« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.
abundance of its products, and the number of ils population*, that another Peter, a Catherine, or an Alexander, may extend its dominion to the extremities of Europe and Asiat.
The politics of the Russian government are, as the politics of all
* The population of the Russian empire, exclusive of Georgia, amounts, by the latest enumeration, to about 42 millions; whereof, there are upwards of 20 millions of male peasants, 700,000 enrolled soldiers, and 50,000 servants for the staff; and 1,900,000 free-men, of all descriptions. The military strength' of all states must be estimated by the proportion which those employed in productive labour, bear to those who are not. ln a country where agriculture occupies all the industry of the nation, there are few idlers; a greater proportion of the inhabitants may therefore, without inconvenience to the whole, be maintained in the service of the state, or in military exercise, than there can be in mercantile and manufacturing countries. Those who live by trade, or traffic, and refined manufactures, are not only themselves unprofitable consumers, but their subsistence and gains, are taxes or burdens on the industry and consumption of others. In England for instance, the subsistence of those employed in measuring ells of ribbon and yards of muslin; in weighing ounces of tea and half pounds of sugar; in scribbling accounts, and in pleading mercantile cases; amount to more than the expence of all the Russian army. That army is, however, now and then adding a new kingdom to the empire; whereas the former are depressing the natiouat spirit, in corrupting and sapping the vigour and morality of their country.
+ Since nations have fought to extend their dominions, their progression has depended more opon the ability of peace-makers, than upon the talents of military lieroes. Peter I. was a politician as well as a soldier; he knew, that to conquer in war was not enough; be also knew, that not to be conquered in his turn, it was necessary to retain in peace, such posts as could both guarantee the possession of his own territories, and facilitate the future acquisition of others.
Charles XII conquered Denmark and Poland; and lived 19 loose not only his conquests, but also one half of his hereditary dominions, and the independence of his kingdom. The war, undertaken and carried on by the so-called Grand-alliance, was one continued series of victory; and the peace of Utrecht and Rastadt ruined the House of Austria, the principal party in that alliance; subjugated Holland, and laid Germany open to France. The maritime war carried on by Great Britain in 1759-6061-62, was a train of conquests; and the peace of 1763 produced the sad conditions of that of 1783.
Had Charles XII, after the battle of Narva, secured his posts on the Neva, Sweden might yet have been what Gustavus Adolphus lest her. The acquisition of Noteburgh now Schlusselburg, Nyeskantz now Petersburgh, and of the Islands of Retusari now Cronstadt, posts of no consideration to the Swedish hero, secured to Russia the dominion of the north of Europe. By the more recent acquisitions of the Crimea, Oczakow, and Georgia - Constantinople, Ispahan, and Delhi are now completely in the power of Russia. Had the peace-makers at Utrecht, secured an independent monarchy in Spain, and given to the United Provinces a territorial basis, such as sound policy, justice, and even common sense pointed out, Europe might yet have been composed of independent states. Had Great Britain at the peace of 1763, maintained her con. quests, she would not have had to sign away the half of her empire in 1783.
It has been argued, that Great Britain lost nothing by the independency of
Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.
governments should ever be, guided by the interests of the state and the interests of Russia have as little connexion with those of other nations as the etiquette of ihe court of Peking has with the ceremonies of the conclave at Rome.
Mistress of the Baltic, Livonia, and Poland, of the Black and Caspianseas, Georgia, and the Caucasus ; the frontiers of Russia are inaccessible to any force that could possibly be brought against them*, and every part of
America, because that country did not pass under the dominion of another power! By the same mode of reasoning, we should lose nothing were Ireland, Indostan, and Jamaica free repablics, so as we could trade with thena! Is the political influence, military and naval power of the United States, added to those of France, and all the ports of America shut against the British flag and against the produce of British industry, no consideration?
The instirmountable difficulties triat is said would attend the march, or passage of a Russian army through Parthia and Bucharia to Cashinire and Cabul, of by the Euphrates to Bassora, reminds us of Mr. Canning's crocodiles that eat up Buonaparte's army on the banks of the Nile! And the estimations drawn up to show the force which the Persian cavalry and the Arabian strollers would oppose to such an expedition, seems to be made from the same scale; by which we lately saw calculated the resistance the valiant Swiss were to make to the legions of France. How is it possible to presume that Persia, in its present state, could make any opposition to the demands or operations of Russia ? From Astrabad to Ispahan, is not further than from York to
London. From the port of Zaue or the Tendzen-river, and from the Aral-lake to Cabul, - is only about as far as from Oczakow to Teflis. A million of camels are to be found on
the roads, and should a Russian army be pleased to purchase them, they cost only about the value of 40s. a-head; a hundred pound weight of wheat costs 15 pence, as much salt two-pence, an ox of six to eight cwt, about 20 sbíllings, and a sheep of 2001b. four shillings 'sterling. We can scarcely believe that an army of Cossacs and Kalmucs would find such a country impassable? especially when they are told that Tahmas Kouli-Khan, on an excursion of pleasure rather than an expedition of wat, brought a booty worth sixty millions sterling out of Indostan. And would the Grand Signor refuse a passage through his territories to Bassora, when only to demur upon the demand might cost him Constantinople? If the safety of Delhi, Agra, and other places of India, depend upon their distance from the frontiers of Russia, and upon the difficulties and dangers of the route, we would recommend to the Mogul and those concerned with him, to make terms, or hide their treasures as soon as they can.
We are told in England, and it is said, that writers have been paid to prove it, that the trade of Indostau cannot be carried on through Persia and Tartary by Russia; nor through the Persian gulph and Red-sea by France. That may be, but should these powers conjointly, or either of them, acquire the dominion of India, doth that imply, that the trade of Asia with Europe, must change its usual channel? We believe not,
* The Frontiers of the Russian empire, are, one half surrounded with an un-navigable ocean, 6-7ths of the other half are covered with Asiatic nations, aud wandering tribes ; and mistress of the Baltic and Black-sea, the remaining part is inaccessible; or that is, the space, we may say Isthmus, between Riga and Oczakow is the only frontier the Russian government has to guard; and Europe cannot organize a force that could Bow make any impression on that quarter. Were the bero of Marengo with all his
Estimates of the Strength of Firence and Russia.
continental Europe and Asia, is open to the inroads of her armies.' Commanding as she doth, the Sound and the Belts, if she do not loose the Bosphorus, no check whatever can be set upon her fuiure operations. That immense monarchy can neither be controuled by power, nor has it yet any common interests to bind its government to the rest of the world. Russia is therefore neither naturally, nor in politics the ally of any other state.
In England we say, “we can block up the Baltic and ruin her trade, or we can send a fleet lo Cronstadt, and compel her to accede to terms." Although we may applaud the spirit of our countrymen, we cannot but regret their confined knowledge of other states! The iacı is, that since the kings of Denmark and• Sweden were reduced, and driven by our ill calculated mercantile politics, to hold their crowns and dominions of the Russian government in fce; we can no more annoy that power in the Baluc than we can on the Obyt. And we may, with as much effect,
veterans on the banks of the Boristhenes, it is by no means likely that he would risk ä journée de Pultava.
* But suppose the Baltic were accessible, what could a British fleet do there without * port or an anchorage? In friendship with Denmark, and in co-operation with Sweden, and all their ports and arsenals open to us, what did Norris with 30 sail of suen of war, do there in 1720 and 1721? He cruised between Stockholm and Revel, and saw die Russians with 42 sail of the line, 300 gallies, 480 flat-bottom boats, and 24 bomb.vessels, lay waste the coast of Sweden for 300 miles rnund Stockholm, and to within 20 miles of that capital. The British steet dared not to attenipt llie passages through which the Russians sailed, nor to approach any part of the enemy's coast; at any rate, they did not try: nor did they during the two campaigns ever fire a gun. After having extorted from Sweden, the cession of the Dutchy of Bremen and Verden to the elector of Hanover, as the price of our succours, we are unwilling to presume that the British admiral could have been instructed to remain a voluntary spectator of the terrible ravages then committed in that unfortunate country by the Russian armies.
Prior to our last expedition to the Baltic, the unfortunate Paul, actunted more by candor than guided by policy, declared war six months before either himself or any of his maritime allies could move. The Danish bulks, which fought Admiral Nelson, were cut out through the ice to their station after the British fleet was in the Categate. And what could that campaign, had it been persisted in, have produced? The destruction of Copenhagen? Be it so, what then? We must then have put a garrison in it; and 20,000 men could not have defended it three weeks. What further could even Lord Nelson have done? gone off Carlscrona and looked in, for to go in is impossible. He could not have gone so uear as to look into CronstadtBy the time he had made that cruise, the season would have obliged him to retire. Supposing tbe islands of Zealand and Amak in the possession of hostile armies, were the whole British pavy in the Baltic, they might be land-locked there in one night.
Our late convoy-war, which we always reprobated and will ever regret, has produced more effects than were in all probability expected to arise from it. In the first years of the war with France, the numbers of American ressels taken by our cruisers, and delained for, we know not what, created reiterated altercation, and produced Mr. Jay's freaty; those altercations, and this treaty, changed the wbole political system of the United States, and we may say, revolutionized their government. President Adams, VOL. IV. No, 21.
Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.
employ the British navy lo arrest the currents in the Pacific ocean, as to attempt to check the progress of the political arrangements and military operations of Russia by interrupting her maritime trade. The trade of the Baltic, Black and white seas, is to Europe in general, and 10 Great
with those who were averse to a dependent connexion with France, were field up to public execration, and dismissed from all places of public trust; Mr. Jefferson, and bis friends, attacited to the cause of the French revolution, were invested with the govern. ment of the republic; and the influence, power, military and naval force of the United States, were forth with arraigned on the side of our inveterate enemies. How far they have yet changed their position, we leave to be explained by those, whose immediate duty it is to watch over the vulnerable parts of the empire. At the commencement of the French revolution, the late Count Bernstoof, who then guided the attairs of Detimark, and influenced the politics of Sweden, foresaw the effects wliich a maritiine war was likely to have upon the trade of the northern states; and that the mercantile transactions of individuals, might not, in any wise intersere with the political relationship of the several governments, he proposed an arrangement, whereby the trade and maritime intercourse of the respective countries should be publicly and fairly regulated; but lic was answered by certain of the leading parties, as the barons of the Exchequer might be expected to answer the petition of a reputed smuggler. When the war broke out, Count Bernstorff was still disposed to favour the interests of Great Britain, that is, in as far as strict neutrality would allow, and would have furbidden the reception of privateers and captured property in the ports of Denmark and Norway; but a diplomatic correspondence, which we shall notice hereafter, having in the mean time made that minister consider his sovereign insulted in his own person, all amicable explanation was at an end. Criminations and recriminations employed the diplomacy of both parties; dismissed clerks, bankrupt brokers, and discharged ship-masters, were paid to rummage countinghouses, store houses, ships and ship-wharfs for subjects of coraplaint; and the most ridiculous chapman-dealings were represented as great expeditions, carrying on by that state in favour of France! All vessels displaying Danish and Swedish colours were brought up, and detained to a vexatious length of time; the French imitated the example of Great Britain, and carried their vexations still farther; the neutral gorernments were then obliged to give way to the clamours of their subjects, and convoys were appointed. The commander of every such ship of war, was instructed to make himself perfectly acquainted with the contents of the cargo and nature of the trade of every vessel, which applied to bim for convoy: he was to be fully satisfied that the cargo was fair neutral property, and that the trade was conform to existing treaties before he took the vessel under his protection. By these precautions, it was presunied, that the belligerent powers would shew as much respect to the declaration of the commander of a king's ship, made in the name of his sovereign, as they professed to do to the certificate of a burgonaster, or a custom- house officer. Those precautions, on the part of the neutral governments, were however represented in England, as measures of defiance and hostility. The Swedish convoy was laid wait for, and brought up; restitution refused, the king requested the interference of his neighbour the emperor Paul; and that monarch, with his usual frankness, desired Baron Toll to assure his sovereign, that he would consider the transaction as having happened to himself; that the convoy should be restored, or that he (the emperor of Russia) “would himselt come forward N and raise a standard of Union, around which, the insulted sovereigns of Europe migles Estimares of the Strength of France and Russia
Britain in particular, an object of great importance; but to Russia herself, were those seas dry, her powers of action would be the same; she could then make the Categate, the Mediterranean, Persian-gulph, and Yellow sea, her maritime ports; and the rest of the world would still come there, to carry away the superabundance of her produce. An immense inland world of itself, possessing all the productions of nature which are either necessary or useful; or, that can in anywise contribute to the ease and convenience of mankind; with irresistible powers, not to be collected from, nor depending upon scattered settlements abroad, but issuing spontaneously from its centre, and with inexhaustible sources of wealth yet unexplored, maritime trade will ever be to Russia a subordinale consideration.
However, although trade and navigation will ever he but secondary objects to Russia as a state, yet the unrestricted exportation of the produce of her wide-extended dominions, and the freedom of supplying her inter, nal consumption with foreign produce from the best markets, are two pretensions which the power and political rank of that empire obliges its
" rally in defence of the property of their subjects.” This affair was further aggravated by the pitiful puerility of our diplomacy in the north; these busy ambassadors ran from conference to conference, wherever they could get admittance, with Sir William Scott's sentence of condemnation in their hand, bellowing out, that they were specially instructed to cram it down the throats of the neutral governments! About this time, in 1798 and 1799, thic court of Denmark made still another attempt to explain and arrange all mercantile differences with Great Britain, and to conciliate and cement a good understanding between the two nations; but this was disregarded, perhaps through misrepresentation in England. The affair of the Frya frigate then took place; and that event, as an almost necessary consequence, organized the enmity of the powers of the north; gave a system to their measures, put the means of Denmark and Sweden under the command of Russia, and added all the powers both political and military of Russia, to those of France. We trust efficacious measures will yet, ere too late, be taken to avert the effects of that formidable combination. As another effect of our war with the neutral states, we are to consider that universal hatred and malignant, rancour towards Great Britain, whicla pervades all classes of people, in every part of Europe and America. This universal spirit of ill-will, doth not appear to us a matter of perfect indifference, especially considering, howĢreat Britain now stands relatively to her neighbours. When a state once acquires a preponderating power, the ill-will of others, always subsides into harmless envy and good neighbourhood. During the late war, the most violent parties in America were not seriously disposed to a rupture with England; because they dreaded our vicşorious arms. Had the war continued, and Great Britain refused to acknowledge the neutrality of the north, the maritime states on the Baltic would have, for the same reason as America, rather taken part with us, than against us. The dread of chastisement știftes hatred ; and the wise exercise of power converts ill-will into admiration : but the hope of gratifying malicę, generally produces rancorous hostility. A hope, of being soon able to gratify the enmity of Europe and America upon the wrecks of the British empire, is now generally entertained; and what people once believe themselves capable of effecting, they sometimes do effectuate.