Letters on a Regicide Peace
My dear Lord,
I am not sure, that the best way of discussing any subject, except those that concern the abstracted sciences, is not somewhat in the way of dialogue. To this mode, however, there are two objections. The first, that it happens, as in the puppet-show, one man speaks for all the personages. An unnatural uniformity of tone is in a manner unavoidable. The other, and more serious objection is, that as the author (if not an absolute sceptick) must have some opinion of his own to enforce, he will be continually tempted to enervate the arguments he puts into the mouth of his adversary, or to place them in a point of view most commodious for their refutation. There is, however, a sort of dialogue not quite so liable to these objections, because it approaches more nearly to truth and nature: it is called
A piece has been sent to me, called "Remarks on the apparent Circumstances of the War in the fourth week of October, 1795," with a French motto, Que faire encore une fois dans une telle nuit?—Attendre le jour. The very title seemed to me striking and peculiar, and to announce something uncommon. In the time I have lived to, I always seem to walk on enchanted ground. Every thing is new, and according to the fashionable phrase, revolutionary. In former days, authors valued themselves upon the maturity and fulness of their deliberations. Accordingly they predicted (perhaps with more arrogance than reason) an *1eternal duration to their works. Quite the contrary is our present fashion. Writers value themselves now on the instability of their opinions, and the transitory life of their productions. On this kind of credit the modern institutors open their schools. They write for youth; and it is sufficient if the instruction lasts as long as a present love, or as the painted silks and cottons of the season.
The doctrines in this work are applied, for their standard, with great exactness, to the shortest possible periods both of conception and duration. The title is "Some Remarks on the Apparent circumstances of the War in the fourth week of October, 1795." The time is critically chosen. A month or so earlier would have made it the anniversary of a bloody *2Parisian September, when the French massacre one another.
Finding the last week in October so particularly referred to, and not perceiving any particular event relative to the War, which happened on any of the days in that week, I thought it possible that they were marked by some astrological superstition, to which the greatest politicians have been subject. I therefore had recourse to my *4Rider's Almanack. There I found indeed something that characterized the work, and that gave directions concerning the sudden political and natural variations, and for eschewing the maladies that are most prevalent in that aguish intermittent season, "the last week of October." On that week the sagacious astrologer,
At first I took comfort. I said to myself, that if I should, as I fear I must, oppose the doctrines of the last week of October, it is probable that, by this time, they are no longer those of the eminent writer, to whom they are attributed. He gives us hopes that long before this he may have embraced the direct contrary sentiments. If I am found
*6Qualis in aethereo felix Vertumnus Olympo
Yet, doing all justice to the sportive variability of these weekly, daily, or hourly speculators, shall I be pardoned, if I attempt a word on the part of us *7simple country folk? It is not good for us, however it may be so for great statesmen, that we should be treated with variable politicks. I consider different relations as prescribing a different conduct. I allow, that in transactions with an enemy, a Minister may, and often must, vary his demands with the day, possibly with the hour. With an enemy, a fixed plan, variable arrangements. This is the rule the nature of the transaction prescribes. But all this belongs to treaty. All these shiftings and changes are a sort of secret amongst the parties, till a definite settlement is brought about. Such is the spirit of the proceedings in the doubtful and transitory state of things between enmity and friendship. In this change the subjects of the transformation are by nature carefully wrapt up in their cocoons. The gay ornament of summer is not seemly in his aurelia state. This mutability is allowed to
Having premised these few reflections upon this new mode of teaching a lesson, which whilst the scholar is getting by heart the master forgets, I come to the lesson itself. On the fullest consideration of it, I am utterly incapable of saying with any great certainty what it is, in the detail, that the author means to affirm or deny, to dissuade or recommend. His march is mostly oblique, and his doctrine rather in the way of insinuation than a dogmatick assertion. It is not only fugitive in its duration, but is slippery, in the extreme, whilst it lasts. Examining it part by part, it seems almost every where to contradict itself; and the author, who claims the privilege of varying his opinions, has exercised this privilege in every section of his remarks. For this reason, amongst others, I follow the advice which the able
*8The great general pervading purpose of the whole pamphlet is to reconcile us to peace with the present usurpation in France. In this general drift of the author I can hardly be mistaken. The other purposes, less general, and subservient to the preceding scheme, are to show, first, that the time of the remarks was the favourable time for making that peace upon our side; secondly, that on the enemy's side their disposition towards the acceptance of such terms as he is pleased to offer, was rationally to be expected; the third purpose was to make some sort of disclosure of the terms, which, if the Regicides are pleased to grant them, this nation ought to be contented to accept: these form the basis of the negociation, which the author, whoever he is, proposes to open.
Before I consider these Remarks along with the other reasonings which I hear on the same subject, I beg leave to recal to your mind the observation I made early in our correspondence, and which ought to attend us quite through the discussion of this proposed peace, amity, or fraternity, or whatever you may call it; that is, the real quality and character of the party you have to deal with. This, I find, as a thing of no importance, has every where escaped the author of the October Remarks. That hostile power to the
Having therefore slipped the persons, with whom we are to treat, out of view, we are next to be satisfied, that the French Revolution, which this peace is to fix and consolidate, ought to give us no just cause of apprehension. Though the Author labours this point, yet he confesses a fact, (indeed he could not conceal it) which renders all his labours utterly fruitless. He confesses, that the Regicide means to dictate a pacification, and that this pacification, according to their decree passed but a very few days before his publication appeared, is to "unite to their Empire, either in possession or dependence, new barriers, many frontier places of strength, a large sea-coast, and many sea-ports." He ought to have stated it, that they would annex to their territory a country about a third as large as France, and much more than half as rich; and in a situation the most important, for command, that it would be possible for her any where to possess.
I am now convinced, that the Remarks of the last week of October cannot come from the author, to whom they are given; they are such a direct contradiction to the style of manly indignation, with which he spoke of those miscreants and murderers in his excellent Memorial to the States of Holland—to that very State, which the Author, who presumes to personate him, does not find it contrary to the
*11"That strain I heard was of an higher mood." That declaration of our Sovereign was worthy of his throne. It is in *12a style, which neither the pen of the writer of October, nor such a poor crow-quill as mine can ever hope to equal. I am happy to enrich my letter with this fragment of nervous and manly eloquence, which if it had not emanated from the awful authority of a throne, if it were not recorded amongst the most valuable monuments of history, and consecrated in the archives of States, would be worthy as a private composition to live for ever in the memory of men.
In those admirable pieces, does his Majesty discover this new opinion of his political security in having the chair of the Scorner, that is, the discipline of Atheism and the block of Regicide, set up by his side, elevated on the same platform, and shouldering, with the vile image of their grim and bloody idol, the inviolable majesty of his throne? The sentiments of these declarations are the very reverse: they could not be other. Speaking of the spirit of that usurpation the Royal manifesto describes with perfect truth its internal tyranny to have been established as the very means of shaking the security of all other States; as "disposing arbitrarily of the property and blood of the inhabitants of France, in order to disturb the tranquillity of other nations, and to render all Europe the theatre of the same crimes and the same misfortunes." It was but a natural inference from this fact, that the Royal manifesto does not at all rest the justification of this war on common principles: "that it was not only to defend his own rights, and those of his Allies," but "that
This is what his Majesty does not hesitate to declare relative to the political safety and peace of his Kingdom and of Europe, and with regard to France under her ancient hereditary Monarchy in the course and order of legal succession. But in comes a gentleman in the fag end of October, dripping with the fogs of that humid and uncertain season, and does not hesitate in Diameter to contradict this wise and just Royal declaration; and stoutly, on his part, to make a counter-declaration, that France, so far as the political interests of England are concerned, will not remain, under the despotism of Regicide and with the better part of Europe in her hands, so much an object of jealousy and alarm, as she was under the reign of a Monarch. When I hear the Master and reason on one side, and the Servant and his single and unsupported assertion on the other, my part is taken.
This is what the Octobrist says of the political interests of England, which it looks as if he completely disconnected with those of all other nations. But not quite so; he just allows it possible (with an "at least") that the other powers
But if there are yet existing any people, like me, old fashioned enough to consider, that we have an important part of our very existence beyond our limits, and who therefore stretch their thoughts beyond the *14Pomoerium of England, for them too he has a comfort, which will remove all their jealousies and alarms about the extent of the Empire of Regicide. "These conquests eventually will be the cause of her destruction." So that they, who hate the cause of usurpation and dread the power of France under any form, are to wish her to be a conqueror, in order to accelerate her ruin. A little more conquest would be still better. Will he tell us what dose of Dominion is to be the quantum sufficit for her destruction, for she seems very voracious of the food of her distemper? To be sure she is ready to perish with repletion; she has a *15Boulimia, and hardly has bolted down one State, than she calls for two or three more. There is a good deal of wit in all this; but it seems to me (with all respect to the Author) to be carrying the joke a great deal too far. I cannot yet think, that the Armies of the Allies were of this way of thinking; and that, when they evacuated
Every symptom of the exacerbation of the publick malady is with him (as with the *16Doctor in Molière) a happy prognostick of recovery. Flanders gone!—tant mieux. Holland subdued!—charming! Spain beaten, and all the hither Germany conquered!—Bravo! Better and better still! But they will retain all their conquests on a Treaty! Best of all! What a delightful thing it is to have a gay physician who sees all things, as the French express it, couleur de rose! What an escape we have had, that we and our Allies were not the Conquerors! By these conquests, previous to her utter destruction, she is "wholly to lose that preponderance, which she held in the scale of the European Powers." Bless me! This new system of France, after changing all other laws, reverses the law of gravitation. By throwing in weight after weight her scale rises, and will by and by kick the beam! Certainly there is one sense in which she loses her preponderance: that is she is no longer preponderant against the Countries she has conquered. They are part of herself. But I beg the Author to keep his eyes fixed on the scales for a moment longer, and then to tell me in downright earnest, whether he sees hitherto any signs of her losing preponderance by an augmentation of weight and power. Has she lost her preponderance over Spain, by her influence in Spain? Are there any signs, that the conquest
It is true, that in a course of ages Empires have fallen, and, in the *17opinion of some, not in mine, by their own weight. Sometimes they have been unquestionably embarrassed in their movements by the dissociated situation of their Dominions. Such was the case of the empire of Charles the Fifth and of his successor. It might be so of others. But so compact a body of empire; so fitted in all the parts for mutual support; with a Frontier by nature and art so impenetrable; with such facility of breaking out with irresistible force, from every quarter, was never seen in such an extent of territory from the beginning of time, as in that empire, which the Jacobins possessed in October 1795, and which Boissy d'Anglas, in his Report, settled as the Law for Europe, and the Dominion assigned by Nature for the Republick of Regicide. But this Empire is to be her ruin, and to take away all alarm and jealousy on the part of England, and to destroy her preponderance over the miserable remains of Europe!
These are choice speculations, with which the Author amuses himself, and tries to divert us, in the blackest hours of the dismay, defeat and calamity of all civilized nations. They have but one fault, that they are directly contrary to the common sense and common feeling of mankind. If I
I trust I shall hardly be told, in palliation of this shameful system of politicks, that the Author expresses his sentiments only as doubts. In such things it may be truly said that *18"once to doubt is once to be resolved." It would be a strange reason for wasting the treasures and shedding the blood of our country to prevent arrangements on the part of another power, of which we were doubtful, whether they might not be even to our advantage and render our neighbour less than before the object of our jealousy and alarm. In this doubt there is much decision. No nation would consent to carry on a war of scepticism. But the fact is, this expression of doubt is only a mode of putting an opinion when it is not the drift of the Author to overturn the doubt. Otherwise, the doubt is never stated as the Author's own, nor left, as here it is, unanswered. Indeed, the mode of stating the most decided opinions in the form of questions is so little uncommon, particularly since the excellent queries of the *19excellent Berkeley, that it became for a good while a fashionable mode of composition.
Here then the Author of the fourth week of October is ready for the worst, and would strike the bargain of peace on these conditions. I must leave it to you and to every considerate man to reflect upon the effect of this on any Continental alliances present or future, and whether it would be possible (if this book was thought of the least authority) that its maxims with regard to our political interest must not naturally push them to be beforehand with us in the fraternity with Regicide, and thus not only strip us of any
Notwithstanding this new kind of barrier and security that is found against her ambition in her conquests, yet in the very same paragraph he admits that "for the present at least it is subversive of the balance of power." This, I confess, is not a direct contradiction, because the benefits which he promises himself from it, according to his hypothesis are future and more remote.
So disposed is this Author to peace, that, having laid a comfortable foundation of our security in the greatness of her Empire, he has another in reserve if that should fail, upon quite a contrary ground; that is, a speculation of her crumbling to pieces and being thrown into a number of little separate Republicks. After paying the tribute of humanity to those who will be ruined by all these changes, on the whole he is of opinion that "the change might be compatible with general tranquillity, and with the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous commerce among nations." Whether France be great or small, firm and entire, or dissipated and divided, all is well; provided we can have peace with her.
But, without entering into speculations about her dismemberment whilst she is adding great nations to her empire, is it then quite so certain, that the dissipation of France into such a cluster of petty Republicks would be so very favourable to the true balance of power in Europe, as this Author imagines it would be, and to the commerce of Nations? I greatly differ from him. I perhaps shall prove in a future letter, with the political map of Europe before my eye, that the general liberty and independence of the great Christian commonwealth could not exist with such a dismemberment;
Against alarm on their politick and military empire these
Notes for this chapter
P. 309, l. 27. eternal duration. See for examples the conclusion of Horace's Odes and Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Here I have fallen into an unintentional mistake. Rider's Almanack for 1794 lay before me; and, in truth, I then had no other. For variety that sage astrologer has made some small changes on the weather side of 1795; but the caution is the same on the opposite page of instruction.
P. 312, l. 2. Second edition. Burke waited to watch the effect of Lord
l. 16. simple country folk. Burke was no longer in Parliament: he lived in retirement at Beaconsfield.
P. 317, l. 5. Esto perpetua. Father Paul Sarpi's dying prayer for his country (Venice). See Dr. Johnson's Life of him.
P. 318, l. 7. restored the two countries, &c. Thomson alludes to the idea, "Liberty," Part iv.:
Since first the rushing flood
Urged by almighty power, this favoured isle
Turned flashing from the Continent aside,
Indented shore to shore responsive still.
l. 23. a style which, &c. Burke somewhat unfairly contrasts the flimsy style of Auckland's pamphlet with that of Grenville's Declaration. The compositions were in different kinds.
P. 323, l. 18. opinion of some. See the opening of the first chapter. That empires fall by their own weight is not only an ill-formed analogy, but formed on false premises. A tree, or a building, never falls by its own weight until some other cause has done its work.
l. 25. excellent Berkeley. Bishop Berkeley's Queries, mainly directed to the condition of Ireland, make an important epoch in the history of Political Economy.
End of Notes
Against the moral terrors of this successful empire of barbarism, though he has given us no consolation here, in another place he has formed other securities; securities, indeed, which will make even the enormity of the crimes and atrocities of France a benefit to the world. We are to be cured by her diseases. We are to grow proud of our Constitution upon the distempers of theirs. Governments throughout all Europe are to become much stronger by this event. This too comes in the favourite mode of doubt, and perhaps. "To those," he says, "who meditate on the workings of the human mind, a doubt may perhaps arise, whether the effects, which I have described [namely the change he supposes to be wrought on the publick mind with regard to the French doctrines] "though at present a salutary check to the dangerous spirit of innovation, may not prove favourable to abuses of power, by creating a timidity in the just cause of liberty." Here the current of our apprehensions takes a contrary course. Instead of trembling for the existence of our government from the spirit of licentiousness and anarchy, the author would make us believe we are to tremble for our liberties from the great accession of power which is to accrue to government.
I believe I have read in some author who criticised the productions of *22the famous Jurieu, that it is not very wise in people, who dash away in prophecy, to fix the time of accomplishment at too short a period. *23Mr. Brothers may
So far as to this general cure for popular disorders. As for Government, the two Houses of Parliament, instead of being guided by the speculations of the fourth week in October, and throwing up new barriers against the dangerous power of the crown, which the Noble Lord considered as no unplausible subject of apprehension—the two Houses of Parliament thought fit to pass two Acts for the further strengthening of that very government against a most dangerous and wide spread faction.
Unluckily too for this kind of sanguine speculation, on the very first day of the ever famed "last week of October," a large, daring, and seditious meeting was publickly held, from which meeting this atrocious attempt against the Sovereign publickly originated.
However, it seems, that notwithstanding these awkward appearances with regard to the strength of government, he has still his fears and doubts about our liberties. To a free people this would be a matter of alarm, but this Physician of October has in his shop all sorts of salves for all sorts of sores. It is curious, that they all come from the inexhaustible Drug Shop of the Regicide Dispensary. It costs him nothing to excite terror, because he lays it at his pleasure. He finds a security for this danger to liberty from the wonderful wisdom to be taught to Kings, to Nobility, and even to the lowest of the people, by the late transactions.
I confess I was always blind enough to regard the French Revolution, in the act and much more in the example, as one of the greatest calamities that had ever fallen upon mankind. I now find, that in its effects it is to be the greatest of all blessings. If so, we owe amende honorable to the Jacobins. They, it seems, were right—and if they were right a little earlier than we are, it only shews that they exceeded us in sagacity. If they brought out their
Although the amendment of Princes, in these points, can have no effect in quieting our apprehensions for Liberty on account of the strength to be acquired to government by a Regicide peace, I allow, that the avoiding of speculative wars may possibly be an advantage; provided I well understand, what the Author means by a speculative war. I suppose he means a war grounded on speculative advantages, and not wars founded on a just speculation of danger. Does he mean to include this war, which we are now carrying on, amongst those speculative wars, which this Jacobin peace is to teach Sovereigns to avoid hereafter? If so, it is doing the Party an important service. Does he mean that we are to avoid such wars as that of the grand Alliance, made on a speculation of danger to the independence of Europe? I suspect he has a sort of retrospective view to the American war, as a speculative war, carried on by England upon one side, and by Lewis the 16th on the other. As to our share of that war, let reverence to the dead and respect to the living prevent us from reading lessons of this kind at their expence. I don't know how far the Author may find himself at liberty to wanton on that subject, but, for my part, I entered into a coalition, which, when I had no longer a duty relative to that business, made me think myself bound in honour not to call it up without necessity. But if he puts England out of the question and reflects only on Louis the 16th, I have only to say "Dearly has he answered it." I will not defend him. But all those, who pushed on the Revolution, by which he was deposed, were much more in fault, than he was. They have murdered him, and have divided his Kingdom as a spoil; but they, who are the guilty, are not they, who furnish the example. They, who reign through his fault, are not among those Sovereigns, who are
This Paragraph is written with something of a studied obscurity. If it means any thing, it seems to hint as if Sovereigns were to learn moderation, and an attention to the Liberties of their people, from the fate of the Sovereigns who have suffered in this war, and eminently of Louis the XVIth.
Will he say, whether the King of Sardinia's horrible tyranny was the cause of the loss of Savoy and of Nice? What lesson of moderation does it teach the Pope? I desire to know, whether his Holiness is to learn not to massacre his subjects, nor to waste and destroy such beautiful countries, as that of Avignon, lest he should call to their assistance that great deliverer of nations, *26Jourdan Coupe-tête? What lesson does it give of moderation to the Emperor, *27whose
As to the example to be learnt from the murder of Louis the 16th, if a lesson to Kings is not derived from his fate, I do not know whence it can come. The Author, however, ought not to have left us in the dark upon that subject, to break our shins over hints and insinuations. Is it, then, true, that this unfortunate monarch drew his punishment upon himself by his want of moderation, and his oppressing the liberties, of which he had found his people in possession? Is not the direct contrary the fact? And is not the example of this Revolution the very reverse of any thing, which can lead to that softening of character in Princes, which the Author supposes as a security to the people, and has brought forward as a recommendation to fraternity with those, who have administered that happy emollient in the murder of their King and the slavery and desolation of their Country?
But the Author does not confine the benefit of the Regicide lesson to Kings alone. He has a diffusive bounty. Nobles, and men of property will likewise be greatly reformed. They too will be led to a review of their social situation and duties, "and will reflect, that their large allotment of worldly advantages is for the aid and benefit of the whole." Is it then from the fate of *28Juignie, Archbishop of Paris, or of the Cardinal de Rochefoucault, and of so many
Their Nobility and their men of property, in a mass, had the very same virtues and the very same vices, and in the very same proportions, with the same description of men in this and in other nations. I must do justice to suffering honour, generosity, and integrity. I do not know that any time or any country has furnished more splendid examples of every virtue, domestick and publick. I do not enter into the councils of Providence: but humanly speaking, many of these Nobles and men of property, from whose disastrous fate we are, it seems, to learn a general softening of character, and a revision of our social situations and duties, appear to me full as little deserving of that fate, as the Author, whoever he is, can be. Many of them, I am sure, were such as I should be proud indeed to be able to compare myself with, in knowledge, in integrity, and in every other virtue. My feeble nature might shrink, though theirs did not, from the proof; but my reason and my ambition tell me, that it
For which of his vices did that great magistrate, *30D'Espremenil, lose his fortune and his head? What were the abominations of *31Malesherbes, that other excellent magistrate, whose sixty years of uniform virtue was acknowledged, in the very act of his murder, by the judicial butchers who condemned him? On account of what misdemeanours was he robbed of his property, and slaughtered with two generations of his offspring; and the remains of the third race, with a refinement of cruelty, and lest they should appear to reclaim the property forfeited by the virtues of their ancestor, confounded in an Hospital with the thousands of those unhappy foundling infants, who are abandoned, without relation and without name, by the wretchedness or by the profligacy of their parents?
Is the fate of the Queen of France to produce this softening of character? Was she a person so very ferocious and cruel as, by the example of her death, to frighten us into common humanity? Is there no way to teach the Emperor a softening of character and a review of his social situation and duty, but his consent, by an infamous accord with regicide, to drive a second coach with the Austrian Arms through the streets of Paris, along which, after a series of preparatory horrors exceeding the atrocities of the bloody execution itself, the glory of the Imperial Race had been carried to an ignominious death? Is this a lesson of moderation to a descendant of Maria Theresa, drawn from the fate of the daughter of that incomparable woman and sovereign? If he learns this lesson from such an object and from such teachers, the man may remain, but the King is deposed. If he does not carry quite another memory of that transaction in the inmost recesses of his heart, he is unworthy to reign; he is unworthy to live. In the chronicle
What ferocity of character drew on the fate of Elizabeth, the sister of King Lewis the 16th? For which of the vices of that pattern of benevolence, of piety, and of all the virtues, did they put her to death? For which of her vices did they put to death the mildest of all human creatures, the Duchess of Biron? What were the crimes of those crowds of Matrons and Virgins of condition, whom they massacred, with their juries of blood, in prisons and on scaffolds? What were the enormities of the Infant King, whom they caused by lingering tortures to perish in their dungeon, and whom if at last they despatched by poison, it was in that detestable crime the only act of mercy they have ever shewn?
What softening of character is to be had, what review of their social situations and duties is to be taught by these examples, to Kings, to Nobles, to Men of Property, to Women, and to Infants? The Royal Family perished, because it was royal. The Nobles perished, because they were noble. The Men, Women and Children, who had property, because they had property to be robbed of. The Priests were punished, after they had been robbed of their all, not for their vices, but for their virtues and their piety, which made them an honour to their sacred profession, and to that nature, of which we ought to be proud, since they belong to it. My Lord, nothing can be learned from such examples, except the danger of being Kings, Queens, Nobles, Priests, and Children to be butchered on account of their inheritance. These are things, at which not Vice, not Crime, not Folly, but Wisdom, Goodness, Learning,
Whatever the Politician or Preacher of September or of October may think of the matter, it is a most comfortless, disheartening, desolating example. Dreadful is the example of ruined innocence and virtue, and the compleatest triumph of the compleatest villainy, that ever vexed and disgraced mankind! The example is ruinous in every point of view, religious, moral, civil, political. It establishes that dreadful maxim of Machiavel, that in great affairs men are not to be wicked by halves. This maxim is not made for a middle sort of beings, who, because they cannot be Angels, ought to thwart their ambition and not endeavour to become infernal spirits. It is too well exemplified in the present time, where the faults and errours of humanity, checked by the imperfect timorous virtues, have been overpowered by those, who have stopped at no crime. It is a dreadful part of the example, that infernal malevolence has had pious apologists, who read their lectures on frailties in favour of crimes; who abandoned the weak, and court the friendship of the wicked. To root out these maxims, and the examples that support them, is a wise object of years of war. This is that war. This is that moral war. It was said by *34old Trivulzio, that the *35battle of Marignan was the battle of the Giants, that all the rest of the many he had seen were those of the Cranes and Pygmies. This is true of the objects, at least, of the contest. For the greater part of those, which we have
The October Politician is so full of charity and good nature, that he supposes, that these very robbers and murderers themselves are in a course of amelioration; on what ground I cannot conceive, except on the long practice of every crime, and by its complete success. He is an *36Origenist, and believes in the conversion of the Devil. All that runs in the place of blood in his veins, is nothing but the milk of human kindness. He is as soft as a curd, though, as a politician, he might be supposed to be made of sterner stuff. He supposes (to use his own expression) "that the salutary truths which he inculcates, are making their way into their bosoms." Their bosom is a rock of granite, on which falsehood has long since built her strong hold. Poor Truth has had a hard work of it with her little pickaxe. Nothing but gunpowder will do.
As a proof, however, of the progress of this sap of Truth, he gives us a confession they had made not long before he wrote. "Their fraternity" (as was lately stated by themselves in a solemn report) "has been the brotherhood of Cain and Abel, and they have organized nothing but Bankruptcy and Famine." A very honest confession truly; and much in the spirit of their oracle, Rousseau. Yet, what is still more marvellous than the confession, this is the very fraternity, to which our author gives us such an obliging invitation to accede. There is, indeed, a vacancy in the fraternal corps; a brother and a partner is wanted. If we please, we may fill up the place of the butchered Abel; and whilst we wait the destiny of the departed brother, we may enjoy the advantages of the partnership, by entering without delay into a shop of ready-made Bankruptcy and Famine. These are the Douceurs, by which we are invited to regicide fraternity and friendship. But still our Author considers the confession as
We ourselves compelled
Whence is their amendment? Why, the Author writes, that on their murderous insurrectionary system their own lives are not sure for an hour; nor has their power a greater stability. True. They are convinced of it, and accordingly the wretches have done all they can to preserve their lives and to secure their power; but not one step have they taken to amend the one, or to make a more just use of the other. Their wicked policy has obliged them to make a pause in the only massacres, in which their treachery and cruelty had operated as a kind of savage justice, that is, the massacre of the accomplices of their crimes. They have ceased to shed the inhuman blood of their fellow murderers; but when they take any of those persons, who contend for their lawful government, their property, and their religion, notwithstanding the truth, which this author says is making its way into their bosoms, it has not taught them the least tincture of mercy. This we plainly see by their *38massacre at Quiberon, where they put to death, with every species of contumely, and without any exception, every prisoner of war who did not escape out of their hands. To have had property, to have been robbed of it, and to endeavour to regain it—these are crimes irremissible, to which every man, who regards his
Are they not the very same Ruffians, Thieves, Assassins, and Regicides, that they were from the beginning? Have they diversified the scene by the least variety, or produced the face of a single new villainy? *39Taedet harum quotidianarum formarum. Oh! but I shall be answered, it is now quite another thing—they are all changed—you have not seen them in their state dresses. This makes an amazing difference. The new Habit of the Directory is so charmingly fancied, that it is impossible not to fall in love with so well-dressed a Constitution. The Costume of the Sansculotte Constitution of 1793 was absolutely insufferable. The Committee for Foreign Affairs were such slovens, and stunk so abominably, that no *40Muscadin Ambassador of the smallest degree of delicacy of nerves could come within ten yards of them: but now they are so powdered and perfumed and ribbanded and sashed and plumed, that, though they are grown infinitely more insolent in their fine cloaths, even than they were in their rags (and that was enough), as they now appear, there is something in it more grand and noble, something more suitable to an awful Roman Senate, receiving the homage of dependent *41Tetrarchs. Like that Senate (their perpetual model for conduct towards other nations) they permit their vassals, during their good pleasure, to assume the name of Kings, in order to bestow more dignity on the suite and retinue of the Sovereign Republick by the nominal rank of their slaves—Ut habeant instrumenta servitutis
So it was at Paris on the inaugural day of the Constitution for the present year. The foreign Ministers were ordered to attend at this investiture of the Directory—for so they call the managers of their burlesque Government. The Diplomacy, who were a sort of strangers, were quite awe struck with "the *42pride, pomp, and circumstance" of this majestick Senate; whilst the Sansculotte Gallery instantly recognized their old insurrectionary acquaintance, burst out into a horse laugh at their absurd finery, and held them in infinitely greater contempt, than whilst they prowled about
But to pass over their dresses—Good God! in what habits did the Representatives of the crowned heads of Europe appear, when they came to swell the pomp of their humiliation, and attended in solemn function this inauguration of Regicide? That would be the curiosity. Under what robes did they cover the disgrace and degradation of the whole College of Kings? What warehouses of masks and dominos furnished a cover to the nakedness of their shame? The
I was willing to indulge myself in an hope that this second appearance of Ambassadors was only an insolent mummery of the same kind. But alas! Anacharsis himself, all fanatic as he was, could not have imagined, that his Opera procession should have been the prototype of the real appearance of the Representatives of all the Sovereigns of Europe, themselves to make the same prostration that was made by those who dared to represent their people in a complaint against them. But in this the French Republick
On this their *45gaudy day the new Regicide Directory sent for that diplomatic rabble, as bad as themselves in principle, but infinitely worse in degradation. They called them out by a sort of roll of their Nations, one after another, much in the manner, in which they called wretches out of their prison to the guillotine. When these Ambassadors of Infamy appeared before them, the chief Director, in the name of the rest, treated each of them with a short, affected, pedantic, insolent, theatric laconium; a sort of epigram of contempt. When they had thus insulted them in a style and language which never before was heard, and which no Sovereign would for a moment endure from another, supposing any of them frantic enough to use it, to finish their outrage, they drummed and trumpeted the wretches out of their Hall of Audience.
Among the objects of this insolent buffoonery was a person supposed to represent the King of Prussia. To this worthy Representative they did not so much as condescend to mention his Master; they did not seem to know, that he had one; they addressed themselves solely to Prussia in the abstract, notwithstanding the infinite obligation they owed to their early protector for their first recognition and alliance, and for the part of his territory he gave into their hands for the first-fruits of his homage. None but dead Monarchs are so much as mentioned by them, and those only to insult the
Your Lordship will pardon me for this no very long reflexion on the short but excellent speech of the Plumed Director to the Ambassador of *47Cappadocia. The Imperial Ambassador was not in waiting, but they found for Austria a good *48Judean representation. With great judgement his Highness, the Grand Duke, had sent the most atheistick coxcomb to be found in Florence, to represent, at the bar of impiety, the House of Apostolic Majesty, and the descendants of the pious though high-minded Maria Theresa. He was sent to humble the whole race of Austria before those grim assassins, reeking with the blood of the *49Daughter of Maria Theresa, whom they sent half dead in a dung cart to a cruel execution; and this true born son of apostacy and infidelity, this Renegado from the faith and from all honour and all humanity, drove an Austrian coach over the stones which were yet wet with her blood—with that blood, which dropped every step through her tumbrel, all the way she was drawn from the horrid prison, in which they had finished all the cruelty and horrors not executed in the face of the sun! The Hungarian subjects of Maria Theresa, when they drew their swords to defend her rights against France, called her, with correctness of truth, though not with the same correctness, perhaps, of Grammar, a King; *50Moriamur pro Rege nostro Maria Theresa. SHE lived and
When the Directory came to this miserable fop, they bestowed a compliment on his matriculation into their Philosophy; but as to his Master, they made to him, as was reasonable, a reprimand, not without a pardon, and an oblique hint at the whole family. What indignities have been offered through this wretch to his Master, and how well borne, it is not necessary that I should dwell on at present. I hope that those who yet wear Royal Imperial and Ducal Crowns, will learn to feel as Men and as Kings; if not, I predict to them, they will not long exist as Kings, or as Men.
Great Britain was not there. Almost in despair, I hope she will never, in any rags and coversluts of Infamy, be seen at such an exhibition. The hour of her final degradation is not yet come; she did not herself appear in the Regicide presence, to be the sport and mockery of those bloody buffoons, who, in the merriment of their pride, were insulting with every species of contumely the fallen dignity of the rest of Europe. But Britain, though not personally appearing to bear her part in this monstrous Tragi-comedy, was very far from being forgotten. The new-robed Regicides found a representative for her. And who was this Representative? Without a previous knowledge any one would have given a thousand guesses, before he could arrive at a tolerable divination of their rancorous insolence. They chose to address what they had to say concerning this Nation to the Ambassador of America. They did not apply to this Ambassador for a Mediation. That, indeed, would have indicated a want of every kind of decency; but it would have indicated nothing more. But, in this their American apostrophe, your Lordship will observe, they did not so
But, hae nugae seria ducunt in mala. The conduct of the Regicide Faction is perfectly systematick in every particular,
A good many reflexions will arise in your Lordship's mind upon the time and circumstances of that most insulting and atrocious declaration of hostility against this Kingdom. The declaration was made subsequent to the noble Lord's Encomium on the new Regicide Constitution; after the Pamphlet had made something more than advances towards a reconciliation with that ungracious race, and had directly disowned all those who adhered to the original declaration in favour of Monarchy. It was even subsequent to the unfortunate declaration in the Speech from the Throne (which this Pamphlet but too truly announced) of the readiness of our Government to enter into connexions of friendship with that Faction. Here was the answer, from the Throne of Regicide, to the Speech from the Throne of Great Britain. They go out of their way to compliment General Washington on the supposed rancour of his heart towards this Country. It is very remarkable, that they make this compliment of malice to the Chief of the United States, who had first signed a treaty of peace, amity and commerce with this Kingdom. This radical hatred, according to their way of thinking, the most recent, solemn compacts of friendship
Observe, my Lord, that from their invasion of Flanders and Holland to this hour, they have never made the smallest signification of a desire of Peace with this Kingdom, with Austria, or indeed, with any other power, that I know of. As superiours, they expect others to begin. We have complied, as you may see. The hostile insolence, with which they gave such a rebuff to our first overture in the speech from the Throne, did not hinder us from making, from the same Throne, a second advance. The two Houses, a second time, coincided in the same sentiments with a degree of apparent unanimity, (for there was no dissentient voice but yours) with which, when they reflect on it, they will be as much ashamed, as I am. To this our new humiliating overture (such, at whatever hazard, I must call it) what did the regicide Directory answer? Not one publick word of a readiness to treat. No, they feel their proud situation too well. They never declared, whether they would grant peace to you or not. They only signified to you their pleasure, as to the Terms, on which alone they would, in any case, admit you to it. You shewed your general disposition to peace, and, to forward it, you left every thing open to negotiations.
It is impossible not to pause here for a moment, and to consider the manner in which such declarations would have been taken by your Ancestors from a Monarch distinguished for his arrogance; an arrogance, which, even more than his ambition, incensed and combined all Europe against him. Whatever his inward intentions may have been, did Lewis the 14th ever make a declaration, that the true bounds of France were the Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Rhine? In any overtures for peace, did he ever declare, that he would make no sacrifices to promote it? His declarations were always directly to the contrary; and at the Peace of Ryswick his actions were to the contrary. At the close of the War, almost in every instance victorious, all Europe was astonished, even those who received them were astonished, at his concessions. Let those, who have a mind to see, how little, in comparison, the most powerful and ambitious of all Monarchs is to be dreaded, consult the very judicious, critical observations on the Politicks of that Reign, inserted in the Military Treatise of the *55Marquis de Montalembert. Let those, who wish to know what is to be dreaded from an ambitious republick, consult no author no military critick, no historical critick. Let them open
To dispose us towards this peace—an attempt, in which our Author has, I do not know whether to call it, the good or ill fortune to agree with whatever is most seditious, factious and treasonable in this country, we are told by many dealers in speculation, but not so distinctly by the Author himself, (too great distinctness of affirmation not being his fault)—but we are told, that the French have lately obtained a very pretty sort of constitution, and that it resembles the British constitution as if they had been twinned together in the womb. *56Mire sagaces fallere hospites discrimen obscurum. It may be so; but I confess I am not yet made to it; nor is the Noble Author. He finds the "elements" excellent; but the disposition very inartificial indeed. Contrary to what we might expect at Paris, the meat is good, the cookery abominable. I agree with him fully in the last; and if I were forced to allow the first, I should still think with our *57old coarse bye-word, that the same power, which furnished all their former restaurateurs, sent also their present cooks. I have a great opinion of *58Thomas Paine, and of all his productions. I remember his having been one of the Committee for forming one of their annual Constitutions, I mean the admirable Constitution of 1793—after having been a Chamber Counsel to the no less admirable Constitution of 1791. This pious patriot has his eyes still directed to his dear native country, notwithstanding her ingratitude to so kind a benefactor. This outlaw of England, and lawgiver to France, is now, in secret probably, trying his hand again; and inviting us to him by making his Constitution such, as may give his disciples in England some plausible pretext for going into the *59house that he has opened. We have discovered, it
But though the treacherous tapster Thomas
Indeed in this good old House, where every thing, at least, is well aired, I shall be content to put up my fatigued horses, and here take a bed for the long night that begins to darken upon me. Had I, however, the honour (I must now call it so) of being a Member of any of the Constitutional Clubs, I should think I had carried my point most completely. It is clear, by the applauses bestowed on what the Author calls this new Constitution, a mixed Oligarchy, that the difference between the Clubbists and the old adherents to the Monarchy of this country is hardly worth a scuffle. Let it depart in peace, and *60light lie the earth on the British Constitution! By this easy manner of treating the most difficult of all subjects, the Constitution for a great Kingdom, and by letting loose an opinion, that they may be made by any adventurers in speculation in a small given time and for any Country, all the ties, which, whether of reason or prejudice, attach mankind to their old, habitual, domestic Governments, are not a little loosened: all communion, which the similarity of the basis has produced between all the Governments that compose what we call the Christian World and the *61Republic of Europe, would be dissolved. By these hazarded speculations France is more approximated to us in Constitution than in situation, and in proportion as we recede from the ancient system of Europe, we approach to
These theories would be of little importance, if we did not, not only know, but, sorely feel, that there is a strong Jacobin faction in this Country, which has long employed itself in speculating upon Constitutions, and to whom the circumstance of their Government being home bred and prescriptive, seems no sort of recommendation. What seemed to us to be the best system of liberty that a nation ever enjoyed, to them seems the yoke of an intolerable slavery. This speculative faction had long been at work. The French Revolution did not cause it: it only discovered it, increased it, and gave fresh vigour to its operations. *62I have reason to be persuaded, that it was in this Country, and from English Writers and English Caballers, that France herself was instituted in this revolutionary fury. The communion of these two factions upon any pretended basis of similarity is a matter of very serious consideration. They are always considering the *63formal distributions of power in a constitution: the moral basis they consider as nothing. Very different is my opinion: I consider the moral basis as every thing; the formal arrangements, further than as they promote the moral principles of Government, and the keeping desperately wicked persons as the subjects of laws and not the makers of them, to be of little importance. What signifies the cutting and shuffling of Cards, while the Pack still remains the same? As a basis for such a connection, as has subsisted between the powers of Europe, we had nothing to fear, but from the lapses and frailties of men, and that was enough; but this new pretended Republic has given us more to apprehend from what they call their virtues, than we had to dread from the vices of other men. Avowedly and systematically they have given the upper hand to all the
I hear another inducement to fraternity with the present Rulers. They have murdered one Robespierre. This Robespierre they tell us was a cruel Tyrant, and now that he is put out of the way, all will go well in France. *64Astraea will again return to that earth from which she has been an Emigrant, and all nations will resort to her golden scales. It is very extraordinary, that the very instant the mode of Paris is known here, it becomes all the fashion in London. This is their jargon. It is the old bon ton of robbers, who cast their common crimes on the wickedness of their departed associates. I care little about the memory of this same Robespierre. I am sure he was an execrable villain. I rejoiced at his punishment neither more nor less than I should at the execution of the present Directory or any of its Members. But who gave Robespierre the power of being a Tyrant? and who were the instruments of his tyranny? The present virtuous Constitution-mongers. He was a Tyrant, they were his satellites and his hangmen. Their sole merit is in the murder of their colleague. They have expiated their other murders by a new murder. It has always been the case among this banditti. They have always had the knife at each others' throats, after they had almost blunted it at the throats of every honest man. These people thought, that, in the commerce of murder, he was like to have the better of the bargain, if any time was lost: they therefore took one of their short revolutionary methods, and massacred him in a manner so perfidious and cruel, as would shock all humanity, if the stroke was not struck by the present Rulers on one of their own Associates. But this last act of infidelity and murder is to expiate all the rest, and to qualify them for the amity of an humane and virtuous
Notes for this chapter
P. 327, l. 27. the famous Jurieu. Pierre Jurieu (1637-1713) a Protestant theologian of some eminence, had satisfied himself by study of the Prophets and Apocalypse that the year 1689 would witness the final triumph of Protestantism over Rome. As the time approached, so jubilant were the partisans of his views that a medal was struck in his honour with the legend "Jurius Propheta." The year 1689 however, passed without seeing his predictions fulfilled. Jurieu reapplied himself to his studies, and discovered that he had made an error of twenty-six years, and that 1715 was the real date of the second advent of the Messiah and the fall of Antichrist. Before this date the prophet died. Among his numerous writings is a curious one
l. 29. Mr. Brothers. Richard Brothers was a harmless fanatic who prophesied and published various pamphlets containing his prophecies. In 1792 "he was commanded by the Lord God to go down to the House of Parliament and acquaint the members for their own personal safety and the general benefit of the country that the time of the world was come to fulfil the 7th chapter of Daniel." But on his publishing his prophetic mission to George III to "deliver up his crown, that all his power and authority might cease," he was taken up on a warrant, on suspicion of treasonable practices. One member of Parliament, a Mr. Halhed, believed in him, and repeatedly strove to bring his wrongs before the house.
P. 332, l. 17. Jourdan Coupe-tête. Matthew Jourdan, the illiterate ruffian who devastated the Comtat Venaissin, and executed the horrible "Massacre de la Glacière" at Avignon. The Revolutionary Tribunal rid the world of him in 1794.
P. 333, l. 14. Juignie—Cardinal de Rochefoucault. Juigné, Bishop of Chalons, had taken part in the famous sitting of the 4th of August, 1789, and proposed a Te Deum in celebration of it. He was now in exile at Constance. As to the Cardinal de Rochefoucault, see note to vol. ii. p. 213, l. 31.
l. 16. their very beings. Perhaps borrowed from what Grattan had said of the famous preacher Dr. Kirwan: "In feeding the lamp of charity he had almost exhausted the lamp of life." Speech on the Address, Jan. 19, 1792.
P. 334, l. 15. D'Espremenil. D'Espremenil had been a minister before the Revolution. On the establishment of the Convention he had retired to the country, and ceased to take any part in politics. From his country seat he was suddenly called before the Revolutionary tribunal, condemned, and executed, in 1794.
l. 17. Malesherbes. The famous ally of Turgot, in his plans for saving France by timely fiscal and constitutional reforms. He had been the king's advocate at his trial. After the king's execution, he also retired to the country: whence he was brought before the Revolutionary tribunal, condemned, and executed with D'Espremenil. Sainte-Beuve calls him "ce Franklin de vieille race."
P. 335, l. 13. "last that wore the imperial purple." The prophecy was to meet with a striking fulfilment.
P. 336, l. 13. humility and submission—silent adoration—trembling wings.
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar:
Wait the great teacher Death, and God adore.
P. 337, l. 4. old Trivulzio. The famous old general was then (1515) in his seventy-fourth year. The battle of Marignano was fought by him at the head of a French army. It gained Francis I, for a short time, possession of the whole Duchy of Milan.
Ibid. battle of Marignan. Burke quotes from memory the famous description of this battle in Mezeray, Book iii: "Il se trouva sur le champ quatorze mille Suisses morts et pres de quatre mille François: ceux-là pour la plus grande part brisez de coups de canons ou percez de traits d'arbaleste, et ceux-cy fendus et hachez par d'horribles et larges playes. Aussi Trivulce, qui s'estoit trouvé à dix-huit batailles, disoit que celle-cy estoit une bataille de géants, et que toutes les autres n'estoient en comparison que des jeux d'enfans."
l. 14. Origenist, &c. So Young, Satire vi:
Dear Tillotson! be sure, the best of men!
Nor thought be more than thought great Origen—
"Though once upon a time he misbehav'd,
Poor Satan! doubtless he'll at length be saved."
l. 33. massacre at Quiberon. The captured French emigrants, not being recognised as belligerents, were all shot. Burke alludes to this in the Third Letter, p. 170, where he speaks of the "practised assassin Hoche."
P. 342, l. 2. Anacharsis Cloots. Jean Baptiste Clootz, or, properly, Klotz, a wealthy German settled in Paris, and greatly inflamed with revolutionary ideas. He assumed the name Anacharsis in honour of the philosophic Scythian, when travelling in Europe before the Revolution. His early exploit is abundantly described by Burke. He afterwards added to his assumed title of "Ambassador of the Human Race" that of "Personal Enemy of God." By a decree of the 26th of August, 1792, the title of citizen was conferred upon him: on which occasion he thanked the French people at the bar of the Convention, and pronounced a panegyric on the regicide Ankarström. Cp. note to p. 230, l. 9, ante. He perished a victim to the Terror, March 23, 1794.
Souverains Opprimés—See the whole proceeding in the Process Verbal of the National Assembly.
P. 343, l. 1. their Cotterel. Sir Clement Cotterell was a high official of the Court of George III.
P. 344, l. 3. grown philosophick. This keen sarcasm refers not only to the late Emperor, Joseph the Second, and to Louis XVI, but to such living sovereigns as the Grand Duke of Tuscany. See p. 226, where he is spoken of as a "pacific Solomon."
l. 6. Cappadocia. Burke of course means that Prussia had become to France what Cappadocia was to Rome; a humble province of the regicide empire.
l. 8. Judean representation. Burke likens Austria to Judea, as he has just likened Prussia to Cappadocia.
l. 26. Moriamur, &c. The story of the unanimous enthusiasm of the Hungarian Diet is apocryphal. The words were used by Charles, Maria Theresa's husband, and a certain number of the nobles repeated it after him: but the majority murmured, and demanded a readjustment of taxation.
P. 346, l. 15. Lord Auckland—Duke of Bedford. The latter was one of the leaders of the opposition in the Lords.
P. 347, l. 23. I do not believe, &c. Burke is right. Washington bore no hatred to Great Britain.
P. 348, l. 15. infernal altar. The allusion is to the story of Hannibal, as stated by Livy. Cp. note to p. 64, l. 18.
P. 350, l. 10. Marquis de Montalembert. This veteran soldier was still living, and actively employed in the service of the Republic. He wrote more than one "Military Treatise."
l. 35. Thomas Paine. The author of the Rights of Man had been installed as a member of the Convention.
P. 351, l. 10. house that he has opened. Burke goes on in his happiest vein of humour, to apply to Paine the amusing lines of Swift on the old and the new Angel Inns.
l. 24. I have reason to be persuaded, &c. Cp. the earlier pages of the Reflections (Select Works, vol. ii.). Thiers, in his History, says that the French political clubs were modelled on those of England.
P. 353, l. 15. Astraea. The goddess of Justice, said to have quitted the earth when the Golden Age ceased.
P. 354, l. 6. I have heard that a Tartar believes, &c. Butler, Hudibras (Part i. c. 2):
A man that's handsome, valiant, wise,
If he can kill him thinks t' inherit
His wit, his beauty, and his spirit.
So Shaftesbury, Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour: "For, in good earnest, to destroy a philosophy in hatred to a man implies as errant a Tartar-notion as to destroy or murder a man, in order to plunder him of his wit, and get the inheritance of his understanding."
l. 14. tontine of Infamy. A happy stroke. A Tontine (so named from its inventor) is a lottery in which the longest livers divide the produce of the stock, with its accumulations. Cp. vol. ii. p. 361, l. 7.
l. 26. Murderers and hogs, &c. This grim humour is borrowed from Bacon's "Spurious" Apophthegms, No. 16.
End of Notes
It is asserted, that this government promises stability. God of his Mercy forbid! If it should, nothing upon earth besides itself can be stable. We declare this stability to be the ground of our making peace with them. Assuming it therefore, that the Men and the System are what I have described, and that they have a determined hostility against this country, an hostility not only of policy but of predilection—then I think that every rational being would go
It is said in vindication of this system, which demands the stability of the regicide power as a ground for peace with them, that when they have obtained, as now it is said, (though not by this noble Author) they have, a permanent Government, they will be able to preserve amity with this Kingdom, and with others who have the misfortune to be in their neighbourhood. Granted. They will be able to do so, without question; but are they willing to do so? Produce the act, produce the declaration. Have they made any single step towards it? Have they ever once proposed to treat?
The assurance of a stable peace, grounded on the stability of their system, proceeds on this hypothesis, that their hostility to other Nations has proceeded from their Anarchy at home, and to the prevalence of a Populace which their government had not strength enough to master. This
This strong hand is the law, and the sole law, in their State. I defy any person to show any other law, or if any such should be found on paper, that it is in the smallest degree, or in any one instance, regarded or practised. In all their successions, not one Magistrate, or one form of Magistracy, has expired by a mere occasional popular tumult. Every thing has been the effect of the studied machinations of the one revolutionary cabal, operating within itself upon itself. That cabal is all in all. France has no Public; it is the only nation I ever heard of where the people are absolutely slaves, in the fullest sense, in all affairs public and private, great and small, even down to the minutest and most recondite parts of their household concerns. The Helots of Laconia, the *69Regardants to the Manor in Russia and in Poland, *70even the Negroes in the West Indies know nothing of so searching, so penetrating, so heart-breaking a slavery. Much would these servile wretches call for our pity under that unheard-of yoke, if for their perfidious and unnatural Rebellion, and for the murder of the mildest of all Monarchs, they did not richly deserve a punishment not greater than their crime.
On the whole, therefore, I take it to be a great mistake, to think that the want of power in the government furnished a natural cause of war: whereas, the greatness of its power, joined to its use of that power, the nature of its system, and the persons who acted in it, did naturally call for a strong military resistance to oppose them, and rendered it not only just, but necessary. But, at present, I say no more on the genius and character of the power set up in France. I may probably trouble you with it *71more at large hereafter. This subject calls for a very full exposure;
The Writer of the Remarks in the last week of October appears to think that the present Government in France contains many of the elements, which, when properly arranged, are known to form the best practical governments; and that the system, whatever may become its particular form, is no longer likely to be an obstacle to negotiation. If its form now be no obstacle to such negotiation, I do not know why it was ever so. Suppose that this government promised greater permanency than any of the former, (a point, on which I can form no judgment) still a link is wanting to couple the permanence of the government with the permanence of the peace. On this not one word is said: nor can there be, in my opinion. This deficiency is made up by strengthening the first ringlet of the chain that ought to be, but that is not, stretched to connect the two propositions. All seems to be done, if we can make out, that the last French edition of Regicide is like to prove stable.
As a prognostic of this stability, it is said to be accepted by the people. Here again I join issue with the
At length, after a terrible struggle, the Troops prevailed over the Citizens. The Citizen Soldiers, the ever famed National Guards, who had deposed and murdered their Sovereign, were disarmed by the inferior trumpeters of that Rebellion. Twenty thousand regular Troops garrison Paris. Thus a complete Military Government is formed. It has the strength, and it may count on the stability of that kind of power. This power is to last as long as the Parisians think proper. Every other ground of stability, but from military force and terrour, is clean out of the
They differ nothing from all the preceding usurpations, but that to the same odium a good deal more of contempt is added. In this situation, notwithstanding all their military force, strengthened with the undisciplined power of the Terrorists, and the nearly general disarming of Paris, there would almost certainly have been before this an insurrection against them, but for one cause. The people of France languished for Peace. They all despaired of obtaining it from the coalesced powers, whilst they had a gang of professed Regicides at their head; and several of the least desperate Republicans would have joined with better men to shake them wholly off, and to produce something more ostensible, if they had not been reiteratedly told that their sole hope of peace was the very contrary to what they naturally imagined. That they must leave off their cabals and insurrections, which could serve no purpose, but to bring in that Royalty, which was wholly rejected by the coalesced Kings. That, to satisfy them, they must tranquilly, if they could not cordially, submit themselves to the tyranny and the tyrants they despised and abhorred. Peace was held out, by the allied Monarchies, to the people of France, as a bounty for supporting the Republick of Regicides. In fact, a coalition, begun for the avowed purpose of destroying that den of
We are to understand, however, (for sometimes so the Author hints) that something stable in the Constitution of Regicide was required for our amity with it; but the noble Remarker is no more solicitous about this point, than he is for the permanence of the whole body of his October Speculations. "If," says he, speaking of the Regicide, "they can obtain a practicable Constitution, even for a limited period of time, they will be in a condition to re-establish the accustomed relations of peace and amity." Pray let us leave this bush-fighting. What is meant by a limited period of time? Does it mean the direct contrary to the terms, "an unlimited period?" If it is a limited period, what limitation does he fix as a ground for his opinion? Otherwise, his limitation is unlimited. If he only requires a Constitution that will last while the treaty goes on, ten days existence will satisfy his demands. He knows that France never did want a practicable Constitution nor a Government, which endured for a limited period of time. Her Constitutions were but too practicable; and short as was their duration, it was but too long. They endured time enough for treaties which benefited themselves and have done infinite mischief to our cause. But, granting him his strange thesis, that, hitherto, the mere form or the mere term of their Constitutions, and, not their indisposition, but their instability, has been the cause of their not preserving the relations of Amity—how could a Constitution, which might not last half an hour after the noble Lord's signature of the treaty, in the company, in which he must sign it, endure its observance? If you trouble yourself at all with their Constitutions, you are
I believe, before this time, that the mere form of a Constitution, in any country, never was fixed as the sole ground of objecting to a treaty with it. With other circumstances it may be of great moment. What is incumbent on the assertors of the 4th week of October system to prove, is not whether their then expected Constitution was likely to be stable or transitory, but whether it promised to this country and its allies, and to the peace and settlement of all Europe, more good will, or more good faith, than any of
Observe first the manner, in which the Remarker describes (very truly, as I conceive) the people of France, under that auspicious Government, and then observe the conduct of that Government to other Nations. "The people without any established Constitution; distracted by popular convulsions; in a state of inevitable bankruptcy; without any commerce; with their principal Ports blockaded, and without a Fleet that could venture to face one of our detached Squadrons." Admitting, as fully as he had stated it, this condition of France, I would fain know how he reconciles this condition with his ideas of any kind of a practicable Constitution, or duration for a limited period, which are his sine qua non of Peace. But, passing by contradictions as no fair objections to reasoning, this state of things would naturally, at other times, and in other Governments, have produced a disposition to peace, almost on any terms. But, in that state of their Country, did the Regicide Government solicit peace or amity with other Nations, or even lay any specious grounds for it in propositions of affected moderation, or in the most loose and general conciliatory language? The direct contrary. It was but a very few days before the noble writer had commenced his Remarks, as if it were to refute him by anticipation, that his France thought fit to lay out a new territorial map of dominion, and to declare to us and to all Europe what Territories she was willing to allot to her own Empire, and what she is content (during her good pleasure) to leave to others.
This their Law of Empire was promulgated without any requisition on that subject, and proclaimed in a style, and upon principles, which never had been heard of in the annals of arrogance and ambition. She prescribed the limits to her Empire, not upon principles of treaty, convention,
I need say no more on the insult offered, not only to all equity and justice, but to the common sense of mankind, in deciding legal property by physical principles, and establishing the convenience of a Party as a rule of public Law. The noble Advocate for Peace has indeed perfectly well exploded this daring and outrageous system of pride and tyranny. I am most happy in commending him, when he writes like himself. But hear, still further, and in the same good strain, the great patron and advocate of amity with this accommodating, mild and unassuming power, when he reports to you the Law they give, and its immediate effects. "They amount," says he, "to the sacrifice of Powers, that have been the most nearly connected with us: the direct, or indirect annexation to France of all the ports of the Continent, from Dunkirk to Hamburgh; an immense accession of Territory; and, in one word,
But let us consider this matter of adequate compensation. Who is to furnish it? From what funds is it to be drawn? Is it by another Treaty of Commerce? I have no objections to Treaties of Commerce, upon principles of commerce. Traffick for traffick; all is fair. But—commerce, in exchange for empire, for safety, for glory! We set out in our dealing with a miserable cheat upon ourselves. I know
But if these, or matters similar, are not the compensations the Remarker demands, and that, on consideration, he finds them neither adequate nor certain, who else is to be the Chapman, and to furnish the purchase money at this market of all the grand principles of Empire, of Law, of Civilization, of Morals, and of Religion, where British faith and honour are to be sold *76by inch of candle? Who is to be the *77dedecorum pretiosus emptor? Is it the Navis Hispanae Magister? Is it to be furnished by the *78Prince of Peace? Unquestionably. Spain as yet possesses mines of gold and silver; and may give us in *79pesos duros an adequate
It is full as singular as any of the other singularities in this work, that the Remarker, talking so much as he does of cessions and compensations, passes by Spain in his general settlement, as if there were no such Country on the Globe: as if there were no Spain in Europe, no Spain in America. But this great matter of political deliberation cannot be put out of our thoughts by his silence. She has furnished compensations—not to you, but to France. The Regicide Republick, and the still nominally subsisting Monarchy of Spain, are united, and are united upon a principle of jealousy, if not of bitter enmity to Great Britain. The noble Writer has here another matter for meditation. It is not from Dunkirk to Hamburgh that the ports are in the hands of France: they are in the hands of France from Hamburgh to Gibraltar. How long the new Dominion will last, I cannot tell; but France the Republick has conquered Spain, and the ruling Party in that Court acts by her orders and exists by her power.
The noble Writer, in his views into futurity, has forgotten to look back to the past. If he chooses it, he may recollect, that on the prospect of the *80death of Philip the Fourth, and still more on the event, all Europe was moved to its foundations. In the Treaties of Partition, that first were entered into, and in the war that afterwards blazed out to prevent those Crowns from being actually or virtually united in the House of Bourbon, the predominance of France in Spain, and, above all, in the Spanish Indies, was the great object of all these movements in the Cabinet and in the Field. The grand alliance was formed upon that apprehension. On that apprehension the mighty war was continued during such a number of years, as the degenerate and pusillanimous
Ad confligendum venientibus undique Poenis,
When this war was ended (I cannot stay now to examine how) the object of the war was the object of the Treaty. When it was found impracticable, or less desirable than before, wholly to exclude a branch of the Bourbon race from that immense succession, the point of Utrecht was to prevent the mischiefs to arise from the influence of the greater upon the lesser branch. His Lordship is a great Member of the Diplomatick Body; he has of course all the fundamental Treaties, which make the Public Statute Law of Europe, by heart; and indeed no active Member of Parliament ought to be ignorant of their general tenor and leading provisions. In the Treaty, which closed that war, and of which it is a fundamental part, because relating to the whole Policy of the Compact, it was agreed, that Spain should not give any thing from her territory in the West Indies to France. This Article, apparently onerous to Spain, was in truth highly beneficial. But, oh, the blindness of the greatest Statesman to the infinite and unlooked-for combinations of things which lie hid in the dark prolifick womb of Futurity! The great Trunk of Bourbon is cut down; the withered branch is worked up into the construction of a French Regicide Republick. Here we have, formed, a new, unlooked-for, monstrous, heterogeneous alliance; a double-natured Monster; Republick above and Monarchy below. There is no Centaur of fiction, no poetic
In this Metamorphosis, the first thing done by Spain, in the honey-moon of her new servitude, was, with all the hardihood of pusillanimity, utterly to defy the most solemn Treaties with Great Britain and the Guarantee of Europe. She has yielded the largest and fairest part of one of the largest and fairest Islands in the West Indies, perhaps on the Globe, to the usurped Powers of France. She compleats the title of those Powers to the whole of that important central Island of Hispaniola. She has solemnly surrendered to the Regicides and butchers of the Bourbon family, what that Court never ventured, perhaps never wished, to bestow on the Patriarchal stock of her own august House.
The noble Negotiator takes no notice of this portentous junction, and this audacious surrender. The effect is no less than the total subversion of the Balance of Power in the West Indies, and indeed every where else. This arrangement, considered in itself, but much more as it indicates a compleat Union of France with Spain, is truly alarming. Does he feel nothing of the change this makes in that part of his description of the state of France, where he supposes her not able to face one of our detached Squadrons? Does he feel nothing for the condition of Portugal under this new Coalition? Is it for this state of things he recommends our junction in that common alliance as a remedy? It is surely already monstrous enough. We see every standing principle of Policy, every old governing opinion of Nations, compleatly gone; and with it the foundation of all their establishments. Can Spain keep herself internally where
It is not peace with France, which secures that feeble Government; it is that peace, which, if it shall continue, decisively ruins Spain. Such a peace is not the peace, which the remnant of Christianity celebrates at *81this holy season. In it there is no glory to God on high, and not the least tincture of good will to Man. What things we have lived to see! The King of Spain in a group of Moors, Jews, and Renegadoes, and the Clergy taxed to pay for his conversion! The Catholick King in the strict embraces of the most unchristian Republick! I hope we shall never see his Apostolick Majesty, his Faithful Majesty, and the King, defender of the faith, added to that unhallowed and impious Fraternity.
The Noble Author has glimpses of the consequences of Peace as well as I. He feels for the Colonies of Great Britain, one of the principal resources of our Commerce and our Naval Power, if Piratical France shall be established, as he knows she must be, in the West Indies, if we sue for peace on such terms as they may condescend to grant us. He feels that their very Colonial System for the Interiour is not compatible with the existence of our Colonies. I tell him, and doubt not I shall be able to demonstrate, that, being what she is, if she possesses a rock there we cannot be safe. Has this Author had in his view, the transactions between the Regicide Republick and the yet nominally subsisting Monarchy of Spain?
I bring this matter under your Lordship's consideration, that you may have a more compleat view, than this Author
It is sufficiently alarming, that she is to have the possession of this great Island. But all the Spanish Colonies virtually are hers. Is there so puny a whipster in the petty form of the School of Politicks, who can be at a loss for the fate of the British Colonies, when he combines the French and Spanish consolidation with the known critical and dubious dispositions of the United States of America, as they are at present, but which, when a Peace is made, when the basis of a Regicide ascendancy in Spain is laid, will no longer be so good as dubious and critical? But I go a great deal further, and on much consideration of the condition and circumstances of the West Indies, and of the genius of this new Republick, as it has operated, and is likely to operate on them, I say, that if a single Rock in the West Indies is in the hands of this *82transatlantic Morocco, we have not an hour's safety there.
The Remarker, though he slips aside from the main consideration, seems aware that this arrangement, standing as it does, in the West Indies, leaves us at the mercy of the new Coalition, or rather at the mercy of the sole guiding part of it. He does not indeed adopt a supposition, such as I make,
It will be an affront to your sagacity, to pursue this matter into all its details; suffice it to say, that if this Convention for analogous domestick Government is made, it immediately gives a right for the residence of a Consul (in all likelihood some Negro or Man of Colour) in every one of your Islands; a Regicide Ambassador in London will be at all your meetings of West India Merchants and Planters, and, in effect, in all our Colonial Councils. Not one Order of Council can hereafter be made, or any one Act of Parliament relative to the West India Colonies even be agitated, which will not always afford reasons for protests and perpetual interference. The Regicide Republic will become an integrant part of the Colonial Legislature; and, so far as the Colonies are concerned, of the British too. But it will be still worse; as all our domestick affairs are interlaced, more or less intimately, with our external, this intermeddling must every
Such are the plain inevitable consequences of this arrangement of a system of analogous interiour Government. On the other hand, without it, the Author assures us, and in this I heartily agree with him, "that the correspondence and communications between the neighbouring Colonies will be great; that the disagreements will be incessant, and that causes even of National Quarrels will arise from day to day." Most true. But, for the reasons I have given, the case, if possible, will be worse by the proposed remedy, by the triple fraternal interiour analogy; an analogy itself most fruitful, and more foodful, than the old Ephesian Statue with the three tier of breasts. Your Lordship must also observe how infinitely this business must be complicated by our interference in the slow-paced Saturnian movements of Spain, and the rapid parabolick flights of France. But such is the Disease, such is the Cure, such is and must be the Effect of Regicide Vicinity.
But what astonishes me is, that the Negotiator, who has certainly an exercised understanding, did not see, that every person, habituated to such meditations, must necessarily pursue the train of thought further than he has carried it; and must ask himself, whether what he states so truly of the necessity of our arranging an analogous interiour Government, in consequence of the Vicinity of our Possessions in the West Indies, does as extensively apply, and much more forcibly, to the circumstance of our much nearer Vicinity with the Parent and Author of this mischief. I defy even his acuteness and ingenuity to shew me any one point in which the cases differ, except that it is plainly more necessary in Europe than in America. Indeed, the further we trace the details of the proposed peace, the more your Lordship will
*83The noble Lord insists on very little more, than on the excellence of their Constitution, the hope of their dwindling into little Republicks, and this close copartnership in Government. I hear of others indeed that offer, by other arguments, to reconcile us to this peace and Fraternity; the Regicides, they say, have renounced the Creed of the Rights of Man, and declared Equality a Chimera. This is still more strange than all the rest. They have apostatised from their Apostacy. They are renegadoes from that impious faith, for which they subverted the ancient Government, murdered their King, and imprisoned, butchered, confiscated, and banished their fellow Subjects; and to which they forced every man to swear at the peril of his Life. And now, to reconcile themselves to the world, they declare this Creed, *84bought by so much blood, to be an imposture and a Chimera. I have no doubt that they always thought it to be so, when they were destroying every thing at home and abroad for its establishment. It is no strange thing to those who look into the nature of corrupted man, to find a violent persecutor a perfect unbeliever of his own Creed. But this is the very first time that any man or set of men were hardy enough to attempt to lay the ground of confidence in them, by an acknowledgement of their own falsehood, fraud, hypocrisy, treachery, heterodox doctrine, persecution, and cruelty. Every thing we hear from them is new, and to use a phrase of their own, revolutionary. Every thing supposes a total
If possible, this their recantation of the chief parts in the Canon of the Rights of Man, is more infamous, and causes greater horror than their originally promulgating, and forcing down the throats of mankind that symbol of all evil. It is raking too much into the dirt and ordure of human nature to say more of it.
I hear it said too, that they have lately declared in favour of property. This is exactly of the same sort with the former. What need had they to make this declaration, if they did not know, that by their doctrines and practices they had totally subverted all property? What Government of Europe, either in its origin or its continuance, has thought it necessary to declare itself in favour of property? The more recent ones were formed for its protection against former violations. The old consider the inviolability of property and their own existence as one and the same thing; and that a proclamation for its safety would be sounding an alarm on its danger. But the Regicide Banditti knew that this was not the first time they have been obliged to give such assurances, and had as often falsified them. They knew that after butchering hundreds of men, women and children, for no other cause, than to lay hold on their property, such a declaration might have a chance of encouraging other nations to run the risque of establishing a commercial House amongst them. It is notorious that these very Jacobins, upon an alarm of the Shopkeepers of Paris, made this declaration in favour of Property. These brave Fellows received the apprehensions expressed on that head with indignation; and said, that property could be in no danger, because all the world knew it was under the protection of the Sansculottes. At what period did they not give this assurance? Did they not give it, when they fabricated
But, after all, for what purpose are we told of this reformation in their principles, and what is the policy of all this softening in ours, which is to be produced by their example? It is not to soften us to suffering innocence and virtue, but to mollify us to the crimes and to the society of robbers and ruffians! But I trust that our Countrymen will not be softened to that kind of crimes and criminals; for if we should, our hearts will be hardened to every thing which has a claim on our benevolence. A kind Providence has placed in our breasts a hatred of the unjust and cruel, in order that we may preserve ourselves from cruelty and injustice. They who bear cruelty, are accomplices in it. The pretended gentleness which excludes that charitable rancour, produces an indifference which is half an approbation. *85They never will love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate.
There is another piece of policy, not more laudable than this, in reading these moral lectures, which lessens our hatred to Criminals, and our pity to sufferers, by insinuating that it has been owing to their fault or folly, that the latter have become the prey of the former. By flattering us, that we are not subject to the same vices and follies, it induces a confidence, that we shall not suffer the same evils by a contact with the infamous gang of robbers who have thus robbed and butchered our neighbours before our faces. We must
*88If I am right in my ideas of this new Republick, the different states of peace and war will make no difference in her pursuits. It is not an enemy of accident, that we have to deal with. Enmity to us and to all civilized nations is wrought into the very stamina of its constitution. It was made to pursue the purposes of that fundamental enmity. The design will go on regularly in every position and in every relation. Their hostility is to break us to their dominion: their amity is to debauch us to their principles. In the former we are to contend with their force; in the latter with their intrigues. But we stand in a very different posture of defence in the two situations. In war, so long as Government is supported, we fight with the whole united force of the kingdom. When under the name of peace the war of intrigue begins, we do not contend against our enemies with the whole force of the kingdom. No—
*92Never in any civil contest has a part been taken with more of the warmth, or carried on with more of the arts of a party. The Jacobins are worse than lost to their country. Their hearts are abroad. Their sympathy with the Regicides of France is complete. Just as in a civil contest, they exult in
As to foreign powers, so long as they were conjoined with Great Britain in this contest, so long they were treated as the most abandoned tyrants and, indeed, the basest of the human race. The moment any of them quits the cause of this Government, and of all Governments, he is re-habilitated; his honour is restored; all attainders are purged. The friends of Jacobins are no longer despots; the betrayers of the common cause are no longer traitors.
That you may not doubt that they look on this war as a civil war, and the Jacobins of France as of their party, and that they look upon us, though locally their countrymen, in reality as enemies, they have never failed to run a parallel between our late civil war and this war with the Jacobins of France. They justify their partiality to those Jacobins by the partiality which was shewn by several here to the Colonies; and they sanction their cry for peace with the Regicides of France by some of our propositions for peace with the English in America.
This I do not mention, as entering into the controversy how far they are right or wrong in this parallel, but to shew that they do make it, and that they do consider themselves as of a party with the Jacobins of France. You cannot forget their constant correspondence with the Jacobins whilst it was in their power to carry it on. When the communication is again opened, the interrupted correspondence will commence. We cannot be blind to the advantage which such a party affords to Regicide France in all her views; and, on the other hand, what an advantage Regicide France
It was an ingenious parliamentary Christmas play, by which, in both Houses, you anticipated the holidays—it was a relaxation from your graver employment—it was a pleasant discussion you had, which part of the family of the constitution was the elder branch? Whether one part did not exist prior to the others; and whether it might exist and flourish if "the others were cast into the fire?"*58 In order to make this saturnalian amusement general in the family, you sent it down stairs, that judges and juries might partake of the entertainment. The unfortunate antiquary and augur, who is the butt of all this sport, may suffer in the roystering horseplay
The question will be concerning the effect of this French
In conversation I have not yet found nor heard of any persons except those who undertake to instruct the publick, so unconscious of the actual state of things, or so little prescient of the future, who do not shudder all over, and feel a secret horror at the approach of this communication. I do not except from this observation those who are willing, more than I find myself disposed, to submit to this fraternity. Never has it been mentioned in my hearing, or from what I can learn in my inquiry, without the suggestion of an Alien Bill, or some other measures of the same nature, as a defence against its manifest mischief. Who does not see the utter insufficiency of such a remedy, if such a remedy could be at all adopted? We expel suspected foreigners from hence; and we suffer every Englishman to pass over into France, to be initiated in all the infernal discipline of the place—to cabal, and to be corrupted, by every means of cabal and of corruption, and then to return to England, charged with their worst dispositions and designs. In France he is out of the reach of your police; and when he returns to England, one such English emissary is worse than a legion of French, who are either tongue-tied, or whose speech betrays them. But the worst Aliens are the ambassador and his train. These you cannot expel without a proof (always difficult) of direct practice against the State. A French ambassador, at the head of a French party, is an evil which we have never experienced. The mischief is by far more visible than the remedy. But, after all, every such
When we invite danger from a confidence in defensive measures, we ought, first of all, to be sure, that it is a species of danger against which any defensive measures, that can be adopted, will be sufficient. Next, we ought to know that the spirit of our Laws, or that our own dispositions, which are stronger than Laws, are susceptible of all those defensive measures which the occasion may require. A third consideration is whether these measures will not bring more odium than strength to Government; and the last, whether the authority that makes them, in a general corruption of manners and principles, can ensure their execution? Let no one argue from the state of things, as he sees them at present, concerning what will be the means and capacities of Government when the time arrives, which shall call for remedies commensurate to enormous evils.
It is an obvious truth, that no constitution can defend itself. It must be defended by the wisdom and fortitude of men. These are what no constitution can give. They are the gifts of God; and he alone knows, whether we shall possess such gifts at the time we stand in need of them. Constitutions furnish the civil means of getting at the natural; it is all that in this case they can do. But our Constitution has more impediments, than helps. Its excellencies,
Nothing looks more *94awful and imposing than an ancient fortification. Its lofty embattled walls, its bold, projecting, rounded towers that pierce the sky, strike the imagination and promise inexpugnable strength. But they are the very things that make its weakness. You may as well think of opposing one of these old fortresses to the mass of artillery brought by a French irruption into the field, as to think of resisting by your old laws and your old forms the new destruction which the corps of Jacobin engineers of to-day prepare for all such forms and all such laws. Besides the debility and false principle of their construction to resist the present modes of attack, the Fortress itself is in ruinous repair, and there is a practicable breach in every part of it.
Such is the work. But miserable works have been defended by the constancy of the garrison. Weather-beaten ships have been brought safe to port by the spirit and alertness of the crew. But it is here that we shall eminently fail. The day that by their consent the seat of Regicide has its place among the thrones of Europe, there is no longer a motive for zeal in their favour; it will at best be cold, unimpassioned, dejected, melancholy duty. The glory will seem all on the other side. The friends of the Crown will appear not as champions, but as victims; discountenanced, mortified, lowered, defeated, they will fall into listlessness and indifference. They will leave things to take their course; enjoy the present hour, and submit to the common fate.
Is it only an oppressive night-mare, with which we have been loaded? Is it then all a frightful dream, and are there no Regicides in the world? Have we not heard of that prodigy of a ruffian, who would not suffer his benignant
If Santerre cannot be spared from the constitutional
All this will be the display, and the town-talk, when our Regicide is on a visit of ceremony. At home nothing will equal the pomp and splendour of the Hôtel de la République. There another scene of gaudy grandeur will be opened. When his citizen Excellency keeps the festival, which every citizen is ordered to observe, for the glorious execution of Louis the Sixteenth, and renews his oath of detestation of Kings, a grand ball, of course, will be given on the occasion. Then what a hurly burly; what a crowding; what a glare of a thousand flambeaus in the square; what a clamour of footmen contending at the door; what a rattling of a thousand *96coaches of Duchesses, Countesses and Lady Marys, choaking the way and overturning each other in a struggle, who should be first to pay her court to the Citoyenne, the spouse of the twenty-first husband, he the husband of the thirty-first wife, and to hail her in the rank of honourable
We had before an Ambassador from the most Christian King. We shall have then one, perhaps two, as lately, from the most antichristian Republick. His chapel will be great and splendid; formed on the model of the Temple of Reason at Paris, while the famous ode of the infamous Chênier will be sung, and a prostitute of the street adored as a Goddess. We shall then have a French Ambassador without a suspicion of Popery. One good it will have: it will go some way in quieting the minds of that Synod of zealous protestant Lay Elders who govern Ireland on the pacific principles of polemick theology, and who now, from dread of the Pope, cannot take a cool bottle of claret, or enjoy an innocent parliamentary job with any tolerable quiet.
So far, as to the French communication here. What will be the effect of our communication there? We know, that our new brethren, whilst they every where shut up the churches, increased, in Paris at one time, at least four fold the opera-houses, the play-houses, the publick shows of all kinds, and, even in their state of indigence and distress, no expence was spared for their equipment and decoration. They were made an affair of state. There is no invention of seduction, never wholly wanting in that place, that has not been increased; brothels, gaming-houses, every thing. And there is no doubt, but when they are settled in a triumphant peace, they will carry all these arts to their utmost perfection, and cover them with every species of imposing magnificence. They have all along avowed them as a part of their policy;
Is it for this benefit we open "the usual relations of peace and amity?" *97Is it for this our youth of both sexes are to form themselves by travel? Is it for this that with expence and pains we form their lisping infant accents to the language of France? I shall be told that this abominable medley is made rather to revolt young and ingenuous minds. So it is in the description. So perhaps it may in reality to a chosen few. So it may be when the Magistrate, the Law and the Church, frown on such manners, and the wretches to whom they belong; when they are chased from the eye of day, and the society of civil life, into night-cellars, and caves and woods. But when these men themselves are the magistrates; when all the consequence, weight and authority of a great nation adopt them; when we see them conjoined with victory, glory, power and dominion, and homage paid to them by every Government, it is not possible that the downhill should not be slid into, recommended by every
Whilst every thing prepares the body to debauch, and the mind to crime, a regular church of avowed Atheism, established by law, with a direct and sanguinary persecution of Christianity, is formed to prevent all amendment and remorse. Conscience is formally deposed from its dominion over the mind. What fills the measure of horror is, that schools of Atheism are set up at the publick charge in every part of the country. That some English parents will be wicked enough to send their children to such schools there is no doubt. Better this Island should be sunk to the bottom of the sea, than that (so far as human infirmity admits) it should not be a country of Religion and Morals.
With all these causes of corruption, we may well judge what the general fashion of mind will be through both sexes and all conditions. Such spectacles and such examples will overbear all the laws that ever blackened the cumbrous volumes of our statutes. When Royalty shall have disavowed itself; when it shall have relaxed all the principles of its own support; when it has rendered the systems of Regicide fashionable, and received it as triumphant in the very persons who have consolidated that system by the perpetration of every crime, who have not only massacred the prince, but the very laws and magistrates which were the
The Jacobin faction in England must grow in strength and audacity; it will be supported by other intrigues, and supplied by other resources, than yet we have seen in action. Confounded at its growth, the Government may fly to Parliament for its support. But who will answer for the temper of a House of Commons elected under these circumstances? Who will answer for the courage of a House of Commons to arm the Crown with the extraordinary powers that it may demand? But the ministers will not venture to ask half of what they know they want. They will lose half of that half in the contest: and when they have obtained their nothing, they will be driven by the cries of faction either to demolish the feeble works they have thrown up in a hurry, or, in effect, to abandon them. As to the House of Lords, it is not worth mentioning. The Peers ought naturally to be the pillars of the Crown: but when their titles are rendered contemptible, and their property invidious and a part of their weakness and not of their strength, they will be found so many degraded and trembling individuals, who will seek by evasion to put off the evil day of their ruin. Both Houses will be in perpetual oscillation between abortive attempts at energy, and still more unsuccessful attempts at compromise. You will be impatient of your disease, and abhorrent of your remedy. A spirit of subterfuge and a tone of apology will enter into all your proceedings, whether of law or legislation. Your Judges, who now sustain so masculine an authority, will appear more on their
In this state, things will be suffered to proceed, lest measures of vigour should precipitate a crisis. The timid will act thus from character; the wise from necessity. Our laws had done all that the old condition of things dictated
When thus the helm of justice is abandoned, an universal abandonment of all other posts will succeed. Government will be for a while the sport of contending factions, who whilst they fight with one another will all strike at her. She will be buffeted and beat forward and backward by the conflict of those billows; until at length, tumbling from the Gallick coast, the victorious *98tenth wave shall ride, like the bore, over all the rest, and poop the shattered, weather-beaten, leaky, water-logged vessel, and sink her to the bottom of the abyss.
Among other miserable remedies that have been found in the materia medica of the old college, a change of Ministry will be proposed; and probably will take place. They who go out can never long with zeal and good will support Government in the hands of those they hate. In a situation of fatal dependence on popularity, and without one aid from the little remaining power of the Crown, it is not to be expected that they will take on them that odium which more
To be sure no prognosticating symptoms of these things have as yet appeared. Nothing even resembling their beginnings. May they never appear! May these prognostications of the author be justly laughed at and speedily forgotten! If nothing as yet to cause them has discovered itself, let us consider in the author's excuse, that we have not yet seen a Jacobin legation in England. The natural, declared, sworn ally of sedition, has not yet fixed its headquarters in London.
There never was a political contest, upon better or worse grounds, that by the heat of party spirit may not ripen into civil confusion. If ever a party adverse to the Crown should be in a condition here publickly to declare itself, and to divide, however unequally, the natural force of the kingdom, they are sure of an aid of fifty thousand men, at ten days warning, from the opposite coast of France. But against this infusion of a foreign force, the Crown has its guarantees, old and new. But I should be glad to hear something said of the assistance, which loyal subjects in France have received from other powers in support of that lawful government, which secured their lawful property. I should be glad to know, if they are so disposed to a neighbourly, provident and sympathetick attention to their publick engagements, by what means they are to come at us. Is it from the powerful States of Holland we are to reclaim our guarantee? Is it from the King of Prussia and his steady good affections and his powerful navy,
That the Christian Religion cannot exist in this country with such a fraternity, will not, I think, be disputed with me. On that religion, according to our mode, all our laws and institutions stand as upon their base. That scheme is supposed in every transaction of life; and if that were done away, every thing else, as in France, must be changed along with it. Thus religion perishing, and with it this constitution, it is a matter of endless meditation what order of things would follow it. But what disorder would fill the space between the present and that which is to come, in the gross, is no matter of doubtful conjecture. It is a great evil, that of a civil war. But in that state of things, a civil war which would give to good men and a good cause some means of struggle, is a blessing of comparison that England will not enjoy. The moment the struggle begins, it ends. They talk of *99Mr. Hume's Euthanasia of the British Constitution, gently expiring without a groan in the paternal arms of a mere Monarchy. In a Monarchy! Fine trifling indeed! There is no such Euthanasia for the British Constitution—
Notes for this chapter
l. 11. even the Negroes, &c. Burke goes too far. At this time the condition of the negroes in the British West Indies, which Burke had been the first to characterise adequately, in a juvenile production forty years before, was being widely discussed.
P. 358, l. 34. genethliacon. A birth-song. Burke's observation is correct. It was the strength of the opposition in the Assembly, and the goodness of their cause, that led to the Revolution of Fructidor, and the triumph of the war-party, in 1797.
P. 361, l. 35. "splitting this brilliant orb," &c.:
Give me my Romeo, and when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he shall make the face of heaven so fine,
That all the world shall fall in love with night.
—Romeo and Juliet, Act iii. sc. 2.
l. 14. master Republick cultivates the arts, &c. The allusion is to Virgil's well-known lines:
Tu regere imperio populos, Romane, memento;
Hae tibi erunt artes.
P. 370, l. 19. transatlantic Morocco. Burke alludes to the political rights which according to French principles were granted to the free blacks and men of colour in the French West Indies, and to the stimulus which this would give to communities originally founded on piracy, and always addicted to it.
P. 372, l. 28. Here ends that part of the critique upon Auckland's Letter which Burke corrected for the press. The following pages, down to p. 376, l. 28, were made up by Bishop King from loose uncorrected papers.
P. 373, l. 7. bought by so much blood. Burke has in mind his favourite lines from Addison's Cato:
Remember, O my friends, the laws, the rights,
The generous plan of power deliver'd down
From age to age, by your renown'd forefathers—
So dearly bought, the price of so much blood—
O let it never perish in your hands,
But piously transmit it to your children.
P. 376, l. 1. They never will love, &c. Dr. Johnson "loved a good hater."
For in base mind nor friendship dwells, nor enmity.
—Spenser, Faery Queen, Book iv, canto iv, st. 11.
l. 16. best accounts I have, &c. Burke alludes to the strict retirement in which he was living, since the death of his son.
l. 28. Here the original terminates. The remaining portion of this letter does not belong to Burke's confutation of Lord Auckland. It was added by Bishop King from a separate copy, already put into type, but never finished or published. The Bishop says that it formed part of the Third Letter of Burke's original scheme (see p. 148), and was laid aside in consequence of the rupture of the negotiations.
l. 26. us poor Tory geese. The allusion is to the story of the Capitol of Rome saved from the Gauls by the cackling of geese, Livy, Lib. v. c. 47.
P. 378. This bitter tirade, which applies to most of Burke's former political associates, cannot be read without pain. It must be remembered that he did not publish it.
See Debates in Parliament upon Motions, made in both Houses, for prosecuting Mr. Reeves for a Libel upon the Constitution, Dec. 1795.
P. 384, l. 31. awful and imposing. The allusion is clearly to Windsor Castle, as seen on the approach from the uplands of Buckinghamshire, where Burke was living in retirement.
P. 385, l. 30. for a few days, &c. This indicates that the fragment was
"In the Costume assumed by the members of the legislative body, we almost behold the revival of the extinguished insignia of Knighthood," &c. &c. See A View of the relative State of Great-Britain and France at the commencement of the year 1796.
P. 387, l. 17. coaches of Duchesses, Countesses, and Lady Marys:
Monsieur much complains at Paris
Of wrongs from Dutchesses, and Lady Marys.
—Pope, Dunciad, Book ii.
P. 389, l. 2. Is it for this that our youth of both sexes are to form themselves by travel? Wordsworth illustrates the warning:
Not in my single self alone I found,
But in the minds of all ingenuous youth,
Change and subversion from that hour. No shock
Given to my moral nature had I known
Down to that very moment.
—The Prelude, Book x.
Much of this book may be read to show the working of the French Revolution on the minds of many of the young men of England.
P. 392, l. 32. Tenth wave. Silius Italicus, xiv. 121.
Non aliter Boreas Rhodopes a vertice praeceps
Cum sese immisit decimoque volumine pontum
Expulit in terras.
So Taylor, "Mercy of the Divine Judgments": "If Pharaoh will not be cured by one plague he shall have ten, and if ten will not do it, the great and tenth wave which is far bigger than all the rest." Young, The Brothers, Act iv.:
This, Fate, is thy tenth wave, and quite o'erwhelms me.
End of Notes
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