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Art. I.–Voyages dans La Grande Bretagne, Entrepris res
lativement aur Services Publics de la Guerre, de la Marine, et des Ponts et Chaussées, en 1816--17-18-19, et 1820. Deuxième Partie, Force Navale. Par Charles Dupin, Mem
bre de l'Institut de France, &c. &c. Paris. 1821. M R. Dupin may be well assured, from the early notice we are IV disposed to take of his labours, that we have no mean opinion of his abilities. Of his principles we are not prepared to say quite so much; and, perhaps, it will be thought that we have no business with them. Nor should we indeed have troubled. ourselves about his political opinions or connections, had he confined his observations to the avowed objects of his inquiry our public works and public institutions, civil, naval, and military: we should, in that case, have deemed it sufficient to applaud his accuracy, or to point out his errors; but when he proceeds to mix up political hostility in a work which professes to be purely didactic and descriptive; to assail the national character on grounds that are utterly false; and to hold us up to Europe and to the world, as totally destitute of humanity to a class of beings, of all others, the most entitled to it, namely, prisoners of war;—we conceive that we have a right to inquire into his motives. Acquitting him, as we frankly do, of every feeling of hatred towards England, the only explanation we can suggest for his conduct, in this instance, is the desire of gratifying his associates, by the repetition of an accusation so calumnious; and it was with this view solely that, in a recent Article on the Military Establishments of this Country, (which, we are happy to find, has not been without its effect,) we noticed his connection with the Avocat Dupin and the herd of politicians who modestly assume to themselves the exclusive name of libéraux, as accounting for the embarrassment under which he evidently laboured in consequence of it. We repeat, however, (in justice to M. Dupin,) that, considering his education under the auspices of Buonaparte, in the new school of morality, and his near relationship to a notorious jacobin, he entertains fewer prejudices against England, than any other French author that we have yet met with since the revolutionary war. In comVOL. XXVI. NO. LI.
paring, or rather contrasting, the public works-and institutions, connected with the naval service of the two countries, he candidly admits that France is thrown to an immeasurable distance behind us; that our ships, in point of workmanship, equipment and establishment, and our officers and men, in point of discipline, treatment, knowledge of naval tactics, and every particular that can constitute an efficient marine, are infinitely superior to those of the French navy, and such, in fact, as could not fail to have ensured to us the victories which we obtained, whenever the two hostile fleets met and engaged.
We observe, however, that in most of his comparisons the allusion is made to the marine impériale; to the navy as it was under Buonaparte; who, it is pretty broadly hinted, knew nothing about the matter : on the present state of the French marine, M. Dupin touches with a gentle hand, recommending improvements founded on English practice, rather than censuring defects, the existence of which, however, he does not affect to conceal. Standing thus between the old school and the new, but evidently leaning to the side of the powers that be,' and fearful at the same time of offending both parties,* we can readily conceive the moral restraint-the painful embarrassment under which he writes, and the necessity he feels of having recourse to something like trimming ;
Willing to wound and yet afraid to strike.'There is one subject, however, regarding England, as we have just hinted, on which his views are as distorted and illiberal as his pretended statement of facts is unfounded:-we speak of his accusations against the British nation for its inhumanity toward's the French prisoners of war,-a subject apparently no less agreeable to his own taste than that of his friends--otherwise he would not have thought it necessary to serve it up for the third time, with additional garnish and higher and higher seasoning on each successive 'occasion. Though our respect for M. Dupin might lead us to regret this pertinacity in misrepresentation, yet, as far as regards ourselves, we are not sorry for it on the present occasion, as he has thus afforded us an opportunity of showing the malignity of his insinuations, and (while we undeceive the abused ear of Europe) of refuting those of his assertions which are so scándalously destitute of truth.
It is well known how little regard the French officers of high rank, prisoners of war in England, paid to their parole of honour;
* Ictus piscator sapit. M. Dupin had the misfortune to exasperate the learned and liberal members of the Institute, by merely speaking the truth regarding the perfection to which works of art and manufactures were carried in Great Britain.