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tecting it from those who lie in wait to fire the streets and rob the houses amidst the conflagration.
An unsuccessful war would undoubtedly have had the effect which the enemies of the ministry so earnestly desire: for who could have sustained the disgrace of folly ending in misfortune? But had wanton invasion undeservedly prospered, had Falkland's Island been yielded unconditionally with every right prior and posterior; though the rabble might have shouted, and the windows have blazed, yet those who know the value of life, and the uncertainty of public credit, would have murmured, perhaps unheard, at the increase of our debt and the loss of our people..
This thirst of blood, however the visible promoters of sedition may think it convenient to shrink from the accusation, is loudly avowed by Junius, the writer to whom his party owes much of its pride, and some of its popularity. Of Junius it cannot be said, as of Uly88€8, that he scatters ambiguous expressions among the vulgar; for he cries havoc without reserve, and endeavours to let slip the dogs of foreign or of civil war, ignorant whither they are going, and careless what may be their prey.
Junius has sometimes made his satire felt, but let not injudicious admiration mistake the venom of the shaft for the vigour of the bow. He has sometimes sported with lucky malice; but to him that knows his company, it is not hard to be sarcastic in a mask. While he walks like Jack the giant-killer, in a coat of darkness; he may do much mischief with little strength. Novelty captivates the superficial and thoughtless; vehemence delights the discontented and turbulent. He that contradicts acknowledged truth, will always have an audience; he that vilifies established authority will always find abettors.
Junius burst into notice with a blaze of impudence which has rarely glared upon the world before, and drew the rabble after him as a monster makes a show. When he had once provided for his safety by impene. trable secrecy, he had nothing to combat but truth and justice, enemies whom he knows to be feeble in the dark. Being then at liberty to indulge himself in all the immunities of invisibility; out of the reach of danger, he has been bold; out of the reach of shame, he has been confident. As a rhetorician, he has had the art of persuading when he seconded desire; as a reasoner, he has convinced those who had no doubt before; as a moralist, he has taught that virtue may disgrace; and as a patriot, he has gratified the mean by insults on the high. Finding sedition ascendant, he has been able to advance it; finding the nation combustible, he has been able to inflame it. Let us abstract from his wit the vivacity of insolence, and withdraw from his efficacy the sympathetic favour of plebian malignity; I do not say that we shall leave him nothing; the cause that I defend scorns the help of falsehood; but if we leave him only his merit, what will be his praise?
It is not by his liveliness of imagery, his pungency of periods, or his fertility of allusion, that he detains the cits of London, and the boors of Middlesex. Of style and sentiment they take no cognizance. They admire him for virtues like their own, for contempt of order and violence of outrage, for rage of defamation and audacity of falsehood. The supporters of the bill of rights feel no niceties of composition, nor dexterities of sophistry; their faculties are better proportioned to the bawl of Bellas, or barbarity of Beckford; but they are told that Junius is on their side, and they are therefore sure that Junius is infallible. Those who know not whither he would lead them, resolve to follow him ;
and those who cannot find his meaning, hope he means rebellion.
Junius is an unusual phenomenon, on which some bave gazed with wonder and some with terror, bug wonder and terror are transitory passions. He will soon be more closely viewed or more attentively examined, and what folly has taken for a comet that from its faming hair shook pestilence and war, inquiry will find to be only a meteor formed by the vapours of putrifying democracy, and kindled into flame by the effervescence of interest struggling with conviction; which after having plunged its followers in a bog, will leave us inquiring why we regard it.
Yet though I cannot think the style of Junius secure from criticism, though his expressions are often trite, and his periods feeble, I should never have stationed him where he has placed himself, had I not rated him by his morals rather than his faculties. What, says Pope, must be the priest, where a monkey is the god? What must be the drudge of a party of which the heads are Wilkes and Crosby, Sawbridge and Townsend?
Junius knows his own meaning, and can therefore tell it. He is an enemy to the ministry, he sees them growing hourly stronger. He knows that a war at once unjust and unsuccessful would have certainly displaced them, and is therefore, in his zeal for his country, angry that war was not unjustly made, and unsuccessfully conducted. But there are others whose thoughts are less clearly expressed, and whose schemes perhaps are less consequentially digested; who declare that they do not wish for a rupture, yet condemn the ministry for not doing that, by which a rupture would naturally have been made.
If one party resolves to demand what the other resolves to refuse, the dispute can be determined only
by arbitration : and between powers who have no common superior, there is no other arbitrator than the Sword.
Whether the ministry might not equitably have demanded more, is not worth a question. The utmost exertion of right is always invidious, and where claims are not easily determinable is always dangerous. We asked all that was necessary, and persisted in our first claim without mean recession, or wanton aggravation. The Spaniards found us resolute, and complied after a short struggle. • The real crime of the ministry is, that they have found the means of avoiding their own ruin; but the charge against them is multifarious and confused, as will happen, when malice and discontent are ashamed of their complaint. The past and the future are complicated in the censure. We have heard a tumultuous clamour about honour and rights, injuries and insults, the British flag, and the Favourite's-rudder, Buccarelli's conduct, and Grimaldi's declarations, the Manilla ransom, delays and reparation.
Through the whole argument of the faction runs the general error, that our settlement on Falkland's Island was not only tawful but unquestionable ; that our right was not only certain but acknowledged ; and that the equity of our conduct was such, that the Spaniards could not blame or obstruct it without combating their own conviction, and opposing the general opinion of mankind. · If once it be discovered that, in the opinion of the Spaniards, our settlement was usurped, our claim arbitrary, and our conduct insolent, all that has happened will appear to follow by a natural concatenation. Doubts will produce disputes and disquisition, disquisition requires delay, and delay causes inconvenience.
Had the Spanish government immediately yielded unconditionally all that was required, we might have been satisfied; but what would Europe have judged of their submission ? that they shrunk before us as a conquered people, who having lately yielded to our arms, were now compelled to sacrifice to our pride. The honour of the public is indeed of high importance; but we must remember that we have had to transact with a mighty king and a powerful nation, who have unluckily been taught to think that they have honour to keep or lose as well as ourselves.
When the admiralty were told in June of the warning given to Huni, they were, I suppose, informed that Hunt had first provoked it by warning away the Spaniards, and naturally considered one act of insolence as balanced by another, without expecting that more would be done on either side. Of representations and remonstrances there would be no end, if they were to be made whenever small commanders are uncivil to each other; nor could peace ever be enjoyed, if upon such transient provocations it be imagined necessary to prepare for war. We might then, it is said, have increased our force with more leisure and less inconvenience; but this is to judge only by the event. We omitted to disturb the public, because we did not suppose that an armament would be necessary.
Some months afterwards, as has been told, BuccaTelli, the governor of Buenos Ayres, sent against the settlement of Port Egmont a force which ensured the conquest. The Spanish commander required the English captains to depart, but they thinking that resistance necessary which they knew to be useless, gave the Spaniards the right of prescribing terms of capitulation. The Spaniards imposed no new condition, except that the sloop should not sail under twenty days;