In such an amazing condition is the English Fighting Apparatus under Walpole, being important for England's self only; while the Talking Apparatus, important for Walpole, is in such excellent gearing, so well kept in repair and oil! By Wentworth's blame, who had no knowledge of war; by Vernon's, who sat famous on the Opposition side, yet wanted loyalty of mind; by one's blame and another's, WHOSE it is idle arguing, here is how your Fighting Apparatus performs in the hour when needed. Unfortunate General, or General's Cocked-Hat (a brave heart too, they say, though of brain too vacant, too opaque); unfortunate Admiral (much blown away by vanity, in-nature and Parliamentary wind);--doubly unfortunate Nation, that employs such to lead its armaments! How the English Nation took it? The English Nation has had much of this kind to take, first and last; and apparently will yet have. "Gloomy silence," like that of the poor men going home to their tents, is our only dialect towards it.
This is a dreadful business, this of the wrecked Carthagena Expedition; such a force of war-munitions in every kind,-- including the rare kind, human Courage and force of heart, only not human Captaincy, the rarest kind,--as could have swallowed South America at discretion, had there been Captains over it. Has gone blundering down into Orcus and the shark's belly, in that unutterable manner. Might have been didactic to Eugland, more than it was; England's skin being very thick against lessons of that nature. Might have broken the heart of a little Sovereign Gentleman Curator of England, had he gone hypochondriacally into it; which he was far from doing, brisk little Gentleman; looking out else- whither, with those eyes A FLEUR DE TETE, and nothing of insoluble admitted into the brain that dwelt inside.
What became subsequently of the Spanish War, we in vain inquire of History-Books. The War did not die for many years to come, but neither did it publicly live; it disappears at this point: a River Niger, seen once flowing broad enough; but issuing--Does it issue nowhere, then? Where does it issue? Except for my Constitutional Historian, still unpublished, I should never have known where.-- By the time these disastrous Carthagena tidings reached England, his Britannic Majesty was in Hanover; involved, he, and all his State doctors, English and Hanoverian, in awful contemplation on Pragmatic Sanction, Kaiserwahl, Celestial Balance, and the saving of Nature's Keystone, should this still prove possible to human effort and contrivance. In which Imminency of Doomsday itself, the small English-Spanish matter, which the Official people, and his Majesty as much as any, had bitterly disliked, was quite let go, and dropped out of view. Forgotten by Official people; left to the dumb English Nation, whose concern it was, to administer as IT could.
Anson--with his three ships gone to two, gone ultimately to one--is henceforth what Spanish War there officially is. Anson could not meet those Vernon-Wentworth gentlemen "from the other side of the Isthmus of Darien," the gentlemen, with their Enterprise, being already bankrupt and away. Anson, with three inconsiderable ships, which rotted gradually into one, could not himself settle the Spanish War: but he did, on his own score, a series of things, ending in beautiful finis of the Acapulco Ship, which were of considerable detriment, and of highly considerable disgrace, to Spain;--and were, and are long likely to be, memorable among the Sea-heroisms of the world. Giving proof that real Captains, taciturn Sons of Anak, are still born in England; and Sea-kings, equal to any that were. Luckily, too, he had some chaplain or ship's-surgeon on board, who saw good to write account of that memorable VOYAGE of his; and did it, in brief, perspicuous terms, wise and credible: a real Poem in its kind, or Romance all Fact; one of the pleasantest little Books in the World's Library at this date. Anson sheds some tincture of heroic beauty over that otherwise altogether hideous puddle of mismanagement, platitude, disaster; and vindicates, in a pathetically potential way, the honor of his poor Nation a little.
Apart from Official Anson, the Spanish War fell mainly, we may say, into the hands of--of Mr. Jenkins himself, and such Friends of his, at Wapping, Bristol and the Seaports, as might be disposed to go privateering. In which course, after some crosses at first, and great complaints of losses to Spanish Privateers, Wapping and Bristol did at length eminently get the upper hand; and thus carried on this Spanish War (or Spanish-French, Spain and France having got into one boat), for long years coming; in an entirely inarticulate, but by no means quite ineffectual manner,--indeed, to the ultimate clearance of the Seas from both French and Spaniard, within the next twenty years. Readers shall take this little Excerpt, dated Three Years hence, and set it twinkling in the night of their imaginations:--
BRISTOL, MONDAY, 21st (10th) SEPTEMBER, 1744. ... "Nothing is to be seen here but rejoicings for the number of French prizes brought into this port. Our Sailors are in high spirits, and full of money; and while on shore, spend their whole time in carousing, visiting their mistresses, going to plays, serenading, &c., dressed out with laced hats, tossels (SIC), swords with sword-knots, and every other way of spending their money." [Extract of a Letter from Bristol, in
Carthagena, Walpole, Viners: here are Sorrows for a Britannic Majesty;--and these are nothing like all. But poor readers should have some respite; brief breathing-time, were it only to use their pocket-handkerchiefs, and summon new courage!
SMALL-WAR: FIRST EMERGENCE OF ZIETHEN THE HUSSAR GENERAL INTO NOTICE.