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Cæsar, nor Oliver Cromwell,--but Bonaparte himself. To be sure, this parallel is not quite in the manner of Plutarch, but it is very refreshing.
The author, now, warns the people of the United States against the danger, which awaits them from the machinations of Napoleon, who, he says, hates the Americans, because they are the descendants of Englishmen, and will take the first opportunity to destroy them. Our present administration is charged with being under the influence of French authority, and with exerting its every feeble effort to plunge this country into a war with Britain.
The situation of St. Domingo is examined at length, and the result of the inquiry is, that an independent community of blacks, at Hayti, must prove destructive to the European possessions in the West Indies, and to the Southern regions of the United States, which swarm with negro slaves; and must create hordes of pirates and buccaneers; whence occasion is taken to inveigh against our administration, first, for the short-sighted policy, which suffered the Americans to carry on any commercial intercourse with the men of Hayti ; and secondly, for the abject cowardice, with which that commercial intercourse was relinquished at the command of France.
The author's indignation is inflamed into the highest degree of resentment, by finding, as he proeeeds “ onward thro' the labyrinth of our most strange and wayward foreign policy, at every turn of which positive disgrace fastens upon us, and pitiless ruin shews in plainest prospect, as the consequence of its continuance upon the present system,”—that “the once free and independent states of America are now become tributary to the new-risen Emperor of France."
This tribute is the money paid to France for Louisiana and the Floridas, neither of which countries France had a right to sell, and neither of which countries Spain seems willing to permit the United States to possess in peace and in tranquillity. The arguments, respecting this cowardly and pedling policy of buying Louisiana, are well managed, and spiritedly urged ;-the note in page 127 of this pamphlet is well worthy of attention, but is too long to insert in our Review.
We have, then, a long quotation from a production of Mr. Randolph's pen, under the signature of Decius, reprobating, in strong and pointed language, the timid, creeping conduct. of the President, in the affair of the Floridas, in order to induce the Congress to act under the influence of presidential intrigue, and yet persuade the public to believe that the executive had discharged his duty in recommending manly and vigorous measures, which he had been obliged to abandon, and compelled by Congress to pursue an opposite course, when in fact Congress itself had been acting, all the while, at executive instigation."
The author adds,-“ All these unanswerable objections to such a shameful and notorious violation of all the principles of American liberty, and to such a surrender of the national honour, as the Florida appropriation inevitably drew after it, were lost upon the callous obstinacy of the mean instruments of presidential duplicity.-" The doors were closed,”-says Mr. Randolph,—"and the minority, whose motives were impeached, and whose persons were almost denounced, were voted down without debate.”—“The sequel is known to all the world.
-The two millions of dollars were voted : and by the continuation of a fund, derived from commercial duties, styled the Mediterranean fund, they were obtained for the purpose of this foreign tribute.”
All this induces the author to run a parallel between our present administration, and the worthies of 1776, the Washingtons, the Warrens, the Montgomerys, and the Hamiltons of that auspicious hour; the result of which is the firm conviction that the heroes, and the statesmen, who fought for and established the independence of America, were men endowed with qualities which adorn and dignify human nature; and that the marvellous Solomons, who rule us now, are actuated in all their thoughts, words, and deeds, by a—" dastardly, low, pusillanimous meanness, that prefers security for the moment, to animated provision for the future ;—the filth of cowardice before the splendour of heroism ; the grovelling safety of slaves to the bold march of freemen, through surrounding terrors, which do but animate the brave.”
Again, the defenceless state of all our sea-ports, is set forth,
and adduced, as another glaring instance of the cowardice, or the treachery, at any rate, of the pitiful inefficacy of our present administration. He now comes to his conclusion, in which he combates that miserable system of shallow policy, which associates with the name of taxation the notion of tyranny. The veriest child in the rudiments of political science knows, that taxation, judiciously applied, is the great cementing bond between a people and its government,-is the great point of action and re-action,-is the great fulcrum, upon which is laid the lever of national strength, and of national exertion in the hour of danger and emergency.
He, then, covers with contempt, the political arithmetic of our state-doctor, who is just able to discover that a war establishment costs a few dollars more than that of peace ;-that reason is the only umpire between just nations ; that the Americans are good people, and, therefore, cannot possibly come to any harm, from foreign nations, particularly the French, who are always civil and kind to good sort of prople, &c. &c.
He tells us that this state-economy is—“not an economy of honour, or economy of reputation, or economy as opposed to foolish waste; but a pitiful, mean, shallow, deceptive economy which renders us important at home, despised abroad, and which will, in the end, if it be not stopped in time, overwhelm us in disastrous expenses, from the necessary supplies which exigencies may, shortly, and suddenly, demand from every one among us.'
The author calls loudly upon the people of America to cashier and to disband the men, whose pitiful, pedling policy, and delusive dreams of ideotic speculation have involved this country in perplexity and misery, and threaten to plunge her into the gulf of ruin.
General Eaton is loaded with encomiums for his skill and gallantry in the wilds of Africa ; and the severest censure is heaped upon our present administration, for making “the glory of our country's stars sink dim in the slough of democratic disgrace."
The whole of this work closes with the secret message communicated to Congress on the 6th December, 1806. This secret message breathes the true presidential spirit of that
magnanimous and profound statesman, all of whose political compositions are, without peradventure, pages of inanity and periods of servility—are, like a tale told by an ideot, full of sound and fury, signifying—nothing.
The great and the comprehensive statesman, to whom we now, with all due reverence and admiration, allude, has this manifest advantage over the oracles of ancient days ;—for they only issued sayings of such an equivocal nature, that they would answer either event of success or of disappointment; whereas this philosophical politician contrives in all his effusions for the good of the nation, absolutely, to say—nothing, to be positively and substantially unintelligible. We might, as well, attempt to hold mercury in our grasp, as to catch the sense or meaning of any of these marvellous maxims of executive wisdom, or of legislative sagacity. No doubt this great man has availed himself of the advice of the elder Mirabaud, who says "words are things," and advises politicians, in all the state papers and official dispatches, to use words to which no definite meaning can possibly be applied ; by which means the imaginations of the ignorant and the uninformed are left at liberty to exercise the wild wanderings of their own stupidity in affixing their own interpretations to words, which were primarily intended to convey no certain and fixed notions. Thus, these equivocating and shuffling politicians get the rabble on their side ; for the rabble always admire nonsense, and are pleased with a thing, in proportion as it is unintelligible to them; and as the stupid and the ignorant must always constitute the great majority of every nation, consequently with their aid, such politicians will be able to make head against the few sensible and honest men in the community, and will have it in their power to destroy their country, and to trample upon the liberties of the people, in order to accomplish their own private purposes, and to gratify their own selfish and criminal ambition.
The language of this pamphlet is in some places, incorrect, as in the following instances, amongst others—“ in lines drawn bold and correct”-anglicè boldly and correctly—“by the pencil of revolution”-In other places the author's style is pollụted by colloquial barbarisms, and American vulgarisms, as
-"progressing to a full accomplishment,”—“we will”— (anglicè shall )—“be guilty of,” &c.—“no elegance nor splendour shall show in your country”—“she was inimical every how"_“ qualified approbators”—(anglicè approvers) of the purchase”_" he approbated”—(anglicè approved)—this spirit,”-and“ whether,” for-whether or not; and some other accomplishments of the same kind.
With these exceptions, however, the style is in general bold, spirited, and luminous, sometimes elegant, and often eloquent, except towards the latter part of the work, which bears upon it the most evident marks of carelesness and haste, neither carrying with it the same weight of matter, nor the same splendour of manner, which characterize and adorn the former portions of this publication.
The reasoning of the pamphlet, is, in general, good; the arguments are forcibly stated, and ably conducted. There is, . however, too much tautology about Napoleon and France, who are made to glide along before our eyes in all the meteorous gleamings of metaphorical allusion, so frequently, as to exhaust our patience, and fill our minds with weariness and disgust.
But take it for all in all, this production stamps the character of excellence on its author, in colours bold and permanent ;in very truth, he might be proud to prefix his name to it; for such a specimen of genius would not disgrace any author.
We will take leave of this to us, as yet, unknown writer, with whom we have so long travelled, and by whom we have been so much delighted and improved, with the following anecdote, which he will know how to apply.
When S. Johnson's London, a poem, in imitation of Juvenal's third Satire, was first published, it fell into the hands of Pope, who asked, what was the name of the writer; he was answered, that it was the maiden performance of one, who had no name ;-to which Pope replied, “ he who writes with such strength, and force, cannot long be concealed ;-he will soon be deterré."