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therefore, that the high price of provisions has no influence on the price of labour, it cannot be doubted, we imagine, that the bounty gives the farmer a higher price for his corn, and thus so far encourages agriculture. But we doubt the propriety of making the community pay a higher price for corn in order to encourage agriculture.
With respect to the alleged steadiness of prices, it is difficult to conceive how this effect can be produced by a bounty of 5s, on the quarter of corn. Let us suppose that corn in France and England is 50s., and that a bounty of 5s. is given in England for sending corn to France;-the charges of transporting it will probably amount to 2s. per quarter, leaving the exporter a profit of 3s. As corn is sent out of England, however, the price will rise; and as it is sent into France, it will fall. Supposing the price to rise in England 2s., and to fall in France Is., then the exportation would be stopped. There would be no greater profit in selling corn in France than in England. It is impossible to tell exactly how much corn must be exported before the price in England would rise 2s., or before it would fall in France 1s. But we can tell, with the utmost certainty, that if all that was exported, in consequence of the bounty, were sent back, it would only lower the price as much as the deficiency had raised it; which, according to our hypothesis, is 2s. Now, the advocates for the bounty contend, that it is by means of the surplus produce, which in ordinary years is exported, and which, in scarce years, is kept at home, that the steadiness of prices is produced. But it appears by the preceding statement, that if all the corn which was sent abroad by means of the bounty were retained at home, it would only sink the price in the home market 2s. In years of plenty, therefore, a bounty of 5s. on the quarter of wheat would raise. the price 2s.; and in years of scarcity it would sink it probably as much. In the one reason, it would give a trifling encouragement to agriculture; in the other, it would rather discourage it.. To what side the balance would incline, on the whole, it is difficult to say; and it really appears to us not to be worth while to consider. From the most attentive consideration of the case, the advantages of the measure seem to be at best but doubtful; and, at any rate, they are quite insignificant; so that we do not think it prudent for government in this, more than in any other case, to tamper with the trade in corn.
ART. XIV. Exposition of the Practices and Machinations which led to the Usurpation of the Crown of Spain, and the Means adopted by the Emperor of the French to carry it into Execution. By Don Pedro Cevallos, First Secretary of State and Despatches to his Catholic Majesty Ferdinand VII. Translated from the Original Spanish. London, 1808.
WE gladly avail ourselves of the appearance of this interesting document, in order to enter somewhat at large into several points, either omitted, or too slightly touched upon, in our former observations on Spanish affairs. But we must premise a few things respecting the state-paper now before us, and its author.
Don Pedro Cevallos, after more than the Pythagorean period of silence on every discussion which concerned the interests of his country, and particularly the two grand subjects, of the French alliance, and the Prince of the Peace, has now happily recovered his speech, and talks like a most patriotic Spaniard, and a bold politician. In truth, to hear him, one is tempted to think it some other Don Pedro than the illustrious person who, for so many years, acted as the tool of the reigning favourite, and helped him out with all his submissions to France. His new principles are no doubt much better than his old; but we cannot avoid just noticing the change as we pass along.
After observing that it is the duty of one who has been placed, in circumstances like his, to develop the various machinations of his country's enemies, (and who, indeed, so fit to make such an exposition, as he whose lot has been cast successively in all parties?) he proceeds to sketch very hastily the political conduct of the Spanish cabinet, during the interval between the peace of Basle and the Late convulsions. This he characterizes with some asperity.
maintain, at all hazards, the ruinous alliance concluded in 1796, he says, there is no sacrifice which Spain has not made. Fleets, armies, treasure-every thing was sacrificed to Francehumiliations-submissions-every thing was suffered-every thing was done to satisfy, as far as possible, the insatiable demands of the French government. The reader of these invectives would scarcely suspect that he has them from the pen of the man who was minister for foreign affairs in Spain, during the period of all those submissions and humiliations-who presided over that department when the fleets of Spain were sacrificed at Trafalgar her armies drafted off to Germany-and her treasure offered up at the feet of France, until England chose to make war with her for the purpose of sharing in the plunder, after a negociation conducted by this very Don Pedro in his capacity of foweign minister. After serving Charles IV. under the Prince of
the Peace, he went into Ferdinand's employ when Buonaparte declared for that young sovereign. He accompanied his new master to Bayonne, when, contrary to every suggestion of prudence, he undertook that ill-fated journey. He was there appointed to negociate with the French agent, when Ferdinand was desired to resign his crown on certain conditions. But, according to his own statement, he was found too inflexible a counsellor, and was displaced after repeated and gross bad treatment from the French government. Nevertheless, when Joseph was named King, so completely were all those offences against France forgotten, that, at the new monarch's special and most earnest request, hé went with him to Madrid as his minister. Then, finding the insurrection pretty general, and Joseph likely to have the worst of it, he left his service, and immediately starts up again as prime minister to Ferdinand VII.- our beloved sovereign-in which last capacity he now addresses his countrymen upon the nefarious, perfidious, and shuffling conduct of the French government.
It is scarcely necessary for us to lay before our readers any abstract of the tale unfolded by Don Pedro in this extraordinary memorial, because it has already been circulated so very widely, that we could not hope to find a single reader to whom such an abstract would have the recommendation of novelty. Before proceeding, however, to express any of the reflections which its perusal is so well calculated to suggest, we may just observe, that there are two points, as to which, we conceive, Don Pedro to have completely failed, and one only, though that is by far of the greatest consequence, in which we think he has succeeded. He has failed, we think, completely, 1st, in his attempt to vindicate his own honour and consistency; and, 2dly, in his attempt to show that the original resignation of Charles IV. in favour of Ferdinand, was a free and unconstrained resignation. But he has succeeded in showing to all Europe, that the proceedings of France have been marked, throughout, with the greatest perfidy, and the most atrocious injustice.
With regard to himself, it is enough to say, that after all his pretended protestations against the unprincipled violence and insulting usurpation of the French court, he was asked to accept of the place of first minister to King Joseph Napoleon,—and that he accepted of that offer. It is useless, after this, to attend to his humiliating equivocations, or to enter into any discussion of his prior apostasy from the cause of Charles to that of Ferdinand. There is no honest man to whom his own statement of the two leading facts we have now mentioned will not be quite satisfactory; and perfectly conclusive indeed, as to the personal character of Don Pedro Cevallos.
With regard to the abdication of King Charles, and the dark and disgraceful intrigues by which his unfortunate family dissensions appear to have been consummated, we will venture to assert, that no light whatever is thrown on the subject by the extraordinary narrative of this heirloom of the Escurial,-this fixture in the seat of Spanish royalty. In what degree ministerial perfidy or filial ambition,-foreign intrigue or popular discontent,contributed to this miserable catastrophe, it seems, as yet, too early to determine. But we have no more doubt, that the resignation of Charles was produced by the threats and the cabals of Ferdinand, than we have, that the resignation of the latter was extorted by the violence and the menaces of Bonaparte. There is something not only incredible, but ludicrous, in the story which Don Pedro tells, of the free and affectionate resignation of this unfortunate monarch,-whom he represents, like some sentimental old gentleman in a German comedy, taking his elderly consort by the hand, and addressing her in these touching words. Maria Louisa, we will retire to one of the provinces, where we will pass our days in tranquillity; and Ferdinand, who is a young man, will take upon himself the burden of the government. The innocence of the galleries might perhaps tolerate this trait of Bucolic sublimity; but there is no pit in Europe that would endure it even in a play.
Questionable, however, as we conceive the testimony of Don Pedro to be, we cannot withhold our belief from the story which he tells of the insolence and the outrageous usurpations of Napoleon. It bears upon it, we think, the intrinsic character of truth; and it corresponds exactly, not only with the general character of the persons represented, but with the visible exterior of the transaction which it professes to detail.
In an earlier age of European history, it might have been worth while to have chronicled the steps of this most profligate usurpation; and to have noted the shameful alternations of flattering promises, and ambiguous menaces,-of barefaced and unblushing falsehood, and open ferocious violence,-by which this bold, cunning, and unrelenting conqueror accomplished the first part of his ambitious project. Like the lion-hunters of old, he drew his victims on in the course which he had prepared for them,-by cajoling and by irritation,-by soothing their appetites and exciting their spirit,-till at last, by trick and by open violence, the royal beasts were driven into his toils, and placed completely at the disposal of their stern and artful pursuer. These things, however, are now familiar; and it is among the most melancholy and depressing of the reflections suggested by the tale before us, that it has revealed nothing which all its readers were not prepar
ed to anticipate; and that, atrocious as it is, it harmonizes exactly with the rest of the policy by which Europe has for some time been governed. We turn gladly from this scene of imperial robbery, royal weakness, and ministerial perfidy, to contemplate, though with a fearful and unassured eye, the animating spectacle of that popular and patriotic struggle for independ ence, to which the other has so unexpectedly given occasion.
In treating of the affairs of Spain, in our last Number, we found ourselves obliged to express an opinion respecting the probable issue of the contest, far less sanguine than that with which the bulk of the people in this country have been fondly flattering themselves; and it is painful now to add, that we can, as yet, discover no good reason for changing that opinion. The glorious efforts of the Spaniards have indeed, in more instances than could have been expected, obtained the success which their zeal and valour so amply merited. The surrender of Dupont's army, -the general retreat of the enemy towards the Pyrenees,-and the flight of Joseph from Madrid,-have all happened since we last touched upon this subject; and as no one was sanguine enough to think the Spaniards could triumph without many severe losses in the outset of the contest, so, almost every one appears now to view the struggle as already decided in their favour. Because the expectation of beginning with disasters has been agreeably disappointed, men seem to have become much more sanguine than they were at first, and to consider disaster as out of the question. It is not our purpose to examine minutely the probabilities on which this question turns; but we must state a few observations, sufficiently plain, one should think, to have damped the romantic hopes even of the English nation.
Let us reflect what the army is which the Spaniards have repulfed, in order to find out, whether they have as yet come to clofe quarters with Bonaparte. That confummate ftatefman appears for once to have erred in his calculation, when he expected to take poffeffion of Spain by the mere force of a treaty. Unaccuftomed to meet with any refiftance on the part of the people, he thought that his bufinefs was completed, as foon as he had got the royal family into his power. He thought he had made fure of his purchase, when he had made them execute the deed of conveyance; and only fent fuch a force as might be neceffary for taking quiet poffeffion. When this force, however, arrived in Spain, it appeared that the whole work remained to be done; and the army which was fent to keep the crown, foon found that they had yet to fight for it. This is the only French force which has hitherto been engaged with the patriots. The whole force of Spain has been oppofed, not to an army fent by France to conquer her, but to a detachment