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however unimportant in itself, must and no longer in his vapouring adbe interesting, as tending to illus- dresses, either to his soldiers or to trate the history of an island gene- the legislative body, promised and rally viewed and held out as the anticipated the invasion and concause of the present war; and cer- quest of England. Indeed, if we tainly, (whatever diversity of opi. turn our recollection and our nion there may be on this point, thoughts back to the periods when from its local situation justly the armies were collected and as. deemed the key to the Mediterra- sembled by Bonaparte on the coast nean, and, while it continues in our of France opposite to England, we possession, a complete barrier to the shall most probably discover that ambitious views which the French they were thus assembled for a dif. emperor may entertain against ferent purpose than a meditated Egypt and the East. It is difficult and serious invasion of this counto point out and assign the charac- try. In general, whenever be ter under which the neighbouring found it necessary or politic, in the island of Sicily may at present be anticipation or intention of a war regarded; it is in reality, though not with any of the continental powers, in name, in possession of Great to be prepared with a large army, Britain ; it may, therefore, most so completely equipped and so sifairly and naturally be treated of tuated that it could move at a moafter we have dismissed the subject ment's warning, he assembled it on of Malta. And the affairs of Si- the shores of the English channel. cily during 1811 are most worthy Thus he hoped to effect two obour serious notice and considera- jects, both of considerable importion. They offer ample ground tance to him. Publicly announcing for deep and considerate reflection: the army thus collected as intended if rightly read, they would en- for the invasion of England, he enlighten statesmen, and open their deavoured (and sometimes suceyes to truths of the first moment ceeded in his object) to, blind the and importance, against which they continental powers, whose destruchave hitherto closed them with tion he was meditating, while he most unwise and foolish obstinacy. terrified England so much with the Such are the events which claim apprehension of invasion, that neiour notice before we enter on the ther her statesmen nor her inhabihistory of our naval and military tants were disposed to assist their exploits.
threatened crntinental allies with The menace and preparation those forces which might be needed of invasion, by which Bonaparte at home for much more necessary had so often terrified us, and kept and important objects. The releus constantly on the alert, had been vancy and propriety of these obserlaid aside for some time. Most vations we shall perceive in our acprobably he was apprehensive that count of the threatened invasion of they had lost their effect, and were Jersey during the year 1811. The no longer capable either of distract. peace between the emperor Alesing the views of our statesmen, or ander and Bonaparte was by no keeping our armies at home. Cer- means well-grounded, nor free tain it is that the French emperor from sources and causes of mutual had sent off the army which he distrust and dissatisfaction : what designated the army of England; these were, whence they sprung,
how they were accommodated for France, would find place in his a season, and again broke out, 'we mind: he may indulge and flatter shall have occasion to consider the vanity of his subjects by such afterwards. The bare and undis- schemes; but his ambition requires puted fact, that Bonaparte was dis- more solid food to nourish and supsatisfied with the conduct of the port it. If the possession of Jersey Russian emperor, and that his re- would be the stepping-stone, as it monstrances with him were so far were, to England, then it would ineffectual, as to render it neces. indeed lay hoid on his thoughts ; sary to have recourse to the ap- then would it be the object of his pearance of renewed warfare, will most anxious desire; and of his most probably account for the assem- deeply concerted plans. bling of a large force opposite However, whether the army to Jersey,much more plausibly and which was collected on the coasts satisfactorily than the supposition of France, opposite to the island of that he really and seriously in- Jersey, were seriously intended to tended to invade that island. invade it, or not, the governor,
When we reflect on the danger troops, and inhabitants, firmly perand difficulty of the enterprise in suaded that they were its objects, all its movements and relations, displayed a zeal and couragehighly on the risque which his transports creditable to them, and which in would be exposed to of capture, the hour of danger would unqueseven in passing the narrow sea that tionably have led them on to victory. separates France from Jersey,-on There can be no doubt, that this zeal the obstructions to the safe and and courage arose from a firm begeneral landing of a sufficient ar- lief that their invasion was serious, my, which the coasts of the island ly meditated ; all communications present,--and on the state of pre from the French coast concurred paration in which the island was, in representing the collected army both in respect to forces and to for- as having that object alone in view. tification, we must suppose that In concluding this short detail, in. the object thus intended to be teresting rather from the refractions wrested in the midst of the most to which it may give rise, than from probable discomfiture, was of the its intrinsic importance, we shall highest importance to Bonaparte, state two circumstances which both before we can bring ourselves to operate powerfully to render a believe that he would attempt it. French invasion much less formi. But this importance does not exist : dable now than it was some years there is no sufficient reason, no red- ago. In the first place, those misson that would operate on the mind taken men, who at the beginning of such a person as Bonaparte, that of the French revolution expected should lead him to sacrifice any from the French only the removal portion either of his military cha- of those imperfections which exracter, or of his reputation for unin isted, or which they thought existed, form and undisturbed good for- in the British constitution, and the tune, in order to gain possession redress of the paltry grievances of Jersey. Those know little of under which they suffered, are either him, who suppose that the desire of now no more, or have learnt sufregaining this island, merely be- ficiently well to appreciate the cause it formerly belonged to character of the French, and the
designs designs both of the emperor, and of even should it be attempted and those whom, by flattering their carried into effect. ambition of conquest and universal Soon after we gained possession dominion, he governs. Such men of Trinidad, the attorney-general have learnt to love and venerate of that island transmitted a plan their own constitution by contrast- to the English government, according it with that of France; they ing to which the laws then establish. have thrown away the foolish exed there were to be reformed. His pectation of meeting with or mak- objection to them was, that being ing a system of government free from a mixture of the English law introdefects; and though not of opinion duced at the conquest of the colony, that there is nothing wrong, nothing and of the Spanish law as it had which can and ought to be mended existed previous to the conquest, in their own, they would much the whole was obnoxious and oprather keep it as it is, than allow it pressive, both to the English and to be touched by the unhallowed the Spanish inhabitants; while hands of France. In the second many parts were inconsistent and place, some years ago, when Bona at variance not only with other parts parte almost annually repeated of the codes, but also with justice the show, and renewed the and the ends of good government. threat of invasion, the people of The objections to them were so this country, though disposed to strong and general, that Mr. Marrate every thing English sufficiently ryatt in the house of commons on high, and though at other times they the 13th of June moved a resoluwould indulge the vulgar prejudice tion to the following effect : That that “one Englishman was a for the better security of the liberty match for three Frenchmen !” and property of his majesty's subyet when the hour of invasion seem- jects in the island of Trinidad, the ed to be approaching,—when the administration of justice according truth of their favourite aphorism to the laws of Spain should be was likely to be put to the test, they abolished, and the laws of Great shrunk back appalled: the language Britain be introduced in their stead. even of the best affected and the In support of this resolution he best informed was, Britons are a quoted several cases of hardship match for double their force at sea; and apparent injustice, arising either but at land the French armies have from the operation of the Spanish gained so much experience, and laws, or from the injudicious and are led on by such able generals, ill defined mixture of those laws that the raw and inexperienced with the Spanish code. This motion troops of England, headed by ge- was strenuously and warmly oppos, nerals who never saw a battle, willed, principally by Mr. Brougham, be of no use against them. What Mr. Stephen, lord Castlereagh, and has since occurred in Spain, under Mr. Wilberforce. Mr. Brougham Moore, and Wellington, and Gra. contended, that the instances ad. han), and Beresford, and Hill, has duced by Mr. Marryatt, in support convinced the most timid that, of his resolution, were the results even on land, Englishmen are not of an injudicious and ill-defined more than a match for Frenchmen, mixture of the two codes, but of a and has taken away all apprehen. close and strict adherence to the sion about the result of an invasion, Spanish system of law as it existed
when the island wasconquered; and and those might be given not only that though there were undoubted by the master or the steward, or ly many imperfections, many abso- by the regular and ordinary slave. lute faults in this system, yet so driver, but, in more than one inmuch of it was good and beneficial, stance, a brother had been made that great care and caution ought to perform the office of Aagellation to be used in either abrogating it, till the unhappy object of punishor engrafting the British code ment was whipped to death. One upon it. He particularly insisted object of Mr. Marryatt's motion was on the goodness and justice of the to introduce the trial by jury : on Spanish system, as it had reference this Mr. Brougham very justly obto slaves, and as the laws of the served, that whether the trial by West Indies, even of those which jury should be a benefit and a bless were originally British, were very ing, or a curse, depended on the defective or even culpable on this character of those from whom the head, Mr. Brougham was of opinion jury must necessarily be selected. that a code which took the slave What verdict could reasonably be as well as the freeman under its expected from a jury in the West protection ought not to be libelled Indies, in the case of cruelty or inor hastily changed. In the ordi- justice towards the slaves, from nance for the government of the men who would not allow that, negroes and other slaves, it is en- when slaves were the objects of acted, that if a slave marry, the wife treatment, the terms cruelty or inshall follow the husband; so that, justice could with propriety be if the woman belonged to some applied ? By the Spanish law, bad other master, the master of the and intolerant as it was in other male must purchase her at a fair respects, the slaves were regarded valuation, and if he refused to and protected: if the British trial do so, then the master of the male by jury were substituted in its place, slave must take him at that valua- Mr. Brougham contended, they tion : it is also enacted that only would gain the name and lose the twenty-five lashes should be inflict- reality of protection. ed at one time, and those were not Mr. Stephen, in his speech, went to cause contusion or effusion of into the origin and history of Mr. blood; and if this was at any time Marryatt's motion. Governor His. exceeded, the slave was immediate- lop had sent a circular letter to all ly taken out of his master's power. the wbite inhabitants of the island, With this law, thus considerate and requesting to know whether they favourable towards the slave, Mr. would not choose to be governed by Brougham eloquently contrasted British laws. It was asserted that the law which, if the motion of the mulattoes either acquiesced in Mr. Marryalt were carried, would this proposal or were silent upon be introduced into the island. In it; but the fact was the reverse : the British West Indies, the cart- they humbly begged and prayed whip was used, and dreadful lace- the governor, that they might be rations were inflicted: the power permitted also to transznit a petition of the master was not limited or to the government in Britain: but defined; instead of fixing down this prayer, though couched in the flagellation to twenty-five stripes, most adulatory terms, was refused. two or three hundred were allowed; And not only did the governor refuse to permit the mulattoes to hidden magic, produce all that transmit a petition, but he com- benefit which is reaped from it in menced a severe prosecution against Britain. The case of the West those who were instrumental in Indies is in point to show the absurd having it signed. No fewer than nature and utter weakness of this thirty of these were arrested, ba- opinion: the trial by jury, that nished the island, and stripped of institution which in Britain is justly their property. In short, the Trini- regarded and prized as the great dad planters were so loud in their bulwark of our liberties, exists in cry for a British constitution, and the British West India islands; but they were so anxious in their de. the state of society is such that it mand for it, that they were ready would be difficult to obtain a verand willing to accept of any part, dict, upon the most indubitable eviand be content with any share of dence, against any proprietor : there what they called and considered are so few out of whom the jury such: this very circumstance of West can be chosen, and these are so India planters calling for the con- closely connected and united in stitution of Britain very naturally interest, in habits, and in sentiment, induced a suspicion, that by their that to expect a jury of such men mode of exercising the laws which would bring in a verdict of Guilty, that constitution would give them is almost as absurd as to suppose they anticipated more complete au. that a man would utter sentence of thority than they possessed under death against himself. The British the Spanish code. After several constitution is a dead letter; it is very powerful and argumentative worse ; it is an evil, in a state of speeches against Mr. Marryatt's re- society, where free, intelligent, solution, and but a very feeble de virtuous, and independent jury. fence of it, it was rejected by the men cannot be found. Where it house.
exists along with knowledge,-a We have noticed this subject, as conviction of what man owes to his we did what related to Jersey, ra- neighbour, as well as to himself, ther on account of the reflections it is the highest gift that heaven can and observations to which it is cal. bestow; but it should never be proculated to give rise, than from its stituted, by being introduced where intrinsic and absolute importance. slavery reigns. The circumstances and facts which The other reflection to which the were disclosed during the debate proceedings in Trinidad give rise amply and strongly support the is equally important: it regards the opinion, that the best form of law manner in which, upon the conwill be of little avail in securing the quest of any foreign territory which ends of justice, and in guarding the we mean to retain, it ought to be rights and promoting the happiness governed. The principle on which of a people, unless that people are the preceding remarks proceed is adequately enlightened, and by equally applicable here : great cau. their knowledge and habits worthy tion and circumspection ought to of the law. Many people are of be used in engriting the British opinion, that if the British constitu- system of law upon the system tion were enacted in the most igno- which has been established in our rant or the most slavish country conquests; but as we must believe under the sun, it would, by some that our system, generally speaking,