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from a speech of Lord Grenville, delivered on the 21st of March
"They were told that night, that it was proper still to continue their efforts; and they were told this, as if up to that moment these efforts had been successful. 'Look back (said his Lordship) to Spain look to the sacrifices, to the losses which have been there sustained, in wild and impracticable projects, and see the situation in which Spain is at this moment. Look to the immediate object of this motion, Portugal: what have been the fruits of the operations there? What is now the state of Spain? What the situation of Portugal? What return has been made to this country, what benefit has she reaped from the immense exertions that have been made, the enormous sums that have already been expended in aid of that cause? All that we have been told in answer to this question is, that the enemy has not yet been able to achieve the conquest and subjugation of Portugal-that the British army is still there. Yes, the British army is still there; but does it possess more of the country than the ground which it actually occupies ? This is all that is held out to your Lordships respecting the present state of affairs in that country. As to the future, not one word has been uttered to encourage our hopes, to cheer our prospects, to afford the slightest consolation for all the efforts and sacrifices which have already been fruitlessly made in pursuit of the same unattainable objects. We are not even told, that all this enormous expence will tend to defend, and ultimately secure Portugal. The only reason and encouragement with which we are favoured in justification of it is, that it is hoped we may long continue to maintain that narrow spot of ground which our army now occupies, Thus, in hazarding our best means, we do not essentially contribute to help or save Portugal, while we vainly drain our own resources, and risk our own safety-those resources, which, if prudently managed, and providentially laid up for a more propitious mo ment, would not only secure, but might also be effectually employed in the support and defence of other countries." P. 182.
Our readers will not be displeased to be presented with an extract from a speech of Mr. Whitbread, who must be allowed by all parties to be a perfect oracle in all matters of foreign and domestic policy.
"For his own part, as he considered the contest hopeless, he was of opinion, that the sooner the question was decided, the better: and under that impression, he wished sincerely that Lord Wellington and his brave army were safe back. If that Noble General, however, should be attacked in the position he occupied, he had no doubt, he would obtain a most glorious victory, but he feared, like the victory obtained at Talavera, it would prove barren and unproductive. It would give the French another specimen of British valour, but he must deprecate such a waste of human life for the mere purpose of showing what had been so frequently and fully demonstrated.
"Though we might find resources to continue to send out men to Spain, and succeed in protracting the struggle, yet it was not any assistance of ours which could, in his opinion, prevent the final subjugation of the Peninsula. It had been represented, and was admitted, that the Portuguese troops had greatly improved in discipline and efficiency, but their steadiness was yet to be tried; and even supposing them equal to British troops, what chance would that give of any progress in Spain? Was any man so absurd as to imagine, that if the French were once completely masters of Spain, the force now in Portugal would be sufficient to maintain possession of that country against the whole concentrated power of France? He trusted they should not soon again hear of a British army ad. yancing into Spain. It was scarcely to have been supposed, that such an event would have so soon occurred, after the fatal experience of Sir John Moore's campaign. The experiment, however, had again been tried; Lord Wellington not only advanced into Spain, but staid there, until the want of all supplies obliged him to withdraw; it was to be hoped, therefore, that no British army would again be sent into Spain, until a physical security of the necessary supplies should be obtained.
"As things now stood, Spain was completely closed against us. So far from looking to any progress of the British arms in Spain, the whole nation, as well without as within that House, was expecting, momentarily, the intelligence of that victory, which he was confident would be glorious, though he feared it would be barren; and which would be the result of any attack upon the British army on the Portuguese frontier. Were they not apprized that Massena had arrived at Salamanca, and taken the command of the French army? Was it not known that he was concentrating his force to make an attack upon Lord Wellington; and was it not likely, that Lord Wellington would consequently be committed with the allied army against superior numbers? Whatever might be the case, he had no doubt of victory attending the British arms; but he was no less sure, that such triumph would be fruitless, and that the British army would be compelled to embark in the course of a very short space of time after the achievement. What must be done at last, he thought ought to be done in time; the sooner, therefore, the British army should be withdrawn, the more it would be for our benefit, Operations in Spain were quite out of the question. It was not upon the arena of Portugal that we could fight for Europe, and if we should be mad enough to attempt it, the final reduction of Portugal would necessarily follow the subjugation of Spain." P. 494.
It would be useless to enumerate all the orations which have been made by the great opposition leaders in this unhappy cause; but it is most amusing to see them arranged in the volume before us, rank and file, as if they were dragged up from the shores of Lethe to renew a contest, in which they must fall, pot so much by the eloquence of their adversaries, as by their
own. There is not a more tough, indigestible diet, which requires greater compass of deglutition and strength of stomach, than a man's own words; to this disagreeable fare, many of the gentlemen, whose speeches are here recorded, must be reduced; if the English nation have not lost their faculty of remembrance. As a contrast, however, to the two preceding specimens of prophetical eloquence, we shall give the reader an extract from the speech of a man, whose career of life was not commensurate to his race of glory. Let us hear the predictions of Perceval, even as early as the April of 1811.
"The advantages derived to ourselves from the result of the campaign are by no means inconsiderable. This country, Sir, may be considered as divided into two opinions with respect to its own power and prosperity. Those who have thought that Great Britain never stood higher in those points, are gratified at seeing their opinion confirmed;-those, on the contrary, who have entertained the desponding idea, that the sun of British glory was for ever set, must now congratulate themselves, and the country, on the proof that our military character never stood so high as at the present moment. To them the recent occurrences must be infinitely more gratifying than to us who were more sanguine on the subject. No longer can any fears remain, that should the French seek our shores we should not be able to meet them. We have a British army, composed of a general who has out-generalled theirs, and troops by whom their troops have been subdued. As to the effect of this campaign on the enemy, what his feelings must be, after all his boasts and threats against the British army, may be easily conceived. What its effects may be, internally, on France, I will not venture to predict. How far their discomfiture in Portugal may put an end to the delusion, that extent of dominion is extent of strength-how far it may open the eyes of the French to the intolerable and disgraceful tyranny by which they are at present oppressed, future events will disclose. With regard to the rest of the world-to Europe it will be an useful lesson, pointing out the only road to security.
"Sir, it was impossible to suppose, that it could be the divine intention of Providence long to permit the continuance of that system of oppression and usurpation, under which Europe had so long groaned. It may, perhaps, not be presumptuous in us to hope, that we may be the instruments of delivering the world from its thraldom. It is not impossible, in the dispensations of Providence, but that in that very Peninsula in which the tyranny of France has been so cruelly manifested, she may receive her deathwound, if not her grave." P. 344.
To those who may be inclined to take a retrospective view of the five last years of the war, and to acquaint himself with the opinions of every distinguished personage in either house of Parliament, respecting its conduct and termination, cannot do
better than possess himself of the volume before us; he will then be enabled to judge for himself, in whom patriotism and wisdom have been most conspicuous; whether in those who directed, or in those who thwarted the councils of Great Britain.
ART. XVI. Letters on India; by Maria Graham: with Etchings, and a Map. 8vo. 384 pp. 14s. Longman.
This volume proceeds from the pen of the same lady, who not long since, published the " Journal of a Residence in India," which was received with approbation by the public. The volume before us displays much pleasing and useful information. upon oriental affairs, and will be useful to those who at an early period of life are called to our eastern dominions. All the principal points which attract the curiosity of the European are briefly touched upon, affording a concise but amusing account of the history, the mythology, the castes, &c. The following account of the absurd custom of sitting in dherna will give the reader a fair idea of the style of the whole volume.
"A method of obtaining justice, or of enforcing a petition, founded, I suspect, on the fear of drawing down punishment by injuring a Brahmin, by whom this species of importunity is chiefly practised. When a person wishes to gain a point that he has no other means of carrying, and therefore resolves to sit in dherna, he places himself at the door of the person of whom it is to be obtained with a dagger or poison in his hand, which he threatens to use if the master of the house goes out, or attempts to molest him; and as no sin is comparable to that of causing the death of a Brahmin, the unfortunate person is thereby completely arrested. The Brahmin continues to sit fasting; and it is customary for the person arrested to fast also; so that it generally happens that the prosecutor obtains his wish, partly by the dread of his death, and partly by his importunity. I believe this custom properly belongs to the Brahmins; but I recollect a curious instance of it among a lower tribe in Bombay. Shortly after I went there, my tailor brought me a letter, intreating me to beg the magistrates to take away a man who sate in dherna at his door. On inquiring into the case, I found that it was to recover a wife. It seems the prosecutor having a wife whom he was unable to support, during a time of scarcity, had made her over to the tailor, who having a good business, was not only able to maintain her, but to dress her so well, that in time of plenty she never thought of returning to her former husband; who nevertheless, as she was able to do a good deal of work, wished to have her back again. Not being able to obtain
her by intreaty, he had recourse to the method by dherna, which I believe did not succeed, the tailor rather choosing to give him a sum of money than to part with the lady." P. 104.
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