Page images
PDF
EPUB

not being a quarter of that which was then cheerfully voted?

The Manchester school, and whole Free-Trade party, are here on the horns of a dilemma, from which we do not see the possibility of an escape. Either their representations as to the beneficial effects of their system are fallacious and unfounded, or they are true and well founded. If they are fallacious, and they are aware that their system is rotten, and must ere long be blown up, on what principle do they defend their obstinate resistance to the restoration of Protection, or any adjustment of the public burdens which might put the agricultural class, in some degree, on a level with the commercial? If, on the other hand, their system is the true one, and nothing but general prosperity and affluence have followed its adoption, on what ground can they account for the impassioned resistance they have made, and are making, to the addition of 80,000 militia to our national armaments, and of an expenditure of £400,000 a-year to our public estimates? Is the continuation of the incalculable blessings their policy has conferred upon the nation not worth purchasing at so trifling a cost? And is anything more certain than that, if we are subdued by our enemies, not only shall we immediately lose, by military contributions, direct taxation, and fall in value of property, all the wealth we have acquired; but the Free-Trade system, so far as we are concerned, will immediately be put an end to, by its being continued only against us by the free admission of all our enemy's goods, and concluded so far as it was in our favour by our goods being loaded with prohibitory duties the moment they approach their harbours?

Persons unacquainted with the facts always tell us that Napoleon was baffled in his design of invading this country; that he was a greater general, and at the head of a greater military force, than his nephew; and that having escaped, when it was most imminent, so great a danger, it is chimerical to suppose that any real grounds for apprehension exist at this time. There never was a greater

mistake; and it shows the utmost ignorance of the facts ever to adduce such an argument. In every respect the parallel fails, or rather it holds in this sense, that our present position, so far as concerns our enemies' means of attack, and ours of defence, is precisely the reverse of what it then was. France in 1805 had 640,000 men under arms, and they had 600 guns ready for action; but this great force was distracted by the threatening aspect of the European powers. Austria, Prussia, and Russia hung like a thunder-cloud on his rear, and it was only by taking advantage of the days, and even hours, that Napoleon could hope to dictate a peace on the Thames before he was called on to fight for his existence on the Danube. As it was, his camp at Boulogne was broken up at an hour's warning, and his forces all defiled to the Rhine to combat Austria and Russia at Ulm and Austerlitz, before he had an opportunity of effecting his meditated descent on this country. Subsequent to that, the Prussian, Polish, Spanish, and Russian wars so completely absorbed his forces, and occupied his attention, that he had no opportunity of resuming his long matured, admirably conceived, and much cherished project.

But have we any such diversion on the Rhine or the Danube to reckon on now, to draw off the forces of France from the glittering and tempting prize held out to their grasp on the banks of the Thames ? Are the finances of the cabinet of Vienna very flourishing, and the population of Hungary and Italy so entirely tranquil, that they could venture on a war with the Tricolor Flag to effect a diversion in our favour? Is Russia so thoroughly cordial, and her jealousy of our influence in the East and elsewhere so completely allayed, that the Czar would pour down upon the Rhine to aid us, as he did on the Hungarian plains to crush the Magyar insurgents? Is it not next to certain, on the contrary, that both Austria and Russia would in secret be rejoiced at our downfall, and that no prospect would be so agreeable to the despotic powers of eastern Europe, as to see the great democratic states of western

Europe tearing their heart's blood out, and materially weakening each other to such a degree as to render the ultimate subjugation of both, by the despotic powers of eastern Europe, a matter of comparative ease? Depend upon it, if we rely on another Ulm or Austerlitz to save us from invasion, we never were so deplorably mistaken. The whole forces of France are now far more disposable against us than they were in 1805. They are not now, as they then were, distracted by the necessity of guarding against the hostility of the northern powers; and if we needed to be prepared against the 600,000 regular troops of Napoleon at that time, much more do we require to be ready against his nephew's 500,000 at this.

These considerations are so obvious that they must have occurred to every person even moderately acquainted with the subject. No one can be insensible to them, except such as are dead to every feeling of patriotism, national security, and honour, or are infatuated by the monomania of peace congresses, and the termination of war upon the earth. Accordingly, it is very remarkable, and worthy of particular notice, that they have been familiar to ALL our leading statesmen, of whatever party, who have ruled the destinies of the country for the last fifteen years, and that they have only been prevented, one and all, from carrying them into effect by the insensibility of the nation on the subject, and the difficulty of getting any additional supplies, how scanty soever, voted by Parliament. This was the case too before Sir John Burgoyne received the Duke of Wellington's famous letter on the subject, and before the French Revolution of 1848, and the consequent universal arming of Europe, had doubled the previously existing danger.

Sir Robert Peel was fully impressed with the danger, and before he went out of office in 1846, he had a bill prepared for putting the militia on a proper footing, which was only prevented from being passed into a law by the general distress which ensued from the railway crash. Lord Palmerston was so thoroughly impressed with it, that he not only, as is

well known, dissented from every proposed reduction of our naval and military force, but in 1846 prepared a most lucid and admirable memorial on the subject, which, if published, would perhaps do more to open the eyes of the nation to a subject of such vital importance than any other document in existence. That noble lord has since, in his speeches in Parliament, given the clearest indication of his convictions on the subject; and well may he do so, for he himself has thrice over, during the last twenty years, seen us brought to the very edge of a war with France, or with France and Russia united once when we bombarded Acre in 1840; once when we were all but at war with France about Queen Pomare and the Otaheite affair; and once when the French ambassador had left London, and the Russian was preparing to follow his example, in consequence of our blockade of Athens, and demands for satisfaction to Don Pacifico and Mr Finlay in 1850.

Lord John Russell is fully impressed with the same views, as appears from the militia bill which he prepared and brought into the House of Commons in the present session of Parliament; and which he deemed of such vital importance to the nation, that for the change of a word in it he resigned office for himself and all his friends. What Lord Derby and the present Government will do, who are enlightened by the great knowledge and experience of the Duke of Wellington and Lord Hardinge on the subject, is well known from the measures they have brought forward in the House of Commons, and the great efforts they are making to put the national defences in the best state that circumstances will admit. We leave it to Lord John Russell's biographers to reconcile his firm and proved convictions of the necessity of an increase to our national defences, with his opposition to the second reading of Lord Derby's bill for a militia, which was to effect that very increase. At present, we merely point out this remarkable coincidence of the ablest leading statesmen of ALL PARTIES, who during the last twenty years have directed the councils of our country, as the most

decisive proof of the necessity of the addition to our defences which we advocate. As to the opinions of military and naval men, it is needless to say anything. From the Duke of Wellington and Lord Hardinge downward in the one service, and Sir Charles Napier and Admiral Parker in the other, there is not a dissentient voice on the subject.

It is not surprising that this remarkable unanimity among all our leading statesmen should exist, for in truth the facts regarding it, which are as well known to our enemies as ourselves, and hidden from the country only because the Manchester school have succeeded in drawing a film before their eyes, are of so serious and appalling a description that it has become the first duty of every friend to his country to bring them in the most prominent possible way before the public mind. We have stated the force of our nearest and most probable enemy: it consists of 500,000 men, of whom 70,000 are admirable cavalry, and 400 guns ready equipped and harnessed for the field.

[blocks in formation]

Now, such being the force of our enemies, and so pressing and cogent the reasons which will prompt them to use them for our destruction, let us consider the amount of the regular force at our disposal to resist such an attempt. We shall afterwards consider what aid is to be relied on from the irregular auxiliaries whom we hear so much of, and what can, with their present means, be expected from the navy to ward off the terrible calamities of an invasion. The figures we give may be relied on: they coincide exactly with what was stated by Lord Hardinge, the War Secretary, and our best military authorities in Parliament, and we challenge the Free-Traders and peace advocates to detect any inaccuracy in our statement.

STATEMENT OF THE FORCE IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

By the foregoing Return, the effective available Force in Great Britain,

exclusive of Cavalry, is—

Artillery,

Guards and Regular Infantry,

Carry forward-total,

4,820 21,710

26,530

[blocks in formation]

Regular Force of Artillery and Infantry remaining in Great Britain,
Add Pensioners fit for Garrisons, but not for Field Service,

21,530

7,750

29,280

Next deduct Garrisons for the Forts and Arsenals, the Tower,
London, Chatham, &c., viz.—

[blocks in formation]

Force of Artillery and Infantry remaining for Field operations,
Add 1-3d of the Sappers and Miners, the other 2-3ds being in the
Garrisons,

Add Cavalry previously deducted,

Nett Force to oppose a landing,

To show that the deductions made on account of non-effectives is not exaggerated, we subjoin two returns, the first showing the actual force in Great Britain and Ireland on 27th April last, and the second the garrisons requisite to put our more

6,280

261

4,023 10,564

important military positions in anything like a posture of defence, and prevent the contest being instantly brought to a close by the immediate capture of all our arsenals and stores, military as well naval.

COMPARISON BETWEEN EFFECTIVES AND ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ARMY AT HOME.

CAVALRY, FOOT GUARDS, and Infantry.

as

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

2,871 3,314 1,090 52,337 59,522 2,871 3,357 1,096 52,596 59,830

We subjoin a memorandum, which we have compiled from the best authority, of the forces required to

defend our various forts, in the event of the contest being at all prolonged:

MEMORANDUM of the MILITARY STATIONS IN GREAT BRITAIN and the CHANNEL Islands (exclusive of Ireland and the Colonies) that must be protected by troops, showing the number required to give them a moderate degree of security.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »