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for 1807.

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THE origin of the war between Russia and Turkey, which
took place at the close of the year 1806, cannot be minutely or
satisfactorily explained, from any documents hitherto published.
Those, however, acquainted in general with the political state
of Europe, are apprized of the ancient animosity subsisting be-
tween these nations, awakened by their contiguity, inflamed by
differences in religion, and stimulated into action by the state
of the provinces which are situated on their borders; and may
easily imagine that causes of hostility can never be wanting be-
tween them. In truth, after duly reflecting on their relative con-
dition, the continuance of peace between these great states is
more wonderful, and its causes more difficult to assign, than the
prevalence of war between them.

The actual condition of the Turkish empire would be very
imperfectly understood by those who formed their notions from
the history or political economy of any other state in Europe.
The Turks are only a class of persons in the European districts
of that empire, in whom all public revenue and political autho-
rity are vested, and who differ from the other classes, in lan-
guage, manners, religion, and dress, more widely than the
remotest nations are sometimes found to differ from each other.
The other classes are called Greeks, which, though originally a
national, is now only a political distinction, as the Turks are
almost universally of Grecian descent. The Greeks are the
slaves and vassals of the Turks; and, as the Turkish conquest
in these quarters is of no great antiquity, the utmost hatred and

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jealousy continue to prevail between the rulers and the subjects,
and there is a continual tendency and effort in the latter to re-
volution and rebellion, and in the former to suspicion and op-

The Turkish power is by no means uniform throughout this
empire. The proportion which one class bears to the other is
likewise widely different in different districts; and, where the
Turkish or Mahometan residents are most numerous, their
power, as a class, is greatest, while the government, as such,
exercises a vague and nominal authority in districts where the
population is wholly or chiefly composed of Greeks. With
regard to the two great principalities of Moldavia and Walla-
chia, the Turkish sovereignty consists in little more than nam-
ing the princes, or hospodars, who must, however, either by
compact or custom, be taken from christian families, and whose
internal government is, in its maxims and agents, entirely na-
tional and local.

Moldavia and Wallachia border on the Russian empire. In
every war, therefore, the Russian armies break into these dis-
tricts; and the object constantly aimed at by Russia, since she
made herself mistress of the Crim, is the sovereignty of these
provinces, on the terms by which it is held by the Turks. They
desire the privilege of naming the princes, as a step to absolute
possession, and, to facilitate the first step, they have been, of
late years, industrious in controuling and fettering the Turkish
sultan in the exercise of this privilege. The late war appears
to have had, for one of its causes or pretexts, the infraction of a
treaty subsisting between them, relative to the appointment of
the Moldavian and Wallachian princes.

In the present state of the two empires, it is evident that each
is deeply interested in the character and views of the persons
invested with authority in these provinces. As the hospodars,
or princes, hold their offices merely at will, they are liable to be
deposed and superseded abruptly and at any time. Besides the
usual inducements to change, in bribery or personal favour,
which are said to operate upon the Turkish government with
unusual force, partialities to Russia, and intrigues with her mi-
nisters, naturally give birth to suspicion and disquietude; and
the deposition of the two princes who governed these states by
appointment of the sultan, in the year 1806, and who took refuge
from further evils in the Russian territory, formed one occasion
of the ensuing war. Russia conceived herself bound to vindi-
cate and uphold her friends, and proceeded to reinstate them
by force of arms. Her armies made a sudden irruption into
these districts, occupied the strong holds, and menaced a nearer

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approach to the seat of empire, offering, as the price of their re-
treat, the restoration of the exiled princes.

The causes of this war, however, must be looked for at a
much greater distance. It must be originally traced to the
grand contest between Great Britain and France. This con-
test having embroiled France with Russia, the former power
forthwith set all engines to work, in every quarter, to impair
the strength and embarrass the efforts of the latter. Turkey
was an obvious theatre for the exercise of these arts, since to
sow dissention between Turkey and Russia would prevent or
diminish the efforts of the latter power against France. The
alliance between Russia and Great Britain necessarily occa-
sioned the co-operation of these two powers against the in-
trigues of France at Constantinople, and against the Turkish
power. The ministers of the two nations were diligently
watching and counterworking the efforts of French emissaries
at the Turkish court; but in this contest it appeared that for-
tune or skill allotted the same success to the French as attended
them in the field.

It would be a fruitless task to enter into the question respect-
ing the motives or conduct of the Greek princes, protected on
this occasion by Russia. Genuine or satisfactory evidence on
that head is wholly unattainable; nor is the enquiry of any im-
portance. It is sufficient to observe, what the nature of things
renders indisputable, that the French laboured to arm Turkey
against Russia, and that means were good or bad, and adopted
or rejected, merely as subservient to that end; that Russia be-
friended the exiles because a suitable opportunity hence arose
for pillaging the sinking empire of the Ottomans; and that the
English sided with the Russians in pursuance of the treaty
which made them enemies of France.

The Turks have lost none of their ancient valour and enthu-
siasm, and therefore the strongest proof of their weakness was
their readiness, on this occasion, to subscribe the humiliating
terms offered them by Russia. Neither their ignorance nor
their passions appear to have concealed from them the danger
of entering into this contest. This danger was heightened, in
their view, by the rebellion which raged at this time in Servia,
and whose influence was felt throughout all parts of the empire.
As soon as Russia became hostile, the Servians received her
countenance and succour, and their courage and numbers visibly
increased. But their greatest danger arose from England,
whose minister speedily apprized them that Russia and Eng-
land would make this a common cause.

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The English at this time had a considerable naval force in
the Mediterranean, and a portion of it, with a view to the pre-
sent conjuncture, had arrived in the Archipelago. All oppo-
sition to the British power by sea was entirely hopeless, and,
therefore, all the Greek islands were at the mercy of their naval
forces. The most, indeed, that was probably dreaded was a
stop to all communication, either political or mercantile, between
the capital and these islands; but this was a heavy evil, as the
usual intercourse between the government and its Greek sub-
jects was by sea.

In this helpless condition, the first symptoms of a better for-
tune were afforded by the successes of the French in Germany.
When Prussia went to war with France, succour was demanded
from Russia by the former power, and the emperor Alexander
proceeded with great deliberation to direct the march of two or
three detachments, encamped on the borders of Poland, towards
the Rhine. No sharp-sighted statesman at Petersburg ever
dreamed that the French would pass the Elbe in one campaign,
or ever reach the Vistula. The aid, therefore, which was sent
to the king of Prussia was not expected to interfere with mili-
tary operations in the south. The successes of Bonaparte,
which brought him to the Russian frontier in a few weeks after
his march from Bamberg, changed this scene with marvellous
celerity, and Alexander suddenly found himself engaged with
a most formidable enemy at his own doors. This diversion,
however, though it afforded some prospect of relief to the Turks,
did not immediately check or slacken the efforts of Russia on
the Danube, nor was it till Bonaparte had sent a bold and skil-
ful agent to Constantinople, in the person of Sebastiani, that the
Turkish councils became animated with a courageous or hostile
spirit. The Russian and English ministers soon perceived
that the newly-arrived ambassador had acquired considerable
influence with the government; and a demand being made, that
a Russian fleet should be allowed to pass the channel between
the Black Sea and the capital, which was refused at the instance
of Sebastiani, the British minister withdrew to the squadron
stationed at the mouth of the Dardanelles, previously intimat-
ing that he meant to return to the city with this squadron, and
renew his demands.

Constantinople is situated at the upper or eastern end of the
lake or sea of Marmora, which, at the opposite or western end,
is narrowed into a difficult strait. By this strait, about sixty
miles in length, the sea of Marmora is connected with the Ar-
chipelago. This strait, called the Bosphorus or Dardanelles,
is, in two or three places, less than a mile wide, and the for-

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tresses, by which the passage has at all times been defended,
are consequently placed at these points.

These fortresses, therefore, are to be considered as the keys
of the capital, and it was worthy, therefore, of a provident go-
vernment to maintain them in perfect order. These artificial
obstacles are enforced by a current which constantly flows, from
east to west, through the strait, and, of itself, renders the pas-
sage inward impossible but with a strong counter wind.

It does not appear that the castles at the mouth of the strait,
or those of Lesbos and Abydos, twenty miles inward, were qua-
lified to make any effectual resistance. A favourable wind car-
ried the English squadron, consisting of seven great ships, with
two frigates and smaller vessels, through this celebrated passage
in twelve or fourteen hours, without any material injury. They
entered the strait on the morning of the 19th of February, and
anchored within eight miles of the city on the evening of the
next day, a course of near two hundred miles. It is plain,
however, that this successful passage must partly be ascribed
to good fortune, since the admiral, sir J. Duckworth, acknow-
ledges that some of the stone shot from the shore weighed eight
hundred weight, and that, had these made a breach between
wind and water, the ship must have sunk; or, had they struck
a lower mast in the centre, it must have been cut in two.

Thus far the winds had been remarkably propitious; and,
had they continued in the same quarter a little longer, and
placed the ships at a due distance from the city, the Turkish
government must have submitted to all demands, or witnessed
the destruction of their city. From the supineness of the go-
vernment, or their confidence in the resistance to be made by
the castles in the straits, they appear to have made no prepara-
tion for resistance nearer home. All was astonishment and
panic. A shower of balls and bombs would have wrapped that
immense mass of wretched hovels and gaudy pavilions in in-
extinguishable flames. The temples where all the literature,
religion, and the greatest part of the treasures of the nation
were deposited, there being no leisure for removing what was
moveable, would have been buried in ruins. The palace of the
sultan himself, overspreading many acres of ground, and all of
it composed of materials not frail in themselves, but incapable of
resisting the weight of heavy shot, would have been levelled
with the earth; and all this by a power incapable of being eluded,
repelled, or even annoyed in its turn. In this exigence, unli-
mited submission would have been inevitable; but the wind,
suddenly changing from south to east, prevented the nearer
approach of the British fleet; nor, without a new change in

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their favour, was it possible for them to inflict the smallest in-
jury. By this event they were fixed immoveably within sight
of their prey, but beyond the reach of it.

One cannot but pause here to reflect upon the mighty power
which navigation and a navy put into the hands of a nation.
Far removed as the British island is from any part of the Turk-
ish empire, and inaccessible as the heart and centre of that em-
pire is to the powerful nations which surround and border it,
the English, by means of their fleets, have short and easy access
to that heart and centre, and, with a trivial force of six or eight
thousand men, can, merely by a threat, extort from the govern-
ment concessions more than equal to the fruits of two or three
victorious campaigns to Austria or Russia. And yet, so fickle
and wayward is this privilege, or the elements which confer it,
that a mere change of wind, as in this case, rendered the assail-
ants wholly powerless, and all their previous voyage nugatory,
though within three leagues of their object. This obstruction,
however, was of uncertain duration, nor would the Turkish
government, if left to itself, have probably risked any thing on
the possible continuance of the wind in one quarter.

The English demands may be easily imagined: immediate
peace with Russia on her own terms, the dismission of the
French minister, and the delivery of the fortresses on the Bos-
phorus to English and Russian garrisons. A further condition
is mentioned by a French narrative: namely, the delivery of
the whole Turkish navy into the hands of the English. These
conditions were, it must be owned, sufficiently hard; but harder
ones than these would have been performed by the Turks, not-
withstanding the harmless distance of the enemy, had not the
bold, active, and resolute spirit of the French unceasingly la-
boured to inspirit the sultan and his officers. The continuance
of an east wind, which the season made probable for a short
time, would allow them to fortify the shores surrounding and
contiguous to the city, and equip a considerable naval arma-
ment. The shores of the Bosphorus might also be so strongly
fortified, that the return of the fleet might be rendered impossi-
ble. The Turks abounded in men, ammunition, artillery, and
vessels. They wanted only industry and skill in the use of
these advantages, and these were furnished by the French mi-
nister, who was himself of high military reputation and rank,
and who had a great train of useful persons under his orders.
The government yielded to the importunities of the French, and
exerted themselves with extraordinary diligence for repulsing
the assailants.

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For the ensuing ten days the wind continued adverse to the
English, and, during this interval, the Turks had lined the
whole coast with batteries; they had made ready, and filled
with troops, twelve large ships and nine frigates, besides num-
berless smaller vessels. Meanwhile, the Bosphorus was forti-
fied with new batteries, and a little longer delay was considered
by the English admiral as likely to shut up the channel altoge-
ther. In this state of things he determined to wait no longer
for a change of wind, but setting out on the first of March, ar-
rived in the Archipelago about noon on the third. They suf-
fered much damage, and no inconsiderable slaughter, but es-
caped without the loss of a ship. Such was the issue of an at-
tempt, which, with a slight change of circumstances, might
have produced such important consequences; and thus, by the
fluctuation of war, as the approach of the French to Constan-
tinople was, a few years before, prevented by an English offi-
cer, the same city may now be considered as having been res-
cued from the English by a French one; and an enterprize,
which threatened to throw Turkey into the hands of the Russi-
ans and English, ended in re-establishing the influence of the
French, on a footing not to be shaken, and in barring up the
avenues to Constantinople against any future attempts. The
Turkish government immediately declared war against the Eng-
lish, and all the usual consequences, in the confiscation of pro-
perty, and the cessation of commerce, took place: a sad ca-
tastrophe and disastrous reverse to the English, and a striking
proof to how many unforeseen and inevitable obstacles the ope-
rations of naval warfare are exposed. It is equally a notable
specimen of that contexture of events, which, being unaffected
by human efforts, is called good fortune, and which has, in so
eminent a degree, conjunctly with genius and wisdom, ensured
the exaltation and multiplied the recent triumphs of the sove-
reign of France.

The French narrative of this event entirely omits the mention
of winds and weather, and imputes the inactivity of the Eng-
lish, for so many important days, to the success of the arts made
use of to amuse them. The hope of an amicable compliance
with their demands was assiduously kept up till the defensive
preparations were completed, and Sebastiani bespeaks much
applause for having thus over-reached the invader. But what-
ever glory may redound to such artifices, when successful, the
forbearance produced by them alone can only be ascribed to
humanity. If the English had it in their power to destroy the
city, any delay in imposing the alternative could only flow from
reluctance to overwhelm the Turks with so dreadful a cala-

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mity. A conflagration, so easily, at all times, kindled in the city,
would have immediately commenced at many points, and no ef-
forts could be made, during the attack, to check it, while the
explosion of a fire-ship would have levelled all the temples and
palaces of stone with the ground. For the honour of human
nature, we should wish that such reluctance had been felt on
this occasion; but this virtue is wholly inconsistent with mili-
tary maxims, and no probable cause can be assigned for the
delay of the attack but the adverse state of the winds, which
the British admiral himself, as already mentioned, assigns.

Though Constantinople was henceforth impregnable, yet, as
war was immediately proclaimed by Turkey against England,
all the coasts of that empire were exposed to invasion. Egypt,
Syria, Greece, and the Grecian islands, were entirely naked,
and there was nothing, either Turkish or French, to interrupt
the range of a single frigate through any part of the seas and
channels that wash their coasts. No descent could indeed be
made without an army; and though an army might easily gain
possession of harbours and islands, there would be no small dif-
ficulty in retaining their hold against the obstinate exertions of
an inland enemy. Still, however, had the ancient maxims of
warfare been pursued, it would have been easy for the English
fleet in those seas to have obtained immense plunder, or heavy
pecuniary contributions in lieu of it, merely by approaching or
menacing the unprotected towns. We are not, however, in-
formed that any thing of this kind was done.

The empire of the Mediterranean was never so fully in pos-
session of the English as now. The three great steps to this
naval empire were the capture of Malta, and the battles of the
Nile and Trafalgar. By the first was acquired the most conve-
nient post in that whole sea; and by the victories of Nelson
were crushed the efforts of the only competitor for this em-
pire who was worthy of attention. Gibraltar, at the mouth of
the western, and Malta, at the entrance of the eastern Mediter-
ranean, are the keys, which, with a sufficient navy to employ
them, must necessarily confer sovereignty on their possessors.
These keys and this navy were now in the hands of Great Bri-
tain, and by consequence their sovereignty was indisputable.
Splendid, however, and flattering to national vanity as was this
species of empire, what were its solid or permanent advanta-
ges? The true riches of the nation arise from trade, and the
only desirable relation in which they can stand to distant coun-
tries is the privilege of trading with them. Mere local pos-
session is a heavy incumbrance, unless the local revenue suffice
to maintain the necessary garrisons. In the present case the

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English possessed stations, which, with the advantage of being
the strongest and the most convenient for naval operations of
any in this sea, combined the disadvantage of being the most
barren and unprofitable in themselves, and the most expensive
in their demands of military aid. As to commerce, the inte-
rests of which ought alone to be consulted in the direction of na-
val power, their maritime triumphs availed nothing, as long as
the northern coasts and islands were possessed by a hostile peo-
ple; but France, Spain, and Italy were, by this means, fortified
against them, and, by the unfortunate issue of the enterprize
against Constantinople, all that remained of the profitable or
commercial coast of that great sea were placed in the same con-
dition. This new war, by showing a new enemy, but one, at
the same time, as feeble by sea as the rest, may be said to ma-
nifest, with new force, the maritime power of England; but
this event, at the same time, exhibited more glaringly the un-
profitable nature of this empire, and made the support of it
more burthensome than ever to the nation. Such, however,
is national spirit among mankind, that no events can be imagin-
ed more humiliating and terrific to the people of Great Bri-
tain than the loss of Malta and Gibraltar, and nothing surely
would give greater exultation to their enemies.

This, however, is by no means an impartial view of the sub-
ject. On such occasions we must take into account, not mere-
ly the benefits accruing to ourselves from our military pos-
tures, but the injury which redounds to the enemy. If the Eng-
lish commerce be reduced to nothing by the hostility of all the
states of the Mediterranean, the commerce of these states is
greatly diminished by the British supremacy at sea. Notwith-
standing this supremacy, Great Britain cannot trade with any
part of France, Spain, Italy, and Turkey, but, in consequence
of this supremacy, neither can these countries maintain any
profitable communion with each other. This supremacy is like-
wise necessary to preserve the island of Sicily from being con-
quered by the French. Sicily, being a large, rich, and well-
peopled island, is valuable to the English as a theatre of com-
merce, but, acting only as allies to the sovereign of the isle, their
defence of it is an expence no otherwise compensated than by
the profits of this commerce, which are probably small; by the
convenient supplies obtained from it for their ships and garri-
sons, in which view it is highly valuable; and by the solid ad-
vantages which the enemy would draw from the conquest, and
from which, therefore, he is excluded by the naval supremacy
of Great Britain.

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During the whole revolutionary war, Great Britain appears
not to have meditated any territorial conquest on their own ac-
count, in the Mediterranean, from the French. The acquisi-
tion of Toulon, at the beginning of the war, and of some sta-
tions in Tuscany, was a sort of casual effort, in concert with a
domestic faction; and the operations in Calabria, last year, were
the fruits of an excursion for the sake of employment. When
Malta and Egypt were conquered by Bonaparte, the English
forces by land and sea were diligently occupied in expelling him,
and, in these particulars, they aimed merely at restoring things
to their pristine order. This end was practicable with regard
to Egypt, but to restore the independence of Malta was mani-
festly impossible, and therefore they retained this conquest.

The new war with Turkey turned the attention of the British
to a new scene. The dominions of that power were now hos-
tile, and therefore the objects of lawful depredation and inva-
sion. Many valuable islands in the eastern Mediterranean,
Candia, Cyprus, and Rhodes, with Greece, Syria, and Egypt,
all hitherto secured from conquest or approach by the sanctity
of treaties, were now exposed to attack. A considerable body
of troops were stationed at Malta and in Sicily, and these
might be dispersed and employed, without endangering the
safety of these posts, and with a reasonable hope of advantage;
and in this state of things it is not surprizing that the British
government should turn its views towards Egypt.

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THE policy of France and England has of late years affixed
an extraordinary value to the possession of Egypt. The former
has coveted Egypt for the double benefit accruing from its own
produce and resources, and from its convenience as an interme-
diate station between Europe and India. As a province of
France, its value would exceed that of any of its American co-
lonies, and the passage to India would not only be diminished
to much less than half the distance, but divested of four-fifths
of its other difficulties. The voyage by the Arabian gulf and
the Red sea is short and easy, and Egypt would afford abun-
dant leisure and unlimited means for preparing expeditions to
that quarter.

Egypt is of little value on its own proper account to Great
Britain. That nation has not colonies and transmarine provi-
nces enough to satiate ambition; but India is the theatre on which
new conquests are at the same time more easily made, of more
value when made, and more conducive to the safety and
improvement of those already made, than in any other quar-
ter of the world. The relation which Egypt bears to India gives
it most of its importance in the eyes of Great Britain, and the
absolute and relative benefit of that possession to France makes
it exceedingly desirable, not properly that Great Britain should
possess Egypt, but that France should not be suffered to pos-
sess it. As long, therefore, as Turkey is hostile to the French
or friendly to Great Britain, the safety of the latter is sufficient-
ly promoted by the dominion of the Turks and Mamelukes in
Egypt; but the new war immediately placed this matter on a
new footing. It was now reasonably to be dreaded that Turkey
would sacrifice Egypt to the French for the sake of some ad-
vantage nearer home; that this distant member of the empire,
always of little value to the sultan, would be made the price of
something to be wrested from Russia by the arms or the in-
trigues of France. It was therefore the obvious interest of Bri-
tain to employ some of the military force now in these seas in
securing this important station betimes.

The British had no motive, nor did they possess the means,
for acquiring the whole of Egypt. The maritime key or en-
trance to the country was all they wanted for their own securi-
ty, since this would as effectually keep out an enemy or rival

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as the possession of the whole, and since they flattered them-
selves this could easily be gained and cheaply preserved. Be-
sides, if the conquest of the whole should ever become neces-
sary, this was the first and most considerable step.

Such were probably the motives and views of the English in
their attempt on Alexandria. This harbour is the only con-
venient one situated on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt.
The whole country consisting merely of the banks of a single
river, it is, of course, accessible by the mouths of that river,
but these mouths are not havens. The river is not accessible
through them to large ships, and therefore the master of the
adjacent port of Alexandria can always intercept or easily des-
troy an invading navy, provided he has himself, like England,
a navy at command.

Admiral Duckworth repassed the Dardanelles on the second
of March, 1807, and only four days* after a body of troops,
under general Frazer, sailed from Messina, in Sicily, for
Egypt. The whole armament was small, as little opposition
was expected from a place so imperfectly fortified, and
whose inhabitants were thought to be disaffected to the Tur-
kish government. The invaders likewise reasonably count-
ed on seizing the place by surprize, as the Turkish troops
in Egypt were, for the most part, posted on the Nile. The
issue, however, proved that the enterprize was even easi-
er than had been previously imagined. The fleet was dis-
persed by the weather on the second day after sailing, and a
small portion of it arrived on the Egyptian coast on the six-
teenth. Such, however, was found to be the unprepared and
defenceless state of the city, that the English, who could im-
mediately land only about a thousand men, were in quiet pos-
session of the place by capitulation, four days after their lan-

This success appears to have depended on some nice con-
tingencies. The French consul, pursuing, though with less
good fortune, the example of Sebastiani, exerted himself to
inspirit the garrison and citizens to resist till the arrival of suc-
cour, which a single day was sufficient to bring; but the people,

  * In this time intelligence could hardly be conveyed from Tenedos to Sicily of
the rejection of Arbuthnot's demands by the Turks, and the consequent war.
Are we to suppose, therefore, that Alexandria was to be seized by the English,
notwithstanding the peace with Turkey, previously subsisting? and that,
whether contained or not in the ambassador's proposals, this city, as well as the
capital, was to be consigned to them? Constantinople, and the sultan, if re-
maining in it, were as thoroughly captives to the masters of the Turkish navy
and the forts on the Bosphorus, as Alexandria could be with an English gar-
rison of ten thousand troops.

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dreading an assault, in the disasters of which they would be
confounded with the Turks, or being desirous of changing mas-
ters, compelled the troops to surrender; and thus this conquest
was perfected with trivial loss, a fortnight after war had been
declared by Turkey.

Alexandria is nearly insulated by water, and wholly so by
barren sands from the cultivated country. The banks of the
Nile, the nearest branch of which is forty miles from Alexan-
dria, bear corn and pulse, and afford a channel for the carriage
of these products from the upper country. The subsistence of
the city must therefore be drawn from this quarter or from be-
yond sea. Though the English could not but be apprized of
this dependence, we are not accurately informed of the means
by which they proposed to procure this supply. Their views
appear to have originally been limited to the military occupa-
tion of this post; and the supplies for the garrison being attain-
able in various ways besides that of the Nile, they probably
heeded not the wants of the people. These wants, however,
threatening an absolute famine, raised such clamorous impor-
tunity among the people, in a few days after the capture of the
place, that the commander thought proper to attempt obtaining
possession of some posts upon the Nile.

The only garrisoned or considerable towns on the nearer
branch of that river were Rosetta, near its mouth, and Rha-
maniah, about twenty miles further up. These towns were not
regularly fortified, and were therefore expected to be easily sub-
dued. With regard to the inclinations of the people or the
strength of the garrisons, the invaders were kept in fatal igno-
rance, or misled by hostile artifices.

A force, not inconsiderable, was dispatched against Rosetta,
under generals Wauchope and Meade, which encountered no
difficulty in approaching the town. Having taken possession of
certain heights commanding it, the people of Rosetta were
obliged to submit. The town surrendered and the troops march-
ed in to take possession. Whether the subsequent events origi-
nated in design or accident, whether the natives or Turks con-
certed previously the measures taken when their enemies had
entered the town, and were dispersed in search of quarters, or
whether opposition, commencing accidentally, became general
by the influence of enthusiasm and example, we know not.
Certain it is, that the people profited by the advantage afforded
them by their flat-roof[gap] hous[gap] and narrow streets, and kept
up such a destructive fire on the English, that after suffering
great slaughter they [gap] to retreat into the country,
and finally join their companions in the camps near Alexandria.

 image pending 16

It is somewhat remarkable that the English should be thus
expelled from a captured city, the second time within little more
than half a year. Buenos Ayres in South America, and Roset-
ta in Egypt, were recovered by the natives when in actual pos-
session of their enemies, exactly by the same means; and the
singular economy of these cities, though ineffectual to keep out
a foe, made it easy to destroy him when within them. It is
likewise probable that the same errors were committed in the
notions formed of the influence of religious prejudices in both
cases. The English are lukewarm and indifferent themselves
in this respect, and naturally impute a similar neutrality to the
religion of others; but their conquests in the Spanish colonies
and the Turkish territories will probably meet with an insuper-
able obstacle in the hatred of heretics and infidels. As this de-
feat was properly imputed to mistake or temerity in the British
commander, who attoned for his error by his death, and the
same necessity for supplies existed, a new attempt was thought
indispensable, and two thousand five hundred men, under gene-
ral Stewart, were sent against Rosetta on the sixteenth of April.

It appears that the British did not wholly rely for success, in
this enterprize, on their own strength. A good understanding
had been established between them and the remains of the
Mamelukes in Egypt, and they had been taught to expect, on
this occasion, the junction of some of that body with their own
near Rosetta. The enemy, however, had counterworked them,
and all their expectations were defeated.

Near a month had elapsed since the capture of Alexandria,
and this interval had been diligently employed by the Turks in
preparing against any new enterprise of the invaders. Effectual
means had been taken to cut off the city from all supplies by the
Nile, and the force at Rhamaniah and Rosetta was formidable.
We are not informed of the state in which the defences of Ro-
setta were found by general Stewart. It was necessary it seems
to open cannon against the place, and no impression was made;
while the forces of the enemy, posted near the town, exhibited
such spirit and numbers, that a retreat, after the unavailing ef-
forts of three days, and the destruction or captivity of more
than three-fifths of their whole number, became absolutely ne-
cessary to the preservation of the rest.

This defeat appears to have terminated all hope of gaining a
footing on the Nile, but it did not compel the English immedi-
ately to abandon Alexandria. It appears, therefore, that the
dominion of the Nile is not necessary to this tenure. This ne-
cessity was pleaded by the British commander in excuse for at-
tacking Rosetta, but as Malta and Gibraltar are equally depend-

 image pending 17

ant for their food on distant sources, Alexandria was not ex-
posed to any peculiar disadvantages in that respect. No doubt,
however, supplies could have been obtained more easily and
cheaply, both for soldiers and citizens, from the adjacent dis-
tricts, than from Sicily or Barbary, which were now the only

We may easily imagine what effect the tidings of these events
produced upon the Turkish government. The capture of Alex-
andria was heard with dismay, and the repulse of the assailants
from Rosetta with exultation; but rage and revenge were up-
permost in both cases, and the emissaries of France profited by
such favourable opportunities to widen the breach between the
sultan and his late allies. The effects and persons of the
English resident in Turkey were exposed to immeasurable vio-
lence, and new favours and distinctions were heaped upon the

 image pending 18


THE Turkish government was at this time shaken by every
species of inquietude. The progress of the Russians in the re-
gions of the Danube was rapid, and their irruption so little ex-
pected, that their armies had reached that river before any
troops were collected to oppose them. The rebellion in Servia
became every day more formidable, since a foreign enemy ap-
plied himself to foster it, and at the same time divided the at-
tention of the government. Great was the panic and dismay
which the appearance of the English fleet before the capital
had excited, and indignation was mingled with terror at this un-
exampled proof of the boldness and power of their enemies.
Every one saw that they were indebted to good fortune only
for their escape from this danger. As the hostile fleet continued
to hover in the Archipelago, and thus intercept the influx equal-
ly of commerce and tribute, the English war was still a heavy
inconvenience. The populace and soldiers are prone to impute
every evil to their government. As most public calamities
could be prevented if foreseen, not to foresee them is a crime
in our rulers, and a change of government is meditated as the
only mode of preventing their recurrence.

Unfortunately most of the evils complained of, on this occa-
sion, concurred at this time, while the assemblage of troops at
the capital, previous to their march to the theatre of war, fur-
nished weapons to discontent, and multiplied the chances of
violence and revolution. A disorderly and motley multitude,
collected chiefly from the Asiatic provinces, and who joined
to the name of soldiers all the fiery and capricious temper of a
mob, now filled the city and its neighbourhood. The attack of
the English, and the necessity of providing against their new
attempts, retarded the departure of these troops, and gave the
fire more leisure to kindle.

The evils of foreign war, however, were by no means the
only or chief sources of the reigning discontents, nor were the
soldiers or the populace the only classes of the nation infected
with an angry and turbulent spirit. The ulema, or that body
which comprehends in itself what, among other nations of
Europe, is divided into the law and the church, were irritated
and disgusted by certain measures of the sultan and his minis-
ters, adopted for augmenting the public income and military

 image pending 19

force of the empire. These measures were inconsistent with
the spirit of their ancient institutions; and, however eligible or
beneficial in themselves, had not that coincidence and harmony
with the rest of the constitutional fabric, which are requisite to

The decline of the Turkish empire has long been a topic of
familiar observation to the rest of Europe. We are taught to
view this state as a vessel once strong and well furnished, and
guided by a numerous and well-disciplined crew; but now crazy
in her sides and bottom, destitute of tackle and provision with
a crew thinned in their numbers, and actuated by a spirit equal-
ly cowardly and mutinous. We are in hourly expectation of
witnessing her sinking, either through her own infirmity, or
through the ignorance or madness of her rulers. The report of
all travellers, and the testimony of all political observers, concur
in painting the empire of the Turks in this ruinous and tottering

This representation, however, is liable to some doubts.
When it is remembered that the same picture was drawn, and
the same consequences predicted, at the opening of the eigh-
teenth as at that of the nineteenth century, we are led to ques-
tion the grounds of these predictions, and to suspect, that, since
the first race of prophets was certainly mistaken, the latter may
possibly be likewise deceived. During the last century, the
Turkish empire has not sensibly diminished, nor has she lost
any thing except the pre-eminence formerly enjoyed by the sul-
tan over the Tartars of the Crimea. Cautious observers can
perceive no traces of that internal declension so frequently as-
serted, and find it easy to reconcile the conquests of the Turks
in the fifteenth century with their stationary posture at present.
This difference they readily explain, not by supposing that
empire to have lost its vigour or changed its maxims of govern-
ment, but by observing that the military institutions of their
neighbours have made vast strides to perfection, while those
of the Turks have either been stationary, or moved forward with
much less celerity. During the last fifty years, Russia and Aus-
tria have improved their discipline and augmented their armies.
Their territories have been enlarged on the north and west, and
consequently their power enhanced. Hence as all national pros-
perity is relative, the power and dignity of Turkey are virtually
lessened, because they bear a proportion continually decreasing
to those of their immediate neighbours.

This declining proportion, however, does not necessarily en-
crease her danger. The combination of the christian powers
was always sufficient to stop the progress and exterminate the

 image pending 20

kingdom of the Othmans. This was no less certain three cen-
turies ago than at present, and her danger is greater or less ac-
cording to the probabilities of such a league. Russia and Aus-
tria are stronger than they used to be; if, therefore, they were
allowed to attack Turkey, the chances of success are greater
than formerly; but an increase of strength in her neighbours is
no fatal disadvantage to Turkey, as long as all the christian
states keep pace with each other, and they are, therefore, equal-
ly willing and able to check and counteract their mutual efforts
at aggrandizement. During the eighteenth century, the danger
resulting to Turkey from the increase of Austria was more than
countervailed by the more than equivalent advancement of
Prussia. The sultan and his ministers might look on with less
dismay when Russia was increasing her armies and provinces,
as long as France and England were likewise growing as much
more powerful to save as Russia was to destroy. The positive
danger, indeed, increased, in proportion to the positive power
of her christian neighbours, because so much greater was her
danger in case of a combination among them; but a combina-
tion among them would sooner or later have been fatal to her,
at any period since the fall of the Byzantine empire. What-
ever circumstance tends to equalize the power of the christian
states tends to the safety of the Turks; whatever circumstance
lessens the number or parity of these rivals endangers them.
At the opening of the French revolution, the states of Europe
were so nicely balanced that the safety of the Turks was at no
time greater. This equality has been rapidly declining ever
since. France has been ascending in the prosperous scale, and
the Turks may read their destiny in that of Holland, Switzer-
land, Sardinia, and Prussia. At the present moment the num-
ber of effective rivals was reduced to three: France, Russia,
and England. The combination of any two of these would
suffice for the destruction of the Turkish power. England
would hardly be able to make effectual opposition to the efforts
of France and Russia united against Turkey. Hence the dan-
ger of the Turkish empire may be said to be more imminent
at present than in any preceding age: a danger not arising
from the decline of her own strength, nor properly from the
increased strength of her enemies. The danger lies in the de-
crease of their numbers. France and Russia are now truly to be
dreaded, because their union alone would be fatal, and Aus-
tria, Prussia, Holland, Spain, and England can no longer in-
terpose for her protection.

If the Turkish government has not improved its internal
strength, this failure is not owing to the jealousy or reserve of

 image pending 21

their christian neighbours. Being always at peace with some
of them, and most frequently with France and England, the
most roving and ingenious among them, there was seldom any
obstruction to that intercourse by which Turkish ignorance
might have been enlightened and instructed. In these nations
there were likewise numberless adventurers who were ready to
seek fortune and distinction wherever it could be found, and
who had no scruples to seek them among the followers of Ma-
homet. Many of these, skilled in fortification and the military
art, flocked to Turkey and Russia. Both these countries, a
century ago, stood equally in need of instructors, especially in
these arts; but the emigrants from western Europe were much
more welcome at Petersburg than at Constantinople. Their in-
structions had a visible and permanent influence on the whole
system of war and government in Russia, but made a very faint
impression on the less ductile temper of the Turks. This dif-
ference constitutes a problem not easily solved. Much, doubt-
less, was owing to the personal character of the Turkish prin-
ces, but the principal obstacle to the introduction of the arts of
the western nations into Turkey is religion.

The mutual hatred with which opposite religions inspire their
votaries is not necessarily greater between christian and maho-
metan, than between the Greek and Romanist, the catholic and
protestant; but the religion of the Turks tended to breed in
them a hatred and contempt of christians on account of the di-
vision of their own community into these two classes, and the
political servitude in which the class of christians was held.
The mussulmen are, by this circumstance, habituated to regard
the christians as slaves, and consequently as domestic enemies.
Thus contempt is mingled with fear, and both these sentiments
naturally make them studious of sustaining all their ancient dis-
tinctions with peculiar zeal and assiduity. The gulf to be pass-
ed is likewise much wider than exists between the primitive
habits and manners of any other states of Europe. The causes
which assimilate them must therefore be more potent, as there
are greater obstacles to overcome.

It is many years since the sultan and his ministers have been
strongly inclined to innovations in every branch of their govern-
ment, especially in the administration of the revenue and army.
Many ingenious French emigrants have so industriously plied
them with memorials pointing out the pernicious defects in
the reigning modes of casting cannon, building ships, con-
structing fortresses, and regulating armies, that something like
conviction was at last produced, and, as a change in the four for-
mer particulars was evidently easier, and practicable with less

 image pending 22

by the death of some of the most obnoxious ministers. Their
heads were accordingly sent to the rebellious leaders, but with-
out success. They meditated nothing less than the deposition
of the sultan; this, from the well-known character of the reign-
ing prince, being the only effectual surety for the permanent re-
moval of their grievances. The sultan endeavoured a second
time to ward off the evil by sending them a paper, expressly and
solemnly abolishing the new fiscal and military code; but this
slackened not their efforts nor shook their purpose. All the
great officers, who had distinguished themselves by their zeal
for these hated innovations, were diligently sought for and drag-
ged to the meidan*, where they perished under the sabre of the
soldiers. They then approached the gates of the seraglio, and
after butchering many of the favourites, delivered up to their
mercy, the heads of the law entered the palace, and, con-
signing Selim to captivity, invested with the sovereignty
Mustapha, the son of the predecessor of Selim. All the ob-
noxious innovations, which had been carried forward by slow
and cautious steps for several years, were totally abolished by a
public decree, and the general tranquillity was gradually re-es-
tablished. Whether these innovations are now finally relin-
quished it is impossible to tell, but it is easy to perceive that they
could never have answered any good purpose. So far as the con-
test between the Turks and their enemies will be decided by mi-
litary discipline, we may safely affirm that any progress hither-
to made, or any they are likely to make hereafter, in reforming
their army, will avail them nothing. The changes must neces-
sarily be tardy, partial, and incomplete, and, though they may
endanger their patrons in the divan, will only divide and enfee-
ble their warlike exertions.

  * Al meidan, or the horse-course: the ancient hippodrome.

 image pending 23


By James Gambier, esq. admi-
ral of the blue, and commander in
chief of a fleet of his majesty's
ships and vessels employed on a
particular service.

Whereas, I have judged it ex-
pedient in conducting the opera-
tions of his majesty's fleet under
my command against Copenha-
gen, to surround the island of
Zealand, and the other islands
contiguous thereto, with his ma-
jesty's ships, in order to prevent
reinforcements or supplies of any
kind whatever from being thrown
into the said islands, I do hereby
declare them, as well as the pas-

 image pending 24

sage of the Great Belt (extending
from a bank or shoal named Has-
teen's Ground, to the south east
end of the island of Femeran) to
be in a stae of close blockade,
and do also hereby direct the flag
officers, captains, and command-
ers of the said ships, to give no-
tice thereof to any neutral ves-
sels they may find going into any
of the ports of the said islands,
or into the passage aforesaid, and
to require them to desist there-
from; and in case any neutral
vessels, after receiving such no-
tice, shall attempt to enter into
any port or place of the said
islands, or into the passage afore-
said, the said flag officers, cap-
tains and commanders, are here-
by authorised and required to de-
tain such vessels, and leaving
those respective masters and a
proportion of their crew on board
to assist in navigating them, put
a careful petty officer on board,
with as many seamen as may be
necessary, into them, respective-
ly, and send them to me at this

Given under my hand on board
the Prince of Wales, off Copen-
hagen, August 21, 1807.

J. Gambier.

By command of the admiral,
Jos. Trounsell.

 image pending 25


THE same ill fortune which attended the British arms in the
Mediterranean pursued their military operations in the western
hemisphere, and a singular resemblance is discernible between
the circumstances by which the failure was accompanied in both
cases. Though the expedition to La Plata was undertaken
without the knowledge of the government, the success which at
first attended it was allowed to justify the commander, and the
national exultation was enhanced by the novelty of the conquest.
The loss of Buenos Ayres gave a sudden damp to the public
joy, and involved the total disappointment of many of the great
and expensive schemes undertaken by the British merchants,
under the persuasion that the conquest would be permanent.
Thus, not to have succeeded in the enterprize against the capi-
tal would have been an infinitely less evil than a short-lived suc-
cess, and this not only from the slaughter and captivity of so
many valuable troops, but from the ruin and waste of the mer-
chandize shipped to South America, occasioned by the re-con-

Though the English commanders were dislodged from Bue-
nos Ayres, they did not abandon the scene in despair, but, as
we have seen, after being reinforced by fresh troops from the
Cape of Good Hope, made a successful attack on Monte Video.
The hostile temper of their new subjects prevented them, for
some time, from attempting to regain their lost footing; nor
was it till the arrival of a considerable force under general
Crawford, about the middle of June, and five months after their
conquest of Monte Video, that they began to look abroad.

The Spanish empire in America is little more than a world
of forests and morasses, and though there exist provincial allot-
ments and distinctions on paper, they are seldom exemplified
in practice. Wherever convenience has placed a settlement,
this becomes the centre of government and trade to all the coun-
try round it, and this country is called a province, though ninety-
nine parts in a hundred are unoccupied by Spaniards, and are
even unknown to them. The river La Plata is the great inlet
into that part of the eastern coast of South America claimed by
Spain. On this, therefore, the principal or only settlements
are made, and these being acquired by an enemy, the enemy

 image pending 26

succeeds to the pre-eminence enjoyed by Spain over all the wild
regions stretching a thousand or more miles in all directions
from these. Buenos Ayres and Monte Video are the chief of
these settlements, and the empire devolves necessarily on the
possessors of these. The former was now to be gained, and
the acquisition could not reasonably be expected to cost much
time or trouble.

All the troops and ships that could be spared proceeded, on
the 25th of June, from Monte Video towards the capital, under
the command of general Whitlocke. Three days after, the
army was disembarked about thirty miles from the city. The
intermediate ground was little more than a swamp, intersected
by deep rivulets, among which it was impossible to procure
guides deserving of full confidence. A few miles from the city
ran a considerable river, over which was a bridge, and the
opposite bank of which was well fortified and garrisoned. To
avoid this opposition it was necessary to attempt the passage
of the river above the bridge; and there being a spot where the
stream was fordable, part of the English army directed their
steps thither, while another part sought a passage at a place
called Chico. One of the columns encountered and dispersed
a body of Spanish troops, and next day the army re-united in
the suburbs of the city.

The situation of Buenos Ayres was very singular. It was
a large city, situated on a level, without ramparts or walls, with
few regular or disciplined troops, and surrounded by a nume-
rous army not unprovided with artillery. What opposition
could possibly be made in such helpless and desperate circum-
stances? The enemy could overpower resistance by battering
the town with cannon, or more expeditiously overrun its squares
and avenues; and yet, strange as it may seem, this city prepared
to make an obstinate resistance, and this resistance was finally

The solution of this difficulty must be sought in the manner
in which the city was built. It is divided pretty equally into
squares of four or five hundred feet, the sides of which are
built up in a solid manner with houses having flat roofs. The
buildings, we are obliged to infer, consist of brick or stone;
otherwise, by being set on fire, their inhabitants might have
been easily dislodged. In the centre is an open space, with a
rude fortress, dignified with the name of citadel. The houses
are contiguous, and have flat roofs, and thus the city may be
considered as an assemblage of ramparts and dry ditches. The
avenues were rendered difficult of access by ditches dug across
them, and by cannon judiciously placed.

 image pending 27

These advantages, however, would have availed nothing, had
not the people been animated by an incredible animosity against
the strangers. The master of each house, surrounded with his
children and slaves, was posted on its roof, and amply supplied
with arms and ammunition. The doors were strongly barri-
cadoed, and the warlike spirit so strong, that the whole male,
and much of the female population of the city was engaged in
its defence. Modern history scarcely affords another example
of such zealous and unanimous efforts in the inhabitants of a
besieged town.

The invaders, being aware of the preparations made to re-
ceive them, determined nevertheless to enter rather than besiege
the city. This decision was probably dictated by their being
unable either to blockade the city, and thus reduce it by famine,
or to keep up a regular attack by batteries. The difficulty of
obtaining supplies for themselves may account for the former;
a difficulty owing to the inveterate enmity of the colonists, and
the means industriously employed for driving off all the cattle
in the neighbourhood. The latter cannot be so easily explain-
ed, except so far as it is explained by the cause just mentioned.
Resolving to enter without delay, some of the troops were di-
rected to get possession of the houses and roofs, this being the
only means of success, while the movements of the rest were
regulated by a just consideration of the direction and position
of the streets and squares.

The attack commenced on the fifth of July. The assailants
were divided into separate bands*, each having its peculiar
avenue to enter, and its course of action prescribed. All of
them had their muskets uncharged, it being thought a useless
waste of ammunition to fire, except with cannon, before their
appointed stations were gained.

There were two strong posts in the city, where the Spaniards
had intrenched themselves, and these were attacked and taken
by sir Samuel Achmuty; but, after a long and destructive con-
test of ten hours, these posts only remained in possession of the
English. All the other columns were destroyed or overpow-
ered by the fire from the roofs and windows. At every step
the assailants encountered every species of missile destruction:
grape-shot from the corner of every street; musketry, hand-
grenades, bricks, and stones from the windows and house-tops.
Every dwelling was a fortress, and all its tenants daring and
indefatigable in its defence. Some of the detachments were

  * We have minute accounts of this transaction both from British and Spa-
nish witnesses; but, without a plan or topographical description of the city,
they cannot be made intelligible.

 image pending 28

totally destroyed; others compelled, after great slaughter, to
surrender in the streets. Others sheltered themselves in con-
vents and churches, and, after a dreadful havoc on both sides,
yielded to overwhelming numbers. Finally, the two posts al-
ready mentioned remained in possession of the English, but all
the other efforts had failed, with the loss of twenty-five hundred
men slain, wounded, and prisoners. The ensuing night was
passed by each party in preparing for a new contest on the mor-
row; but the next morning the Spanish commander, Liniers,
offered to restore his prisoners, provided the British commander
would stipulate to withdraw, not only from the city, but from
the river and province. This extraordinary demand was, with
little hesitation, complied with. The only reasons assigned by
the British commander were the danger of a general massacre,
to which the prisoners were exposed, from the fury of the popu-
lace, and the unprofitable nature of the conquest, by reason of the
irreconcileable antipathy of the people. As the first reason could
have no weight with men under the influence of ordinary mili-
tary maxims, and the second implied an authority to judge of
what was beneficial or otherwise, not vested in this officer, we
are obliged to conclude that the English were unable to make
effectual opposition against the threatened attack, their numbers
being so much diminished by the events of the preceding day,
and that this portion of the army being destroyed, the remainder
was insufficient to maintain their former conquests. How far
this decision was prudent or rash, cowardly or brave, is at pre-
sent merely matter of conjecture. A legal review will probably
be had of these transactions, and then we shall be able to form
a more enlightened judgment concerning them.

By the terms of this comprehensive treaty the British agree
to withdraw from Buenos Ayres in ten days, and from South
America in two months, leaving at Monte Video the artillery
and stores, unconsumed, which were found there. A mutual
restitution is promised of all prisoners taken since the arrival
of the English; and thus, in an equal manner, and with as entire
a restoration of things to the state in which they were before
the invasion as was possible, ended, after a year's duration, the
war in South America.

The issue of this contest inculcates some important lessons.
It overthrows two material errors: first, as to the disaffection
of the Spanish colonists to the parent state, arising from com-
mercial restraints; and, secondly, as to the indolence, cowar-
dice, and effeminacy of their character. The habit of imputing
our own feelings to others has betrayed us into the glaring folly
of imagining the same impatience of foreign controul in all the

 image pending 29

American colonies which once actuated ourselves. We have
even harboured the gross delusion, that a wretched adventurer,
at the head of two or three hundred men, picked up in our
cities, could work a revolution in South America, and that the
initial spark only was wanting to kindle a rebellion in Peru or
Mexico. The grossness of these delusions is now made evi-
dent by the failure of so many formidable expeditions to La

Whether the establishment of the British power in this quar-
ter would have proved a benefit or evil of the nation, is a point
of much controversy. One advantage is apparent, in its ten-
dency to secure a more favourable peace with France. The
more that England conquers, the more she will have to give at
a peace, in exchange for equivalent concessions. Considered
as permanent possessions, it is very difficult to estimate the im-
mediate value of these districts. We are ignorant of their popu-
lation and riches; of the taxes which the people are able to pay
their governors; of the consumption which British manufac-
tures would meet with; of the military force which the temper
of the people would require to be stationed among them.---
These are necessary grounds of all rational computations of this
kind, and, as they are points wholly unknown, all speculations
on this subject are but dreams.

It should seem, however, sufficiently clear, that never to have
undertaken this enterprize would have been much better than
the failure: many valuable troops and some military reputation
would have been saved, and a great commercial capital would
have been unimpaired: and yet, if this disappointment pre-
clude a future one, by inculcating a proper caution and distrust
with respect to similar projects, it may be an ultimate advantage
to the British nation.

Had the British nation obtained a firm footing in this part of
South America, and their possession been sanctioned by treaty,
we cannot easily assign limits to the emigration which would
have immediately taken place from the British islands, and even
from the states of North America. Husbandmen, artificers, and
merchants would have flocked thither. Their coming would have
been assiduously invited and encouraged by the new govern-
ment, because the safety of the conquest would, by such means,
have been in an eminent degree promoted, and the expence
attending it diminished. The proportion between Spanish and
English would daily vary in favour of the latter, and, in long
process of time, the country would assume an aspect purely
English, the primitive colony being gradually mingled and lost
in the subsequent one, in the same manner as the English have

 image pending 30

overpowered the Dutch in New York. The danger arising
from such a neighbour to the remaining provinces of Spain
may be easily imagined. Their vicinity would breed perpetual
dissentions between the ancient and recent possessors, and these
dissentions could hardly fail of terminating sooner or later in
the subversion of the Spanish power in these regions. Great
Britain would have the honour of bestowing language, manners,
and people on South as well as North America, and two-fifths
of the habitable globe would be occupied by one nation: a won-
derful, yet probable, indeed an inevitable consequence of that
train of events which led the English to La Plata, had their
expedition been successful.

 image pending 31


THE military operations on the eastern frontier of Poland,
between the French on one side, and the Russians and Prus-
sians on the other, were prosecuted with the utmost vigour
through the winter of 1806, and through the most inclement
months of the ensuing year. Notwithstanding the austerity
of so northern a climate, the constitution and habits of French-
men, naturally incongenial to such a climate, and the distance of
their native country, the courage and conduct of their leader
had braved all the horrors of the season, and brought them
within sight of the goal of all their labours. The events of a
few days in February, 1807, if prosperous to the French, would
have completed the conquest of the Prussian dominions, and
brought about an immediate peace. These events consisted in
the destruction of the Russian army, and the capture of Konigs-
burg; but the strenuous efforts of the French at Eylau were
defeated by the courage or good fortune of their enemies, and
Bonaparte now perceived the necessity of bringing a greater
force to the field than he had hitherto mustered.

The French had entertained the hopes of finishing this war
without the toil, expence, and delay of sieges. The surrender
of cities is the usual consequence of the defeat of armies.
Having concentered all our forces against the latter, and beaten
all that stands before us, the towns and fortresses, resistance
being hopeless, will fall of themselves. This policy, however,
was very imperfectly pursued, on this occasion, by the French.
They had thought proper to form the sieges of Colburg, Dant-
zic, and Stralsund, on the Baltic, and of Breslaw, in Silesia,
during their marches and battles in eastern Prussia, and thus,
by dividing their strength, rendered their exertions hazardous
or ineffectual in every quarter. The issue of the contest at
Eylau evinced the necessity of completing one project at a
time, and the French, posting themselves in strong stations,
dispatched considerable reinforcements to the army besieging
Dantzic. The Russians were so much weakened and exhausted
by their losses, that they forbore, for some time, to give their
enemies any disturbance.

The siege of Dantzic is the only incident of this war that
corresponded with the expectations of the world concerning it;
yet its situation on the sea-coast will perhaps account for the

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differences between its destiny and that of the inland fortresses.
By means of the sea, it could be inexhaustibly supplied with
troops, ammunition, and provisions from the most distant quar-
ters, and the evident advantage resulting from the lengthening
this siege made the Russians and Prussians very strenuous
both in defending and supplying it. Dantzic had been so long
a stranger to war, that its ancient defences had crumbled and
disappeared, and it owed its fortifications wholly to the present

After the besiegers were reinforced, the attacks became so
frequent and violent, that a surrender became inevitable; yet
this event took place not till the 24th of May, when the trenches
had been opened near two months, and the garrison were
allowed all the honours of war. The city, hitherto for so many
years a scene of peace, industry, and prosperity, was reduced,
by so long a siege, nearly to a desert. A vast number of peo-
ple had early forsaken their dwellings, and retired to Denmark,
Russia, or Sweden. The more bold or indigent, who re-
mained, were exposed to every species of calamity which attend
the movements of armies within and without. Most of the
buildings were destroyed by shot or bombs, and those that re-
mained were either uninhabitable or crowded by soldiers.
Such, however, is the revivifying influence of peace, and the
local advantages of situation, that Dantzic will regain its former
opulence, and any traces of the siege be hardly visible in three
or four years.

Breslaw, the capital of Silesia, after being nearly reduced to
ruin, had previously surrendered to the French and Bavarians,
under Jerome Bonaparte, and these two events enabled Bona-
parte to augment his army with fifty or eighty thousand men.
Except the remote and inconsiderable fortress of Stralsund, all
northern Germany was now subdued, and the French were at
liberty to bend their whole force against the last remnant of the
Prussian empire.

During these transactions the hostile armies remained inac-
tive. The French waited till the reinforcements from France,
Germany, and the neighbourhood of Dantzic should arrive.
The inactivity of the Russians is not explained in any public or
authentic document. The disadvantage of pausing till their ene-
mies had combined all their scattered forces could not be over-
looked. Therefore this delay on the side of the Russians could
arise from nothing but the prospect of receiving additional
forces from the inland provinces, or from being destitute of the
due supplies for an army. There are many circumstances
which lead us to conclude that the latter was the principal cause,

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and that this defect was by no means fully supplied, even when
they began to move.

During this portentous interval, the Russian court bega to
regard the approaching contest with some degree of inquietude.
Notwithstanding all the efforts hitherto made, the enemy had
continued to advance. He had made a pause, but merely to
enable many formidable bodies of troops to join him, and mani-
fested no deficiency in the cumbrous and expensive apparatus of
war. France enjoyed, in some sense, the assistance of nume-
rous allies, since Spain, the Saxon states, and the Rhenish con-
federacy were obliged to muster their soldiers under her stan-
dard; whereas Russia was only sustained by the poor remains
of the Prussians, and her military force was partly occupied in
Turkey. The common danger had some influence in strength-
ening the ties between Russia and Great Britain; but the proxi-
mity of the danger to one, and its distance from the other, gave
birth to much discontent and jealousy. Alexander demanded
that Great Britain should augment his army by auxiliaries, or,
which was better, make an irruption into Holland or Westpha-
lia, in force sufficient to divide or distract the attention of the
common enemy. He likewise required money and supplies
for his own troops.

The British government appears to have liberally complied
with the last demand; but their armies remained perfectly still.
A few general officers were dispatched to witness the fray, and
to see that the supplies transmitted were not misapplied or em-
bezzled; but, except some inconsiderble expeditions to La
Plata and the Nile, the military force of the nation was wholly
inactive. As the immediate security of the British islands,
either from insurrection or invasion, was greater at this time
than at any period since the commencement of the war, and as
they had an army, at home and unemployed, of more than
eighty thousand men, conveyable in a few weeks to the scene of
action, it was not surprizing that the Russians should complain
of the remissness of their ally; nor does any probable cause of
this remissness present itself to the mind. As no aid would
avail any thing unless it were very large; as the war was daily
expected to be closed by some decisive battle; as the tenure by
which the British enjoyed the friendship of Alexander was, at
best, very slender and precarious, to send a large force into
Germany or Prussia was extremely hazardous. In the unset-
tled state of the English ministry, to send away half the regular
army, and less would have answered no purpose, was too gi-
gantic a project, and would have put them too much in the
power of their political adversaries. These considerations

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might possibly have influenced the English government to sup-
ply the Russians with arms and money rather than with sol-
diers, though a period of six months, which had elapsed since
the French entered Poland, afforded the parties ample opportu-
nity for adjusting any mode of future co-operation.

However this be, it is certain that, at the close of the month
of May, the Russians and Prussians prepared to anticipate the
attack of the French. It is asserted by some, that the Rus-
sians intended to retreat, and meant their first attack merely to
escape suspicion. Be that as it may, after various projects and
much irresolution, the Russians, under general Bennigsen,
commenced the campaign, on the morning of the fifth of June,
by an attack on Gutstadt, with an intention of destroying the
forces under marshal Ney; but the marshal, with eighteen
thousand men, manœuvred for two days against seventy-five
thousand, and finally effected his retreat on Deppen, with the
the loss of four thousand men and his baggage.

The Prussians had attempted, on the right, to pass the Pas-
sarge, but were repulsed; and a division of the Russians, en-
countering a part of marshal Soult's corps, lost many men; so
that, on the whole, the Russians did not gain any considerable

By the retreat of Ney, marshal Davoust was much exposed
at Allenstein; but he was permitted to withdraw without inter-
ruption, and his union with Ney was effected at Deppen on the
8th. Here, early in the morning, the French commenced a
cannonade, and Bonaparte was seen to arrive, and even the
greeting of his troops was heard very distinctly by the Russians.
The attack was a false one; but the French wished to deceive
the Russians with the appearance of their falling back on Oste-
rode; for not only troops marched in that direction in front of
the Russians, but the baggage was also sent on the Osterode
road. It was, however, perceived to return, after making a
circuit through a wood, and move on the way to Liebstadt.
In the evening, the cossacks having successfully attacked some
cavalry which had passed the Passarge, Bennigsen discovered
from the prisoners an intention of his enemy to march directly
from Eldilten to Heilsberg; he therefore directly withdrew his
army behind Gutstadt, and the next morning the French, ad-
vancing from the wood which covered the bridge of Eldilten,
commenced an attack on the Russian rear-guard, which had
been left to observe their movements. Prince Bagrathion and
general Platow effected a masterly retreat, having long resisted
the progress of the enemy by repeated attacks, which obliged
the employment of the whole of their cavalry, the formation of

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several hollow squares of infantry, and the use of a considerable
artillery; and the Russians retired through Gutstadt with very
little loss, and succeeded in burning the bridges.

The next day the French advanced on the left bank of the
Alle to Lannau, and then forced the Russian posts advanced on
the road to Heilsberg; but prince Bagrathion, arriving from
the right bank with ten thousand men, commenced a very se-
vere action. The French, however, determined to annihilate,
if possible, this force; and, therefore, instead of acting against
it with an advanced guard, attacked with large bodies of the
army, and pressed the prince so much, that he was obliged to
send for succours, when the cavalry was ordered to cover his
retreat on the position where batteries had several weeks pre-
viously been constructed, and where now Bennigsen wished to
draw the enemy. The cavalry acted with various success;
and the Prussian squadrons, which had arrived in the morning
from the army of L'Estocq, with the remainder of Kaminsky's
troops which had returned from the Fahrwasser at the mouth
of the Vistula, conducted themselves with great courage; but
all their exertions could not prevent a heavy loss to the infan-
try. However, when the guns on the position began to fire on
the advancing French, they were obliged to recede.

It was about six o'clock when the French columns again
moved forward, with the intention of storming the advanced
battery, and which for a moment they carried; but the right
wing of the Russians charging instantly with the bayonet, the
French were driven back with great slaughter, and the Rus-
sians advanced their line considerably, even throwing their
right on a small wood, situated from their position at the ad-
vance of a musket shot. The action then continued with an
extraordinary cannonade, and an incessant fire of musketry.
A little before ten o'clock, information was received by Ben-
nigsen, that the division of Oudinot's grenadiers was again
about to storm the advanced battery, presuming to succeed
under the favour of the prevailing darkness. Arrangements
were made accordingly, and the column was received with
such discharges of musketry and grape, that the survivors were
obliged to fly in the wildest disorder, behind the wood, where
the Russian right had been thrown, but was withdrawn into the
position during the night; and there was even a partial firing till
day-break, when the cannonade recommenced, as the French
army was seen forming, with the intention to renew the action.

The ground between the two armies was actually covered
with the dead of the French, particularly of their grenadiers;
and the most experienced officers admitted, that on an equal

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space they had never seen such a carnage. As the bodies had
been stripped during the night, by mingled friends and foes, the
spectacle was the more remarkable.

About mid-day the French army was distinctly seen to defile
on the road to Koningsberg, but some troops were left in front
of the Russians, and others on their right. Bennigsen ordered
Kaminsky to march towards Koningsberg with his troops, and
he moved about six o'clock the same evening to anticipate the
enemy. At the same time orders were sent to L'Estocq for his
retreat from Koningsberg. That general had intercepted an or-
der to general Victor, commanding Bernadotte's division (which
marshal had been wounded) directing him to attack L'Estocq
instantly, and march to Koningsberg, so that L'Estocq had pre-
vious notice, and commenced his retreat accordingly. Bennig-
sen, instead of falling on Ney and Davoust, still stationed al-
most within cannot shot, abandoned, during the night, Heils-
berg and his wounded. The enemy made no attack, for it was
seven o'clock in the morning before the bridge could be burnt.
The Russian army reached Bartenstein on the 11th; on the 12th
Shippenbeil; and on the 13th the ground in front of Friedland,
always moving on the right bank of the Alle, except between
Bartenstein and Shippenbeil, where some cavalry marched on
the left bank. Some French dragoons had patroled into Fried-
land on the morning of the 13th, and passed the Alle. These
were attacked and expelled, and some prisoners taken, who in-
formed Bennigsen, that the division of Oudinot was on its march
to Friedland.

Bennigsen, wishing to occupy the town for the night, ordered
several regiments across the river, and made them take post on
the other side of the town. At four o'clock in the morning, this
cavalry was attacked by the French from the wood which bor-
dered the plain in front of the town. The general, imagining
that Oudinot's division only opposed him, retarded his march
on Wehlau, where he was going, and ordered one of his divi-
sions to cross and support the cavalry. The French showing
more force, the general was induced to order another division
over, and a battle commenced without an object, in a position
untenable, and where his troops could not gain a victory, but
might probably be ruined.

This great catastrophe, however, was spared by the fault of
the French, who did not attack on both sides of the river, where
any retreat would have been impracticable. The position in
which Bennigsen threw his troops was apparently an equal plain,
but divided by a deep ravine full of water, and nearly impassa-
ble, which ran in the direction of Domnau to Friedland, where,

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on the left side of the town, a lake was formed, and which in-
tersected the right of the left of the Russians from the left of
their centre. A thick wood, about a mile and a half from Fried-
land, on the skirts of which rose an elevated ground, bordered
the plain from the Alle, nearly in a semicircle, except towards
the left extremity, where there was an open space. In front of
this wood, a mile from the town, and nearly opposite the cen-
tre, was the small village of Henrichscroof. From a little to
the left of this village down to the Alle, south of Friedland,
was the theatre of action.

About seven o'clock the French made a movement, with ca-
valry and infantry, to gain the village on the plain; and as the
division of Russians destined to occupy it was only on its march
from the Alle, they succeeded in possessing themselves of it
and of three guns, which had hastily advanced. Twelve Rus-
sian squadrons had been ordered to resist their movement. The
French cavalry charged them, and they fled; but the infantry
approaching, the French lost many men, particularly cuiras-
siers, in the pursuit. At the same time, the French infantry
advanced from the village to turn the right of the Russians, be-
fore their reinforcement took post, but twenty pieces of cannon
tore their column of twenty-five hundred men to pieces, and it
fled, leaving about a thousand killed and wounded. The efforts
of the French now relaxed, and about eleven o'clock, the Rus-
sians having nearly passed all their army, about forty-five thou-
sand men, and detached eight thousand of their best troops to
secure Allenberg and Wehlau, the French commenced a re-
treat, when Bennigsen ordered the left to advance and gain the
wood. The chasseurs of the guards, directed to perform this
service, executed it, and killed and took in the wood a great
number of their enemy. Some columns of the French still re-
maining there, they were obliged to retire, from precaution,
behind a village on the banks of the Alle, and a few hundred
paces in front of the wood. About mid-day, a considerable
French reinforcement was discovered, and instantly the contest
was renewed with great fury, for the enemy, advancing with a
considerable discharge of field-pieces, were answered by all the
Russian artillery, ever eager to fire. The Russian cavalry had
endeavoured to gain the left of the enemy: having succeeded,
a party charged the French cuirassiers, who ran away; but, be-
ing met by some officers, they rallied, and turned on their pur-
suers, who checked their career: but, though both parties mu-
tually declined the shock, they advanced till they met sword to
sword, when the Russians were overpowered, after a few mi-
nutes' contest; but, as they were withdrawing, a Russian regi-

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ment charged on the flank of the French, and broke through
them. At this instant a French regiment charged in the same
manner the successful Russians, and a battle ensued, which ter-
minated in the total rout of the French cavalry, and the ground
was strewed with their men and horses.

The French, being discomfited here, covered their front with
artillery, and played from it on the Russian army, which was ex-
posed to every musket ball, but stood erect as if disdaining
their fire, while the French supporting lines lay down, in order
to be covered by high grass; and their main columns were
sheltered int he wood from any kind of danger. This tremen-
dous storm of bullets the Russians endured till 6 o'clock in the
evening. Their fortitude was the more extraordinary, as they
had been for twelve days making the most painful marches,
with scarcely any repose or food, and, for many hours before and
during the battle, they had not eaten a morsel of any kind, and
yet not a murmur was heard, nor did any man shrink from his

About three o'clock Bonaparte arrived with his whole army
from Prussian Eylau, and reposed his troops till six o'clock,
when the cavalry mounted, and his infantry began to advance.
Bennigsen had known of the proposed attack about half an hour
before, but he had not a regiment in reserve. He directed, in-
deed, his line to be rendered more compact, but the loss of
twelve thousand men had made great intervals. A few mo-
ments before the attack commenced, he had ordered his cavalry
to form behind his centre, as the enemy had withdrawn all their
forces towards his left; but there was no time for the execution
of this order, nor for himself to mount on horseback, before
the enemy's battery of forty pieces of cannon thundered on the
guards stationed on the left, and several columns of immense
depth rushed forward, the principal one directing itself along
the ravine. The regiment of guards and the battalion of mili-
tia, which were considerably advanced, gave way at the ap-
proach of the French. The guards, impatient under the can-
non shot, which plunged through their ranks, moved forward,
but not with regularity or compact order, and were driven back
on the town, where for some time they maintained themselves,
and till the fugitives of the chasseurs and militia had passed the
bridges, when they also retired, and an order was given for the
destruction of the pontoons and the conflagration of the town
bridge, which was executed effectually. The town was set on
fire in a quarter where the Russians who were dangerously
wounded were deposited, so that they perished in the flames,
which raged for several hours. The centre had repulsed the at-

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tack made on it; but when the French gained its flank, retreat
was necessary, but so difficult was it, that there was no prospect
of effecting it. At this moment the horse guards and two other
regiments charged the columns pressing them, and routed one
so completely, that the Russian infantry gained the town, and
were preparing to pass the bridge, when the flames showed them
its fate, and their probable destruction. At this critical conjunc-
ture, however, a ford was accidentally discovered, but the river
was breast deep, with very steep banks. The infantry, never-
theless, not only passed in safety, but the artillery ventured the
passage, and ascended the opposite bank. The remaining am-
munition was then destroyed, but in no considerable quantity, as
the firing had been so great during the day that little remained;
and this indeed may be justly stated as one of the causes which
occasioned the defeat; for many guns had been withdrawn, and
the Russian line was no longer covered by an adequate artillery,
when the enemy's batteries, previous to the attack, commenced
the fire. The right wing, consisting chiefly of cavalry, also re-
tired by the same ford, and saved their artillery. Bennigsen ral-
lied the troops of the left wing, at a wood, about a mile distant,
on the Wehlau road, which prevented the pursuit of the enemy,
and gave time for the guns and baggage to gain Allenberg, from
which place the Russians marched to Wehlau, where the Pregel
was passed on a single bridge, and in presence of the French,
who detached four thousand men as a corps of observation ra-
ther than offence, as they moved on the left bank of the Alle,
but kept post within cannon shot of the bridge. The whole of
the Russian army passed without any interruption or loss, on the
seventeenth; the bridge was burnt, and the troops moved to Pe-
pelke, where the army of L'Estocq and Kaminski joined the
main army, after having effected their own junction at Peters-
walde, entered Koningsberg, evacuated that town, with an im-
mense equipage, crossed the Domnau at Leibau, with compa-
ratively small loss, the principal of which was by desertion.

On the eighteenth the Russian army collected and marched to
Tilsit, and there again crossed the river on a single bridge, and
where the protection of a rear-guard was very difficult. The
whole of the baggage having gained the right bank of the Me-
mel, the bridge was burnt, and the enemy almost instantly enter-
ed the town, where there was some partial firing of musketry
from the sentries, which ceased by agreement.

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THOSE who are accustomed to examine and compare dif-
ferent accounts of the same military transactions, perceive the
insuperable difficulty of gaining exact information on the sub-
ject. To comprehend the clearest narrative, a topographical ac-
quaintance with the theatre of war is absolutely necessary, and
from the want of exact surveys seldom attainable; but this at best
can only inform us of the marches and journeys of armies and
detachments, and throws no light on the actual circumstances
which terminate a war. With regard to battles, the scene of ac-
tion, the numbers respectively engaged, the disposition of the
troops, the successive changes in their relative positions, and
the efforts of skill or courage which confer the victory, can be
gained only from the testimony of witnesses, who are necessa-
rily partial in their judgments as auxiliaries on one side or the
other, and the sphere of whose individual observation is neces-
sarily much smaller than the scene of a battle.

The above account of the contests between France and Russia
is taken from the narrative of an English officer, who surveys
the scene with a military eye, but whose observation was con-
fined to the Russian army, and who cannot be considered as an
impartial witness. He must, however, be considered as less
partial than a Russian historian; and those who question his ac-
curacy will be amused, yet not enlightened, by the narrative of
these transactions published by the French. We cannot judge
of the degree in which one narrator deviates from the truth on
one side, by noticing the deviations of an adverse witness on the

With regard to the causes which influenced the fate of this
war, and the actual loss incurred by the losing party, we are
told by the British narrator that the French did not take a single
standard, and took only twenty pieces of cannon, though the
Russians brought four hundred pieces to the field; and that the
latter, during a retreat of a hundred and twenty miles, in which
it was necessary to pass two bridges, lost neither man nor gun
by any attack of the pursuers. The fate of the great battle is
imputed to the negligence of the Russian general, who detached
eight thousand men before it commenced, by whose exertions,
if they had remained, the enemy would have lost the day.

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They are imputed as faults to Bennigsen, that he suffered the
French army to be reinforced by the besieging force of Dantzic,
before he made his movement, though it was so long meditated;
that he retired when the enemy offered him battle, between the
Passarge and the Alle; that after his success at Heilsberg he
again refused battle, suffered the enemy to defile before him on
his right, and abandoned his position, when, with a very superior
force, he might have thrown himself on Ney and Davoust's
forces, who remained within cannon shot of his batteries, on very
disadvantageous ground; that by forced marches he reached
Friedland, but suffered himself to be diverted from his plan, to
engage in the most unfavourable position, where he exposed the
army entrusted to him to destruction, and when his force was
weakened by the detachment of above twelve thousand men,
and many marauders, as always happens in a retreat of the
Russian armies; that he fled to Tilsit with the greatest precipi-
tation, and without adopting common arrangements for the pre-
servation of the remains of his own, and the safety of L'Es-
tocq's army. That Bonaparte should have allowed L'Estocq
and Kaminsky to unite and gain Koningsberg is said to be a
fault; but that he should have suffered the quiet retreat of the
Russians over the Memel can only be explained by supposing
his losses to be very great; for he well knew the disorder of a
Russian retreat, so much encumbered by artillery and baggage;
and that to defile such a column over single bridges, unfortified,
is impracticable, without heavy loss.

Bennigsen is said to have much exaggerated his losses, with a
view to dispose his master to peace. The killed and wounded
at Friedland are said not to have exceeded sixteen thousand;
five thousand at Heilsberg, and three thousand at the passage of
the Alle. All the French troops at the Oder and Alle amount-
ed, at the renewal of the contest, to a hundred and sixty thou-
sand, and their losses, in fourteen days, to thirty thousand, or
nearly a fifth part of their whole number.

The following is the substance of the narrative of these trans-
actions, subsequent to the battle of Heilsberg, as it is given by
the French.

On the 12th of June, at four in the morning, the French army
entered Heilsberg. Latour Maubourg, with his dragoons, and
the light cavalry of Durosnel and Wattier, pursued the Russians
on the right bank of the Alle towards Bartenstein, while the rest
of the army began to march in different directions to out-flank the
Russians, cut off their retreat to Koningsberg, and ravish from
them their magazines. The grand duke of Berg moved towards
Koningsberg, on the 13th, with his cavalry; Davoust followed to

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support him; Soult moved towards Kreutsberg; Lannes towards
Domnau; and Ney and Mortier proceeded to Lampasch with
the respective bodies of forces under their command.

In the mean while, Latour Maubourg had pursued the Rus-
sian rear-guard; the Russians abandoned a number of their
wounded, evacuated Bartenstein, and continued their retreat to
Scheppenbeil, along the left bank of the Alle. Bonaparte im-
mediately began his march to Friedland. The grand duke of
Berg, Soult, and Davoust, manoeuvred towards Koningsberg.
The French emperor, with the troops of Mortier, Ney, and
Lannes; the imperial guard, and the first corps, commanded by
Victor, marched to Friedland in person. On the 13th, the ninth
regiment of hussars entered Friedland, but were driven out by
three thousand of the Russian cavalry.

On the 14th, the Russians appeared on the bridge of Fried-
land. At three in the morning the report of cannon was heard.
Lannes and Mortier were first engaged; they were supported
by Grouchy's division of dragoons and Nansouty's cuirassiers.
Various movements and different actions took place. The Rus-
sians were checked and could not pass the village of Posthenem.
Thinking they had only fifteen thousand men before them, they
continued their march and began to file towards Koningsberg.
On this occasion the French dragoons and cuirassiers, and the
Saxons, made several successful charges; they took from the
Russians four pieces of cannon. At five in the afternoon the dif-
ferent divisions of the army were at their posts; Ney on the
right, Lannes on the centre, Mortier on the left, and Victor, with
the guard, in reserve. The cavalry under Grouchy supported
the left, Latour Maubourg's division of dragoons was in reserve
behind the right, and Lahoussaye's dragoons with the Saxon
cuirassiers were in reserve in the rear of the centre. Mean-
while, the Russians had drawn out the whole of their army.
Their left was supported by the town of Friedland, and their
right extended four or five miles beyond it.

The French emperor, having carefully surveyed the ground,
was determined to get possession of Friedland; he suddenly
changed his front, and, causing the right to advance, he ordered
the attack to be made by the extremity of the right wing. Ac-
cordingly, at half after five, Ney put himself in motion; some
discharges from a battery of twenty pieces of cannon were the
signal. At the same moment the division of Marchand ad-
vanced against the Russians, taking their way by the steeple of
the church. Bisson's division supported their left. The mo-
ment the Russians perceived that Ney had quitted the wood,
there he had at first stationed himself with his right, they en-

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deavoured to turn him with several regiments of cavalry, pre-
ceded by a cloud of Cossacks. Latour Maubourg's division of
dragoons formed immediately, advanced to the right in full gal-
lop, and repelled the charge of their adversaries. In the mean
while, Victor ordered a battery of thirty pieces of cannon to be
placed in the front of his centre. Sinnermont, who commanded
this battery, caused it to be moved four hundred paces forward,
by which the Russians sustained a dreadful loss. All the efforts
of the Russians to effect a diversion were useless.

Several columns of the Russian infantry that attacked Ney's
right were charged with the bayonet, and driven into the Alle.
Several thousands found their death in that river, and some
escaped by swimming.

During this time, Ney's left arrived at the ravin which sur-
rounds the town of Friedland. The Russians, who had here
concealed their emperor's guard in an ambuscade, advanced
with intrepidity, and charged Ney's left. This corps was for a
moment shaken; but Dupont's division, which formed the right
of the reserve, marched against the Russian imperial guard,
routed them, and made a dreadful slaughter among them. The
Russians drew several reinforcements from their centre and other
troops in reserve, to defend Friedland. Friedland, however,
was forced, and its streets covered with dead bodies. At this
moment the centre, commanded by Lannes, was engaged. The
effort which the Russians had made, at the extremity of the
right of the French, having failed, they wished to try a similar
operation on the centre. They were received courageously by
the divisons of Oudinot and Verdier. Mortier then marched
forward, and was supported by the fusiliers of the guard com-
manded by Savary.

The imperial guard, both horse and foot, and two divisions
of the reserve of the first division, were not engaged. The field
of battle was one of the most dreadful that could be seen. It is
no exaggeration to estimate the number killed, on the part of
the Russians, from fifteen to eighteen thousand men. On the
part of the French, the loss did not exceed five hundred killed,
and three thousand wounded. They took eighty pieces of can-
non and a great number of caissons. Several colours remained
in their hands. The Russians had twenty-five generals kill-
ed, taken, and wounded. Their cavalry, particularly, suffered
an immense loss.

Night did not prevent the pursuit of the Russians; they were
followed till eleven o'clock. During the remainder of the night,
the columns that were cut off endeavoured to pass the Alle in
several places. On the following day, for several leagues round,

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were found cannon, and innumerable carriages were floating in
the river.

On the 15th, while the Russians were endeavouring to rally
and retreat to the right bank of the Alle, the French army con-
tinued its manœuvres on the left bank to cut the Russians off
from Koningsberg. The heads of the columns arrived at Weh-
lau together: this town is situated at the confluence of the Alle
and the Pregel. Next day, at day-break, the Russians, having
destroyed all the bridges, availed themselves of this obstacle to
continue their retreat towards Russia. The utmost expedition
was used to overtake them. At eight in the morning the em-
peror caused a bridge to be thrown over the Pregel, and the
army was again in motion. A very hot pursuit of the discom-
fited Russians commenced in every direction. Almost all the
magazines of the Russians on the Alle were burnt by them, or
thrown into the water. From what remained was apparent the
immense loss which had been sustained. In all the villages,
where the Russians had magazines, they burnt them during their
retreat. The French found at Wehlau more than six thousand
quintals of grain.

The grand duke of Berg arrived before Koningsberg, and
took in flank the army commanded by L'Estocq. On the 13th,
Soult found at Creutzburg the Prussian rear-guard. The
division of Milhaud's dragoons defeated the Prussian cavalry,
and took several pieces of cannon. On the 14th the Russians
were compelled to shut themselves up in Koningsberg. About
noon, two of the Russian columns, which had been cut off, ap-
peared before that place, with a view of entering it. Six pieces
of cannon, and from three to four thousand men, who com-
posed this troop, were taken. All the suburbs of Koningsberg
were razed. A considerable number of prisoners were made.

On the 15th and 16th, Soult's corps was occupied before the
entrenchments of Koningsberg; but the advance of the main
body of the army towards Wehlau obliged the Russians to
evacuate Koningsberg, and this place fell into the hands of the
French. A brigade of the division of St. Hilaire advanced from
Pillau, to form the siege of that place, and general Rapp sent
off for Dantzic a column, ordered to go by the Nehrung, to
raise before Pillau a battery which might shut the Haff. Ves-
sels, manned by marines of the guards, rendered the French
masters of this small sea. On the 18th he advanced them to
Szaisgirron, and on the 19th, at two in the afternoon, he entered
Tilsit. The grand duke of Berg, at the head of the greater
part of the light cavalry, and some divisions of dragoons and
cuirassiers, followed the Russians, and did them much injury.

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The fifth regiment of hussars distinguished itself. The Cos-
sacks were repeatedly routed, and suffered considerably in their
different charges, while the French had a few killed and

Davoust, at the head of his division, defiled by Labia, fell on
the Russian rear-guard, and made twenty-five hundred prison-
ers. Ney arrived on the 17th at Insterburgh, and there took
one thousand wounded Russians, and magazines which were
considerable. The woods and villages were full of straggling
Russians, sick or wounded. The loss of the Russian army
was enormous. It had not more than sixty pieces of cannon

On comparing these accounts, there will not be found any
material difference: an agreement strongly corroborative of
their truth. Even in the number of Russians destroyed at
Freidland, both accounts sufficiently agree: but when we no-
tice the general consequences of the war, as stated in both
accounts, we shall be surprised at their disagreement. The
French compute the loss of their enemies, in ten days, at sixty
thousand men, prisoners, killed, and disabled; a hundred and
twenty pieces of artillery, and all their magazines; the impor-
tant city of Koningsberg, with a great number of vessels in the
port, laden with arms and ammunition, from England and
Russia. No particular mention is made of the loss on the side
of the victors*.

But, however doubtful particular facts may be, it is certain
that the French were victorious in this war. They were now
established on the banks of the Memel, a river which divides


* The following is a good specimen of the military eloquence of the French.
Anciently it was a speech, now it is a proclamation:

Soldiers! on the 5th of June we were attacked in our cantonments by the
Russian army. The enemy mistook the causes of our inactivity. He found,
too late, that our repose was that of the lion; he regrets having disturbed it.

In the affairs of Guttstadt, Heilsberg, and the ever memorable one of Fried-
land, in ten days' campaign, in short, we took 120 pieces of cannon, seven
standards; killed, wounded, or took 60,000 Russians; carried off all the ene-
my's magazines and hospitals; Koningsberg; 300 vessels that were there, laden
with all sorts of ammunition; 160,000 fusils sent by England to arm our ene-

From the banks of the Vistula we have reached the borders of the Niemen
(or Memel), with the rapidity of the eagle. You celebrated at Austerlitz the
anniversary of the coronation, you celebrated this year, in an appropriate man-
ner, the battle of Marengo, which put a period to the second coalition.

Frenchmen! you have been worthy of yourselves and of me. You will
return to France covered with laurels, and after having obtained a glorious
peace, which carries with it the guarantee of its duration. It is time that our
country should live at rest, secure from the malignant influence of England.
My benefits shall prove to you my gratitude, and the full extent of the love I
bear you.

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the Russian and Prussian territories, nearly in its whole course.
A small extent of ground, on its eastern side, near the sea,
belonged to Prussia, and this was all, of a kingdom lately so
ample and prosperous, now remaining to the Prussian mo-
narch. Even this was now at the mercy of the enemy. It
was defended neither by troops nor fortresses of his own, and
his ally was baffled, defeated, and disabled, not only from lend-
ing him effectual assistance, but even from defending himself.
A victorious army was now on the Russian limit. The capital
of the empire was only four hundred miles within this limit;
but the French had already traversed a hundred and twenty
miles in twelve days, in opposition to the greatest force which
Russia could assemble to oppose their progress, and the ground
thus traversed was unquestionably not naturally more favoura-
ble to their progress than the space which remained, while all
military opposition to his future progress was certainly hopeless.
The loss of the French, in the late contests, has never been com-
puted, even by their enemies, to exceed thirty thousand men: an
insignificant proportion of the whole number; while, in all the
other means of warfare, their means were infinitely enlarged by
the capture of the Russian magazines, and the ships freighted
with military stores at Koningsberg.

The emperor Alexander entered on this was as an auxiliary
to Prussia. He fought to preserve the dominions of that
power from conquest. All his efforts had failed. The Prus-
sian dominions were now ravished from their former master,
nor could Alexander hope to regain by force of arms what he
was unable to defend, and a continuance of the war would
merely expose himself to inevitable destruction. In these cir-
cumstances, there was but one option to the vanquished, and an
immediate peace was to be sought; and happy might the Rus-
sians esteem themselves, if, by a treaty, they should be able to
preserve, what a continuance of the war would not fail to take
away. Hitherto their own empire was untouched, but was lia-
ble to be subdued in a month. To preserve it entire, therefore,
by a treaty, was the utmost benefit to which their evil fortune
had entitled them.

On the arrival of the French on the Memel or Niemen, all
further resistance on the side of the Russians being hopeless,
the latter requested a suspension of hostilities, preparatory to a
permanent peace. This was granted, on condition that the
French should possess the country situated on the western side
of the river Niemen*, till a peace was finally ratified. This

  * “The limits of the French and Russian armies, during the armistice, shall
be from the Curizch Haff, the Thalweg of the Niemen, and up the left bank of

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armistice was ratified at the town of Tilsit, situated on that
river, on the 21st of June, 1807; Alexander having previously
resided in that town since the renewal of the war.

Thus terminated, in a period of eight months, the victorious
career of the French: a career entirely without example in
modern annals. Other military leaders have traversed a less
space in a time as proportionably short; but they have merely
traversed, without conquering the hostile territory*. The
French emperor has subdued the towns as well as the fields.
As he advanced he distributed armies in order to secure pos-
session; and, whether we consider the power of the subject
countries to shake off the yoke, or of neighbouring nations to
break it for them, the Prussian dominions were now as wholly
in the hands of France as Savoy or Lorrain. The possessor
could not be expelled by internal efforts or external force. Rus-
sia had tried her utmost strength and failed; Great Britain
was, in this respect, as powerless as if she had no political ex-
istence; Austria was not at liberty either to petition or remon-
strate, much less to embarass the French by arms or intrigues;
consequently the French empire was now enlarged by an addi-
tion of territory equal to a third of its previous extent, and this
acquired territory was little inferior to the former in culture,
riches, population, and civilization. The power of the nation
was placed beyond the possibility of being checked by future
opposition. Henceforth no laborious arts to divide confede-
rated enemies; no balancing of one alliance by another; no
frauds and delays, to weaken resistance by preventing prepara-
tion and caution in an adversary, are necessary to the French:
they may incorporate Spain and Portugal with their own pro-
vinces, merely by sending officers to execute the decree; Bo-
hemia and Hungary would be subdued by a very small detach-
ment from the standing military force; Constantinople, Mos-
cow, and Petersburg are to be gained by an army marching at
the rate of twenty miles a day; and these events are not en-
cumbered with hazards or contingencies. To the conqueror
at Friedland all these things are easy and certain, and much
more easy than the conquest of Prussia.

  that river to the mouth of the Arama at Stakbin, and pursuing the course of
that river to the mouth of the Bobra, following this rivulet through Rozano,
Lipsk, Habin, Dolitawo, Gomadz, and Wyna, up to the mouth of the Bobra
in the Narew, and from thence ascending the left bank of the Narew by
Tylyoczyni, Surasx, Narew, to the frontiers of Prussia and Russia. On the
Curizch Nehrung the limits shall be at Nidden.”

  * Gustavus Adolphus and Charles the twelfth made rapid marches and ob-
tained surprising victories, but they cannot be said to have conquered any thing

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IN this state of things, we look with much curiosity at the
treaty between France and her adversaries. Since Bonaparte can
obtain what he has not hitherto gained, by continuing to fight
for it, it is natural to ask, what will he demand more than he has
got? Since he cannot be forced to surrender any part of what
he has obtained, we anxiously inquire what he will spontane-
ously restore, and on what conditions*. By a treaty between
France and Prussia, concluded on the ninth of July, 1807, all
the German territories of Prussia, lying eastward of the river
Elbe (except a small district in Lusatia, called Kottsbuz), and
the ancient kingdom of Prussia, are restored to the Prussian
monarch. All that part of the ancient Polish territory which


* On the twenty-third of June (says the French military historian), the mar-
shal of the palace, Duroc, went to the head quarters of the Russian army, on
the other side of the Niemen, to exchange the ratification of the armistice,
which has been ratified by the emperor Alexander.

On the twenty-fourth, prince Labanoff, having demanded an audience of the
emperor, was admitted on the same day, at two in the afternoon. He re-
mained a long time in the cabinet with his majesty.

On the twenty-fifth, at one o'clock, the emperor, accompanied by the grand
duke of Berg, the prince of Neufchatel, marshal Bessiers, the grand marshal of
the palace, Duroc, and the grand equery, Caulaincourt, embarked on the banks
of the Neimen, in a boat prepared for the purpose. They proceeded to the
middle of the river, where general Lariboissiere, commanding the artillery of
the guard, had caused a raft to be placed, and a pavilion erected on it. Close
by it was another raft and pavilion, for their majesties' suite. At the same
moment the emperor Alexander set out from the right bank, accompanied by
the grand duke Constantine, general Benningsen, general Ouwaroff, prince La-
banoff, and his principal aide-de-camp, count Lieven.

The two boats arrived at the same instant, and the two emperors embraced
each other as soon as they set foot on the raft. They entered together the saloon
which was prepared for them, and remained there during two hours. The
conference having been concluded, the persons composing the suite of the two
emperors were introduced. The emperor Alexander paid the handsomest com-
pliments to the officers who accompanied the emperor, who, on his part, had a
long conversation with the grand duke Constantine and general Benningsen.

The conference having terminated, the two emperors embarked, each in his
boat. Shortly after, prince Labanoff went to the French head quarters. An
agreement has taken place, that one-half of the town of Tilsit is to be rendered
neutral. The apartments appointed there for the residence of the emperor of
Russia and his court have been fixed upon. The imperial Russian guard will
pass the river, and be quartered in that part of the city destined to that purpose.

The vast number of persons, belonging to each army, who flocked to both
banks of the river to view this scene, rendered it more interesting, as the spec-
tators were brave men, who came from the extremities of the world.

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lies upon the Vistula, between the old Prussian kingdom and
Brandenburg, except the city of Dantzic and a small territory
round it, was likewise restored to the former possessor. All
the rest of the Polish provinces of Prussia, with all its territories
westward of the Elbe, were renounced by the king of Prussia,
and subjected to the absolute will and discretion of the con-
queror. If we were to measure the changes effected by this
treaty merely by territorial extent and population, we shall find
that the territory is reduced by about one-half, and the popula-
tion, or number of Prussian subjects, by somewhat more than
one-half: an extraordinary change to be produced by a war of
a few months. Extraordinary as was the conquest of the whole
in that period, the solemn and irrevocable cession by treaty of
one-half is much more extraordinary. This is evidence that
the conquest was absolute, and the conqueror at liberty to
retain as much as he thought proper. Had the French in-
sisted on their adversary renouncing by treaty all his former
possessions westward of the Memel, their demand must have
been complied with.

History does not exhibit a more remarkable spectacle than the
progress of the Prussian monarchy, unless it be the sudden ad-
vance of the French. About sixty years ago, its extent was
not more than one-third of the greatest extent to which it has
since attained. Only twenty years ago it was only half of its
subsequent extent, and by this treaty it was reduced to the situa-
tion, as to territory, in which it was at that period. But though
this kingdom has been of late years increasing rapidly in bulk,
riches, and revenue, it has been gradually declining in absolute
or internal, and rapidly declining in relative strength. Its abso-
lute vigour was greatest under Frederick the great, in 1740, and
its strength, compared with that of the neighbouring states, was
likewise greatest at that period. The prince of that age was
able to make head against France, Austria, and Russia con-
federated against him, and to wrest from them great and
wealthy provinces; but though the kingdom was three times as
large and populous after his death, such had been the decline of
Prussian courage and virtue on the one hand, and the increase
of the military power of France on the other, that its total
destruction was completed in the warfare of a single year; and
though a kingdom much larger than that occupied by Frede-
rick has been restored to his descendant by this treaty, he is
still to be considered as a vassal of the French empire, and
only independent in name.

Besides so large a portion of his territory, the Prussian mo-
narch was obliged to give up the ascendancy which he formerly

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enjoyed over the petty states of northern Germany. By
means of this ascendancy, the power of these states was nearly
as subservient to his views as if they composed a part of his ac-
tual kingdom. Their fortresses, revenues, and armies were
employed by him, whenever he thought proper, against his own
enemies. This authority was now at an end. All of these
states, which were suffered to exist, were now confederated
with those on the Rhine, and subjected to the political controul of
France. Thus a heavy weight was not only taken out of the
Prussian scale, but the same was put into that of the adversary.

The French emperor, when he entered Poland the pre-
ceding year, thought it expedient to conciliate the natives of
that country by promising to restore to them their ancient inde-
pendence. It is difficult to conceive the exact influence pro-
duced by these promises. When the Prussians were expelled
from that part of Poland which belonged to them, the domestic
government was intrusted to a council formed of the Polish
nobility, and called the Polish directory; the Poles in the
Prussian service were invited to defend their country under the
French standard, and great numbers enlisted under the in-
vader. But whatever were the promises on one side, or the
hopes on the other, these could only make the people of Poland
perform with alacrity, or at least with less reluctance, what
they were obliged to perform at any rate. Necessity com-
pelled them to submit without resistance to the French, and to
fight against their ancient master, and it was happy for them if
their inclinations could be engaged on the same side. The
French emperor was in full possession of Prussian Poland.
He stopt short on the limit of those districts which belonged to
Russia, and he had no pretext for encroaching on the Austrian
provinces. His power, therefore, was limited to the former
division, and of the destiny of this he was absolute master.

It is only twelve or fifteen years since the best part of Poland
was acquired by Prussia. These districts contained upwards of
fifty thousand square miles in extent, and more than three mil-
lions of subjects* Instead of tearing from the Prussian mo-
narchy the whole of these recent and lawless spoils, the French,
notwithstanding their promise to the Poles, agreed by this treaty
to restore somewhat more than one-fifth of the whole to the for-
mer possessor, reserving the rest to be disposed of as he thought
proper. The country restored lies chiefly on the Baltic; it is
divided by the Vistula, at whose mouth the city of Dantzic is
situated. As this river brings down the produce of the inland

  * These were gained by the cessions of 1793 and 1795. They were equal in
extent to the whole of England.

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country, of which Dantzic is the great reservoir and mart, the
command of this river and city constitutes the chief value of the
province; but by this treaty Dantzic is made an independent
state, and Prussia is forbidden to obstruct the navigation of this
river, or impose any custom or toll upon its commerce.

Dantzic was formerly a free city or sovereign state within
itself; but when the Prussians usurped the adjacent territory,
they loaded the trade of the Vistula with heavy imposts, and
shortly after, without any claim but that which is founded on
superior force, took possession of the town itself. Such is the
motley colour of all human events, that this war was more de-
structive in its progress, and more propitious in its termination
to Dantzic, than to any other part of the conquered districts. Its
ancient independence is revived and placed upon stronger foun-
dations than ever, and the course of the inland trade is delivered
from all its customary vexations and impediments*. The war,
therefore, has been a temporary evil, but an ultimate and perma-
nent advantage to Dantzic, and to the inland country, while the
restitution of the adjacent territory to Prussia is accompanied
with restrictions that deprive it of much of its value.

The reserved part of Poland was to receive a kind of separate
existence from the will of Bonaparte. The people for a time
were uncertain of their destiny, and some impatient spirits be-
gan to suspect that the new yoke preparing for them might be
much worse than the old. Some turbulence and commotion
were awakened among them, by the restitution of so large a part
of the territory to its late masters, and the Polish directory were
obliged to exert themselves with much industry to appease the
rising discontents.

We are generally unable to penetrate into the motives from
which the political conduct of nations or their rulers flows: Po-
land might undoubtedly have been moulded into the shape of a
province like Flanders or Savoy, and been governed by prefects
appointed and recalled at pleasure, by the government at Paris;
or it might have received the form of a separate, though depen-
dent state, and been ruled as an inheritance, by one of the new
imperial family. To either of these schemes we cannot readily
conceive that any effectual opposition could be made by Russia,
Prussia, or the Poles themselves. That one of these schemes
was not embraced, cannot be reasonably accounted for by sup-
posing the French to have dreaded that resistance, either fo-
reign or domestic, would be made to its execution. Neither of

  * Marshal Le Febvre, by whom Dantzic was taken, has received the title of
duke of Dantzic; we are assured, however, in a speech of the French empe-
ror to the senate, that this is a mere title.

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these schemes, however, was embraced. This territory was
erected into a duchy, and bestowed upon the duke, now king of
Saxony. By what motives Bonaparte was directed in the choice
of this person we are wholly unacquainted. The dukes of Sax-
ony were some of them kings of Poland, when that country was
a separate state, and its throne elective. A sort of preference
was thus created, to which this prince might lay claim, had the
crown been still conferred by the popular choice; but this claim
could avail nothing in the present case, unless some weight
may be supposed to have been given to the popular prejudices.
The choice of the Saxon family committed less violence on
these prejudices than any other choice would have done.

There was an evident advantage in giving Poland to a prince
whose most valuable dominions lay in Germany, and within
reach of the French power. By this means the conduct of the
new state was more effectually controuled, and its submission

As this splendid donation was entirely gratuitous, it is wor-
thy of curiosity to notice the conditions on which it was confer-
red: by this means only can we reasonably estimate the effects
on human happiness produced by this great revolution. It seems
to have been beneath the genius and ambition of this conqueror
merely to put one man in the place of another. This has been
a constitution-making age, and no less remarkable for funda-
mental alterations in the laws and forms of government, than
for changes in the names and dimensions of states, and in the fa-
milies of rulers. Constitutions are still made, though no longer
made by popular assemblies and victorious factions; and king-
doms were formerly moulded into republics: but at present
new constitutions flow from the will of one man, and republics
are exalted into kingdoms.

Bonaparte restored Saxony to its despoiled prince, on condi-
tion that the Roman catholic religion should be put upon an
equal footing with the lutheran. In the newly-created arch-
duchy of Warsaw, the Roman system is made the established
religion, but all other religions are made entirely free. Political
authority is distributed between the crown, which is made here-
ditary in the Saxon family, and a national assembly, or diet, con-
sisting of two houses. One of these is a senate, consisting of
clergy and nobility, named by the king; the other a body of re-
presentatives, deputed by the land proprietors and towns. The
ministers and military are appointed and changed at the king's
pleasure, but all public offices must be filled by natives of the
archdukedom, and the Polish language is restored in all official
and judicial transaction. In fine, a kingdom is created out of

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the ruins of the Prussian empire in Poland, about as extensive
as Scotland or Portugal, and containing about two millions of
inhabitants, governed by a constitution dictated by the con-
queror, and which bears the appearance of a limited monarchy.
This kingdom is conferred as a free gift on the duke of Saxony,
together with a German district formerly belonging to Prussia.
This duke being compelled by Prussia to fight against France,
lost his patrimony; but it was speedily restored to him, with the
title of king, together with these Polish provinces. He is now
dependent on France, but less so, on account of his establishment
in Poland, than he formerly was on Prussia. Such have been
the splendid fruits of this war with regard to the Saxon family:
fruits that were not to be expected, whether the French had
been unfortunate or prosperous, and less to be expected from
their success than their failure. It is also remarkable, that this
contest, so disastrous in its progress to Russia, is terminated by
a treaty which adds a considerable district to that empire, even
on the quarter which composed the scene of these disasters. In
order, as the treaty says, to create a definite boundary between
the duchy and the Russsian empire, the ancient limit, which, in
one place, traversed hills and vallies, is brought forward, and
made to coincide with the channels of several rivers.

With regard to the relations established by this treaty
between France and Russia, we are only made acquainted with
them by their effects. The treaty itself, in consequence of
regulating the future conduct of the parties towards other
states, is very prudently concealed. Its compacts will fully
unfold themselves only as time advances. We already read
the spirit of this treaty in the conclusion of the war with
Turkey, and in the surrender of the islands and fortresses in the
Mediterranean, possessed by Russia.

About a month after the treaty was formed at Tilsit, peace
was concluded between Russia and Turkey. The great object
of dispute was the government of Moldavia and Wallachia, and,
in order to accommodate both parties, they agreed to withdraw
their armies from these provinces, and leave them, for the
present, wholly free and unmolested. Tenedos, an island near
the mouth of the Dardanelles, had been taken by the Russian
fleet, but was now restored to the Turks. All the naval forces
of Russia in the Mediteranean and the Black sea were re-
called home. In fine, the spirit of this treaty appears to have
meditated the restoration of the two states exactly to the situa-
tion in which they were placed before the late war between
them, except in relation to the two Greek provinces, the destiny
of which the Turkish government no longer claims the power of

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prescribing, but is obliged to be satisfied with referring the
decision to the French, on condition that Russia likewise as-
sents to the reference. By these terms the honour of Russia ap-
pears, in a great measure, to be maintained inviolate. She re-
cedes from the footing gained by her fleets and armies in the
Turkish territory, merely because the Turks give up their pre-
tensions to regulate the government of the two Greek provinces,
pretensions which occasioned the war. The benefits to Turkey
are positive and signal: the state is rescued from the grasp of a
victorious invader, and the tottering empire is restored to the
state from which the war had reduced it. How much further
the Russians were able, or deemed themselves able, to advance
beyond the point where their progress was arrested by this
treaty; with what success they were likely to maintain the foot-
ing actually gained, and consequently how far their receding is
to be deemed a reluctant submission to the conquering French,
and a sacrifice by which peace was to be obtained in their wes-
tern quarter, is impossible for any but their own ministers and
generals to ascertain. It is probable, however, that these con-
cessions were wrung from them by the necessity of their affairs,
and that they would not have relinquished their Turkish con-
quests but in order to avert the dreadful disasters which me-
naced them in another quarter.

Among the islands situated on the western coast of Greece,
and near its southern extremity, there are seven principal ones,
of which Cefalonia is the chief. They are scattered along the
coast and near adjacent to it, in a distance, from Cerigo, at the
south cape of Peloponnesus, to Corfu, of three hundred miles.
They contain about two thousand square miles, are well culti-
vated and peopled, and afford very favourable stations for a
power which covets the trade of the eastern Mediterranean, or
the dominion of Greece. They were anciently parts of the
eastern empire, in the dismemberment of which, in the thir-
teenth century, they fell to the Venetians. When Venice was
incorporated with Austria, these islands were formed into a
republic, under the fantastic title of the republic of the Seven
Isles. In the course of subsequent revolutions they fell under
the power or protection of the Russians. The Russians, by
the aid of the English navy, were enabled to maintain their foot-
ing, not only in these islands, but on a corner of Dalmatia, for-
merly also pertaining to Venice. By the present treaty they
were obliged to give up the mouths of the Cattaro, together
with the Seven Islands. The real or imaginary importance
of these islands, and the consequent value of the cession, is un-
known to us. In themselves, it is easy to perceive, their value

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was extremely small; but they were very advantageous posts
from which to annoy the Turks, either by fleets and armies, or
by emissaries to seduce the Greeks into rebellion. They were
separated from Russia, however, by so long a tract of sea and
land, that the possession must always have proved precarious
and burthensome.

By this treaty Russia was of course disjoined from her late
ally, Great Britain. It may be naturally supposed that Rus-
sia was compelled, in exchange for a peace so advantageous in
other respects, to promise a hearty concurrence with France
in the war against England. As a great commerce subsisted
between Russia and England, the cessation of this commerce
was deemed by the French a most important advantage to them,
and a promise to that effect was probably insisted on as an in-
dispensable condition of peace. The enmity of France has
long been chiefly directed against England, and victories gained
over the neighbouring nations were principally valued as con-
tributing to diminish the allies or circumscribe the trade of
Great Britain. The conquest of Prussia has produced no ef-
fect more desirable or glorious in the eyes of the French empe-
ror, than the exclusion of British ships and manufactures from
northern Germany and Poland, and the defeat of the Russians
was of little avail unless it enabled him to extend this prohibi-
tion to all the southern and eastern coast of the Baltic sea.

However this be, war did not immediately ensue between
Russia and Great Britain: a delay probably to be ascribed to
that prudence which waits for a suitable opportunity to execute
its purposes. There was at this time a considerable Russian
fleet in the Mediterranean, which in case of a sudden war
would have been liable to be taken or destroyed by the British
force in the same quarter. Much of the Russian commerce
would have likewise been exposed to pillage by a precipitate
declaration, though the latter disadvantage might have been
outweighed by the number of British ships in the ports of
Russia, and of British property subsisting in the empire, and
within the reach of a rapacious government. The general ap-
prehension, among Englishmen, that the peace with France
would be immediately followed by a war with Great Britain,
induced all who traded with Russia to contract their business
and remove their property, so that, when hostilities were finally
declared, there was very little for confiscation to effect.

The most memorable consequence of this war was the erec-
tion of a new kingdom between the Rhine and the Elbe.
Within these limits were lately to be found the rich and exten-
sive dukedom of Hanover, with several principalities belonging

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to the Brunswick and Hessian princes. These princes, in conse-
quence of family affinity, of local proximity, or of interest, have
been faithfully subservient to the Prussian power, since it attain-
ed its recent grandeur. Hanover, in consequence of the acces-
sion of its dukes to the English throne, has its interest blended
with that of England; its revenue, military force, and strong
places have been employed by England in its own cause, and this
country has been frequently invaded and ravaged by the French,
in consequence of this disastrous and fortuitous connection with
a distant nation. It is the only limb or member of the British
empire accessible to European enemies by land, and its extent
bears too small a proportion to that of France or Prussia to
enable it to defend itself by its own exertions. During this
war it was a long time occupied by the French; by the French
it was transferred to Prussia; but the events of this year threw
it again into the hands of France, and it was now destined to
form a part of the new kingdom.

The prince of Hesse and the duke of Brunswick, whose do-
mains were, next to Hanover, the most considerable in this
quarter, were allied in blood to the house of Prussia. The ef-
forts made by the French to break the intimate connection
which subsisted between Hesse and Prussia, and to induce the
former to join the Rhenish confederation, formed a principal
topic of complaint, previous to the commencement of hostilities
against France. In the war that followed, the prince had ac-
cepted a Prussian commission, and contributed his strength to
that side, without being able to screen himself under the plea of
terror or necessity; his principality being so situated as to make
the resentment of France much more perilous to him than that
of Prussia: this resentment was likewise exasperated by the
long and intimate connection that had subsisted between this
prince and Great Britain: a connection purely flowing from in-
terest, the Hessian prince having sold his troops to the British
during the American war, and afterwards invested the money
paid for them in the public stocks of that nation. To have been
serviceable to England, on any terms and from any motives, suf-
ficed to render a German lord obnoxious to Napoleon, and the
Hessian territory was ordained to share the fate of Hanover.

The enmity of France towards the duke of Brunswick was of
ancient origin. That prince was a near relation to the British
monarch; had been, since his early youth, in the Prussian ser-
vice; had carried on a successful war against the French, when
a young man, in behalf of England; had headed the army de-
signed to overturn the French republic; and had, in the recent
war, enjoyed the chief command of the Prussians. Every

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event in his life, therefore, weighed heavily against him in the
scales of the victorious French, and his possessions were eagerly
declared to be an irrevocable conquest. These states, with
several smaller ones, and some free cities on the Baltic, compre-
hended the ancient imperial province or circle of Westphalia,
and parts of the Upper Rhine and of Lower Saxony. They
were therefore called, collectively, the kingdom of Westphalia,
and Jerome Bonaparte, the brother of the French emperor, was
declared the king.

Jerome is the youngest of the five brothers of Napoleon.
This great and fortunate person naturally seeks to strengthen
himself by family alliances, and to bestow trust and favour on
the members of his own family, rather than on strangers. In
the character of his brothers and the destiny of his sisters, how-
ever, there is little to gratify the ambition of the emperor. The
two qualities of intellectual vigour and a submissive temper are
seldom united in the same person, and accordingly Lucien Bona-
parte, whose abilities qualify him to be most useful, is of a tem-
per that cannot bear controul. The two elder brothers, Joseph
and Louis, are sufficiently compliant, but destitute of civil or
military talents. Their interest is the same with that of their
patron. They must stand or fall with him. Their fidelity,
therefore, may be safely counted on; but, though they will never
thwart the views of the emperor, they can do little, except as
servile and implicit agents, to promote these views. They are
according placed at the opposite extremes of the empire, in sta-
tions that require nothing but a royal pageant, and where every
political function might be exercised as well without as with

The recentness of their greatness will perhaps explain the
humility with which this family have hitherto, in general, allied
themselves in marriage. The emperor himself was married to
the widow of an obscure person, when he himself was so ob-
scure as to owe some of his subsequent exaltation to this mar-
riage. His sisters were given to favourite military followers;
and one of them, Mary Paulette, surviving her first husband, Le
Clerc, ascended no higher, in a second choice, than to a Roman
nobleman. When Bonaparte made himself an emperor, he
was naturally desirous of strengthening his throne by all the
matrimonial opportunities that remained. His step-son Eu-
gene Beauharnois and his brother Jerome only were unpro-
vided with wives, and these he determined to advance by these
means, as high as circumstances would admit.

For some time the only royal house of any importance in Eu-
rope, subservient to the French, was that of Spain. Austria,

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Prussia, and Russia were either hostile or jealous. Among the
lesser German princes, Saxony and Hesse were under Prussian
influence, and Bavaria and Wirtemberg were still fluctuating
between France and Austria. This fluctuation was ended, and
their subservience to France established, by the issue of the war
with Austria, and a princess of Bavaria was, shortly after this
war, married to Eugene Beauharnois. The house of Bavaria
has heretofore furnished several queens to France, and enjoys
all the splendour which arises from ancient renown and growing

Jerome Bonaparte, like most of the brothers, has nothing
energetic or aspiring in his own character. He must be prop-
ped up by his brother's influence; and for some time it was
doubtful whether he would not sink into a private station, in
spite of this extraneous support. He was sent to the West In-
dies at an early age, and from thence came to North America,
from which the power and vigilance of the English at sea pre-
vented for some time his return to France. He employed the
interval in travelling over the United States, and in amusements
suitable to his age and education. Finally, he became ena-
moured of a young lady, the daughter of a respectable mer-
chant at Baltimore, whom he married, and whom he persisted
in attempting to carry along with him to France, when a safe
opportunity at length occurred, notwithstanding the resentment
and prohibitions of the emperor. Happily for his wife, her
courage or temerity exposed her to less evil than she had reason
to expect. Jerome was permitted to land, but his wife, with
the ship that brought her, was obliged to withdraw from the
coasts of France. Jerome was prevailed upon to allow of the
dissolution of his marriage; a small squadron of ships was put
under his nominal command; this squadron traversed the At-
lantic ocean and the West Indian seas, and not only did much
injury to the British trade, but was conducted, after a long
cruize, by a singular good fortune, in safety to France. His
compliance with the emperor's will raised him to favour and
distinction. He was married to the daughter of the king of
Wirtemberg, accompanied his brother in his war with Prussia,
and finally has been selected as head of the new kingdom of
Westphalia. Thus we have lived to witness the most marvel-
lous spectacle which history exhibits, or which the most prolific
fancy, sporting in a world of seeming impossibilities, could have
pourtrayed*. In the short interval of ten or twelve years, a

  * This is not said vaguely or hastily. If we go over the history of Europe,
from the earliest ages, we shall find no example of a change of fortune or con-

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single family, natives of a remote province, of which the union
with France was almost too recent to give it a claim to be called
French, were exalted from indigence, obscurity, and nearly the
lowest rank, to such a height, that, of five brothers, one of them
was absolute and consecrated sovereign of France, with the im-
perial title, another was king of the territory formerly belonging
to the Dutch republic, a third was king of Naples, and a fourth
rules a powerful kingdom in Germany. A step-son of one of
the brothers governs as viceroy the ancient domain of Venice,
Sardinia, and Milan; while an uncle, with the title of prince pri-
mate of the Rhine, is a real sovereign in Franconia, Suabia,
and Bavaria.

Such are the immediate consequences of the peace ratified at
Tilsit. It is not the historian's province to indulge in conjec-
ture with regard to the future, especially when the events of
every new year tend to discredit all the conclusions of human
judgment and foresight. There is nothing, however, more cer-
tain than that the conduct of nations is regulated by their
power. We are surprized on perceiving the French ratify a
treaty by which they spontaneously give up extensive provinces,
of which they are in absolute possession. The known princi-
ples of human nature lead us to suspect, that if this restitution is
sincere, and will be executed, it has been suggested by the view
of some secret but equivalent advantage flowing from another
quarter. If no such advantage occurs to us, we are led to
doubt whether the victors had not more reason than is evident
to a distant observer for questioning the future success of his
arms; whether the war was really as disastrous, and the issue

  dition similar to that of the Bonapartes. The interval between the lowest and
highest condition of a fortunate individual was never in any former instance so
great, his elevation so rapid, or so much in opposition to previously established
principles. The instance most nearly similar is the history of Cromwell, but
the utmost elevation of Cromwell is much below that of Bonaparte. The
most signal changes of individual condition, in former times, are to be found, 1,
in the immediate successors of the Macedonian Alexander; 2, in some of the
Roman emperors previous to Constantine; and, 3, in the Roman pontiffs.
But Alexander's successors were exalted by foreign conquest, a common and
adequate cause of human grandeur; and exalted to an infinitely less height,
though some of them perhaps from as low a condition, as Bonaparte has like-
wise been exalted by mere conquest. The Roman emperors were by custom
elected by the army; that a peasant, therefore, should, after a gradual ascent
of twenty years, reach the purple, was, in some degree, matter of course. The
Roman pontiffs were selected constitutionally, without regard to name or ori-
ginal rank. In none of these cases, therefore, is a parallel to be found to the
case before us, in which there is every circumstance calculated to show the nar-
row limits of human sagacity and foresight. Conjecture, whether regulated by
the study of the past or blindly impelled by a lawless fancy, could never have
sketched such a scene as has occupied the last four years in Europe.

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of a protracted contest so certainly fatal to the Russians, as first
appearances have led us to conclude. Finally, we are at liberty
to question the sincerity of the conqueror in making unneces-
sary cessions. It is one thing to sign, and another to execute a
treaty. A thousand plausible excuses and pretexts are always
ready to suggest delays, in retreating from a conquered country,
or complying with generous conditions. Thus, in former trea-
ties, the French declared Switzerland, Holland, and northern
Italy independent, though in possession of their troops; and
immediately after established their dominion in these states
more absolutely than ever. Notwithstanding a solemn com-
pact with Austria, the German empire was dissolved, a French
army continued in Germany, and the western principalities
were subjected to a French proconsul. We cannot, therefore,
be surprized if the French, notwithstanding the recent treaty,
should continue in military possession of the German provinces
of Prussia, or if such peremptory demands should follow the
execution of the treaty as virtually to annul it. On these heads
a very short time will throw all necessary light, and fulfil o[gap]
confute our conjectures.

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THOUGH the British government was deterred, by a judi-
cious or mistaken caution, from joining their armies to those of
Russia in Poland, they were anxious spectators of the contest,
and beheld its final issue with the deepest regret and consterna-
tion. Their only formidable ally was now compelled to submit
to the enemy, and this submission would be followed, they had
the strongest reasons for believing, by open hostilities between
themselves and their late confederate. Great Britain being in-
accessible by land or sea to the French power, the only way to
annoy her is thought to be by diminishing her commerce. The
French, therefore, interdict all commerce between their own
dominions and Great Britain, and influence their allies to do
the same. This expedient is a desperate and dubious one.
Experience only can inform us how far it can be effectually exe-
cuted; how far the utmost exertions of the government can
thwart the interest and counteract the ingenuity of individuals.
Experience only can inform us whether this kind of warfare,
by which both parties are injured, is most injurious to the
nation who carries it on or that which is its object. Com-
merce is in all cases a mutual benefit, though this benefit is sel-
dom exactly equal. Restrictions on commerce, therefore, are
contrivances for diffusing the evils of war to persons and places
situated beyond the reach of armies and fleets. The evil is
never confined to one of the warring parties; it must be felt, in
some degree and necessarily, by both, and, according to the
customary arithmetic of enemies, the triumph is claimed by the
party who suffers least, and who, by incurring this calamity,
eludes one which is imagined to be greater.

When the French armies stop on the Russian limits, and
the king of Prussia is restored by treaty to some part of his an-
cient territory, we hastily imagine that we see all the conse-
quences of the terminated war; but the heavy arm of the con-
queror is still felt, not only in the new Prussian kingdom, but
throughout the Russian empire, if all trade with the British
empire be forbidden, if the rich be deprived of those necessa-
ries or luxuries which were formerly supplied by this com-
merce, and a numerous class of the whole society be reduced to
idleness and beggary, by the cessation of that stream which
hitherto supplied them with employment. The French armies

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withdraw to their own country, and their fleets lie dismantled
in their ports; but the existence and welfare of Great Britain
do not thereby continue unmolested or unimpaired. If the
war has ended in circumscribing or diminishing her commerce,
it has somewhat distressed and impoverished the nation, and
may thus produce an evil more destructive than the desolation
of some counties, or the conflagration of some cities, by a hos-
tile inroad.

The immediate effect of this war, in relation to the British
nation, was the cessation of their trade with all parts of the
Prussian monarchy*. This effect it was not in their power to
elude, but it behoved them to guard with the utmost vigilance,
and employ their utmost force against any further consequence.
Russia did not immediately proceed to commercial hostility.
The pause, therefore, was occupied by the efforts of the diplo-
matic agents of England to avert this storm, and by the mer-
chants to elude its violence when it should come, by removing
their persons and effects from the country. This is all that the
relative condition of the two states made it possible for Great
Britain to do, previously, at least, to an open war, with regard
to Russia. With regard to Sweden and Denmark, the only
states in Europe which remained neutral or friendly to Great
Britain, different measures might be pursued.

It is not easy to perceive any just ground for the enmity
which Sweden has for so many years entertained against France.
They are placed at such a distance from each other, that no ter-
ritorial claims can interfere. Sweden has no colonies, for the
trade or possession of which it is necessary to contend. The
naval power was not likely to interfere with that of France; on
the contrary, the naval supremacy of Great Britain, and their
boundless commerce, have furnished the only plausible occasion
for jealousy and animosity to Sweden. It is true, the king of
Sweden possessed some territories in Germany; but this afford-
ed a strong motive for maintaining peace with France, since the
preservation of this territory, if attacked by France, was entirely

  * This must be understood with some qualification and exception. All com-
mercial restrictions are adverse to the interest of individuals. The very nature
of commerce affords endless opportunities of eluding these restrictions. The
utmost energies of government cannot avail to their perfect execution. But
Prussia obeys the French in imposing these restrictions, and the interest and
inclinations of the people and the prince are equally adverse to them. How
imperfectly then are they likely to be executed! The utmost connivance and
remissness will take place, and in these we may see a fruitful cause of jealousy
and complaint on the side of France, and convenient pretexts for neglecting or
breaking the late treaty. That part of it which relates to the British trade
can be executed only by a French army and French agents.

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hopeless. These circumstances, however, deterred not the
king of Sweden from persisting in this war, though he appears
unable to allege any other reason for hostility than the des-
perate and obsolete claims of the Bourbon family*. A detach-
ment of the French army entered his German territory after the
battle of Jena, and the Swedes were speedily compelled to shel-
ter themselves in Stralsund. This is the provincial capital, and,
being well fortified and open to the sea, was able to maintain an
obstinate resistance, by means of succours from Sweden and
England. This resistance was, however, at all times a hope-
less and useless one, since the fate of the city was decided by that
of the Prussian monarchy, and the fate of Prussia was decided
by the first great battle. The Swede, however, actuated by a
spirit of honour more than of prudence, exerted all his power to
protract the siege, which terminated at length by surrender, on
the twenty-third of August, 1807.

The alliance between Great Britain and Sweden was founded
on the power of the former to protect the latter from a French
invasion, and relieve its poverty by large subsidies. While war
subsisted between France and Russia, Sweden was accessible
to the former only by sea, and was therefore sufficiently pro-
tected by the navy of Great Britain. The peace and consequent
alliance between France and Prussia laid the Swedes open to a
new and formidable danger. Being accessible to assaults from
Russia through a long, open, and defenceless frontier, and hav-
ing no force sufficient to repel these assaults, they are exposed,
by the amity of Alexander and Napoleon, to dangers which Bri-
tish fleets and subsidies will not enable them to avert or elude.

The peace of Tilsit, however, was more dangerous to Great
Britain, in its consequences, with regard to Denmark than to
Sweden. The Danes held a fortress situated on the strait or
channel which connects the Atlantic ocean with the Baltic sea.
This fortress was once thought able to prevent the passage of
this important channel, not only by trading vessels, but likewise
by ships of war. The victorious progress of Nelson, a few years
ago, proved that the passage could not be shut against armed
ships, but it is still thought to present an insuperable barrier
againt the merchant. Besides, the Danes are a maritime peo-
ple, and in a war with England would be able to destroy the
commerce of their enemy in the Baltic. They have likewise a
numerous fleet and well-furnished arsenals, which, by their union

  * A conversation between the king of Sweden and a French marshal has been
published, and is very characteristic of the former. The stress which he lays
in this dialogue on the usurpations of Bonaparte, and the rights of Louis XVIII,
manifests great political absurdity and indiscretion.

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with the French, might be employed by them on the long-pro-
jected design of an invasion. The influence of the victories of
Bonaparte and the peace of Tilsit on the conduct of Denmark
was therefore a subject of anxious observation to the British

Hitherto, Denmark had almost uniformly preserved a neutra-
lity amidst the contests of its neighbours. The nation was too
weak to contend with any of its neighbours. As long as Austria,
Prussia, and Russia were formidable to France, that power was
deterred from exerting either force or menaces to procure the co-
operation of Denmark with its views, for any efforts of this kind
would have alarmed and offended them. Denmark was likewise
unable, as was proved by the battle of Copenhagen, which dis-
solved the maritime league into which Sweden and Russia had
forced her to enter, to make head against the naval power of
Great Britain. The co-operation of Denmark could be of no
service to Great Britain, because her naval forces were not
wanted, and her military strength by land was insufficient to
cope with either France or Prussia, and a peaceful intercourse
was highly advantageous on the score of commerce.

To these critical and fortunate conjunctures was Denmark in-
debted for the privilege of remaining at peace with all other
states. A state so accessible by sea to one of the nations at war,
and by land to the rest, and incapable of repelling the attack of
the weakest among the contending powers, had been happily
exempt from foreign war and intestine commotion for twenty
years together*. The seeds of domestic discord, so plentifully
sown in other countries by the French revolution, do not ap-
pear to have reached this fortunate land, and the ancient consti-
tution maintained its customary forms and vigour, though the
crown was worn by a driveling idiot.

The progress of the French in Germany and Poland, and the
treaty which established the power of this nation in all the coun-
tries contiguous to Denmark, and which freed them, for the fu-
ture, from the necessity of paying any regard to the humours
and interests of Prussia or Russia, in their conduct towards the
Danes, might be reasonably expected to terminate the security of
Denmark. All maritime nations had been long annoyed by the
naval conduct of the British; a conduct dictated by their own

  * The battle of Copenhagen can scarcely be deemed an exception to this re-
mark. The purpose of the British was to compel the Danes to return to that
neutrality, from which they had, for a moment, deviated. This purpose being
effected, by beating down the obstacles to an immediate attack upon the country,
they went no further. The tranquillity of Denmark, for so long a period, is the
more remarkable, when we reflect that the king was an idiot.

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exclusive interest, justified even to themselves only by its con-
ducing to their own exclusive interest, and adopted merely be-
cause they possessed the power of extorting the submission of
others. The Danes had partaken largely of these vexations.
They had made one effort to break the yoke, but they succeed-
ed not. They had only brought down ruin and defeat upon
themselves, and were compelled, though with infinite reluctance,
to acquiesce in the claims of the British government. Here
then was an obvious pretext for the interference of the French.
Their armies could overrun the country in an instant, and seize
the cities and arsenals. They might demand an alliance with
Denmark against England, and a willing compliance with this
demand could only be prevented by the dread of England. But
this dread would be outweighed by a danger still more formida-
ble, in the inroad of French armies. Compliance, therefore, as
the least evil, would inevitably follow.

The French emperor's ruling passion was the annoyance of
Great Britain. This could not be effected directly by armies or
fleets. Neither the territories nor commerce of his enemy were
within the reach of his squadrons. He could wound the foe,
therefore, only through his own sides and those of his allies, and
diminish his wealth by refusing to traffic with him. Denmark,
though not openly warring on the side of Britain, was contribut-
ing to her riches by trading with her. To put an end to this
trade, therefore, was a design natural to the French emperor,
and the reluctance of the Danes to incur the evils arising from
this suspension of their trade, and their consequent hostilities
with England, would probably be overcome by the dread of
much more intolerable evils in the power of France to inflict.
Such were the consequences which a rational observer could not
fail to predict, as flowing from the peace of Tilsit, and the dread
of which diffused much alarm among the English nation.

The extent and probability of the evil were easily perceived,
but the remedy was not so obvious. A British fleet could not
obtain possession of the country, in order to exclude the en-
trance of the French. No evil with which it was in their power
to menace the Danes, to induce them to declare war against
France, was equal to the adverse evil; and even this war would
only hasten the disaster it was intended to avert. No military
force that Denmark or Britain could bring, jointly, to the field,
would repulse the innumerable legions of France. Nothing,
therefore, could be done to protract the neutrality, and there
were no practicable means of securing the useful co-operation of
the Danes. It seemed as if the British government were com-
pelled to sit idly, while the ranks of their enemies were augment-

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ed by a new state, and their commerce subjected to new and
grievous restrictions.

The cessation of commerce, however, was not the only evil
arising out of the impending war with Denmark. That state,
though it had no extensive commerce or valuable colonies to
protect, though the utmost exertion of its strength could at no
recent period enable it to contend with any of the great mari-
time nations at sea, and though its very existence depends upon
its shunning provocations to resentment or jealousy, has long
been actuated by a passion for a navy. They have very indus-
triously constructed dock-yards, replenished arsenals, and built
ships, and thus reminded the British government that the al-
liance, which virtually is the subjection, of Denmark, was of
more value to the French than that of any other neutral state,
and consequently would be sought with more eagerness, because
it would furnish them with ships, sailors, and military stores.
These were of the highest value to them in their hostile designs
against Great Britain. If this addition to their own force were
not large enough to give them the superiority at sea, it would, at
least, multiply the dangers of their adversary, and augment his
expence, by obliging him to make more ample provision against
danger. This evil it was in the power of the British govern-
ment to remedy. The Danish ships and arsenals were within
their reach, and there were two paths before them in their pre-
sent situation. They might patiently wait till the menaces, or
intrigues, or violences of the French had driven Denmark into
open war, and then proceed to attack the great Danish arsenal,
Copenhagen, with their fleets and armies; or they might antici-
pate all hostile avowals and conjunctions by attacking it immedi-
ately, when the Danes would be unassisted by the French, and,
by concealing the true design of the armament, till it should
reach its destined point, they might prevent the full exertion of
the strength even of the Danes themselves.

The present situation of the British government was full of
embarrassment. The hostility of Denmark was matter of the
strongest probability. Among its disastrous consequences, the
possession of the naval force of the Danes by France was the
worst. But this was the only consequence that could, by a time-
ly effort, be prevented. By delay there was danger of its proving
irremediable. French troops and French batteries might make
Copenhagen inaccessible even to a greater than Nelson. By a
sudden and covert onset, the end might be gained without dif-
ficulty. But this conduct would flagrantly violate the rights of
a neutral state, and would be treating a nation at peace with
them as an inveterate foe. It would leave no room for contin-

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gencies to operate in their favour, but hurry Denmark into the
arms of the enemy.

The conduct of the French in substituting power for right,
in regarding and treating all states as enemies which are not
friends, in trampling on the claims of neutral states whenever the
smallest advantage of their own dictated the iniquity, and when-
ever they had power to do so, has been a theme of pathetic ex-
ecration to the enemies of France, and to those who sought to
keep aloof from her wars. This has long been a darling theme
of British eloquence, and hitherto their situation had enabled
them to insist upon it without any glaring inconsistency. Though
it requires no extensive research to discover instances of selfish
and iniquitous policy in the history of all nations, and especially
in British history, mankind seldom extend their view beyond the
present scene, and the recent usurpations of the French in the
free cities and small states of Germany, in Switzerland, and
Italy*, excluded from the view of political observers the more
ancient or distant examples of similar iniquities in the conduct
of Great Britain. Even the recent conduct of that power in
Turkey was as egregious an instance of political injustice as the
imagination can conceive; but it was transacted at a distance,
was aimed against infidels and the perpetual enemies of christian
Europe, and was not crowned with success . The conduct,
likewise, of the same government in India was a tissue of bare-
faced usurpations on the rights of others, for which the usurper
never deigned to allege any other motive than his own inter-
est. But these were likewise afar off, and affected a race of men
too much unlike ourselves to awaken our sympathy. On the
domestic stage of Europe, the incidents of war, by putting more
into the power of France, furnished occasions for encroachments
on neutral states of a kind different from those which had fallen,
hitherto, to the lot of Britain. The virtue of forbearance, there-
fore, though springing merely from necessity, was claimed by

  * The conduct of France towards Hamburg, Lubeck, Bremen; towards Ge-
neva, Genoa, and the Valais (not to mention Egypt, Holland, Savoy, and the
papal territory) was simply the result of power and convenience, without even
the plea or pretext of right or justice. To complete the resemblance between
these cases and the British invasion of Denmark, is is necessary that this latter
should have taken absolute possession of Zealand, and not to have pleaded, as
their motive, and impending alliance between Denmark and France.

  †The English, in demanding of Turkey what was virtually the military pos-
session of the seat of empire, pleaded merely an offensive alliance with Russia,
by which they were bound to go to war with those whom Russia thought pro-
per, right or wrong, to go to war with. They likewise complained of the influ-
ence obtained by the French in the sultan's council; but this influence they them-
selves described as appearing only in the sultan's opposition to the Russian

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the British government, and they expatiated upon the contrary
vice in their rival with all the confidence of innocence: but af-
ter the designed attack upon the Danes, it was evident that their
invectives would be useless and impertinent, and would recoil
upon themselves with irresistible force, as authors of the last
and most conspicuous transgression.

On the whole, however, it is difficult to say whether these
punctilios had any influence in shaking or protracting the reso-
lutions of the British ministry. Governments have seldom any
deference for the opinions of enemies or strangers. They are
chiefly anxious for the acquittal, in the judgment of their own
subjects, and the logic drawn from national interest is generally
as convincing to the subjects as their rulers. But here was a
source of anxiety peculiar to the English government. The
British constitution is a species of democracy; power is a prize
for which adverse parties contend, not, as in pure monarchies, in
the closet and passions of the prince, but in a popular assembly:
measures are condemned and applauded, therefore, merely from
personal attachment or aversion, and one party strives to pull
down its rivals, by imputing iniquity or folly to their projects;
and the hostile treatment of Denmark was of so ambiguous a
nature, that faction could not fail to make ample use of it, for the
purpose of advancing its own schemes. Even this evil was ad-
venturously encountered, on this occasion, by the British go-
vernment. To ward off the charge of iniquity, they trusted to
that eloquence which never wants topics in political debate, and
to elude that of folly, with which every unsuccessful undertaking
is sure to be loaded, they determined to send such a force,
naval and military, as would ensure success, and to cover their
design with impenetrable secrecy.

The times were extremely favourable for concealing the true
purpose of this expedition. Since the renewal of the war on the
continent, an auxiliary army from Great Britain was generally
expected to join either the Swedes in Pomerania or the Rus-
sians in Poland. It was the design of the British government
to dispatch some troops to the scene of action, whenever the
conjuncture of affairs made it prudent, and, for this end, ships
and troops were kept, for many months, in apparent readiness.
This embarkation finally took place in July, 1807; and, though
the war had finally ended some weeks before, it was still ima-
gined that this armament was prepared against the French.
The futility of such unseasonable efforts, for the recovery of
Hanover, or the preservation of Stralsund, was sufficiently glar-
ing; but, instead of suggesting doubts as to the true design, the
actual state of the war on the coasts of the Baltic only afforded
the world occasions for wondering at the folly and temerity of

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this project*. Even Denmark appeared to have viewed the ap-
proaching army without the least suspicion or disquiet. Most
of the Danish troops had lately been drawn away to the frontier
of Holstein, to prevent or repel the designs of the French, who,
in settling the limits of the new kingdom of Westphalia, betray-
ed much indifference to the claims or convenience of the Danes.

This expedition was stronger, both in ships and troops, than
any which Great Britain had sent out for a long period. The
fleet was numerous, and the army, amply furnished with all war-
like apparatus, is said to have exceeded thirty thousand men,
cavalry and infantry. This force, great as it was, and which,
in all human probability, would, combined with their allies, have
given a very different issue to the battles of Eylau or Friedland,
was much too small for an efficacious attack on the French, in
their present circumstances. Its very magnitude, however,
served to conceal the true design, since, had that design been
imagined, this preparation would have been thought unneces-
sarily great. The fleet was commanded by Gambier, and the
army by lord Cathcart.

  * We hear a great deal of the dexterity displayed by political agents in fa-
thoming the designs of an enemy; but the French expedition to Malta and
Egypt, and that of the English to Denmark, are striking proofs of the secrecy
with which public undertakings, of the greatest magnitude, may be conducted.

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THE richest, most fruitful, and best peopled part of the Da-
nish territory is the island of Zealand. It contains the metro-
polis of the kingdom, which is likewise the depository of the
shipping, and of the naval and military stores belonging to the
state. The northern coast of this island forms one side of the
celebrated strait called the Sound. At one point in this chan-
nel, the passage, on account of capricious winds and opposite
currents, very frequent in this quarter, is made with most safe-
ty close along a promontory on the Danish shore. The Danes,
eager to profit by this circumstance, have strongly fortified this
point, and compel every passing vessel to lower its top-sails
and pay a toll. With the usual inconsistency of mankind, who
never see the truth clearly but when it coincides with their own
interest, and who never rail at others more vehemently than
when they share the guilt, the Danes thus levy tribute on the
commerce of the Baltic, though all the great nations of Europe
carry on this commerce, and though their claim has no other con-
ceivable foundation than their power to enforce it, while, at the
same time, they zealously confederate with others to abrogate
a claim of Great Britain, equally iniquitous, though less vexa-
tious and humiliating, and built on the same grounds of irresis-
tible power. This, like all other usurpations, is offensive only
while new, and is now generally submitted to, because it has
time and usage in its favour.

Copenhagen is situated about twenty miles within the sound,
on a circular harbour. The entrance of the port is wide, but the
only navigable channel is narrow*. The approach is defended
by numerous floating batteries, and by some strong castles, and
these defences have been so much strengthened and multiplied
since the attack under Nelson, that the British placed their
hopes of success, on this occasion, only on a formal siege by land.

  * The water on each side is very shallow, and defended by a peculiar kind of
military work called naval horns. They are made of large beams, from sixteen
to thirty feet long, shod with iron, and put together crosswise. They are then
put on flat-bottomed vessels, and sunk three, four, and five feet below the sur-
face of the water. In the belts and other passages, particularly in the narrow
channels, where the water has neither tide nor current, they are easily laid down
and taken up. The Swedes were the first who made use of these works, and
they were afterwards adopted both at Cronstadt and Copenhagen. They were
used for the defence of the Delaware in the American war.

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This mysterious expedition assembled in the Sound, within
a few miles of Copenhagen, on the 12th day of August; and now
being within reach of their prey, its purpose was disclosed. The
Danes, who beheld its approach with indifference, in the belief
that it concerned not them, or with satisfaction, as contributing
by its presence in the Baltic to check the insolence of the
French, were overwhelmed with astonishment and indignation
at finding that an attack was intended upon them. The British
minister, Mr. Taylor, proposed to the Danish government that
all the Danish ships of the line should be deposited in an Eng-
lish port, and a solemn promise was given, that they should be
restored at a general peace, in the same condition as when re-

It forms no apology for any crime that the offender had it in
his power to commit a greater one. It is proper, however, to
observe, that the offence of the British government was strictly
limited to this demand, and to the means necessary to enforce
compliance. Aware of the difficulties in their way, they evi-
dently intended, by the greatness of their force, not only to over-
come, but to prevent all opposition, and to furnish the Danes
with motives for a peaceable compliance. The British force
was sufficient to compel the unconditional surrender of all kinds
of property, and to garrison the city and island.

It is not easy to comprehend the motives which induced the
Danish government to refuse compliance with this demand.
They could not doubt the resolution of the enemy to compel
submission, by the capture of the city. If possession were gain-
ed by a formal siege, the city could not escape destruction from
the bullets and bombs of the besiegers. Submission, sooner or
later, was inevitable, but the sooner it took place the less would
be the evil. The enmity of France could not be reasonably
awakened by a conduct dictated by necessity; but if compliance
should draw on a war with France, the British offered to exert
their whole force in defence of their territory against invaders.
Notwithstanding the hopelessness of all resistance, the Danes
refused to give up their ships, and prepared, with remarkable
zeal and unanimity, to repel the assailants.

The English landed their army, without any opposition, on
the 16th of August, at Wisbeck, ten miles north of Copenha-
gen. Next day, they marched to the town and completely in-
vested it, while the frigates and other vessels took their station
at the mouth of the harbour, near enough to throw shells into
the town.

The modern system of besieging aims at taking cities by the
destruction of the houses and slaughter of the people, rather

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than by direct assaults on the walls. These means succeed not
where the garrison is indifferent to the welfare of the people; but
the approaches of the enmy in this case had been so rapid, and
their fleet guarded the whole island with so much vigilance, that
few regular troops contributed to the defence of the city. The
enthusiasm of the people held out for several days after the des-
tructive effects of a bombardment had been experienced. About
the beginning of September, the besiegers had established their
batteries, and, a summons to surrender proving ineffectual, a
great number of shells were thrown from the batteries and ships
during three nights. A great number of private dwellings were
destroyed. The principal church, the university, with its valu-
able libraries and apparatus, were involved in destruction, and
it was not till after great and irreparable havock was made, that
the citizens, and general Peyman, who commanded in the town,
perceived the necessity of surrendering the place. It is mourn-
ful to reflect how many calamities arose from this rash and des-
perate resistance. Timely compliance would have left the city
undiminished and unimpaired, and would have made the evil,
much lighter to the public. Having gained their end by force,
the British made absolute prize of all the ships, great and small,
though their original demand was limited only to ships of the
line, and seized and carried to England all the naval stores and
ammunition, of which the short-sighted policy of Denmark had
accumulated an immense provision.

The prince of Denmark, who governs the kingdom in place
of his father, who is yet alive, but insane, withdrew from his
capital at the approach of the enemy. A violence, so little fore-
seen or merited, from a power hitherto friendly, filled his bosom
with the strongest indignation. He immediately declared war
against Great Britain, and formed a close alliance with France.
All those measures of negative hostility, in the interdiction of
commerce, the imprisonment of Englishmen, and the confisca-
tion of their property, which evince an implacable resentment,
were immediately adopted. No concession or submission was
to be made but to mere force. The city was to hold out even
aganst famine, and, when taken by assault, the foe was to be
cheated of his prey, by the voluntary conflagration of his ships
and arsenals. His people, for a time, fully seconded this zeal;
but the generals at Copenhagen appear to have been unapprized
of his intention with regard to the ships and magazines. All
these were delivered up without injury.

It now appeared that the British government limited their
views merely to the ships and naval stores of Denmark. The
conjectures of the world at large respecting their future pro-

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ceedings proved as erroneous as those respecting the object of
the expedition. Nobody imagined that this armament was de-
signed against Denmark; but, when time disclosed the object,
every one supposed that the fleet and army would remain, and
attempt to maintain its footing in the island. All these conjec-
tures were beside the truth. As soon as the besiegers were
admitted, they began to prepare the Danish fleet for the voyage
to England. They even forbore to enter the city, or to use any
of those privileges which belong to the victors in a captured
town. No quarters or contributions were demanded from the
citizens, and the people of the country were not only left in
quiet possession of their houses and fields, but all provisions
were paid for at a good price. Though the Danish government
were continually thundering against the invaders menaces of
eternal vengeance, and denouncing death and confiscation
against all that bore the name of English, the proscribed army
were calmly pursuing the war against the ships and arsenals
with as little detriment as possible to the people. In the course
of six weeks, sixteen sail of the line, nine frigates, fourteen
sloops of war and smaller vessels, besides gun-boats, were fitted
for sea, and all the large ships laden with masts, spars, timber,
and other stores from the arsenal, from whence also ninety-two
cargoes were shipped on board transports and other vessles
chartered for the purpose, the sum of whose burthen exceeded
twenty thousand tons. Such was the emulation among the
several ships of the fleet to which the Danish ships were respec-
tively attached for equipment, that within nine days fourteen
sail of the line were brought out of the harbour, though several
of them underwent considerable repairs. Of three ships on the
stocks two were taken to pieces, and the useful part of their
timbers brought away; and the third, being in a considerable
state of forwardness, was sawed in various parts, and suffered
to fall over.

All these valuable spoils were declared, in consequence of the
hostile proceedings of the Danes, to be not merely a temporary
pledge or deposit, but the absolute property of the victors.
Thus, in the course of so short a term as three months, a very
large addition was made to the British navy, and an enormous
addition to their naval stores. The acquired ships were lodged
in the British docks, without having incurred the smallest da-
mage, by storms or battles. The ships were for the most part
new and unworn. The contents of the arsenal must have been
of value beyond computation. With regard to the immediate
gain, therefore, no naval effort of the nation was ever crowned
with such splendid success. The indirect advantage, in depriv-

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ing France of the most valued fruit of her late victories, in the
effectual co-operation of Denmark, was no less evident and
memorable. With regard to ultimate and collateral conse-
quences, these can only be fully unfolded by time. An open
war with Denmark and Russia has followed, but it cannot be
proved that these events would not have taken place, nearly at
the same time, had this expedition never have sailed. On the
contrary, it is highly probable that the influence of France
would have led to these events.

It is natural for the French government, in order to brand this
expedition with folly as well as injustice, to deny any design of
compelling Denmark to abandon her neutrality, and, to make this
averment credible, it was easy for political advocates to main-
tain that the emperor of the French was incapable of this act,
because it was unjust; that his interest alone was sufficient to
deter him from it, since his menaces would only have driven
Denmark into an alliance with England; that the French army
might indeed have conquered Holstein, but could not have pass-
ed into the islands, when guarded by the Danish and British
fleets, and that this attack would only have exasperated the Rus-
sians, and renewed the war with that power*. The fallacy of
these pleas is extremely obvious. As to the injustice of driving
Denmark into war with England, all that the interest of France
required was that the Danes should refuse to trade with Great
Britain. This would be considered by the latter as war, and a
regular war on the part of Denmark would be the third una-
voidable step in the course of events. But to trade with Great
Britain is to benefit that power, and is, therefore, in the politi-
cal code of France, hostility against herself. Denmark had
sufficient provocations, of old standing, to excite her to a war,
at least a commercial war, with England, and should she con-
tinue deaf to the dictates of a just revenge and her true interest,
the French emperor would have thought it peculiarly worthy
of his justice to send twenty thousand musketeers to bring
her to reason. Jutland, as well as Holstein, is accessible to an
invading army at all seasons, and the winter's frost frequently
makes the channels between the islands and the main better
roads for men and horses than the land. A French army,
therefore, would either compel the Danes to quarrel with Bri-
tain, or give them courage to do so, should they be so inclined
of themselves. The enmity of France was to be dreaded by

  * These are the topics of a publication in the Moniteur, with reason as-
cribed to the emperor himself, and must therefore be considered as the best
that could be employed for the purpose.

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Russia, and not that of Russia by France; but as the Danish
court could be impelled by menaces as well as violence, the end
could be completed without incurring the resentment of Alex-
ander. Still more fallacious are those pleas, if measures were
taken, at the conferences of Tilsit, for reviving the northern
confederacy against the maritime power of Britain: a scheme
from which they could evidently be deterred only by the fear
of that power. It is plain, indeed, that Great Britain and
France have no guide in their political conduct but their inte-
rest. They were both extremely willing to incur the odium
for the sake of the advantage of attacking Denmark*, and, for-
tunately for Britain, her situation enabled her to anticipate her
adversary on the present occasion.

The English government could not want pleas to justify or
palliate their recent conduct. In a declaration published by
them on this occasion, they not only allege the probability that
France would employ her power to compel Denmark to enlist
in her cause, but they solemnly aver that proofs of such a de-
sign being already formed was in their possession, and, as Den-
mark was wholly unable to resist an attack, they plead an evi-
dent necessity for snatching from their enemy that navy which
would be immediately employed against themselves.

With regard to Denmark, it is easy to conceive the indigna-
tion with which this hostile inroad could not fail to inspire that
people. Every plea made use of by the British, could only
aggravate the injury, and heighten the injustice of their conduct,
in the eyes of the Danes. To be invaded and exterminated by
those, who acknowledge that we have always treated them with
equity; who plead no cause of offence given them by us, but
merely allege, that, innocent and blameless though we be, yet
our destruction contributes remotely to their safety or aggran-
dizement; that, in thus destroying us, they “act solely on the
sense of what was due to the security of their own dominions,”
danger to which they dread not from us but from another, is a
conduct unavoidably followed by our deepest abhorrence and
revenge. It does not moderate these feelings to be told by the
injurer that a similar attack was meditated against us by ano-
ther, and that he seized the spoil merely to prevent one whom

  * No nation has ever scrupled to obtain allies by menaces or bribes. The
history of Europe is a continued tissue of such transactions, but the iniquity,
abstractly considered, is equally evident in both cases. Wherever British
money or ships had access, they have in all ages been liberally employed to in-
crease their own ranks against the enemy. The same conduct has been as di-
ligently employed by France.

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he hates from seizing it before him. The interests of these ri-
vals are nothing to me. I regard them both with equal affec-
tion or indifference, and perform my duty by maintaining peace
with both of them. That they both are willing to destroy me
for their separate advantage, only justifies my fear and hatred of
both; but he that first resorts to actual violence against me will,
of course, incur my first and deepest detestation.

It is thus that the actual parties in any political transaction
will necessarily approve or condemn as the event has relation to
their own interest. One state cannot expect that another will
assent to the justice of conduct adopted with a view to its own
safety or prosperity, when it impairs the safety or prosperity of
that other, because both have the same passion, and an equal
right to gratify it. As long as their interests clash, and one
cannot gain without loss to the other, and both are impelled by
a sort of natural necessity to gain as much as possible, their in-
tercourse can only teem with all the dark and malignant pas-
sions: fear, hatred, and revenge. Invectives and criminations
must multiply between them, and, both being governed by the
same motives, they must alternately perform the same actions,
and expose themselves to the same censure.

An impartial decision in national disputes is scarcely to be
expected, even from distant observers. As every one in his
turn merits censure, and as forbearance, in states, is always mat-
ter not of virtue but necessity, formal judgments on these oc-
casions, limited to particular transactions, are always liable to
error; since they suggest an inference in favour of the habitual
equity of one state, or of the habitual injustice of another, when,
in reality, a comprehensive view would detect as many crimes
in the conduct of one as of the other, and in all cases, if their si-
tuation were changed, they would act alike. So far as mere jus-
tice is considered, the imagination of every party confounds its
decisions with the dictates of his own interest, and every indi-
vidual is prone to consider the welfare of his own nation as
worthy of his sole regard. To promote this welfare becomes a
sacred duty, though at the expence of other nations. Whether
the English were justified in proposing to the Danes the alterna-
tive of giving up their navy to threats, or surrendering it to
force, is a point on which no historical decision will ever have a
practical or coercive influence. All those who are injured by it
will cordially unite in condemning it; all those who care not for
the welfare of Great Britain will refuse their sanction to a deed
which aims at promoting that welfare by injuring another.
The English themselves will demand no other vindication than

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its benefits*, and, in the public councils of the nation, the utmost
rancour of faction will suggest nothing against the patrons of
the expedition but its inutility. It will merely affirm that Den-
mark would not have confederated with France, though this at-
tack had not been made, or that the capture of the Danish fleet
will ultimately prove more hurtful than useful to the British in-
terests, and whether their assertions be true can never be fully
ascertained. Time, indeed, may unveil many distant and
hitherto unthought-of consequences of this event, but what
would have been the future relations between France and Den-
mark, had the latter continued unmolested by Great Britain,
can never be other than a topic of lawless conjecture. The
English profess to have been guided, in the choice of their ex-
pedients, only by a calculation of probabilities. They argued,
not on the treachery, but on the imbecility of Denmark; not on
concessions or compacts already secretly extorted from her
fears by France, but on such as would hereafter be probably
extorted. The Prussian Frederick, in a former age, broke in
upon Saxony, in a time of peace and security, and treated the
astonished and unsuspecting Saxons with all the fury of an ene-
my; and this conduct was thought to be justified, when the in-
vader, ransacking the archives of Dresden, found and published
a treaty that had been secretly concluded between the Saxon and
Austrian princes, with intentions hostile to Prussia. Unhap-
pily for the British government, they could not plead the exist-
ence of any such hostile compact, and were not permitted by
the actual circumstances to form or avow even a suspicion that
such a compact existed. On the contrary, all appearances de-
noted that Denmark and France were hastening to a state of
war, and that concessions injurious to Britain would only be
chosen as the less evil, when the nation should be driven to ex-
tremities from which they were, at present, at a considerable

It was well known, likewise, that Holstein and Jutland, and
the Baltic isles, did not compose the whole of the Danish do-
minions. These were within reach of an invader from the
south; butwhen these were overrun, the Danish court was not

  * The British government, in their manifestoes, are more honest in displaying
the true motives of their conduct than other states. They occasionally, indeed,
appeal to justice, but always vaguely and faintly, and lay stress on nothing but
“the honour of their crown and the interests of their people.” In their public
declarations, on this occasion, they talk about justice and necessity; but the king
is made expressly to define these terms, by averring the justice and necessity, in
a sovereign, of regarding, in the first place and above all things, “the security of
his people.”

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destitute of a place of refuge and of territory. Norway was
still inaccessible to any but a naval power, and the fleet, instead
of falling a prey to the French, might have been effectually em-
ployed in checking their further progress. The co-operation
of Great Britain would have still further contributed to this
end, and a closer and more cordial alliance than ever have con-
tinued to subsist between them. The valuable trade of Nor-
way would still have been theirs, and the navy of Denmark
would have been more usefully combined with that of Britain
than it is at present. These events acquire probability from
the character and habits of the prince by whom Denmark was
governed, and some indications of such a purpose are said to
have been visible at that time. All this, however, is necessa-
rily uncertain, and, in judging of these contingencies, some de-
ference is justly due to the opinions of the British ministry.
In so delicate a crisis, in so arduous a conjuncture, it was in-
cumbent on them to proceed with wariness. As far as the fu-
ture can be reached by human foresight, it must have been
comprehended in their view: though, like all men, liable to
error, no one can pretend to a stronger passion for the interests
of their nation, or a more lively perception of the means condu-
cive to it; and, therefore, it is probable, that their decisions, at
the time they were made, were, on the whole, dictated by the
truest political wisdom; by that wisdom which, turning from
those abstract views which consider all nations as equal, and,
when their interests interfere, deems itself bound to prefer the
greater to the less, embraces the more common feeling which
leads the individual to blend himself with the nation he belongs
to, and to regard, in the first place, the welfare and prosperity
of that nation.

As to the policy of honesty, the utility of justice, these max-
ims have no clear application to human conduct. If utility be
the criterion of justice, each one will conclude it just to benefit
himself. If justice has only a metaphysical or argumentative
test, a door is opened to eternal disputation. With regard to
national transactions, there is a peculiar difficulty, since the
individual appears to be wholly disinterested, and the same feel-
ings which lead him to prefer the interest of his own nation to
that of another occasionally compels him to prefer that inte-
rest to his own personal advantage. He will lay down his life
in order to make a foreign nation the vassal of his own, and
is thus far as personally disinterested as if the sacrifice were
made to preserve his peculiar country from pestilence or civil

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LET us now turn our eyes from Europe to America. Hi-
therto the transition was naturally suggested by their mutual
relations. The peace and welfare of the United States seemed
wholly to depend on the conduct and condition of the nations
of Europe. The wealth and employment of the former flow-
ing so extensively from the trade of the latter, they were
brought, in some respects, into closer contact with France and
Great Britain than either of those powers are with Russia or
Turkey. With regard to territorial vicinity, Great Britain
and Spain border on the United States by their colonies. This
contiguity, with respect to Great Britain, is, from local circum-
stances, no breeder of dissention between them. Their mutual
frontier being marked out by a broad river and a chain of lakes,
there is no danger of mistaking it, and one of the nations being
led, by superior benefits of soil and climate, to extend their
growing population rather to the south and west than to the
north, their interests are not very liable, for many future years,
to clash with those of the British colonists. The causes of war
on this side can only originate at a distance, and in the complex
relations of their commerce. On the south-western border the
seeds of jealousy and dissention are more plentifully sown.
They likewise originate upon the spot. The commerce and
naval power of Spain are not such as are likely to produce quar-
rels with America on the ocean; but the state of her western
provinces affords large room for suspicion and disorder, and is
pregnant with hostility and revolution.

We have already amply detailed the situation of the Ameri-
can territory on the Missisippi. We have explained the pre-
tensions of the French, and the hostile means by which they
were extinguished, or at least suspended. We have stated the
claims of the Spaniards to the mouths of the Missisippi, and
the pacific measures wisely adopted for removing them. We
have also given a summary narration of the disputes which oc-
curred between Spain and the United States relative to the true
limits of New Mexico, and the mutual consent to refer these
disputes to an ambassadorial discussion. We have mentioned
that several discussions relative to similar points had been car-
rying on, for some years, at the court of Spain; and that, as the
condition of Spain made it more eligible to retain, by delay, her

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actual footing, than to advance it by war; and as the United
States had no urgent motive for bringing the controversy to a
close, these discussions had long continued without producing
any public fruits, and were likely to continue. Spain, in her
power over our trade or our territory, was no object of terror,
and, provided she forbore actual and hostile encroachments, a
war of arguments and remonstrances was patiently borne.

The policy and habits of the Spanish colonists, and, above
all, their subjection to a foreign nation, render them nowise
formidable to the United States. The security arising from
their subjection to Spain is, however, only a security from
warlike encorachments: first, because the ruling power is
fettered and embarrassed by its distance; and, secondly, be-
cause, to preserve its own dominion, it cannot give full scope
to the vigour of the colony. Its empire is composed of over-
grown parts, which it is its chief labour to keep united, and this
union is deemed of more importance than the further growth
of any single member. Hence any projects of ambition are not
to be dreaded in the colonial government of Spain. The time
is not yet come when numerous garrisons and fortresses will be
necessary on the western banks of the Missisippi, and when, in
order to divert or enfeeble a hostile purpose in its infancy, it
will be prudent to maintain open and secret emissaries in the
Mexican kingdom, to sow dissention between different classes of
the people, to foment faction, or seduce remote or disconnected
parts from its allegiance to the rest, or to alienate the whole
from the parent state, by arguments or bribes. All these are
expedients to which our national safety would not fail to recon-
cile our rulers, as they have always done the rulers of other
nations, and which have not yet been employed, merely because
the remoteness and internal langour of the colony itself, and the
fears and infirmities of its European head, render them unne-

Widely different from this is the situation of the United
States with respect to Mexico. These states contain an unexam-
pled power of increase, of activity, and enterprize. Immense
accessions are annually made to the numbers of the people and
the cultivated ground. The forest continually shrinks and dis-
appears, as if by magic. Forty years ago, there was a tract of
wilderness, some thousands of miles wide, between the inhabited
frontiers of the two nations. The states have since passed these
bounds, have spread themselves over all the intermediate coun-
try, and have extorted from Spain an ancient and wealthy pro-
vince. Already the Mexican limits are encroached upon, and
discussions are held on the actual position of these limits, which

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must ultimately be decided in favour of America, since she is
able to extort by force what is not quietly relinquished.

The rapid and formidable progress of this nation has un-
doubtedly been viewed with the utmost solicitude by the Spa-
nish government. Previous to the cession of Louisiana, the
danger from such growing neighbours as the states was obvious
and imminent. The possession of the great river in its
whole extent was a benefit more and more desired, and the
footing of the Spaniards grew daily more precarious. How
was the impending evil to be averted or retarded? All warlike
expedients were desperate. Secret measures for breaking that
union, on which the power of the enemy so entirely depended,
were likely to promote this end, and could not fail to be adopted.
The Spaniards were much more affluent in money than in sol-
diers. Money therefore would be used, and that it was em-
ployed for this purpose is manifest from the nature of things.
That it was sometimes successfully employed, and that men of
office and influence in the western regions consented to receive
pensions from Spain, as the price of their concurrence with such
political schemes as the safety of the Spanish provinces in this
quarter required, must be unavoidably inferred from the
known infirmity of human virtue. The full extent of this de-
pravity, the exact success of these intrigues, it is impossible to
ascertain. That they did not breed a civil war, or occasion a
separation of the states, is certain; and it is no less evident that
the cession of Louisiana rendered it useless to persist in these
intrigues at present, because they were chiefly suggested and
required by the desire of preserving this province.

Disunion among our enemies is an obvious means of our
own preservation, and the situation of the states was eminently
favourable to projects of disunion. The last national confe-
deracy is, even now, only twenty years old. Political consti-
tutions sometimes sink and expire, like human beings, with age;
and, like human beings, they are frail and tottering in their in-
fancy; and the political habits of the American nation, the wide
extent and rapid increase of their territory, and the very imper-
fection of that union, which had been lately established, exposed
their internal peace to many probable interruptions. As na-
tional interest is the sole foundation of our government, and as
this interest, necessarily connected with local circumstances, ne-
cessarily varies in a nation which doubles its numbers and its
peopled territory in a single generation, there are perpetual
changes in the points from which we draw our political argu-
ments. The constitution which is best adapted to our situation
to-day becomes unsuited to our new situation to-morrow.

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The grand local distinction in the United States is formed by
the course of the mountain which divides the rivers flowing to
the ocean from those mingling in the Missisippi and gulf of
Mexico. The interests and relations flowing from commerce
receive by this means a twofold direction, and the imagination
finds it easy to comprehend all the districts on the Missisippi
river, in its view, as one state, tending to one centre of policy,
and one outlet of trade, and all those on the Atlantic rivers as
another. The former, indeed, have ties of unity and concen-
tration much stronger than the latter, and the double scheme of
a government, separate from that of the Atlantic states, but sin-
gle in itself, is much more promptly applied to the fluvial than
the maritime districts. The latter have no territorial and com-
mercial centre, and are divided among themselves, by manners,
education, and domestic habits, far more than any of them are
from the western provinces.

As the western regions form the grand theatre of emigration
and settlement, their population and culture are daily and ra-
pidly encreasing. Their relations to the maritime districts
consequently undergo incessant variations. Ideas of separate
interest and individual importance continually multiply and
strengthen. The national metropolis being placed in the mari-
time country, and the scale, as to wealth and numbers, hitherto
declining on that side, wherever the interests of the two districts
interfere, the preference will naturally be given to that of the
maritime country, and thus are opened new sources of jealousy
and faction, and new topics are supplied to those who recom-
mend a political separation of the two districts.

While the Spaniards held the lower Missisippi, they were
urged by stronger motives, connected with their own preserva-
tion, to separate the western people from their kindred on this
side of the mountain, and furnished with stronger arguments for
effecting their purpose, than since they lost that dominion. The
prosperity and even subsistence of the river country depending
on the free use of the Missisippi, the masters of that river, by
allowing or refusing the privilege of passing it, were invested
with extensive influence over the conduct of these people, and
could offer the most important privations or advantages to those
whom they wished to govern. Accordingly, previous to the
cession, Spanish agents were well known to be extremely dili-
gent in this quarter. The government of the United States was
frequently apprized of their proceedings, and warned by its
friends and adherents to adopt measures for crushing a ris-
ing rebellion. No evidence, however, sufficiently distinct and
cogent, occurred to justify a judicial process against individuals,

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or to make even names the subject of any public or authorized
rumour, and the transfer of Louisiana extinguished this growing
danger. The Spaniards were, by these means, happily divested
both of arguments and motives for disturbing the national tran-
quillity, and all the surmises and suspicions relative to the past
were prudently buried in oblivion.

The extension of our empire to the mouths of the Missisippi
was justly regarded as a grand step in our national progress, as a
most important pledge of our safety, not only from foreign, but
domestic enemies; and yet this possession was scarcely secured
when the public tranquillity appeared to be endangered from this
quarter, and by persons whose ambition was least liable to be

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ON entering on the narrative of transactions connected with
the schemes of Aaron Burr, we undertake a task of peculiar de-
licacy. In proportion as historical truth is connected with the
reputation of living individuals ought an upright historian to
scrutinize with accuracy, and decide with caution. In the pre-
sent case, the principal personage appears before us with many
disadvantages. Some important events, in his former life, di-
vided all his countrymen into friends and enemies. His friends
were few and diffident, his enemies numerous and zealous. The
worst designs were thought, by the latter, to derive probability
from his known character. His most innocent actions were
faintly vindicated by the former. No eminent person in the
United States was so generally known to be actuated by ambi-
tion, by the appetite for power and office, and to have this passion
less tempered and modified by the kindred lust of wealth, or
counteracted by domestic feelings. His temper is sanguine: in
courage, activity, and enterprize, very few can vie with him.
He is eminent for eloquence at the bar, and for insinuating qua-
lities in private intercourse. Great talents are ascribed to him
by all, but how far this praise is merited is not easily decided.
The address and subtilty of the forensic advocate he cannot be
denied to possess; but if we judge of a man's wisdom by the suc-
cess of his projects of aggrandizement, we shall be inclined to
deny that quality to one who has encountered so much disap-
pointment and misfortune, in pursuits for which his genius and
temper qualified him more than for any other.

Aaron Burr was an officer in the war of the revolution, dis-
tinguished for his courage and address. He afterwards became
an eminent advocate, and bent all his endeavours to rising in the
state. He once reached the elevation of vice-president of the
United States, and his exertions to gain the highest office in the
nation were defeated by a very nice conjuncture of affairs. He
afterwards strove to obtain the post of governor in the state of
New York, and was again defeated in this darling project. We
cannot properly enter into a more particular account of the early
life of this person; nor is it necessary to do so. It will be suf-
ficient to observe, that, though unsuccessful in many political
projects, his fortunes were by no means desperate, his ultimate
success was by no means impossible, till the death of Alexan-

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der Hamilton. By that event, he was driven into hopeless exile
from the state in which his chief interest previously lay. A
criminal prosecution for murder was commenced against him
in another state. Having put to death the head and idol of a
party, which, though for the present excluded from power, was
formidable from its numbers, the wealth and talents of the indi-
viduals which compose it, he became an object, with them, of
immeasurable execration. Even those who considered duels as
honourable and necessary, and who acquitted Aaron Burr of
any breach of the customary etiquette on this occasion, were led,
by their personal or political attachment to the present illus-
trious victim, to load his destroyer with all the intentional guilt
of the most atrocious homicide. The friends of Aaron Burr
and of duelling, and the political enemies of Hamilton, were
overwhelmed by the loud and vehement exclamations of their
adversaries, were compelled to observe a kind of neutral silence,
and to allow their favourite to sink without an open effort for
his preservation*. He became, in some respects, an outcast
from ordinary society. His profession ceased to afford him a
subsistence, because the customary theatre of his exertions as an
advocate was the state of New York, from which he was now
an exile. Being always careless of money, he was burthened
with many debts, and was, therefore, not only suddenly bereft
of the means of affluence, but exposed by this event to double
persecution as a debtor and criminal. In an early and incau-
tious pursuit of what is called pleasure, he had forfeited, as
usual, the advantages of personal health, and was thus, in the
waning period of life, reduced to a situation, which, in ordinary
minds, would have speedily wound up the drama of life with a
broken heart and despair. Many of those who reflected on his
present situation were inclined to prognosticate this event, but

  * It does not appear that the abhorrence of duelling, as such, had any part in
the odium with which the event of this duel loaded the survivor. Speculative
moralists may doubt whether duelling be most atrocious or ridiculous, whether
wickedness or folly have most to do with it; but a judicious observer perceives
that the current of American manners is in favour of it; that to have killed an
adversary in a duel forms, in itself, no bar to any man's success in worldly pro-
jects. Of this the instances are too numerous to allow any question. And yet
a distinction is to be made between the different states. In the eastern states,
duelling is in much less repute than in the southern. In the middle states, it is
least opprobrious in New York, and most so in Pennsylvania. To judge truly
of the state of duelling in New York, we have only to suppose Burr to have
been slain by Hamilton. In this case, the latter would have passed through life
without the smallest inconvenience or embarrassment on this account, and with
the secret, perhaps open, applause of the enemies of Burr. The difference to
Burr has arisen from the political importance of Hamilton to his friends, from
the number of those friends, and from that schism among anti-federalists, which
just at that time had left Burr so few political adherents.

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those better acquainted with his character perceived that the
vigour of his mind was not to be slackened by either sickness or
calamity; his enterprising spirit, driven from one path, would
only exert itself in another; and, that whenever death should
seize him, it would find him busily employed in building up
the fallen fabric of his fortunes. But, certainly, no one ima-
gined that his ambition could survive his recent disappoint-
ments. Every avenue to power and consideration in his coun-
try appeared to be irrevocably shut against him, and, though
this undoubtedly had been the ruling passion of his life, the
good sense of which he was supposed to be possessed was
thought sufficient to deter him from projects manifestly chi-
merical and hopeless.

Those who bestowed any attention on his movements, after
he had sunk to a private station, perceived that he led an
unsettled and wandering life; that he sometimes travelled
through the western country, and sometimes resided in Phila-
delphia; that, wherever he was, he seemed to be busy: if in mo-
tion, he made long and rapid journies; if in the cities, he was
shut up in retired houses, busy in writing and in secret confe-
rences. All these were tokens of a spirit still restless and un-
subdued, and it was natural to infer that all his movements and
lucubrations were connected with one object, and that this ob-
ject was situated on the western rivers. The favourite pursuit
of men of enterprize in America has always been the purchase
and settlement of new lands. Population and culture make
such quick progress among us, that the value of land varies with
a rapidity unknown in any other country, and those who are
greedy of wealth endeavour to profit by these variations. It
was natural to ascribe to Mr. Burr some project of this kind,
and the secrecy with which he managed his affairs might per-
haps be suggested by prudence, though, on any obvious supposi-
tion, the necessity of such concealment was by no means evident.

For some time these transactions excited little public notice,
and no suspicion that the object to which they related tended to
interrupt the public tranquillity. At length, however, certain
preparations for an unknown purpose of some importance
began to make themselves visible on the western rivers. These
appearances took place in the autumn of the year 1806. Ru-
mour began to be busy and loud, and, as usual, all these appear-
ances were magnified beyond the truth. Suspicions and con-
jectures, as to the design in view, naturally found their way to
the seat of government. Intelligence was given, through many
channels, that many boats were building on these rivers, by
persons in concert with each other and with Aaron Burr; that

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contracts for provisions were made, the expences of which
were defrayed by him, and that these contracts were on a scale
ample enough for the supply of armies; that several persons of
roving and unsettled tempers were arming and fitting them-
selves for some distant enterprize; and that hints were fre-
quently dropped, and invitations darkly given, by Burr and his
known agents, of wealth and power to be gained, by zeal and
courage, in the regions of Mexico.

Rumours, always vague and delusive, were doubly so on this
occasion; yet the circumstances of the time naturally gave a
substance and form to them, which entitled them to notice from
the government, if not to credit. A war had almost commen-
ced against the Spanish colonies at that period. Armies were
drawn out against each other, and a pacific decision daily grew
less probable. The wealth of Mexico had been, for some ages,
almost proverbial, and the wary and timid policy of Spain, whose
empire over its own colonies was more effectually promoted by
peace than war, is vulgarly imputed to cowardice and imbeci-
lity. Men being always prone to impute their own feelings to
others, we naturally cherish the notion that the colonists of
Spain are as jealous of foreign controul, and as ambitious of poli-
tical independence as we once were. A war with Spain, there-
fore, naturally fills the bold and adventurous mind with images of
golden candlesticks and silver platters. Mexico is the native
country of dollars, the treasures of which are only defended by
unarmed monks or disaffected slaves. Its wealthy provinces are
easily overrun by hardy soldiers, and the enemy is easily con-
cealed under the mask of a deliverer. A rebellious temper
will greedily listen to the promises of foreign succour, and blind
them to the folly of confiding in the generosity of strangers and
tyrants. Such were the images that naturally thronged the
minds of many of the western people; and though enlightened
minds entertained a juster and very different notion of the state
of these provinces, of their wealth, their power, their attach-
ment to Spain, and their credulity, these views were beyond the
reach of ordinary minds*.

However chimerical these views might be, as long as they
were cherished by private persons, in connection with the proba-

  * The fate of the English expeditions to La Plata forms a salutary lesson on
this head to us, and may tend, if any thing can tend, to reform the popular er-
rors on this subject. The fate of Miranda, who proceeded with great pomp to
revolutionize South America, at the head of a fleet of three small vessels, and
an army (including major-generals and admirals) of three hundred men, will
also instruct us in the chimerical nature of such projects, and, at the same time,
in the abundance of that spirit which leads some of us to embark in them. It
should seem as if we thought the times of Cortez and Pizarro were returned,

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bility of a national war with Spain, and the consequent facility of
effecting these views, under a regular warrant from the govern-
ment, they had no mischievous or unlawful tendency; but
when the government limited its claims to the acquisition only
of district to which we were entitled by treaty, and when ac-
tual preparations seemed to be making, which nothing but the
public sanction made it lawful to make with views hostile to
Spain, there was certainly room for public apprehensions and
political precautions. When a declaration of war was not
waited for; when it was probable that such a declaration would
not be required by the conduct of Spain; when the authors of
these preparations incurred large and immediate expences, for
the reimbursement of which it would have been an incredible
degree of folly to rely on so vague a contingency; when these
adventurers reposed no frank and unsuspecting confidence in
the government, as to the nature of their schemes; when such
armaments, if suffered to pass our territorial limits, would be
immediately placed beyond the reach of all convenient controul;
when conquests or robberies in the Spanish dominions could in
no wise redound to the advantage of the nation, nor even to the
permanent benefit of the adventurers themselves, but would
necessarily tend to involve us in a war with France and Spain;
it was evidently the duty of the government to watch the pro-
gress of these schemes, to dive into their true purpose, and ex-
ert itself with timely energy to disconcert and suppress them.

We are informed by the president of the United States, in
his communications to congress, that, early in the autumn of
this year, hints and surmises of some designs hostile to the pub-
lic peace, on foot in the western country, were received by him,
in private letters, and that Aaron Burr was pointed out as the
centre and head of these projects. These surmises were so
vague and dubious, that the president contented himself with
urging his informers to a more careful observation, and request-
ing speedy intelligence of all new facts and discoveries relating
to it. Further information continued to arrive, but no evi-
dence was furnished which justified public or judicial pro-
cesses; but it was deemed proper to send a trustworthy person
to make enquiries on the spot, to confer with governors and
other officers, as occasion might require, and to concert and
execute with them any measures, of civil or military force,
which the exigence might demand. Orders were sent by the

  and as if forty soldiers on horseback, equipped in our manner, were still equal
to the conquest of an empire in South America. Wilkinson, with ten thousand
troops, would make as little impression on Mexico, as Miranda, with his three
hundred, did on Terra Firma.

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same agent to the governors of the Orleans and Missisippi ter-
ritories, and to the commanders of the land and naval forces in
this quarter, to be on their guard against surprises, and to be
ready to resist any attempt that might be made on their posts or
vessels, or property in their charge.

At this time, the American forces, sent under the command
of general Wilkinson against the Spaniards on the Sabine, had
arrived at the scene of action, and a temporary agreement was
likely to take place between the adverse generals. These
symptoms of internal disturbance made it very inconvenient to
have the principal military force of the nation at a distance, and
Wilkinson, therefore, received orders to hasten a friendly ac-
commodation with the Mexican officer, and return as speedily
as possible to the Missisippi, for the defence of the important
posts on that river.

These proceedings were all that the present circumstances
justified. Hitherto the design of certain preparations was un-
known. That an inroad into Mexico was intended, was
merely grounded on rumour, and an inference arising out of
probabilities. It seems to have been no one's suspicion that
any hostility was designed against the United States; that the
old project of erecting a separate empire on the Missisippi, or
even that the dismemberment of New Orleans from the United
States, was in the view of the authors of these preparations.
The earliest evidence, sufficient to influence the public opinion
on this head, was transmitted to the government by general
Wilkinson himself. That officer, in a letter to the president,
informed him that he had received, in the month of October, a
letter from Aaron Burr, written in cypher. An imperfect
copy of this letter was transmitted to the government, from
which it was inferred, that the writer was desirous of engaging
the general and his army in the seizure of New Orleans, and the
erection of the western states into an independent government.
These views, according to the general's report, were further
confirmed, and more particularly explained, by the messenger
who brought the letter.

According to the testimony of general Wilkinson, given upon
oath before a magistrate, it appears that, on the sixth of October,
at his camp at Natchitoches, he received a letter from Erick
Bollman, dated at New Orleans. This letter was delivered by
a Frenchman, to whom the general was a stranger, and merely
referred to certain enclosures, with which Bollman declared
himself to have been charged by one whom he merely describes
as “our mutual friend,” and requests the appointment of place
and time for an interview. The enclosed letter was in cypher,

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and a mutilated interpretation of it is given. By this interpre-
tation it appears, that the writer had obtained funds, and actually
commenced an enterprize. The object of this enterprize is not
distinctly explained, but it is said that detachments from diffe-
rent points, and under different pretences, will rendezvous on
the Ohio, on the first of November; that the protection of Eng-
land is secured; that a person called T., apparently the initial
of his name, had gone to Jamaica, to arrange with the admiral
on that station, and would meet in the Missisippi, and that the
navy of the United States were ready to join; that Burr pro-
posed to move down rapidly from the falls on the 15th of No-
vember, with the first five hundred or thousand men, in light
boats, then constructing for the purpose, and to reach Natchez
within a month, where, on a meeting with Wilkinson, it was to
be determined whether they should seize on or pass by Baton

From these particulars we are obliged to infer the design of
a hostile expedition of some kind; but whether New Orleans
was the object in view, either solely or jointly with some other
object, does not from these particulars appear.

Some light is thrown upon this object by that part of the let-
ter which says, that “the people of the country to which we
are going are prepared to receive us; their agents, now with
Burr, say, that if he will protect their religion, and will not sub-
ject them to a foreign power, all will be settled in three weeks.”
From this passage it seems allowable to infer that the country
spoken of is some part of the Spanish territory; but at what
distance and of what extent does not appear. From confessions
afterwards imputed to his emissaries, it seems as if the old
kingdom of Mexico was the object of attack, and that the expe-
dition was finally to sail from New Orleans for Vera Cruz,
from whence they were to march by land to the capital.

The consideration of this letter must suggest to an impartial
mind many different views, and all of them involved in obscu-
rity and fettered with difficulties. How far these difficulties
are to be imputed to the acknowledged imperfection of the
transcript is an obvious inquiry. Any performance may be
made to breathe any meaning, by omitting sentences and words
at pleasure, by separating contiguous passages, or bringing to-
gether those whose genuine position was distant. This tran-
script, the original being written in cypher, is said, by the gene-
ral, upon oath, to be as faithful as he was able to make it; but
as there are manifestly many chasms and broken sentences, the
meaning of the original may widely differ from the transcript,
without any imputation on the integrity of the interpreter.

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Taking it, however, as it appears before us, it evidently be-
speaks a previous understanding between the writer and his
correspondent. Whether any such existed; whether Wilkin-
son had hitherto countenanced the schemes of Burr, but was
deterred by his integrity, or by any other motive, from joining
in the execution, does not appear. Wilkinson, in the proceed-
ings adopted in pursuance of this letter, neither affirms nor denies
any thing in relation to this point. The truth, indeed, in this
respect is of no consequence to the reputation of the general,
since the original intention can never be more than mere matter
of conjecture, and since, when called upon finally to resolve and
to execute, he chose the honourable part; but its truth is of
some importance in our judgment of the writer, because he who
would address such a letter to one not an accomplice must be
destitute of common sense, or, if his general abilities be proved
by other circumstances, he must appear, on this occasion, to
have been insane*. His agents and messengers were impressed
by Burr with the belief of Wilkinson being an accomplice; a be-
lief which, unless Burr had adopted the same opinion, is not
easily explained.

Subsequent events prove that the funds and resources, as to
men and money, of which the writer of this letter declares him-
self in possession, had no existence. Are we then obliged to
conclude that these boasts of having armies and treasures at
command, that a British fleet was to co-operate with him, and
that the kingdom of Mexico only waited his approach to acknow-
ledge him its sovereign, were believed by him that uttered them,
without any, even plausible foundation? Or that, without be-
lieving them himself, he made use of them to gain followers?
Either supposition seems inconsistent with sound intellects, and
especially with that sagacity usually ascribed to the hero of this

  * Insanity seems necessary to account for actions of enormous folly in men
who are known not to be fools. It is not easy to explain most of the projects
imputed to Burr any other way. If we admit this letter and the testimony of
Eaton to be genuine, we are driven irresistibly to this conclusion. If we are
loth to adopt this supposition, yet every other is attended with equal difficulties.
There is a passage in this letter, in which Burr introduces his own family in a
most unaccountable manner.

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THE various intelligence, now in the possession of the go-
vernment, led them to form the following opinion of the views
of Aaron Burr. It was imagined that this desperate adven-
turer had conceived the double design of dividing the United
States by the Alleghany mountain, and of making an inroad into
Mexico. Both these plans were to be pursued together, or one
before the other, as circumstances might suggest. If one should
prove impracticable, the other was to be executed alone. These
were his real designs; but the steps to these were sheltered
under the pretence of a plan to settle an extensive tract of coun-
try on the Washita, claimed by Burr under a conveyance from
baron Bastrop. As this settlement required a large store of
provisions, of arms to equip the settlers for defence and occa-
sional hunting, and of vessels to convey them, their families,
and stores to the scene of action, these were collected and pre-
pared without disguise. Followers were to be allured by the
prospect of this settlement, and, in case of the failure of his real
designs, this was an ultimate resource, and a shelter from public
prosecution or punishment.

Finding all his arguments and stratagems incapable of bring-
ing about the disjunction of the western states, the minds of men
not being sufficiently prepared for that event, and being unable
to accomplish it by any military force within his power, he pro-
ceeded to the second object, and, being apprized of the defence-
less state of the city of New Orleans, he determined to descend
the river, attack that city, and, after possessing himself of the
money in the bank, and of the military and naval stores, to pro-
ceed on his expedition to Mexico. He busily employed him-
self in collecting followers among the ardent, restless, desperate,
and disaffected persons who would naturally be dazzled by such
projects, and among the more sober and discreet, by professing
to act by the secret direction of the government, or by promises
of land upon the Washita*.


* The president, in a message to congress of the 22d of January, 1807, thus
declares his opinions:

“The general's letter, which came to hand on the 25th of November, and
some other information, received a few days earlier, when brought together,
developed Burr's general designs, different parts of which only had been re-
vealed by different informants. It appeared that he contemplated two distinct
objects, which might be carried on either jointly or separately, and either the
one or the other first, as circumstances should direct. One of these was the
severance of the union of these states by the Alleghany mountains, the other an
attack on Mexico. A third object was provided, merely ostensible, to wit, the
settlement of the pretended purchase of a tract of country on the Washita,
claimed by a baron Bastrop. This was to serve as the pretext for all his pre-
parations, an allurement for such followers as really wished to acquire settle-
ments in that country, and a cover under which to retreat in the event of a final
discomfiture of both branches of his real designs.

“He found at once that the attachment of the western country to the present
union was not to be shaken; that its dissolution could not be effected with the
consent of the inhabitants; and that his resources were inadequate, as yet, to
effect it by force. He took his course then at once, determined to seize on New
Orleans, plunder the bank there, possess himself of the military and naval
stores, and proceed on his expedition to Mexico, and to this object all his
means and preparations were now directed. He collected from all the quarters
where himself or his agents possessed influence, all the ardent, restless, despe-
rate, and disaffected persons, who were ready for any enterprize analogous to
their characters. He seduced good and well-meaning citizens, some by assur-
ances that he possessed the confidence of the government, and was acting under
its secret patronage; a pretence which procured some credit from the state of
our differences with Spain; and others by offers of land in Bastrop's claim on
the Washita.”

 image pending 93

As these opinions of the projects of Burr were founded on
many secret communications from the western country, as well
as on the letter of general Wilkinson, it is not possible to judge
of the whole grounds on which they were built. The general's
letter appears, however, to have been the most satisfactory evi-
dence hitherto obtained of these designs, and this evidence,
admitting the letter in cypher to be genuine, and the part of it
decyphered to convey truly the intentions of the writer, must be
allowed to be forcible.

With regard to the general probability of these charges, the
grounds of our judgment, in such cases, are too complex and
various to allow of uniform or universal conclusions. The
character of Burr with regard to morals, which might make
such projects eligible from their subservience to his ambition,
or detestable from their mischievous tendency, must have some
influence on our conclusions. Those who have a favourable
opinion of his probity will require very strong proof to convince
them that he meditated a civil war at home, or-an unjust inva-
sion abroad; while those who regard him as a profligate and
desperate man, whose ruling passion was ambition, and who
scrupled not to embrace any means, however malignant or
bloody, conducive to the gratification of that passion, will consi-
der projects of this kind as perfectly congenial to his natural
temper, and particularly adapted to his present situation.

With regard to the first design imputed to him by the go-
vernment, of separating the river states from the maritime, this

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may certainly be reconciled to such degrees of political inte-
grity as are commonly found among mankind, especially if the
means adopted to effect this end were pacific, and consisted in
winning over by argument the bulk of the people to this scheme.
The political union of these two districts, though we firmly be-
lieve it to be beneficial to the whole, is not so clearly or demon-
strably so as to make the opposite belief the test either of bad
morals or weak capacity. Aaron Burr might naturally, perhaps
reasonably, cherish the persuasion, that if this separation could
be accomplished, chiefly through the influence of his talents and
industry, it would open a sure road of power and dignity to his
own ambition. That he should, therefore, bend his efforts to
this end, and labour to gain over leading persons, by addressing
their judgment and passions, is in itself quite probable; but it
is no less certain that the world is not hitherto supplied with
any undoubted testimony that it was so.

All reasonings, however, on this point, are of little general or
lasting consequence, since the end, whatever means were em-
ployed to attain it, was not attained. Either the personal au-
thority of this person or the force of his arguments was too small
to raise up a visible party in favour of a separation, and he ap-
pears to have quietly and totally relinquished it. With regard
to his second object, an invasion of Mexico, this subject was
at this period likewise involved in considerable obscurity. As
the plan of settlement evidently required vessels, arms, provi-
sions, and men, and these must pass down the river, it seems un-
reasonable, merely from these preparations, to infer, with cer-
tainty, a purpose hostile to Spain. This design is imputed to
him by the government, partly on the evidence of private let-
ters from persons worthy of credit. The precise nature and ex-
tent of this evidence, it being withheld for political reasons from
the world, cannot be stated, nor do we know more than that it
influenced the opinion of the government in the way already
mentioned. The expedition being frustrated in its commence-
ment, the subject must ever want the best kind of evidence, and
the highest degree of certainty.

With regard to the probability of this design, as resting on
the virtue or sagacity of him who conceived it, it is hard to de-
cide. Burr had opportunities of making numerous inquiries
into the internal state of the Spanish province, but the result of
these inquiries are known only to himself and his agents. How
far these inquiries justified him in projecting an invasion is be-
yond the reach of all but the inquirers themselves, nor is it pos-
sible to judge how far a sanguine temper, natural to all adven-
turers, bestowed a fallacious plausibility on these schemes.

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With respect to the design upon New Orleans, this is asserted
positively by the government to have been an essential part of
the project. Fortunately this project, if it were really intended,
proved, like the rest, abortive in its birth, and this fate leaves its
existence in the same uncertainty as that of the others. What
force collected in the upper country was adequate to this pur-
pose, in the opinion of Burr himself; what well-grounded hopes
he possessed of collecting such a force, and what co-operation
he expected from the people of New Orleans itself, are all
points hitherto involved in mystery, and will probably never be
satisfactorily explained.

The government having thus attained to some degree of cer-
tainty, with respect to the author and objects of the plots on
foot, proceeded to exert itself to defeat or counteract it. A pro-
clamation was issued, on the twenty-seventh of November, con-
formably to these apprehensions. Orders were sent to all the
important stations on the Ohio and Missisippi, for employing
the regular and militia forces, and for exerting the civil
authority, in the seizure of all boats and stores provided for this
enterprize, and for arresting all persons concerned in them.

About this time, the agent secretly employed by the govern-
ment to fathom and defeat the designs imputed to Burr con-
ceived himself warranted in applying to the government of the
state of Ohio to exert itself against these designs. This appli-
cation was listened to very promptly, and, by the authority of
that state, all the boats and provisions belonging to Burr within
their reach were seized. As the largest preparations had been
made at stations on the river, within the jurisdiction of
Ohio, this precaution may be considered as fatal to the intended

The zeal of the officers of government tempted them to take
advantage of the presence of Burr in Kentucky. His person
was arrested; but no evidence being produced that warranted
the charge of treason preferred against him, he was speedily
dismissed. But as soon as the proclamation and orders arrived
in this state, its legislature, by a law passed on the twenty-third
of December, authorized the employment of its military force
in executing these orders.

Notwithstanding these precautions, some boats left the falls
of the Ohio about this time, and proceeded down the river, with
a view, as rumour related, of forming a junction with others at
the mouth of Cumberland river; and Burr, in company with
two or three boats, descended the latter river on the twenty-
second of December. He passed this river and the Ohio
without interruption. He proceeded, with nine boats and about

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a hundred men, down the Missisippi. What purpose he now
meditated is not easily conceived. So small a force was
wholly unsuited to any hostile expedition. Even co-operation
at New Orleans could not be expected, when claimed and coun-
tenanced by so very small a force. Even this force, as it after-
wards appeared, was composed of very young, inexperienced
persons, of whom there was good reason to believe, from sub-
sequent occurrences, that few or none of them were apprized of
the intentions of their chief. As a considerable period must
elapse before an armament of this kind could pass the southern
limits of the Missisippi territory, orders were dispatched with
the utmost expedition to the magistrates in that district, to ar-
rest his progress, and here, accordingly, the career of this rash
and mysterious person came to an end. He was probably by
this time convinced that his project was a desperate one. Had
he been allowed to proceed, his misfortune might have been de-
layed, but could not be averted. Had he reached New Or-
leans, he would only have run into the jaws of his enemies. The
Spanish territory afforded no refuge or asylum to him, since a
formidable army only could have enforced a passage through it.

The governor of the Missisippi territory, as soon as he re-
ceived the orders of the president, prepared with vigour to exe-
cute them. The country cheerfully concurred in all the mea-
sures necessary to this purpose. The militia were posted at the
most important points on the river, and no alternative was left
to Burr but to surrender himself a prisoner, or to gain the
liberty of passing the river by threats or arguments. He ar-
rived at length at Bayou Pierre, and dispatched from that place
a letter to the governor, in which he solemnly avowed his inno-
cence of the charges which rumour had made against him, and
intimated that the mischiefs resulting from an opposition to them
would be imputable to those who made it. He spoke of civil
war as the certain consequence of any obstruction to his pas-
sage, and this hint influenced the governor to make more ex-
tensive and formidable preparations than he had hitherto done.
Above three hundred men were stationed on the river, about
twenty-one miles above Natchez. An interview having been
proposed by Burr to the governor, a conference between them
took place at the mouth of Cole's creek, on the seventeenth of
January; and Burr, being speedily convinced that all his pro-
jects, military or pacific, were baffled and defeated, consented to
yield himself a prisoner to the civil power on the following

Thus ended this singular transaction, which had occupied the
minds of men, in all parts of the United States, during three

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months, with images of civil war and foreign expeditions of the
most formidable and magificent kind. The people of the mari-
time states were disabled, by their situation, from forming accu-
rate judgments of the true state of affairs in the regions beyond
the mountain. Even the distance of the seat of empire from
the actual scene of these transactions subjected the govern-
ment to the influence of delusive and gigantic rumours; and the
sanction of the government being at length publicly conferred on
the probability of some great national danger, the public appre-
hensions arose to a high pitch. These apprehensions derived
strength from the opinions generally entertained of the despe-
rate situation, the daring temper, the unscrupulous ambition, and
the great abilities of the head of this conspiracy; of the turbu-
lent spirit of the western country; of the disaffection of Loui-
siana; and of the political weakness of Mexico. It could not be
believed, on any other testimony than that of time, that Burr
averred himself to possess such large pecuniary and military
resources, without any adequate foundation. All well-con-
ducted plots are unseen till the moment of action arrives. The
parties engaged in them are loudest in their profession of zeal
for an opposite cause, or of ignorance or scorn of the rumoured
project, and thus a popular panic seizes the coldest and most
sceptical hearts, and the most tremendous exaggerations are pro-
pagated with rapidity and swallowed with eagerness. Thus the
maritime cities, during this period, were led to embrace the be-
lief, at one time, that Burr was actually on his march, at the
head of thousands, sometimes of ten thousands. At one time
he was in full possession of New Orleans; at another he had
commenced his reign in the new empire of the Missisippi; and,
anon, he had reached, with a flourishing army, the borders of
Mexico. When all these rumours finally closed their career,
in the humble tale of Burr, intercepted on the Missisippi, with
a hundred men, chiefly young and raw adventurers, manifestly
unacquainted with the ultimate views of their leader, and when
all the orders of government were seen to be promptly and zea-
lously executed by the magistrates and citizens in this quarter,
and no difficulty appeared but that of finding an army to attack
and a fleet to destroy, apprehension gave place to shame, terror
to ridicule, and credulity to wonder at the circumstances by
which it was misled.

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BUT though the maritime states were but little affected by
these events, except through the medium of fancy, widely dif-
ferent was the situation of New Orleans. A panic, which,
however groundless it proved, produced very important effects
in that city, and gave birth to events the most disastrous and
oppressive; a fire was kindled in the hearts of the people of
that settlement, which is not likely to be soon quenched; and
some of the worst consequences of civil war, in the interruption
of the usual employments of life, in the imposition of military
duty, and in the exercise of an arbitrary power, in imprisoning
and transporting private persons, without legal process, were
experienced in that city during several months.

The history of transactions at New Orleans is chiefly sup-
plied by letters of the commander in chief to the government,
and by the legal depositions of a few officers and magistrates,
in relation to particular events. Those who incurred suspicion
and persecution, on account of their connection with Burr, have
written copiously in their defence, and the truth, as usual among
hostile and clashing statements, is not easily discovered.
Amidst this labyrinth, it is incumbent on a pen studious of im-
partiality to proceed with caution; but the due caution, on oc-
casions like the present, leads to no certainty, and is obliged to
content itself with leaving the reader to decide on his own con-
clusions of the credibility of witnesses, and the probability of

We are informed by general Wilkinson that he received the
mysterious letter already mentioned, at his camp at Nachito-
ches, by the hands of a stranger, on the sixth of October, 1806.
He does not tell us whether this was or was not the first intima-
tion he obtained of this project. He tells us, however, that the
moment he had decyphered this letter, he put it into the hands
of colonel Cushing, his adjutant and inspector, declaring himself
resolved to oppose the meditated enterprize. Another letter
from Burr was likewise received, merely introducing the bearer,
named Swartwout, to the general. In the intercourse of some
days, the latter extracted from the new comer the following par-
ticulars: that he had been dispatched by Burr to Wilkinson;
that Burr, supported by a powerful association, extending from
New York to New Orleans, was levying seven thousand men,

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in New York and the western territories, for an expedition to
Mexico; that New Orleans, whose inhabitants were favourable
to the cause, would undergo a revolution; that money and all
stores necessary to their voyage to Vera Cruz would be seized;
that the American and British navy would concur in this
scheme, and that the western people were favourable to it.
The names of Bollman, Alexander, and Ogden were mentioned
by Swartwout as confederates in these plans.

This intelligence, somewhat agreeing with the letter, induced
the commander to transmit information concerning it to the
seat of government; but he declares that he doubted the reality
of the project, especially as it related to New Orleans, till he re-
ceived corroborative intelligence from St. Louis.

After the truce with the Spaniards on the Sabine, Wilkinson
proceeded to New Orleans, where he arrived on the twenty-
fifth of November. Several interviews ensued between him
and Bollman, in which the latter informed the other that he had
received letters from Burr, telling him that Burr designed to be
at Natchez on the twentieth of December, with a force of two
thousand men; that four thousand more would follow, and that
twice this number, had it been necessary, might have been
levied with the same facility; and that he expected to obtain
shipping and equipments at New Orleans.

These intelligences were made the immediate occasion of
some military preparation, in repairing the ruinous defences of
the town, but no public assurance or warning was given of the
danger thought to be impending, till the ninth of December,
when the principal citizens were convened, and the dangers im-
pending were laid before them by the general and governor.
They were informed that a numerous army, of seven thousand
men, were then preparing to descend the river, under Burr; that
this force was destined against Mexico, without the knowledge
or permission of the national government; that they proposed
to plunder the banks of New Orleans, seize the shipping, and
supply themselves with every necessary within their reach.

The effect of such tidings, from such high authority, may be
easily imagined; and though the force with which they were
menaced was much too formidable to be resisted, despair
prompted the people to concur eagerly in every measure condu-
cive to the public safety. The merchants instantly agreed that
an embargo should be laid on the shipping, that the crews should
be discharged, and encouraged by bounties, raised by voluntary
contribution, to enter on board the vessels of war, which were
assiduously prepared to aid in resisting the invaders. On the
fourteenth of December, Bollman was arrested, by the general's

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order, and conveyed on board a vessel, to sail for the Atlantic
states. As this arrest was plainly illegal, a writ of habeas cor-
pus was applied for on the prisoner's behalf; but the judge hesi-
tating to grant it in the present circumstance, the delay of a day
ensued before it could be obtained, and in that interval Bollman
had been carried to some distance down the river. Disobe-
dience to the writ was sheltered under the necessity of prompt
measures and military despotism, at such a crisis. Samuel
Swartwout and Peter V. Ogden were likewise arrested at fort
Adams, and brought down to New Orleans, where they were
placed on board a vessel of war. The latter was immediately
liberated by a habeas corpus. The same kind of efforts was im-
mediately made for the release of Swartwout; but he was re-
moved previously to a place under the command of the general,
and Ogden and Alexander were shortly after arrested by the
same authority. Several attempts were made by the judicial
power to release these prisoners, but in vain; the regular troops
and the best part of the militia being in the hands of the general,
and the governor chusing to acquiesce in his measures.

The breach between the military power and the judicial daily
became wider. James Workman, judge of the country of Or-
leans, granted repeatedly writs of habeas corpus, on behalf of
Swartwout and Ogden, and these being slighted, at length
granted an attachment against the general. All these pro-
ceedings being equally fruitless, the judge made a formal de-
mand on the governor, for aid in support of the civil power.
This demand, though repeated, was encountered with silence,
and the judge made a final effort, by laying an account of these
proceedings before the territorial legislature. These transac-
tions were followed by the arrest of the judge himself, of Mr.
John Adair, of Mr. Bradford, and of Mr. Kerr. Workman
and Kerr were, however, speedily released by habeas corpus,
and these were the last arrests that were made. Tidings of
the arrest of the author himself of all these fears and commo-
tions, in the Missisippi territory, being received at New
Orleans, the militia deposited their arms, commerce and mutual
confidence resumed their usual course, and the general tran-
quillity was re-established.

The extensive injury redounding to New Orleans from the
conduct of the general is obvious. The embargo, by suspend-
ing trade, essentially impaired the interests of the mercantile
class, and diffused its mischievous effects to every part of
America or Europe to which the commerce of that city ex-
tended. All classes, in a town purely commercial, are deeply
affected by interruptions to trade. The people for a long time

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laboured under the severest terror of violence and plunder from
an approaching enemy. Great numbers were exposed to the
painful apprehension of personal arrest, and, at least, of tempo-
rary banishment. Of those actually arrested and transported,
all were finally discharged without trial, and even without bail,
when a legal scrutiny was made into their offences; but in the
mean while they suffered many inconveniences and hardships,
to which their final acquittal proved that they had been unjusti-
fiably exposed. Bollman first arrived near Charleston, where an
attempt, ineffectual as the rest, was made to restore him to
liberty, by habeas corpus. From thence he was conveyed to
Annapolis, and finally to Washington. Swartwout, whose hard-
ships were still greater than Bollman's, arrived at Annapolis the
same day, and the two being finally brought before the circuit
court of Columbia on a charge of treason, were committed, but
afterwards dismissed on a habeas corpus, by the supreme court
of the United States. Alexander, Ogden, and Adair, being ex-
posed in like manner to severe hardships, were restored finally
to liberty, by a similar process, at Baltimore.

Though, since the expedition of Burr never took place, and
was probably too rashly concerted ever to have succeeded so far
as to reach New Orleans, had no political impediments been
thrown in the way, it is not necessary to infer, that all the pre-
cautions made use of by the general, painful and oppressive as
they were, were not justified by prudence; the evidence of
letters and rumours, though false, might yet be so specious as to
justify the faithful magistrate or officer in adopting the mea-
sures now related. Even sincerity itself forms a species of
apology, and Wilkinson may plead his own conviction of danger,
even should it appear that such conviction was a mark of imbe-
cility, temerity, or folly.

By those who question the sincerity of the general, without
impeaching his prudence, or who, allowing him the merit of sin-
cerity, question the wisdom of his conduct on this occasion, it is
said, that, on his return from the Sabine, he had required five
hundred militia from the government of the Missisippi terri-
tory to proceed to New Orleans. As the dispute with Spain
was at an end for the present, this measure could only be sug-
gested by the desire of defending the city against Burr; but, if
any attack were feared from the upper country, it is said, that,
instead of weakening Natchez by drawing off its domestic de-
fenders, he should rather have reinforced the militia by a large
detachment from his own troops. He brought down his whole
army to New Orleans, where the river is wide, with a low and
flat country on both sides, and the city incapable of being ade-

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quately fortified but in a long course of time, instead of occupy-
ing some of the many heights, narrows, and islands above Nat-
chez, where the passage is easily defended against a superior
force. The invaders, after mastering the Missisippi territory,
the fort and settlement at Baton Rouge, and both banks of the
river below, and employing the resources of these districts, would
descend with irresistible advantages. The utmost force, regu-
lar and militia, that could be assembled at New Orleans, to op-
pose them, would not be equal to one-eighth of the number con-
fidently reported by the general to be on its voyage towards

When the general first announced the impending invasion,
the season of intercourse and intelligence with the upper coun-
try had commenced; persons from thence were daily arriving,
but brought no tidings of the approach of a fleet and army,
though such a formidable band could not fail to be preceded by
rumours far beyond the truth. The sole authority alleged by
the general himself, for believing the approach of this army, was
the decyphered letter, which conveyed nothing but the chime-
rical intentions or expectations of a person, then at Philadelphia,
and of verbal assurances of two of Burr's friends, who had not
seen him since the date of this letter*. All the direct intelli-
gence from the upper country discredited, not merely the re-
ality, but even the possibility of any hostile expedition of this
kind being actually on foot.

After the first alarm had somewhat subsided at New Orleans,
these views of the general's conduct began to prevail among
those who were aggrieved by the system of military precaution
so rigorously adopted. We are unable fully to refute those ob-
jections to the general's conduct, though it is apparent that the
decyphered letter produced the same apprehensions, and sug-
gested similar precautions, to the national government. The
western states were directed by the president to muster the mi-
litia and arrest suspicious persons and property, on the same
evidence and principles on which Wilkinson had acted. With
respect to the five transported persons, two of them, if the oath
of Wilkinson deserve credit, were certainly apprized of a design
to invade Mexico, and were willing to further and promote it.
One court, before which they were brought, thought them wor-
thy of commitment for trial, and the government thought pro-
per to detain them as prisoners for some time, on the grounds
which the general alleged for their transportation.

  * Swartwout's introductory letter was dated at Philadelphia, July 25, 1806.

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Swartwout, on the testimony of the general, is made to say,
that the combination under Burr extended from New York to
New Orleans. Of the truth of this no legal evidence has hither-
to appeared. The general and governor were liberal of sus-
picion and accusation, but the true grounds of these are un-
known. Many of the recent settlers in New Orleans, emi-
grants from the American states, were exposed to charges of
disaffection and treason, and the general ferment and disquietude
were thus inflamed. Burr's captivity, by crushing all his schemes
in their bud, has of course thrown an oblivious mantle over the
real characters and views of such persons. Since they have not
been proved guilty, we are bound, by reason as well as law, to
deem them innocent*.

  * An eloquent narrative of these transactions, published at New Orleans by
an adversary of Wilkinson, contains a curious account of the views and wishes
of the American emigrants with respect to Mexican expeditions. Speaking of
the inroads of the Spaniards in 1805, and their effect on popular feelings, he
says: “Among the Americans, a spirit of enterprize and resentment universally
prevailed; private associations were formed, with objects beyond a mere defensive
war; and signal retaliations on the Spanish possessions in that vicinity were
every where spoken of with confidence and enthusiasm.” Burr is merely charg-
ed with being the leader of such an association, and surely this confession re-
flects some little probability on this charge. A curious account is afterwards
given of an actual association of this kind, and of a trial at law, in which the
general had endeavoured to confound this fraternity with the Mexican part of
Burr's conspiracy. This writer says, the expedition planned by this association
“had assumed a character eminently elevated above all schemes of petty war-
fare and pillage. The object was not to steal upon and plunder the unarmed
merchant. It was to raise the standard of natural rights, political liberty, and
free trade, in the face of opposing armies; and deliver one of the fairest por-
tions of the globe from a most odious system of colonial bondage, conceived in
tyranny, and nursed in fear, ignorance, and weakness. The project may have
been visionary, or be considered as impracticable. But it does credit at least to
the hearts that warmed in the cause; and only required, like the American re-
volution, the sanction of success, to reflect immortal honour on all engaged in it.”
This miserable cant must have been the favourite rhetoric of Miranda and
Burr, and it is evident that such views must have been admirably calculated to
give success to the intrigues of Burr at New Orleans. Burr's letter professes no
intention of plundering banks and seizing ships, and his agents merely talk of
the probable necessity of borrowing some of the specie and vessels. In another
place he says, “the president's proclamation against Burr had reached New
Orleans about the 6th of January, but produced no extraordinary sensation
there. So far as Burr's designs were conceived against Mexico, they excited no
manner of uneasiness.
It indeed surprised the good people of Louisiana not a
little to find the government so extremely solicitous about the territories of their
neighbours, after having shown so much indifference as to the protection of their
own.” These passages, in a publication expressly designed to expose Wilkin-
son's conduct to contempt and abhorrence, on the principle that the danger
from Burr was imaginary, are very extraordinary. This pamphlet, indeed,
though written with opposite intentions, reflects strong probability on the opinion
that Burr had formed the plan of a Mexican expedition at least, and that New

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Orleans supplied him with many partizans. Burr's designs might naturally enough,
in this state of things, excite no uneasiness among the American settlers at New
Orleans, but the guardians of the nation were bound to be very uneasy on this
account, because the most flagrant mischiefs could not fail to follow a war en-
tered into thus unjustly and wantonly with France and Spain. And for what
end? To gratify the lust of plunder and adventure, in a few unsettled individuals,
who have the insolent folly of clothing their lawless views, under the stale,
bald, flagitious pretences of giving liberty and independence to those whom they
murder or despoil.

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