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what reward would not be demanded for taking the field a second time? Plon-plon has not yet given up the idea of gracing his brows with the iron crown; and many a dark intrigue is still going on to produce that result. With a Muratist government in Naples, a viceregal satrap in Lombardy, Louis Napoleon could afford to patch up a peace with the Pope, and become once again the well-beloved eldest son of the Church. We sober-minded English laugh at the idea of the Napoleonic "star of destiny," but there is a certain degree of truth in it, in so far that it gives ambition an object, and at the same time a palliation. By lengthened meditation on the subject, we believe that Louis Napoleon has grown into the mania that it is his mission to found that huge empire over which the great Napoleon held a momentary sway. But he is too crafty to fall into the errors of his uncle, and risk everything on one decisive action. He has contrived to break up the old alliances, and has left England in a state of isolation which his uncle only effected by years of warfare and a continental blockade. Without the sacrifice of a man, Louis Napoleon has destroyed our prestige: he has robbed us of our old and faithful Russian friend, and caused Austria to regard us with loathing. What is to prevent him first weakening Prussia by a brilliant campaign, and then salving the wound with the prospect of a Teutonic Empire? In spite of their patriotism, the Prussians would not object to surrender the Rhenish provinces, always a source of difficulty, and receive compensation in Saxony, for thus their kingdom would be rendered more compact. By the time all this had been effected, even Mr. Bright would be forced to look with suspicion on his new friend; but the mischief would be done, and we, finding war a necessity, would enter on it without a single continental supporter.
It is just possible that the neutrality guaranteed Belgium and Switzerland by the great powers, may be the reason why they stand in their present perilous position. So long as one shred of that treaty of Vienna exists, Waterloo remains unavenged. Louis Napoleon, we have seen, said, twenty-seven years ago, that neutrality was a chimera, and he is now trying to prove the correctness of his views. For some years past, he has been attempting to convert Belgium into a French prefecture, and no sooner did he complain of the Belgian press, than censors were appointed. He and his ministers have been doing their utmost to prevent Brialmont's plan for the fortification of Antwerp being carried out, and even the work in which it was explained was prohibited passing the French frontier. Belgium must not be independent, or his great plans might be thwarted.
On all sides, then, we find the French annexation policy making gradual progress. Not long ago, and the idea of France obtaining the Palatinate from Bavaria was ventilated, and, of course, at once denied by the French authorities. Still, they cannot have the hardihood to assert that the annexation of Savoy has not exposed the Genevese to considerable risk. But there are, fortunately, limits to French conquest in Switzerland, for that country possesses an impregnable fortress in her mountains. The lowlands may be torn from her, but Helvetia can protect herself against utter slavery. But such is not the case with Belgium, and, unless the fortress works be at once commenced, a premium
for spoliation hangs temptingly before the sight of the imperial annexator -so temptingly that he will hardly refrain from taking another step in the path of restoring to France her "national frontiers."
One gleam of hope was offered us during the past month, by the announced alliance between England, Austria, and Prussia, for, as there is not the least doubt of the treaty between the second-named power and Russia, we should thus have the coalition once again instituted. have reason for believing that some such measure is seriously entertained, although matters are not yet sufficiently ripe for publicity. Austria, deceived by both England and Prussia during the Italian war, would display great magnanimity by entering on such an alliance, which, at the same time, would afford her the necessary tranquillity to regulate her own internal affairs.
And, should such an alliance be effected, Louis Napoleon would have no legitimate cause of complaint. We gave credit to his protestations up to the last moment, and would not allow our eyes to be opened. Lord John Russell's speech in the House aroused the nation from its fancied security, and proved how little a commercial treaty, however one-sided it might be, would avail to disarm a nation like the French. The seed of suspicion once sown, rapidly burst out into a widely-spreading tree, and years of good behaviour on the part of Louis Napoleon will be needed to regain the confidence of England.
At any rate, matters are rapidly approaching a crisis, and, in all probability the next month will reveal the nature of the game Louis Napoleon has been playing in Italy. We still hold, however, to our conviction that Victor Emmanuel listened to the voice of the charmer, and gave up the home of his fathers, lured by the dazzling bait of an Italian crown. The play is nearly played out, and ere long Louis Napoleon will give the signal to let the curtain fall. He played for a stake which he lost, and, like a clever gambler, carried off what he could, leaving his accomplice to bear the anger of their dupes.
In the mean while we earnestly hope that Belgium will not allow herself to be wheedled into defencelessness by his flattery. Switzerland has shown so bold a front that Louis Napoleon will probably leave that country alone for the present, and, not being fond of idleness, may perchance turn his attention to Belgium. Again, we repeat, that the only prospect of escaping annexation, or, at the least, a very bad bargain, is in fortifying Antwerp.
MR. COBDEN has returned to Paris to see what he can save out of the wreck of disappointed hopes, which he intoxicated us with for a season, in his desire to prove that diplomatists can be carved ex quovis ligno. He has already honoured our journals with a "communiqué," and it is easy to read between the lines that we have henceforth to depend on the generous sentiments of our magnificent and disinterested ally for any shreds of reciprocity he may be pleased to accord to us. Curiously enough, though, while England is, as it were, suing formâ pauperis, the French press is daily growing more embittered against us. According to them, we subsidised Garibaldi, and fomented the Neapolitan insurrection, because our desire is ever to promote embarrassment for the imperial government. These articulations of jealousy have been put in a definite shape by the Count Duhamel in a recent pamphlet, in which he pours out the vials of his wrath on England. Considering the friendly terms existing between the two nations, we certainly did not expect to read such effusions as the following, whatever the private sentiments of the French nation may be:
Oh! if matters had arrived at that point; if the high will which governs us judged that the time had arrived for taking our revenge for Quiberon and Waterloo; if his energetic initiative had let loose the Eagle against the Leopard, never would national enthusiasm have excited to so high a degree this warlike people of France, whose sword is burning in the scabbard. When the old words of Down on the English!" and "Montjoie and Saint Denis!" struck their ears, children and old men would shoulder the musket; rich and poor would carry their offering for that rising in arms against our old enemies. If hundreds of millions rose spontaneously for the Crimea and Italy, it would be milliards that France would give for the war against England. Not a fishing-boat but would arm to pass the strait; and the shade of the great Emperor would contemplate this popular impulse and the book of history, which would not open at such an hour but at the page of St. Helena.
Coinciding as we do to a very considerable extent in M. Duhamel's estimate of his fellow-countrymen, we purpose in the present paper to discuss the chances of this menaced invasion, and judge from the past what may be awaiting us in the future.
If analogy may be taken into calculation for historical purposes, we find England and France standing much on the same terms now as they did after the peace of Amiens. The first Bonaparte had finished a magnificent campaign in Italy, thereby causing a very wholesome terror to the continental regents, while with ourselves he was discussing a commercial treaty, all advantages of which were to be on his side. Whatever his June-VOL. CXIX. NO. CCCCLXXIV.
other faults may have been, Bonaparte was no free trader, and had no idea of throwing up a very necessary revenue for the chimerical chances of increased commerce. In this he was supported by his people, who are, and ever will be, protectionists. One thing the First Consul had in his favour: we had not used him exactly well in that matter about Malta, and he had an excuse for a declaration of war. At present this is wanting to the third Napoleon, but we know not what may happen ere long in Eastern waters.
It was easy enough for the First Consul to declare war, but he had a difficulty in carrying it out; for, with all his wondrous resources, he could not create a fleet out of nothing. The French were bad sailors, and the repeated blows their marine had experienced during the past century had shown them the fallacy of trying conclusions with the English on their native home. If the Leopard were to be killed, he must be followed to his repaire, and destroyed by artillery and musketry. Hence arose the idea of the great Channel flotilla, which occupied Bonaparte's attention through so many years. It has been the fashion with French writers to argue (because the expedition never came off) that Bonaparte merely employed it as a feint; but recent revelations prove to us sufficiently that he had set his heart on it, and felt sanguine of success at last.
The idea of the invasion appears to have occupied the First Consul's mind during the Italian war, for immediately after the signature of the treaty of Campo-Formio he proceeded at once to the coast of Normandy; and after a careful inspection of the means at his command, we find from his Correspondence (vol. iii.) that he wrote the following rather despond ing statement to the Executive Directory:
Paris, 5 Ventôse, an VI (Feb. 23, 1798). Whatever efforts we may make, we shall not acquire the superiority on the seas for several years.
To effect a descent on England without being master of the sea is the boldest and most difficult operation yet made.
If it be possible, it is by surprising the passage, either by escaping the squadron blockading Brest or the Texel, or by arriving in small boats during the night, and after a passage of seven to eight hours, on one of the points of Kent or Sussex.
For this operation long nights are needed, and hence the winter. The month of April past, and it is no longer possible to undertake anything.
Any operation we might wish to make in boats during the summer, profiting by the calms, would be impossible, because the enemy would offer insurmountable obstacles, both at the embarkation and disembarkation.
Our navy is to-day as little advanced as at the period when the army of Eng. land was created; that is, four months ago.
At Brest there are only fourteen vessels equipped, and they are far from ready to take the sea. The English blockade us there with several vessels. I heard, wherever I passed, the jests of the sailors at the little activity displayed in the equipments.
The ports are occupied in building letters of marque; the workmen of the rivers and canals, who, in all extraordinary occasions, are put in requisition for the navy, have not even been called upon.
Little privateers of thirty to forty tons have a crew of sixty to eighty sailors. The crews of all neutral vessels in our ports are one-third, in some cases one. half, French. Many sailors are living quietly at home.
In Dunkirk arsenal there are six superb frigates, with their armaments in store; not one of them is equipped. Some sixty men are engaged in careening the first. The others have not yet been touched, and the English come daily with a corvette or frigate to pursue our vessels within cannon range.
We have gun-boats at Nantes, Brest, Lorient, and Cherbourg, where they are not indispensable; no orders have yet been given for these boats to collect at Havre or Dunkirk.
In the latter port, there are a dozen gun-boats in the basin, disarmed; no preparations have been made to equip them. For the last four months not a single boat has been built, but one hundred and twenty are now being laid down.
The expedition to England does not, therefore, appear to me possible till next year; and then it is probable that the embarrassments arising on the Continent will be an obstacle to it. The right moment for preparing this expedition is lost, perhaps, for ever.
Our ports, from Havre to Antwerp, contain the requisite boats to carry fifty thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry. We have a hundred gun-boats from Bordeaux to Ostend. One hundred and twenty more are being built, which will be useful, though not indispensable; and, besides, there is no occasion to await their construction.
All that is necessary is :
1. To arm and assemble at Havre and Dunkirk all the gun-boats stationed from Bayonne to Ostend.
2. Lay an embargo on, and equip, the vessels which are to serve as horse transports.
3. Equip the vessels which the Citizens Andreossy and Forfait have selected along the coast from Cherbourg to Antwerp.
4. Request the Batavian Republic to supply the vessels I have asked for. 5. Lay an embargo on the best privateers between Bordeaux and Antwerp, less than one hundred tons, and send them to Havre and Dunkirk; as they will only be employed as transports, only the necessary crew will be left them.
If by March next we could have delivered at Havre, Dunkirk, and Ostend the objects designated in the above articles, which is easy of execution, the expedition to England would still become possible.
To obtain this object, it is necessary:
1. To appoint a rear-admiral inspector of the coast from Cherbourg to Ant
2. Appoint Citizen Forfait auditor of the navy of this part of the coast. 3. Appoint Brigadier-General Andreossy to the military equipment of these different boats.
4. Form of these three officers a commission, receiving its orders directly from the general commanding the expedition.
5. Charge the ministers of marine and war with the duty of supplying all the subalterns this commission may need for its organisation and service.
6. Place four millions, payable 800,000 fr. per decade, at the disposal of this commission, and specially destined to cover all the expenses relative to it: this sum is sufficient.
7. There are at Brest thirty vessels of war; in a month we must have twentyfive, and an equal number of frigates in the roads, ready to set out. This seems to me feasible. The measure adopted by government of sending there the minister of marine, must expedite the works at that port.
8. Take the sailors of all the privateers we shall not employ.
9. Arrest all French and English sailors on board neutrals.
10. Appoint commanders of vessels and squadrons.
The minister of marine, in addition to defraying the expenses of the Channel expedition, must also meet those of the Brest fleet.
If it be not possible to procure the exact sums demanded in this memorial, or if, owing to the present organisation of our navy, it is thought impossible to