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ligence can bestow, and, what the invader must be supposed to want, artillery, stores, fortresses, and the command not only of the sea, but probably of the navigation of the Indus and Ganges, between which they are to move. Russian discipline, valour, and genius, never were supposed so much to excel the British, as to render all those advantages insignificant. An army sent on such an expedition must, at the moment of its setting out, be considered as sent on a forlorn hope. The probability is that not a man would return, except those who were fortunate enough to be made prisoners by a civilized enemy. We have said that the force sent to achieve such a conquest could not be a mere detachment, but must be a mighty army. Great as the military power of Russia is by some supposed to be, even that unresponsible government would pause before it would venture to incur such a loss; and while Europe is divided, and France and England act in concert, and Austria is jealous of her success, she would never dare to run such a hazard. The plan was Bonaparte's, who having, in one sense, subdued the continent of Europe, wished to direct a blow against the distant possessions of England, his only enemy, with whom her insular situation prevented his grappling. He trusted to the neutrality of Europe, and the cooperation of Russia, Turkey, and Persia. Those times are changed. The very attempt supposes a general war in Europe; and in that case the defence of Poland, or the ambition of wresting new provinces from Turkey, would find Russia sufficient employment, and fall in much better with her cautious policy, than desperate efforts against distant and insulated provinces, which, if by any miracle she possessed to-morrow, she well knows, considering the long line of detached posts that she must occupy, she could not hope to maintain for one twelvemonth. Failure would not only exhaust her strength, but, what is of equal consequence, tarnish her reputation.
It may be added, that the whole conception of the plan is contrary to Russian policy. Russia did indeed send her troops into Italy and Switzerland, through the territories of civilized allies. But what has been her policy on the side of her semi-barbarous neighbours ? Though for upwards of a century a conquering power, her conquests have been slow and gradual; even against such
powers as Persia and Turkey, they have been as much the result of her diplomacy as of her arms, and all employed in rounding and extending her frontier. She has, after every effort, halted in the midst of her career, anxious to consolidate and amalgamate her new acquisitions before she moved on. Even in Persia, where the natives never could stand against the Russians in the field, they have advanced, but not with the pomp and display of conquerors. They have crept on, seemingly prouder of artifice than of warlike daring. The Russians have indeed added cities and provinces to their empire; but, except in the last Turkish campaign, they have never aimed a blow at the vitals of their enemy. What they have gained, they seem to have filched rather than conquered. It is difficult to set limits to what a warrior and politician like Bonaparte could have achieved. Perhaps the attempt on India might only have changed the scene of his final disaster. But Russia has never shown his active daring, and the enterprise is beyond its power.
A curious part of the volumes before us, is the vivid picture which they casually exhibit of the internal disorganisation, the demoralized state, and want of social security in every country of Asia in which the author travelled. All other accounts tend to the same conclusion. It should seem that at this moment the Mahommedan states all over the world, are in a worse condition than at any former period; and not only worse, but more hopeless. They not only have no prospect of any favourable internal change, but have given up all expectation of it. They are all suffering a visible and rapid decay. They are ill-governed and wretched within, and weak without. The star of the Moslem is visibly on the descent. They are now arrived at a great crisis. Turkey, so long the stronghold of the Faith, and the terror of Europe, exhibits every symptom of imbecility. The states of Barbary, Egypt, Syria, Greece, the country beyond the Danube, and large provinces on the Black Sea, have been virtually or really wrested from her. The other Mahommedan states are in a similar condition. India, another bulwark of the Faith, can no longer yield it any support. Persia is a prey to divisions, and if it ever was as weak before, never was placed near so dangerous a foe. The progress of Europe has made it impossible for Asia and Africa to stand still and exist on their present footing. This truth, urged on them by the enterprise of European artists and adventurers, and the success of European arms, has forced its way even into the impassive minds of their rulers; and a conviction of the necessity of reform by foreigners and by foreign arts, has reached the courts of Cairo and Constantinople. To change the laws and maxims of government of a people, especially where they are founded on its religion, is always a difficult and dangerous task. To do so successfully in the face of an enemy, is next to impossible. Even in the most favoured countries and ages, quiet, reflection, time, preparation, a superior overruling intelligence, and the power of directing all the resources of the state to repress internal discontent, are essentially necessary. In the present instance, the extreme ignorance of the people, the extreme ignorance of the government, a pernicious religion which contracts the mind of its followers, and many other causes, present formidable obstacles to a reform made by the government itself, and one from without can only be made by conquest. It seems as if Turkey could be saved from the jaws of Russia only by an odious partition, or by an armed confederation for preserving her existence, and maintaining the balance of power,-a kind of alliance, which, however necessary it may sometimes be, has always hitherto proved the interminable source of wars.
But, what is the consequence of all this, so far as regards an expedition to India ? Is it not, that, while the disorganized state of the intermediate countries affords facilities, in one sense, for armies passing through them by force, it offers, on the other, the greatest inducement to shun all distant and dangerous enterprises ? While great prospects open near home, on the very frontier,—objects that have long been the leading-star of Russian ambition and policy,—uncertain and distant plans that might precipitate or ruin the others will not be thought of. Constantinople, or the delightful regions of Asia Minor, will never be sacrificed for any plans on India ; to the ultimate execution of which, if seriously entertained, the others, greater in themselves, might justly be considered as the first and most important step:
It would seem as if we had never recovered from the panic which the original prospect of such an invasion excited. In the state of excitement into which we were thrown by the apprehensions of Bonaparte's enterprise, perhaps the only one from which much danger was to be apprehended, no plan seemed too chimerical for execution. We dreaded the march of a French army to Bussora, whence a pinnace or a dow could not reach India when our ships commanded the gulf, where there was not a tree fit for ship-building, and hardly stores to furnish a sloop: we were told of marches by Kerman and Mekran, through deserts, where the army of Alexander nearly all perished with hunger, thirst, and fatigue, and where a trifling caravan can with difficulty force
Our terrors made us generous, and seemed to justify every folly and every expense. The Court of Tehran became the seat of European negotiations and not satisfied with counteracting the influence of our enemies, the King's and the Company's ambassadors vied in outbidding each other, at the expense of one common purse, to gain the favour of a prince and his nobles, who took what they received as a tribute, which bound them to nothing. The artful Jones, the brave and frank Malcolm, the cautious Ouseley, were all sent together or in turns, to pursue shadows, and to humble England at the feet of barbarians, who wondered at their own importance. In one thing only did they all agree
VOL. LX. CXXI,
in the enormous sums which they squandered in doing nothing, because nothing was to be done. A small mission of judicious men, supported at a moderate expense, and backed by our known weight in Europe and in India, is all that our interests can ever require in such a country. In the present state of our concerns in the East, the researches made with the least parade, are likely, among a people so jealous, to yield the most instruction and the best return.
Upon the whole then, in the present state of European and Asiatic politics, we may consider the overland invasion of India as next thing to chimerical. There is no railroad between Moscow and Delhi, by which stores and troops can be conveyed at will and with speed. India cannot be taken by surprise, as an enemy ten miles off might, by a night march, seize an ill-defended town. All confidence that blinds is dangerous; but it may safely be affirmed that no European army can reach India by land, but by long, tedious, and toilsome marches, after long preparation and negotiation, and with little prospect of success, if we have an able Governor-General, and an able head to our army. This we say, because though everyday men, even of talent, who have passed through the service with credit, may act their part well
, and leave little to be wished for in most of our other foreign possessions, the chief power in India must always be considered as an exception. The government there, after all the modifications it has received, is in its nature despotic; and a despotiç or absolute government must always take its colour from the prince at its head. Where there is no deliberative public body, and hardly any public opinion, the whole must depend on the vigour and genius of one man, who must every day have a thousand difficult questions of internal and external policy to determine. India therefore, though distant, or rather perhaps because distant, can never safely be made one of the grand prizes of political patronage. It must be reserved for some enlightened and vigorous mind, where such a one can be found, to whom the safety of our wide empire, and the happiness of its millions of inhabitants can conscientiously be consigned.
If we were disposed to add any thing on a subject on which we have probably already run into excess, it would be, that after all, it is not in India, but in Europe, or at least not to the east but to the west of the Euphrates, that the battle is to be fought, that so far as European enemies are concerned, is to decide the fate of India,
ART. V.-Corn Law Rhymes~ The Splendid Village - The
Village Patriarch-Love, and other Poems. By EBENEZER ELLIOTT. 2 vols. 8vo. London : 1834.
E BENEZER ELLIOTT, the Corn-Law Rhymer, has made good
his way to a distinguished place among those, whom, out of compliment to Latin and Greek, it is the fashion to consider uneducated poets. Whatever school-instruction he received, he got at Rotherham before he was sixteen, at a small school connected with the Presbyterian chapel, and affecting to teach nothing beyond English and accounts. His education was not only scanty, but interrupted. For he had already worked during an interval of two years as a moulder, in a foundery of which his father was overlooker, when that early age transferred him to a shop for retailing steel and iron. He has since been engaged in the latter business. The breaking and weighing the heavy bars of iron is severe labour, which the Poet performs at present, assisted by his sons. Notwithstanding the pious tribute, offered in his - Withered Wild Flowers' to the memory of his humble schoolmaster, he is understood to have disliked school, and to have learned but little there. It was a visit, while yet a boy, to a cousin, who was taking in Sowerby's Botany, which was the forerunner of the Muses call. The sight of the plates and of his cousin's plants called out in him a new sensation, and changed the character of his life. What a blessing are innocent pleasures ! Vulgar and vicious habits are put to shame by a rose in a cottage garden; and a polyanthus, the poor man's flower,' with its
verge of wiry gold' beaming from his window, is at once a presumption of its owner's taste, and a security for his virtue. The passion for flowers which is breathed into the writings of Mr Elliott, is a passion for nature, and not for botany. It is a love of the beauty of free creation, not of the chains of science ;the worship of the garden of God, not of the Herbal of Linnæus. His elder brother was a good reader of poetry; and we have heard that the description of a thunderstorm in Thomson's · Seasons' first communicated to the youthful artisan the mysterious secret that he also was a poet. He lost no time in trying and cultivating his powers. At eighteen he published some juvenile attempt, under the title, we believe, of. A Vernal Picture;' and his works, as they now lie before us, make two handsome volumes. The anxiety of providing for a family of ten children can leave but few holidays for an affectionate father in humble life. These few
appear to be divided between politics and literature. Strong