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Whether all the world will think it a sufficient reason for his Jaying down a resolution to himself “to pay a peculiar attention to military transactions, and to treat this subject in a different manner from other writers,” we cannot venture to assert so decidedly. But we could wish that he had explained himself a little more fully, when he says, that " he trusts he has treated this subject in a different manner from preceding writers;" for though we know something of most historians of any value, both in the ancient and modern languages of Europe, we can unfortunately point out many more who have treated military transactions in what:we conceive to be the manner of Mr. Coxe, than who have treated them in a different manner. There are few historians whose subject did not necessarily consist more of military details than of any thing else. Mr. Coxe is very right in considering this as the melancholy lot of almost all historians. Now all historians, with very few exceptions indeed, have treated military affairs exactly as Mr. Coxe has done; in their outward and vulgar appearance only, without rising to those important considerations which disclose the connection between military affairs and the progress of society in all that improves the condition of man, his Jiberty, his knowledge, his industry, his virtue, and his religion; for- to what other than the benign and salutary influence of religion, can we ascribe the difference between the humane and liberal principles of modern warfare, and the ferocious and sanguinary hostilities waged by the most civilized nations of antiquity ?
If Mr. Coxe means, by treating of military affairs in a different manner from preceding historians, that he has been able
correct several mistakes in regard to military facts, into which preceding historians of German affairs have been betrayed, we will by no means dispute his merits on this head; though, after reading his book with great attention, we could not point out many instances of such correction jo which a degree of accuracy moreor less was of any considerable importance. It is indeed true that accuracy in every thing is the great virtue of the historian; but there is a certain endless scrupulosity about subordinate affairs, which is so far from conducing to any useful end, that it is a barrier in the way of utility; and is never maintained by those who have sufficient strength of mind to discover the real hinges on which great events turn. We mean not, however, to accuse Mr. Coxe of this want of judgement; for an accumulation of trifling detail is cere tainly not the peculiar fault of the book. But those points in which it remained for him to make corrections upon the blunders of his predecessors, have not been, in general, matters of the first mujqitude. As to the lessons which he says be has
given to the English reader respecting “ the importance of an efficient military force,” we cannot by any means think that there was great occasion for hiin to waste his time and his labour upon this subject. As far as our observation reaches, we can confidently pronounce, that there is no subject on which our countrymen are more thoroughly agreed. The only circumstance of which wise men seem to entertaiu doubts, is whether the general conviction on this point is not a little too strong; whether it does not make too many of us think that we can never have military force enough; whether it is not in danger of making us add to the weight of the sword, till we lessen the force of the blow, by wanting strength to wield it with the necessary adroitness and agility.
He has “ pointed out,” he says, to the English reacler, to the manner in which an efficient military force has been employed with effect.”. Truly the English reader is under great obligations to him. But indeed there is no historian who has not done the same thing; who has not shewed how a military force has been employed with effect, and how it has been employed without effect also. For, as in all wars one party generally loses and the other gains, it necessarily happens that the one employs his force with effect, if that means success, and the other without it. But if he would have us believe, as appears to be his purpose, that the way of using a military force with effect at one time will continue to be at all times the way of using it with effect; that the ways of using it, for example, which bad effect in the time of which he writes, would have effect in the present times, he is grossly deceived, and would lead us into a dangerous error.
But the last thing which he tells the English reader that he has done for him is the most importa:t. He has displayed the intent, the value, and the necessity of continental alliances." English readers would appear, in general, without the aid of Mr. Coxe's display, to have had a pretty high opinion of the value and necessity of continental alliances, if we may judge by the number and magnitude of the sums which they have paid for them. Would Mr. Coxe have us to be more liberal and forward in this way than we have bitherto been ? But let us allow, and it is a pretty large allowance, that those alliancés of which Mr. Coxe has treated were all as valuable and as necessary as he chuses to represent them; does it follow, because alliances, might serve some purpose when the affairs of Europe were in a particular situation, that they must remain useful whatever might be the situation into which Europe may be thrown? When the states of En rope formed themselves into two parties, of which the power of the one nearly equalled that of the other, which was
called the balance of Europe, there was certainly one motive, and that a conspicuous one, for alliances, which has no place when the balance of Europe is at an end. Till the present extraordinary and unexpected events in Spain appeared to turn, or at least to afford hopes of turning, the tide against Bonaparte, it seemed to be agreed that no alliance on the continent would be of any advantage. It is very possible likewise to imagine another state of circumstances far more desirable, in which the balance of Europe might be sufficiently trimmed without us; nay in which our weight would only add a dangerous preponderance to one side of the beam ; in that case a statesman would rejoice, from patriotism, at the opportunity his country enjoyed of pursuing without distraction the means of her own prosperity, unincumbered with the care and expence attending the maintenance of this tottering fabric; and he would anxiously abstain from disordering, by any unnecessary interference, a harmony which had the best chance of being preserved without him. It was necessary to present these general reflections, to shew how little meaning there is in the comnion-place talk which is so often held on the subject of continental alliances. We shall have occasion to touch upon the particular instances which have come under the review of Mr. Coxe, as we arrive at them in the course of our analysis.
Rhodolph of Hapsburgh, who was the first of his family that attained the imperial dignity, availed himself dextrously of his situation as head of the empire, and of the unsettled state of territory in Germany, to add largely to the scanty dominions which he had hitherto possessed. He made himself master of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola ; and finally divided bis possessions among his sons. He was disappointed in his hopes of getting his son Albert chosen to succeed him on the imperial throne; but after the election and death of his rival, Albert was finally raised to that dignity. Albert was cut off by assassination, after having raised one of his sons to the throne of Bohemia, and having been baffled in an attempt to get him succeeded by another. The most memorable event of his reign was his endeavour to subjugate certain cities and cantons in Helvetia, which, amid the contests of the great powers in their neighbourhood, had hitherto been permitted to live under laws of their own framing. This was the commencement of that remarkable and most glorious struggle for independence which terminated in the establishment of the Swiss republics. Insurrections in the Austrian states, quarrels between the brothers, persevering efforts to subdue the free spirit which roused the Swiss to arms, kept the Aus
trian princes in action during some generations from the time of Albert, without adding greatly to their splendour or power. It would be tedious to attempt tracing step by step the additions which were made to the territories and power of the house of Austria. Within a few generations, however, they acquired the firm possession of the Tyrol, and afterwards of the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia, when they became greatly preponderant among the princes of the empire, and, unless they were thwarted by any remarkable concurrence of circumstances, always commanded the transfer of the imperial crown. From the time of Albert the Fifth, who was the third Emperor in the house of Austria, follows a long and minute detail, in which the history is given of the different branches into which that family had become divided; the history of the Albertive line; the history of the line of Tyrol; the history of the Styrian line; when we at last arrive at the reign of Maximi. lian, the father of Charles the Fifth, which forms a great epoch in the history of the house of Austria.
As an introduction to the history of this prince, an account is giver of the state of Europe at the commencement of bis reign; which is the first attempt to present a general view that we meet with in the progress of the work. It is not without its utility, though it cannot be complimented as emi. nently profound. It recounts the more obvious circumstances in the situation, at that time, of France, of England, of Spain, of Portugal, of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, Muscovy, Poland, the Society of the Teutonic · Knights, of Hungary and Bohemia, of Turkey, the Swiss confederacy, the Grisons, Milan, Savoy, Venice, Florence, Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, the dominions of the Church, Naples, the German empire, and the Austrian territories; and it concludes with a few words on the inventions of gun-powder and the art of printing, with the changes which these produced on the art of war, and on politics. As a specimen of the work, we may present the sketches which are given by Mr. C. of the kingdoms of France and Spain.
• France, after gradually declining in reputation and extent of domi. nion from the height which it had attained under the empire of Charlemagne, had recently revived under Charles the Seventh, and his artful and politic successor Louis the Eleventh. By a concurrence of fortunate events the English had been expelled from all their possessions except Calais ; the great fiefs of Provence, Dauphiné, and Burgundy had been reunited to the crown, and by the recent acquisition of Britanny, France not only obtained a considerable accession of Naval and territorial strength, but was delivered from a never failing source of external aggression and internal dissention. The establishment of the Salic law prevented those
disputes for the succession of the female line which always agitated other countries ; the depression of the feudal system, the power of imposing taxes without the consent of the states, together with the establishment of a standing army, rendered the crown independent; a warlike and restless race of nobles were reduced to obedience, and being no longer able 1o exert their curbulent valour in their own country, aspired to signalize themselves in foreign contests. Their ardour, was seconded by their young and ambitious sovereign Charles the Eighth, who. eager
to distin. guish the commencement of his reign by a splendid atchievement, was preparing to assert those pretensions of his family to the crown of Naples which were derived from the House of Anjou, and which the policy of his father had suffered to remain dormant. thin
• Before 3477 France and the House of Austria had no subject of rivalry or jealousy, and their political interests were as distant as their respective dominions. But, the marriage of Maximilian with the heiress of Burgundy entailed on the two powers an hereditary, enmity, which deJuged Europe with blood for more than three centuries. This enmity arising from jarring interests and contiguity of dominion, was ren. dered personal by the rupture of the marriage of Maximilian with Anne of Britanny, and the dismission of the archduchess Margarét; and though suspended by treaties and temporary expedients was continually breaking out on every trifling occasion.
The petty kingdom of Navarre derived its sole consequence froma its situation between France and Spain, and only deserves notice as the source of endless contention between these powers. The male line of the antient kings being extinct in 1425, it came by marriage into the House of Foix, and at this period was ruled by John d'Albret, a prince of the blood royal of Frances in virtue of his marriage with Catherine de Foix;' pp. 315.-317.
• In the commencement of the eighth century the Saracens or Moors conquered from the gothic sovereigns, who succeeded to the Roman -domination, the greater part of Spain, confined the Christians to the mountains of Biscay and Andalusia, and established the kingdoms of Cordova, Sevillé, Toledo, and Grenada. But in the ninth century, the Christians emerging from their fastnesses founded the kingdoms of Leon, Castile, Arragon, and Navarre, and confined the Mahometans to Grenada. The Tising greatness of the christian power was, however, retarded by the rival interests of the different monarchs, and the mutual dismemberment of their respective territories, till at length Leon and Castile were united in 1229; and the aggrandisement of the christian power was completed by tire union of Castile and Arragon, in consequence of the marriage of Ferdinand the Catholic with Isabella, daughter of Edward the First; king of Castile,
The suuden splendour and greatness of Spain were however not more owing to the union of the two kingdoms than to the personal characters and great talents of the two sovereigns After some opposis tion they succeeded in curbing the exorbitant power of the nobles, and, instead of the feudal courts, established a more equitable system of juris. prudence. They defended the rights and property of the people in opposition to the encroachments of the aristocracy; favoured the growing weight and consequence of the towns as well by promoting trade as