SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 1815. PRICE 8d
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THE DISPOSAL OF BONAPARTE.
"The mischief of this hour, may cause to flow
The tears and blood of millions."
We resume the above subject because there is no other of paramount interest. We resume it with warmth, because we know and feel that the dignity, and the best character of our common country, have received a deep and deplorable wound. The known hospitality, the fearless generosity, and all the manly feeling and honour of Britain, have been stained, by an act of impolitic persecution, worthy only of meanness, and the littleness of cupidity and fear. BONAPARTE has sailed! is banished! These may be short words, and easily spoken; but they imply an act, in relation to the manliness and the honourable bravery of this country, which is without a name to depict its repugnance. With the exception of a few of the meanest of a contemptible Administration, and their more contemptible tools, we never knew the people express so unanimous a detestation. It has given BONAPARTE millions of friends and well-wishers; it has raised a sympathy and an interest in his fate which will give him a new elevation in the world. To insult poverty- to spurn the conquered and the humbled, by indignities from the very foot at which they had prostrated themselves- to outrage all the noblest sentiments of devoted affection, by wantonly separating those whom misfortune had left nothing but the communion and consolation of friendship- Oh! it were an act at which mere vice would revolt; and which savages would punish, where no laws, but the laws of nature, reigned. But passing from the consideration of the distinct and intrinsic moral imbecility of the act in question, we cannot but deplore the depth of degradation to which we are sinking. Had the Executive Government adopted the blustering and brutal feelings of The Times, and have brought NAPOLEON to a sham trial, on sham charges, and condemned him to be hanged, there were a decision and courage in their policy which would have snatched it from utter and irretrievable contempt. We might have honoured such a conduct with our simple and unmixed abhorrence. But to smother a man's life, which has been thrown on our mercy, in the living tomb of banishment on a foreign land, were a deed fit only for a Romance made up of the very disease of horrors. It implies a total destitution of all magnanimous feeling, where a nation suffers most deeply in all its essentials of character.- To frivolity, corruption and bad taste, we had succumbed with the passing groans of momentary disgust. The errors of unmanly pruriency and tasteless voluptuousness passed over us like clouds. They shed their gloom only in patches over the worst portion of our effeminate Personages in high life. But an act of inhospitable cruelty, performed in the name of the country, hangs like a threatening tempest over the whole land. What are we to think? What to conclude? Were Ministers afraid of landing that extraordinary man on our shores, lest this country should swarm on him too? Does he bear a talisman which disarms enmity and conciliates esteem and friendship wherever he goes? BONAPARTE could find nearly a hundred persons who voluntarily offered to immolate freedom and fortune, for the pleasure of participating in his captivity. We have cut the faithful knot! It was a picture which we could not, or durst not tolerate in the "freest country in the world!!!"
Let us no longer laugh at the cowardly and feeble measures of LOUIS. He has denounced NAPOLEON a rebel and traitor, and could only escape the chance of again opposing his better supported claims to the throne, or of encountering a fair trial of the man and his offences, by getting an English Administration to banish him, unarraigned! to become the most degraded tool of a most degraded purpose. But this refinement of meanness has overshot its mark. What will the French nation feel, on this subject; where the King dares not try the rebel he had denounced? Where he durst not even arrest him; but connived at an escape which he evidently wished, if not promoted?* To what does all this tend, but to give base and solidity to the claims which could only be evaded by such disreputable means? We are acquainted with no one act committed during the course of our political lives, which reflects such disgrace upon the perpetrators of it, as this unmanly persecution of fallen greatness- a persecution which bespeaks terror, fear, jealousy, cowardice and cruelty so mixed and amalgamated, that you cannot tell which prevails. But our sage Governors fear public assemblages. They were never created by any brilliance of theirs; and they wisely thought that if 10,000 persons could scarcely be kept off boarding the Bellerophon, some leagues at sea, in cock-boats and punts, at the hazard of their lives, what proportion of curiosity and admiration might reasonably be expected on terra firma! If he had been announced to land, one half of England would have been on the spot in 24 hours! As for hanging him, according to the plan of The Times, the whole Grand Jury of England would have been present to find the Bill- they must have partitioned off Salisbury Plain for the Ladies, and sent for all the Allied Armies at Paris to keep the ground. The whole expence would have been readily defrayed by cutting up the gallows afterwards, into tooth-picks, and selling them at five and ten guineas a piece!
What, alas! must be the conclusion, but that NAPOLEON is too great in Europe, to sink into a subject; that he can command, wherever he goes, more attention and respect than any other man in the world. Even on board a British ship of the line, the orders of Government themselves could not deprive him of the homage of a great man. There was no resource left but to fix on a spot surrounded in all directions by a thousand miles of sea; and, even there, requiring constantly a fleet and an army to guard his solitary person! The Courier may declaim, and The Times rave itself hoarse in proclaiming, the contempt of the man; but history, in the whole bulk of its records, furnishes us with no parallel, in what is to be judged great, by its own legitimate effects. As for BLUCHER! and PLATOFF! with the PRINCE REGENT and two more Sovereigns at their heels, they stirred but the muddy population of the metropolis. NAPOLEON, in a few days, collected around him, at some considerable distance at sea, all the boats of the two greatest naval depôts in England! though the adventurers had little hope of seeing any thing but the ship the poor man was in! The late efforts and campaign of this man, disastrous as have been the results to his fortunes, have shed around him more real respect than ten years of triumph could bestow. If the affair were to end here, it is the very nature of wonder to dissipate. But a measure which would have disgraced the Algerines, will lead essentially to some great re-action. What, when the chances of a war which may for aught we know commence to-morrow, may give our officers and soldiers to the mercy of France,- what will their language, -what their revenge, while we hold their idol in unjust and ignominious captivity? If the chances of war should ever again give her the "strength of a giant", she will be justified in "using it like a giant." The late peace, with BONAPARTE at Elba, had prospects and feelings of repose, which the present aspect of things has not a glimpse of. France is agitated from its centre to every extreme of its dominion. Continue to oppress her with foreign armies, and she will burst into resistance, as with the volcano of another Revolution- leave her, and she will unite in revenge. As for their present Pantaloon of a Sovereign, Farce itself is, in comparison, dignified and respectable. If BONAPARTE were to throw his cocked hat into France, it would assemble a power, which LOUIS can never enjoy.
*The Carlton-house Scribe in The Morning Herald admits it to be a well known fact, that FOUCHE sold NAPOLEON to LOUIS- and that from the moment he quitted Paris, after the battle of Waterloo, when the Provisional Government refused to give him another army, that wily Minister had every step of his old master watched by a General BECKAR.