Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

“ left the enemy no doubt respecting this unforeseen accident.” The truth of this statement was not only denied, but the whole of it ridiculed by our public writers in general, who were sure that the check the French bad received was entirely owing to the superior military manyævres of the Archduke Charles, and to the superior ardour, patriotism, and bravery of the Austrian army. The Austrian account contained in the Supplenjent to the London Gazette, appears, with the exception of some ridiculous vauntings, to be admirably written, and excites very considerable interest. The main fact of the destruction of the bridges, is acknowledged, although there is a contradiction respecting the meats by which this destruction was effected. In one part the writer observes, that-" by means of fire ships sent down the Danube, the Arch“ duke had caused the enemy's bridge on the Lobau to be broken “ down :" in another part, he states, that “ Napoleon rode-through “bis ranks, and according to the report of the prisoners, made "them acquainted with the destruction of the bridge, but added, " that he had himself ordered it to be broken down, because in " this case there was no alternative but victory or death.The reports of prisoners as detailed by an enemy, are at all times to be regarded with suspicion : the latter account is not only inconsistent with the former account of both the French and Austrian writers, but carries absurdity on the face of it: the main fact is however, established; and we firmly believe that it was owing to the cause assigned in the French bulletin, that the French had not a decisive victory.

A drawn battle, or a check of any kind to the French forces appeared so extraordinary to the Austrians, that the Emperor in his grateful acknowledgments to the Archduke thus addressess him. " It was reserved for you, the brother of my heart, the prime "support of my throne to interrupt for the first time these fifteen 5 years, the good fortune of the adversary. You are the "saviour of the .country, which, as the monarch, will eternally “thank and bless you." This natural ebullition of gratitude in the Austrian Monarch arising from so remarkable an occur. rence, is perfectly natural ; but the writer of the details seems to have prescribed no bounds to the extravagance of his joy. “ For " the first time,” he observes, “ NAPOLEON had sustained a defeat “ in Germany: from this moment he was reduced, to the rank of "bold, and successful generals, who like himself, after a long " series of destructive atchievements, experienced the vicissitudes " of fortune : the charm of his invincibility was dissolved. No " longer the spoiled child of fortune, by posterity he will be cha"racterised as the sport of the fickle goddess! New hopes begin -" to animate the oppressed nations." The folly of these effusions'

[graphic]

which have been so closely copied by the generality of our daily and weekly journalists, is now sufficiently demonstrated.

In the tenth bulletin it was stated by the French, -" The works for replacing the bridges are continued with assiduity, and “ nothing will be undertaken until they are secure, not only against the accidents of the water, but against any thing that “ may be attempted agaiust them: the rise of the river, and the “ rapidity of the stream, must require mucli labour and great “ caution.” Men attending to the dictates of common sense, after reading this passage, might naturally expect that nothing material would be attempted by the French for at least a few weeks. Every day, however, teemed with reproaches and insults cast on Napo

leon and his armies : his inactivity, it was repeatedly affirmed, - proved the completeness of his defeat. These writers were so fully employed in singing their lo triomphe, to all Europe, and in anticipating the halcyon days, when the “ upstart Corsican; the “ ruffian, the monster,” should be stripped of all his tarnished laurels, that they had not leisure sufficient to put the questions, What are the victorious Austrians doing? Are they not pursuing their victories, and driving the defeated enemy from the capital ? A little imparfial attention bestowed on the subject, would soon have convinced them of the true nature of the boasted victories of the Austrians, who, they might easily have perceived, were disabled from attempting even the interruption of the French prepa. rations for renewing their attacks, in the heart of the Austrian. dominions.

But something worse than weakness, has been displayed by our ministerial writers on this occasion. Reports of a negociation between France and Austria have been prevalent in some of the foreign prints during the past two or three weeks. The wretched hireling who habitually digraces the Morning Post, in the paper of the 15th inst. thus vents his ravings :

“We are not of those who entertain apprehensions that under the “ present circumstances, the Austrian cabinet will be enticed, or intimidated into a negociation .i... the mere probability of such an event “ would lay prostrate the spirit that is every where springing up against " the oppressor of nations : the extinction of that spirit would smooth the way for the safe return of his hordes to France, which otherwise must fall victims to the vengeance of those whom they have so wantonly and cruelly trampled upon. The belief of a negociation would also allay the impa" tience of the French people, and afford some explanation of the inactivity “ to which the once invincible energies of Bonaparte are reduced ! Not “ only then might it facilitate bis extrication from the perils of his present “ situation, but to a mind so resourceful as his, afford perhaps the means

of reviving the verdure of his faded laurels. These are all powerful “ motives with the enemy for insinuating and spreading such a report ; " but they would all more powerfully operate on the mind of the Arch

« duke Charles, to prove that it was wholly without foundation, and gloriously to give it the lie, by the renewal of a battle AS BLOODY, and the gaining of a victory as splendid as that of Aspern; his character and exploits inspire sych hopes, and it were injustice to both to hesitate in : " cherishing them.''

How weak must be the head, how prejudiced the mind, and how callous the heart of the man who could vent such sentiments and feelings. The accounts of the battle of the 21st and 22d. of May, seem to have appalled even the writers on both sides; the Austrian narrator repeatedly terms them “ murderous couflicts;" , but the conflagration of villages, the slaughter of 20 to 30,000 of our fellow creatures; the agonies of 40 or 50,000 wounded; the misery of thousands of widows and orphans, the numberless complicated horrors of these sanguinary scenes, make no inpression on the heart of the Editor of the Morning Post. On the contrary, scenes which cannot be beheld even by the actors themselves without horror and dismay, excite in him such lively emotions of joy, that he longs for their repetition. Peace is the grand object of his aversion: he expresses his ardent hope, “ that " the Archduke will gloriously give the lie to all reports of nego"ciation by the renewal of a battle as BLOODY, and the gaining a victory as splendid as that at Aspern.” This cold blooded hireling seems never to have entertained an idea, that one more such victory would have completed the ruin of the Austrian army, which has since amply demonstated its utter inability to sustain a similar conflict.

It is not only the ministerial, but the anti-ministerial prints, which by the part they have taken in the Austrian war, have tended to delude the public. The principal opposition print, (The Morning Chronicle) and which is generally understood to be the organ of that party to which it has been long attached, bas, while habitually reproving other prints for their inconsistencies, by its perpetually vacillating politics been giving a sad proof of its own. At the commencement of the Austrian war, the editor with that ability which not unfrequently marks his observations, demonstrated its impolicy, and that of our ministers in affording Austria either encouragement or assistance. As to the justice of the war it was not deemed worthy his inquiry; for as we have on former occasions had reasou to remark, the justice or injustice of a war is seldom considered by any of our political parties. For the remarks in the Chronicle, the Editor was much abused by his fraternity: as soon however, as the accounts arrived of the battle of Aspern, he suddenly changed his tone, recanted the opinions he had so lately inculcated, and apologised for so doing, on account of the altered state of the Austrian affairs : such was his anxiety to make the amende honorable

[graphic]

to his brother editors, that when the reports of negociation were current, he expressed his ardent hope, that the Austrian Etnperor would reject all overtures with the contempt they deserved. This general delusion of our public writers continued till the arrival of the 24th bulletin ; but when they found how the French army which they had so insulted for its inactivity had been employed, and lieard of the grand preparations made by NAPOLEON for renewing his alfacks, their confidence was succeeded by alarm, and they prepared their readers for what so speedily followed, -the victories recorded in the 25th, and 26th bulletins : the arrival of the latter began to open the eyes even of the Editor of the Morning Post, and in the paper of Saturday the 241b. he commenced his account of the disasters of the Austrians, with these moralizing reflections, “ How unstable is the ground of all human hopes ! how impotent is the grasp of all human expectation!”—The next day however, .

Sunday, the consoling “ intelligence brought by a gentleman from “ Holland," confirmed his political faith, dissipated his doubts and fears, and encouraged him the next day to assure his readers that the Austrian armies were still unbroken. In his paper of the 26th. “after perusing and re-perusing the late bulletms, and examining “ them impartially, and with all the coolness, and even indifference “ of scepticism," he observes," so far from being able to discover " those disastrous consequences, or to account for that stupid or “ affected panic, which have been apprehended and felt by.'so many “ public writers, that on the contrary, we are at a loss to find words “ to express our admiration of the genius, imperturbable presence of “mind, rapidity of comprehension, inexhaustible resources, and in-. “ tuitive discernment of the Archduke:” he adds, “ it is impossible “ to attend to the farrago of silly exclamations, inflated anxiety, « stupid, unwarranted despondency, or to the ridiculous howl of “ some of our journalists, and the nervous sensibility of others un“ able to resist the weeping contagion, without mingled feelings of " indignation and contempt:" but alas! alas! in the very next Morning Post the editor himself sets up the same “ ridiculous “ howl,” and is no longer able to resist the spreading “ weep

ing contagion !"' “ It is with heart-felt grief” he begins, “ we an. “ nounce the termination of the canipaign upon the Danube by an “ humiliating armistice, solicited by the Emperor Francis from the " insatiable tyrant!". This “ heart-felt grief," however, somewhat subsides, and his reflections are changed into a philippic againts Francis, and the Archduke, who,“ not understanding their own in" terest," so well as the editor of the Morning Post, “ have by their « blinduess, their' inability, their premature submission, blasted all “ hopes of the “ deliverance of Europe"

Even those prints which appear to be the most independent of party have not escaped the general delusion. One of the most respectable of this description, the editor of which, after the battle of Aspern had flattered his readers with hopes of the “ deliverance of “ Europe," is now compelled to confess that " he all along sus

pected how matters were, but that such was the temper of the “public, they could not bear the truth, and he therefore “ declined telling it.” The whole of this miserable system of delusion is now annihilated: and it is hoped tbat the people at large will open their eyes, and express their opinion on the subject of the WAR, as freely as a considerable part of them have already expressed their opinion on other important subjects.'

It is much to be lamented that such men as Mr. W. SMITH, and Mr. CURWEN, men of sense and independence, should have yielded to the too general infatuation. They also have expressed their approbation of the conduct of Austria, and have encouraged ministers in lavishing the resources of this country in support of her unjust and impolitic war. Mr. CURWEN in particular, so lost himself in the house of Commons, as to “ dwell with peculiar pleasure on the « accounts of the battles of the 21st and 22d of May : hailing the « success of Austria as a favourable omen, he wished the vote of « credit proposed by ministers for the purpose of assisting that “ power, to be for six MILLIONS instead of three.” Mr Curwen is we trust by this time convinced of his mistake, and felicitates himself that ministers did not fall in with his rash suggestion.

Thus has the Austrian campaign ended, as we have all along, from the moment of its commencement, predicted. Amidst the general des lusion which we have exposed, we appeal to our readers for the cor. ' rectness and uniformity of our opinions on this subject. It affords us no pleasure to descant on the blindness, and corruption of the public, and the indifference they have so long manifested; but while we con- ., tinue to hold a pen, we are determined to enforce those truths the importance of which every public event tends to confirm; and after the additional experience of the Austrian contest, we repeat the observation, which we have so often urged on the consideration of our countrymen—and no longer ago than May last—" That all attempts on the part of the different sovereigns of Europe, to abridge' by force of arms, the power of France, will to the confusion of the parties engaged, terminate in its increase !" .

The formidable and expensive expedition which has been so long in preparation, and is at length sent out under the command of the Earl of Chatham, destined as it is generally understood for an attack on the Island of Walcheren, and the forts on the Flemish coast, may probably for a while divert the attention of the public. Our naval and military forces, inay, 'more especially when aided by those

« ZurückWeiter »