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It was, perhaps, necessary for the authors of the Edinburgh Review, who, adopting the arrangement of their predecessors, yet purposed to give to the world something strikingly new, to mould it into a volume, to present it to the public seldom, and sometimes to make it treat largely on the subjects of books which had not been consulted: and, on the part of the writers of the Quarterly Review, a work destined to serve as a countervailing power, an imitation of their conduct, in some particulars, was almost unavoidable. We imitate neither. We take the field as declared opponents to no redoubted foe. We aim not at any glaring singularity; but are content that the size of our Journal, its price, and the periods of its publication, be nearly those to which readers have long been accustomed. In the arrangement of its parts there is, however, some novelty and it is our intention to render it, as soon as we can put matters into a proper train, far more miscellaneous than any other publication bearing the name of Review, by keeping open for writers of genius and taste, who may choose to favor us with their sentiments, the department called the Miscellanea. Sketches for this department must be short, because variety will constitute its leading feature.
As to a political creed, we really have not yet composed one. But this circumstance is unimportant, as the ingenuity of our readers will always make it easy for them to infer our belief from our doctrines. Wholly inimical to the principles of no class of good and honorable men, we entertain some hope of being able to demean ourselves becomingly in the sight of all. Such, indeed, is our impartiality, that we care but little to what party our correspondents are attached. Yet to some party they are likely to be attached, since they must have remarked that, of all passive virtues, those of a political nature are the most insignificant: the ancients ranked such virtues with the vices. We beg to add, that as we are to admit the speculations of both whigs and tories, and
that as those writers who take the most lively interest in the success of a favorite system, will usually express themselves in a manner the most forcible and persuasive, our impartiality may sometimes be mistaken and belied. If so, and if any of our readers tell us, that he thinks he sees us inclining with excess to the opinions of some party ecclesiastical or civil, we must desire him to consider, whether that inclination be not, in reality, an homage done to the sanctity of religion, the majesty of the laws, or the imperial dignity of the realm.
For the guidance of our friendly contributors we observe, that there are two great questions, on which we trust they will always write in a measured manner-those of the Catholic Claims, and of the alteration now and then proposed in the mode of parliamentary representation.
Sincere as our wishes are to have religious toleration universally established, we are not at all prepared to approve of those acts of the Catholic Boards, which even their own advocates have held it requisite to discountenance and condemn: and anxious as we are to see the representatives of the people freed from the abuse of inveterate schemers, we will not so much as stretch out the least of our fingers to assist them in taking the House of Commons to pieces and reforming it, in opposition to the recommendations of statesmen estimable alike for the enlargement of their views and the soundness of their wisdom. To every suggestion, in short, in favor of what they call emancipation and reform, we will not try to give effect; at the same time that we shall at all times reprobate that policy (if any such can exist in England) that would stifle every inquiry, and check all discussion of measures so greatly interesting. If to ask every thing, in cases of doubtful expediency, be allied to presumption, surely to refuse every thing must partake of imprudence.
Ample scope might, one would think, be enjoyed by those fond of adventure, without their walking over embers which but a little agitation might wake into a dangerous flame. Why not, if determined to occupy themselves with the concerns of the public, make it their business to see, but with an eye candid and liberal, that Government contract no unworthy alliances; that it preserve with vigilance our pacific arrangements, and support with good faith our military engagements; that it introduce into every department of state, an economy strict and unbending, though widely removed from any thing little or mean; and that, even amid the distraction of war, wise legislative measures be adopted in aid of general industry and productive labor. The moderate pursuit of objects like these could be followed by no regret, for it would be no indication of folly; the attainment of them would be gratifying to all whose regard they had challenged, because eminently beneficial to the country.
THE external relations of this country have lately undergone a change, of which, but a short time ago, no human sagacity could form a just conception. America, the government of which, with a certain description of its citizens, had for years appeared as if actuated by an inextinguishable hatred to every thing British, has entered into a pacific arrangement with us, accompanied with incontestable proofs of satisfaction on the part of the more respectable portion of its population: and France, whose princes felt and expressed many weighty obligations to this country, while its people manifested, if not a friendly, at least a pacific disposition towards us, has once more forced us to have recourse to arms. The former event, though by no means generally looked for at the time when it took place, excited more pleasure than surprise: the latter, by its silent subtle approach, and the awful consequences with which it is fraught, has filled the minds of men with alarm.
Never was the restoration of amity between two countries more seasonable, than that which has been effected between these kingdoms and the United States; at the same time that there have been few events on which a greater variety of opinions have been delivered. That every body here should approve of the terms of the Treaty of Ghent, was not to be expected. Men engaged in public affairs-whose principles were different from those of the servants of the crown, could not approve of the treaty in all its bearings; and commercial men, who were deriving great emolument from the continuance of the contest, were likely to disapprove of any terms of accommodation. It was known besides, that many people, recollecting that the Americans had been aggressors, deemèd it every way right, that suitable means should be employed to make them at once regret their past temerity, and proceed more cautiously in future; while not a few considered Great Britain as
having lost enough of her glory both naval and military, to justify some strenuous effort to retrieve her character. The diversity of opinion in the United States was comparatively small. And whatever the President's demeanour might previously have been, he manifested no want of alacrity, when his signature came to be definitively called for. This was to be expected. The termination of hostilities in the Peninsula had greatly augmented the means which we might employ beyond the Atlantic. Our forces along the American shores, as well as on the Canadian and New Brunswick frontiers, were daily encreasing; Admiral Cochrane was known to be at sea with a considerable armament; and it is ascertained, that at the period of his arrival in the Mississippi, the dread of his success which prevailed at Washington, far exceeded any hopes entertained of it by rational observers in this country. From these considerations, Mr. Madison did not hesitate to ratify the treaty; at the same time that he is known to have felt a reluctance, which subsequent events at New Orleans, and in France, may by and by be found to have converted into settled regret.
Did the war still continue, would the President accept the terms of accommodation to which he has agreed? If his partiality to France, and his malignity to this kingdom, be only half as great as they have been represented to be, he doubtless would, under circumstances like the present, prefer the continuance of war to a peace which does not insure the main object for which he commenced hostilities. He would go on flattering his own unworthy prepossessions-though at the expense of his country; he would feel a desire to acquire among his friends a title to consistency of conduct; and he might reckon upon fortune's one day granting to his exertions a success and an eclat, which mal-administration had hitherto rendered unattainable.
But there is another point that is every way worthy of attention, and which it would be desirable to have ascertained could that be done. Will the peace with America be durable?—In the treaty of Ghent, the right to search American ships for our own inveigled seamen was not acknowledged. The discussion of it was waived; and although that could be disgraceful only to the American government, which had repeatedly proclaimed its determination to force us to relinquish the right, still it left a door open for serious