acquired an astonishing degree of influence over other nations by her talents and vices. The revolution followed, and she then appealed to their passions and prejudices: she would have succeeded but for her crimes. Having failed in her project of establishing universal empire by opinion, she has had recourse to force: and whether the experiment will succeed or not, depends on Englishmen.
Thus we see, that at all times, France has excited general attention; but she now inspires so deep an interest, that an acquaintance with her internal state is become a necessary part of knowledge, particularly to Englishmen. By the revolution, she has acquired an immense accession of physical strength; she has more than doubled her population; the weight of authority, and the splendour of military talents, have been added to her territorial resources. This gigantic power is rendered still more formidable, by the insatiable ambition and the unfeeling temper of the mind that directs its movements. The whole of the physical and moral force of that immense empire is concentrated into one focus, by à chief who acknowledges no other law but his own fierce and unruly will, and whose ways and means are perfidy, violence, and assassination; he has now nearly achieved every object of his ambition, but the subversion of the British empire. Already has he changed the aspect of one half of Europe : the effeminate people of the south have submitted without resistance; and the