« ZurückWeiter »
It is at the commencement of Chap. IV. and consequently in terms far different from the expressions above cited, that I undertake to justify the method of beginning by the profils; and as the critic is pleased to declare this method contrary to common sense, I would simply ask him how he could otherwise make himself understood by a person who should demand the reasons for which he was required to bend and turn in a fixed and singular manner the circuit of a fortification? - Apparently, indeed, the critic felt the embarrassment to which such a question would reduce him; and seems as if wishing to elude it, by pretending that I employ a number of pages uselessly, in demonstrating the necessity of bastions, investigating the dimensions proper for each part of the enceinte
, and regulating its form. "I may allow that such is the figure generally adopted; yet every engineer knows that this very configuration has been too warmly contested by some authors, and too, variously modified by other's, not to render it necessary to develope and demonstrate its principles. Besides, however simple these principles may appear after the examination into which I have entered, will ny critic permit me to observe, that the systems of the Marquis of Montalembert prove that even merit and talents require those very explanations which he has so confidently declared ille? And is it not contrary to the rules of true science to justify its principles by the mere authority of general practice?
Further, in adverting to some opinions of an author so celebrated as the Marquis of Montalembert, I have only been desirous to warn such of my readers as are novices in fortification against them; and for this reason I have contented myself with pointing out his principal errors. A true refutation of the perpendicular fortification, as he terms his system, has been given by a society of general officers, our directors, in a manner much more complete, especially much more military, than that so complacently produced by the critica This refutation forms a considerable volume in quarto, with numerous and complicated plates: it is evident, therefore, that such a discussion would have been ridiculous in a simple apperçu ; and yet the critic pretends to comprise it in a few pages of a periodical publication.
The general confusion which I am at first accused of, in treating of the different angles and sides composing the outline of a fortification, is at last reduced to a single and trifling error, with regard to the angle flanquant. I have transferred to the angle formed by the flank and the curtain, this term, which is commonly applied to the angle formed by the two lines of defence, or the two branches of the tenaille.
Now, to flank means to defend laterally; and the branches of the tenaitļe defend nothing in this manner;
while the flanks of the bastion are expressly designed to defend thus the rest of the circuit. Hence it is evident, how much more correctly my definition applies to the intent of the angle defined, than that of the critic by whom it is censured; and my whole fault, if it
may termed, is that of adhering rather to the nature of things than to a mere routine of words.
Le Blond was not an engineer, nor even a soldier ; but I admit that he was well-informed, laborious, and generally as exact incang
observations as he was careful in his researches. Surely, then, my critic gives me a right to adduce the authority of Le Blond in mere geometrical questions and simple historical facts, since he cites him as a supreme judge in regard to the definitions of fortification, which certainly belong more to engineers than others. Now it is from the elements of Le Blond that I have drawn what I say in regard to the practices of Errarı!, Marolois, the Chevalier de Ville, and the Count de Pagan, practices of wbich the critic does not contest the ground, though he indulges himself in some digressions not very appropriate io niy subject. It is also Le Blond who has pointed out Errard as the most ancient known author, in French, on modern fortification; and I would not mention the latter in a different light, but the more the critic labours to point out earlier writers, the more he proves the proposition which was the sole reason of my mention of Errard, namely, that the piecessity of giving bastions to the enceinte was naturally felt as soon as that of terrassing and widening the rampart, and indeed it was an intallible consequence of that necessity, in the same manner as that of widening the rampart was derived from the invention of gunpowder.
The critic remarks, that my profils are a little, and only a little, different from those of Vauban ; and insinuates that I affect the merit of innovation in this respect, yet with the timidity of a scholar who gropes
and fears to lose himself as soon as he departs from the line traced by his master. Our engineer and critic is then fynorant, that since the death of Vauban, and particularly since the formation of his first system, the art of fortification has been the object of real melioration; and that the great man in question, having anticipated many improvements; pointed them out himself, in order to invite others to improve his ideas judiciously, instead of copying them servilely. Now, it is from the writings of the most able as well as the most celebrated of his disciples that is, from the Memoirs of Cormontaigne-that I have drawn, with due confidence, the profils I have given, and the legitimate reasons for their Variations from those of Vauban. To the eyes of the superficial observer, who merely looks at the drawing, such variation is not strongly marked; but it is an important one to him who appre. ciates the nature and intent of the rampart there designed.
I will not dwell on the reproaches with which I am favoured by my critic for confining myself to regular fortification. I have inileed show., in many places, particularly in page 202, the extreme importance and delicacy of irregular fortification: but to convey proper notions of that branch of the art, I must have entered into discussions inconsistent with the nature and avowed design of my work. Officers of tlie live, for whom I have particularly written, bave neither time nor occasion to investigate the science of fortification, and, above all, the fortification of places; and therefore it was not necessary to present its particular modi, fications, but to develope the general principles which form the foundation of the art, and prove its invariable utility. Hence I have
nfined myself to a con simple, and, I hope, rational review of these principles; and I flatter myself, that the reader who may favour my treaties with his attention, will not deem his tine mize
5. Now (sario
ho has nch, oz
an dille earlie!
sole sity of
that of Hallible
spent, should he afterwards pursue the study of fortification in all its different branches, in the works already before the public.
Lastly, in regard to the chapter which I have employed in der scribing the influence of strong places in a general system of warfare, and in pointing out their proper situation, magnitude, distance, and number, the critic has contented hiniself with magisterially declaring my ideas equally ridiculous and absurd, without condescending to notice the reasons on which they are founded. It would be
easy prove that these priuciples have been and are still fulo lowed; but I have already sufficiently trespassed on your limits; and therefore I content myself with opposing assertion to assertion; and declaring that I have drawn them from the great masters of the art, particularly from Cormontaigne, whose merit and reputation cannot be affected by miv praises or the railings of my censor...
Feeling that a man of honour ought not to be indifferent to the opinion of the public in regard either to his writings or his person, the object of the present apology is simply to protest against the unqualified censures of a man whom I neither know nor, wish to know, and whose design has evidently been to decry instead of to criticise my work. To leave such censures unnoticed, would have been to commit an injustice against myself; but, after this expla: nation, I trust the liberality and wisdom of a British public will render it unnecessary to make any further reply to a series of intectives, not merely levelled against myself, but against national establishments of the most distinguished utility, especially in the present circumstances.--am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
B". L. DE FAGES-VAUMALE.
most from conf. their ficial
We have long thought this country to be in a critical situation,
every day's experience seems to give fresh confirmation to the fact. Never surely was a crisis so truly aweful, nor one which more imperatively called for wisdom in council, and energy in action. The accounts received from the United States of America prove, beyond all possibility of a doubt, that Jefferson is
the head of a French faction, bent ou war with England, from a servile wish to flatter the pride and to conciliate the friendship of that murderous usurper, whose iron reign is already extended over the fairest part of Europe. Indeed, Mr. Pickering, who has displayed the talents of an able statesman, has proved to demons , stration, from existing and authentic documents, that the American Embargo Act was passed in compliance with the wishes of Buonaparte, as expressed by his minister Champagny, in his correspondence with general Arinstrong. The very attempt to No:127. Vol. 32. Jan. 1809.
assign a false pretext for his conduct, and the dishonest efforts of the committee of congress to support that pretext, supply a satisfactory proof that it proceeded from motives which he was either ashamed, or afraid, to avow.
The alternative presented to the American legislature, by this complaisant committee, is well worthy the attention of our mi. pisters. America must, they say, either continue the embargo, and ruin their trade; submit to the existing decrees and orders of France and Great Britain, by the sacrifice of their rights and independence; declare war against both; or make an enemy of the one and an ally of the other. Without stopping to analise this curious result of their laborious investigation, it is easy to perceive, that though these sage counsellors say that their country ought to go war with both France and England—the most preposterous of all notions !--they ardently wish to familiarise the minds of the people with the idea of war, with a view to prepare them for the final accomplishment of their leader's long meditated plan-a declaration of war against this country, and an alliance with France.
In pursuance of this plan, we state it as a fact, orders have been given, though not publicly, for preparing letters of marque and reprisal. Against whom, let us ask, can these preparations be made, except against Great Britain? Certainly not against France; for, independently of all the circumstances, France has not a frigate to 'fight, nor a merchantman to capture. But how far these foolish proceedings of the American government will turn to our benefit or disadvantage, must depend entirely on the conduct of our own cabinet. If we act wisely, America is playing the very game we could wish her to play. There is one leading object which should, at this crisis of our fate, engross, as it were, the attention of our ministers--the adoption of every possible means for rendering the commerce and security of Great Britain wholly independent of the continent of Europe, and of the American states. It is now an established fact, that lumber and staves, and every article of necessity, which we have been accustomed to draw from America, may be supplied either by our own colonists in Canada and Nova Scotia, or by our allies, the Portuguese, from the Brazils. It is, therefore, the bounden duty of ministers to afford every encouragement, by bounties, by an exclusive trade, or by any means which may be found most conducive to the object, to our colonists and allies, to exert themselves so as to render the supply adequate
to the demand. This is not a matter of temporary concern, it is an object of permanent, and of paramount, importance. We have, at length, opened our eyes to our interest, and abandoned our suicidal policy, So far as to prohibit the consumption of French produce in our fleets and armies, and to substitute, in its place, the produce of our own colonies. It is now only a matter of astonishment to the world, as, indeed, it has for some time been to us, that we should so long have persisted in a practice, at once so absurd and so mischievous, so favourable to our enemies, and so destructive to ourselves. Let us, then, pursue and extend the same system of policy; let us reject the productions of France and America; draw all our supplies from Canada, Nova Scotia, and the Brazils; and endeavour to open new and sufficient markets for our manufactures, in the wide-extended regions of South America.HIC LABOR, HOC OPUS EST.
The ministers have no ordinary policy to adopt ; have no trite and common maxims to follow ; have no beaten track to pursue ---- all is new around them; their exertions must be proportioned to the exigency of the times; and they must never forget, that the opposition of ordinary means to extraordinary measures bas produced the ruin of Europe and the triumph of France. are not accustomed to employ revolutionary phrases, but, for once, we must observe, that, if the ministers be not a la hauteur des circonstances, if they be not prepared for efforts adequate to the emergency; they had much better forbear all further operations, and, without any more useless effusion of blood, bow the knee to Baal, and acknowledge the supremacy of Buonaparte! The times, in truth, are tremendously awful, and sufficient to appal the stoutest heart. All considerations must now give way to the safety of the state, and to the salvation of millions — SALUS REIPUBLICÆ
No honest man can now take a part in the direction of public affairs, with the conscious deficiency of wisdom, activity, and vigour. In ordinary times, honesty alone is a strong recommendation to office, and a tolerable safeguard against public danger. But, in a revolutionary æra like this, first-rate talents, å mind fertile in resources, strong in resolution, and decisive in action, are essential qualifications for public situations of power and trust.
LEX SUPREMA EST.