Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

officers and men have carried on this most disagreeable and harassing service, are above all praise, and the more so, when it is considered that the success of these extraordinary exertions (exertions, we are persuaded, peculiar to the hardy and intrepid sons of Great Britain) is always uncertain; for it may safely be asserted that, with the exception of five or six of the summer months, there is scarcely another month in the year in which the enemy may not effect his escape unperceived by the blockading squadron. Should his course be tracked, the reduced state of the provisions and water of our squadron may not always allow it to follow him.. To obviate this evil effectually, the blockading ships must be frequently relieved ; to do which, allowing for casualties, would require, on the home stations, at least one ship in six, and in the Mediterranean, one in four above the enemy. At this low calculation, we ought not to have less, for watching the ninety-seven sail of the line and eighty-seven frigates, which the enemy will have fit for sea in the course of next year, than one hundred and sixteen sail of the line and one hundred and four frigates ; without any provision for the protection of our numerous colonies in the East and West Indies, the coast of Africa and America, the fisheries of Greenland and Newfoundland, and our exclusive commerce to every part of the world'; without any security for the Baltic, which alone requires six or eight ships of the line, to protect our 3000 merchant vessels trading there against Denmark and Prussia. It is pretty clear, then, that if the blockading system is to be persevered in, instead of reducing, we shall very shortly be under the necessity of augmenting, our naval force.

As a set-off against the disadvantages of a constant blockade, we may reckon the complete security which the trade of this kingdom has experienced in consequence of it. The insurance is now little more than that of a common sea risk. Single ships run with licences, and fleets of one hundred sail and more, proceed in safety under the convoy of a frigate or a sloop of war. So unusual is it now for an enemy's ship to venture out, that, when it happens, the mercantile world is thrown into as much alarm as the enemy himself: notices are posted up at Lloyd's; the Admiralty is beset with clamorous representations; and the daily papers are filled with lamentations and conjectures as absurd, as their expectations are generally unreasonable.

But, great as the benefits are which commerce derives from our naval pre-eminence, they are trilling indeed when compared with the perfect security and tranquillity which every part of the united kingdom has enjoyed, while the nations of the continent have, each in its turn, been deluged with blood. Insufferably perverse or incurably stupid must that man be, who will not acknowledge, or


who does not feel, that, to our undisputed command of the ocean alone, it is owing that the Peninsula is not now groaning under the iron sway of Buonaparte, and that the ports of Cadiz and Lisbon are not, at this moment, thronged with fleets for carrying the

war, with all its train of horrors, into the heart of Ireland. To the free and secure passage over the ocean, must be ascribed the facility and dispatch with which the army of our illustrious commander in Spain has been reinforced, and the opportunities which have been afforded, under his auspices, of establishing our military character on as firm a basis as that of our naval reputation. It was the British navy which wrested from the tyrant's grasp, and conveyed to their injured and insulted country, the gallant Romana and his brave followers; and it was the same navy which snatched from impending destruction, or captivity, worse than destruction, our own gallant army, which had so gloriously retrieved its character under the walls of Corunna, after a most harassing and disastrous retreat.

If any part of the vaval force could be spared from its numerous and important services, it could, in our opinion, only be employed to advantage, in the conveyance of troops, in lieu of that vast mass of transport tonnage kept constantly on hire, which, we believe, at this moment is not much short of 150,000 tons, amounting to an annual expense of two millions sterling. Troop ships fitted up from the ordinary of the navy, with reduced masts and yards, are so much superior to transports, in point of accommodation--safety ---dispatch-facility of landing and embarking troops and stores so capable of defending theinselves against any thing short of a lineof-battle ship,-as to admit of no comparison. They may perhaps be more expensive in the outfit; but, when it is considered that an equal quantity of tonnage would be spared from the regular navy in frigates and fourth rates now employed as convoys for transports, we are quite sure that the two millions might most advantageously be transferred from the transport service to the regular navy. And if it be true, as Lord Melville stated, * that since the peace of Amiens 120 transports have been captured or lost, that 1700 regular troops have been taken, and 1900 perished in those vessels, the difference of expense is surely of little moment.

• I reject,' says his lordship, 'all such calculations; for I hold the life of a British sailor or soldier to be inestimable. Instead then of discharging 20,000 seamen, a number that could not be raised again with the utmost exertion in less than five or six years, it would be infinitely more advantageous, as well as more economical, to employ them

[merged small][ocr errors]

in troop ships, where they would always be at hand, when wanted, to man the effective navy. We rejoice to find that the present Lord Melville is following up his father's ideas on this subject, so important to the interests both of the navy and army.

There is another advantage, of no trifling moment, arising o'it of the blockading system; it is the complete prevention of the officers and seamen of the enemy from gaining that experience in naval tactics which is indispensable for the management of ships of war in time of action. The seamen of France are in fact no longer in existence, but in our prisons. Their fleets are mapped with foreigners of every description-Dutch, Danes, Hamburghers, Genoese and other Italians, mostly forced into the service; but the French part of their crews are a few superannuated seamen employed to teach the younger ones, fishermen reluctantly compelled to serve, and marine conscripts without any knowledge of seamanship: But though ships of war thus manned may not be competent to fight ours, they are quite sufficient to transport armies to our own shores, or to those of our colonies.

From the glance which we have taken of the increasing naval force of the enemy, as well as from the various employment of our own, it may not appear quite so evident that we should begin to economize with the nayal department; that is, with the professional or military part of it, in which, we will venture to assert, fewer abuses, and a better system of economy exist, than in any other great public body whatever. To the numerous and highly meritorious class of officers in his Majesty's naval service, by whose exertions the discipline and economy of the fleet have reached the highest point of perfection, every attention and respect are due; and though we are persuaded that they would be the last to complain of any hardship in reducing the fleet; yet we think it would scarcely be fair to say, "You have braved every danger, you have born with patience, fatigue, anxiety, and privation—you have driven the ships of every enemy from every sea, and now that there is nothing for you to fight, you may retire on your half-pay.' We well remember that the imprudent haste of paying off ships, immediately on their return from sea after the truce of Amiens, to effect a paltry saving of a few days' pay, was considered, both by officers and men, as a most ungracious act of parsimony. This is not the species of economy which will enable us to prolong the contest. Fatal indeed would be the delusion which should tempt our governors to reduce the navy, and transfer our reliance for protection, from its wooden walls, to martello towers, subterranean shafts and military canals.

Impressed as we are with the necessity of economizing our means and husbanding our resources, we are yet convinced, that the re


the ocean.

duction of our feet is not the most effectual mode of doing it. The saving of a million and a half annually, which is the utmost we should save by discharging 20,000 seamen, and laying up 60,000 tons of shipping to rot in ordinary, would prove but a poor compensation for giving to the enemy even a momentary superiority on

A far more important saving, as well as a more lasting benefit to the nation, would be effected by the adoption of a regular system of management in the civil departments of the navy; and by having recourse to those means of supply, and following up those improvements at which we have briefly ventured to glance. As attainable objects, we are willing to persuade ourselves, that their adoption would be productive of great present saving, and, what is of much more importance, would render us independent of foreign nations, and even of our own foreign possessions, which, in the course of events, may slip through our hands. In a communication from the Bishop of Landaff to the Board of Agriculture, on the subject of planting larch, the agricultural improvement of Great Britain and Ireland, by means of public money to be appropriated by the legislature, is strongly recommended, as the surest mode of securing the liberty and prosperity of the country. • Its liberty,' says this ingenious prelate, * is menaced by France, and its prosperity has, in my time, been twice assailed by the armed neutralities of other powers; but if we will in earnest set about improving our land to the utmost, as the most efficacious mean of increasing our population, we may long continue, under God's good providence, to be one of the strongest, as we are unquestionably one of the most enlightened and industrious and, as I really believe (though there is great room for amendment) we are one of the most beneficent, moral and religious nations in the world.'

ART. III. Specimens of a New Translation of Juvenal. Ox

ford. Newman and Baxter. 1812.

ANOTHER translation of Juvenal —

• What! will the line stretch out to the crack o' doom !' This author, however, is so valuable, that we feel no extraordinary degree of surprize at the attention which he receives from the scholar; and, certainly, no inclination to blame the efforts now so generously and so frequently made to introduce him to the admiration of the English reader.

On opening the pages of this petty publication, however, we discovered that we had reasoned à pure perte on the present occasion; and that the author, so far from proposing to himself the


[ocr errors]

gratification of the unlearned, began his translation with the persuasion that they would have nothing to do with it! I intend to print it,' he says, ' entirely without notes, as I cannot help thinking that Juvenal can scarcely be made interesting to a mere English reader.' p. 4. In our younger days, we remember to have stumbled upon the works of one John Dryden, an obscure poet of the seventeenth century: this person, whose verses are still extant, seems to have formed an opinion diametrically opposite to that of the present writer, and not only to have thought that Juvenal might be rendered interesting to the English reader, but to have taken some pleasure in making him so. Be this as it may, the version before us, if the author reasons consequentially, must be intended principally for the learned, who will doubtless express their obligations to his gratuitous pains, though they may not very clearly comprehend the necessity of the undertaking.

The translator (like his predecessors) naturally conceives that he can improve upon those who have gone before him; and be therefore points out, with equal candour and modesty, the defects which he imagines himself competent to supply, and the advantages which his work may be expected to possess.

Notwithstanding (he says) the general repute which translations already in so many hands, a strange proof, by the bye, that they cannot be made interesting to the English reader-seem to enjoy, those who are familiar with this sententious and powerful Roman, may perhaps think, with the author, that future attempts are far from being superseded.' p. 3. And he accordingly proposes ' to complete the undertaking, of which the present publication is a specimen, if he meets with encouragement. The parts translated are the whole of the first satire, and some favourite passages of the second and third. The first satire, he conceives to be ' peculiarly fit for his purpose, because it abounds in tine passages, and is not without difficulties.' How the fine passages are rendered, we may hereafter see; but the difficulties are got over, if we may so express ourselves, in a very profitable and pleasant way, namely, by evading them alto. . gether.

-tæda lucebis in illa
Qua stantes ardent qui fixo gutture fumant,

Et latum media sulcum deducis arena.' is thus summarily disposed of

• Lest it be yours to join the hapless band,

Who melt in flames, and trickle in the sand.'--p. 15. The qualities on which this writer chietly relies for success, appear to be those which Juvenal so eminently enjoyed, namely, sententiousness and power.'

• Closeness and strength of expression (he says) have been much more studied than harmony.' This,


[ocr errors]
« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »