Price 2s. 6d.

[...] at Stationers-Hall.




IT would ill become me to make any re­marks on my examination before a com­mittee of the House of Commons, respecting the Author of ‘"Thoughts on the English Government."’ My conduct on that occa­sion could give no just offence to any party, and was spoken of in very favourable terms by Mr. Windham, Mr. Woodford his se­cretary, and several of their friends. As a mark of their esteem, they promised me a pamphlet which Mr. Burke was then pre­paring for the press, and which he soon after put into my hands. On giving me the last sheet, with his final corrections, ‘"There," said he, "that is your own—It is but a tri­vial thing—I do not know that it will pay you for paper and printing.—I must also do Mr. Burke the justice to acknowledge that [Page 2] he seemed to rejoice at my success; and to shew his desire of farther promoting it, gave me his ‘"Thoughts on a Regicide Peace."’ I felt the full force of the favour, and chear­fully took upon me the trouble of dancing backwards and forwards alternately between Author and Printer, three or four times a day for almost three months, to attend to such a variety of alterations as can be con­ceived only by those who are acquainted with the whims, the caprice and the eternal versatility of genius. After an interval of six months, the publication having been for that time suspended, and just at the mo­ment that I expected to receive some little return for my fatiguing exertions, I was suddenly called upon by the Rev. Dr. King, with a sort of message from Mr. Burke, de­siring an account of the former work. I was really shocked at a demand so repug­nant to all my ideas of that gentleman's cha­racter. I know he has not so short a me­mory as to forget the terms on which he made me a present of the manuscript. I had made no provision to settle for the profits of a voluntary gift, nor had I kept any account [Page 3] of them. I must also assert, that in order to shew myself not inferior even to Mr. Burke in generosity, I liberally supplied all his friends with copies of the work gratis, so that I believe, if an exact account had been kept, it would not appear that I lay under any very weighty obligation. Roused, how­ever, by so strange a demand, I called upon Mr. Windham's secretary to remonstrate on the illiberality, injustice, and unreason­ableness of such a claim for what I could not help considering as a present: he replied, ‘"It is very true:—it was meant so:—but Mr. Burke has thought otherwise since."’—I then called upon Mr. Nagle, the near re­lation and confidential friend of Mr. Burke, who had expressed no less surprise on hearing the matter first mentioned by Dr. King, and whose exact words were, ‘"By heavens! Owen conceived the Pamphlet to be his own; and so did I."’—If Mr. Burke's con­ceptions then should run counter in this in­stance to the dictates of plain sense, and to the ideas of his own nearest and dearest friends, I hope my character can never be injured by his unaccountable eccenticities. The man, who [Page 4] can write so beautiful a panegyric on royal bounty, would never surely incur the reproach of attempting to retract his own gifts, or even to strip a poor bookseller of the accidental pro­fits of publishing an essay on munificence. He has also, I am persuaded, too much dig­nity of sentiment to be offended with my bringing forward the present work, on ac­count of its interfering in any sort with his new arguments against a Peace with a Regi­cide Directory. I am in fact promoting his own wishes to cut off all intercourse with Re­gicides; and I rely upon his kind and disin­terested recommendation of these old Thoughts on the subject, which are now presented to the Public with the venerable marks, and silver honours of age.

LETTER I. On the Overtures of Peace.


UNTIL the beginning of this session, not­withstanding many untoward appearances, I still flattered myself that I should have no other than domestick afflictions to cloud the evening of my life: but a state of things is threatened, which, whatever room private griefs may occupy, leaves a vast vacuity to be filled with publick sorrow.

If I estimate rightly, what is going to be suf­fered, from what is going to be done, it is from something the very reverse of philosophy, that we are to learn content. In the interval between the treaty of peace with Regicide, and it's inevitable consequences, we must owe our repose not to deep thinking, but to the absence of all thought. To enjoy life, we must forget every thing of what England has been, and of what we have been our­selves. England has been happy; and change is [Page 2] a word of ill sound to happy ears. A great revolution is on the point of being accomplished. It is a revolution not in human affairs, but in man himself. The system of France aims at no­thing short of this. If we are tired of being the men we were, and disgusted with the society in which we have lived, France offers her regenera­tion. By whatever humiliations we buy a blessing, I admit that the nature of the object purchased remains the same. On that supposition, the ad­vances we have made to the Republick of Regi­cide, are made on a consistent plan. But if what she terms regeneration, is what we call death, then, instead of advancing, we should retreat, and fly from Jacobin remedies as from the most ter­rible of all diseases.

Observe at the outset, that I suppose a peace with Jacobinism, the submission to it's laws, and the adoption of it's whole scheme, to be so neces­sarily connected, that never, in sound logic, did the conclusion follow the premises with more cer­tainty, than as I conceive it, in the course of Na­ture, that effect will be the result of this cause.

In one thing we are lucky. The regicide has re­ceived our advances with scorn. We have an enemy, to whose virtues we can owe nothing; but on this occasion we are infinitely obliged to [Page 3] one of his vices. We owe more to his insolence than to our own precaution. The haughtiness by which the proud repel us, has this of good in it, that in making us keep our distance, they must keep their distance too. In the present case, the pride of the Regicide may be our safety. He has given time for our reason to operate; and for Bri­tish dignity to recover from its surprise.

There is always an augury to be taken of what a peace is likely to be, from the preliminary steps that are made to bring it about. We may gather something from the time in which the first over­tures are made; from the quarter whence they come; from the manner in which they are received. These discover the temper of the parties. If your enemy offers peace in the moment of success, it indicates that he is satisfied with something. It shews that there are limits to his ambition or his resentment. If he offers nothing under misfor­tune, it is probable, that it is more painful to him to abandon advantage than to endure calamity. If he rejects solicitation, and will not give even a nod to the suppliants for peace, until a change in the fortune of the war threatens him with ruin, then I think it evident, that he wishes nothing more than to disarm his adversary and to gain time. Afterwards a question arises, which of the [Page 4] parties is likely to obtain the greater advantages, by the use of time and by continuing disarmed?

With these few, plain indications in our minds, it will not be improper to re-consider the conduct of the enemy together with our own, from the day that a question of peace has been in agitation. In considering this part of the question, I do not proceed on my own hypothesis. I suppose, for a moment, that this body of Regicide, calling itself a Republick, is a politick person, with whom something deserving the name of peace may be made. On that supposition, let us examine our own proceeding. Let us compute the profit it has brought, and the advantage that it is likely to bring hereafter. A peace too eagerly sought, is not always the sooner obtained; and when obtained, it never can be every thing we wish. The discovery of vehement wishes generally frustrates their attainment; and your adversary has gained a great advantage over you when he finds you impatient to conclude a treaty. There is in reserve, not only something of dig­nity, but a great deal of prudence too. A sort of courage belongs to negotiation as well as to operations of the field. A negotiator must seem willing to hazard all, if he wishes to secure any material point.

[Page 5] The Regicide was the first to declare war. We are the first to sue for peace. We have twice* solicited to be admitted to Jacobin embraces. Twice we have been repelled with cold disdain. It is true, that pride may reject a publick ad­vance, whilst interest listens to a secret suggestion of advantage. The opportunity has been afforded. A gentleman has been sent on an errand, of which, from the motive of it, whatever the event might be, we never can be ashamed. Humanity cannot be degraded by humiliation. It is it's very cha­racter to submit to such things. There is a con­sanguinity between benevolence and humility. They are virtues of the same stock. Dignity is of as good a race; but it belongs to the family of Fortitude. In the spirit of that benevolence, we sent a gentleman to beseech the Directory of Re­gicides, not to be quite so prodigal as they had been of judicial murder. We solicited them to spare the lives of some unhappy persons of the first distinction, whose safety at other times could not have been an object of solicitation. They had quitted France on the faith of the decla­ration of the rights of citizens. They never had been in the service of the Regicides, nor at their [Page 6] hands had received any stipend. The very system and constitution of government that now prevails, was settled subsequent to their emigration. They were under the protection of Great Britain, and in his Majesty's pay and service. Not an hostile invasion, but the disasters of the sea had thrown them upon a shore, more barbarous and inhospi­table than the inclement ocean under the most pitiless of its storms. Here was an opportunity to express a feeling for the miseries of war; and to open some sort of conversation, which, (after our public overtures had glutted their pride) at a cau­tious and jealous distance, might lead to something like an accommodation. What was the event? A strange uncouth thing, a theatrical figure of the opera, his head shaded with three coloured plumes, his body fantastically habited, strutted from the back scenes, and after a short speech, in the mock-heroic falsetto of stupid tragedy, delivered the gentleman who came to make the representation into the custody of a guard, with directions not to lose sight of him for a moment, and then ordered him to be sent from Paris in two hours.

Here it is impossible that a sentiment of tender­ness should not strike athwart the sternness of po­liticks, and make us recal to painful memory, the difference between this insolent and bloody thea­tre, [Page 7] and the temperate, natural majesty of a civi­lized court, where the afflicted family of Asgill did not in vain solicit the mercy of the highest in rank, and the most compassionate of the compas­sionate sex.

Whilst the fortune of the field was wholly with the Regicides, nothing was thought of but to fol­low where it led; and it led to every thing. Not so much as a talk of treaty. Laws were laid down with arrogance. The most moderate politician amongst them* was chosen as the organ, not so much for prescribing limits to their claims, as to mark what, for the present, they are content to leave to others. They made not laws, not Con­ventions, but late possession, but physical nature, and political convenience the sole foundation of their claims. The Rhine, the Mediterranean, and the ocean were the bounds which, for the time, they assigned to the empire of Regicide. In truth, with these limits, and their principle, they would not have left even the shadow of liberty or safety to any nation. This plan of empire was not taken up in the first intoxication of unexpected success. You must recollect, that it was projected just as the report has stated it, from the very first revolt of the faction against their Monarchy; and it has been uniformly pursued, as a standing maxim of national [Page 8] policy, from that time to this. It is in the season of prosperity that men discover their real tempers, principles, and designs. This report, combined with their conduct, forms an infallible criterion of the views of this Republick.

The tide of success began to turn. We are to see how their minds have been affected with this change. Some impression it made on them un­doubtedly. It produced some oblique notice of the submissions that were made by suppliant nations. The utmost they did, was to make some of those cold, formal, general professions of a love of peace which no power ever refused to make; because they mean little, and cost nothing. The first pa­per I have seen (the publication at Hamburgh) making a shew of that pacific disposition, disco­vered a rooted animosity, and incurable rancour, more than any of their military operations. They choose to suppose, that this war, on the part of England, is a war of Government, begun and carried on against the sense and interests of the people; thus sowing in their very overtures towards peace, the seeds of tumult and sedition; for they never have abandoned, and never will abandon, in peace, in war, in treaty, in any situation, or for one instant, their old steady maxim of separating the people from the Government.

[Page 9] We have since seen them take up the matter with great formality. On that occasion they dis­covered still more clearly the bottom of their cha­racter. The offers made to them by the message to Parliament was hinted at; but in an obscure and oblique manner as before. They accompanied their notice of the indications manifested on our side, with every kind of insolent and taunting reflexion. The Regicide Directory, on the day which, in their gipsy jargon, they call the 5th of Pluviose, in return for our ad­vances, charge us with eluding our declarations under ‘"evasive formalities and frivolous pretexts."’ They proceed to charge us, and, as it should seem, our allies in the mass, with direct perfidy—and go so far as to say, that this perfidious character was nothing new to us. However, notwithstanding this our habitual perfidy, they will offer peace ‘"on conditions as moderate"’—as what? as reason and as equity require? No! as moderate ‘"as are suitable to their national dignity."’ Dignity, hi­therto, has belonged to the mode of proceeding, not to the matter of a treaty. Never before has it been mentioned as the standard for rating the conditions of peace;—no, never by the most vio­lent of conquerors. Indemnity is capable of some estimate; dignity has no standard. It is impos­sible to guess what acquisitions pride and ambition may think fit for their dignity. But lest any doubt [Page 10] should remain on what they think for their dig­nity, the Regicides in the next paragraph tell us ‘"that they will have no peace with their enemies, until they have reduced them to a state which will put them under an impossibility of pursuing their unfortunate projects;"’ that is, in plain French or English, until they have accom­plished our utter and irretrievable ruin. This is their pacific language, and it is their unalterable principle in whatever language they speak, or whatever steps they take, whether of real war, or of pretended pacification. They have never, to do them justice, been at much trouble in concealing their intentions. We were as obstinately re­solved to think them not in earnest. I confess this sort of jests, whatever their urbanity may be, are not much to my taste.

To this obliging, conciliatory, and amicable communication, our sole answer, in effect, is this.—‘"Citizen Regicides! whenever you find yourselves in the humour, you may have a peace with us. That is a point you may always command as se­cure. We are constantly in attendance, and no­thing you can do shall hinder us from the re­newal of our supplications."’

To those, who do not love to contemplate the fall of human greatness, I do not know a more [Page 11] mortifying spectacle, than to see the assembled majesty of the crowned heads of Europe waiting as patient suitors in the anti-chamber of Regicides. They wait, it seems, until the sanguinary tyrant, Rewbell, shall have snorted away the fumes of the indigested blood of his Sovereign;—then, when sunk on the down of usurped pomp, he shall have sufficiently indulged his meditations with what King he shall next glut his ravening maw, and he may condescend to signify that it is his pleasure to be awake, and ready to receive the proposals of his high and mighty clients for the terms on which he may respite the execution of the sentence he has passed upon them. Whatever may come of the object of all this suit and service, there seems to me a wonderful ‘"alacrity in sinking."’ To submit to be so treated is to be humbled indeed. It is to sink many degrees below Zero in the de­scending scale of political degradation. I never knew dignity much.

Our proceeding, which has produced this re­turn, appeared to me totally new, without being adapted to the new circumstances of affairs. I have called to my mind the speeches and messages in former times. I find nothing like these. Before this time, never was a ground of peace laid, as it were, in a parliamentary record, until it had been as good as concluded. This was a wise homage [Page 12] paid to the discretion of the Crown. It was known how much any negotiation must suffer by having any thing in the train towards it prematurely dis­closed.

I conceive that another circumstance in that transaction has been as little authorised by any example, and that it is as little prudent in itself; I mean the formal recognition of the French Re­publick. Without entering, for the present, into a question on the good faith manifested in that measure, or on it's general policy, I doubt, upon mere prudential considerations, whether it was perfectly adviseable. It is not within the rules of dexterous conduct to make an acknowledgment of a contested title in your enemy, before you are morally certain that your recognition will secure his friendship. Otherwise it is a measure worse than thrown away. It adds infinitely to the strength, and consequently to the demands of the adverse party. He has gained a fundamental point without an equivalent.

This sort of preliminary declarations, thrown out at random, and sown, as it were, broad cast, were never to be found in the mode of our pro­ceeding with France and Spain, whilst the great Monarchies of France and Spain existed. I do not say, that a diplomatick measure ought to be, like [Page 13] a parliamentary or a judicial proceeding, accor­ding to strict precedent. I hope I am far from that pedantry: but this I know, that a great state ought to have some regard to it's antient maxims; especially where they indicate it's dignity; where they concur with the rules of prudence; and above all, where the circumstances of the time require that a spirit of innovation should be resisted, which leads to the humiliation of sovereign powers. It would be ridiculous to assert, that those powers have suffered nothing in their estimation. I admit, that the greater interests of state will for a moment su­persede all other considerations: but if there was a rule that a sovereign never should let down his dignity without a sure payment to his interest, the dignity of Kings would be held high enough. At present, however, fashion governs in more serious things than furniture and dress. It looks as if so­vereigns abroad were emulous in bidding against their estimation. It seems as if the pre-eminence of Regicide was acknowleged; and that Kings tacitly ranked themselves below their sacrilegious murderers, as natural magistrates and judges over them. It appears as if dignity were the pre­rogative of crime; and a temporising humiliation the proper part for venerable authority. If the vilest of mankind are resolved to be the most wick­ed, they lose all the baseness of their origin, and take their place above Kings. This example in fo­reign [Page 14] Princes, I trust, will not spread. It is the concern of mankind, that the destruction of order should not be a claim to rank; that crimes should not be the only title to pre-eminence and honour.

If what I hear be true, the Ministers are not quite so much to be blamed, as their condition is to be lamented. I have been given to understand, that these proceedings are not in their origin pro­perly theirs. It is said that there is a secret in the House of Commons. That Ministers act not ac­cording to the votes, but according to the dispo­sitions, of the majority. I hear that the minority has long since spoken the general sense of the na­tion; and that to prevent those who compose it from having the open and avowed lead in that House, or perhaps in both Houses, it was necessary to pre-occupy their ground, and to take their pro­positions out of their mouths.

If the general disposition of the people be, as I hear it is, for an immediate peace with Regicide without so much as considering our publick and solemn engagements to the parties, or any enquiry into the terms, it is all over with us. It is strange, but it may be true, that as the danger from ad­vances to Jacobinism is increased in my eyes and in yours, the fear of it is lessened in theirs. It seems, they act under the impression of other sort [Page 15] of terrors, which frighten them out of their first apprehensions: but it is fit they should recollect, that they who would make peace without a pre­vious knowledge of the terms, make a surrender. They are conquered. They do not treat; they re­ceive the law. Then the people of England are con­tented to seek in the kindness of a foreign syste­matick enemy combined with a dangerous faction at home, a security which they cannot find in their own patriotism and their own courage. They are willing trust to the sympathy of Regicides, the guarantee of the British Monarchy. They are con­tent to rest their religion on the piety of atheists by establishment. They are satisfied to seek in the cle­mency of practised murderers the security of their lives. They are pleased to confide their property to the safeguard of those who are robbers by incli­nation, interest, habit, and system. If this be our deliberate mind, truly we deserve to lose, what we cannot long retain, the name of a nation.

In matters of state, a constitutional competence to act, is in many cases the smallest part of the question. Without disputing (God forbid I should dispute) the sole competence of the King and the Parliament, each in it's province, to decide on war and peace, I venture to say, no war can be long carried on against the will of the people. This war, in particular, cannot be carried on unless [Page 16] they are enthusiastically in favour of it. Acqui­escence will not do. There must be zeal. Uni­versal zeal in such a cause, and at such a time as this is, cannot be looked for; neither is it neces­sary. A zeal in the larger part carries the force of the whole. Without this, no Government, cer­tainly not our Government, is capable of a great war. None of the ancient regular Governments has wherewithal to fight abroad with a foreign foe, and at home to overcome repining, reluctance, and chicane. It must be some portentousthing, like Re­gicide France, that can exhibit such a prodigy. Yet even she, the mother of monsters, more proli­fic than the country of old called Feraxmonstrorum, shews symptoms of being almost effete already; and she will be so, unless the fallow of a peace comes to recruit her fertility. But whatever may be represented concerning the meanness of the popular spirit, I, for one, do not think so despe­rately of the British nation. Our minds are light, but they are not evil. We are dreadfully open to delusion and to dejection; but we are capable of being animated and undeceived.

It cannot be concealed. We are a divided people. But in divisions, where a part is to be taken, we are to make a muster of our strength. I have often endeavoured to class those who, in any political view, are to be called the people. [Page 17] Without doing something of this sort we must proceed absurdly. We should presume as ab­surdly, if we pretended to very great accuracy in our estimate. But I think, in the calculation I have made, the error cannot be very material. In England and Scotland, I compute that those of adult age, not declining in life, of tolerable leisure for such discussions, and of some means of infor­mation, more or less, and who are above menial dependence, (or what virtually is such) may amount to about four hundred thousand. In this number I include the women that take a concern in those transactions, who cannot exceed twenty thousand. There is such a thing as a natural re­presentative of the people. This body is that re­presentative; and on this body, more than on the legal constituent, the artificial representative de­pends. This is the British publick; and it is a publick very numerous. The rest, when feeble, are the objects of protection; when strong, the means of force. They who affect to consider that part of us in any other light, insult while they cajole us; they do not want us for counsellors in deliberation, but to list us as soldiers for battle.

Of these four hundred thousand political citi­zens, I look upon one fifth, or about eighty thou­sand, to be pure Jacobins; utterly incapable of amendment; objects of eternal vigilance; and [Page 18] when they break out, of legal constraint. On these, no reason, no argument, no example, no venerable authority, can have the slightest influ­ence. They desire a change; and they will have it if they can. If they cannot have it by English cabal, they will make no sort of scruple of having it by the cabal of France, into which already they are virtually incorporated.

This minority is great and formidable. I do not know whether if I aimed at the total over­throw of a kingdom, I should wish to be encum­bered with a larger body of partizans. These, by their spirit of intrigue, and by their restless agitating activity, are of a force far superior to their numbers; and if times grew the least criti­cal, have the means of debauching or intimidat­ing many of those who are now sound, as well as of adding to their force large bodies of the more passive part of the nation. This minority is nu­merous enough to make a mighty cry for peace, or for war, or for any object they are led vehe­mently to desire. By passing from place to place with a velocity incredible, and diversifying their character and description, they are capable of mimicking the general voice. We must not al­ways judge of the generality of the opinion by the noise of the acclamation.

[Page 19] The majority, the other four fifths, is perfectly sound; and of the best possible dispositions to re­ligion, to government, to the true and undivided interest of their country. Such men are naturally disposed to peace. They who are in possession of all they wish, are languid and improvident. With this fault, (and I admit it's existence in all its extent) they would not endure to hear of a peace that led to the ruin of every thing for which peace is dear to them. However, the de­sire of peace is essentially the weak side of all such men. All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities. There they are unguarded. They do not suspect that their destruction is attempted through their virtues. This their enemies are perfectly aware of—and accordingly they, the most turbulent of mankind, who never made a scruple to shake the tranqui­lity of their country to its centre, raise a con­tinual cry for peace with France. Peace with Regicide, and war with the rest of the world, is their true motto. From the beginning, and even whilst the French gave the blows, and we hardly opposed the vis inertiae to their efforts, from that day to this hour, like importunate Guinea-fowls crying one note day and night, they have called for a Regicide peace.

[Page 20] In this they are, as I confess in all things they are, perfectly consistent. They who wish to unite themselves to your enemies, naturally de­sire, that you should disarm yourself by a peace with these enemies. But it passes my conception, how they, who wish well to their country on it's ancient system of laws and manners, come not to be doubly alarmed, when they find nothing but a clamor for peace, in the mouths of the men on earth the least disposed to it in their natural or in their habitual character.

I have a good opinion of the general abilities of the Jacobins: not that I suppose them better born than others; but strong passions awake the fa­culties. They suffer not a particle of the man to be lost. The spirit of enterprise gives them the full use of all their native energies. If I have reason to conceive that my enemy, who, as such, must have an interest in my destruction, is also a person of discernment and sagacity, then I must be quite sure, that in a contest, the object he violently pursues, is the very thing by which my ruin is the most perfectly accomplished. Why do the Jacobins cry for peace? Because they know, that this point gained, the rest will follow of course. On our part why are all the rules of prudence, as sure as the laws of material nature to be at this time reversed? How comes it, that now [Page 21] for the first time, men think it right to be governed by the counsels of their enemies? Ought they not rather to tremble, when they are persuaded to tra­vel on the same road; and to tend to the same place of rest?

The minority I speak of, is not susceptible of an impression from the topics of argument, to be used to the larger part of the community. I therefore do not address to them any part of what I have to say. The more forcibly I drive my arguments against their system, so as to make an impression where I wish to make it, the more strongly I rivet them in their sentiments. As for us, who compose the far larger, and what I call the far better part of the people; let me say, that we have not been quite fairly dealt with when called to this deli­beration. The Jacobin minority have been abun­dantly supplied with stores and provisions of all kinds towards their warfare. No sort of argumen­tative materials, suited to their purposes, have been withheld. False they are, unsound, sophistical; but they are regular in their direction. They all bear one way; and they all go to the support of the substantial merits of their cause. The others have not had the question so much as fairly stated to them.

[Page 22] There has not been in this century, any foreign peace or war in it's origin, the fruit of popular desire: except the war that was made with Spain in 1739. Sir Robert Walpole was forced into the war by the people who were inflamed to this measure by the most leading politicians, by the first orators, and the greatest poets of the time. For that war, Pope sung his dying notes. For that war, Johnson in more energetic strains, employed the voice of his early genius. For that war, Glover distinguished himself in the way in which his muse was the most natural and happy. The crowd readily followed the politi­cians in the cry for a war, which threatened little bloodshed, and which promised victories that were attended with something more solid than glory. A war with Spain was a war of plunder. In the present conflict with Regicide, Mr. Pitt has not had, nor will for some little time have, many prizes to hold out in the lottery of war, to tempt the lower part of our character. He can only maintain it by an appeal to the higher; and to those, in whom that higher part is most predominant, he must look the most for his support. Whilst he holds out no inducements to the wise, nor bribes to the avari­cious, he may be forced by a vulgar cry into a peace ten times more ruinous than the most dis­astrous war. The weaker he is in the fund of mo­tives which apply to our avarice, to our laziness, [Page 23] and to our lassitude, if he means to carry the war to any end at all, the stronger he ought to be in his addresses to our magnanimity and to our reason.

In stating that Walpole was driven by a popular clamour into a measure not to be justified, I do not mean wholly to excuse his conduct. My time of observation did not exactly coincide with that event; but I read much of the controversies then carried on. Several years after the contests of par­ties had ceased, the people were amused, and in a degree warmed with them. The events of that aera seemed then of magnitude, which the revolu­tions of our time have reduced to parochial im­portance; and the debates, which then shook the nation, now appear of no higher moment than a discussion in a vestry. When I was very young, a general fashion told me I was to admire some of the writings against that Minister; a little more maturity taught me as much to despise them. I observed one fault in his general proceeding. He never manfully put forward the entire strength of his cause. He temporised; he managed; and adopting very nearly the sentiments of his adversa­ries, he opposed their inferences.—This, for a po­litical commander, is the choice of a weak post. His adversaries had the better of the argument, as he handled it, not as the reason and justice of his cause enabled him to manage it. I say this after [Page 24] having seen, and with some care examined, the ori­ginal documents concerning certain important transactions of those times. They perfectly satis­fied me of the extreme injustice of that war, and of the falsehood of the colours, which to his own ruin, and guided by a mistaken policy, he suf­fered to be daubed over that measure. Some years after, it was my fortune, to converse with many of the principal actors against that Minister, and with those, who principally excited that clamour. None of them, no not one, did in the least defend the measure, or attempt to justify their conduct, which they as freely condemned as they would have done in commenting upon any proceeding in his­tory, in which they were totally unconcerned. Thus it will be. They who stir up the people to improper desires, whether of peace or war, will be condemned by themselves. They who weakly yield to them will be condemned by history.

In my opinion, the present ministry are as far from doing full justice to their cause in this war, as Walpole was from doing justice to the peace which at that time he was willing to preserve. They throw the light on one side only of their case; though it is impossible they should not observe, that the other side which is kept in the shade, has it's importance too. They must know, that France is formidable, not only as she is France, [Page 25] but as she is Jacobin France. They knew from the beginning that the Jacobin party was not confined to that country. They knew, they felt, the strong dispositions of the same faction in both countries to communicate and to co-ope­rate. For some time past, these two points have been kept, and even industriously kept, out of sight. France is considered as merely a foreign Power; and the seditious English only as a domes­tick faction. The merits of the war with the for­mer have been argued solely on political grounds. To prevent our being corrupted with the mischiev­ous doctrines of the latter, matter and argument have been supplied abundantly, and even to sur­feit on the excellency of our own government. But nothing has been done to make us feel in what manner the safety of that Government is connected with the principle and with the issue of this war. For any thing, which in the late dis­cussion has appeared, the war is intirely collateral to the state of Jacobinism; as truly a foreign war to us and to all our home concerns, as the war with Spain in 1739, about Gard da Costas, the Madrid Convention, and the fable of Captain Jenkins's ears.

Some who are advocates at once for Govern­ment, and for peace with the enemies of all Go­vernment, have even gone the length of consider­ing [Page 26] the proceedings in France, if at all they af­fect us, as rather advantageous to the cause of tranquillity and good order in this country. But I reserve my observations on this very extraordinary topic of argument to another occasion: it is now my business to point out to you, that when­ever the adverse party has raised a cry for peace with the Regicide, the answer has been little more than this, ‘"that the Administration wished for such a peace, full as much as the Opposition; but that the time was not convenient for making it."’ Whatever else has been said was much in the same spirit. Reasons of this kind never touched the sub­stantial merits of the war. They where in the na­ture of dilatory pleas, exceptions of form, and pre­vious questions. Accordingly all the arguments against a compliance with the popular desires, (urg­ed on with all possible vehemence and earnestness by the Jacobins) have appeared flat and languid, feeble and evasive. They appeared to aim only at gaining time. They never entered into the pe­culiar and distinctive character of the war. They spoke neither to the understanding nor to the heart. Cold as ice themselves, they never could kindle in our breasts a spark of that zeal, which is necessary to a conflict with an adverse zeal; much less are they made to infuse into our minds, that stubborn persevering spirit, which alone is capable of bear­ing up against those vicissitudes of fortune, that will [Page 27] probably occur, and those burthens which must be inevitably borne in a long war. I speak it empha­tically, and with a desire that it should be marked, in a long war; because, without such a war, no ex­perience has yet told us, that a dangerous power has ever been reduced to measure or to reason. I do not throw back my view to the Peloponnesian war of twenty-seven years; nor to two of the Pu­nick wars, the first of twenty-four, the second of eighteen; nor to the more recent war concluded by the treaty of Westphalia, which continued, I think, for thirty. I go to what is but just fallen behind living memory, and immediately touches our own country. Let the portion of our history from the year 1689 to 1713 be brought before us. We shall find, that in all that pe­riod of twenty-four years, there were not above six that could be called an interval of peace; and this interval was in reality nothing more than a very active preparation for war. During that pe­riod, every one of the propositions of peace came from the enemy. The first, when they were ac­cepted, at the peace of Ryswick. The second, where they were rejected at the congress at Ger­trudenburgh. The last, when the war ended by the treaty of Utrecht. Even then, a very great part of the nation, and that which contained by far the most intelligent statesmen, was against the conclusion of the war. I do not enter into the [Page 28] merits of that question as between the parties. I only state the existence of that opinion as a fact. I mention the length of the war as a proof, that though the countries which now compose the kingdom, for a part of the time were not united, and through all the time continued with a raw and ill cemented union, and though they were further split into parties as vehement, and more equally divided than now they are, and that we were possessed of far less abundant resources in all kinds than we now enjoy.—I mean to mark, that under all these disadvantages the English nation was then a great people; that we had then an high mind, and a constancy unconquerable; that we were then inspired with no flashy passions, but such as were durable as well as warm; such as cor­responded to the great interests we had at stake. This force of character was inspired, as all such spirit must ever be, from above. Government gave the impulse. As well may we fancy that of itself the sea will swell, and without winds the billows will insult the adverse shore, as that the gross mass of the people will be moved and elevated without the influence of superior authority, or superior mind.

This impulse ought, in my opinion, to have been given in this war; and it ought to have been con­tinued to it at every instant. It is made. if ever [Page 29] war was made, to touch all the great springs of action in the human breast. It ought not to have been a war of apology. The minister had, in this conflict wherewithal to glory in success; to be consoled in adversity; to hold high his principle in all fortunes. If it were not given him to sup­port the falling edifice, he ought to bury himself under the ruins of the civilized world. All the art of Greece, and all the pride and power of eastern Monarchs, never heaped upon their ashes so grand a monument.

There were days when his great mind was up to the crisis of the world he is called to act in. His manly eloquence was equal to the elevated wisdom of such sentiments. But the little have triumphed over the great; an unnatural, not an unusual victory. I am sure you cannot forget with how much uneasiness we heard in conversation, the language of more than one gentleman at the opening of this contest, ‘"that he was willing to try the war for a year or two, and if it did not succeed, then to vote for peace."’ As if war was a matter of experiment! As if you could take it up or lay it down as an idle frolick! As if the dire goddess that presides over it, with her mur­derous spear in her hand, and her gorgon at her breast, was a coquette to be flirted with! We ought with reverence to approach that tremendous [Page 30] divinity, that loves courage, but commands coun­sel. War never leaves a nation where it was found. The interval between that and peace is indeed ‘"a very hideous dream, in which the ge­nius and the mortal instruments are seriously at work."’ It is never to be entered into without a mature deliberation; not a deliberation lengthened out into a perplexing indecision, but a deliberation leading to a sure and fixed judgment. When so taken up it is not to be abandoned without reason as valid, as fully, and as extensively considered; for peace may be made as unadvisedly as war. No­thing is so rash as fear: and the counsels of pusil­lanimity very rarely put off, whilst they are al­ways sure to aggravate the evils they would fly from.

In that great war carried on against Louis the XIVth, for near eighteen years Government spared no pains to satisfy the people, that though they were to be animated by a desire of glory, glory was not their ultimate object: but that every thing dear to them, in religion, in law, in liberty, every thing which as freemen, as Englishmen, and as citizens of the great commonwealth of Christen­dom, they had at heart, was then at stake. Whe­ther they did not exaggerate the danger I will not dispute. A danger, and no small danger, unques­tionably there was; and that long and arduous war was pursued, upon at least as solid and manly [Page 31] grounds, as the peace was made which put an end to it. A danger to avert a danger—a present incon­venience and suffering to prevent a foreseen fu­ture, and a worse calamity—these are the motives that belong to an animal, who, in his constitution, is at once adventurous and provident; circum­spect, and daring; whom his Creator has made, as the Poet says, ‘"of large discourse, looking be­fore and after."’ But never can a vehement and sustained spirit of fortitude be kindled in a people by a war of calculation. It has nothing that can keep the mind erect under the gusts of adversity. Even where men are willing, as sometimes they are, to barter their blood for lucre, to hazard their safety to gratify their avarice, that passion, like all the passions, must see it's objects distinct and near at hand. The passions are hungry and impatient. Speculative plunder; contingent spoil; future long adjourned uncertain booty; pillage which must en­rich a late posterity, and which possibly may not reach to posterity at all; these, for any length of time, will never support a mercenary war. The people are in the right. The calculation of profit in all such wars is false. On balancing the ac­count of such wars, ten thousand hogsheads of sugar are purchased at ten thousand times their price. The blood of man should never be shed but to redeem the blood of man. It is well shed for our family, for our friends, for our God, for [Page 32] our country, for our kind. The rest is vanity; the rest is crime.

In the war of the Grand Alliance, most of these considerations voluntarily and naturally had their part. Some were pressed into the service. The political interest easily went in the track of the natural sentiment. In the reverse course the car­riage does not follow freely. I am sure the natu­ral feeling, as I have just said, is a far more pre­dominant ingredient in this war, than in that of any other that ever was waged by this kingdom.

If the war made to prevent the union of two crowns upon one head was a just war, this, which is made to prevent the tearing all crowns from all heads which ought to wear them, and with the crowns to smite off the sacred heads themselves, this is a just war.

If a war to prevent Louis the XIVth from im­posing his religion was just, a war to prevent the murderers of Louis the XVIth from imposing their irreligion upon us is just; a war to prevent the operation of a system, which makes life without dignity, and death without hope, is a just war.

If to preserve political independence and ci­vil freedom to nations, was a just ground of war; [Page 33] a war to preserve national independence, property, liberty, life, and honour, from certain universal havock, is a war just, necessary, manly, pious; and we are bound to persevere in it by every principle, divine and human, as long as the system which menaces them all, and all equally, has an existence in the world.

You, who have looked at this matter with as fair and impartial an eye as can be united with a feel­ing heart, you will not think it an hardy assertion, when I affirm, that it were far better to be con­quered by any other nation, than to have this fac­tion for a neighbour. Before I felt myself autho­rised to say this, I considered the state of all the countries in Europe for these last three hundred years, which have been obliged to submit to a fo­reign law. In most of those I found the condition of the annexed countries even better, certainly not worse, than the lot of those which were the patrimony of the conqueror. They wanted some blessings—but they were free from many very great evils. They were rich and tranquil. Such was Artois, Flanders, Lorrain, Alsatia, un­der the old Government of France. Such was Silesia under the King of Prussia. They who are to live in the vicinity of France, are to prepare to live in perpetual conspiracies and seditions; and to end at last, in being conquered, if not to [Page 34] her dominion, to her resemblance. But when we talk of conquest by other nations, it is only to put a case. This is the only power in Europe by which it is possible we should be conquered. To live under the continual dread of such immeasureable evils is itself a grievous calamity. To live without the dread of them, is to turn the danger into the disaster. The influence of such a France is equal to a war; it's example, more wasting than an hos­tile irruption. The hostility with any other state is separable and accidental; this state, by the very condition of it's existence, by it's very essential constitution, is in a state of hostility with us, and with all civilized people.

A Government of the nature of that set up at our very door has never been hitherto seen, or even imagined in Europe. What our relation to it will be cannot be judged by other relations. It is a serious thing to have a connexion with a people, who live only under positive, arbitrary, and changeable institutions; and those not perfected nor supplied, nor explained by any common ac­knowledged rule of moral science. I remember that in one of my last conversations with the late Lord Camden, we were struck much in the same manner with the abolition in France of the law, as a science of methodized and artificial equity. France, since her Revolution, is under the sway of [Page 35] a sect, whose leaders have deliberately, at one stroke, demolished the whole body of that juris­prudence which France had pretty nearly in com­mon with other civilized countries. In that juris­prudence were contained the elements and princi­ples of the law of nations, the great ligament of mankind. With the law they have of course de­stroyed all seminaries in which jurisprudence was taught, as well as all the corporations established for its conservation. I have not heard of any coun­try, whether in Europe or Asia, or even in Africa on this side of Mount Atlas, which is wholly with­out some such colleges and such corporations, except France. No man, in a public or private concern, can divine by what rule or principle her judgments are to be directed; nor is there to be found a Professor in any University, or a Practi­tioner in any Court, who will hazard an opinion of what is or is not law in France, in any case what­ever. They have not only annulled all their old treaties; but they have renounced the law of na­tions from whence treaties have their force. With a fixed design they have outlawed themselves, and to their power outlawed all other nations. Instead of the religion and the law by which they were in a great and politick communion with the Christian world, they have constructed their Republick on three basis; all fundamentally opposite to those on which the communities of Europe are built. It's [Page 36] foundation is laid in Regicide; in Jacobinism; and in Atheism; and it has joined to those prin­ciples, a body of systematick manners which se­cures their operation.

If I am asked how I would be understood in the use of those terms, Regicide, Jacobinism, A­theism, and a system of correspondent manners and their establishment, I will tell you.

I call a commonwealth Regicide, which lays it down as a fixed law of nature, and a fundamen­tal right of man, that all government, not being a democracy, is an usurpation*. That all Kings, as such, are usurpers; and for being Kings, may and ought to be put to death, with their wives, fa­milies, and adherents. The commonwealth which acts uniformly upon those principles, and which af­ter abolishing every festival of religion, chooses the most flagrant act of a murderous Regicide treason for a feast of eternal commemoration, and which [Page 37] forces all her people to observe it.—This I call Regicide by establishment.

Jacobinism is the revolt of the enterprising ta­lents of a country against it's property. When private men form themselves into associations for the purpose of destroying the pre-existing laws and institutions of their country; when they se­cure to themselves an army by dividing amongst the people of no property, the estates of the an­cient and lawful proprietors; when a state recog­nizes those acts; when it does not make confis­cations for crimes, but makes crimes for confisca­tions; when it has it's principal strength, and all it's resources in such a violation of property; when it stands chiefly upon such a violation; massacring by judgments, or otherwise, those who make any struggle for their old legal government, and their legal, hereditary, or acquired possessions, I call this Jacobinism by establishment.

I call it Atheism by establishment, when any State, as such, shall not acknowledge the existence of God as a moral Governor of the World; when it shall offer to Him no religious or moral worship;—when it shall abolish the Christian religion by a regular decree;—when it shall persecute with a cold, unrelenting, steady cruelty, by every mode of confiscation, imprisonment, exile, and death, [Page 38] all its ministers;—when it shall generally shut up or pull down churches; when the few buildings which remain of this kind shall be opened only for the purpose of making a profane apotheosis of monsters, whose vices and crimes have no parallel amongst men, and whom all other men consider as objects of general detestation, and the severest animadversion of law. When, in the place of that religion of social benevolence, and of individual self-denial, in mockery of all religion, they insti­tute impious, blasphemous, indecent theatric rites in honor of their vitiated, perverted reason, and erect altars to the personification of their own corrupted and bloody Republick;—when schools and seminaries are erected at public expence to poison mankind, from generation to generation, with the horrible maxims of this impiety, I call this Atbeism by establishment.

When to these establishments of Regicide, of Jacobinism, and of Atheism, you add the corres­pondent system of manners, no doubt can be left on the mind of a thinking man, concerning their de­termined hostility to the human race. Manners are of more importance than laws. In a great mea­sure the laws depend upon them. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Man­ners are what vex or sooth, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a con­stant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like [Page 39] that of the air we breath in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them. Of this the new French Legislators were aware; therefore, with the same method, and under the same authority, they settled a system of manners, the most licen­tious, prostitute, and abandoned, and at the same time the most coarse, rude, savage, and ferocious. Nothing in the Revolution, no, not to a phrase or a gesture, not to the fashion of a hat or a shoe, was left to accident. All was the result of design; all was matter of institution. No mechanical means could be devised in favour of this incredi­ble system of wickedness and vice, that has not been employed. The noblest passions, the love of glory, the love of country, were debauched into means of it's preservation and it's propagation. All sorts of shews and exhibitions calculated to in­flame and vitiate the imagination, and pervert the moral sense, have been contrived. They have sometimes brought forth five or six hundred drunken women, calling at the bar of the Assem­bly for the blood of their own children, as being royalists or constitutionals. Sometimes they have got a body of wretches, calling themselves fathers, to demand the murder of their sons; boasting that Rome had but one Brutus, but that they could shew five hundred. There were instances, in [Page 40] which they inverted, and retaliated the impiety, and produced sons, who called for the execution of their parents. The foundation of their Repu­blick is founded in moral paradoxes. Their pa­triotism is always prodigy. All those instances to be found in history, whether real or fabulous, of a doubtful publick spirit, at which morality is perplexed, reason is staggered, and from which a frighted nature recoils, are their chosen, and almost sole examples for the instruction of their youth.

The whole drift of their institution is contrary to that of the wise Legislators of all countries, who aimed at improving instincts into morals, and at grafting the virtues on the stock of the natural af­fections. They, on the contrary, have omitted no pains to eradicate every benevolent and noble pro­pensity in the mind of men. In their culture it is a rule always to graft virtues on vices. They think everything unworthy of the name of publick virtue, unless it indicates violence on the private. All their new institutions, (and with them every thing is new) strike at the root of our social nature. Other Legislators, knowing that marriage is the origin of all relations, and consequently the first element of all duties, have endeavoured by every art to make it sacred. The Christian Religion, by confining it to the pairs, and by rendering that relation indisso­luble, has, by these two things, done more towards [Page 41] the peace, happiness, settlement, and civilization of the world, than by any other part in this whole scheme of Divine Wisdom. The direct contrary course was taken in the Synagogue of Antichrist, I mean in that forge and manufactory of all evil, the sect which predominated in the Constituent Assembly of 1789. Those monsters employed the same, or greater industry, to desecrate and degrade that State, which other Legislators have used to render it holy and honourable. By a strange, uncalled for declaration, they pronounced, that marriage was no better than a common, civil contract. It was one of their ordinary tricks, to put their sentiments into the mouths of certain personated characters, which they theatrically exhibited at the bar of what ought to be a serious Assembly. One of these was brought out in the figure of a prostitute, whom they called by the affected name of ‘"a mother without being a wife."’ This creature they made to call for a repeal of the incapacities, which in civilized States are put upon bastards. The prostitutes of the As­sembly gave to this their puppet the sanction of their greater impudence. In consequence of the principles laid down, and the manners authorised, bastards were not long after put on the footing of the issue of lawful unions. Proceeding in the spi­rit of the first authors of their constitution, they went the full length of the principle, and gave a [Page 42] licence to divorce at the mere pleasure of either party, and at four day's notice. With them the matrimonial connexion was brought into so de­graded a state of concubinage, that, I believe, none of the wretches in London, who keep warehouses of infamy, would give out one of their victims to private custody on so short and insolent a tenure. There was indeed a kind of profligate equity in thus giving to women the same licentious power. The reason they assigned was as infamous as the act, declaring that women had been too long under the tyranny of parents and of husbands. It is not ne­cessary to observe upon the horrible consequen­ces of taking one half of the species wholly out of the guardianship and protection of the other.

The practice of divorce, though in some coun­tries permitted, has been discouraged in all. In the East, polygamy and divorce are in discredit; and the manners correct the laws. In Rome, were divorce was allowed, some hundreds of years had passed, without a single example of that kind. Of this circumstance they were pleased to take notice, as an inducement to adopt their regulation: hold­ing out an hope, that the permission would as rarely be made use of. They knew the contrary to be true; and they had taken good care, that the laws should be well seconded by the manners. Their law of divorce, like all their laws, had not for it's object [Page 43] the relief of domestick uneasiness, but the total corruption of all morals, the total disconnection of social life.

It is a matter of curiosity to observe the opera­tion of this encouragement to disorder. I have be­fore me the Paris paper, correspondent to the usu­al register of births, marriages, and deaths. Di­vorce, happily, is no regular head of registry a­mongst civilized nations. With the Jacobins it is remarkable, that divorce is not only a regular head but it has the post of honour. It occupies the first place in the list. In the three first months of the year 1793, the number of divorces amounted to 562. The marriages were 1785; so that the pro­portion of divorces to marriages was not much less than one to three. A thing unexampled, I believe, amongst mankind. I caused an enquiry to be made at Doctor's Commons, concerning the num­ber of divorces; and found that all the divorces, (which except by special act of Parliament, are separations, and not proper divorces) did not amount for all England, and in an hundred years, to much more than one fifth of those that passed, in the single city of Paris, in three months. I fol­lowed up the enquiry through several of the sub­sequent months until I was tired, and found the proportions still the same. By this we may take our estimate of the havock that has been made [Page 44] through all the relations of life. With the Jaco­bins of France, vague intercourse is without re­proach; marriage is reduced to the vilest concu­binage; children are encouraged to cut the throats of their parents; mothers are taught that tenderness is no part of their character; and to demonstrate their attatchment to their party, that they ought to make no scruple to rake wtih their bloody hands in the bowels of those who came from their own.

To all this let us join the practice of canniba­lism, with which, in the proper terms, and with the greatest truth, their several factions accuse each other. By cannibalism, I mean their devour­ing, as a nutriment of their ferocity, some part of the bodies of those they have murdered; their drinking the blood of their victims, and forcing the victims themselves to drink the blood of their kindred slaughtered before their faces. By canni­balism, I mean also to signify their nameless, un­manly and abominable insults on the bodies of those they slaughter.

As to those whom they suffer to die a natural death, they do not suffer them to enjoy the last con­solations of mankind, or those rights of sepulture, which indicate hope, and which meer nature has taught to mankind in all countries. to soothe the [Page 45] afflictions, and to cover the infirmity of moral condition. They disgrace men in the entry into life; they vitiate and enslave them through the whole course of it; and they deprive them of all comfort at the conclusion of their dishonoured and depraved existence. Endeavouring to per­suade the people that they are no better than beasts; the whole body of their institution tends to make them beasts of prey furious and savage. For this purpose the active part of them is disci­plined into a ferocity which has no parallel. To this ferocity there is joined not one of the rude, unfashioned virtues, which accompany the vices, where the whole are left to grow up together in the rankness of uncultivated nature. But nothing is left to nature in their systems.

The same discipline which hardens their hearts relaxes their morals. Whilst courts of justice were thrust out by revolutionary tribunals, and silent churches were only the funeral monuments of departed religion, no fewer than ten theatres were kept open at publick expence. At one time I have reckoned fourteen of their advertisements of publick diversion. Among the gaunt, hag­gard forms of famine and nakedness, amidst the yells of murder, the tears of affliction, and the cries of despair, the song, the dance, the mimick scene, the buffoon laughter, went on as regularly [Page 46] as in the gay hour of festive peace. I have it from good authority, that under the scaffold of judicial murder, and the gaping planks that poured down blood on the spectators, the space was hired out for a shew of dancing dogs. I think, without conceit, we made the very same remark on reading some of their pieces, which being written for other purposes, let us into a view of their social life. It struck us that the habits of Paris had no resem­blance to the finished virtues, or to the polished vice, and elegant, though not blameless luxury, of the capital of a great empire. Their society was more like that of a den of outlaws upon a doubt­ful frontier: of a lewd tavern for the revels and debauches of banditti, assassins, braves, smugglers, and their more desperate paramours, mixed with bombastick players, the refuse and rejected offal of strolling theatres, puffing out ill-sorted verses about virtue, mixed with the licentious and blas­phemous songs, proper to their brutal and hard­ened course of life. This system of manners in itself is at war with all orderly and moral society, and is in it's neighbourhood unsafe. If great bo­dies of that kind were any where established in a bordering territory, we should have a right to de­mand of their Governments the suppression of such a nuisance. What are we to do if the Go­vernment and the whole community is of the same description?

[Page 47] The operation of dangerous and delusive first principles obliges us to have recourse to the true ones. In the intercourse between nations, we are apt to rely too much on the instrumental part. We lay too much weight upon the formality of treaties and compacts. We do not act much more wisely when we trust to the interest of men as guarantees of their engagements. The interests frequently tear to pieces the engagements; and the passions trample upon both. Entirely to trust to either is to disregard our own safety, or not to know mankind. Men are not tied to one an­other by papers and seals. They are led to asso­ciate by resemblances, by conformities, by sym­pathies. It is with nations as with individuals. Nothing is so strong a tie of amity between na­tion and nation as correspondence in laws, customs, manners, and habits of life. They have more than the force of treaties in themselves. They are obli­gations written in the heart. They approximate men to men, without their knowledge, and some­times against their intentions. The secret, unseen, but irrefragable bond of habitual intercourse, helds them together, even when their perverse and liti­gious nature sets them to equivocate, souffle, and fight about the terms of their written obligations.

As to war, if it be the means of wrong and vio­lence, it is the sole means of justice amongst nations. [Page 48] Nothing can banish it from the world. They who say otherwise, intending to impose upon us, do not impose upon themselves. But it is one of the greatest objects of human wisdom to mitigate those evils which we cannot remove. The conformity and analogy of which I speak, incapable, like every thing else, of preserving perfect trust and tranquillity among men, has a strong tendency to facilitate accommodation, and to produce a ge­nerous oblivion of the rancour of their quarrels. With this similitude, peace is more of peace, and war is less of war. I will go further. There have been periods of time in which communities, appa­rently in peace with each other, have been more perfectly separated than, in later times, many na­tions in Europe have been in the course of long and bloody wars. The cause must be sought in the similitude in Europe of religion, laws, and manners. At bottom, these are all the same. The writers on public law have often called this aggre­gate of nations a Commonwealth. They had rea­son. It is virtually one great state having the same basis of general law; with some diversity of pro­vincial customs and local establishments. The na­tions of Europe have had the very same Christian religion, agreeing in the fundamental parts, vary­ing a little in the ceremonies and in the subordi­nate doctrines. The whole of the polity and oeconomy of every country in Europe have been [Page 49] derived from the same sources. They were drawn from the old Germanic or Gothic custumary; from the feudal institutions which must be con­sidered as an emanation from those customs; and the whole has been improved and digested into system and discipline by the Roman law. From hence arose the several orders, with or without a Monarch, which are called States in every coun­try; the strong traces of which, where Monarchy predominated, were never wholly extinguished or merged in despotism. In the few places where Monarchy was cast off, the spirit of European Monarchy was still left. Those countries still con­tinued countries of States, that is, of classes, orders, and distinctions, such as had before subsisted, or nearly so. Indeed the force and form of the insti­tution called States, continued in greater perfec­tion in those republican countries than under Mo­narchies. From all those sources arose a system of manners and of education which was nearly similar in all countries, and which softened, blended, and harmonized the colours of the whole. There was little difference in the form of their Univer­sities for the education of their youth, whether with regard to faculties, to sciences, or to that erudition which is used to impart, with liberal morals, a kind of elegance to the mind. From this resemblance in the modes of intercourse, and in the whole form and fashion of life, no citizen of Europe could [Page 50] be altogether an exile in any part of it. There nothing more than a pleasing variety to recreate and instruct the mind; to enrich the imagina­tion; and to meliorate the heart. When a man travelled or resided for health, pleasure, business or necessity, from his own country, he never felt himself quite abroad. My friend, Mr. Wyld, the late professor of law in Edinburgh, a young man of infinite promise, and whose loss at this time is inestimable, has beautifully applied two lines of Ovid to this unity and diversity in Europe, before the curse of the French Revolution had fallen upon us all.

—"Facies non omnibus una;
"Nec diversa tamen; qualem decet esse sororum.

The whole body of this new scheme of manners in support of the new scheme of politicks, I con­sider as a strong and decisive proof of determined ambition and systematick hostility. I defy the most refining ingenuity to invent any other cause for the total departure of the Jacobin Republick from every one of the ideas and usages, religious, legal, moral, or social, of this civilized world, and to tear herself from it's communion with such stu­died violence, but from a formed resolution of keeping no terms with that world. It has not been, as has been falsely and insidiously represented, that these miscreants had only broke with their old Go­vernment. [Page 51] They made a schism with the whole universe, and that schism extended to almost every thing great and small. For one, I wish, since it is gone thus far, that the breach had been so com­pleat, as to make all intercourse impracticable; but partly by accident, partly by design, partly from the resistance of the matter, enough is left to preserve intercourse, whilst amity is destroyed or corrupted in its principle.

This violent breach of the community of Eu­rope, we must conclude to have been made, (even if they had not expressly declared it over and over again) either to force mankind into an adoption of their system, or to live in perpetual enmity with a community the most potent we have ever known. Can any person imagine, that in offering to man­kind this desperate alternative, there is no indica­tion of a hostile mind, because men are supposed to have a right to act without coercion in their own territories? As to the right of men to act any where according to their pleasure, without any moral tie, no such right exists. Men are never in a state of total independence of each other. It is not the condition of our nature; nor is it conceiv­able how any man can pursue a considerable course of action without its having some effect upon others; or, of course, without producing some de­gree of responsibility for his conduct. The situ­ations [Page 52] in which men relatively stand produce the rules and principles of that responsibility, and afford directions to prudence in exacting it.

Distance of place does not extinguish the duties or the rights of men; but it often renders their exercise impracticable. The same circumstance of distance renders the noxious effects of an evil sys­tem in any community less pernicious. But there are situations where this difficulty does not oc­cur; and in which, therefore, these duties are obligatory, and these rights are to be asserted. It has ever been the method of publick jurists to draw the analogies on which they form the law of nations, from the principles of law which prevail in civil community. Civil laws are not all of them merely positive. Those which are rather con­clusions of legal reason, than matters of statutable provision, belong to universal equity, and are uni­versally applicable. Almost the whole praetorian law is such. There is a Law of Neighbourhood which does not leave a man perfect master on his own ground. When a neighbour sees a new erection, in the nature of a nuisance, set up at his door, he has a right to represent it to the judge; who, on his part, has a right to order the work to be staid; or if established, to be removed. On this head, the parent law is express and clear; and has made many wise provisions, which, without destroying, regulate and [Page 53] restrain the right of ownership, by the right of vi­cinage. No innovation is permitted that may re­dound, even secondarily, to the prejudice of a neighbour. The whole doctrine of that important head of pretorian law, ‘"De novi operis nunciatione,"’ is founded on the principle, that no new use should be made of a man's private liberty of operating upon his private property, from whence a detriment may be justly apprehended by his neighbour. This law of denunciation is prospective. It is to anticipate what is called damnum infectum, or damnum nondum factum, that is a damage justly apprehended but not actually done. Even before it is clearly known, whether the innovation be da­mageable or not, the judge is competent to issue a prohibition to innovate, until the point can be de­termined. This prompt interference is grounded on principles favourable to both parties. It is pre­ventive of mischeif difficult to be repaired, and of ill blood difficult to be softened. The rule of law, therefore, which comes before the evil, is amongst the very best parts of equity, and justifies the promptness of the remedy; because, as it is well observed, Res damni infecti celeritatem desiderat, & periculosa est dilatio. This right of denunciation does not hold, when things continue, however in­conveniently to the neighbourhood, according to the antient mode. For there is a sort of presump­tion against novelty, drawn out of a deep conside­ration [Page 54] of human nature and human affairs; and the maxim of jurisprudence is well laid down, Vetustas pro lege semper habetur.

Such is the law of civil vicinity. Now where there is no constituted judge, as between indepen­dent states there is not, the vicinage itself is the natural judge. It is, preventively, the assertor of it's own rights; or remedially, their avenger. Neigh­bours are presumed to take cognizance of each other's acts. ‘"Vicini, vicinorum facta presumuntur scire."’ This principle, which, like the rest, is as true of nations, as of men, has bestowed on the grand vicinage of Europe, a duty to know, and a right to prevent, any capital innovation which may amount to the erection of a dangerous nuisance. Of the importance of that innovation, and the mischeif of that nuisance, they are, to be sure, bound to judge not litigiously: but it is in their competence to judge. What in civil society is a ground of action, in politic society is a ground of war. But the exercise of that competent jurisdic­tion is a matter of moral prudence. As suits in civil society, so war in the political, is ever a matter of great deliberation. It is not this or that particular proceeding picked out here and there, as a subject of quarrel, that will do. There must be an aggregate of mischief. There must be marks of deliberation; there must be [Page 55] traces of design. There must be indications of malice; there must be tokens of ambition. There must be sorce in the body where they exist; there must be energy in the mind. When all these cir­cumstances combine, or the important parts of them, the duty of the vicinity calls for the exercise of it's competence; and the rules of prudence do not restrain, but demand it.

In describing the nuisance erected by so pestilen­tial a manufactory, by constructing so infamous a brothel, by digging a night cellar for such thieves, murderers, and housebreakers, as never infested the world, I am so far from aggravating, that I have fallen infinitely short of the evil. No man who has attended to the particulars of what has been done in France, and combined them with the principles there asserted, can possibly doubt it. When I compare with this great cause of nations, the trifling points of honour, the still more con­temptible points of interest, the light ceremonies, the undefinable punctilios, the disputes about pre­cedency, the lowering or the hoisting of a sail, the dealing in a hundred or two of wild cat-skins on the other side of the Globe, which have often kindled up the flames of war between nations, I stand astonished at those persons, who do not feel a resentment, not more natural than politick, at the attrocious insults that this monstrous com­pound [Page 56] offers to the dignity of every nation, and who are not alarmed with what it threatens to their safety.

I have therefore been decidedly of opinion, that the vicinage of Europe had not only a right, but an indispensible duty, and an exigent interest, to de­nunciate this new work before it had produced the danger we have so sorely felt, and which we shall long feel. The example of what is done by France is too important not to have a vast and extensive influence; and that example backed with it's power, must bear with great force on those who are near it; especially on those who shall re­cognize the pretended Republick on the principle upon which it now stands. It is not an old struc­ture which you have found as it is, and are not to dispute of the original end and design with which it had been so fashioned. It is a recent wrong, and can plead no prescription. It violates the rights upon which not only the community of France, but those on which all communities are founded. The principles on which they proceed are general principles, and are as true in England as in any other country. They who recognize the authority of these Regicides and robbers upon principle, justify their acts; and establish them as precidents. It is a question not between France and England. It is a question between property and [Page 57] force. The property claims. Its claim has been allowed: but it seems that we are to reject the property, and to take part with the force. The pro­perty of the nation is the nation. Those who mas­sacre, plunder, and expel the body of the proprie­tary, are murderers and robbers. They are no Re­publick, nor can be treated with as such. The State, in it's essence, must be moral and just; and it may be so, though a tyrant or usurper may be accidentally at the head of it. This is a thing to be lamented: but this notwithstanding, the body of the com­monwealth may remain in all it's integrity and be perfectly sound in it's composition. The present case is different. It is not a revolution in govern­ment. It is a destruction and decomposition of the whole society, which never can be made of right, nor without terrible consequences to all about it, both in the act and in the example. This pretended Republic is founded in crimes, and ex­ists by wrong and robbery; and wrong and rob­bery, far from a title to any thing, is war with mankind. To be at peace with robbery is to be an accomplice with it.

A body politick is not a geographical idea. They who proceed as if it were such, I trust, do not understand what they do. Locality does not constitute a body politick. Had Cade and his gang got possession of London, they would not have [Page 58] been the Lord-Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council. The body politick of France existed in the majesty of it's throne; in the dignity of it's nobility; in the honour of its gentry; in the sanc­tity of its clergy; in the reverence of it's magi­stracy; in the weight and consideration due to it's landed property, in the respect due to it's move­able substance represented by the corporations of the kingdom in all countries. All these particular moleculae united, form the great mass of what is truly the body politick. They are so many de­posits and receptacles of justice; because they can only exist by justice. Nation is a moral essence, not a geographical arrangement, or a denomination of the nomenclator. France though out of her territorial possession, exists; because the sole possible claimant, I mean the proprietary, and the government to which the proprietary adheres, exists and claims. God forbid, that if you were expelled from your house by ruffians and assassins, that I should call the material walls, doors and windows of —, the ancient and honour­able family of —. Am I to transfer to the intruders, who not content to turn you out naked to the world, would rob you of your very name, all the esteem and respect I owe to you?

To illustrate my opinions on this subject, let us suppose a case, which after what has happened, we [Page 59] cannot think absolutely impossible, though the augury is to be abominated, and the events depre­cated with our most ardent prayers—Let us sup­pose that our gracious sovereign was sacrilegiously murdered; his exemplary queen, at the head of the matronage of this land, murdered in the same manner, together with those Princesses whose beauty and modest elegance are the ornaments of the country, and who are the leaders and patterns of the ingenious youth of their sex;—that these were put to a cruel and ignominious death, with hundreds of others, mothers and daughters, of the first distinction;—that the Prince of Wales and Duke of York, the hope and pride of the nation, with all their brethren, were forced to fly from the knives of assassins—that the whole body of our excellent Clergy were either massacred or robbed of all, and transported—the Christian Religion, in all it's denominations, forbidden and persecuted; the law totally, fundamentally, and in all it's parts destroyed—the judges put to death by revolutionary tribunals—the Peers and Commons robbed to the last acre of their estates; massacred if they staid, obliged to seek life in flight, in exile and in beggary—that the whole landed property should share the very same fate—that every military and naval officer of honour and rank, almost to a man, should be in the same description of confiscation and exile—that the principal merchants and ban­kers [Page 60] should be drawn out, as from an hen-coop, for slaughter, and the citizens of our greatest and most flourishing cities, when the hand and the ma­chinery of the hangman was not found sufficient, were collected in the squares, and massacred by thousands with cannon—if three hundred thousand others were in a situation worse than death, in noi­some and pestilential prisons; in such a case, is it in the faction of robbers I am to look for my country? Would this be the England that I, and even strangers, admired, honoured, loved, and cherished? Would not the exiles of England alone be my Government and my fellow citizens? Would not their places of refuge be my temporary country? Would not all my duties and all my affections be there and there only? Should I consider myself as a traitor to my country, and deserving of death, if I knocked at the door and heart of every Potentate in Christendom to succour my friends, and to avenge them on their enemies? Could I, in any way, shew myself more a patriot? What should I think of those Potentates who insulted their suffer­ing brethren; who treated them as vagrants, and could find no allies, no friends, but in Regicide murderers and robbers? What ought I to think and feel, if being geographers instead of Kings, they recognized the desolated cities, the wasted fields, and the rivers polluted with blood, of this geometrical measurement, as the honourable [Page 61] member of Europe, called England? In that condi­tion, what should we think of Sweden, Denmark, or Holland, or whatever power afforded us a churlish and treacherous hospitality, if they should invite us to join the standard of our King, our Laws, and our Religion, if they should give us a direct promise of protection,—if after all this, taking ad­vantage of our deplorable situation, which left us no choice, they were to treat us as the lowest and vilest of all mercenaries? If they were to send us far from the aid of our King, and our suffering Country, to squander us away in the most pestilen­tial climates, for a venal enlargement of their own territories, for the purpose of trucking them when obtained with our murderers? If in that miserable service we were not to be considered either as English, or as Swedes, or Dutch, or Danes, but as outcasts of the human race? Whilst we were fight­ing those battles of their interest, and as their sol­diers, how should we feel if we were to be ex­cluded from all their cartels? How must we feel, if the pride and flower of the English Nobility and Gentry, who might escape the pestilential clime, and the devouring sword, should, if taken pri­soners, be delivered over as rebel subjects, to be condemned as rebels, as traitors, as the vilest of all criminals, by tribunals formed of Maroon ne­groe slaves, covered over with the blood of their masters, who were made free, and organised into [Page 62] judges, for their robberies and murders? What should we feel under this inhuman, insulting, and barbarous protection of Swedes and Hollanders? Should we not obtest Heaven, and whatever justice there is yet on earth? Oppression makes wise men mad; but the distemper is still the madness of the wise, which is better than the sobriety of fools. Her cry is the voice of sacred misery, exalted, not into wild raving, but into the sanctified phrensy of inspiration and prophecy—in that bitterness of soul, in that indignation of suffering virtue, in that exaltation of despair, would not persecuted English Loyalty cry out, with an awful warning voice, and denounce the destruction that waits on Monarchs, who consider fidelity to them as the most degrading of all vices; who suffer it to be punished as the most abominable of all crimes; and who have no respect but for rebels traitors, Regicides, and furious negro slaves, whose crimes have broke their chains? Would not this warm language of high indignation have more of sound reason in it, more of real affection, more of true attachment, than all the lullabies of flatterers, who would hush Monarchs to sleep in the arms of death? Let them be well convinced, that if ever this ex­ample should prevail in its whole extent, it will have its full operation. Whilst Kings stand firm on their base, though under that base there is a sure­wrought mine, their levees will never want to [Page 63] swell them a single person of those who are attach­ed to their fortune, and not to their persons or cause. Hereafter none will support a tottering throne. Some will fly, for fear of being crushed under the ruin; some will join in making it. They will seek in the preservation of Royalty, fame, and power, and wealth, and the homage of Kings—with Reubel, with Carnot, and Rovelliere, rather than suffer exile and beggary with the Condés, or the Broglios, the Castries, the D'Avrais, the Ser­rents, the Cazalés, and the long line of loyal suf­fering Patriot Nobles, or to be butchered with the victims of the laws, the De Sezes, the d'Espreme­monils, and the Malsherbes.

These examples are the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. This war, therefore, is not a war for Louis the Eighteenth, or for the property, virtue, fidelity of France; but for George the Third, Francis the Second, and for all the property, honour, virtue and religion of England, of Germany, and all nations.

But, say some, you force opinion. You can never extirpate opinion without extirpating a whole nation. Nay, by pursuing it, you only increase its partizans. Opinions are things out of human jurisdiction. I have formerly heard this from the mouths of great men, with more surprize than [Page 64] satisfaction. They alledged as a proof of their doctrine, the wars of Charles the Fifth, and some of his successors, against the Reformation.

It is so common, though so unreasonable, it is hardly worth remarking, that no persons pursue more fiercely with criminal process, and with every kind of coercion, the publication of opinions con­trary to their own, than those do, who claim in this respect the most unbounded latitude to them­selves. If it were not for this inconsistency, then war against opinions might be justified as all others, more or less, according to the reason of the case: for the case judged on by moral prudence, and not by any universal abstract principle of right, is to guide government in this delicate point.

As to the mere matter of extirpation of all kinds of opinions, whether right or wrong, without the extirpation of a people, it is a thing so very com­mon, that would be clouded and obscured rather than illustrated by examples. Every revolution in the predominant opinion made by the force of do­mestic legal government, by the force of any usur­pation, by the force of any conquest, is a proof to the contrary;—and there is no nation which has not experienced those changes. Instances enough may be furnished of people who have enthusiasti­cally, and with force, propagated those opinions, [Page 65] which some time before they resisted with their blood. Rarely have ever great changes in opinion taken place without the application of force, more or less: Like every thing else in human life and human affairs, it is not universally true, that a persecution of opinions lessens or increases the number of their votaries. In finding where it may or may not have gathered these effects, the sagacity of Government shines or is disgraced, as well as in the time, the manner, the choice of the opinions on which it ought to use or forbear the sword of domestick or of foreign justice. But it is a false maxim, that opinions ought to be indifferent to us, either as men or as a State. Opinion is the rudder of human action; and as the opinion is wise or foolish, vicious or moral, the cause of action is noxious or salutary. It has even been the great pri­mary object of speculative and doctrinal philosophy to regulate opinion. It is the great object of po­litical philosophy to promote that which is sound; and to extirpate what is mischievous, and which directly tends to render men bad citizens in the community, and mischievous neighbours out of it. Opinions are of infinite consequence. They make the manners—in fact, they make the laws: they make the Lagislator. They are, therefore, of all things, those to which provident Government ought to look most to in their beginnings. After a time they may look to them in vain. When, [Page 66] therefore, I am told that a war is a war of opinions, I am told that it is the most important of all wars.

Here I must not be told that this would lead to eternal war and persecution. It would certainly, if we argued like metaphysicians run mad, who do not correct prudence, the queen of virtues, to be any virtue at all,—and would either throw the bridle on the neck of headlong Nature, or tie it up for ever to the post. No sophistry—no chicane here. Government is not to refine men out of in­nocent and moral liberty by forced inferences, drawn by a torturing logic; or to suffer them to go down hill the highway that leads directly to every crime and every vice.

Without entering much into the comparison of the two cases, (that of this war and that of Charles the Fifth against the reformation) which holds very ill, I shall only beg leave to remark, that theological opinions as such, whether sound or er­roneous, do not go directly to the well being of social, of civil, or of politick society. But as long as opinion is the very ground and pillar of Government, and the main spring of human ac­tion, there are opinions which directly affect these very things. An opinion, that it is a man's duty to take from me my goods, and to kill me if I resist him. An opinion that he has a right, at his will, [Page 67] to pull down the Government by which I am pro­tected in that life and property, and to place it in the hands of the enemies of both. These it is very ex­traordinary to hear compared to the theological dog­mas concerning grace and justification—and the nature and essence of the sacrament and other pious opinions on the one side or on the other—which left human society altogether, or nearly, as it was. They did not preach vices or crimes. The parties disputed on the best means of promoting virtue, religion and morals. Whether any collateral points relative to these questions or other circumstances of a more political nature mingled with them, might or might not justify a war, is a matter of historical criticism, with which, at this day, we are little con­cerned. But in the case before us, I must declare, that the doctrine and discipline of this sect is one of the most alarming circumstances relating to it, and the attempt to compare them with the opinions of school theologicians, is a thing in itself highly alarm­ing. I know that when men possess the best princi­ples, the passions lead them to act in opposition to them. But when the moral principles are formed systematically to play into the hand of the passions; when that which is to correct vice and to restrain violence, is by an infernal doctrine, daringly avow­ed, carefully propagated, enthusiastically held, and practically followed, I shall think myself treated like a child, when I hear this compared to a controversy [Page 68] in the schools. When I see a great country, with all its resources, possessed by this sect, and turned to its purposes, I must be worse than a child to con­ceive it a thing indifferent to me. When this great country is so near me, and otherwise so situated, that except through its territory, I can hardly have a communication with any other, the state of moral and political opinion, and moral and political disci­pline in that country, becomes of still greater im­portance to me. When robbers, assassins, and rebels, are not only debauched, but endoctrinated regularly, by a course of inverted education, into murder, in­surrection, and the violation of all property, I hold, that this, instead of excusing, or palliating their offences, inspires a peculiar venom into every evil act they do; and that all such universities of crimes, and all such professors of robbery, are in a perpetual state of hostility with mankind.

Let me now say a word upon another topic, and on the case put to illustrate it, that is, on the indif­ference with which we ought to regard the plan of Government, and the scheme of morals that pre­vail in a State, in any question of peace and war with it. In support of this doctrine, they cite the case of Algiers as a strong one—with an hint, that is the stronger case. I should take no notice of this sort of inducement, if I had found it only where first it was. I do not want respect for those from [Page 69] whom I first heard it—but having no controversy at present with them, I only think it not amiss to rest on it a little, as I find it adopted with much more of the same kind, by several of those on whom such reasoning before made no apparent impression. I was however mistaken; they were not rejected, but only stored and laid by for an occasion—condo et compono quae mox depromere possim. If it had no force to prevent us from submitting to this necessary war, it furnishes no better ground for our making an un­necessary and ruinous peace To this Algerian parallel, however, I have to say, that arguments of analogy in law are of great weight. Of course, in a discussion of the justice of the war I attend to them, provided they are analogies of principle, and not of mere practice. But when they are only ar­guments of analogy ad hominem, they only serve to confute and silence an adversary, who has acted in such a manner, and on such principles; but to a person who doubts the propriety of the action and the motive which is made the ground of the analo­gy, it can neither shame or perplex him. This analogical argument would lead us a good way. The fact is, we ourselves, with a little corn, others more directly, pay a tribute to the Republick of Al­giers. Is it meant to reconcile us to the payment of a tribute to the French Republick? That this, with other things more ruinous, will be demanded hereafter, I little doubt; but for the present, this [Page 70] will not be avowed—though our minds are to be gradually prepared for it.

In truth the arguments from this case is worth little even to those who approve the buying an Algerine forbearance of piracy. There are many things which men do not approve, that they must do to avoid a greater evil. To argue from thence, that they are to act in the same manner in all cases, is turning necessity into a law. Upon what is mat­ter of prudence, the argument concludes the con­trary way. Because we have done one humiliat­ing act, we ought, with infmite caution, to admit more acts of the same nature, lest humiliation should become our habitual state. Matters of pru­dence are under the dominion of circumstances, and not of logical analogies. It is so absurd to take it otherwise. In the mouths of the weak and igno­rant, it makes me laugh; in the mouths of men of learning and talents, it makes me sick. I, for one do more than doubt the policy of this kind of con­vention with Algiers.

On those who think as I do, the argument can make no sort of impression. I know something of the Constitution and composition of this very extra­ordinary Republick. It has a Constitution, I admit, similar to the present tumultuous military tyranny of France, by which an handful of obscure russians, [Page 71] domineer over a fertile country, and a brave people. For the composition, too, I admit, the Algerine community resembles that of France; being the very scum, scandal, disgrace, and pest of the Turk­ish Asia. The grand Seignior, to disburthen the country, suffers the Dey to recruit, in his do­nions, the corps of Janissaries, or Asaphs which form the Directory, or Council of Elders of the African Republick, one and indvisible. But notwithstanding this resemblance, which I allow, I never shall so far injure the Janisarian Repub­lick of Algiers, as to put it in comparison for every sort of crime, turpitude, and oppression with the Jacobin Republick of Paris. There is no question with me to which of the two I should choose to be a neighbour or a subject. But situated as I am, I am in no danger of becoming to Algiers either the one or the other. It is not so in my relation to the atheistical fanaticks of France. Have the Gentle­men who borrowed this happy parallel, no idea of the different conduct to be held with re­gard to the very same evil at an immense dis­tance, and when it is at your door? when its power is enormous, as when it is comparatively as feeble as its distance is remote? and when there is a bar­rier of language and usages, which prevents your being corrupted through certain old correspon­dences and habitudes, which cannot for a long time be so wholly taken away, as not to make many [Page 72] of your people susceptible of contagion from hor­rible novelties that are introduced into every thing else? I can contemplate, without horror, a royal or a national tyger on the borders of Pegu. I can look at him, with an easy curiosity, as pri­soner within bars in the menagerie of the Tower. But if, by Habeas Corpus, or otherwise, he was to come into the Lobby of the House of Commons, whilst your door was open, any of you would be more stout than wise, who would not gladly make his escape out of the back windows. This Ambassa­dor from Bengal, would disperse you sooner than a dissolution by Royal Prerogative. I certainly should dread more from a wild cat in my bed­chamber, than from all the lions that roar in the deserts behind Algiers. But in this parallel it is the cat that is at a distance, and the lions and ty­gers that are in our anti-chambers and our lobbies. Algiers is not near; Algiers is not powerful; Al­giers is not our neighbour; Algiers is not infec­tious. Algiers, whatever it may be, is not an old creation; and we have good data to calculate all the mischief to be expected from it. When I find Algiers transferred to Calais, I will tell you what I think of that point. In the mean time, the case quoted from the Algerine reports, will not apply as authority. We shall put it out of court; and so far as that goes, let the council for the Jacobin peace take nothing by their motion.

[Page 73] When we voted as we did, we were providing for dangers that were direct, home, pressing, and not remote, contingent, uncertain, and formed upon loose analogies. The whole tenor of con­duct of France, not one or two doubtful or de­tached acts or expressions. To us it appeared, that the whole body of its discipline, compre­hending the form of the State, and the scheme of opinion and manners, were adopted both as means and ends; as means, to establish universal empire; and as ends to fix the same system in every place to which their empire or their influence could extend. It was against this system that you and I voted for war. It is with this system that I shall for ever de­precate a relation of peace and amity.

Various persons may concur in the same mea­sure on various grounds. They may be various, without being contrary to, or exclusive of, each other. I thought the insolent unprovoked ag­gression of the Regicide upon our Ally of Hol­land a good ground of war; I think his manifest attempt to overturn the balance of Europe a good ground of war; as a good ground of war I consider his declaration of war on his Majesty and his kingdom. But though I have taken all these to my aid, I consider them as nothing more than as a sort of evidence to indicate the treasonable mind within. It was not for their [Page 74] former declaration of war, nor for any specific act of hostility that I primarily wished to resist them, or to persevere in my resistance. It was because the faction in France had assumed a form, had adopted a body of principles and maxims, and had regularly and systematically acted on them, by which she virtually had put herself in a posture which was in itself a declaration of war against mankind.

It is fit that the people should know when the question is concerning peace and amity, the true nature, habits, dispositions, and views of the party with whom they are to cultivate friendship. It is of less importance to you, what is the character of your enemy, than what are the habits and dispo­sitions of your friend. The relation of enemy to enemy is simple. Enemies aim by force at each other's destruction. They are always, there­fore, in a state of defiance and distrust; but the character of a friend is a serious matter. With a friend, the very nature of the relation must take off the guard. The people of England have felt their enemies, it is fit that they should know their friends.

Before our opinions are quoted against ourselves, it is proper that, from our serious deliberation they may be worth quoting. It is without reason we [Page 75] praise the wisdom of our constitution, in putting un­der the discretion of the Crown, the aweful trust of war and peace, if the Ministers of the Crown virtually return it again into our hands. It was placed there as a sacred deposit, to secure us against popular rashness in plunging into wars, and against the effects of popular dismay, disgust, or lussitude in getting out of them as imprudently as we might first engage in them. To have no other measure in judging of those great objects than our momen­tary opinions and desires, is to throw us back upon that very democracy which, in this part, our con­stitution was formed to avoid.

It is no excuse at all for a minister, who at our desire, takes a measure contrary to our safety, that it is our own act. He who does not stay the hand of a suicide is guilty of murder. To be instruct­ed, is not to be degraded or enslaved. Information is an advantage to us, and we have a right to demand it. He that is bound to act in the dark cannot be said to act freely. When it appears evi­dent to our governors, that our desires and our in­terests are at variance, they ought not to gratify the former at the expence of the latter. Statesmen are placed on an eminence, that they may have a larger horizon than we can possibly command. They have a whole before them, which we can contemplate only in the parts, and without the [Page 76] relations. Ministers are not only our natural rulers, but our natural guides. Reason clearly and man­fully delivered, has in itself a mighty force: but reason in the mouth of legal authority, is, I may fairly say, irresistible.

I admit that reason of state will not, in many cir­cumstances permit the disclosure of the true ground of a public proceeding. In that case silence is manly and it is wise. It is fair to call for trust when the principle of reason itself suspends its public use. I take the distinction to be this. The ground of a particular measure, making a part of a plan, it is rarely proper to divulge. All the broader grounds of policy on which the general plan is to be adopted, ought as rarely to be con­cealed. They who have not the whole cause be­fore them, call them politicians, call them people, call them what you will, are no judges. The diffi­culties of the case as well as its fair side, ought to be presented. This ought to be done: and it is all that can be done. When we have our true si­tuation distinctly presented to us, if we resolve with a blind and headlong violence, to resist the admonitions of our friends, and to cast ourselves into the hands of our potent and irreconcileable foes, then, and not till then, the ministers stand acquitted before God and man, for whatever may come.

[Page 77] Lamenting as I do, that the matter has not had so full and free a discussion as it requires, I mean to omit none of the points which seem to me necessary for consideration, previous to an ar­rangement which is for ever to decide the form and the fate of Europe, In the course, there­fore, of what I shall have the honour to address to you, I propose the following questions to your se­rious thoughts. 1. Whether the present system, which stands for a Government in France, be such as in peace and war affects the neighbouring States in a manner different from the internal Govern­ment that formerly prevailed in that country? 2. Whether that system, supposing it's views hos­tile to other nations, possesses any means of being hurtful to them peculiar to itself? 3. Whether there has been lately such a change in France, as to alter the nature of it's system or it's effect upon other Powers? 4. Whether any public de­clarations or engagements exist, on the part of the allied Powers, which stand in the way of a treaty of peace, which supposes the right and confirms the power of the Regicide faction in France? 5. What the state of the other Powers of Europe will be with respect to each other, and their colonies, on the conclusion of a Regicide Peace? 6. Whe­ther we are driven to the absolute necessity of making that kind of peace?

[Page 78] These heads of enquiry will enable us to make the application of the several matters of fact and topics of argument, that occur in this vast dis­cussion, to certain fixed principles. I do not mean to confine myself to the order in which they stand. I shall discuss them in such a manner as shall appear to me the best adapted for shewing their mutual bearings and relations. Here then I close the public matter of my Letter; but before I have done, let me say one word in apology for myself.

In wishing this nominal peace not to be precipi­tated, I am sure no man living is less disposed to blame the present Ministry than I am. Some of my oldest friends, (and I wish I could say it of more of them,) make a part in that Ministry. There are some indeed, ‘"whom my dim eyes in vain explore."’ In my mind, a greater calamity could not have fallen on the publick than their exclusion. But I drive away that, with other melancholy thoughts. As to the distinguished persons to whom my friends who remain, are joined, if benefits, nobly and generously conferred, ought to procure good wishes, they are entitled to my best vows; and they have them all. They have administered to me the only consolation I am capable of receiving, which is to know that no individual will suffer by my [Page 79] thirty years service to the public. If things should give us the comparative happiness of a struggle, I shall be found, I was going to say, fighting, (that would be foolish) but dying by the side of Mr. Pitt. I must add, that if any thing defensive in our do­mestic system can possibly save us from the dissas­ters of a Regicide peace, he is the man to save us. If the finances in such a case can be repaired, he is the man to repair them. If I should lament any of his acts, it is only when they appear to me to have no resemblance to acts of his. But let him not have a confidence in himself, which no human abilities can warrant. His abilities are fully equal (and that is to say much for any man) to those that are opposed to him. But if we look to him as our security against the consequences of a Regicide Peace, let us be assured, that a Re­gicide Peace and a Constitutional Ministry are terms that will not agree. With a Regicide Peace the King cannot long have a Minister to serve him, nor the Minister a King to serve. If the Great Disposer, in reward of the royal and the private virtues of our Sovereign, should call him from the calamitous spectacles, which will attend a state of amity with Regicide, his successor will surely see them, unless the same Providence greatly antici­pates the course of nature. Thinking thus, (and not as I conceive on light grounds) I dare not flatter the reigning sovereign, nor any Minister he [Page 80] has or can have, nor his Successor Apparent, nor any of those who may be called to serve him, with what appears to me a false state of their situation. We cannot have them and that Peace together.

I do not forget that there had been a consider­able difference between me and the great man at the head of Ministry in an early stage of these dis­cussions. Under this circumstance, his seconding his Majesty's generosity to me shines with the brighter lustre. But I am sure there was a period in which we agreed better in the danger of a Jacobin existence in France. At one time, he and all Europe seemed to feel it. But why am not I converted with so many great Powers, and so many great Ministers? It is because I am old and slow.—I am in this year, 1796, only where all the powers of Europe were in 1792. I cannot move with this procession of the Equinoxes, which is preparing for us the return of some very old, I am afraid no golden aera, or the commencement of some new aera that must be denominated from some new metal. In this crisis I must hold my tongue, or I must speak with freedom. For the few days I have to linger here, I am removed from the busy scene of the world; and not more in fact than in disposition, retired from all it's affairs, and all its pleasures. But I hold myself to be still responsible for every thing I have done in the House, and in the World. [Page 81] If the rawest Tyro in politicks has been influenced by the authority of my grey hairs, and led by any thing in my speeches, or my writings, to enter into this war, he has a right to call upon me to know why I have changed my opinions, or why, when those I voted with, have adopted better no­tions, I persevere in exploded errour?

When I seem not to acquiesce in the acts of those I respect in every degree short of supersti­tion, I am obliged to give my reasons fully. I cannot set my authority against their authority, But to reason is not to revolt against authority. Reason and authority do not move in the same parallel. That reason is an amicus curiae who speaks de plano, not pro tribunali; who makes an useful suggestion to the Court, without questioning its jurisdiction. Whilst he acknowledges its compe­tence, he promotes its efficiency.

LETTER II. On the Genius and Character of the French Revolution as it regards other Nations.


I Closed my first Letter with serious matter; and I hope it has employed your thoughts. The system of peace must have a reference to the system of the war. On that ground, I must therefore again recal your mind to our original opinions, which time and events have not taught me to vary.

My ideas and my principles led me, in this contest, to encounter France, not as a State, but as a Faction. The vast territorial extent of that country, it's immense population, it's riches of production, it's riches of commerce and con­vention—the whole aggregate mass of what, in ordinary cases, constitutes the force of a State, to me were but objects of secondary considera­tion. They might be balanced; and they have [Page 84] been often more than balanced. Great as these things are, they are not what make the faction formidable. It is the faction that makes them truly dreadful. That faction is the evil spirit that possesses the body of France; that informs it as a soul; that stamps upon its ambition, and upon all its pursuits, a characteristick mark, which strongly distinguishes them from the same general passions, and the same general views, in other men and in other communities. It is that spirit which inspires into them, a new, a perni­cious, a desolating activity. Constituted as France was ten years ago, it was not in that France to shake, to shatter, and to over­whelm Europe in the manner that we behold. A sure destruction impends over those infatuated Princes, who, in the conflict with this new and overheard-of power, proceeds as if they were en­gaged in a war that bore a resemblance to their former contests; or that they can make peace in the spirit of their former arrangements of paci­fication. Here the beaten path is the very reverse of the safe road.

As to me, I was always steadily of opi­nion, that this disorder was not in its nature intermittent. I conceived that the contest once begun, could not be laid down again, to be resumed at our discretion; but that our [Page 85] first struggle with this evil would also be our last. I never thought we could make peace with this system; because it was not for the sake of an object we pursued in rivalry with each other, but with the system itself that we were at war. As I understood the matter, we were at war not with it's conduct, but with it's exist­ence; convinced that it's existence and it's hos­tility were the same.

The faction is not local or territorial. It is a general evil. Where it least appears in action, it is still full of life. In it's sleep it recruits it's strength, and prepares it's exertion. It's spirit lies deep in the corruptions of our common nature. The social order which restrains it, feeds it. It exists in every country in Europe; and among all orders of men in every country, who look up to France as to a common head. The centre is there. The circumference is the world of Eu­rope, wherever the race of Europe may be set­tled. Every where else the faction is militant; in France it is triumphant. In France is the bank of deposit, and the bank of circulation, of all the pernicious principles that are forming in every State. It will be a folly scarcely deserving of pity, and too mischievous for contempt, to think of restraining it in any other country whilst it is predominant there. War, instead of [Page 86] being the cause of it's force, has suspended it's operation. It has given a reprieve, at least, to the Christian World.

The true nature of a Jacobin war, in the be­ginning, was, by most of the Christian Powers, felt, acknowledged, and even in the most pre­cise manner declared. In the joint manifesto published by the Emperor and the King of Prussia, on the 4th of August, 1792, it is ex­pressed in the clearest terms, and on principles which could not fail, if they had adhered to them, of classing those monarchs with the first benefactors of mankind. This manifesto was published, as they themselves express it, ‘"to lay open to the present generation, as well as to posterity, their motives, their intentions, and the disinterestedness of their personal views; taking up arms for the purpose of preserving social and political order amongst all civilized nations, and to secure to each state it's reli­gion, happiness, independence, territories, and real constitution."—"On this ground, they hoped that all Empires, and all States, ought to be unanimous; and becoming the firm guardians of the happiness of mankind, they cannot sail to unite their efforts to rescue a numerous nation from it's own fury, to pre­serve Europe from the return of barbarism, [Page 87] and the Universe from the subversion and anarchy with which it was threatened."’ The whole of that noble performance ought to be read at the first meeting of any Congress, which assemble for the purpose of pacification. In that piece ‘"these Powers expressly renounce all views of personal aggrandizement,"’ and confine themselves to objects worthy of so generous, so heroic, and so perfectly wise and politick an en­terprise. It was to the principles of this confe­deration and to no other, that we wished our Sovereign and our Country to accede, as a part of the commonwealth of Europe.

As long as these powers flattered themselves that the means of force would produce the ef­fect of force, they acted on those declarations: but when their menances failed of success, their efforts took a new direction. It did not appear to them that virtue and heroism ought to be pur­chased by millions of rix-dollars. It is a dreadful truth, but it is a truth that cannot be concealed. In ability, in dexterity, in the distinctness of their views, the Jacobins are our superiours. They saw the thing right from the very beginning. What­ever were the first motives to the war among politicians, they saw that it is in it's spirit, and for it's objects, a civil war; and as such they pursued it. It is a war between the partizans [Page 88] of the antient, civil, moral, and political order of Europe against a sect of fanatical and ambi­tious atheists which mean to change them all. It is not France extending a foreign empire over other nations: it is a sect aiming at universal empire, and beginning with the conquest of France. The leaders of that sect secured the centre of Europe; and that secured, they knew, that whatever might be the event of battles and sieges, their cause was victorious. Whether it's territory had a little more or a little less peeled from it's surface, or whether an island or two was detached from it's commerce, to them was of little moment. The conquest of France was a glorious acquisition. That once well laid as a basis of empire, opportunities never could be wanting to regain or to replace what had been lost, and dreadfully to avenge themselves on the faction of their adversaries.

They saw it was a civil war. It was their bu­siness to persuade their adversaries that it ought to be a foreign war. The Jacobins every where set up a cry against the new crusade; and they intrigued with effect in the cabinet, in the field, and in every private society in Europe. Their task was not difficult. The condition of Princes, and sometimes of first Ministers too, is to be pitied. The creatures of the desk, and [Page 89] the creatures of favour, had no relish for the principles of the manifestoes. They pro­mised no governments, no regiments, no reve­nues from whence emoluments might arise, by perquisite or by grant. In truth, the tribe of vulgar politicians are the lowest of our species. There is no trade so vile and mechanical as go­vernment in their hands. Virtue is not their habit. They are out of themselves in any course of conduct recommended only by conscience and glory. A large, liberal, and prospective view of the interests of States passes with them for romance; and the principles that recom­mended it for the wanderings of a disordered imagination. The calculators compute them out of their senses. The jesters and buffoons shame them out of every thing grand and ele­vated. Littleness in object and in means, to them appears soundness and sobriety. They think there is nothing worth pursuit, but that which they can handle; which they can measure with a two-foot rule; which they can tell upon ten fingers.

Without their principles, perhaps without any principles at all, they played the game of the Jacobins. There was a beaten road before them. The Powers of Europe were armed; France had always appeared dangerous; the [Page 90] war was easily diverted from France as a fac­tion, to France as a state. The Princes were easily taught to slide back into their old habitual course of politicks. They were easily led to consider the flames that were consuming France, not as a warning to protect their own buildings, (which were without any party wall, and linked by a contignation into the edifice of France,) as an happy occasion for the pillag­ing the goods, and for carrying off the materials of their neighbour's house. Their provident fears were changed into avaricious hopes. They car­ried on their new designs without seeming to abandon the principles of their old policy. They pretended to seek, or they flattered themselves that they sought, in the accession of new for­tresses, and new territories, a defensive security. But the security wanted was against a kind of power, which was not dangerous in its for­tresses nor in it's territories, but in it's spirit and it's principles. They aimed, or pretended to aim, at defending themselves against a danger, from which there can be no security in any de­fensive plan. If armies and fortresses were a de­fence against Jacobinism, Louis the Sixteenth would this day reign a powerful monarch over an happy people.

[Page 91] This error obliged them, even in their offen­sive operations, to adopt a plan of war, against the success of which there was something little short of mathematical demonstration. They refused to take any step which might strike at the heart of affairs. They seemed unwilling to wound the enemy in any vital part. They acted through the whole, as if they really wished the conservation of the Jacobin power; as what might be more favourable than the lawful Go­vernment to the attainment of the petty objects they looked for. They always kept on the cir­cumference; and the wider and remoter the circle was, the more eagerly they chose as their sphere of action. The plan they pursued, in it's na­ture demanded great length of time. In it's execution they who went the nearest way to work were obliged to cover an incredible ex­tent of country. It left to the enemy every means of destroying this extended line of weakness. Ill success in any part was sure to defeat the effect of the whole. This is true of Austria. It is still more true of England. On this false plan, even good fortune, by further weakening the victor, put him but the further off from his object.

As long as there was any appearance of suc­cess, the spirit of aggrandizement, and conse­cuently [Page 92] the spirit of mutual jealousy seized upon all the coalesced Powers. Some sought an ac­cession of territory at the expence of France, some at the expence of each other, some at the expence of third parties; and when the vicissi­tude of disaster took it's turn, they found com­mon distress a treacherous bond of faith and friendship.

The greatest skill conducting the greatest military apparatus has been employed; but it has been worse than uselessly employed, through the false policy of the war. The ope­rations of the field suffered by the errors of the Cabinet. If the same spirit continues when peace is made, the peace will fix and perpetuate all the errors of the war; because it will be made upon the same false principle. What has been lost in the field, in the field may be regained. An arrangement of peace in it's na­ture is a permanent settlement; it is the effect of counsel and deliberation, and not of fortui­tous events. If built upon some basis totally and fundamentally erroneous, it can only be retrieved by some of those unforeseen disposi­tions, which the all-wise but mysterious Go­vernor of the World, sometimes interposes, to snatch nations from ruin. It would not be a pious error, but a mad and impious presump­tion [Page 93] for any one to trust in an unknown order of dispensations, in defiance of the rules of pru­dence, which are formed upon the known march of the ordinary providence of God. It was not of that sort of war that I was amongst the least considerable, but amongst the most zealous advisers; and it is not by the sort of peace now talked of that I wish it concluded.

It would be to no great purpose to enter into the particular errours of the war. The whole has been but one errour. It was but nomi­nally a war of alliance. As the allies pur­sued it there was nothing to hold an alli­ance together. There could be no tie of honour, in a society for pillage. There could be no tie in a common interest where the object did not offer such a division amongst the parties, as could be equalized. The partition of Poland offered an object of spoil in which the parties might agree. They were circumjacent; and each might take a portion convenient to his own territory. They might dispute about the value; but the contiguity to each of the demandants always furnished the means of an adjustment. Though hereafter the world will have cause to rue this iniquitous measure, for the moment there was wherewithal in the object to preserve peace amongst confederates in wrong. But in [Page 94] the spoil of France, it was obvious that this scheme did not afford the same facilities for ac­commodation. What might satisfy the House of Austria in her Flemish frontier afforded no equivalent to tempt the cupidity of the King of Prussia. What might be desired by Great Bri­tain in the West-Indies, could be coldly and remotely, if at all, felt as an interest at Vienna; and it would be felt as something worse than a negative interest at Madrid. Austria, long pos­sessed with unwise and dangerous designs on Italy, could not be very much in earnest about the conservation of the old patrimony of the House of Savoy: and Sardinia, who owed to an Italian force all her means of shutting out France from Italy, of which she has been sup­posed to hold the key, would not purchase the means of strength upon one side by yielding it on the other. She would not readily give the possession of Novara for the hope of Savoy. No continental Power was willing to lose any of it's continental objects for the encrease of the naval power of Great Britain; and Great Bri­tain would not give up any of the objects she sought for as the means of an encrease to her naval power, to further their aggrandizement. There was no method of equalizing their several pretensions. They are things incommensurable. The moment this war came to be considered as [Page 95] a war merely of profit, the actual circum­stances are such, that it never could become really a war of alliance. Nor can the peace be a peace of alliance, until things are put upon their right bottom.

I don't find it denied, that when a treaty is entered into for peace, a demand will be made on the Regicides to surrender their conquests on the Continent. Will they, in the present state of the war, make that surrender without an equivalent? This continental cession must be made in favour of that party in the alliance, that has suffered losses. That party has nothing to furnish towards an equivalent. What equi­valent, for instance, has Holland to offer, who has lost her all? What equivalent can come from the Emperor, every part of whose territo­ries contiguous to France, is already within the pale of the Regicide dominion? What equiva­lent has Sardinia to offer for Savoy and for Nice? What has she taken from the faction of France? She has lost much; and she has gained nothing. What equivalent has Spain to give? Alas! she has already paid for her own ransom the fund of equivalent, and a dreadful equiva­lent it is, to England and to herself. But I put Spain out of the question. She is a province of the Jacobin Empire. She is in a shocking dilemma. [Page 96] In effect and substance, her Crown is a fief of Regicide—Whence then can the compensation be demanded, but from that power which alone has made some conquests? That power is England. Will the Allies then give away their ancient patrimony, that England may keep Islands in the West In­dies? They can never protract the war in good earnest for that object. Nor can they act in concert with us, in our refusal to grant any thing towards their redemption. In that case we are thus situated—Either we must give Europe, bound hand and foot to France; or we must quit the West Indies without any one object, great or small, towards indemnity and security. If we look to the East, our most decided conquests (some of them the most important) are there. I look at the taking possession of the Cape of Good Hope to be the securing a post of great moment: it is a mea­sure which does infinite honour to those who planned it, and to those who executed that en­terprize. I speak of it always as comparatively good; as good as any thing in this scheme of war, which repels us from an, and em­ploys all our forces, where nothing can be finally decisive. It is evident, that if we keep our eastern conquests, we keep them at the ex­pence of Holland, our ally; the immediate [Page 97] cause of the war, the nation whom we had un­dertaken to protect, and not of the Republic which it was our business to destroy. If we re­turn the African and the Afiatic conquests, we put them into the hands of a nominal State, (to that Holland is reduced) unable to retain them; and which will virtually leave them under the direction of France. If we withhold them, Holland declines still more as a State: and she loses that carriage and that means of keeping up the small degree of naval power she holds; for which policy, and not for any commerical gain, she maintains the Cape, or any settlement be­yond it. It that case, resentment, faction, and even necessity will throw her more and more into the power of the new mischievous Repub­lic. But on the probable state of Holland, I shall say more, when I come to talk over with you the state in which any sort of Jacobin peace will leave all Europe.

So far as to the East-Indies.

As to the West-Indies, indeed as to either, if we look for matter of exchange in order to ran­some Europe, it is easy to shew that we have taken a terrible round-about road. I cannot conceive, even if, for the sake of holding con­quests there, we should refuse to redeem Hol­land, [Page 98] and the Austrian Netherlands, and the hither Germany, that Spain, merely as she is Spain, (and forgetting that the Regicide Am­bassador governs at Madrid) will see with per­fect satisfaction, Great Britain sole mistress of the Isles. In truth it appears to me, that, when we come to balance our account, we shall find in the proposed peace only the pure, simple, and unendowed charms of Jacobin amity. We shall have the satisfaction of knowing, that no blood or treasure has been spared by the allies for sup­port of the Regicide system. They will reflect at leisure on one great truth, that it was ten times more easy totally to destroy the system it­self, than when established, it would be to re­duce its power—and that this Republic, most formidable abroad, was, of all things, the weak­est at home. That her frontier was terrible—her interior feeble—that it was matter of choice to attack her where she is invincible; and to spare her where she was ready to dissolve by her own internal disorders. They will reflect, that their plan was good neither for offence nor de­fence.

My dear Friend, I hold it impossible that these considerations should have escaped the Statesman on both sides of the water, and on both sides of the House of Commons. How a [Page 99] question of peace can be discussed without hav­ing them in view, I cannot imagine. If you or others see a way out of these difficulties I am happy. I see indeed a fund from whence equi­valents will be proposed. I see it. But I can­not just now touch it. It is a question of high moment. It opens another Iliad of woes to Europe.

Such is the time proposed for making a com­mon political peace, to which no one circumstance is propitious. As to the grand principle of the peace, it is left, as if by common consent, wholly out of the question.

It seems to me, as if the two parties, who have long divided and distracted this kingdom, without abandoning their animosities, had come to an agreement in their sentiments. It looks as if they concurred in the establishment of Jaco­binism in France, and in the necessity, if not in the advantage, of admitting it as a sociable and natural member in the republic of Christ­endom. So far, and no farther, they are agreed amongst themselves. Our domestic peace re­mains where it was; and we seek to make amends for this domestic distraction, by giving (as far as it is in our power to give it) peace and establishment to our enemies. In this [Page 100] peace to our foe, we are taught to look, it seems, for the term of all our own evils.

Viewing things in this light, I have frequently sunk into a degree of despondency and dejec­tion hardly to be described: yet out of the profoundest depths of this despair, an impulse which I have in vain endeavoured to resist, has urged me to raise one feeble cry against this unfortunate coalition which is formed at home, in order to make a coalition with France, subversive of the whole ancient order of the world. No disaster of war, no calamity of season could ever strike me with half the horror which I felt from what is introduced to us by this junction of parties, under the soothing name of peace. We are apt to speak of a low and pu­fillanimous spirit as the ordinary cause by which dubious wars terminate in humiliating treaties. It is here the direct contrary. I am perfectly astonished at the boldness of character, at the intrepidity of mind, the firmness of nerve, in those who are able with deliberation to face the perils of Jacobin fraternity.

This fraternity is indeed so terrible in it's nature, and in it's manifest consequences, that there is no way of quieting our apprehensions about it, but by totally putting it out of sight, [Page 101] by substituting for it, through a sort of periphra­sis, something of an ambiguous quality, and describing such a connection under the terms of ‘"the usual relations of peace and amity:"’ By this means the proposed fraternity is hustled in the crowd of those treaties, which imply no change in the public law of Europe, and which do not upon system affect the interior condition of na­tions. It is confounded with those conventions in which matters of dispute among sovereign powers are compromised, by the taking off a duty more or less, by the surrender of a frontier town, or a disputed district on the one side or the other; by pactions in which the pretensions of families are settled, (as by a conveyancer, making family substitutions and successions) without any alte­ration in the laws, manners, religion, privileges and customs of the cities or territories which are the subject of such arrangements.

All this body of old conventions, composing the vast and voluminous collection called the corps diplomatique, forms the code or statute law, as the methodized reasonings of the great pub­licists and jurists form the digest and jurispru­dence of the Christian world. In these trea­sures are to be found the usual relations of peace and amity in civilized Europe; and there the [Page 102] relations of ancient France were to be found amongst the rest.

The present system in France is not the an­cient France. It is not the ancient France with ordinary ambition and ordinary means. It is not a new power of an old kind. It is a new power of a new species. When such a questionable shape is to be admitted for the first time into the bro­therhood of Christendom, it is not a matter of idle curiosity to consider how far it is in it's na­ture alliable with the rest, or whether ‘"the re­lations of peace and amity"’ with this new State are likely to be of the same nature with the usual relations of the States of Europe.

The Revolution in France had the relation of France to other nations as one of it's princi­pal objects. The changes made by that Revo­lution were not the better to accommodate her to the old and usual relations, but to produce new ones. The Revolution was made, not to make France free, but to make her formid­able; not to make her a neighbour, but a mis­tress; not to make her more observant of laws, but to put her in a condition to impose them. To make France truly formidable it was neces­sary that France should be new modelled. They [Page 103] who have not followed the train of the late pro­ceedings, have been led by deceitful representa­tions (which deceit made a part in the plan) to conceive that this totally new model of a state, in which nothing escaped a change, was made with a view to its internal relations only.

In the Revolution of France two sorts of men were principally concerned in giving a character and determination to its pursuits; the philoso­phers and the politicians. They took different ways, but they met in the same end. The philo­sophers had one predominant object, which they pursued with a fanatical fury, that is, the utter extirpation of religion. To that every question of empire was subordinate. They had rather domi­neer in a parish of Atheists, than rule over a Chris­tian world. Their temporal ambition was wholly subservient to their proselytizing spirit, in which they were not exceeded by Mahomet himself.

They who have made but superficial studies in the natural history of the human mind, have been taught to look on religious opinions as the only cause of enthusiastic zeal, and sec­tarian propagation. But there is no doctrine whatever, on which men can warm, that is not capable of the very same effect. The social nature of man impels him to propagate his prin­ciples, [Page 104] as much as physical impulses urge him to propagate his kind. The passions give zeal and vehemence. The understanding bestows design and system. The whole man moves under the discipline of his opinions. Religion is among the most powerful causes of enthusiasm. When any thing concerning it becomes an object of much meditation, it cannot be indifferent to the mind. They who do not love religion, hate it. The rebels to God perfectly abhor the Author of their being. They hate him ‘"with all their heart, with all their mind, with all their soul, and with all their strength."’ He never pre­sents himself to their thoughts, but to menace and alarm them. They cannot strike the Sun out of Heaven, but they are able to raise as moulder­ing smoke that obscures him from their own eyes. Not being able to revenge themselves on God, they have a delight in vicariously defacing, degrading, torturing, and tearing in pieces his image in man. Let no one judge of them by what he has conceived of them, when they were not incorporated, and had no lead. They were then only passengers in a common vehicle. They were then carried along with the general motion of religion in the community, and with­out being aware of it, partook of its influence. In that situation, at worst their nature was left free to counterwork their principles. They de­spaired [Page 105] of giving any very general currency to their opinions. They consideder them as a re­served privilege for the chosen few. But when the possibility of dominion; lead, and propaga­tion presented themselves, and that the ambi­tion, which before had so often made them hy­pocrites, might rather gain than lose by a daring avowal of their sentiments, then the nature of this infernal spirit, which has ‘"evil for its good,"’ appeared in its full perfection. Nothing, indeed, but the possession of some power can, with any certainty, discover what at the bottom is the true character of any man. Without read­ing the speeches of Verginaux, Français of Nantz, Isnard, and some others of that sort, it would not be easy to conceive the passion, ran­cour, and malice of their tongues and hearts. They worked themselves up to a perfect phrenzy against religion and all its professors. They tore the deputation of the Clergy to pieces by their infuriated declamations and invectives, be­fore they lacerated their bodies by their mas­sacres. This fanatical atheism left out, we omit the principal feature in the French Revolution, and a principal consideration with regard to the effects to be expected from a peace with it.

The other sort of men were the politicians. To them who had little or not at all reflected on [Page 106] the subject, religion was in itself no object of love or hatred. They disbelieved it, and that was all. Neutral with regard to that object, they took the side which, in the present state of things, might best answer their purposes. They soon found that they could not do without the philo­sophers; and the philosophers soon made them sensible, that the destruction of religion was to supply them with means of conquest first at home, and then abroad. The philosophers were the active internal agitators, and supplied the spirit and principles: the second gave the general direction. Sometimes the one predo­minated in the composition, sometimes the other. The only difference between them was in the necessity of concealing the general design for a time, and in dealing with foreign nations; the fanaticks going straight forward and openly, the politicians by the surer mode of zig-zag. In the course of events, this, among other causes, produced fierce and bloody contentions between them. But at the bottom they tho­roughly agreed in all the objects of ambition and irreligion, and substantially in all the means of promoting these ends.

Without question, to bring about the un­exampled event of the French Revolution, the concurrence of a very great number of views [Page 107] and passions was necessary. In that stupen­dous work, no one principle by which the hu­man mind may have it's faculties at once in­vigorated and depraved, was left unemployed: but I can speak it to a certainty, and support it by undoubted proofs, that the ruling prin­ciple of those who acted in the Revolution as statesmen, had the exterior aggrandizement of France as their ultimate end in the most minute part of the interior changes that were made. We, who of late years, have been drawn from an attention to foreign affairs by the importance of our domestic discussions, cannot easily form a conception of the general eagerness of the French nation, previous to it's revolution, upon that subject. I am convinced that the foreign spe­culators in France, under the old Government, were twenty to one of the same description in England; and few of that description there were, who did not emulously set forward the Revolu­tion. The whole official system, particularly in the diplomatic part, the regulars, the irregulars, down to the clerks in office (a corps, without all comparison, more numerous than the same description amongst us) co-operated in it. All the intriguers in foreign politicks, all the spies, all the intelligencers, actually or late in function, all the candidates for that sort of employment, acted solely upon that principle.

[Page 108] On that system of aggrandizement there was but one mind: but two violent factions arose about the means. The first wished France, diverted from the politicks of the Continent, to attend solely to her marine, to feed it by an encrease of commerce, and thereby to overpower England on her own element. They contended, that if England were disabled, the Powers on the Continent would fall into their proper subordination; that it was England which deranged the whole conti­nental system of Europe. The others, who were by far the more numerous, though not the most outwardly prevalent at Court, considered this plan as contrary to her genius, her situation, and her natural means. They agreed as to the ultimate object, the reduction of the British power; but they considered an ascendancy on the Continent as a necessary preliminary to that undertaking. They argued, that the proceed­ings of England herself had proved the sound­ness of this policy. That her greatest and ablest Statesmen had not considered the support of a continental balance against France as a devia­tion from the principle of her naval power, but as one of the most effectual modes of carrying it into effect. That such had been her po­licy since the Revolution; during which pe­riod the naval strength of Great Britain had [Page 109] gone on encreasing in the direct ratio of her interference in the politicks of the conti­nent. With much stronger reason ought the politicks of France to take the same direction: as well for pursuing objects which her situation would dictate to her, if England had no exist­ence, as for counteracting the politicks of that nation; to France continental politicks are pri­mary; they are only of secondary consideration to England.

What is truly astonishing, the partizans of those two opposite systems were at once preva­lent, and at once employed, and in the very same transactions, the one ostensibly, the other secretly, during the latter part of the reign of Lewis XV. Nor was there one Court in which an Ambassador resided on the part of the Mi­nisters, in which another as a spy on him did not also reside on the part of the King. They who pursued the scheme for keeping peace on the continent, and particularly with Austria, acting officially and publickly, the other fac­tion counteracting and opposing them. These private agents were continually going from their function to the Bastille, from the Bastille to em­ployment, and to interest or favour again. An inextricable cabal was formed, some of persons of rank, others of subordinates. But by this [Page 110] means the corps of politicians was augmented in number, and the whole formed a body of active, adventuring, ambitious, discontented people, despising the regular Ministry, despis­ing the Courts at which they were employed, despising the Courts which employed them.

The unfortunate Lewis the Sixteenth* was not the first cause of the evil by which he suf­fered. He came to it, as to a sort of inheritance, by the false politicks of his immediate predeces­sor. [Page 111] This system of dark and perplexed in­trigue had come to it's perfection before he came to the throne: and even then the Revolution strongly operated in all it's causes.

There was no point on which the discontented diplomatic politicians so bitterly arraigned their Cabinet, as for the decay of the French influ­ence in all others. From quarrelling with the Court, they began to complain of Mo­narchy itself; as a system of Government too variable for any regular plan of national ag­grandizement. They observed, that in that sort of regimen too much depended on the personal character of the Prince; that the vi­cissitudes produced by the succession of Princes of a different character, and even the vicissitudes produced in the same man, by the different views and inclinations belonging to youth, manhood, and age, disturbed and distracted the policy of a country, made by nature for extensive empire, or what was still more to their taste, for that sort of general over-ruling influence which pre­pared empire or supplied the place of it. They had continually in their hands the observations of Machiavel on Livy. They had Montesquieu's Grandeur & Décadence des Romains as a manual; and they compared with mortification the sys­tematic proceedings of a Roman senate with the [Page 112] sluctuations of a Monarchy. They observed, the very small additions of territory which all the power of France, actuated by all the ambi­tion of France, had acquired in two centuries. The Romans had frequently acquired more in a single year. They severely and in every part of it criticifed the reign of Louis the XIVth, whose irregular and desultory ambition had more provoked than endangered Europe. In­deed, they who will be at the pains of seri­ously considering the history of that period will see, that those French politicians had some rea­son. They who will not take the trouble of reviewing it through all it's wars and all it's negociations, will consult the short but judicious criticism of the Marquis de Montalambert on that subject. It may be read separately from his ingenious system of fortification and military defence, on the practical merit of which I am unable to form a judgment.

The diplomatic politicians of whom I speak, and who formed by far the majority in that class, made disadvantageous comparisons even between their more legal and formalising Monarchy, and the monarchies of other states, as a sys­tem of power and influence. They observed, that France not only lost ground herself, but through the languor and unsteadiness of her pur­suits, [Page 113] and from her aiming through commerce at naval force which she never could attain, three great powers, each of them (as military states) capable of balancing her, had grown up on the continent. Russia and Prussia had been created almost within memory; and Aus­tria, though not a new power, and even cur­tailed in territory, was by the very collision in which she lost that territory, greatly improved in her military discipline and force: and that during the reign of Maria Theresa the interior oeconomy of the country was made more to cor­respond with the support of great armies than formerly it had been. As to Prussia, a merely military power, they observed that one war had enriched her with as considerable a conquest as France had acquired in centuries. Russia had broken the Turkish power by which Austria might be, as formerly she had been, balanced in favour of France. They felt it with pain, that the two northern powers of Sweden and Denmark were in general under the sway of Russia; or that at best, France kept up a very doubtful conflict, with many fluctuations of fortune, and at an enormous expence in Swe­den. In Holland, the French party seemed, if not extinguished, at least utterly obscured, and kept under by a Stadtholder, sometimes leaning for support on Great Britain, sometimes [Page 114] on Prussia, sometimes on both, never on France. Even the spreading of the Bourbon family had be­come merely a family accommodation; and had little effect on the national politicks. This alli­ance, they said, extinguished Spain by destroying all it's energy, without adding any thing to the real power of France in the accession of the forces of it's great rival. In Italy, the same family accommodation, the same national insignificance were equally visible. What cure for the radical weakness of the French Monarchy, to which all the means which wit could devise, or nature and fortune could bestow, towards universal empire, was not of force to give life, or vigour, or consistency,—but in a republick? Out the word came; and it never went back.

Whether they reasoned right or wrong, or that there was some mixture of right and wrong in their reasoning, I am sure, that in this man­ner they felt and reasoned. The different ef­fects of a great military and ambitious repub­lick, and of a monarchy of the same description was constantly in their mouths. The principle was ready to operate when opportunities should offer, which few of them indeed foresaw in the extent in which they were afterwards presented; but these opportunities, in some degree or other, they all ardently wished for.

[Page 115] When I was in Paris in 1773, the treaty of 1756 between Austria and France was deplored as a national calamity; because it united France in friendship with a Power, at whose expence alone they could hope any continental aggran­dizement. When the first partition of Poland was made, in which France had no share, and which had farther aggrandized every one of the three Powers of which they were most jealous, I found them in a perfect phrenzy of rage and indignation: Not that they were hurt at the shocking and uncoloured violence and injustice of that partition, but at the debility, improvi­dence, and want of activity in their Govern­ment, in not preventing it as a means of aggran­dizement to their rivals, or in not contriving, by exchanges of some kind or other, to obtain their share of advantage from that robbery.

In that, or nearly in that state of things and of opinions, came the Austrian match which promised to draw the knot, as after­wards in effect it did, still more closely be­tween the old rival houses. This added ex­ceedingly to their hatred and contempt of their monarchy. It was for this reason that the late glorious Queen, who on all accounts was formed to produce general love and admiration, and whose life was as mild and beneficent as her [Page 116] death was beyond example great and heroic, be­came so very soon and so very much the object of an implacable rancour, never to be extin­guished but in her blood. When I wrote my letter in answer to M. de Menonville, in the beginning of January, 1791, I had good reason for thinking that this description of revolu­tionists did not so early nor so steadily point their murderous designs at the martyr King as at the Royal Heroine. It was accident, and the mo­mentary depression of that part of the faction, that gave to the husband the happy priority in death.

From this their restless desire of an over-rul­ing influence, they bent a very great part of their designs and efforts to revive the old French, which was a democratic party in Holland, and to make a revolution there. They were happy at the troubles which the singular imprudence of Joseph the Second had stirred up in the Aus­trian Netherlands. They rejoiced, when they saw him irritate his subjects, profess philo­sophy, send away the Dutch garrisons, and dismantle his fortifications. As to Holland, they never forgave either the King or the Mini­stry, for suffering that object, which they justly looked on as principal in their design of reduc­ing the power of England, to escape out of their [Page 117] hands. This was the true secret of the com­mercial treaty, made, on their part, against all the old rules and principles of commerce, with a view of diverting the English nation, by an at­tention to profit, from an attention to the pro­gress of France in it's designs upon that Repub­lic. The system of the oeconomists, which led to the general opening of commerce, facilitated that treaty, but did not produce it. They were in despair when they found that the object, to which they had sacrificed their manufactures, was lost to their ambition. Above all, this eager de­sire of raising France from the condition into which she had fallen, as they conceived, from her monarchical imbecility, had been the main spring of their precedent interference in that un­happy American quarrel, the bad effects of which to this nation have not, as yet, fully disclosed themselves.

These sentiments had been long lurking in their breasts, though their views were only dis­covered now and then, in heat and as by escapes; but on this occasion they exploded suddenly. They were professed with ostentation, and pro­pagated with zeal. These sentiments were not produced, as some think, by their American alliance. The American alliance was produced by their republican principles and republican [Page 118] policy. This new relation undoubtedly did much. The discourses and cabals that it pro­duced, the intercourse that it established, and above all, the example, which made it seem prac­ticable to establish a Republick in a great extent of country, finished the work, and gave to that part of the Revolutionary faction a degree of strength which required other energies than the late King possessed, to resist, or even to restrain. It spread every where; but it was no where more prevalent than in the heart of the Court. The palace of Versailles, by its language, seemed a forum of democracy. To point out to most of those politicians, from these dispositions and move­ments, what has since happened, the fall of their own Monarchy, of their own Laws, of their own Religion, would have been to furnish a motive the more for pushing forward a system on which they considered all these things as incumbrances.

When I contemplate the scheme on which France is formed, and when I compare it with these systems, with which it is, and ever must be in conflict, these things which seem as defects in her polity, are the very things which make me tremble. The States of the Christian World have grown up to their present magnitude in a great length of time, and by a great variety of accidents. They have been improved to what [Page 119] we see them with greater or less degrees of fe­licity and skill. Not one of them has been formed upon a regular plan, or with any unity of design. As their Constitutions are not sys­tematical, they have not been directed to any peculiar end, eminently distinguished, and super­seding every other. The objects which they em­brace are of the greatest possible variety, and have become in a manner infinite. In all these old countries the state has been made to the people, and not the people conformed to the state. Every state has pursued, not only every sort of social advan­tage, but it has cultivated the welfare of every indi­vidual. His wants, his wishes, even his tastes have been consulted. This comprehensive scheme, vir­tually produced a degree of personal liberty in forms the most adverse to it. That was found, un­der monarchies stiled absolute, in a degree un­known to the ancient commonwealths. From hence the powers of all our modern states, meet in all their movements, with some obstruction. It is therefore no wonder, that when these states are to be considered as machines to operate for some one great end, that this dissipated and balanced force is not easily concentred, or made to bear upon one point.

The British State is, without question, that which pursues the greatest variety of ends, [Page 120] and is the least disposed to sacrifice any one of them to another, or to the whole. It aims at taking in the whole circle of human desires, and securing for them their fair enjoyment. Our le­gislature has been ever closely connected, in it's most efficient part, with individual feeling and indivi­dual interest. Personal liberty, the most lively of these feelings and the most important of these in­terests, which in other European countries has rather arisen from the system of manners and the habitudes of life, than from the laws of the state, (in which it flourished more from neglect than at­tention) in England, has been a direct object of Government.

Fortunately, the great riches of this kingdom, arising from a variety of causes, and the disposition of the people, which is as great to spend as to accu­mulate, has easily afforded a disposeable surplus that gives a mighty momentum to the state. This dif­ficulty, with these advantages to overcome it, has called forth the talents of the English financiers, who, by the surplus of industry poured out by pro­digality, has outdone every thing which has been accomplished in other nations. The present Mi­nister has outdone his predecessors; and as a Minister of revenue, is far above my power of praise. But still there are cases in which Eng­land feels more than several others, (though they [Page 121] all feel) the perplexity of an immense body of ba­lanced advantages, and of individual demands, and of some irregularity in the whole mass.

France differs essentially from all those Govern­ments which are formed without system, which exist by habit, and which are confused with the multitude, and with the complexity of their pur­suits. What now stands as Government in France is struck out at a heat. The design is wicked, im­moral, impious, oppressive; but it is spirited and daring: it is systematick; it is simple in it's princi­ple; it has unity and consistency in perfection. In that country entirely to cut off a branch of com­merce, to extinguish a manufacture, to destroy the circulation of money, to violate credit, to suspend the course of agriculture, even to burn a city, or to lay waste a province of their own, does not cost them a moment's anxiety. To them, the will, the wish, the want, the liberty, the toil, the blood of indivi­duals is as nothing. Individuality is left out of their scheme of Government. The state is all in all. Every thing is referred to the production of force; afterwards every thing is trusted to the use of it. It is military in it's principle, in it's maxims, in it's spirit, and in all it's movements. The state has dominion and conquest for it's sole objects; do­minion over minds by proselytism, over bodies by arms.

[Page 122] Thus constituted with an immense body of na­tural means, which are lessened in their amount only to be encreased in their effect, France has since the accomplishment of the Revolution, a complete unity in it's direction. It has destroyed every resource of the State, which depends upon opinion and the good-will of individuals. The riches of convention disappear. The advantages of nature in some considerable measure remain; the command over them is complete and absolute. We go about asking when assignats will expire, and laugh at the last price of them; but what signifies the fate of these tickets of despotism? The despotism will find despotick means of sup­ply. They have found the short cut to the pro­ductions of Nature, while others in pursuit of them, are obliged to wind through the labyrinth of artificial society. They seize upon the fruit of the labour; they seize upon the labourer himself. The natural means of France are still great. They are very materially lessened, I admit; but the power over them is increased. Were France but half of what it is in population, in compactness, in applica­bility of it's force, situated as it is, and being what it is, it would be too strong for most of the States of Eu­rope, constituted as they are, and proceeding as they proceed. Would it be wise to estimate what the world of Europe, as well as the world of Asia, had to dread from Jinghiz Khan, upon a contemplation [Page 123] of the resources of the cold and barren spot in the remotest Tarrary, from whence first issued that scourge of the human race? Ought we to judge from the excise and stamp duties of the rocks, or from the paper circulation of the sands of Arabia, the power by which Mahomet and his tribes laid hold at once on the two most powerful Empires of the world; beat one of them totally to the ground, broke to pieces the other, and, in not much lon­ger space of time than I have lived, overturned go­vernments, laws, manners, religion, and extended an empire from the Indus to the Pyrennees.

Material resources never have supplied, nor ever can supply the want of unity in design and con­stancy in pursuit. But unity in design, and perse­verance, and boldness in pursuit, have never want­ed resources, and never will. We have not con­sidered as we ought the dreadful energy of a State, in which the property has nothing to do with the Government. Reflect, my dear Sir, reflect again and again on a Government, in which the property is in subjection, and where nothing rules but the minds of desperate men. The condition of a com­monwealth not governed by its property was a combination of things, which the learned and in­genious speculator Harrington, who has tossed about society into all forms, never could imagine to be possible. We have seen it; the world has felt [Page 124] it; and if the world will shut their eyes to this state of things, they will feel it more. The Rulers there have found their resources in crimes. The discovery is dreadful, the mine exhaustless. They have every thing to gain, and they have nothing to lose. They have a boundless inheritance in hope; and there is no medium for them, betwixt the highest elevation, and death with infamy. Never can those, who from the miserable servitude of the desk have been raised to Empire, again submit to the bondage of a starving bureau, or the profit of copying music, or writing plaidoyers by the sheet. It has made me often smile in bitterness, when I heard talk of an indemnity to such men, provided they returned to their allegiance.

From all this, what is my inference? It is, that this new system of robbery in France, cannot be rendered safe by any art or any means. That it must be destroyed, or that it will destroy all Eu­rope.—That by some means or other the force op­posed to her should be made to bear, in a contrary direction, some analogy and resemblance to the force and spirit she employs.

The unhappy Lewis XVI. was a man of the best intentions that probably ever reigned. He was by no means deficient in talents. He had a most laudable desire to supply by general reading, and [Page 125] even by the acquisition of elemental knowledge, an education in all points originally defective; but nobody told him (and it was no wonder he should not himself divine it) that the world of which he read, and the world in which he lived, were no longer the same. Desirous of doing every thing for the best, fearful of cabal, distrusting his own judgment, he sought his Ministers of all kinds upon public testimony. But as Courts are the field for caballers, the public is the theatre for mountebanks and impostors. The cure for both those evils is in the discernment of the Prince. But an accurate and penetrating discernment is what in a young Prince could not be looked for.

His conduct in it's principle was not unwise; but like most other of his well-meant designs, it failed in his hands. It failed partly from mere ill fortune, to which speculators are rarely pleased to assign that very large share to which she is justly entitled in all human affairs. The failure, perhaps, in part was owing to his suffering his system to be vitiated and disturbed by those intrigues, which it is, hu­manly speaking, impossible wholly to prevent in Courts, or indeed under any form of Government. However, with these aberrations, he gave himself over to a succession of the statesman of publick opinion. In other things he thought that he might be a King on the terms of his predecessors. He [Page 126] slattered himself, as most men in his situation will, that he might consult his ease without danger to his safety. It is not at all wonderful that both he and his Ministers, giving way abundantly in other re­spects to innovation, should take up in policy with the tradition of their monarchy. Under his an­cestors the Monarchy had subsisted, and even been strengthened by the generation or support of Re­publicks. First, the Swiss Republicks grew un­der the guardianship of the French Monarchy. The Dutch Republicks were hatched and che­rished under the same incubation. Afterwards, a republican constitution was under it's influence established in the empire against the pretensions of it's Chief. Even whilst the Monarchy of France, by a series of wars and negotiations, and lastly by the treaties of Westphalia, had obtained the esta­blishment of the Protestants in Germany as a law of the Empire, the same Monarchy under Louis the XIIIth, had force enough to destroy the re­publican system of the Protestants at home.

Louis the XVIth was a diligent reader of his­tory. But the very lamp of prudence blinded him. The guide of human life led him astray. A silent revolution in the moral world preceded the politi­cal, and prepared it. It became of more impor­tance than ever what examples were given, and what measures were adopted. Their causes no [Page 127] longer lurked in the recesses of cabinets, or in the private conspiracies of the factious. They were no longer to be controlled by the force and influ­ence of the grandees, who formerly had been able to stir up troubles by their discontents, and to quiet them by their corruption. The chain of sub­ordination, even in cabal and sedition, was broken in its most important links. It was no longer the great and the populace. Other interests were formed, other dependencies, other connexions, other communications. The middle class had swelled far beyond its former proportions. Like whatever is the most effectively rich and great in society, that became the seat of all the active poli­ticks; and the preponderating weight to decide on them. There were all the energies by which for­tune is acquired, there the consequence of their success. There were all the talents which assert their pretensions, and are impatient of the place which settled society prescribes to them. These descriptions had got between the great and the po­pulace; and the influence on the lower classes was with them. The spirit of ambition had ta­ken possession of this class as violently as ever it had done of any other. They felt the importance of this situation. The correspondence of the monied and the mercantile world, the literary in­tercourse of academies; but, above all, the press, of which they had in a manner, entire possession, [Page 128] made a kind of electrick communication every where. The press, in reality, has made every Go­vernment, in its spirit, democratick. Without it the great, the first movements could not, perhaps, have been given. But the spirit of ambition, now for the first time connected with the spirit of spe­culation, was not to be restrained at will. There was no longer any means of arresting a principle in its course. When Louis the XVIth. under the influence of the enemies to Monarchy, meant to found but one Republick, he set up two. When he meant to take away half the crown of his neigh­bour, he lost the whole of his own. Louis the XVIth could not countenance a new Republick: yet between that dangerous lodgment for an enemy, which he had erected, and his throne, he had the whole Atlantick for a ditch. He had for an out­work the English nation itself, friendly to liberty, adverse to that mode of it. He was surrounded by a rampart of Monarchies, most of them allied to him, and generally under his influence. Yet even thus secured, a Republic erected under his auspices, and dependent on his power, became fatal to his throne. The very money which he had lent to support this Republick, by a good faith, which to him operated as perfidy, was punctually paid to his enemies, and became a resource in the hands of his assassins.

[Page 129] With this example before their eyes, does any Administration in England, does any Administra­tion in Austria really flatter itself, that it can crect, not on the remote shores of the Atlantick, but in their view, in their vicinity, in absolute con­tact with one of them, not a commercial but a martial Republick—a Republick not of simple husbandmen or fishermen, but of intriguers, and of warriors—a Republick of a character the most restless, the most enterprizing, the most impious, the most fierce and bloody, the most hypocritical and perfidious that ever has been seen, or indeed that can be conceived to exist, without their own certain ruin?

Such is the Republick to which we are going to give a place in civilized fellowship. The Re­publick, which with joint consent we are going to establish in the center of Europe, in a post that overlooks and commands every other State, and which eminently confronts and menaces this king­dom.

You cannot fail to observe, that I speak as if these powers were actually consenting, and not com­pelled by events to the establishment of this faction in France. The words have not escaped me. You will hereafter naturally expect that I should make them good. But whether in adopting this mea­sure [Page 130] we are madly active, or weakly passive, or pu­sillanimously panick struck, the effects will be the same. You may call this faction, which has sur­prized the monarchy and expelled the proprietary, persecuted religion and trampled upon law,—you may call this France if you please: but of the an­cient France nothing remains but it's dangerous and central geography, it's iron frontier, it's spirit of ambition, it's audacity of enterprise, it's perplex­ing intrigue. These and these alone remain; and they remain heightened in their principle and aug­mented in their means. All the old correctives, whether of virtue or of weakness, which existed in the old Monarchy, are gone. No single corrective is to be found in the whole body of the new insti­tutions. How should such a thing be found there, when every thing has been chosen with care and se­lection to forward all those ambitious designs and dispositions, not to controul them? The whole is a body of ways and means for the supply of domi­nion, without one heterogeneous particle in it.

Here I suffer you to breathe, and leave to your meditation what has occurred to me on the genius and character of the French Revolution. From having this before us, we may be better able to judge on the first question I proposed, that is, How far nations, called foreign, are likely to be affected with the system established within that territory? [Page 131] I mean to proceed next on the question of her fa­cilities, from the internal state of other nations, and particularly of this, for obtaining her ends: but I ought to be aware, that my notions are controvert­ed.—I mean, therefore, in my next letter, to take notice of what, in that way, has been recommend­ed to me as the most deserving of notice. In the examination of those pieces, I shall have occasion to discuss some others of the topics I have recom­mended to your attention.

This discussion, my Friend, will be long. But the matter is serious; and if ever the fate of the world could be truly said to depend in a particular measure, it is upon this peace. For the present, farewell.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.