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direction of our naval operations, who, in the year Dit 1765, sent out an expedition, the commander whereof -hi took possession of Falkland's island in the name of his - Britannic majesty, and placed a garrison in a place
of defence, to which he gave the appellation of Port Egmont. In this settlement, we were soon after difturbed; for Madariaga, a Spanish commodore, with five frigates and a train of artillery, appearing before the island, obliged our people to capitulate, and obtained poffeffion. This event was no sooner known at our court, than hostilities against Spain were resolved on, and a powerful feet was affembled : these preparations brought on a conference between prince Mafferano, the Spanish ambassador here, and our mi-, nifter, and a subsequent negociation at Madrid, between Mr. Harris our minister there, and the marquis Grimaldi : the result was, a disavowal on the
of Spain of the violent enterprise of Buccarelli, the governor of Buenos Ayres, who had sent the force that dispossessed the English, and a promise to restore the port and fort called Egmont; with all the artillery and stores therein, but with a declaration, that this engagement should not affect the question of the prior right of sovereignty of the Malouine, otherwise called Falkland's islands
The conference at London was with lord Rochford, then secretary of state for the southern department, who, in discourse with me, gave an account of it to this effect, viz. that he represented to the Spanish ambassador, that the inflexibility of his court in this business had compelled us to arm, that our fleet was manned, and the officers and sailors impatient for action; that the nation having incurred the expence of a naval equipment, would hardly be fatisfied without a trial of what it was able to
The acquiescence of our court in these concessions of that of Madrid, and the reference of a disputable question to the Greck calends, furnished the leaders of faction with a new topic for clamour, and war became the cry. The heavy burthen of debt, incurred by the last, was no reason against a new one, and millions were to be expended, and thousands murdered, for the titular sovereignty of an inand, which Johnson thus ftrongly and even poetically characterises :-
A bleak and gloomy folitude, an inand thrown • aside from human use, stormy in winter, and barren " in fummer: an island which not the fouthern sava
ges have dignified with habitation; where a garrison ' must be kept in a state that contemplates with envy " the exiles of Siberia; of which the expence will be
perpetual, and the use only occasional, and which, • if fortune smile upon our labours, may become a
nest of smugglers in peace, and in war the future 'refuge of buccaniers.'
These are his sentiments respecting the incommodities of this contested settlement: against the advantages suggested by the relator of Anson's expedition, whom he represents as having written under the infuence of a heated imagination, he opposes the following arguments, founded in true policy and found morality :
! That such a settlement may be of use in war, no man that considers its situation will deny. But war is not the whole business of life; it happens but
effect; and that a refusal of concessions on the part of Spain would inevitably bring on a war between the two powers, which, as it would be confined to the sea, must prove a short one.
seldom, and every man, either good or wise, wishes that its frequency were still less. That conduct which betrays designs of future hostility, if it does
not excite violence, will always generate malignity; - it must for ever exclude confidence and friendship,
and continue a cold and nuggish rivalry, by a lly reciprocation of indirect injuries, without the bravery of war, or the security of peace. "The advantage of such a settlement in time of peace is, I think, not easily to be proved. For, ( what use can it have but of a station for contra'band traders, a nursery of fraud, and a receptacle
of theft? Narborough, about a century ago, was of opinion, that no advantages could be obtained in voya
ages to the South sea, except by such an armament 'as, with a failor's morality, might trade by force. It ' is well known, that the prohibitions of commerce
are, in these countries, to the last degree, rigorous, ' and that no man, not authorized by the king of
Spain, can trade there but by force or stealth. • Whatever profit is obtained, must be gained by the violence of rapine, or dexterity of fraud.
Government will not, perhaps, soon arrive at such ' purity and excellence, but that some connivance at
least will be indulged to the triumphant robber and ' successful cheat. He that brings wealth home, is ' seldom interrogated by what means it was obtained. · This, however, is one of those modes of corruption
with which mankind ought always to struggle, and ' which they may, in time, hope to overcome. There
is reason to expect, that as the world is more en' lightened, policy and morality will at last be reconHh 2
• ciled, and that nations will learn not to do what they would not suffer. < But the silent toleration of suspected guilt is 2 degree of depravity far below that which openly incites and manifestly protects it. To pardon a pirate may be injurious to mankind; but how much greater is the crime of opening a port in which all
pirates will be safe? The contraband trader is not ' more worthy of protection: if, with Narborough, he
trades by force, he is a pirate; if he trades secretly,
he is only a thief. Those who honestly refuse his traffic, he hates as obstructors of his profit; and
those with whom he deals he cheats, because he i knows that they dare not complain. He lives with a "heart full of that malignity, which fear of detection
always generates in those who are to defend unjust
acquisitions against lawful authority; and when he ' comes home with riches thus acquired, he brings a
mind hardened in evil, too proud for reproof, and · too ftupid for reflection; he offends the high by his infolence, and corrupts the low by his example.'
To silence this clamour, to defeat the purposes of a wicked and malevolent faction, to allay the thirst for human blood, and to bring the deluded people to a sense of their true interest, was the aim of Johnson in writing this most judicious pamphlet : he succeeded in his endeavour, the miseries of war were averted, the contractors disappointed, and a few months restored the populace to the ufe of their understandings.
In a review of the several particulars herein before related, it will appear, that Johnson's course of life
was very uniform. London was a place of residence which he preferred to all others, as affording more intelligence, and better opportunities of conversation than were elsewhere to be found, and he was but little delighted either with rural scenes or manners. Novelty, and variety of occupations, it is true, were objects that engaged his attention, and from these he never failed to extract information. Though born and bred in a city, he well understood both the theory and practice of agriculture, and even the management of a farm: he could describe, with great accuracy,
process of malting; and, had necessity driven him to it, could have thatched a dwelling. Of field recreations, such as hunting, setting, and shooting, he would difcourse like a sportsman, though his personal defects rendered him, in a great measure, incapable of deriving pleasure from any such exercises.
But he had taken a very comprehensive view of human life and manners, and, that he was well acquainted with the views and pursuits of all classes and characters of men, his writings abundantly shew. This kind of knowledge he was ever desirous of increasing, even as he advanced in years : to gratify it, he was accessible to all comers, and yielded to the invitations of such of his friends as had residences in the country, to vary his course of living, and pass the pleasanter months of the year in the shades of obscurity.
In these visits, where there were children in the family, he took great delight in examining them as to their progress in learning, or, to make use of a Hh3