H́nh ảnh trang
PDF
ePub

while their mafters have endea-
voured by negociation and new
arrangements, to obviate the fatal
confequences of their collifion.
It must however be acknowledg-
ed, that those heavy clouds which
overhung the political horizon are
far from being difperfed, and that
whenever they burft it must be with
a dreadful violence. The extraor-
dinary power and uncommon ac-
tivity of fome of the continental
princes, the jealousy of others, and
the ambition of all, are ill calcu-
lated for the prefervation of the
public tranquillity. Nations are
now become foldiers, and must find
employment. Like the ancient
Marauders of the Northern Hive,
their countries are become too nar-
row for the fupport of fo many
armed men.. The prefent fate of
quiet, or rather of inaction, is
more to be attributed to mutual
diftruft and apprehenfion, and a
fagacious caution, that waits for
favourable circumftances or acci-
dents, than to a love of peace, or
regard for juftice.

This has been fufficiently fhewn fince the conclufion of those treaties, by the late conduct of the Pruffians with regard to Dantzick. And though the other two partitioning powers have not yet taken any steps of the fame nature, there is little room to doubt that in proper time and feason they will follow the example. Indeed the measures they have all taken for a continual interference in the affairs and government of Poland, fufficiently explain the nature of their future defigns.

taken away;

Diftracted and torn as this unhappy country continues, it has not during this year prefented thofe fhocking fcenes of calamity, which had long made it a fpectacle, as much of horror, as of compaffion. The vast armies with which it was covered, having rendered all oppofition impracticable, the pretences for cruelty were and the multitude of fpectators, compofed of different nations, and under different commands, being a mutual check upon the enormities of each other, the rage for blood dwindled into regular oppreffion. Upon the whole, the condition of Poland is not worse than it has been, nor are the poffibilities fewer, in its favour.

The fortune of Ruffia has not at all been predominant this year with refpect to the war. Their enemies become daily more habituated to arms, aud have been beaten into 'order and difcipline. Distance and fituation were alfo much against them; and they have been taught

The ftate of Poland is ftill undetermined. A diet indeed has been held, delegates appointed, and treaties of ceffion, and difmemberment ratified; and yet it would he difficult to fhew that any thing has been really concluded. On one fide, the lofers are obliged to fubmit to an inevitable prefent neceffity, ftill hoping that fome unexpected intervention of fortune may enable them to reclaim their rights; on the other, the demands of the armed claimants, feem to increafe with by experience the difficulties of a their acquifitions and the facility of obtaining them. Thus they both continue in their former fituations; the one having obtained no additional fecurity in his new, nor the other in his old poffeffions.

Bulgarian campaign; a fervice, which can fcarcely be carried on with a probability of fuccefs, without the affiftance of fuch a fleet, as can maintain a fuperiority on the Black

Sea.

Sea. The rebellion in the Crimea, and apprehenfions of danger nearer home, prevented, however, fome of the exertions that might otherwife have been made in the war upon the Danube.

It still remains to be feen, whether it was a wife policy in Ruffia, to attempt increafing the bulk of that vaft empire, by adding new conquefts to those boundless and illcultivated regions which the already poffeffes; and which are perhaps at present too large for the grafp of any fingle government. It may poffibly hereafter be thought, that the immense wafte of treasure and blood, which has been fo lavishly fquandered in this purfuit, would have been much better applied to the great purposes of population and internal improvement; and that the glare of fruitless victories, are a poor recompence for the diforders excited by the confequent oppreffions of the people, and the real weakness that must enfue, from fo long and fo violent an exer

[merged small][ocr errors]

It was evident from the nature and fituation of the countries, and the confequences of former wars with the Turks, that conquefts in Moldavia, Wallachia, or Beffarabia, and victories on the Pruth or the Danube, were not likely to be attended with much benefit to Ruffia. The gaining of a port upon the Black-Sea, was indeed an object of the utmost importance; but of fuch a nature as to be attended almost with infuperable difficulties; both from the fatal afpect which it must bear to the Ottoman empire, and the jealoufy which it muft excite in feveral of the European powers.

It ftill remains to be enquired,

whether the new acquifitions in Poland, or the influence gained in that country by the court of Petersburg, be equivalent to the lofs, expence, and danger of fuch a war. Thefe will be found, upon exami nation, to be very inadequate to fuch a price. If Poland ftill continued to be, what it long was, a great and powerful nation, under the conduct of illuftrious princes, and guarded by a nobility famous for their prowefs and military virtues, fuch an extenfion of frontier would be a matter of real moment, and carry with it great additional fecurity. In the prefent inftance these circumstances are totally changed. Ruffia had nothing to apprehend from Poland, and much to gain by it. to gain by it. She has now obtained a large acceffion of territory in Lithuania, of the fame nature with refpect to foil and climate, and much in the fame state as to cultivation, with thofe wide extended, but half defart countries, which the had already poffeffed in that quarter; and which will fill require the time and labour of ages to be peopled and cultivated. Both the old and the new poffeffions produce the fame commodities, have the fame wants, require the fame degrees of improvement, and are incapable of being of any use or afliftance to each other.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

tinual fate of warfare and confufion. The wisest and most beneVolent ftatefman could not have wished for a happier barrier than Poland, to prevent the clashing of the German and Muscovite empires; nor could the demon of difcord have thrown out bitterer feeds of contention, than it is now likely to produce.

As to the obtaining or preferving of an influence in Poland, her late meafures have been attended with as little advantage in that refpect as in any other, Ruffia before, folely guided and directed the councils of that country, nor could The have been deprived of the great fecurity and advantage which the derived from that unbounded in fluence, but by the most mistaken conduct and falfelt policy. She now divides her authority with the other members of the triumvirate, who will be fufficiently careful that fhe does not retain more than her flare; nor will her dividend in a future partition of the remains of that republic, be in any degree an equivalent for the advantages which he has foregone, in lofing that fupreme influence and direction by which the guided the

whole.

Those schemes which were trumpeted throughout Europe, of totally conquering and fubverting the Ottoman empire, however they might have been held out to flatter the imaginations of the people, or to answer purposes in negociations for loans, could not have been ferioully adopted by any statesman. If the practicability of fuch an event were even admitted, it could anfwer no good purpose, and would probably be highly pernicious to Ruffia. The eternal boundaries

which Nature has placed between thofe empires, their distance, fituation, and vaft extent, the extreme difference of climate, and in the manners, cuftoms, and religions of the inhabitants, are infuperable bars to their coalefceing; and render it as impoffible for Petersburg to rule the Ottoman empire, as it would be for Conftantinople to govern the Ruffian.

The war in the Mediterranean has this year been attended with little honour, and with no other advantage that what proceeded from the taking of prizes, As a war of this nature is always very prejudicial to commerce, and has in this cafe been particularly fo to the French merchants, it has given much umbrage to the two great branches of the house of Bourbon. And as the death of Ali Bey, and the return of Egypt to its duty, has cut off one of the principal fources of advantage that could be expected from it, and that the paffage of the Dardanelles feems no longer to be thought practicable, it may ftill be a matter not unworthy of confideration, how much farther it may be confiftent with prudence, to irritate the refentment of thofe princes; and whether any advantages now to be expected from a continuance of the war in the Levant, are equivalent to the rifque of a rupture with France and Spain. This fleet, however, has been lately reinforced, and it is faid will be rendered formidable in the enfuing fummer.

The ceffion of the Dutchy of Holstein to Denmark, is to be confidered in no other light than as a facrifice to the present war, and is therefore to be brought as a difcount, on any future advantages that Ruffia may obtain by it. At

the

the fame time, nothing can be a clearer domonftration of the apprehenfions which the latter had conceived, with refpect to the defigns of a near northern neighbour, than the great price which the has upon this occafion paid for the friendship of the former.

It was one of the moft favourite and darling projects with Peter the Great, to obtain, at any expence, and by any means, a German principality, with a vote in the diet of the empire. The watchful, and prudent jealoufy, with which even his nearest allies regarded this defign, prevented its accomplishment. They readily joined him in ftripping Sweden of its plumes, and adorned themselves with a part of them; but prudently declined the honour of his becoming a nearer neighbour. This object, of which he was disappointed in himself, he however wished to obtain for his fucceffors, and it accordingly influenced his conduct in the marriages of his children, in confequence of which, the late unfortunate Emperor, Peter the Third, united in his own perfon, the dutchies of Slefwick and Holstein, with the empire of Ruffia.

Such is the vanity of human de figns and wisdom, that this object of fo much care and folicitude, though his original paternal inheritance, venerable for its antiquity, and of fome confideration for its value and extent, is relinquished by the present fucceffor without any equivalent; Delmenhorft, and the County of Oldenburgh, being in no degree to be confidered as fuch. It muft however be acknowledged, that these dutchies are of infinitely greater confequence and value to Denmark than to Ruflia; and that

this ceffion removes a bone of endlefs contention from between those ftates.

The defpotifm of the Ruffian government, can only fecure obedience, while the rods and the axes are immediately before the eyes of the people; but as foon as diftance, or any other circumftance, fcreens them from the immediate exertion of power, all difcipline, order, and fubmiffion are at an end, and those who were immediately before its most abject flaves, become at once the most arrogant contemners of all laws and obligations. To this untoward difpofition, (which, where religion does not rivet the chains, is the infeparable attendant of defpotifm) the Ruffians owe a new war, which has this year broken out in the Crimea; where the Don Coffacks, with others of their subjects, having revolted, and joined with the Tartars, and thofe few Turks who were left in the coun try, have become fo formidable as nearly to mafter the whole, and thus have rendered abortive, all their former fucceffes in that peninfula.

For

A rebellion of a more dangerous nature has lately broken out in the borders of the kingdom of Casan, owing, it is faid, to the extraordinary impofitions laid on for the fupport of the war, and the continual draughts of men carried off for the fupply of the armies. this purpofe, notwithstanding the great improvements in knowledge and fcience which have taken place in Ruffia, it was not yet thought too late, to raise a new Demetrius from the dead. A Coffack, whose name is Pugatfcheff, has affumed the name and character of the late unfortunate Emperor Peter the [4] 3

Third.

Third. He pretends that he made his escape, through an extraordinary intervention of Providence, from the murderers who were deftined for his deftruction; and that the report of his death was onlý a fiction coined by the court, to compofe the minds of the people, and reconcile them to the prefent un lawful government, by being cut off from all hopes of a better.

termined, the particular detail will appear in its proper place upon a future occafion.

It is not probable that these rebellions will be attended with any extraordinary confequences; they however fhew the precarious ftate of power in that empire: and it is remarkable that they are the effects of a war, which was probably undertaken to prevent fuch commotions,

This impoftor, who pretends to the greatest fanctity, affumes the The campaign this year upon garb of a patriarch, and beftows the Danube, though not produchis benedictions on the people, tive of advantage, muft, from its with the air of a new apoftle. He nature and distance, have been more declares that he has no views for expenfive to Ruffia than any two his own intereft, he being entirely of the preceding, Upon the whole, weaned from the vanities of the in whatever light this war is conworld, and the remainder of his fidered, when feparated from the life devoted wholly to piety; and glare of its victories, whether with that as foon as he has placed his refpect to the waste of treasure, to dear fon upon the throne, he will depopulation, to the lofs of Holagain retire to lead the life of a ftein, to internal difturbances, or hermit. Notwithstanding the grofs- with regard to the removing of annefs of this impofture, the pitiable- cient landmarks and boundaries, nefs and marvellous circumftances and overthrowing the established of the tale, operating upon the dif- fyftem of the North, thereby fetcontent and ignorance of the peo- ting a precedent for the future ple, procured him an infinite num- breach of all faith and alliance, ber of followers, among whom, it is and forming precarious, unnatural, faid, were many of the nobility of and dangerous arrangements and the government of Oremburg,where connexions, in every point of view, the troubles began, as well as of it appears to have been highly the adjoining countries. This mat- ruinous and deftructive to Ruffia; ter was regarded in fo and that no probable fuccefs or Dec. 23d, ferious a degree in Pe- advantage to be hoped from it, will 1773. terfburgh, that a mani- in any degree compensate for the fefto was published against Pugatf-evils which it has already brought, cheff, and his adherents, in which and the greater, which it is likely the reason of the people was appeal to entail upon that empire. ed to, for their guard against fuch delufions, General Bibikow, and feveral bodies of troops, have alfo been fent to fupprefs the infurrection; but as this matter only ori ginated near the clofe of the prelent year, and is not yet finally de

Upon a review of the general ftate of affairs at prefent, it feems probable, that a speedy and final conclufion of the war cannot be unacceptable to the court of Peterf burg; and it may be reasonably imagined, that if the negociations

[blocks in formation]
« TrướcTiếp tục »