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to descend, and secondly to ascend. The mere statement of so gross an error being committed by so able a philosopher would make us suspicious of the accuracy of the allegation; and never was a charge more inaccurate. The second proposition, as we have already said, is not that of M. Haüy but of his critic, which changes its peculiar and essential conditions. The method of the altered proposition may be used to find the action of the fluid-mass on the slender column: but then the object of this proposition would be the same as the object of the first; and if the method were rightly pursued, and to its end, it would give the same result as that which is contained in the first proposition. According to this plan, then, we should obtain the same result by two different modes, the latter of which is less simple than the former: but we should be destitute of a method of finding the alteration in the action of the fluid-mass, produced by a curvature in the surface.
It really is a waste of time to dwell any longer on so plain á case. So palpable a misconception of the drift of M. La Place's reasoning, and of his method, almost inclines us to suspect that the examiner is not in earnest, but that he has sent forth a philosophical jeu d'esprit to plague and to annoy, and to disturb the wits and the faith of those who buy books without reading them, and praise authors without understanding them. If, however, he be really in earnest, it is lucky for him that some instinctive caution, some dread of an hereafter-reckoning, prevented the subscription of his name to this essay; which bears on its face the stamp and character of boldness, without possessing the qualities of strength and power. We relish as little, also, the humour of the piece, as its solemn argument. The author of it designed, probably, to have been playfully severe, but he seems to us to be most unwisely witty.
In endeavouring to refute a crimination of La Place's reasoning, we are not required to explain nor pledged to defend the whole of his complicated system: but its principle and general plan (especially as stated by M. Haüy,) manifest a plainness and a simplicity which render it worthy of notice. First, the action of a fluid-mass on a slender column, the surface of the fluid being plane, is considered :- secondly, the alteration in the former action due to a curvature in the surface, or (which is the same thing) due to the separation or addition of a meniscus thirdly, the cause of the curvature of the surface, as depending on the relation subsisting between the attraction of a tube towards the particles of the fluid, and the mutual attraction of the particles themselves; and, with regard to this latter part, we think, contrary to the assertions in the
tract before us, that La Place has justly proved Clairaut's theorem, viz. that "if the matter of a tube has for a fluid half the quantity of attraction which the fluid has for itself, the fluid in the tube will be horizontal."
ART. XII. The Prince: translated from the original Italian of Nicolo Machiavelli. To which is prefixed an Introduction, shewing the close Analogy between the Principles of Machiavelli and the Actions of Bonaparte. By J. Scott Byerley. 8vo. pp. 307. 95. Boards. Sherwood and Co. 1810.
N the preface to this volume, the translator informs us that his motives for publishing a version of the celebrated portion of Machiavel's writings were of two kinds; viz. a desire to make English readers more intimately acquainted with a writer who is very generally mentioned but very little understood; and, in the next place, to point out the secret spring of Bonaparte's policy, by explaining its coincidence with the precepts of the sagacious Italian. The original part of the book consists of the Introduction, and of a few notes subjoined to the translation. We cannot compliment Mr. Byerley on the execution of his task, his style bearing manifold marks of haste, and not ■ few of intemperance: but we entirely agree with him in the chief part of his observations on the conduct and policy of Bonaparte. A residence abroad has given expansion to Mr. Byerley's sentiments, and has brought his mind to that state of knowlege which it would be well for us all to find more generally diffused among our countrymen.
The points in the book that are most deserving of attention are the remarks on the character of Machiavel, on the practical examplification of his precepts by Bonaparte, and on the false conceptions of the British public in regard to the ruler of France. We shall follow the order adopted by Mr. Byerley, and submit to our readers a few observations on these interesting topics.
In weighing the morality of Machiavel's political precepts, two things are to be considered; first, that he saw mankind under great disadvantages, and next that he has been represented as worse than he was. The former was owing to the wretched condition of society in Italy; poison and assassination being so prevalent in his time, that more blood was shed in peace than in war: in which state of things, art and even deceit were in a manner essential to self defence. In regard to the second point, Machiavel's reputation has suffered from the resentment of the Church of Rome, almost as much as the character
character of Achilles has suffered from the celebrated lines of Horace. Machiavel penetrated the duplicity and exposed the corruption of the Papal government; to the baleful influence of which, he ascribed the feuds which divided the Italian states against each other, and which prompted the destructive invasions of the Germans, French, and Spaniards. Imputations so prejudicial to the beneficent pretensions of the Church were not to be pardoned; and it accordingly became a standing rule among its members to depict Machiavel as a monster of immorality.
We come next to the observations which regard Bonaparte. After all that this ruler has done to impeach his own character, his warmest adherents are scarcely intitled to complain that he has been traduced: but we, who have stood in the situation of his antagonists, have great reason to regret that his character has been misunderstood. Among the delusions which for a time prevailed in this country, was the belief that his government was too unpopular to be long maintained; and another favourite notion was that his successes in war were the offspring of treachery on the part of his opponents, and arose from causes which could not be permanent. These opinions are as erroneous on the one side, as the blind admiration on the other which would hold him up as a kind of supernatural being, inspired with intuitive wisdom. His character may be unravelled by the same process which assists us to deve lope the characters of other men. Were we to analyze the origin of that knowlege which has enabled him to overthrow the Continent, we should trace it to his meditations in the solitude which he formed for himself in the military school of Brienne. If we reduce his attainments in war and politics to elementary principles, we shall discover the former in the works of Polybius, Guischard, or Lloyd, the latter in those of Machiavel; — and if we are surprized at the rapidity of his acquisitions, let us compare his unwearied labour and scanty repose to the habitual indulgence of almost all those who have ventured to enter the lists of competition with this indefatigable combatant. Extraordinary, therefore, as his career has been, it has displayed nothing miraculous; it has been, as Mr. Byerley judiciously remarks, the natural consequence of certain premises.'
The perusal of such a work as this, by connecting the effect with its cause, has a powerful tendency to lessen the indiscriminating admiration of ignorance. In turning over the pages of Machiavel on the "incorporation of conquered provinces,' we trace the course of policy pursued by Bonaparte in regard to Belgium and Germany; and in the gradual manner in which
he introduced his successive changes in the French govern ment, we can discern the application of the Italian's maxim, that "all alterations in government should be founded on the plea of absolute necessity." On the other hand, it is no small consolation to perceive that the passions of Bonaparte disqualify him from following up, in their plenitude, the rules which lead to the consolidation of empire. His usurpation of Spain was as contrary to the precepts of his political oracle, as it has been detrimental to his own power and reputation. Ma chiavel warns every invader against hoping for the attachment of a people of different habits and language; and he counsels the statesman to commit no breach of faith which he may not be able to cover by a plausible pretext. Now, in the case of Spain, Bonaparte trespassed greatly in both these respects. By the vastness of the seizure, he deprived himself, over all Europe, of the character of moderation which the relinquish ment of his German conquests had begun to procure for him; and, by his unexampled perfidy towards the Spanish royal family, he lost all the benefit which he had hitherto derived from professions of honour and sincerity. In his haste to possess Spain, he overlooked the inveteracy of the national antipathy to France; and in his eagerness to seize its colonies, he forgot that England was mistress of the sea, and could present to those colonies the boon of independence. He has erred, in nearly the same degree, in the case of Holland. He had acquired complete command over the finances and forces of the Dutch; while, by preserving the semblance of an independent government, they submitted patiently to the privations of war, and looked forwards with hope to the return of happier times. They admired the military talents of Bonaparte; and, confiding in his professions of protection, they were disposed to throw a veil over the temporary evils which resulted from his ambition. By depriving them, however, of their apparent independence, he has obtained no real addition to his strength, and has roused the spirit of the whole population against him. Supreme as he is in military force, we see very little chance that either Spain or Holland can be wrested from him, and peace may even give a formal sanction to his usurpations: but neither the continuance of possession, nor the influence of peace, will reconcile either the Spaniard or the Dutchman to the loss of national independence. They are not to be blinded by those pretexts which deceive credulous Frenchmen, nor are their vindictive passions so speedily allayed. Even were the life of Bonaparte protracted to the period which we have recently seen him anticipate, in the annunciation of his Austrian marriage, it would still be too short to gain him the attach
ment of either Dutch or Spaniards; or to exempt him from the necessity of enforcing their obedience by the presence of a large proportion of his military force. If he should attempt, in a future war, to carry a great body of troops on a remote expedition, against Turkey, against Russia, or against England, what has he to expect in Spain and Holland but insurrection and defeat? Those of his acts, therefore, which most offend the world, but which to hasty observation appear to give confirmation to his power, are in reality essential deductions from its solidity. Excess in ambition is to a sovereign what excess in the pursuit of wealth is to a private individual; —the measures which it prompts serve to counteract its object, and to drive to a greater distance the prize which it is impatient to grasp. How fortunate would it be for us, could the more ardent part of our countrymen be induced to contemplate deliberately the political effects produced by the violence and the aggressions of Bonaparte! They would then perceive that he has himself been the sower of the seeds of future discontent against his government throughout Europe; and that, though resistance is at present hopeless, a time will come when it may be effectual. An examination of his maritime resources would also lessen the vehement alarms which some politicians among us are disposed to entertain on the subject of peace, and would shew that, after the enjoyment of ten years of tranquillity, we might again (if necessary) enter on a contest for the sovereignty of the ocean, without apprehension of the issue.
These observations, into which we have been seduced, have made us almost forget Mr. Byerley and his book.To describe its character in a few words, we shall add that the original part will be found to contain sound sentiments indifferently expressed; while the translation of Machiavel will be interesting to the politician, as affording him repeated occasion of discovering the origin of Bonaparte's measures in the precepts of his Italian prototype.
ART. XIII. Distress, a Pathetic Poem. Second Edition. Robert Noyes, Author of "The Tempest"-" Miscellanies," &c. 4to. 2s. 6d. Williams and Smith.
THIS HIS poem is re-published by a son of the deceased author and those who wish to benefit his children, by the purchase of it, are requested (in the preface) to ask for the New Quarto Edition. It is printed from the original manuscript, several mistakes are corrected, and some omissions are sup