THE general scope of the following publi­cation has been already intimated in the Preface to a former collection of posthumous Tracts by the same illustrious author. It carries forward the series of Mr. Burke's opinions relative to our domestick parties, from the "Appeal to the old Whigs" in 1791, which is contained in the quarto edition of his works, to the Letter which he published in 1796, on occasion of the attack made upon him by the Duke of Bedford.

The principal piece, indeed, (in magnitude certainly, though perhaps not in temporary in­terest, the principal) is not altogether new. [Page vi] The "Observations on the Conduct of the Minority in the Session of 1793," were surrep­titiously printed at the beginning of the present year; but, as it usually happens with such frauds, in a very mangled state, under a false title, and without the real letter to the Duke of Portland, which should have been prefixed.

The paper itself was of the most private kind. It was not intended to come at any time, and under any circumstances, to the view of the publick. Mr. Burke wrote it as his justification to the two noble heads of his party, for seeming to take (he did not in reality take) a different side from them, when he acted on their own principles with more prompt and vigorous de­cision, than they believed their duty at that time required them to do. He was sensible, that in its style, it was not wholly free from the in­fluence of resentment, though such as he deli­berately believed to be just. He knew that the sharpness of his first impressions was visible on [Page vii] it; but he knew also to whom it was to be con­fided. He was to be judged by two of the most candid minds which the earth ever bore; men, who through the whole course of his political life, had given him indubitable proofs of an unbounded affection, trust, and veneration. Nor was the paper to be seen by them till ‘"a mo­ment of compulsory reflexion,"’ when it could not operate to the injury of any man, and would find in their bosoms something congenial with his feelings, when he wrote it. Clearly fore­seeing that the dissimilarity of their views must ultimately force them to a separation from Mr. Fox, he deposited it with the elder of his noble friends, desiring that it might not be opened till after that event. Of this confidential Memorial he never had a second copy made; but he did keep a copy of the Letter which accompanied it to the Duke of Portland, as a short summary, containing all the principle and general senti­ment, without the necessarily invidious details, of his other more solemn Protest.

[Page viii] About two years after, he casually learned from a friend, that the rough draft of the "Observations" still existed in the hands of the person whom he had employed to transcribe it. He immediately expressed the greatest anxiety to get it back. It was accordingly surrendered, with an assurance that no copy of it had been taken, and was immediately destroyed. A copy however, has since been published in the man­ner above related, by the very person who gave that assurance.

What Mr. Burke felt on receiving intelligence of the injury thus done him by one, from whom his kindness deserved a very different return, will be best conveyed in his own words. The following is an extract of a Letter to a Friend, which he dictated on this subject from a sick­bed: the rest of the Letter entirely relates to a law-suit which he was then carrying on to obtain redress against another kindred fraud.

"MY DEAR ********,

"ON the appearance of the Advertisement, all Newspapers, and all letters have been kept back from me till this time. Mrs. Burke opened yours, and finding that all the mea­sures in the power of Dr. King, yourself, and Mr. Woodford, had been taken to suppress the publication, she ventured to deliver me the letters of to-day, which were read to me in my bed, about two o'clock.

"This affair does vex me; but I am not in a state of health at present to be deeply vexed at any thing. Wherever this matter comes into discussion, I authorise you to contradict the infamous reports, which (I am informed) have been given out; that this paper had been circulated through the Ministry, and was intended gradually to slide into the press. To the best of my recollection, I never had [Page x] a clean copy of it but one, which is now in my possession; I never communicated that, but to the Duke of Portland, from whom I had it back again. But the Duke will set this matter to rights, if in reality there were two copies and he has one. I never shewed it, as they know, to any one of the Ministry. If the Duke has really a copy, I believe his and mine are the only ones that exist, except what was taken by fraud from loose and in­correct papers by S****, to whom I gave the letter to copy. As soon as I began to suspect him capable of any such scandalous breach of trust, you know with what anxiety I got the loose papers out of his hands, not having reason to think that he kept any other. Neither do I believe in fact (unless he medi­tated this villainy long ago) that he did, or does now possess any clean copy. I never communicated that paper to any out of the very small circle of those private friends, from whom I concealed nothing.

[Page xi] "But I beg you and my friends to be cautious how you let it be understood, that I disclaim any thing but the mere act and intention of publication. I do not retract any one of the sentiments contained in that Memorial, which was and is my justification, addressed to the friends, for whose use alone I intended it. Had I designed it for the publick, I should have been more exact and full. It was written in a tone of indignation, in consequence of the resolutions of the Whig Club, which were directly pointed against myself and others, and occasioned our secession from that Club; which is the last act of my life that I shall under any circumstances repent. Many temperaments and explanations there would have been, if ever I had a notion that it should meet the publick eye."

The moral sense of mankind on this occa­sion, ran along with the authority of the Law, in endeavouring to defeat the mercenary specu­lations [Page xii] of so aggravated a fraud; yet not less than three thousand copies of the pamphlet are supposed to have been sold in the three kingdoms. It was reprinted both in Scotland and Ireland, retailed and commented upon in Newspapers, noticed in Reviews, and quoted in the House of Commons, as Mr. Burke's. The very injunction which issued against it from the Court of Chancery, authenticated it. Mr. Burke himself, whenever he was asked, as he frequently was at Bath, constantly gave in substance the explanation which is contained in the foregoing letter. In this account, indeed, there was one trifling mistake. The single fair copy, which he had received back from the Duke of Portland, was not in his own possession: it was, where it still remains, in the hands of his other noble friend, to whom it was jointly ad­dressed. Probably he afterwards recollected the circumstance, as, at his leisure, he corrected, with his own hand, one of the printed copies. But no essential change of any kind could [Page xiii] now be made. The mischief which had been done in a single day, by the dishonesty of one man, was irreparable.

Had it been possible to have let the paper sleep in total silence, the friends of the author might have hesitated to give a genuine edition. But no man in the least acquainted with the literary history of this century, or even of our own times, could, for a moment, entertain any such hope. After the lapse of years, sometimes inquisitive malice, sometimes officious zeal, in this instance the cold pedantry of poring curi­osity, in that case the imaginary triumph of dis­covering some hidden value in things which others had passed over with neglect, have brought again to light productions, which had dropped without a name from the press, which had never excited general attention, and which the mature judgment of the writers had wished for ever to abandon. How then could it be supposed, that a tract, avowed to be Mr. Burke's [Page xiv] at the period of his proudest eminence, which had circulated so widely, and in itself abounded with historical matter, would not be received, with all its imperfections on its head, into future collections of his works? Nothing remained, therefore, but to publish it in a less mutilated form; to restore the true title, which had been malignantly falsified; and to add the introductory letter, which, if it had originally been given, might have repressed some of the murmurs dis­tinguishable in the half-stifled cry, that was be­ginning to rise on the appearance of the spurious edition.

The second piece in this publication, though it has never hitherto been in print, was written with a view to the press. It was occasioned by a speech of a noble Duke, on the 8th of May, 1795, in the debate on the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam. It is in the epistolary form, and is addressed to a gentleman, of whom Mr. Burke always justly entertained a very [Page xv] high opinion, and whose merit has since recom­mended him, honourably for himself, and benefi­cially, it is hoped, for the service of the empire, to an important situation in the sister kingdom. From an answer of the most flowing gaiety to the at­tack which had been made upon him, he passes to the exultations of the republican faction over him, on account of the King of Prussia's defec­tion from the common cause, whom he treats himself with severe pleasantry and dignified ridi­cule. He then proceeds more seriously to com­plain of the difficulties imposed by governments and the higher orders of society on all who dis­interestedly struggle to support, defend, and save them amidst the perils of the present crisis: he exhibits a beautiful picture of the state of Europe the day before the revolution in France: in a sublime strain of morality, he developes the pure and exalted motives of his own actions; and avows his despair of our safety from either of the two great parties, which domineer in the councils, and divide the opinions, of the na­tion. [Page xvi] Nothing, perhaps, that ever came from his pen, would have placed him personally in a more elevated point of view; but his own indi­vidual glory was ever the least of his cares. The speech, which gave rise to it, having been soon forgotten, this letter was suppressed. And it may not be impertinent to remark, that the same had nearly been the fate of the eloquent performance, which he published the following year, on a similar provocation from the Duke of Bedford. He had determined to have forty copies only taken for his own use, and the press broken up; when Lord Lauderdale, by a no­tice in the House of Peers, revived the subject of the grants, which his Sovereign had been graciously pleased to confer upon Mr. Burke, in reward of his long, laborious, and splendid services.

His rupture with the Minority, which, till the session of 1793, was never considered on his part as final and irreconcileable, drew down [Page xvii] upon him much obloquy and reproach. He was loudly charged with a dereliction of all his publick principles, with infidelity to his party, and with a violation of private friendship. On the other hand, for the dissatisfaction which he early intimated, and which he began from 1795 more decidedly to entertain, at the measures of Government, he has not escaped the imputation of ingratitude. These are heavy accusations; though all do not press with equal weight upon his memory. It is the first praise of moral wisdom to know the just time and place of each respective virtue. The best motives of human actions may lose not only their proper grace, but their very nature; they may become crimes, if they are not such as are suited to the occasion. Happily for the infirmity of our kind in most cases the choice is simple; it is between positive right and positive wrong. There are situations, however (and the present is a season full of them) which make it necessary for us to distinguish more nicely; which leave us only an alternative [Page xviii] of difficulties between evil and evil, and a painful choice among conflicting virtues. In free states, the union of publick men in a common cause cannot be too much respected and cherished; for without the combined efforts of many, who think alike of the commonwealth, the purest and best publick principles can seldom, if ever, prevail. We should endeavour to strengthen publick connexion by private friendship; for without the cohesion of that attraction, without the charm of that endearment which winds itself round the heart, the bond of party would be found, sometimes a loose and weak, sometimes a fretting and galling tie. Neither is it to be doubted that we owe a liberal attachment and support, to the power of those from whom we have consented to accept benefits, and by whom, on the surest evidence of our own experience, if we mean not to confess ourselves utterly un­worthy, we must believe that power to be well and laudably exercised. To gratitude, to friend­ship, to party, we ought cheerfully to yield [Page xix] every inferior opinion on every collateral and subordinate question: within those limits they have lawful dominion: but to require that to them we should surrender our deliberate judge­ment, and settled conviction on a system of fundamental policy, which involves the leading interests, the safety, or the honour of our country, what is it, but in the name of virtue to preach up conspiracy and corruption? All the other social charities are swallowed up and lost in the comprehensive relation of our country. For her they exist; by her we are protected in the enjoyment of them; to her they ought, on grave and conscientious reasons, to be sacrificed. Her danger may call upon us to do what touches us still more nearly. It may be our duty to re­view, perhaps to remodel, our very principles. New and unforeseen circumstances may teach us the errour of conclusions which were formed with sufficient accuracy for general application to ordinary times. Consistency, however, is the first and strongest presumption both of integrity [Page xx] and wisdom. Sudden and great changes in the system of thinking and acting, shake the cha­racter of the man to the foundation. He who has broken with all his publick and private friends, may have been uniformly right. He is at issue with them on equal terms, before his country, the world, and posterity. There is only their authority against his, and authority is not estimated by mere numbers. But he who is avowedly inconsistent, puts himself at once on his defence, and sets out with an admission against himself.

Mr. Burke so felt it. ‘"Strip him of his consistency," said he, speaking of himself in his Appeal, "and you leave him naked indeed."’ It was to the charge on that particular head, that he more distinctly applied his answer; yet professing to adduce only some few, among many, of his former declarations, which he thought in unison with his view of the French Revolution. The perfect, and perhaps singu­lar, consistency of his character, can only be [Page xxi] fully known, when the publick shall have be­fore them the documents of his most secret motives and confidential counsels; which, during a very important epoch, from the year 1766 to the end of the American war, have been fortu­nately discovered more entire, than his friends had dared to hope. For the present, it will be sufficient to give a slight outline of some passages in his political life, and of his early principles, as introductory to the particular occasions of the pieces which are comprised in this publication. This will incidentally afford some test of all the charges.

Nine and twenty years of an existence, not prolonged to a very advanced age, he devoted with unremitting zeal to the service of his country. During all that period, he never acted but with one party, which he always believed to be, in all its superiour members, the purest that our history can shew. When he came a new man among them, he at once proved himself worthy of their confidence. He declined taking [Page xx] [...] [Page xxi] [...] [Page xxii] any salary for his employment under Lord Rockingham, as Secretary to the first Lord of the Treasury; and, at his own cost, he obtained a seat in parliament to defend their measures. Chance first led him to that connexion; but when it was soon after dissolved, he entered into it a second time from choice, even against the affectionate remonstrances of some of the leaders in it, who pressed him to follow without regard to them, the easy path, which his great re­putation had already opened before him to power and fortune.

The sacrifices which he made to that con­nexion, are little known. He never boasted of them, nor voluntarily suffered any friend of his to blazon them. He regarded them but as ordinary acts of duty. Indeed, though not insensible to sober and judicious praise, he was so abhorrent from that artificial fame, which is made and unmade at pleasure in our popular journals, that he shunned the most distant ap­pearance [Page xxiii] of being gratified by it, with scrupulous solicitude. He restrained all, over whom he had any influence, even from refuting the absurd calumnies, of which he was perpetually the object. His old master, companion, and friend (for he was all these) did not go without a reprimand from him for revealing, with some degree of innocent pride, the real place of his education, in contradiction to the silly tale of his having been bred in France. He was daily vilified as an obscure and needy adventurer, yet he did not tell, what he had in his hands the means of substantiating, that he was sprung from a family anciently ennobled in several of its branches, and possessing an ample estate, which his grandfather had actually enjoyed; nor that he had himself sunk a handsome competency in his adherence to his party. Once, and but once, in debate, he was provoked to declare his private circumstances. It was in answer to a coarse aggression. He said, that by the death of a brother, whom he loved and lamented, he had succeeded to upwards of £.20,000; part of [Page xxiv] which he had spent, and the rest then remained to be spent in the independent support of his principles. In truth, without a single personal extravagance, he did spend that, and consider­ably more, of his own, chiefly derived from a source, which Cicero esteemed the most honour­able to himself, the last remembrances of dying friendship. This was not, on his part, a specula­tion from which he had formed hopes that de­ceived him. He repeatedly proclaimed to the world, that he knew the road which he had taken, was not the way to preferment.

The advantages which offered themselves, he was not eager to improve, when he might with unfullied honour. Early in his opposi­tion to Lord North, the ruling Directors of the East-India Company, wishing to stop a po­pular cry, and to take from Government the best plea for intermeddling in their affairs, proposed to send Mr. Burke, on his own terms, at the head of a commission to reform the abuses of the East. Some of the correspondence on this occasion is [Page xxv] still extant. He resolved not to go, actually refused the appointment, and then, not before, acquainted Lord Rockingham with his deter­mination. At several subsequent junctures he might readily have commanded, in other arrangements, much higher situations than he ever held, or expected to hold, with his own party. The only office which he ever did hold, he took with the intention of reforming. Under the old Constitution of that office every Pay­master-General was necessarily, for a time, ‘"the defaulter of unaccounted millions."’ He could not be admitted, however ready, to make up his accounts, till those of all his predecessors had been closed; and he was obliged to have in his hands large advances, to answer the drafts of the inferior paymasters. Mr. Burke, from the circumstances of the period when he came into his office, had he kept it on its old footing, might have been rich in the publick money. He might, with certainty and safety, have re­alized (and it was actually suggested to him, how he might fairly realize) more than the value, [Page xxvi] many times told, of all the grants which he ul­timately received from the Royal Bounty. But by a law, of which he was the author, and which has since been imitated in the payment of the navy, he changed the mode of the office, and, when he resigned it, closed his accounts.

On some of the occasions above related, he resisted the temptations, not of avarice only, but of ambition; a passion much more difficult for a statesman to subdue. How exempt he was from the latter vice, he still more clearly shewed in another instance. From what he thought his duty, and for the general good of his party, he declined a station, which he might have been most expected to covet: on the death of Mr. Dowdeswell, he was pressed to become the leader of his friends in the House of Commons, but he would not consent. It was his systematick opi­nion, that before any man should aspire so high, he ought to have cast his root more broadly, and driven it more deeply, than he had himself then [Page xxvii] done, into the soil of the country. Posterity may lament his virtuous delicacy.

Mr. Fox, at that period, generally voted on the same side, but was not yet directly connected with the party of Lord Rockingham. He had, from his childhood, been acquainted with Mr. Burke; and, from his entrance into Parliament, had cultivated a close intimacy with him, even while, for years, he was one of his most for­midable antagonists in publick debate. Their friendship was, of course, encreased by acting together in opposition; though in that situation for years, Mr. Fox kept himself open for any other political engagement, and was not con­sidered as actually a member of the same party with his friend. Mr. Burke never urged him to become so. He fairly represented to him, as he constantly did to others, that he had little hope of success. He never gave any man advice to act contrary to his interests, but stating those for the consideration of the person himself, he [Page xxviii] laid before him all the facts and the principles on which he might form his own decision. In this manner he certainly did prepare the mind of Mr. Fox to join the party, and the minds of the party to receive Mr. Fox, and place him at their head; an event, in which, when it happened, no man more sincerely rejoiced.

The principles on which Mr. Burke supported the party wherein he spent his life, are not left to be collected from detached sentences in his various productions, or casual phrases dropped in debate, and ill preserved by memories, on which, if even the intentions of the reporters were always upright, little reliance could be placed in a question of any delicacy. They were early recorded by himself at large, and in a body. He found the Whig party under Lord Rockingham, when they were compelled to set up a methodized opposition, to be, indeed, men of sentiments eminently good and just: yet what they felt rightly, they had not deduced systema­tically. [Page xxix] They were new to their situation. It was necessary, however, in erecting their stand­ard, to publish their declaration to their coun­try. The task of preparing it, was undertaken by Mr. Burke; and, in 1770, executed by him, in a pamphlet called, "Thoughts on the Causes of the present Discontents." The materials of it were collected from various con­versations with all the leading members of the party; and before it was sent abroad into the world, the particular and distinct approbation of each was obtained. From this he should be judged, if he is to be fairly tried for incon­sistency. But, among all his works, the pam­phlet of 1770 has been least quoted, if at all. It certainly does not contain any tenets of de­mocracy. The clear object of the whole is to recommend, as the best practical government for this country, an open aristocracy of rank, property, virtue and talents, acting in concert together, on a known and avowed system of opinions, agreeable to the existing constitution of [Page xxx] the kingdom, acquiring by their principles and conduct the publick confidence of the people, and, in all those titles claiming the publick con­fidence of the Sovereign.

None of his writings on the French Revolu­tion were ever pursued with a more violent cry than was that pamphlet, by the Republicans of the day. But they were then of little compa­rative strength in numbers or influence. By one writer, his book was called, ‘"an imposi­tion on the publick," and "a scheme, cal­culated to perpetuate our distresses;" he was "the organ of a discontented faction," and "the mask of patriotism dropped while he was writing."’Another ‘"wondered at the cor­ruptness of his heart, and the deception of his head;" and, in language similar to that of the writer just quoted, described the pam­phlet as designed "to guard against the possible consequence of an effectual reformation in the vitiated parts of our constitution and govern­ment."’ [Page xxxi] What sort of reform it was, to which Mr. Burke, on that occasion, was sup­posed to be an enemy, may be collected from the great principle which is laid down by this adversary, in the spirit, and almost in the very words, of the Revolutionists in France. It is said, that ‘"the modes of government which have ever been imposed on credulous man, have been not only deficient in producing the just ends of government, viz. the full and impartial security of the rights of nature; but also have been rather formidable and dangerous cabals against the peace, happiness and dignity of society. In tracing the origin of all governments," (it is added a little lower down) "we find them either the produce of lawless power, or accident, acted on by cor­rupt interest. The same circumstance that attends the formation of governments, attends what is called their reformation: and of this the history of our own country affords a melancholy example."’ Mr. Paine's two parts [Page xxxii] of the Rights of Man are but a paraphrase of these texts.

Mr. Burke and his friends at that time, never denied that it was their purpose to resist with all their might the ‘"effectual reformations"’ there suggested, and to support the ‘"melancholy ex­ample"’ afforded by the settlement of our own revolution in the last century. They always gloried in the accusation. To convict such of them as yet remain, before any impartial tribunal, on a charge of inconsistency, in not depreciating that example, and not admiring those effectual reformations now, will require more than decla­mation for argument, and mutilated fragments for evidence against them. Indeed an author who is by no means deficient in severity against Mr. Burke, but who appears to be well read in his works, drawing a parallel between his con­duct and that of Mr. Fox, has very justly and candidly acquitted Mr. Burke from this charge. He represents the "Thoughts on the causes of [Page xxxiii] the present discontents" as a Creed of Aristocracy; and the fault which he finds with the framer of that creed is not that he had swerved from it, but that he ‘"had neglected the progress of the hu­man mind, subsequent to its adoption."’

The principles, however, which led Mr. Burke to condemn the French Revolution, are to be traced to a much more distant date, and long before he became a publick man. They are to be discerned in his first acknowledged pro­duction, the "Vindication of natural society." This was an ironical exposure of Lord Bolin­broke's false philosophy. His cause of quarrel was the mischievous tendency of the principles insinuated by that lively but disingenuous writer, who, in his opinion ‘"sapped the foundation of every virtue, and all government, while he attacked every mode of religion."’ The fol­lowers of that school were then chiefly if not wholly confined to the higher classes, and he wished to warn them in time of the dangers [Page xxxiv] which they incurred, and which, in other Coun­tries have since actually fallen upon them, from the use that might be made of their own arms in the hands of others. His design, as he him­self explained it, was ‘"to shew that without the exertion of any considerable forces, the same engines which were employed for the destruc­tion of religion, might be employed with equal success for the subversion of Govern­ment; and that specious arguments might be used against those things, which they who doubted of every thing else, would (at that period) never permit to be questioned."’ Accordingly the vindication of natural society consists wholly in touching with vivacity on a number of common-place topicks from the abuses incident to, or rather from the evils suffered under, all the several forms of political society, with an intimation that our own mixed constitution could no more stand this test, than the simple forms. Copying the accustomed fallacy of the noble author, whom he personated, he de­clined [Page xxxv] giving any system of his own, well aware as he was even then, how much more easy it was in the scheme of that philosophy, to demolish, than to rebuild. He urged these sophistries then as too futile to be taken for any thing but ridicule; yet they have since been gravely pro­duced as wonderful discoveries. He thought them sufficient to startle the disciples of Lord Bolingbroke in that day; but, the French, who profess to have taken that noble philosopher as one of their masters, have gone the whole length in a desperate experiment on a great kingdom; and Mr. Burke, in his last labours, was only waging with more serious vigour the same war, in which, with lighter weapons, he made the first essay of his juvenile strength. Nor is it possible to pass over without notice in the preface, which discloses the real intention of that tract, a beauti­ful strain of the same pious humility which cha­racterized his wisdom to the last moment of his life. He expresses himself satisfied that ‘"a mind which has no restraint from a sense of its own [Page xxxvi] weakness, of its subordinate rank in the cre­ation, and of the extreme danger of letting the imagination loose upon some subjects, may very plausibly attack every thing the most ex­cellent and venerable."’ ‘"Even in matters (adds he) which are, as it were, just within our reach, what would become of the world, if the practice of all moral duties, and the foun­dations of society rested upon having their reasons made clear and demonstrative to every individual?"’

This fixed persuasion of his youth, as to the pernicious effects of the new philosophy, was many years after confirmed, when he was at Paris not long before the accession of Louis the XVIth. He was courted and caressed, as a man of emi­nence, by the literary cabal which was then pre­paring the way for the overthrow of Altars and Thrones. They daily beset him, and commu­nicated to him enough to let a mind so observant, as his, into all their secrets. From that time he [Page xxxvii] always dated those impressions, which made him foresee, in their first rudiments, the hideous con­sequences of the doctrines propagated, and the measures pursued, by the pretended National Assembly of France. Not long after his return from Paris he took occasion in the House of Commons to testify those impressions. In a speech, of which no satisfactory report was ever given, but which was taken in short-hand, and of which a copy remains corrected by himself, he pointed out the conspiracy of Atheism to the watchful jealousy of Governments. He pro­fessed that he was not over-fond of calling in the aid of the secular arm to suppress doctrines and opinions; but if ever it was to be raised, it should be against those enemies of their kind, who would take from us the noblest prerogative of our nature, that of being a religious animal. ‘"Already (continued he) under the systematick attacks of those men, I see many of the props of good government beginning to fail; I see propa­gated principles which will not leave to religion [Page xxxviii] even a toleration, and make virtue her self less than a name."’ He recommended that a grand alliance should be formed among all believers ‘"against those ministers of rebellious darkness, who were endeavouring to shake all the works of God, established in beauty and order."’

With a mind thus long before prepared, he could not be slow in forming his notions of the French Revolution. Nevertheless he sought information from every quarter, as if the subject had been wholly new to him. He desired all persons of his acquaintance who were going to Paris, (and curiosity attracted many) to bring him whatever they could collect of the greatest circulation, both on the one side and the other. He had also many correspondents, not only among the English and Americans residing there, but also among the natives, to whom, as well as to other foreigners, he had always done the honours of this country, as far as his means would permit him, with liberal hospitality. [Page xxxix] Among others, he received letters endea­vouring to trick out the events of the Revolution in the most gaudy colouring, from Mr. Paine, Mr. Christie, and Baron Cloots, afterwards better, known by the name of Anacharsis. It was in answer to a letter of this kind, from a French Gentleman, that he wrote his celebrated "Re­flexions."

While he was employed upon that work, in the beginning of the year 1790, the praise be­stowed by Mr. Fox on the behaviour of the French Guards, in taking part with the populace, first induced him to deliver his sentiments on that subject in the House of Commons. The circumstances of that debate, and the noble deportment of Mr. Fox, who professed himself to have learned more from Mr. Burke than from all men and all books put together, and who, aften having heard his friend's speech, declared that there was, there could be, no difference in their princi­ples, however they might differ in their application [Page xl] of the same principles, cannot but be too well remembered to need repetition. In consequence of what then passed, the "Reflexions" were considerably enlarged from the first sketch of them, and still further additions were successively made, as the plot of the conspirators in France daily more and more unfolded itself in all it's parts. The book was published in the following Autumn; and Mr. Burke had the satisfaction of receiving explicit testimonies of concurrence and applause from the principal members of the party, with whom he had begun his political career.

Having given this solemn warning to his country, and to Europe, he in no way brought the subject again before the publick, till Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan the next year, in three successive debates, introduced the praises of the French Revolution. On the last of these occa­sions, Mr. Burke immediately rose to answer Mr. Fox, but was prevented (it was then three [Page xli] in the morning) by a loud cry for the question. He afterwards took the first opportunity, which he thought regular, and most favourable to his situation, unsupported as he was, to at­tempt a discussion of the principle. He was, however, repeatedly interrupted. The debate, at length, was forced into a personal contention between him and Mr. Fox. The scene, alto­gether, was of the most afflicting kind.

Having found himself on that night alone, opposed to a host of enemies, he considered himself as absolved from every obligation of party. He made his appeal, as he called it, from the New to the Old Whigs; from the de­clamations of his contemporaries in debate, to the recorded doctrines of the great actors in our Revolution, affirmed by both Houses of Parliament, on an important trial projected and prosecuted to that very end. He knew, in­deed, that many of those whom he had left, en­tertained in their hearts the same sentiments with [Page xlii] himself, but till they should have publickly and explicitly avowed themselves, so that he could consistently and honourably act with them, he regarded himself as a mere individual member of Parliament, conscientiously pursuing what the discipline of his early studies, the observation of his more mature years, and his recent exa­mination of the event so long anticipated by him, had firmly persuaded him to be right. He did not seek to engage himself with any other party. It was not till some months after, that he first saw Mr. Pitt in private society, since the latter had been placed at the head of administration.

Towards the close of the year 1791, a private friend of Mr. Burke's, connected with Ministry, first made him acquainted with the residence of Mr. Adair at the Court of St. Petersburgh, and with the circumstance of a letter having been intercepted from that Gentleman to Mr. Fox, which was represented to be of a very criminal complexion. The whole proceeding was in it's [Page xliii] very essence contrary to Mr. Burke's notions of propriety and duty. He manifested this in his own conduct. When his son went to Coblentz in that very Summer, he thought it necessary to obtain the approbation of Government. When, too, about the same time, the Empress of Russia had written him a very gracious letter on some of his publications, and he had prepared an answer, intended to confirm that Sovereign in the warm interest which she then appeared to take, in what he thought the common cause of Europe, he conceived himself bound to communicate it to Ministers. He did so; and in consequence of some doubts which they entertained (just doubts, as subsequent events have shewn) he consented to suppress it. With these sentiments, he was sincerely distressed at the intelligence which he received respecting Mr. Adair; the more so, as it was intimated to him, that some serious mea­sures were in contemplation on that subject. Mr. Fox himself afterwards told him that he did expect some motion of that description to be [Page xliv] brought before the House. Mr. Burke, in con­sequence, purposely absented himself from the debate, unable to defend, and unwilling to join in accusing, a man for whom he still cherished the memory of past friendship. The subject in truth was never agitated. He had therefore no opportunity of checking the account which he had received. But when the spurious edition of his private Memorial to the Duke of Portland came forth, he watched the publick prints with some attention, looking for an explanation which was promised. Had any been given, which might have satisfied his mind, it is believed, that he meant to have corrected any errour of fact. On the principle of his censure he was not to be shaken.

The formation of the Society, calling itself the Friends of the People, on the one side, and the King's Proclamation against seditious writings on the other, brought Mr. Burke, in 1792, once more into contact with some of his old [Page xlv] friends, by whom the former measure was con­demned, and the latter supported. After the retreat of the King of Prussia out of France, thinking that the state of this country, and of Europe, demanded the united efforts of all pub­lick men, he made an attempt again to collect around him such of them as saw in the same light with himself, the danger which menaced the whole social and moral order of the world. In one of these consultations he expressed the warmest regard for Mr. Fox, his regret for the difference between them, and his eager desire that all consideration of himself should be laid aside, if Mr. Fox could be won to the true in­terests and service of his Country. He said, that ‘"if an objection personal to himself could pos­sibly lurk in the heart of any one, which might make him stand in the way of such a broad and extensive settlement, as that alarm­ing Crisis demanded, besides freely abandon­ing any pretensions of his own, he was ready to go out of the kingdom, and to render [Page xlvi] himself a voluntary exile."’ The earnest manner in which he uttered this effusion, was felt and is still remembered by those who were present; and they who best knew him, are satisfied, that he would have executed, if neces­sary, what he then proposed. At the same period too, and indeed at all times in all his occasional intercourse with Ministers, he laboured nothing more than to dispose them, in whatever arrange­ment they might project for strengthening Government, above all things to include Mr. Fox. With him, it was Mr. Burke's opinion, that the safety of Europe might have been rea­sonably hoped; without him, that it ought to be attempted. But Mr. Fox persisted in the course on which he had already entered; and the great body of those who dissented from him, could not at once bring themselves to break through their long habits of confidence in him, so as to act steadily against his counsels.

At the opening of the next Session of Parlia­ment, the Minister had vacated his seat. From [Page xlvii] his absence the spirit and vigour of opposition seemed to rise; and on the side of Government there was more room and more necessity for in­dividuals to stand forward in the contest. Under these circumstances, Mr. Burke was the principal person, to whose sentiments the nation looked on the questions of that day. In the first debate he employed towards Mr. Fox a tone of friendly remonstrance, unmixed with any thing of aspe­rity. Afterwards, in one of the passages of the House of Commons, he accidentally met Mr. Fox, who, taking him by the hand, told him ‘"that he would do more in that way, than in any other."’ But on the two following days the purport of Mr. Fox's repeated motions, and the vehemence of his manner (which is impetuous even where there is nothing violent in the matter) made it impracticable, as Mr. Burke said, to pre­serve a similar style of conciliation. He was conscious that he kindled, as on the other side the discussions grew more and more enflamed, or produced a more intense sensation from the [Page xlviii] continued action of the same heat. His feelings on the occasion will be seen in his "Observa­tions" on the proceedings of that Session. From that moment he saw, and he saw with pain, that the die was cast for ever.

Mr. Burke was by no means singular in re­ceiving the impression, which he did, from the conduct of Mr. Fox. The current of popular opinion set strongly against the latter. He soon became sensible, that his constituents in general disapproved what he had done, and that even among those, whose partiality to him was most conspicuous, there were many, who, when he was attacked on that score, professed themselves neither able nor willing to defend him. In con­sequence he felt himself obliged not only to sign a loyal association of his own parish, contrary to his own avowed opinion, as Mr. Burke has re­marked, but also to explain his principles and measures in a printed letter to his constituents.

[Page xlix] This publication was soon taken up by the most zealous supporters of Mr. Fox, in the Whig Club; a society which had been founded chiefly with a view to embody, strengthen, and extend his personal interest in Westminster, though not wholly without regard also to the general principles and the political success of the party to which he belonged. At the monthly meeting of February, a vote of thanks to him for his late conduct was moved, but withdrawn at his own desire. He did not conceal that as many of his friends, whom he most respected, were known to differ in sentiments from him, such a vote must inevitably tend to disunion, and that it was in itself unnecessary, as even his enemies did not charge him with bad motives. His discretion, however, on this occasion, as in some other memorable instances, was unable to controul the zeal of those, who call themselves his Friends, and who avowing his elevation to Power to be the first aim of all their politicks, seem always to treat him as incapable of chusing [Page l] for himself, or as speaking a language of ma­nagement foreign to the heart. They doubt either his judgment or his sincerity. They think, that they can do him no greater service than by plunging, where they trust that in any event he will follow, because he cannot desert those, who profess to sacrifice every thing for him. In this spirit, notwithstanding his dis­suasion of the step, as both unnecessary and mischievous, on the very same day a requisition was made, and the next day advertised in the publick papers, for the holding of an extra­ordinary meeting; the purpose of which was to consider of voting the approbation and thanks of the Club to Mr. Fox, for the principles and arguments of his letter to his constituents.

The prudent part even of those who agreed with Mr. Fox, looked forward to the motion with alarm. It was not their inclination, it was not their policy, to precipitate a breach. They would be left in the hands of those, whom they [Page li] had already found themselves unable to govern; and the separation of others, in whose pub­lick virtue and integrity sober-minded men most confided, would give their enemies a decisive advantage over them, especially in what they knew to be a moment of unpopularity. The authority of those, who should secede, would of course be wrested into evidence against those who should remain, and would be used to lend a colour to the worst constructions of their motives. They could not stop what they dreaded; they tried, therefore, to negociate a compromise. They brought some of the more violent to something of apparent moderation. On the other side, they urged all the considerations which they professed to have determined them­selves; and they put it to the friendship, to the justice, to the candour of those whom they ad­dressed, whether they could, directly or indi­rectly, sanction what were called the calumnies malevolently spread against a man, to whom all declared a warm affection. The two noble [Page lii] chiefs of the party, who were convinced, with Mr. Burke, how much depended on gaining Mr. Fox to the common cause of all established order, but who had not yet, with Mr. Burke, despaired of gaining him, consented at last to acquiesce silently in some general contradiction of the asserted calumnies. Accordingly, when the day of the meeting came, as the understood price of their continuance in the society, (they were not then present) a new motion was sub­stituted for that which had been advertised. But it was exactly what every attempt at com­prehending opposite sentiments must ever be, vague, loose, ambiguous, admitting any future interpretation. It did not at all ascertain, as it should have done, what were the misrepresenta­tions, and by whom employed, which were so very injurious to Mr. Fox, as to make this de­claration necessary now, which he himself so short a time before had pronounced and shewn to be unnecessary. In proposing the amended resolve, the chairman, Lord Wil­liam [Page liii] Russell, spoke of it as virtually the same with that which it had superseded, and only in­tended to supply what was there thought defi­cient, by adding a disapprobation of the calum­nies propagated against Mr. Fox to the appro­bation of his principles and arguments. Of course it passed unanimously. Mr. Burke has abbreviated it, but at full length it ran; ‘"That the Whig Club think it their duty, at this extraordinary juncture, to assure the Right Hon. Charles James Fox, that all the arts of misrepresentation, which have been so indus­triously used of late, for the purpose of calumniating him, have had no other effect upon them, than that of confirming, strength­ening, and encreasing their attachment to him."’

When this resolution was made publick, many gentlemen quitted the club, for which they stated their reasons in a letter signed by all of them but one. They expressed great personal respect [Page liv] for Mr. Fox, but, combining all the circum­stances, they could not construe the vote otherwise than as approving, without qualification, what had been done by Mr. Fox in that session: they did not agree in that approval, and they could not come to the conclusion, that their attachment to him was encreased. Mr. Burke was in the number of the seceders, but had no concern in drawing up the letter. The first movers of the whole business congratulated themselves upon the event, as upon a victory. It was trumpeted about by the runners of the party as a decision (though in reality it was nothing less than a de­cision) of Mr. Burke's two noble friends against his opinions; and his speeches in Parliament were plainly enough intimated to have been the misrepresentations, by which Mr. Fox was sup­posed to have been calumniated.

The secession gave rise for a short time to the appearance of a third party, with which Mr. Burke might have acted in full conformity with [Page lv] all his principles; he might have placed him­self at the head of it; and, had he been an in­terested or an ambitious man, he might easily have stepped from that eminence into a station, which good men wished to see him fill, and which his enemies, for the purpose of maligning his motives, more than once falsely reported that he actually had accepted. But he still kept aloof from every new connexion. He contented himself with drawing up at the inter­vals, which his occupation in the impeachment of Mr. Hastings afforded him, those Observa­tions, which he afterwards sent to the Duke of Portland, on the conduct of the Minority in that Session. This he thought necessary from the proceedings of the Whig Club, and still more from the subsequent construction put upon them. His motives and his objects in writing this paper are affectingly stated in the letter, which accompanied it to his Noble Friend.

[Page lvi] Having thus lodged his "Testamentary Protest," he waited with impatience for his dismission from publick life. For some time past, nothing had detained him in Parliament, but the sacred duty, which he felt, of struggling to the last for the coercion and punishment of what he most unfeignedly and stedfastly believed to be the flagrant enormities of the East, the cold-blooded tyranny of avarice, which oppressed millions of the innocent natives, and the baneful corruptions, which spreading thence, threatened to infect and poison the whole body of this realm. Having no personal inducement whatever (bold as have been the falsehoods to the contrary) he had never sought that Herculean labour. When the Select Committee, of which he was so effi­cient a Member, and in which all that followed had its origin, was first appointed in the admi­nistration of Lord North, it is well known to many, that he very reluctantly, and not without much importunity of his friends, accepted the honour of being put on the list for the ballot. [Page lvii] He too well foresaw how obstinate and perilous a combat he was to wage. In refusing, so long before, the commission to reform abuses in Ben­gal, one of his reasons had been a suspicion, that the Company did not sincerely desire any radical reform. He had seen a faction of their servants, for years, baffle a Majority of the Directors sup­ported by the Minister Lord North; and he was not ignorant, how much every year had encreased the strength of that faction. But from the mo­ment that he undertook the enquiry, he deter­mined that nothing should divert him from car­rying it, as far as it depended upon him, to its proper and legitimate conclusion. While a publick clamour was raised about the delay of the impeachment, and he was reproached as the cause of it, he was in reality discharging an irk­some trust, that alone retarded the execution of all the plans, to which he had long looked for the repose and comfort of his declining age. At length, having finished his task towards the close of the Session in 1794, he received the thanks [Page lviii] of the House for his management of their Pro­secution.

At the same time his exertions in the only other publick business, to which he had for a long time past attended, obtained the sanction of both Houses of Parliament. The plot for the overthrow of our Constitution, on which he had given the first alarm, had now gained so much head, as to force itself on the attention of the Legislature. A Secret Committee of the Lords, and another of the Commons severally made re­ports, on which the most serious proceedings were afterwards grounded. Men of ingenious minds and practised skill in the arts of popular eloquence, may dispute (and what may they not dispute?) the precise extent of legal criminality, which may have attached to the actual conduct of the persons then put on their trials for high treason; but no man of common apprehension and common honesty can read the evidence there adduced, and say, that no plot at all of the na­ture [Page lix] so often charged by Mr. Burke existed, and grew, and was spreading itself rapidly over the country.

The Debates on these Reports of the Secret Committee effected, at length, what the example and arguments of Mr. Burke had failed to ac­complish. The principles of the Opposition Party were brought to the test on a fundamental question of domestick policy; and from that time the separation between them and the Noble friends of Mr. Burke was complete. The latter soon after formed a junction with Administra­tion; a measure, of which Mr. Burke has been erroneously supposed the author, but of which, in fact, he knew nothing, till it was actually set­tled; not, indeed, in all the particular details, but in the general outline.

In the midst of the Negotiation Mr. Burke vacated his Seat. It was generally expected by the Nation, and even called for in a very hand­some [Page lx] manner by some members of the Mino­rity, that such a publick provision should be made for him, as would afford ease and dignity to his retirement. Nor were Ministers wanting in the contest of generosity. They voluntarily ac­quainted some of his friends with their intentions of advising the King to bestow upon him an affluent income, and the honour of the Peerage, not as a mark of favour in a new arrangement of power, but as a debt strictly due to him from his country.

Every thing, beyond what he had ever suffered himself to indulge to his desires, seemed now to be within his reach, and he had only to enjoy the retreat, which he had laid out in pro­spect on the same system of moral duty, that governed all the deliberate acts of his life; when his son, in whom every thing centered, and whom he had just seen elected into that assembly which he had himself so long delighted, in­structed and adorned, was unexpectedly snatched [Page lxi] from him for ever. From that day he thought only of preparing for his own departure with decency and in quiet, by satisfying all just de­mands upon him. He received, therefore, with gratitude, the munificence of his Sovereign, in the pension which was settled on himself and Mrs. Burke soon after their common misfor­tune, accompanied with a gracious intimation, that still more was intended. But, from the death of his son, (except, on his part, to with­draw his claims) no mention was made of the first and highest reward, which, for the sake of that son alone, had ever been a transient object of his ambition. To the memory of the child whom he so tenderly loved, and who by his filial piety repaid, as by his other virtues and talents he justified that love, he has rendered an elegant tribute of affectionate praise in the Letter which he published on the Duke of Bed­ford's speech; and in that, now first published on the speech of another noble Duke, will be [Page lxii] found two passages, perhaps still more interest­ing, because more simple, when his sorrow was more fresh.

His grief was undoubtedly strong and deep; but it was never of that excessive kind which was weakly, perhaps wickedly, reported. It never relaxed the vigour of his mind, whatever subject called upon him to exert it, nor the interest which he took, to the last moment, in the public weal. ‘"A country," (he said, not many months before his death) "which has been dear to us from our birth, ought to be dear to us from our entrance into the stage, to our final exit from the stage, upon which we have been appointed to act."’ He found, however, as was natural, a superiour pleasure in those sub­jects which were mingled up with the remem­brance of his son. His attention, therefore, was particularly excited by the nomination of Earl Fitzwilliam to the government of Ireland; [Page lxiii] a Nobleman with whom he had not only a long and cordial friendship, but under whose imme­diate auspices his son was to have commenced his publick career; and who was going to a scene of action, in which that son had lately distinguished himself as agent for the Roman Catholicks of that kingdom. His own senti­ments on the political expediency of granting relief to that great body, which, with the best dispositions to Monarchy, and to the reigning Monarch, (from whom they know the first miti­gation of their condition to have directly come,) contains more than three-fourths of the whole population of Ireland, are well known from several publications of his on that question. He would have raised them finally, but, by due degrees, to the level of other Dissenters from the established Church, too many of whom are much less friendly to the Constitution of their Country.

[Page lxiv] The leading principle of Lord Fitzwilliam's administration was to convert that, which is now our weakness, into our most efficient strength. He wished to unite, as far as possible, the affec­tions of all classes. The pride of the higher orders he would have flattered by cherishing among them, what had most resemblance of a country-party, in subordination to the enlarged interests of the British Empire, he would have subdued faction and conspiracy by conciliating the great mass of the people; and far from em­ploying so large a part of our own natural force in defeating the attempts of domestick rebellion and foreign invasion in that quarter, he would have made that island a place of arms, from whence, if the vigour of our counsels had risen to meet the exigencies of our situation, we might have poured forth unexhausted armies of a brave and loyal nation to the succour of our best and most meritorious allies in France. The experi­ment was not fully tried; but, as far as it went, every appearance indicated success. Those [Page lxv] publick men, who certainly then enjoyed the greatest share of popular favour, stood forth in the support of government and the war. Never was the parliament of that country so unanimous. Never were such large supplies voted, and with­out a murmur. Never did a Governor receive such incontrovertible proofs of publick love and veneration in the addresses of all ranks, all civil descriptions, all religious persuasions, even after that which in other cases would have been called disgrace. Into the immediate merits of his recall, as the question was put, Mr. Burke would never enter. He conceived it of most importance, as a symptom and prognostick. He was instantly satisfied, though it happened many months before our first indirect solicitation for peace, that we were then preparing to abandon what he always maintained as the great object of the war. For, he argued, if Ministers had been earnest in pro­secuting the momentous cause, in which we were engaged, and had entertained a serious sense or the encreasing danger, that menaced every thing [Page lxvi] valuable to us, they would not have asked, whe­ther the Lord Lieutenant had anticipated re­quests, by which he should have waited to be importuned; or whether he had removed from their stations at one stroke two considerable officers of the Crown in whom he had no confi­dence, instead of displacing them separately, and at intervals: they would only have enquired, whether the King's business had been done with zeal and effect. Had there been a cordial con­sent of principle on both sides the water, he was persuaded, that some way or other would easily have been found to compromise all inferiour con­siderations. He did not dissemble these opinions: on the contrary, he spared no exertion, though in vain, to impress them on all the leading Members of Government in this Kingdom.

An enquiry into the causes of the Lord Lieu­tenant's sudden recall was moved in both Houses of Parliament here. In the House of Lords, a Peer of the highest rank, in urging the motion, [Page lxvii] took occasion to throw out some insinuations against Mr. Burke, as having deserted his ancient friends and principles, and as having written a book, which, amidst much splendour of elo­quence, contained much pernicious doctrine, and had provoked on the other side a very mis­chievous answer.

Mr. Burke was probably the more ready to notice this attack, because the topicks were the same with those, of which he had complained much in private, as having been unfairly in­troduced in some of the State-Trials. In one of them especially, having been summoned as a witness soon after the loss of his son, having much against his will been kept in hourly atten­dance for two whole days in the neighbourhood of the Court, and having then been discharged without examination, he was much surprised to read afterwards, that a principal part of the defence had consisted in commenting upon various extracts from his works; and, by a [Page lxviii] learned person too, who had never taken up any of the challenges, which he had himself repeatedly thrown out, where the truth might have been fully discussed face to face, in the House of Commons. Perhaps also, there were some cir­cumstances of the time, which did not dispose him in general to regard the Noble Duke's con­duct in Parliament with much indulgence. All these may be traced in the pleasant, though se­vere, chastisement of the letter which forms the second part of this publication. But it is chiefly worthy of attention, as it contains, in their very germ and seed, those notions, which are un­folded and displayed in his later productions with so much luxuriant beauty. It is a masterly drawing, from which he afterwards painted on a larger canvas his grand and striking pictures of our awful situation, arising out of what he thought the false policy of both our contending parties. As he would not surrender to his long friendship with Mr. Fox those principles, which he had himself modelled for his party, and which he [Page lxix] had unalterably fixed as his own canon long be­fore that party had an existence; so neither from a sense of recent obligation to Mr. Pitt, would he accommodate them to the fluctuating chances of a campaign, or the accidental languor and lassitude of a people, which, like every high­spirited people too long repressed, is only to be animated by a congenial character of decision, energy, and enterprise. Before the actual ag­gression of the French he had said; ‘"it is impossible to tell what will be the event of any war: it is impossible to tell, how it will be conducted either by ministers or military men: yet with all these dreadful uncertainties, I am clear it must be risked, or our ruin is no un­certainty at all."’ In the course of our ar­duous contest, he saw no indication of any essential change in the disposition and principles of the common enemy; the real danger against which we were driven, unwilling as we were, to seek safety in arms. He saw therefore no pros­pect of a rationally secure peace, which is the [Page lxx] only end of any justifiable war, in whatever cause undertaken. Till the calamities of war by the lessons of that terrible necessity, which is the stern but faithful guardian of the moral and social world, shall have taught the disturbers and de­stroyers of Europe to look for their own hap­piness in the truly pacifick mind, which respects the rights of others, all negociations and trea­ties appeared to him but snares to catch cre­dulity, and screens to conceal the shame of pusillanimity. With most of the dreadful un­certainties of war now become, in his opinion, afflicting certainties, he thought that we must persevere. To the great talents of the Minister he bore invariable testimony, but he could never allow, that to humiliate and prostrate a great nation at the feet of an insolent and ran­courous enemy, was the conduct of a statesman, equal to the mighty crisis, which ought to render us for ever worthy of our rank among the states of Europe, or for ever glorious in our fall. He wished them to be stimulated and urged on [Page lxxi] to a more resolute discharge of their high duty, by all of independent spirit and virtue, that can be found in the country; yet, at the same time, he wished their continuance in power, because in whatever hands the present alarming situation of the civilized world had found the govern­ment of the kingdom, to have wrested it from them by force would have put all good govern­ment to the hazard; and because they have no competitors for publick confidence on the grounds of our ancient, appropriate, local in­terests, in connexion with that system on which the liberties, the tranquillity, and the prosperity of Europe have hitherto rested. These sentiments did not leave him but with his breath. He testified them on the last day of his life, in the last conversation which he held, hardly an hour before his dissolution. If with the ex­pression of them in his disputes with the political friends of his earlier days, he ever mingled ‘"any thing of general human infirmity, or his own particular infirmity,"’ as he said with his accus­tomed [Page lxxii] humility in the will, which he wrote with his own hand, almost over the dead body of his Son, and which he confirmed in the full and near contemplation of his own death,—he has asked their forgiveness. On the other side he had no forgiveness to ask. To have supposed, that by the grants which his Sovereign was advised to confer upon him, the Minister meant to purchase his silence, would not only have been contrary to the kind and generous manner, in which they were signified to him; it would have been to incur the guilt of the blackest ingratitude by supposing, that under the colour of rewarding his services to his country, they were insidiously given to tarnish and obscure the lustre of all his past life.




THE Paper which I take the liberty of sending to Your Grace, was, for the greater part, written during the last Ses­sion. A few days after the prorogation some few observations were added. I was however resolved to let it lie by me for a considerable time; that on viewing the matter at a proper distance, and when the sharpness of recent impressions had been worn off, I might be better able to form a just estimate of the va­lue of my first opinions.

[Page 4] I have just now read it over very coolly and deliberately. My latest judgment owns my first sentiments and reasonings, in their full force, with regard both to persons and things.

During a period of four years, the state of the world, except for some few and short in­tervals, has filled me with a good deal of serious inquietude. I considered a general war against Jacobins and Jacobinism, as the only possible chance of saving Europe (and England as included in Europe) from a truly frightful Revolution. For this I have been censured, as receiving, through weakness, or of spreading, through fraud and artifice, a false alarm. Whatever others may think of the matter, that alarm, in my mind, is by no means quieted. The state of affairs abroad is not so much mended, as to make me, for one, full of confidence. At home, I see no abatement whatsoever in the zeal' of the Par­tisans of Jacobinism towards their cause, nor any cessation in their efforts to do mischief. What is doing by Lord Lauderdale on the first scene of Lord George Gordon's actions, [Page 5] and in his spirit, is not calculated to remove my apprehensions. They pursue their first object with as much eagerness as ever, but with more dexterity. Under the plausible name of peace, by which they delude or are deluded, they would deliver us unarmed, and defenceless, to the confederation of Jacobins, whose center is indeed in France, but whose rays proceed in every direction throughout the world. I understand that Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, has been lately very busy in spread­ing a dissaffection to this War (which we carry on for our being) in the country in which his property gives him so great an in­fluence. It is truly alarming to see so large a part of the aristocratick interest engaged in the cause of the new species of democracy, which is openly attacking, or secretly under­mining, the system of property by which mankind has hitherto been governed. But we are not to delude ourselves. No man can be connected with a party, which professes publickly to admire, or may be justly sus­pected of secretly abetting, this French Re­volution, who must not be drawn into its vortex, and become the instrument of its designs.

[Page 6] What I have written is in the manner of apology. I have given it that form, as being the most respectful; but I do not stand in need of any apology for my principles, my sentiments, or my conduct. I wish the paper I lay before your Grace, to be considered as my most deliberate, solemn, and even Testa­mentary Protest; against the proceedings and doctrines which have hitherto produced so much mischief in the world, and which will infallibly produce more, and possibly greater. It is my protest against the delusion, by which some have been taught to look upon this Jacobin contest at home, as an ordinary party squabble about place or patronage; and to regard this Jacobin War abroad as a common War about trade or territorial boundaries, or about a political balance of power among rival or jealous states: Above all, it is my protest against that mistake or perversion of sentiment, by which they who agree with us in our prin­ciples, may on collateral considerations be re­garded as enemies; and those who, in this perilous crisis of all human affairs, differ from us fundamentally and practically, as our best friends. Thus persons of great importance [Page 7] may be made to turn the whole of their in­fluence to the destruction of their prin­ciples.

I now make it my humble request to your Grace, that you will not give any sort of answer to the paper I send, or to this Letter, except barely to let me know that you have received them. I even wish that at present you may not read the paper which I transmit; lock it up in the drawer of your library table; and when a day of compulsory reflection comes, then be pleased to turn to it. Then remember that your Grace had a true friend, who had, comparatively with men of your description, a very small interest in opposing the modern system of morality and policy; but who under every discouragement, was faithful to publick duty and to private friendship. I shall then probably be dead. I am sure I do not wish to live to see such things. But whilst I do live, I shall pursue the same course; although my merits should be taken for unpardonable faults, and as such avenged, not only on my­self, but on my posterity.

[Page 8] Adieu, my dear Lord! and do me the justice to believe me ever, with most sincere respect, veneration, and affectionate attachment,

Your Grace's Most faithful friend, and most obedient humble servant, EDMUND BURKE.


APPROACHING towards the close of a long period of publick service, it is natural I should be desirous to stand well (I hope I do stand tolerably well) with that public, which, with whatever fortune, I have endeavoured faithfully and zealously, to serve.

I am also not a little anxious for some place in the estimation of the two persons to whom I address this paper. I have always acted with them, and with those whom they represent. To my knowledge I have not deviated, no not in the minutest point, from their opinions and principles. Of late, without any alter­ation in their sentiments, or in mine, a dif­ference of a very unusual nature, and which, [Page 10] under the circumstances, it is not easy to de­scribe, has arisen between us.

In my journey with them through life, I met Mr. Fox in my road; and I travelled with him very chearfully as long as he ap­peared to me to pursue the same direction with those in whose company I set out. In the latter stage of our progress, a new scheme of liberty and equality was produced in the world, which either dazzled his imagination, or was suited to some new walks of ambition, which were then opened to his view. The whole frame and fashion of his politics appear to have suffered about that time a very ma­terial alteration. It is about three years since, in consequence of that extraordinary change, that, after a pretty long preceding period of distance, coolness, and want of confidence, if not total alienation on his part, a compleat public separation has been made between that gentleman and me. Until lately the breach between us appeared reparable. I trusted that time and reflexion, and a decisive experience of the mischiess which have flowed from the proceedings and the system of France, on which our difference had arisen, as well as the [Page 11] known sentiments of the best and wisest of our common friends upon that subject, would have brought him to a safer way of thinking. Several of his friends saw no security for keep­ing things in a proper train after this excursion of his, but in the reunion of the party on its old grounds, under the Duke of Portland. Mr. Fox, if he pleased, might have been com­prehended in that system, with the rank and consideration to which his great talents entitle him, and indeed must secure to him in any party arrangement that could be made. The Duke of Portland knows how much I wished for, and how earnestly I laboured that re-union, and upon terms that might every way be honourable and advantageous to Mr. Fox.—His conduct in the last session has extinguished these hopes for ever.

Mr. Fox has lately published in print, a defence of his conduct. On taking into con­sideration that defence, a society of gentle­men, called the Whig Club, thought proper to come to the following resolution—‘"That their confidence in Mr. Fox is confirmed, strengthened, and increased, by the calumnies against him."’

[Page 12] To that resolution my two noble friends, the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, have given their concurrence.

The calumnies supposed in that resolution, can be nothing else than the objections taken to Mr. Fox's conduct in this session of Par­liament; for to them, and to them alone, the resolution refers. I am one of those who have publickly and strongly urged those objections. I hope I shall be thought only to do what is necessary to my justification, thus publickly, solemnly, and heavily censured by those whom I most value and esteem, when I firmly con­tend, that the objections which I, with many others of the friends to the Duke of Portland, have made to Mr. Fox's conduct, are not ca­lumnies, but founded on truth; that they are not few, but many; and that they are not light and trivial, but in a very high degree, serious and important.

That I may avoid the imputation of throw­ing out, even privately, any loose random imputations against the public conduct of a gentleman, for whom I once entertained a very warm affection, and whose abilities I [Page 13] regard with the greatest admiration, I will put down distinctly and articulately, some of the matters of objection which I feel to his late doctrines and proceedings, trusting that I shall be able to demonstrate to the friends, whose good opinion I would still cultivate, that not levity, nor caprice, nor less defensible motives, but that very grave reasons influence my judgment. I think that the spirit of his late proceedings is wholly alien to our national policy, and to the peace, to the prosperity, and to the legal liberties of this nation, ac­cording to our ancient domestic and appropriated mode of holding them.

Viewing things in that light, my confi­dence in him is not encreased, but totally destroyed by those proceedings. I cannot conceive it a matter of honour or duty (but the direct contrary) in any member of par­liament, to continue systematick opposition for the purpose of putting Government under dif­ficulties, until Mr. Fox (with all his present ideas) shall have the principal direction of af­fairs placed in his hands; and until the pre­sent body of administration (with their ideas [Page 14] and measures) is of course overturned and dissolved.

To come to particulars:

1. The Laws and Constitution of the King­dom, entrust the sole and exclusive right of treating with foreign potentates, to the King. This is an undisputed part of the legal pre­rogative of the Crown. However, notwith­standing this, Mr. Fox, without the know­ledge or participation of any one person in the House of Commons, with whom he was bound by every party principle, in matters of deli­cacy and importance, confidentially to com­municate, thought proper to send Mr. Adair, as his representative, and with his cypher, to St. Petersburgh, there to frustrate the objects for which the Minister from the Crown was authorized to treat. He succeeded in this his design, and did actually frustrate the King's Minister in some of the objects of his nego­ciation.

This proceeding of Mr. Fox does not (as I conceive) amount to absolute high treason; Russia, though on bad terms, not having [Page 15] been then declaredly at war with this king­dom. But such a proceeding is, in law, not very remote from that offence, and is un­doubtedly a most unconstitutional act, and an high treasonable misdemeanor.

The legitimate and sure mode of commu­nication between this nation and foreign powers, is rendered uncertain, precarious, and treacherous, by being divided into two channels, one with the Government, one with the head of a party in Opposition to that Go­vernment; by which means the foreign powers can never be assured of the real au­thority or validity of any public transaction whatsoever.

On the other hand, the advantage taken of the discontent which at that time prevailed in parliament and in the nation, to give to an individual an influence directly against the Government of his country, in a foreign court, has made a highway into England for the intrigues of foreign courts in our affairs. This is a sore evil; an evil from which, before this time, England was more free than any other nation. Nothing can [Page 16] preserve us from that evil—which connects cabinet factions abroad with popular factions here,—but the keeping sacred the Crown, as the only channel of communication with every other nation.

This proceeding of Mr. Fox has given a strong countenance and an encouraging ex­ample to the doctrines and practices of the Revolution and Constitutional Societies, and of other mischievous societies of that de­scription, who, without any legal authority, and even without any corporate capacity, are in the habit of proposing, and to the best of their power, of forming leagues and alliances with France.

This proceeding, which ought to be re­probated on all the general principles of go­vernment, is, in a more narrow view of things, not less reprehensible. It tends to the prejudice of the whole of the Duke of Portland's late party, by discrediting the principles upon which they supported Mr. Fox in the Russian business, as if they, of that party also, had proceeded in their parlia­mentary opposition, on the same mischievous [Page 17] principles which actuated Mr. Fox in send­ing Mr. Adair on his embassy.

2. Very soon after his sending this em­bassy to Russia, that is, in the Spring of 1792, a covenanting club or association was formed in London, calling itself by the am­bitious and invidious title of "The Friends of the People." It was composed of many of Mr. Fox's own most intimate, personal, and party friends, joined to a very considerable part of the members of those mischievous associations called the Revolution Society, and the Constitutional Society. Mr. Fox must have been well apprized of the progress of that society, in every one of its steps; if not of the very origin of it. I certainly was informed of both, who had no connexion with the design, directly or indirectly. His influence over the persons who composed the leading part in that association, was, and is unbounded. I hear, that he expressed some disapprobation of this club in one case, (that of Mr. St. John) where his consent was formally asked; yet he never attempted seriously to put a stop to the association, or to disavow it, or to controul, check, or modify [Page 18] it in any way whatsoever. If he had pleased, without difficulty, he might have suppressed it in its beginning. However, he did not only not suppress it in its beginning, but encou­raged it in every part of its progress, at that particular time, when Jacobin Clubs (under the very same, or similar titles) were making such dreadful havock in a country not thirty miles from the coast of England, and when every motive of moral prudence called for the discouragement of societies formed for the encrease of popular pretensions to power and direction.

3. When the proceedings of this society of the Friends of the People, as well as others acting in the same spirit, had caused a very serious alarm in the mind of the Duke of Portland, and of many good patriots, he publickly, in the House of Commons, treated their apprehensions and conduct with the greatest asperity and ridicule. He condemned and vilified, in the most insulting and out­rageous terms, the proclamation issued by Go­vernment on that occasion—though he well knew, that it had passed through the Duke of Portland's hands, that it had received his [Page 19] fullest approbation, and that it was the re­sult of an actual interview between that noble Duke and Mr. Pitt. During the discussion of its merits in the House of Commons, Mr. Fox countenanced and justified the chief promoters of that association; and he re­ceived in return, a publick assurance from them of an inviolable adherence to him, singly and personally. On account of this proceeding, a very great number (I presume to say, not the least grave and wise part) of the Duke of Portland's friends in Parliament, and many out of Parliament, who are of the same description, have become separated from that time to this from Mr. Fox's particular Cabal; very few of which Cabal are, or ever have, so much as pretended to be attached to the Duke of Portland, or to pay any respect to him or his opinions.

4. At the beginning of this session, when the sober part of the nation was a second time generally and justly alarmed at the pro­gress of the French arms on the Continent, and at the spreading of their horrid princi­ples and cabals in England, Mr. Fox did not (as had been usual in cases of far less [Page 20] moment) call together any meeting of the Duke of Portland's friends in the House of Commons, for the purpose of taking their opinion on the conduct to be pursued in Par­liament at that critical Juncture. He con­certed his measures (if with any persons at all) with the friends of Lord Lansdowne, and those calling themselves Friends of the People, and others not in the smallest de­gree attached to the Duke of Portland; by which conduct he wilfully gave up (in my opinion) all pretensions to be considered as of that party, and much more to be con­sidered as the Leader and Mouth of it in the House of Commons. This could not give much encouragement to those who had been separated from Mr. Fox, on account of his conduct on the first proclamation, to rejoin that party.

5. Not having consulted any of the Duke of Portlands party in the House of Commons; and not having consulted them, because he had reason to know, that the course he had resolved to pursue would be highly disagreeable to them, he represented the alarm, which was a second time given and taken, in still more invidious [Page 21] colours than those in which he painted the alarms of the former year. He described those alarms in this manner, although the cause of them was then grown far less equi­vocal, and far more urgent. He even went so far as to treat the supposition of the growth of a Jacobin spirit in England as a libel on the nation. As to the danger from abroad, on the first day of the session, he said little or nothing upon the subject. He contented himself with defending the ruling factions in France, and with accusing the publick Councils of this kingdom of every sort of evil design on the liberties of the people; declaring distinctly, strongly, and precisely, that the whole danger of the nation was from the growth of the Power of the Crown. The policy of this de­claration was obvious. It was in subservience to the general plan of disabling us from taking any steps against France. To counteract the alarm given by the progress of Jacobin arms and principles, he endeavoured to excite an opposite alarm concerning the growth of the Power of the Crown. If that alarm should prevail, he knew that the nation never would be brought by arms to oppose the growth of the Jacobin empire; because it is obvious that [Page 22] war does, in its very nature, necessitate the Commons considerably to strengthen the hands of Government; and if that strength should itself be the object of terrour, we could have no war.

6. In the extraordinary and violent speeches of that day, he attributed all the evils which the publick had suffered, to the Proclamation of the preceding summer; though he spoke in presence of the Duke of Portland's own son, the Marquis of Titchfield, who had seconded the Address on that Proclamation; and in presence of the Duke of Portland's brother, Lord Edward Bentinck, and se­veral others of his best friends and nearest relations.

7. On that day, that is, on the 13th of December, 1792, he proposed an amendment to the Address, which stands on the Journals of the House, and which is, perhaps, the most extraordinary record which ever did stand upon them. To introduce this amendment, he not only struck out the part of the proposed Address which alluded to insurrections, upon the ground of the objections which he took [Page 23] to the legality of calling together Parlia­ment, (objections which I must ever think litigious and sophistical) but he likewise struck out that part which related to the Cabals and Conspiracies of the French Faction in England, although their practices and correspondences were of public notoriety. Mr. Cooper and Mr. Watt had been deputed from Manchester to the Jacobins. These ambassadors were re­ceived by them as British Representatives. Other deputations of English had been re­ceived at the bar of the National Assembly. They had gone the length of giving supplies to the Jacobin armies; and they in return had received promises of military assistance to for­ward their designs in England. A regular correspondence for fraternizing the two na­tions had also been carried on by societies in London with a great number of the Jacobin societies in France. This correspondence had also for its object the pretended improvement of the British Constitution.—What is the most remarkable, and by much the more mischiev­ous part of his proceedings that day, Mr. Fox likewise struck out every thing in the Address which related to the lokens of Ambilion given by France, her aggressions upon our allies, and the [Page 24] sudden and dangerous growth of her power upon every side; and instead of all those weighty, and at that time, necessary matters, by which the House of Commons was (in a crisis, such as perhaps Europe never stood) to give assu­rances to our allies, strength to our Govern­ment, and a check to the common enemy of Europe, he substituted nothing but a criminal charge on the conduct of the British Govern­ment for calling Parliament together, and an engagement to enquire into that conduct.

8. If it had pleased God to suffer him to succeed in this his project, for the amendment to the Address, he would for ever have ruined this nation, along with the rest of Europe. At home all the Jacobin societies, formed for the utter destruction of our Constitution, would have lifted up their heads, which had been beaten down by the two Proclamations. Those societies would have been infinitely strengthened and multiplied in every quarter; their dangerous foreign communications would have been left broad and open; the Crown would not have been authorized to take any measure whatever for our immediate defence by sea or land. The closest, the most natural, [Page 25] the nearest, and, at the same time, from many internal as well as external circumstances, the weakest of our allies, Holland, would have been given up, bound hand and foot, to France, just on the point of invading that republick. A general consternation would have seized upon all Europe; and all alliance with every other power, except France, would have been for ever rendered impracticable to us. I think it impossible for any man, who regards the dignity and safety of his country, or indeed the common safety of mankind, ever to forget Mr. Fox's proceedings in that tremendous crisis of all human affairs.

9. Mr. Fox very soon had reason to be apprised of the general dislike of the Duke of Portland's friends to this conduct. Some of those who had even voted with him, the day after their vote expressed their abhor­rence of his amendment, their sense of its inevitable tendency, and their total aliena­tion from the principles and maxims upon which it was made; yet, the very next day, that is, on Friday, the 14th of December, he brought on what in effect was the very same [Page 26] business, and on the same principles, a se­cond time.

10. Although the House does not usually fit on Saturday, he a third time brought on another proposition, in the same spirit, and pursued it with so much heat and perseverance as to sit into Sunday; a thing not known in Parliament for many years.

11. In all these motions and debates he wholly departed from all the political prin­ciples relative to France, (considered merely as a state, and independent of its Jacobin form of government) which had hitherto been held fundamental in this country, and which he had himself held more strongly than any man in Parliament. He at that time studiously separated himself from those to whose sentiments he used to profess no small regard, although those sentiments were pub­lickly declared. I had then no concern in the party, having been for some time, with all outrage, excluded from it; but, on ge­neral principles, I must say, that a person who assumes to be leader of a party com­posed of freemen and of gentlemen, ought to [Page 27] pay some degree of deference to their feel­ings, and even to their prejudices. He ought to have some degree of management for their credit and influence in their country. He shewed so very little of this delicacy, that he compared the alarm raised in the minds of the Duke of Portland's party, (which was his own) an alarm in which they sym­pathized with the greater part of the nation, to the panick produced by the pretended Popish plot in the reign of Charles the Second—describing it to be, as that was, a contriv­ance of knaves, and believed only by well­meaning dupes and madmen.

12. The Monday following, (the 17th of December) he pursued the same conduct. The means used in England to co-operate with the Jacobin army in politicks, agreed with their modes of proceeding; I allude to the mischievous writings circulated with much industry and success, as well as the se­ditious clubs, which at that time, added not a little to the alarm taken by observing and well-informed men. The writings and the clubs were two evils which marched together. Mr. Fox discovered the greatest possible dis­position [Page 28] to favour and countenance the one as well as the other of these two grand instru­ments of the French system. He would hardly consider any political writing whatsoever, as a libel, or as a fit object of prosecution. At a time in which the press has been the grand instrument of the subversion of order, of mo­rals, of religion, and I may say of human so­ciety itself, to carry the doctrines of its liberty higher than ever it has been known by its most extravagant assertors even in France, gave oc­casion to very serious reflections. Mr. Fox treated the associations for prosecuting these libels, as tending to prevent the improvement of the human mind, and as a mobbish tyranny. He thought proper to compare them with the riotous assemblies of Lord George Gordon in 1780, declaring that he had advised his friends in Westminster, to sign the associations whe­ther they agreed to them or not, in order that they might avoid destruction to their persons or their houses, or a desertion of their shops. This insidious advice tended to confound those who wished well to the object of the associa­tion, with the seditious, against whom the association was directed. By this stratagem, the confederacy intended for preserving the [Page 29] British constitution, and the public peace, would be wholly defeated. The magistrates, utterly incapable of distinguishing the friends from the enemies of order, would in vain look for support when they stood in the greatest need of it.

13. Mr. Fox's whole conduct, on this oc­casion, was without example. The very morn­ing after these violent declamations in the House of Commons against the association, (that is on Tuesday the 18th) he went himself to a meeting of St. George's parish, and there signed an association of the nature and ten­dency of those he had the night before so ve­hemently condemned; and several of his par­ticular and most intimate friends, inhabitants of that parish, attended and signed along with him.

14. Immediately after this extraordinary step, and in order perfectly to defeat the ends of that association against Jacobin publica­tions, (which, contrary to his opinions, he had promoted and signed) a mischievous so­ciety was formed under his auspices, called, the Friends of the Liberty of the Press. Their [Page 30] title groundlessly insinuated, that the freedom of the press had lately suffered, or was now threatened with some violation. This society was only, in reality, another modification of the society calling itself the Friends of the People, which, in the preceding summer had caused so much uneasiness in the Duke of Portland's mind, and in the minds of several of his friends. This new society was com­posed of many, if not most of the members of the club of the Friends of the People, with the addition of a vast multitude of others (such as Mr. Horne Tooke) of the worst and most seditious dispositions that could be found in the whole kingdom. In the first meeting of this club, Mr. Erskine took the lead, and di­rectly (without any disavowal ever since on Mr. Fox's part) made use of his name and au­thority in favour of its formation and purposes. In the same meeting Mr. Erskine had thanks for his defence of Paine, which amounted to a complete avowal of that Jacobin incendiary; else it is impossible to know how Mr. Erskine should have deserved such marked applauses for acting merely as a lawyer for his fee, in the ordinary course of his profession.

[Page 31] 15. Indeed Mr. Fox appeared the general patron of all such persons and proceedings. When Lord Edward Fitzgerald, and other persons, for practices of the most dangerous kind, in Paris and in London, were removed from the King's Guards, Mr. Fox took occa­sion, in the House of Commons, heavily to censure that act as unjust and oppressive, and tending to make officers bad citizens. There were few, however, who did not call for some such measures on the part of Government, as of absolute necessity for the King's personal safety, as well as that of the publick; and no­thing but the mistaken lenity (with which such practices were rather discountenanced than punished) could possibly deserve repre­hension in what was done with regard to those gentlemen.

16. Mr. Fox, regularly and systematically, and with a diligence long unusual to him, did every thing he could to countenance the same principle of fraternity and connexion with the Jacobins abroad, and the National Con­vention of France, for which these officers had been removed from the Guards. For when a bill (feeble and lax indeed, and far short of [Page 32] the vigour required by the conjuncture) was brought in for removing out of the kingdom the emissaries of France, Mr. Fox opposed it with all his might. He pursued a vehement and detailed opposition to it through all its stages, describing it as a measure contrary to the existing treaties between Great Britain and France; as a violation of the law of nations, and as an outrage on the great charter itself.

17. In the same manner, and with the same heat, he opposed a bill, which, (though aukward and inartificial in its construction) was right and wise in its principle, and was precedented in the best times, and absolutely necessary at that juncture,—I mean the Trai­torous Correspondence Bill. By these means the enemy, rendered infinitely dangerous by the links of real faction and pretended com­merce, would have been (had Mr. Fox suc­ceeded) enabled to carry on the war against us by our own resources. For this purpose that enemy would have had his agents and trai­tors in the midst of us.

18. When at length war was actually de­clared, by the usurpers in France, against this [Page 33] kingdom, and declared whilst they were pre­tending a negociation through Dumourier with Lord Auckland, Mr. Fox still continued, through the whole of the proceedings, to dis­credit the national honour and justice, and to throw the entire blame of the war on Parlia­ment, and on his own country, as acting with violence, haughtiness, and want of equity. He frequently asserted, both at the time and ever since, that the war, though declared by France, was provoked by us, and that it was wholly un­necessary, and fundamentally unjust.

19. He has lost no opportunity of railing, in the most virulent manner, and in the most unmeasured language, at every foreign power with whom we could now, or at any time, con­tract any useful or effectual alliance against France, declaring that he hoped no alliance with those powers was made, or was in a train of being made*. He always expressed himself with the utmost horror concerning such alliances, so did all his phalanx. Mr. Sheridan, in particular, after one of his invectives against those powers, [Page 34] fitting by him, said, with manifest marks of his approbation, that if we must go to war, he had rather go to war alone than with such allies.

20. Immediately after the French declaration of war against us, Parliament addressed the King in support of the war against them, as just and necessary, and provoked as well as formally declared against Great Britain. He did not divide the House upon this measure; yet he immediately followed this our solemn Parlia­mentary engagement to the King, with a motion proposing a set of resolutions, the effect of which was, that the two Houses were to load themselves with every kind of reproach for having made the address, which they had just carried to the Throne. He commenced this long string of criminatory resolutions against his country, (if King, Lords and Commons of Great Britain, and a decided majority without doors are his country) with a declaration against intermeddling in the interior concerns of France. The purport of this resolution of non-interference, is a thing unexampled in the history of the world, when one nation has been actually at war with another. The best writers on the law of nations, give no [Page 35] sort of countenance to his doctrine of non-inter­ference, in the extent and manner in which he used it, even when there is no war. When the war exists, not one authority is against it in all its latitude. His doctrine is equally contrary to the enemy's uniform practice, who, whether in peace or in war, makes it his great aim, not only to change the Government, but to make an entire revolution in the whole of the social order in every country.

The object of the last of this extraordinary string of resolutions moved by Mr. Fox, was to advise the Crown not to enter into such an engagement with any foreign power, so as to hinder us from making a separate peace with France, or which might tend to enable any of those powers to introduce a government in that country, other than such as those persons whom he calls the people of France, shall choose to establish. In short, the whole of these resolu­tions appeared to have but one drift—namely, the sacrifice of our own domestick dignity and safety, and the independency of Europe, to the support of this strange mixture of anarchy and tyranny which prevails in France, and which Mr. Fox and his party were pleased to call a [Page 36] Government. The immediate consequences of these measures was (by an example, the ill effects of which, on the whole world, are not to be calculated) to secure the robbers of the inno­cent nobility, gentry, and ecclesiasticks of France, in the enjoyment of the spoil they have made of the estates, houses, and goods of their fellow­citizens.

21. Not satisfied with moving these resolu­tions, tending to confirm this horrible tyranny and robbery, and with actually dividing the House on the first of the long string which they composed, in a few days afterwards he encou­raged and supported Mr. Grey in producing the very same strings in a new form, and in moving, under the shape of an address of Parliament to the Crown, another virulent libel on all its own proceedings in this session, in which not only all the ground of the resolutions was again travelled over, but much new inflammatory matter was introduced. In particular, a charge was made, that Great Britain had not interposed to prevent the last partition of Poland. On this head the party dwelt very largely, and very vehemently. Mr. Fox's intention, in the choice of this ex­traordinary topic, was evident enough. He [Page 37] well knows two things; first, that no wise or honest man can approve of that partition, or can contemplate it without prognosticating great mis­chief from it to all countries at some future time. Secondly, he knows quite as well, that, let our opinions on that partition be what they will, Eng­land, by itself, is not in a situation to afford to Poland any assistance whatsoever. The purpose of the introduction of Polish politics into this dis­cussion, was not for the sake of Poland; it was to throw an odium upon those who are obliged to de­cline the cause of justice from their impossibility of supporting a cause which they approve; as if we, who think more strongly on this subject than he does, were of a party against Poland, because we are obliged to act with some of the authors of that injustice, against our common enemy, France. But the great and leading purpose of this introduction of Poland into the debates on the French war, was to divert the public atten­tion from what was in our power, that is, from a steady co-operation against France, to a quarrel with the Allies for the sake of a Polish war, which, for any useful purpose to Poland, he knew it was out of our power to make. If England can touch Poland ever so remotely, it must be through the medium of alliances. [Page 38] But by attacking all the combined powers toge­ther for their supposed unjust aggression upon France, he bound them by a new common inte­rest, not separately to join England for the res­cue of Poland. The proposition could only mean to do what all the writers of his party in the Morning Chronicle have aimed at persuading the public to, through the whole of the last au­tumn and winter, and to this hour; that is, to an alliance with the Jacobins of France, for the pretended purpose of succouring Poland. This curious project would leave to Great Britain no other Ally in all Europe, except its old ene­my, France.

22. Mr. Fox, after the first day's discussion on the question for the address, was at length driven to admit—(to admit rather than to urge, and that very faintly) that France had discovered ambitious views, which none of his partizans, that I recollect, (Mr. Sheridan excepted) did, however, either urge or admit. What is re­markable enough, all the points admitted against the Jacobins, were brought to bear in their favour as much as those in which they were defended. For when Mr. Fox admitted that the conduct of the Jacobins did discover ambi­tion, [Page 39] he always ended his admission of their am­bitious views by an apology for them, insisting, that the universally hostile disposition shewn to them, rendered their ambition a sort of defen­sive policy. Thus, on whatever roads he tra­velled, they all terminated in recommending a recognition of their pretended Republic, and in the plan of sending an ambassador to it. This was the burthen of all his song—‘"Every thing which we could reasonably hope from war, would be obtained from treaty."’ It is to be observed, however, that in all these debates, Mr. Fox never once stated to the House upon what ground it was he conceived, that all the objects of the French system of united fanaticism and ambition would instantly be given up when­ever England should think fit to propose a treaty. On proposing so strange a recognition, and so humiliating an embassy as he moved, he was bound to produce his authority, if any au­thority he had. He ought to have done this the rather, because Le Brun, in his first propo­sitions, and in his answers to Lord Grenville, defended, on principle, not on temporary conveni­ence, every thing which was objected to France, and shewed not the smallest disposition to give up any one of the points in discussion. Mr. [Page 40] Fox must also have known, that the Convention had passed to the order of the day, on a propo­sition to give some sort of explanation or modi­fication to the hostile decree of the 19th of November, for exciting insurrections in all countries; a decree known to be peculiarly pointed at Great Britain. The whole proceeding of the French administration was the most re­mote that could be imagined from furnishing any indication of a pacific disposition: for at the very time in which it was pretended that the Jacobins entertained those boasted pacific inten­tions, at the very time in which Mr. Fox was urging a treaty with them, not content with re­fusing a modification of the decree for insur­rections, they published their ever memorable decree of the 15th of December, 1792, for disorganizing every country in Europe, into which they should on any occasion set their foot; and on the 25th and the 30th of the same month, they solemnly, and on the last of these days, practically confirmed that de­cree.

23. But Mr. Fox had himself taken good care in the negociation he proposed, that France should not be obliged to make any [Page 41] very great concessions to her presumed mo­deration—for he had laid down one general comprehensive rule, with him (as he said) constant and inviolable. This rule, in fact, would not only have left to the faction in France, all the property and power they had usurped at home, but most, if not all, of the conquests which by their atrocious perfidy and violence, they had made abroad. The principle laid down by Mr. Fox, is this, ‘"That every state, in the conclusion of a war, has a right to avail itself of its conquests to­wards an indemnification."’ This principle (true or false) is totally contrary to the policy which this country has pursued with France, at various periods, particularly at the treaty of Ryswick, in the last century, and at the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in this. Whatever the merits of his rule may be, in the eyes of neutral judges, it is a rule, which no statesman before him ever laid down in favour of the adverse power with whom he was to negotiate. The adverse party himself, may safely be trusted to take care of his own aggrandizement. But (as if the black boxes of theseveral parties had been exchanged) Mr. Fox's English ambassador, by some odd mistake, would find himself [Page 42] cahrged with the concerns of France. If we were to leave France as she stood at the time when Mr. Fox proposed to treat with her, that formidable power must have been infinitely strengthened, and almost every other power in Europe as much weakened, by the extra­ordinary basis which he laid for a treaty. For Avignon must go from the Pope; Savoy (at least) from the King of Sardinia, if not Nice. Liege, Mentz, Salm, Deux Ponts, and Bâle, must be separated from Germany. On this side of the Rhine, Liege, at least, must be lost to the empire, and added to France. Mr. Fox's general principal fully covered all this. How much of these territories came within his rule, he never attempted to define. He kept a profound silence as to Germany. As to the Netherlands he was something more explicit. He said, (if I recollect right) that France, on that side, might expect some­thing towards strengthening her frontier. As to the remaining parts of the Netherlands, which he supposed France might consent to surrender, he went so far as to declare that England ought not to permit the Emperor to be repossessed of the remainder of the ten Provinces, but that the People should choose [Page 43] such a form of independent Government as they liked. This proposition of Mr. Fox was just the arrangement which the usurpa­tion in France had all along proposed to make. As the circumstances were at that time, and have been ever since, his proposition fully indicated what Gevernment the Flem­mings must have in the stated extent of what was left to them. A Government so set up in the Netherlands, whether compulsory, or by the choice of the Sans-Culottes, (who he well knew were to be the real electors, and the sole electors) in whatever name it was to exist, must evidently depend for its exist­ence, as it had done for its original forma­tion, on France. In reality, it must have ended in that point, to which, piece by piece, the French were then actually bring­ing all the Netherlands; that is, an incor­poration with France, as a body of new departments, just as Savoy and Liege, and the rest of their pretended independent po­pular sovereignties, have been united to their republic. Such an arrangement must have destroyed Austria; it must have left Holland always at the mercy of France; it must totally and for ever cut off all political [Page 44] communication between England and the Continent. Such must have been the situa­tion of Europe, according to Mr. Fox's system of politicks, however laudable his per­sonal motives may have been in proposing so complete a change in the whole system of Great Britain, with regard to all the Conti­nental powers.

24. After it had been generally supposed that all publick business was over for the ses­sion, and that Mr. Fox had exhausted all the modes of pressing this French scheme, he thought proper to take a step beyond every expectation, and which demonstrated his wonderful eagerness and perseverance in his cause, as well as the nature and true character of the cause itself. This step was taken by Mr. Fox immediately after his giv­ing his assent to the Grant of Supply voted to him by Mr. Serjeant Adair and a Com­mittee of Gentlemen, who assumed to them­selves to act in the name of the publick. In the instrument of his acceptance of this Grant, Mr. Fox took occasion to assure them, that he would always persevere in the same conduct which had procured to him so honour­able [Page 45] a mark of the public approbation. He was as good as his word.

25. It was not long before an opportunity was found, or made, for proving the sincerity of his professions, and demonstrating his gra­titude to those who had given publick and un­equivocal marks of their approbation of his late conduct. One of the most virulent of the Jacobin Faction, Mr. Gurney, a banker at Norwich, had all along distinguished him­self by his French politicks. By the means of this Gentleman, and of his associates of the same description, one of the most insidious and dangerous hand-bills that ever was seen, had been circulated at Norwich against the war, drawn up in an hypocritical tone of compassion for the Poor. This Address to the Populace of Norwich was to play in concert with an Address to Mr. Fox; it was signed by Mr. Gurney and the higher part of the French Fraternity in that town. In this paper Mr. Fox is applauded for his Conduct throughout the session; and requested, before the prorogation, to make a motion for an im­mediate Peace with France.

[Page 46] 26. Mr. Fox did not revoke to this suit: he readily and thankfully undertook the task assigned to him. Not content, however, with merely falling in with their wishes, he proposed a task on his part to the Gentle­men of Norwich, which was, that they should move the people without doors to petition against the War. He said, that without such assist­ance, little good could be expected from any thing he might attempt within the walls of the House of Commons. In the mean time, to animate his Norwich friends in their en­deavours to besiege Parliament, he snatched the first opportunity to give notice of a motion, which he very soon after made, namely, to address the Crown to make Peace with France. The Address was so worded as to co-operate with the hand-bill in bringing for­ward matter calculated to inflame the manu­facturers throughout the kingdom.

27. In support of his motion, he declaimed in the most virulent strain, even beyond any of his former invectives, against every power with whom we were then, and are now, acting against France. In the moral forum, some of these powers certainly deserve all the ill he [Page 47] said of them; but the political effect aimed at, evidently was to turn our indignation from France, with whom we were at war, upon Russia, or Prussia, or Austria, or Sardinia, or all of them together. In consequence of his knowledge that we could not effectually do without them, and his resolution that we should not act with them, he proposed, that having, as he asserted, ‘"obtained the only avowed object of the War (the evacuation off Holland), we ought to conclude an instant Peace."’

28. Mr. Fox could not be ignorant of the mistaken basis upon which his motion was grounded. He was not ignorant, that, though the attempt of Dumourier on Hol­land (so very near succeeding), and the na­vigation of the Scheld (a part of the same piece), were among the immediate causes, they were by no means the only causes alledged for Parliament's taking that offence at the proceedings of France, for which the Jacobins were so prompt in declaring war upon this kingdom. Other full as weighty causes had been alledged: They were, 1. The general overbearing and desperate am­bition [Page 48] of that Faction. 2. Their actual at­tacks on every nation in Europe. 3. Their usurpation of territories in the empire with the governments of which they had no pre­tence of quarrel. 4. Their perpetual and irrevocable consolidation with their own do­minions of every territory of the Nether­lands, of Germany, and of Italy, of which they got a temporary possession. 5. The mischiefs attending the prevalence of their system, which would make the success of their ambitious designs a new and peculiar species of calamity in the world. 6. Their formal publick decrees; particularly those of the 19th of November, and 15th and 25th of December. 7. Their notorious attempts to undermine the Constitution of this coun­try. 8. Their public reception of deputa­tions of traitors for that direct purpose. 9. Their murder of their Sovereign, declared by most of the members of the Convention, who spoke with their vote (without a dis­avowal from any) to be perpetrated, as an example to all Kings, and a precedent for all subjects to follow. All these, and not the Scheld alone, or the invasion of Holland, were urged by the Minister, and by Mr. [Page 49] Windham, by myself, and by others who spoke in those debates, as causes for bring­ing France to a sense of her wrong in the war which she declared against us. Mr. Fox well knew, that not one man argued for the necessity of a vigorous resistance to France, who did not state the war as being for the very existence of the social order here, and every part of Europe; who did not state his opinion, that this war was not at all a foreign War of Empire, but as much for our Liberties, Properties, Laws, and Religion; and even more so than any we had ever been engaged in. This was the war, which, according to Mr. Fox and Mr. Gurney, we were to abandon before the enemy had felt, in the slightest degree, the impression of our arms.

29. Had Mr. Fox's disgraceful proposal been complied with, this kingdom would have been stained with a blot of perfidy hi­therto without an example in our history, and with far less excuse than any act of per­fidy which we find in the history of any other nation. The moment, when by the incredible exertions of Austria (very little [Page 50] through our's) the temporary deliverance of Holland (in effect our own deliverance) had been atchieved, he advised the House in­stantly to abandon her to that very enemy, from whose arms she had freed ourselves, and the closest of our allies.

30. But we are not to be imposed on by forms of language. We must act on the sub­stance of Things. To abandon Austria in this manner, was to abandon Holland itself. For suppose France, encouraged and strengthened as she must have been by our treacherous de­sertion, suppose France, I say, to succeed against Austria, (as she had succeeded the very year before) England would, after its dis­armament, have nothing in the world but the inviolable faith of Jacobinism, and the steady politics of anarchy to depend upon, against France's renewing the very same attempts upon Holland, and renewing them (consider­ing what Holland was and is) with much bet­ter prospects of success. Mr. Fox must have been well aware, that if we were to break with the greater Continental Powers, and par­ticularly to come to a rupture with them, in the violent and intemperate mode in which [Page 51] he would have made the breach, the defence of Holland against a foreign enemy, and a strong domestick faction, must hereafter rest solely upon England, without the chance of a single Ally, either on that or on any other occasion. So far as to the pretended sole ob­ject of the war, which Mr. Fox supposed to be so completely obtained, (but which then was not at all, and at this day is not com­pletely obtained,) as to leave us nothing else to do than to cultivate a peaceful, quiet cor­respondence with those quiet, peaceable and moderate people, the Jacobins of France.

31. To induce us to this, Mr. Fox labour­ed hard to make it appear, that the powers with whom we acted, were full as ambitious and as perfidious as the French. This might be true as to other nations. They had not, however, been so to Us or to Holland. He produced no proof of active ambition and ill faith against Austria. But supposing the com­bined Powers had been all thus faithless, and had been all alike so, there was one circum­stance which made an essential difference be­tween them and France. I need not therefore be at the trouble of contesting this point, which, [Page 52] however, in this latitude, and as at all affecting Great Britain and Holland, I deny utterly: Be it so. But the great Monarchies have it in their power to keep their faith if they please, because they are Governments of established and recognized authority at home and abroad. France had, in reality, no Government. The very factions who exercised power, had no stability. The French Convention had no powers of peace or war. Supposing the Con­vention to be free (most assuredly it was not) they had shewn no disposition to abandon their projects. Though long driven out of Liege, it was not many days before Mr. Fox's mo­tion, that they still continued to claim it as a country, which their principles of fraternity bound them to protect, that is, to subdue and to regulate at their pleasure. That party which Mr. Fox inclined most to favour and trust, and from which he must have received his assurances (if any he did receive) that is, the Brissotins, were then either prisoners or fugitives. The Party which prevailed over them (that of Danton and Marat) was itself in a tottering condition, and was disowned by a very great part of France. To say nothing of the Royal Party who were powerful and [Page 53] growing, and who had full as good a right to claim to be the legitimate Government as any of the Parisian Factions with whom he pro­posed to treat—or rather (as it seemed to me) to surrender at discretion.

32. But when Mr. Fox began to come from his general hopes of the moderation of the Jacobins, to particulars, he put the case, that they might not perhaps be willing to surren­der Savoy. He certainly was not willing to contest that point with them; but plainly and explicitly (as I understood him) proposed to let them keep it; though he knew (or he was much worse informed than he would be thought) that England had, at the very time, agreed on the terms of a Treaty with the King of Sardinia, of which the recovery of Savoy was the Casus Federis. In the teeth of this Treaty, Mr. Fox proposed a direct and most scandalous breach of our faith, for­mally and recently given. But to surrender Savoy, was to surrender a great deal more than so many square acres of land, or so much revenue. In its consequences, the surrender of Savoy, was to make a surrender to France of Switzerland and Italy, of both which [Page 54] countries, Savoy is the key—as it is known to ordinary speculators in politicks, though it may not be known to the Weavers in Nor­wich, who, it seems are, by Mr. Fox, called to be the judges in this matter.

33. A sure way indeed, to encourage France not to make a surrender of this key of Italy and Switzerland, or of Mayence, the key of Germany, or of any other object whatsoever which she holds, is to let her see, that the People of England raise a clamour against the War before terms are so much as proposed on any side. From that moment, the Jacobins would be masters of the terms.—They would know, that Parliament, at all hazards, would force the King to a separate Peace. The Crown could not, in that case, have any use of its judgment. Parliament could not possess more judgment than the Crown, when besieged (as Mr. Fox proposed to Mr. Gurney) by the cries of the Manufac­turers. This description of men, Mr. Fox endeavoured in his speech, by every method, to irritate and inflame. In effect, his two speeches were, through the whole, nothing more than an amplification of the Norwich [Page 55] Hand-bill. He rested the greatest part of his argument on the distress of Trade, which he attributed to the war; though it was obvious, to any tolerably good observation, and much more must have been clear to such an obser­vation as his, that the then difficulties of the Trade and Manufacture could have no sort of connection with our share in it. The war had hardly begun. We had suffered neither by spoil, nor by defeat, nor by disgrace of any kind. Public credit was so little impaired, that instead of being supported by any extra­ordinary aids from individuals, it advanced a credit to individuals to the amount of five millions, for the support of Trade and Manu­factures, under their temporary difficulties, a thing before never heard of;—a thing of which I do not commend the policy—but only state it, to shew, that Mr. Fox's ideas of the effects of war were without any trace of foun­dation.

33. It is impossible not to correct the ar­guments and proceedings of a Party with that of its leader—especially when not disavowed or controlled by him. Mr. Fox's partizans declaim against all the powers of Europe, ex­cept [Page 56] the Jacobins, just as he does; but not having the same reasons for management and caution which he has, they speak out. He satisfies himself merely with making his in­vectives, and leaves others to draw the con­clusion. But they produce their Polish inter­position, for the express purpose of leading to a French alliance. They urge their French Peace, in order to make a junction with the Jacobins to oppose the powers, whom, in their language, they call Despots, and their leagues, a combination of Despots. Indeed, no man can look on the present posture of Europe with the least degree of discernment, who will not be thoroughly convinced, that England must be the fast friend or the determined enemy of France. There is no medium; and I do not think Mr. Fox to be so dull as not to observe this. His Peace would have involved us instantly in the most extensive and most ruinous wars; at the same time that it would have made a broad highway (across which no human wisdom could put an effectual barrier) for a mutual intercourse with the fraternizing Jacobins on both sides. The consequences of which, those will certainly not provide against, who do not dread or dislike them.

[Page 57] 34. It is not amiss in this place to enter a little more fully into the spirit of the principal arguments on which Mr. Fox thought proper to rest this his grand and concluding motion, particularly such as were drawn from the in­ternal state of our affairs. Under a specious appearance (not uncommonly put on by men of unscrupulous ambition) that of tenderness and compassion to the Poor; he did his best to appeal to the judgments of the meanest and most ignorant of the people on the merits of the War. He had before done something of the same dangerous kind in his printed Letter. The ground of a political War is of all things that which the poor labourer and manufacturer are the least capable of conceiving. This sort of people know in general that they must suffer by War. It is a matter to which they are sufficiently competent, because it is a matter of feeling. The causes of a war are not matters of feeling, but of reason and foresight, and often of remote considerations, and of a very great combination of circumstances, which they are utterly incapable of comprehending; and, indeed, it is not every man in the highest classes who is altogether equal to it. Nothing, in a general sense, appears to me less fair and [Page 58] justifiable, (even if no attempt were made to inflame the passions) than to submit a matter on discussion to a Tribunal incapable of judg­ing of more than one side of the question. It is at least as unjustifiable to inflame the pas­sions of such Judges against that side, in favor of which they cannot so much as comprehend the arguments. Before the prevalence of the French System (which as far as it has gone has extinguished the salutary prejudice called our Country) nobody was more sensible of this important truth than Mr. Fox; and nothing was more proper and pertinent, or was more felt at the time, than his reprimand to Mr. Wilberforce for an inconsiderate expression which tended to call in the judgment of the poor, to estimate the policy of war upon the standard of the taxes they may be obliged to pay towards its support.

35. It is fatally known, that the great Ob­ject of the Jacobin System is to excite the lowest description of the People to range themselves under ambitious men, for the pil­lage and destruction of the more eminent orders and classes of the community. The thing, therefore, that a man not fanatically at­tached [Page 59] to that dreadful project, would most studiously avoid, is, to act a part with the French Propagandists, in attributing (as they constantly do) all Wars and all the conse­quences of Wars, to the pride of those orders, and to their contempt of the weak and indi­gent part of the society. The ruling Jaco­bins insist upon it, that even the Wars which they carry on with so much obstinacy against all Nations, are made to prevent the Poor from any longer being the instruments and victims of Kings, Nobles, and the Aristo­cracy of Burghers and Rich Men. They pre­tend that the destruction of Kings, Nobles, and the Aristocracy of Burghers and Rich Men, is the only means of establishing an universal and perpetual Peace. This is the great drift of all their writings from the time of the meeting of the States of France, in 1789, to the publication of the last Morning Chro­nicle. They insist that even the War which, with so much boldness, they have declared against all Nations, is to prevent the poor from becoming the Instruments and Victims of these persons and descriptions. It is but too easy, if you once teach poor labourers and mechanics to desy their prejudices, and as this [Page 60] has been done with an industry scarcely cre­dible, to substitute the principles of frater­nity in the room of that salutary prejudice called our Country; it is, I say, but too easy to pursuade them agreeably to what Mr. Fox hints in his public Letter, that this War is, and that the other Wars have been, the Wars of Kings; it is easy to persuade them that the terrors even of a foreign conquest are not terrors for them—It is easy to persuade them that, for their part, they have nothing to lose; and that their condition is not likely to be altered for the worse, whatever party may happen to prevail in the War. Under any circumstances this doctrine is highly danger­ous, as it tends to make separate parties of the higher and lower orders, and to put their interests on a different bottom. But if the enemy you have to deal with should appear, as France now appears, under the very name and title of the deliverer of the poor, and the chastiser of the rich, the former class would readily become, not an indifferent spectator of the War, but would be ready to enlist in the faction of the enemy; which they would consider, though under a foreign name, to be more connected with them than an adverse [Page 61] description in the same land. All the props of Society would be drawn from us by these doctrines, and the very foundations of the publick defence would give way in an instant.

36. There is no point which the Faction of Fraternity in England have laboured more than to excite in the Poor the horror of any War with France upon any occasion. When they found that their open attacks upon our Constitution in favor of a French Republick were for the present repelled—they put that matter out of sight, and have taken up the more plausible and popular ground of general peace, upon merely general principles, al­though these very men, in the correspondence of their clubs with those of France, had re­probated the neutrality which now they so earnestly press. But, in reality, their maxim was and is ‘"Peace and Alliance with France, and War with the rest of the World."’

37. This last motion of Mr. Fox bound up the whole of his politics during the session. This motion had many circumstances, parti­cularly in the Norwich Correspondence, by which the mischief of all the others, was ag­gravated [Page 62] beyond measure. Yet, this last mo­tion, far the worst of Mr. Fox's proceedings, was the best supported of any of them, except his amendment to the Address. The Duke of Portland had directly engaged to support the War—Here was a motion as directly made to force the Crown to put an end to it before a blow had been struck. The efforts of the Faction have so prevailed that some of his Grace's nearest friends have actually voted for that motion: some, after shewing themselves, went away, others did not appear at all. So it must be where a man is for any time sup­ported from personal considerations, without reference to his public conduct. Through the whole of this business, the spirit of fra­ternity appears to me to have been the go­verning principle. It might be shameful for any man, above the vulgar, to shew so blind a partiality even to his own Country, as Mr. Fox appears, on all occasions, this Session, to have shewn to France. Had Mr. Fox been a Minister, and proceeded on the principles laid down by him, I believe there is little doubt he would have been considered as the most criminal Statesman that ever lived in this Country. I do not know why a States­man [Page 63] out of place is not to be judged in the same manner, unless we can excuse him by pleading in his favor a total indifference to principle; and that he would act and think in quite a different way if he were in office. This I will not suppose. One may think better of him; and that in case of his power he might change his mind. But supposing, that from better or from worse motives, he might change his mind on his acquisition of the favor of the Crown, I seriously fear that if the King should to-morrow put power into his hands, and that his good genius would in­spire him with maxims very different from those he has promulgated, he would not be able to get the better of the ill temper, and the ill doctrines he has been the means of ex­citing and propagating throughout the king­dom. From the very beginning of their inhu­man and unprovoked rebellion and tyrannick usurpation, he has covered the predominant Faction in France, and their adherents here, with the most exaggerated panegyricks; neither has he missed a single opportunity of abusing and vilifying those, who in uniform concur­rence with the Duke of Portland's and Lord Fitzwilliam's opinion, have maintained the [Page 64] true grounds of the Revolution Settlement in 1688. He lamented all the defeats of the French; he rejoiced in all their victories; even when these victories threatened to over­whelm the Continent of Europe, and by faci­litating their means of penetrating into Hol­land, to bring this most dreadful of all evils with irresistible force to the very doors, if not into the very heart, of our Country. To this hour he always speaks of every thought of overturning the French Jacobinism by force, on the part of any Power whatsoever, as an attempt unjust and cruel, and which he re­probates with horror. If any of the French Jacobin leaders are spoken of with hatred or scorn, he falls upon those who take that li­berty, with all the zeal and warmth with which men of honour defend their particular and bo­som friends, when attacked. He always re­presents their cause as a cause of Liberty; and all who oppose it as partizans of despotism. He obstinately continues to consider the great and growing vices, crimes and disorders of that country, as only evils of passage, which are to produce a permanently happy state of order and freedom. He represents these dis­orders exactly in the same way, and with the [Page 65] same limitations which are used by one of the two great Jacobin Factions, I mean that of PETION and BRISSOT. Like them he studiously confines his horror and reprobation only to the massacres of the second of September, and passes by those of the 10th of August, as well as the imprisonment and deposition of the King, which were the consequences of that day, as indeed were the massacres themselves to which he confines his censure, though they were not actually perpetrated till early in Sep­tember. Like that Faction, he condemns, not the deposition, or the proposed exile, or perpetual imprisonment, but only the murder of the King. Mr. Sheridan, on every occa­sion, palliates all their massacres committed in every part of France, as the effects of a natural indignation at the exorbitances of despotism, and of the dread of the people of returning under that yoke—He has thus taken occasion to load, not the actors in this wicked­ness, but the Government of a mild, merciful, beneficent and patriotick Prince, and his suf­fering, faithful subjects, with all the crimes of the new anarchical tyranny, under which the one has been murdered, and the others are oppressed. Those continual either praifes or [Page 66] palliating apologies of every thing done in France, and those invectives as uniformly vo­mited out upon all those who venture to ex­press their disapprobation of such proceedings, coming from a man of Mr. Fox's fame and authority, and one who is considered as the person to whom a great party of the wealthiest men of the Kingdom look up, have been the cause why the principle of French fraternity formerly gained the ground which at one time it had obtained in this Country. It will infallibly recover itself again, and in ten times a greater degree, if the kind of Peace, in the manner which he preaches, ever shall be established with the reigning faction in France.

038. So far as to the French practices with regard to France, and the other Powers of Eu­rope—as to their principles and doctrines, with regard to the Constitution of States, Mr. Fox studiously, on all occasions, and indeed when no occasion calls for it, (as on the Debate of the petition for Reform) brings forward and asserts their fundamental and fatal principle, pregnant with every mischief and every crime, namely, that ‘"in every Country the People is the legiti­mate Sovereign;"’ exactly conformable to the [Page 67] Declaration of the French Clubs and Legislators,—‘"La Souveraineté est une, indivisible, inalienable, et imprescriptible:—Elle appartient a la Na­tion:—Aucune Section du peuple, ni aucun Individu ne peut s'en attribuer l'exercise."’ This confounds, in a manner equally mischievous and stupid, the origin of a Government from the people with its continuance in their hands. I believe, that no such doctrine has ever been heard of in any publick act of any Government whatsoever, until it was adopted (I think from the writings of Rousseau) by the French Assem­blies, who have made it the basis of their Con­stitution at home, and of the matter of their apostolate in every country. These, and other wild declarations of abstract principle, Mr. Fox says, are in themselves perfectly right and true; though in some cases he allows the French draw absurd consequences from them. But I con­ceive he is mistaken. The consequences are most logically, though most mischievously drawn from the premises and principles by that wicked and ungracious faction. The fault is in the foundation.

39. Before society, in a multitude of men, it is obvious, that sovereignty and subjection are [Page 68] ideas which cannot exist. It is the compact on which society is formed that makes both. But to suppose the people, contrary to their com­pacts, both to give away and retain the same thing, is altogether absurd. It is worse, for it supposes in any strong combination of men a power and right of always dissolving the social union; which power, however, if it exists, ren­ders them again as little sovereigns as subjects, but a mere unconnected multitude. It is not easy to state for what good end, at a time like this, when the foundations of all antient and prescriptive Governments, such as ours (to which people submit, not because they have chosen them, but because they are born to them) are undermined by perilous theories, that Mr. Fox should be so fond of referring to those theories, upon all occasions, even though speculatively they might be true, which God forbid they should! Particularly I do not see the reason why he should be so fond of declaring, that the prin­ciples of the Revolution have made the Crown of Great Britain elective; why he thinks it sea­sonable to preach up with so much earnestness, for now three years together, the doctrine of resistance and Revolution at all; or to assert that our last Revolution of 1688 stands on the [Page 69] same or similar principles with that of France. We are not called upon to bring forward these doctrines, which are hardly ever resorted to but in cases of extremity, and where they are fol­lowed by correspondent actions. We are not called upon by any circumstance, that I know of, which can justify a revolt, or which demands a Revolution, or can make an election of a successor to the Crown necessary, whatever la­tent right may be supposed to exist for effectu­ating any of these purposes.

40. Not the least alarming of the proceedings of Mr. Fox and his friends in this Session, espe­cially taken in concurrence with their whole proceedings, with regard to France and its principles, is their eagerness at this Season, un­der pretence of Parliamentary Reforms (a pro­ject which had been for some time rather dor­mant) to discredit and disgrace the House of Commons. For this purpose these Gentlemen had found a way to insult the House by several atrocious libels in the form of petitions. In particular they brought up a libel, or rather a complete digest of libellous matter, from the Club called the Friends of the People. It is indeed at once the most audacious and the most [Page 70] insidious of all the performances of that kind which have yet appeared. It is said to be the penmanship of Mr. Tierney, to bring whom into Parliament the Duke of Portland formerly had taken a good deal of pains, and expended, as I hear, a considerable sum of money.

41. Among the circumstances of danger from that piece, and from its precedent, it is observable that this is the first petition (if I re­member right) coming from a Club or Association, signed by Individuals, denoting neither local resi­dence, nor corporate capacity. This mode of pe­tition not being strictly illegal or informal, though in its spirit in the highest degree mis­chievous, may and will lead to other things of that nature, tending to bring these Clubs and Associations to the French model, and to make them in the end answer French purposes: I mean, that without legal names, these Clubs will be led to assume political capacities; that they may debate the forms of Constitution; and that from their Meetings they may insolently dictate their will to the regular authorities of the Kingdom, in the manner in which the Jacobin Clubs issue their mandates to the National As­sembly, or the National Convention. The au­dacious [Page 71] remonstrance, I observe, is signed by all of that Association (the Friends of the Peo­ple) who are not in Parliament, and it was sup­ported most strenuously by all the Associators who are Members, with Mr. Fox at their head. He and they contended for referring this libel to a committee. Upon the question of that reference, they grounded all their debate for a change in the Constitution of Parliament. The pretended Petition is, in fact, a regular charge or impeachment of the House of Commons, digested into a number of Articles. This plan of reform is not a criminal Impeachment, but a matter of prudence, to be submitted to the pub­lick wisdom, which must be as well apprised of the facts as petitioners can be. But those accu­sers of the House of Commons have proceeded upon the principles of a criminal process; and have had the effrontery to offer proof on each Article.

42. This charge, the party of Mr. Fox maintained article by article, beginning with the first; namely, the interference of Peers at Elec­tions, and their nominating in effect several of the Members of the House of Commons. In the printed list of grievances which they made [Page 72] out on the occasion, and in support of their charge, is found the Borough, for which, under Lord Fitzwilliams' influence, I now sit. By this Remonstrance, and its object, they hope to defeat the operation of property in Elections, and in reality to dissolve the connexion and communication of interests which makes the Houses of Parliament a mutual support to each other. Mr. Fox and the Friends of the People are not so ignorant as not to know, that Peers do not interfere in Elections as Peers, but as men of property—They well know that the House of Lords is by itself the feeblest part of the Constitution; they know that the House of Lords is supported only by its connexions with the Crown, and with the House of Commons; and that without this double connexion the Lords could not exist a single year. They know, that all these parts of our Constitution, whilst they are balanced as opposing interests, are also connected as friends; otherwise nothing but confusion could be the result of such a com­plex Constitution. It is natural, therefore, that they who wish the common destruction of the whole, and of all its parts, should contend for their total separation. But as the House of Commons is that link which connects both the [Page 73] other parts of the Constitution (the Crown and the Lords) with the Mass of the People, it is to that link (as it is natural enough) that their incessant attacks are directed. That artificial representation of the people being once discredited and overturned, all goes to pieces, and nothing but a plain French democracy or arbitrary monarchy can possibly exist.

43. Some of these gentlemen who have attacked the House of Commons, lean to a representation of the people by the head, that is, to individual representation. None of them that I recollect, except Mr. Fox, directly rejected it. It is remarkable, how­ever, that he only rejected it by simply de­claring an opinion. He let all the argument go against his opinion. All the proceedings and arguments of his reforming friends lead to individual representation and to nothing else. It deserves to be attentively observed, that this individual representation is the only plan of their reform, which has been explicitly proposed. In the mean time, the conduct of Mr. Fox appears to be far more inexplicable, on any good ground, than theirs, who pro­pose [Page 74] the individual representation; for he neither proposes any thing, nor even suggests that he has any thing to propose, in lieu of the present mode of constituting the House of Commons. On the contrary, he declares against all the plans which have yet been suggested, either from himself or others: yet, thus unprovided with any plan whatsoever, he pressed forward this unknown reform with all possible warmth; and for that purpose, in a speech of several hours, he urged the referring to a committee, the libellous im­peachment of the House of Commons by the association of the Friends of the People. But for Mr. Fox to discredit Parliament as it stands, to countenance leagues, cove­nants, and associations for its further dis­credit, to render it perfectly odious and contemptible, and at the same time to pro­pose nothing at all in place of what he dis­graces, is worse, if possible, than to contend for personal individual representation, and is little less than demanding, in plain terms, to bring on plain anarchy.

44. Mr. Fox and these gentlemen have, for the present, been defeated; but they are [Page 75] neither converted nor disheartened. They have solemnly declared, that they will per­severe until they shall have obtained their ends; persisting to assert, that the House of Com­mons not only is not the true representative of the people, but that it does not answer the purpose of such representation; most of them insist that all the debts, the taxes, and the burthens of all kinds on the people, with every other evil and inconvenience, which we have suffered since the Revolution, have been owing solely to an House of Com­mons which does not speak the sense of the people.

45. It is also not to be forgotten, that Mr. Fox, and all who hold with him, on this, as on all other occasions of pretended Reform, most bitterly reproach Mr. Pitt with treachery, in declining to support the scandalous charges and indefinite projects of this infamous libel from the Friends of the People. By the animosity with which they persecute all those who grow cold in this cause of pretended Reform, they hope, that if through levity, inexperience, or ambi­tion, any young person (like Mr. Pitt, for [Page 76] instance) happens to be once embarked in their design, they shall, by a false shame, keep him fast in it for ever. Many they have so hampered.

46. I know it is usual, when the peril and alarm of the hour appears to be a little over­blown, to think no more of the matter. But for my part, I look back with horror on what we have escaped; and am full of anxiety with regard to the dangers, which, in my opinion, are still to be apprehended both at home and abroad. This business has cast deep roots. Whether it is necessarily con­nected in theory with Jacobinism is not worth a dispute: The two things are con­nected in fact. The partizans of the one are the partizans of the other. I know it is common with those who are favourable to the Gentlemen of Mr. Fox's party, and to their leader, though not at all devoted to all their reforming projects, or their Gallican politics, to argue in palliation of their con­duct, that it is not in their power to do all the harm which their actions evidently tend to. It is said, that as the people will not sup­port them, they may safely be indulged in [Page 77] those eccentric fancies of Reform, and those theories which lead to nothing. This apo­logy is not very much to the honour of those politicians, whose interests are to be adhered to in defiance of their conduct. I cannot flat­ter myself that these incessant attacks on the Constitution of Parliament are safe. It is not in my power to despise the unceasing ef­forts of a Confederacy of about fifty per­sons of eminence; men, for the far greater part, of very ample fortunes either in possession or in expectancy; men of decided characters and vehement passions, men of very great talents of all kinds; of much boldness, and of the greatest possible spirit of artifice, intrigue, adventure, and enter­prize, all operating with unwearied activity and perseverance. These gentlemen, are much stronger too without doors than some calculate. They have the more active part of the dissenters with them; and the whole clan of speculators of all denominations—a large and growing species. They have that floating multitude which goes with events and which suffers the loss or gain of a battle, to decide it's opinions of right and wrong. As long as by every art this party keeps [Page 78] alive a spirit of disaffection against the very Constitution of the kingdom, and attributes, as lately it has been in the habit of doing, all the public misfortunes to that Constitution, it is absolutely impossible, but that some mo­ment must arrive, in which they will be enabled to produce a pretended Reform and a real Revolution. If ever the body of this compound Constitution of ours is subverted either in favour of unlimited Monarchy, or of wild Democracy, that ruin will most certainly be the result of this very sort of machinations against the House of Commons. It is not from a confidence in the views or intentions of any Statesman, that I think he is to be indulged in these perilous amuse­ments.

47. Before it is made the great object of any man's political life to raise another to power, it is right to consider what are the real dispositions of the person to be so elevated. We are not to form our judg­ment on these dispositions from the rules and principles of a court of Justice, but from those of private discretion; not looking for what would serve to criminate another, but [Page 79] what is sufficient to direct ourselves. By a comparison of a series of the discourses and actions of certain men, for a reasonable length of time, it is impossible not to obtain sufficient indication of the general tendency of their views and principles. There is no other rational mode of proceeding. It is true, that in some one or two, perhaps not well-weighed expressions, or some one or two unconnected and doubtful affairs, we may and ought to judge of the actions or words by our previous good or ill opinion of the man. But this allowance has its bounds. It does not extend to any regular course of systematick action, or of constant and repeated discourse. It is against every principle of common sense and of justice to oneself, and to the public, to judge of a series of speeches and actions from the man, and not of the man from the whole tenor of his language and conduct. I have stated the above matters, not as inferring a cri­minal charge of evil intention. If I had meant to do so, perhaps they are stated with tolerable exactness—But I have no such view. The intentions of these Gentlemen may be very pure. I do not dispute it. [Page 80] But I think they are in some great errour. If these things are done by Mr. Fox and his friends, with good intentions, they are not done less dangerously; for it shews these good intentions are not under the direction of safe maxims and principles.

48. Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, and the Gen­tlemen who call themselves the phalanx, have not been so very indulgent to others. They have thought proper to ascribe to those Mem­bers of the House of Commons, who, in ex­act agreement with the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, abhor and oppose the French system, the basest and most unworthy motives for their conduct;—as if none could oppose that atheistick, immoral, and impolitick project set up in France, so disgraceful and destructive, as I conceive, to human nature itself, but with some sinister intentions. They treat those Members on all occasions with a sort of lordly insolence, though they are persons that (whatever homage they may pay to the eloquence of the Gentlemen who chuse to look down upon them with scorn), are not their inferiors in any particular which calls for and obtains just consideration from the [Page 81] public; not their inferiors in knowledge of public law, or of the Constitution of the king­dom; not their inferiors in their acquaintance with its foreign and domestic interests; not their inferiors in experience or practice of bu­siness; not their inferiors in moral character; not their inferiors in the proofs they have given of zeal and industry in the service of their country. Without denying to these Gentlemen, the respect and consideration which, it is allowed, justly belongs to them, we see no reason why they should not as well be obliged to defer something to our opinions, as that we should be bound blindly and ser­vilely to follow those of Mr. Fox, Mr. She­ridan, Mr. Grey, Mr. Courtney, Mr. Lamb­ton, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Francis, Mr. Tay­lor, and others. We are Members of Parlia­ment and their equals. We never consider ourselves as their followers. These Gentle­men (some of them hardly born, when some of us came into Parliament) have thought proper to treat us as deserters, as if we had been listed into their phalanx like soldiers, and had sworn to live and die in their French principles. This insolent claim of superiority on their part, and of a sort of vassalage to them [Page 82] on that of other Members, is what no liberal mind will submit to bear.

49. The Society of the Liberty of the Press, the Whig Club, and the Society for Consti­tutional Information, and (I believe) the Friends of the People, as well as some Clubs in Scotland, have indeed declared, ‘"That their confidence in and attachment to Mr. Fox, has lately been confirmed, strength­ened, and encreased by the calumnies (as they are called) against him."’ It is true, Mr. Fox and his friends have those testimonies in their favour, against certain old friends of the Duke of Portland. Yet on a full, serious, and I think dispassionate consideration of the whole of what Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan and their friends have acted, said and written, in this Session, instead of doing any thing which might tend to procure power, or any share of it whatsoever, to them or to their phalanx (as they call it) or to encrease their credit, influence, or popularity in the nation, I think it one of my most serious and impor­tant public duties, in whatsoever station I may be placed for the short time I have to live, effectually to employ my best endeavours, by [Page 83] every prudent and every lawful means, to traverse all their designs. I have only to la­ment, that my abilities are not greater, and that my probability of life is not better, for the more effectual pursuit of that object. But I trust that neither the principles nor exertions will die with me. I am the rather confirmed in this my resolution, and in this my wish of transmitting it, because every ray of hope concerning a possible controul or mitigation of the enormous mischiefs which the principles of these Gentlemen, and which their con­nexions full as dangerous as their principles, might receive from the influence of the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam, on be­coming their colleagues in office, is now en­tirely banished from the mind of every one living.—It is apparent, even to the world at large, that so far from having a power to di­rect or to guide Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, and the rest, in any important matter, they have not, through this Session, been able to prevail on them to forbear or to delay, or mitigate, or soften any one act, or any one expression upon subjects on which they essen­tially differed.

[Page 84] 50. Even if this hope of a possible con­troul did exist, yet the declared opinions and the uniform line of conduct conformable to those opinions, pursued by Mr. Fox, must become a matter of serious alarm if he should obtain a power either at Court or in Parlia­ment, or in the nation at large; and for this plain reason—He must be the most active and efficient member in any Administration of which he shall form a part. That a man, or set of men, are guided by such not dubious, but delivered and avowed principles and max­ims of policy as to need a watch and check on them, in the exercise of the highest power, ought, in my opinion, to make every man, who is not of the same principles, and guided by the same maxims, a little cautious how he makes himself one of the traverses of a ladder, to help such a man or such a set of men, to climb up to the highest authority. A minister of this country is to be controulled by the House of Commons. He is to be trusted, not controulled, by his colleagues in of­fice; if he were to be controulled, Government, which ought to be the source of order, would it­self become a scene of anarchy. Besides, Mr. Fox is a man of an aspiring and commanding [Page 85] mind, made rather to controul, than to be con­troulled, and he never will be, nor can be, in any Administration, in which he will be guided by any of those whom I have been accustomed to confide in. It is absurd to think that he would or could. If his own opinions do not controul him, nothing can. When we consider of an adherence to a man which leads to his power, we must not only see what the man is, but how he stands related. It is not to be forgotten that Mr. Fox acts in close and inseparable connection with another Gentleman of exactly the same description as himself, and who, perhaps, of the two is the leader. The rest of the body are not a great deal more tractable; and over them if Mr. Fox and Mr. Sheridan have authority, most assuredly the Duke of Portland has not the smallest degree of in­fluence.

51. One must take care, that a blind par­tiality to some persons, and as blind an hatred to others, may not enter into our minds under a colour of inflexible publick principle. We hear, as a reason for cling­ing to Mr. Fox at present, that nine years [Page 86] ago Mr. Pitt got into power by mischievous intrigues with the Court, with the Dissenters, and with other factious people out of Par­liament, to the discredit and weakening of the power of the House of Commons. His conduct nine years ago I still hold to be very culpable. There are, however, many things very culpable that I do not know how to punish. My opinion, on such matters, I must submit to the good of the state, as I have done on other occasions; and particu­larly with regard to the authors and ma­nagers of the American war, with whom I have acted, both in office and in opposition, with great confidence and cordiality, though I thought many of their acts criminal and impeachable. Whilst the misconduct of Mr. Pitt and his associates was yet recent, it was not possible to get Mr. Fox of him­self to take a single step, or even to counte­nance others in taking any step upon the ground of that misconduct and false policy, though if the matters had been then taken up and pursued, such a step could not have ap­peared so evidently desperate as now it is.—So far from pursuing Mr. Pitt, I know that then, and for some time after, some of Mr. [Page 87] Fox's friends were actually, and with no small earnestness, looking out to a coalition with that gentleman. For years I never heard this circumstance of Mr. Pitt's mis­conduct on that occasion mentioned by Mr. Fox, either in publick or in private, as a ground for opposition to that minister. All opposition, from that period to this very Session, has proceeded upon the separate measures as they separately arose, without any vindictive retrospect to Mr. Pitt's con­duct in 1784. My memory, however, may fail me. I must appeal to the printed de­bates, which, (so far as Mr. Fox is concerned) are unusually accurate.

52. Whatever might have been in our power, at an early period, at this day I see no remedy for what was done in 1784. I had no great hopes even at the time. I was therefore very eager to record a remonstrance on the journals of the House of Commons, as a caution against such a popular delusion in times to come; and this I then feared, and now am certain, is all that could be done. I know of no way of animadverting on the Crown. I know of no mode of calling [Page 88] to account the House of Lords, who threw out the India Bill, in a way not much to their credit. As little, or rather less, am I able to coerce the people at large, who be­haved very unwisely and intemperately on that occasion. Mr. Pitt was then accused, by me as well as others, of attempting to be Minister, without enjoying the confi­dence of the House of Commons, though he did enjoy the confidence of the Crown. That House of Commons, whose confidence he did not enjoy, unfortunately did not it­self enjoy the confidence, (though we well deserved it) either of the Crown or of the public. For want of that confidence, the then House of Commons did not survive the contest. Since that period Mr. Pitt has en­joyed the confidence of the Crown, and of the Lords, and of the House of Commons, through two successive Parliaments; and I suspect that he has ever since, and that he does still, enjoy as large a portion, at least, of the confidence of the people without doors, as his great rival. Before whom, then, is Mr. Pitt to be impeached, and by whom? The more I consider the matter, the more firmly I am convinced, that the [Page 89] idea of proscribing Mr. Pitt indirectly, when you cannot directly punish him, is as chime­rical a project, and as unjustifiable, as it would be to have proscribed Lord North. For supposing, that by indirect ways of op­position, by opposition upon measures which do not relate to the business of 1784, but which on other grounds might prove unpo­pular, you were to drive him from his seat, this would be no example whatever of pu­nishment for the matters we charge as of­fences in 1784. On a cool and dispassion­ate view of the affairs of this time and country, it appears obvious to me, that one or the other of those two great men, that is, Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox, must be Minister. They are, I am sorry for it, irreconcileable. Mr. Fox's conduct in this Session has rendered the idea of his power a matter of serious alarm to many people, who were very little pleased with the proceedings of Mr. Pitt in the beginning of his administration. They like neither the conduct of Mr. Pitt, in 1784, nor that of Mr. Fox, in 1793; but they estimate, which of the evils is most pressing at the time, and what is likely to be the consequence of a change. If Mr. Fox [Page 90] be wedded, they must be sensible, that his opinions and principles, on the now existing state of things at home and abroad, must be taken as his portion. In his train must also be taken the whole body of gentlemen, who are pledged to him and to each other, and to their common politicks and principles.—I believe no King of Great Britain ever will adopt for his confidential servants, that body of gentlemen, holding that body of principles. Even if the present King or his successor should think fit to take that step, I apprehend a general discontent of those, who wish that this nation and that Europe should continue in their present state, would ensue; a discontent, which, combined with the principles and progress of the new men in power, would shake this kingdom to its foundations. I do not believe any one po­litical conjecture can be more certain than this.

53. Without at all defending or palliating Mr. Pitt's conduct in 1784, I must observe, that the crisis of 1793, with regard to every thing at home and abroad, is full as im­portant as that of 1784 ever was; and, if [Page 91] for no other reason, by being present is much more important. It is not to nine years ago we are to look for the danger of Mr. Fox's and Mr. Sheridan's conduct, and that of the Gentlemen who act with them. It is at this very time, and in this very session, that, if they had not been strenuously re­sisted, they would not only merely have dis­credited the House of Commons (as Mr. Pitt did in 1784, when he persuaded the King to reject their advice, and to appeal from them to the people), but, in my opi­nion, would have been the means of wholly subverting the House of Commons and the House of Peers, and the whole Constitution actual and virtual, together with the safety and independence of this nation, and the peace and settlement of every State in the now Christian world. It is to our opinion of the nature of Jacobinism, and of the probability by corruption, faction, and force, of its gaining ground every where, that the question whom and what you are to support is to be determined. For my part, without doubt or hesitation, I look upon Jacobinism, as the most dreadful, and the most shame­ful evil, which ever afflicted mankind, a [Page 92] thing which goes beyond the power of all calculation in its mischief; and that if it is suffered to exist in France, we must in England, and speedily too, fall into that calamity.

54. I figure to myself the purpose of these Gentlemen accomplished, and this Ministry destroyed. I see that the persons who in that case must rule, can be no other than Mr. Fox, Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Grey, the Marquis of Lans­downe, Lord Thurlow, Lord Lauderdale, and the Duke of Norfolk, with the other Chiefs of the Friends of the People, the Parliamentary Reformers, and the Admirers of the French Revolution. The principal of these are all formally pledged to their projects. If the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam should be admitted into that system (as they might and probably would be), it is quite certain they could not have the smallest weight in it; less, indeed, than what they now possess, if less were possible: because they would be less wanted than they now are; and because all those who wished to join them, and to act under them, have been rejected by the Duke of Portland and Lord Fitzwilliam themselves; [Page 93] and Mr. Fox, finding them thus by them­selves disarmed, has built quite a new fabric, upon quite a new foundation. There is no trifling on this subject. We see very distinctly before us the Ministry that would be formed, and the plan that would be pursued. If we like the plan, we must wish the power of those who are to carry it into execution; but to pursue the political exaltation of those whose political measures we disapprove, and whose principles we dissent from, is a species of modern politicks not easily comprehensible, and which must end in the ruin of the coun­try, if it should continue and spread. Mr. Pitt may be the worst of men, and Mr. Fox may be the best; but, at present, the former is in the interest of his country, and of the order of things long established in Europe: Mr. Fox is not. I have, for one, been born in this order of things, and would fain die in it. I am sure it is sufficient to make men as virtuous, as happy, and as knowing as any thing which Mr. Fox, and his friends abroad or at home, would substitute in its place; and I should be sorry that any set of politicians should obtain power in England, whose principles or schemes should lead them to countenance per­sons [Page 94] or factions whose object is to introduce some new devised order of things into England, or to support that order where it is already introduced, in France; a place, in which if it can be fixed, in my mind, it must have a certain and decided influence in and upon this kingdom. This is my account of my con­duct to my private friends. I have already said all I wish to say, or nearly so, to the publick. I write this with pain, and with an heart full of grief!




I HAVE been told of the voluntary, which, for the entertainment of the House of Lords, has been lately played by His Grace the **** of *******, a great deal at my expence, and a little at his own. I confess I should have liked the composition rather better, if it had been quite new. But every man has his taste, and His Grace is an admirer of antient musick.

There may be sometimes too much even of a good thing. A toast is good, and a bumper is not bad: but the best toasts may be so often repeated as to disgust the palate, and ceaseless rounds of bumpers may nauseate and overload the stomach. The ears of the most steady-vo­ting politicians may at last be stunned with three times three. I am sure I have been very grateful for the flattering remembrance made of me in the toasts of the Revolution Society, and of other clubs formed on the same laudable plan. After giving the brim­ming [Page 98] honours to Citizen Thomas Paine, and to Citizen Dr. Priestley, the gentlemen of these clubs seldom failed to bring me forth in my turn, and to drink, ‘"Mr. Burke, and thanks to him for the discussion he has pro­voked."’

I found myself elevated with this honour; for even by the collision of resistance, to be the means of striking out sparkles of truth, if not merit, is at least felicity.

Here I might have rested. But when I found that the great advocate, Mr. Erskine, condescended to resort to these bumper toasts, as the pure and exuberant fountains of poli­ticks and of rhetorick, (as I hear he did, in three or four speeches made in defence of cer­tain worthy citizens) I was rather let down a little. Though still somewhat proud of my­self, I was not quite so proud of my voucher. Though he is no idolater of fame, in some way or other, Mr. Erskine will always do him­self honour. Methinks, however, in follow­ing the precedents of these toasts, he seemed to do more credit to his diligence, as a special pleader, than to his invention as an orator. [Page 99] To those who did not know the abundance of his resources, both of genius and erudition, there was something in it that indicated the want of a good assortment, with regard to rich­ness and variety, in the magazine of topicks and common-places, which I suppose he keeps by him, in imitation of Cicero and other re­nowned declaimers of antiquity.

Mr. Erskine supplied something, I allow, from the stores of his imagination, in meta­morphosing the jovial toasts of clubs, into so­lemn special arguments at the bar. So far the thing shewed talent: however I must still prefer the bar of the tavern to the other bar. The toasts at the first hand were better than the arguments at the second. Even when the toasts began to grow old as sarcasms, they were washed down with still older pricked election port; then the acid of the wine made some amends for the want of any thing piquant in the wit. But when His Grace gave them a second transformation, and brought out the vapid stuff, which had wearied the clubs and disgusted the courts; the drug made up of the bottoms of rejected bottles, all smelling so woefully of the cork and of the cask, and of [Page 100] every thing except the honest old lamp, and when that sad draught had been farther in­fected with the gaol pollution of the Old Bailey, and was dashed and brewed, and in­effectually stummed again into a senatorial ex­ordium in the House of Lords, I found all the high flavour and mantling of my honours, tasteless, flat, and stale. Unluckily, the new tax on wine is felt even in the greatest for­tunes, and His Grace submits to take up with the heel-taps of Mr. Erskine.

I have had the ill or good fortune to pro­voke two great men of this age to the publi­cation of their opinions; I mean, Citizen Thomas Paine, and His Grace the **** of *******. I am not so great a leveller as to put these two great men on a par, either in the state, or the republick of letters: but, ‘"the field of glory is a field for all."’ It is a large one indeed, and we all may run, God knows where, in chace of glory, over the boundless expanse of that wild heath, whose horizon always flies before us. I assure His Grace (if he will yet give me leave to call him so) whatever may be said on the authority of the clubs, or of the bar, that Citizen Paine [Page 101] (who, they will have it, hunts with me in couples, and who only moves as I drag him along), has a sufficient activity in his own na­tive benevolence to dispose and enable him to take the lead for himself. He is ready to blaspheme his God, to insult his king, and to libel the constitution of his country, without any provocation from me, or any encourage­ment from His Grace. I assure him, that I shall not be guilty of the injustice of charging Mr. Paine's next work against religion and human society, upon His Grace's excellent speech in the House of Lords. I farther assure this noble Duke, that I neither encouraged nor provoked that worthy citizen to seek for plenty, liberty, safety, justice or lenity, in the famine, in the prisons, in the decrees of convention, in the revolutionary tribunal, and in the guillotine of Paris, rather than quietly to take up with what he could find in the glutted markets, the unbarricadoed streets, the drowsy Old Bailey judges, or, at worst, the airy, whole­some pillory of Old England. The choice of country was his own taste. The writings were the effects of his own zeal. In spite of his friend Dr. Priestley, he was a free agent. I admit, indeed, that my praises of the British [Page 102] government loaded with all its encumbrances; clogged with its peers and its beef; its parsons and its pudding; its Commons and its beer; and its dull slavish liberty of going about just as one pleases, had something to provoke a Jockey of Norfolk*, who was inspired with the resolute ambition of becoming a citizen of France, to do something which might ren­der him worthy of naturalization in that grand asylum of persecuted merit: something which should intitle him to a place in the senate of the adoptive country of all the gallant, gene­rous and humane. This, I say, was possible. But the truth is (with great deference to His Grace I say it) Citizen Paine acted without any provocation at all; he acted solely from the native impulses of his own excellent heart.

His Grace, like an able orator, as he is, begins with giving me a great deal of praise for talents which I do not possess. He does this to intitle himself, on the credit of this gratuitous kindness, to exaggerate my abuse of the parts which his bounty, and not that of nature has bestowed upon me. In this, too, [Page 103] he has condescended to copy Mr. Erskine. These priests (I hope they will excuse me: I mean priests of the Rights of Man) begin by crowning me with their flowers and their fillets, and bedewing me with their odours, as a preface to their knocking me on the head with their consecrated axes. I have injured, say they, the Constitution; and I have aban­doned the whig party and the whig principles that I professed. I do not mean, my dear sir, to defend myself against His Grace. I have not much interest in what the world shall think or say of me; as little has the world an interest in what I shall think or say of any one in it; and I wish that His Grace had suffered an unhappy man to enjoy, in his re­treat, the melancholy privileges of obscurity and sorrow. At any rate, I have spoken, and I have written on the subject. If I have written or spoken so poorly as to be quite forgot, a fresh apology will not make a more lasting impression. ‘"I must let the tree lie as it falls."’ Perhaps I must take some shame to myself. I confess that I have acted on my own principles of government, and not on those of His Grace, which are, I dare say, profound and wise; but which I do not [Page 104] pretend to understand. As to the party to which he alludes, and which has long taken its leave of me, I believe the principles of the book which he condemns, are very conformable to the opinions of many of the most considerable and most grave in that description of politicians. A few indeed, who, I admit, are equally respect­able in all points, differ from me, and talk His Grace's language. I am too feeble to contend with them. They have the field to themselves. There are others very young and very ingenious persons, who form, pro­bably, the largest part of what His Grace, I believe, is pleased to consider as that party. Some of them were not born into the world, and all of them were children, when I en­tered into that connexion. I give due credit to the censorial brow, to the broad phylac­teries, and to the imposing gravity of those magisterial rabbins and doctors in the cabala of political science. I admit that ‘"wisdom is as the grey hair to man, and that learning is like honourable old age."’ But, at a time when liberty is a good deal talked of, perhaps I might be excused, if I caught something of the general indocility. It might not be sur­prising, if I lengthened my chain a link or [Page 105] two, and in an age of relaxed discipline, gave a trifling indulgence to my own notions. If that could be allowed, perhaps I might some­times (by accident, and without an unpardon­able crime) trust as much to my own very careful and very laborious, though, perhaps, somewhat purblind disquisitions, as to their soaring, intuitive, eagle-eyed authority; but the modern liberty is a precious thing. It must not be profaned by too vulgar an use. It belongs only to the chosen few, who are born to the hereditary representation of the whole democracy, and who leave nothing at all, no, not the offal, to us poor outcasts of the plebeian race.

Amongst those gentlemen who came to au­thority, as soon, or sooner than they came of age, I do not mean to include His Grace. With all those native titles to empire over our minds which distinguish the others, he has a large share of experience. He certainly ought to understand the British Constitution better than I do. He has studied it in the fundamental part. For one election I have seen, he has been concerned in twenty. Nobody is less of a visionary theorist; no­body [Page 106] has drawn his speculations more from practice. No Peer has condescended to su­perintend with more vigilance the declining franchises of the poor Commons. ‘"With thrice great Hermes he has out-watched the bear."’ Often have his candles been burned to the snuff, and glimmered and stunk in the sockets, whilst he grew pale at his con­stitutional studies; long sleepless nights has he wasted; long, laborious, shiftless journies has he made, and great sums has he expended, in order to secure the purity, the independ­ence, and the sobriety of elections, and to give a check, if possible, to the ruinous charges that go nearly to the destruction of the right of election itself.

Amidst these his labours, his Grace will be pleased to forgive me, if my zeal, less enlight­ened to be sure than his by midnight lamps and studies, has presumed to talk too favour­ably of this Constitution, and even to say some­thing sounding like approbation of that body which has the honour to reckon his Grace at the head of it. Those who dislike this par­tiality, or, if his Grace pleases, this flattery of mine, have a comfort at hand. I may be [Page 107] refuted and brought to shame by the most convincing of all refutations, a practical re­futation. Every individual Peer for himself may shew that I was ridiculously wrong; the whole body of those noble persons may refute me for the whole corps. If they please, they are more powerful advocates against them­selves, than a thousand scribblers like me can be in their favour. If I were even possessed of those powers which his Grace, in order to heighten my offence, is pleased to attribute to me, there would be little difference. The eloquence of Mr. Erskine might save Mr. ***** from the gallows, but no eloquence could save Mr. Jackson from the effects of his own potion.

In that unfortunate book of mine, which is put in the index expurgatorius of the modern whigs, I might have spoken too favourably not only of those who wear coronets, but of those who wear crowns. Kings however have not only long arms, but strong ones too. A great Northern Potentate for instance, is able in one moment, and with one bold stroke of his diplomatick pen, to efface all the volumes which I could write in a century, or which [Page 108] the most laborious publicists of Germany ever carried to the fair of Leipsick, as an apology for monarchs and monarchy. Whilst I, or any other poor puny private sophist, was defending the declaration of Pilnitz, his Majesty might refute me by the treaty of Bâsle. Such a mo­narch may destroy one republick because it had a king at its head, and he may balance this extraordinary act by sounding another re­publick that has cut off the head of its king. I defended that great Potentate for associating in a grand alliance for the preservation of the old governments of Europe; but he puts me to silence by delivering up all those govern­ments (his own virtually included) to the new system of France. If he is accused before the Parisian tribunal (constituted for the trial of kings) for having polluted the soil of liberty by the tracks of his disciplined slaves, he clears himself by surrendering the finest parts of Germany (with a handsome cut of his own territories) to the offended majesty of the re­gicides of France. Can I resist this? Am I responsible for it, if with a torch in his hand, and a rope about his neck, he makes amende honorable to the Sans-Culotterie of the republick one and indivisible? In that humiliating atti­tude, [Page 109] in spite of my protests, he may suppli­cate pardon for his menacing proclamations; and as an expiation to those whom he failed to terrify with his threats, he may abandon those whom he had seduced by his promises. He may sacrifice the Royalists of France whom he had called to his standard, as a salutary ex­ample to those who shall adhere to their na­tive Sovereign, or shall confide in any other who undertakes the cause of oppressed kings and of loyal subjects.

How can I help it, if this high-minded Prince will subscribe to the invectives which the regicides have made against all kings, and particularly against himself? How can I help it, if this Royal propagandist will preach the doctrine of the rights of men? Is it my fault, if his professors of literature read lectures on that code in all his academies, and if all the pensioned managers of the news-papers in his dominions diffuse it throughout Europe in an hundred journals? Can it be attributed to me, if he will initiate all his grenadiers, and all his hussars in these high mysteries? Am I respon­sible, if he will make le Droit de l'Homme, or la Souveraineté du Peuple the favourite parole of [Page 110] his military orders? Now that his troops are to act with the brave legions of freedom, no doubt he will fit them for their fraternity. He will teach the Prussians to think, to feel and to act like them, and to emulate the glories of the Regiment de l'Echaffaut. He will em­ploy the illustrious Citizen Santerre, the ge­neral of his new allies, to instruct the dull Germans how they shall conduct themselves towards persons who, like Louis the XVIth, (whose cause and person, he once took into his protection) shall dare without the sanction of the people, or with it, to consider them­selves as hereditary kings. Can I arrest this great Potentate in his career of glory? Am I blameable in recommending virtue and reli­gion as the true foundation of all monarchies, because the Protector of the three religions of the Westphalian arrangement, to ingratiate himself with the Republick of Philosophy, shall abolish all the three? It is not in my power to prevent the grand Patron of the reformed church, if he chuses it, from an­nulling the Calvinistick Sabbath, and establish­ing the Decadi of Atheism in all his states. He may even renounce and abjure his fa­vourite mysticism in the temple of reason. In [Page 111] these things, at least, he is truly despotick. He has now shaken hands with every thing which at first had inspired him with horrour. It would be curious indeed to see, (what I shall not however travel so far to see) the ingenious devices, and the elegant transparencies which on the restoration of peace and the commence­ment of Prussian liberty are to decorate Potz­dam and Charlottenburg festigiante. What shades of his armed ancestors of the House of Brandenburgh will the Committee of Illuminés raise up in the opera-house of Berlin, to dance a grand ballet in the rejoicings for this auspi­cious event? Is it a Grand Master of the Teutonick Order, or is it the great Elector? Is it the first King of Prussia or the last? or is the whole long line (long, I mean a parte antè) to appear like Banquo's royal procession in the tragedy of Macbeth?

How can I prevent all these arts of Royal policy and all these displays of Royal magni­ficence? How can I prevent the Successor of Frederick the Great from aspiring to a new, and in this age unexampled kind of glory? Is it in my power to say, that he shall not make his confessions in the style of St. Austin [Page 112] or of Rousseau? That he shall not assume the character of the penitent and flagellant, and grafting monkery on philosophy, strip himself of his regal purple, clothe his gigantick limbs in the sackcloth and the hair-shirt, and exer­cise on his broad shoulders the disciplinary scourge of the holy order of the Sans-Culottes? It is not in me to hinder Kings from making new orders of religious and martial knighthood. I am not Hercules enough to uphold those orbs which the Atlasses of the world are so desirous of snifting from their weary shoul­ders. What can be done against the magna­nimous resolution of the great to accomplish the degradation and the ruin of their own character and situation?

What I say of the German Princes, that I say of all the other dignities and all the other institutions of the Holy Roman Empire. If they have a mind to destroy themselves, they may put their advocates to silence and their advisers to shame. I have often praised the Aulick Council. It is very true I did so. I thought it a tribunal, as well formed as hu­man wisdom could form a tribunal, for co­ercing the great, the rich and the powerful; [Page 113] for obliging them to submit their necks to the imperial laws, and to those of nature and of nations; a tribunal well conceived for ex­tirpating peculation, corruption and oppres­sion, from all the parts of that vast heteroge­neous mass called the Germanic Body. I should not be inclined to retract these praises upon any of the ordinary lapses into which human infirmity will fall; they might still stand, though some of their conclusums should taste of the prejudices of country or of faction, whether political or religious. Some degree, even of corruption, should not make me think them guilty of suicide; but if we could sup­pose, that the Aulick Council not regarding duty, or even common decorum, listening neither to the secret admonitions of consci­ence, nor to the publick voice of fame, some of the members basely abandoning their post, and others continuing in it, only the more infamously to betray it, should give a judg­ment so shameless and so prostitute, of such monstrous and even portentous corruption, that no example in the history of human de­pravity, or even in the fictions of poëtick imagination, could possibly match it; if it should be a judgment which with cold un­feeling [Page 114] cruelty, after long deliberations should condemn millions of innocent people to ex­tortion, to rapine and to blood, and should devote some of the finest countries upon earth to ravage and desolation—does any one think that any servile apologies of mine, or any strutting and bullying insolence of their own, can save them from the ruin that must fall on all institutions of dignity or of authority that are perverted from their purport to the op­pression of human nature in others, and to its disgrace in themselves. As the wisdom of men makes such institutions, the folly of men destroys them. Whatever we may pretend, there is always more in the soundness of the materials, than in the fashion of the work. The order of a good building is something. But if it be wholly declined from its perpen­dicular; if the cement is loose and incohe­rent; if the stones are scaling with every change of the weather, and the whole top­pling on our heads, what matter is it whether we are crushed by a Corinthian or a Dorick ruin? The fine from of a vessel is a matter of use and of delight. It is pleasant to see her decorated with cost and art. But what sig­nifies even the mathematical truth of her form? [Page 115] What signify all the art and cost with which she can be carved, and painted, and gilded, and covered with decorations from stem to stern; what signify all her rigging and sails, her flags, her pendants and her streamers? what signify even her cannon, her stores and her provisions, if all her planks and timbers be unsound and rotten?

Quamvis Pontica pinus
Silvae filia nobilis
Jactes & genus & nomen inutile.

I have been stimulated, I know not how, to give you this trouble by what very few, except myself, would think worth any trouble at all. In a speech in the House of Lords, I have been attacked for the defence of a scheme of government, in which that body inheres, and in which alone it can exist. Peers of Great Bri­tain may become as penitent as the Sovereign of Prussia. They may repent of what they have done in assertion of the honour of their King, and in favour of their own safety. But never the gloom that lowers over the fortune of the cause, nor any thing which the great may do towards hastening their own fall, can make [Page 116] me repent of what I have done by pen or voice (the only arms I possess) in favour of the order of things into which I was born, and in which I fondly hoped to die.

In the long series of ages which have fur­nished the matter of history, never was so beautiful and so august a spectacle presented to the moral eye, as Europe afforded the day before the revolution in France. I knew in­deed that this prosperity contained in itself the seeds of its own danger. In one part of the society it caused laxity and debility. In the other it produced bold spirits and dark designs. A false philosophy passed from academies into courts, and the great themselves were infected with the theories which conducted to their ruin. Knowledge which in the two last cen­turies either did not exist at all, or existed solidly on right principles and in chosen hands, was now diffused, weakened and perverted. General wealth loosened morals, relaxed vi­gilance, and increased presumption. Men of talent began to compare, in the partition of the common stock of public prosperity, the proportions of the dividends, with the merits of the claimants. As usual, they found their [Page 117] portion not equal to their estimate (or perhaps to the public estimate) of their own worth. When it was once discovered by the revolu­tion in France that a struggle between esta­blishment and rapacity could be maintained, though but for one year, and in one place, I was sure that a practicable breach was made in the whole order of things and in every country. Religion, that held the materials of the fabrick together, was first systematically loosened. All other opinions, under the name of prejudices, must fall along with it; and Pro­perty, left undefended by principles, became a repository of spoils to tempt cupidity, and not a magazine to furnish arms for defence. I knew, that attacked on all sides by the in­fernal energies of talents set in action by vice and disorder, authority could not stand upon authority alone. It wanted some other sup­port than the poise of its own gravity. Si­tuations formerly supported persons. It now became necessary that personal qualities should support situations. Formerly, where authority was found, wisdom and virtue were presumed. But now the veil was torn, and to keep off sa­crilegious intrusion, it was necessary that in the sanctuary of government something should be [Page 118] disclosed not only venerable, but dreadful. Government was at once to shew itself full of virtue and full of force. It was to invite partizans by making it appear to the world that a generous cause was to be asserted; one fit for a generous people to engage in. From passive submission was it to expect resolute defence? No! It must have warm advocates and passionate defenders, which an heavy, dis­contented acquiescence never could produce. What a base and foolish thing is it for any consolidated body of authority to say, or to act as if it said, ‘"I will put my trust not in my own virtue, but in your patience; I will in­dulge in effeminacy, in indolence, in cor­ruption; I will give way to all my perverse and vitious humours, because you cannot punish me without the hazard of ruining yourselves?"’

I wished to warn the people against the greatest of all evils: a blind and furious spirit of innovation, under the name of reform. I was indeed well aware that power rarely re­forms itself. So it is undoubtedly when all is quiet about it. But I was in hopes that pro­vident fear might prevent fruitless penitence. [Page 119] I trusted that danger might produce at least circumspection; I flattered myself in a mo­ment like this that nothing would be added to make authority top-heavy; that the very mo­ment of an earth-quake would not be the time chosen for adding a story to our houses. I hoped to see the surest of all reforms, perhaps the only sure reform, the ceasing to do ill. In the mean time I wished to the people, the wisdom of knowing how to tolerate a con­dition which none of their efforts can render much more than tolerable. It was a con­dition, however, in which every thing was to be found that could enable them to live to nature, and if so they pleased, to live to virtue and to honour.

I do not repent that I thought better of those to whom I wished well, than they will suffer me long to think that they deserved. Far from repenting, I would to God, that new faculties had been called up in me, in favour not of this or that man, or this or that system, but of the general vital principle that whilst it was in its vigour produced the state of things transmitted to us from our fathers; but which, through the joint operation of the [Page 120] abuses of authority and liberty, may perish in our hands. I am not of opinion that the race of men, and the commonwealths they create, like the bodies of individuals, grow effete and languid and bloodless, and ossify by the ne­cessities of their own conformation, and the fatal operation of longevity and time. These analogies between bodies natural and politick, though they may some times illustrate argu­ments, furnish no argument of themselves. They are but too often used under the colour of a specious philosophy, to find apologies for the despair of laziness and pusillanimity, and to excuse the want of all manly efforts, when the exigencies of our country call for them the more loudly.

How often has public calamity been arrested on the very brink of ruin by the seasonable energy of a single man? Have we no such man amongst us? I am as sure as I am of my being, that one vigorous mind without office, with­out situation, without public functions of any kind (at a time when the want of such a thing is felt, as I am sure it is) I say, one such man, confiding in the aid of God, and full of just reliance in his own fortitude, vigour, enter­prize [Page 121] and perseverance, would first draw to him some few like himself, and then that mul­titudes, hardly thought to be in existence, would appear and troop about him.

If I saw this auspicious beginning, baffled and frustrated as I am, yet on the very verge of a timely grave, abandoned abroad and de­solate at home, stripped of my boast, my hope, my consolation, my helper, my coun­sellor and my guide, (you know in part what I have lost, and would to God I could clear myself of all neglect and fault in that loss) yet thus, even thus, I would rake up the fire under all the ashes that oppress it. I am no longer patient of the public eye; nor am I of force to win my way and to justle and elbow in a crowd. But even in solitude, something may be done for society. The meditations of the closet have infected senates with a subtle frenzy, and inflamed armies with the brands of the furies. The cure might come from the same source with the distemper. I would add my part to those who would animate the people (whose hearts are yet right) to new exertions in the old cause.

[Page 122] Novelty is not the only source of zeal. Why should not a Maccabeus and his brethren arise to assert the honour of the ancient law, and to defend the temple of their forefathers, with as ardent a spirit, as can inspire any innovator to destroy the monuments of the piety and the glory of antient ages? It is not a hazarded assertion, it is a great truth, that when once things are gone out of their ordinary course, it is by acts out of the ordinary course they can alone be re-established. Republican spirit can only be combated by a spirit of the same nature: of the same nature, but informed with another principle and pointing to another end. I would persuade a resistance both to the cor­ruption and to the reformation that prevails. It will not be the weaker, but much the stronger, for combating both together. A victory over real corruptions would enable us to baffle the spurious and pretended reforma­tions. I would not wish to excite, or even to tolerate, that kind of evil spirit which evokes the powers of hell to rectify the disorders of the earth. No! I would add my voice with better, and I trust, more potent charms, to draw down justice and wisdom and fortitude from heaven, for the correction of human vice, [Page 123] and the recalling of human errour from the devious ways into which it has been betrayed. I would wish to call the impulses of indi­viduals at once to the aid and to the controul of authority. By this which I call the true republican spirit, paradoxical as it may appear, monarchies alone can be rescued from the imbecillity of courts and the madness of the crowd. This republican spirit would not suffer men in high place to bring ruin on their country and on themselves. It would reform, not by destroying, but by saving, the great, the rich and the powerful. Such a republican spirit, we perhaps fondly conceive to have animated the distinguished heroes and patriots of old, who knew no mode of policy but re­ligion and virtue. These, they would have paramount to all constitutions; they would not suffer Monarchs or Senates or popular Assemblies, under pretences of dignity or au­thority, or freedom, to shake off those moral riders which reason has appointed to govern every sort of rude power. These, in appear­ance loading them by their weight, do by that pressure augment their essential force. The mo­mentum is encreased by the extraneous weight. It is true in moral, as it is in mechanical science. It is true, not only in the draught, [Page 124] but in the race. These riders of the great, in effect, hold the reins which guide them in their course, and wear the spur that stimulates them to the goals of honour and of safety. The great must submit to the dominion of pru­dence and of virtue; or none will long submit to the dominion of the great.‘"Dis te minorem quod geris imperas."’ This is the feudal tenure which they cannot alter.

Indeed, my dear Sir, things are in a bad state. I do not deny a good share of diligence, a very great share of ability, and much pub­lick virtue to those who direct our affairs. But they are encumbered, not aided, by their very instruments, and by all the apparatus of the state. I think that our Ministry (though there are things against them, which neither you nor I can dissemble, and which grieve to the heart) is by far the most honest and by far the wisest system of administration in Europe. Their fall would be no trivial calamity.

Not meaning to depreciate the Minority in Parliament, whose talents are also great, and [Page 125] to whom I do not deny virtues, their system seems to me to be fundamentally wrong. But whether wrong or right, they have not enough of coherence among themselves, nor of esti­mation with the publick, nor of numbers. They cannot make up an administration. No­thing is more visible. Many other things are against them, which I do not charge as faults, but reckon among national misfortunes. Ex­traordinary things must be done, or one of the parties cannot stand as a Ministry, nor the other even as an Opposition. They cannot change their situations, nor can any useful coalition be made between them. I do not see the mode of it, nor the way to it. This aspect of things I do not contemplate with pleasure.

I well know that every thing of the daring kind which I speak of, is critical—But the times are critical. New things in a new world! I see no hopes in the common tracks. If men are not to be found who can be got to feel within them some impulse ‘"—quod nequeo monstrare, & sentio tantum,"’ and which makes them impatient of the pre­sent; if none can be got to feel that private persons may sometimes assume that sort of ma­gistracy [Page 126] which does not depend on the nomina­tion of Kings, or the election of the people, but has an inherent and self-existent power which both would recognise; I see nothing in the world to hope.

If I saw such a group beginning to cluster, such as they are, they should have (all that I can give) my prayers and my advice. People talk of war, or cry for peace—have they to the bottom considered the questions either of war, or peace, upon the scale of the existing world? No. I fear they have not.

Why should not you, yourself, be one of those to enter your name in such a list as I speak of. You are young; you have great talents, you have a clear head, you have a natural, fluent and unforced elocution; your ideas are just, your sentiments benevolent, open and enlarged—but this is too big for your modesty. Oh! this modesty in time and place is a charming virtue, and the grace of all other virtues. But it is sometimes the worst enemy they have. Let him, whose print I gave you the other day, be engraved in your memory! Had it pleased Providence to have [Page 127] spared him for the trying situations that seem to be coming on, notwithstanding that he was sometimes a little dispirited by the disposition which we thought shewn to depress him and set him aside; yet he was always buoyed up again; and on one or two occasions, he dis­covered what might be expected from the vigour and elevation of his mind, from his unconquerable fortitude, and from the extent of his resources for every purpose of specu­lation and of action. Remember him, my friend, who in the highest degree honoured and respected you, and remember that great parts are a great trust. Remember too that mistaken or misapplied virtues, if they are not as pernicious as vice, frustrate at least their own natural tendencies, and disappoint the purposes of the great giver.

Adieu. My dreams are finished.
Mr. Paine is a Norfolk man, from Thetford.


Also, lately published, by the same AUTHOR,

  • 1. THE TWO FORMER LETTERS on the same Subject. The 12th Edition. Price 3s. 6d.
  • 2. THREE MEMORIALS on FRENCH AFFAIRS, written in the Years 1791, 1792, and 1793. The Third Edition. Price 3s. 6d.

Printed for F. and C. RIVINGTON, No. 62, St. Paul's Church Yard; sold also by J. HATCHARD, No. 173, Piccadilly.

Of the above-mentioned Booksellers may also be had, Mr. BURKE's WORKS, Handsomely printed in Three Volumes, Quarto. Price, in Boards, 3l. 3s.

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